Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On the Road Again.

The kids will be schlepped to my mother's once more.  The bags are packed and ready to roll once again.  Another night away from my family for work. 

Now that all the logistics have been worked out, I'm feeling excited and confident once again.  

I will drop the kids off at day care this morning.  They will go to school and come back to daycare.  Their lovely aunt Sarah will pick them and take them to her house from where my mother will pick them up.  They will eat, homework, and bathe at my mother's and she will take them back to day care tomorrow.  After school and one more return trip to daycare, I'll be there to pick them up and get back to the home front.  

It sounds a lot more daunting than it is.  It really, really does take a village though.  Don't ever let anyone make you feel bad because they don't think you're doing enough on your own.  If you want to do it correctly you will ask for all the help you need. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Remembering

I have always wanted to write about my 9/11 experience but I have never had the platform to do so.  So  even though I'm a few days late to be considered "timely" this year, it's very important to get this story out for me.

I had been living in Las Vegas since June of that same year.  It was after six in the morning and I was getting ready for work.  The phone rang and it was my father telling me to turn on the TV that something very wrong was happening in New York.  A few minutes after doing what he said, the second plane hit the second tower.  It was the most frightening thing I had ever seen in my life.  It took me a very long time to process that image.  He instructed me to maybe go get some extra cash out of the bank and maybe get some extra canned goods - no one new what was happening or what the ramifications of what was happening would be.   I remember feeling sad.  So sad and frightened.  And so far away from home.

I woke up my then boyfriend, now ex-husband, and told him what had happened.  I told him it was time for him to drive me to work.  On the way there, I told him about my dad's warnings about taking out extra money.  The ex said that my dad was crazy and exaggerating trying to make me feel panicked.  Looking back his reaction to 9/11 was so wildly inverse and inappropriate the red flags of the type of person he was to become should have been flying right a long with every other American flag at the time.  But, that's a subject for another time.

I made it to work.  It as here I first learned about CNN.com's email alerts and signed up right away.  I refreshed the news pages so often and frequently.  I was so scared. I'm fairly certain that I made a few other phone calls to alert other people, but I remember mostly just looking for information.  I was hungry for information and more than likely someone to tell me that it was going to be okay.

The skies being empty in Las Vegas, especially where I worked so close the airport was a sight and lack of sound I will never forget.  So quite.  Such a bright blue cloudless empty sky. 

The owner of our company came to the office shortly after.  He called us all in his office and we talked briefly about what had happened and he said a prayer and sent us home for the day.  

After arriving home, I sat in front of the TV which was where I would pretty much be for the next three+ days.  It was the first introduction of the CNN ticker and I was practically a beta tester for it.  I needed to fill my eyes and brain with information to know that this was actually happening and still the waiting for someone telling me everything was going to be okay. 

I don't recall if it was actually the night of 9/11 or a night soon following, but we went out to dinner.  We were young and didn't know that that was probably in poor taste, so we went.  After a huge fight in the car on the way there (yes I know) we arrived to such and empty restaurant.  The TVs were all tuned to the news.  The few people there were not speaking, all eyes looking at the tvs and the sad images they kept repeating.  
I remember not wanting to leave the house again after that for days and days. 

Like everyone, the rise of togetherness, patriotism, and helpfulness was wonderful to see and be a part of for me.  It was wonderful to see these cars with flags, houses with signs, volunteers and aides.  I miss that part of it.  That was a good time to be an American. 

One last defining moment for me was a moment in the evening, the ex was at work and I had the TV tuned to as much coverage as I could manage.  And I was sitting in the dark watching the TV and Peter Jennings was my friend for the evening.  The piece he was showing was featuring international response to 9/11.  Different countries around the globe with signs, songs, memorials - the last shot showed children from another country singing God Bless America, or something similar. It was so touching.  When the camera came back to the studio, there sat Peter Jennings - crying.  I remember being so shocked that this man, this stoic, professional manly news-reporter was crying.  Weeping even.  The next day, I sent an email to my father and some others about seeing Peter Jennings cry and the impact that had on me.  

I remember the details of this day like no other.  It's possible I remember more about this day from morning to night than I do about the days on which my children were born.  But I think that's okay.  I think the point of remembering keeps those that died alive.  In speaking to me children about this day and holding the close and answering their questions, I'm instilling in them a little bit of the magic that we as a human race had in those days that followed September 11th. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Six Days.

Today I go back to work, reality, and the world.  Three places I haven't been for the past six days. 

I am shocked at how relaxed, happy and rejuvenated I feel.  I've never felt like this after time off before.  I think the past six days were days well spent.  Days that I used to rest and be calm. 

I originally took the first three days of school off just to be home and available to help with Baby Seth should anyone need an extra set of supplies run to school, or someone else's new morning routine wasn't working out.  I was just planning on being the back up adult at home.  But it wasn't until I requested the time off from work that I realized that those three days ran right into the three day Labor Day weekend.  Thus my week +1 day off of work was born. 

The beginning of school has went smoothly and has been largely stress free.  So, I got some Baby Seth bonding time and hung out with Marie for three days.  We talked, and yaked, and watched trashy TV.  I was able to drive my kids to school all three days and Noah was even able to ride the bus home on Friday for the first time; something he's not ever done before because I'm at work.  One afternoon, I took a nap, Friday I watched my nephew for a few hours, and I went grocery shopping at 9 in the morning on a Thursday.  Have you ever?  This stay at home mom stuff really has its perks! 

My free three days rolled into the weekend.  Saturday morning I picked up Gram and we ran some errands. Saturday night Josh and I went out to dinner to The Cheesecake Factory and stopped for a night cap at The Winking Lizard.  We had so much fun.  It was a night we needed together and with each other for a very long time.  

Sunday started at a slow leisurely pace which was fine by me.  Late afternoon, we headed out for some errands and food.  We came home and cooked and watched the race after the little kids had been put to bed.  

Oh! Something else I did this weekend.  I played video games.  Yes me!  What?  Was I so relaxed and happy and delirious that I just gave in to Josh's request and played?  I don't know.  But I know that he and I played a lot of Portal 2 together - a game he completed long ago with Max - and I laughed and had fun.  And have already found myself looking forward to when time permits we're able to play again. 

Yesterday was your obligatory cook out with the family, minus a few members who were at work and a few others who were travelling.  But fun was had by all.  And I was very aware of the relaxed feeling I had sitting on the back deck with an adult beverage.  Kids and Papa were in the pool.  Josh, Marie, Candice and Eric and I were chatting on the deck.  Music was playing, kids were laughing.  It was a great end to a great weekend and dare I say summer. 

I don't typically post these summary of my life posts, but this weekend and few days before were so good, so sanity giving that I want to be able to remember them.  I want to remember in the busy, stressful holidays coming up, that this feeling can be achieved and to savor it when it happens. 

Here's to a fantastic week ahead as well! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pseudo Single Mom

I've finally come up with that term or title for myself and I think it's very accurate and I think if I'm given the opportunity to explain what it means to me, people would agree.

I am in a loving, long term committed relationship.  We live as a blended family with five kids and a grandchild full time.  We both have full and primary custody of our children.  We are not married.

I was a single mother for several years.  A single mother in the true definition of the term - I lived alone with my two children singly. Truthfully, I lived as a single mother even when I was married in Nevada and still living with my ex husband, but that's a post for another day.

After dating for some time, Josh and I began to talk about moving into together.  He brought it up first, it was actually a way of life that I did not think would ever happen for us.  But we began to work out the kinks on how and where to make that happen and we did.  I still say, and will probably maintain for quite some time, that blending our two families was the hardest thing I have ever done.  There were many times in those first few months that I wondered what I had done.

So now here we are, over three years into making this family work, and it was only this past week that I was able to put a term to how I feel in my role as a mother and partner.  I am a single mom in that I am not remarried and I am raising my children on my own.  But I must add the pseudo caveat because I am in a long term committed relationship with someone I love.

I suppose the hard parts sometimes are that people don't think or realize that I still struggle in every way that a single mother struggles.  I have to make decisions for my two children all by myself.  Yes I can ask questions and ask for advice, but ultimately it is my choice and my consequences to deal with from them.  I am 100% financially responsible for my kids, as he is his.  We don't share bank accounts, we don't share expenses beyond what it takes to run the household.  School fees, dance classes, softball, etc.  Those are all my finances to worry about.  The flip side of course, I don't pay for hockey, or medication, or ice skating for his children either.  But I feel like sometimes if I speak of money getting tight or wondering about affording something people look around and wonder if it's so.  It is so because I am still very much on my own when it comes to that.  

I still need to arrange babysitting for my kids I still need to arrange logistics for activities and birthday parties and extra curricular activities.  I have a partner in life -  I really do and I couldn't be happier about it.  But I do not have a partner in child rearing, or money managing, or decision making. 

 This is the arrangement we have chose and it works for us.  But I don't know if other people understand the dynamic of it all.  I don't know if people understand that I'm still so going it alone.  I have a sounding board, but that's where it ends.  

Sometimes it can be lonely.  Sometimes it can be liberating.  It's the way that we've chose to do things and it's not the way most families operate.  I guess in the long run, at the very, very least, we're showing our kids that a family can be what you make of it and how you make it work.  It doesn't have to be conventional and it doesn't have to be what anyone else understands or approves of.  As long as there is respect and love, there can be a family that is powerful.