Solo Mama: “I Never Thought I’d (fill in the blank)!”

I have to travel for work this week. On one hand, it is nice to go to bed when I want to, not worry about monitoring minion behavior, and share a bed with two children and a dog. On the other hand, I typically end up missing my kids terribly and spend a lot of time on Facetime exchanging “I want you”s with my daughter and trying to get my son’s attention. In any case, they both spend a lot of time making faces or playing with their hair and looking at themselves on the screen rather than focusing on any coherent conversation with me.

GJ 11-2018-2

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to find an episode of Law and Order on TV. It is almost guaranteed that you can find an episode playing on some hotel TV. This time I found L&O Criminal Intent. What a great show. Vincent D’Onofrio is brilliant. Through unique detective work and clever interactions and pinpointed perceptions, he is always able to put together very quickly who committed the crime and the person’s intentions, motive, weaknesses, strengths, etc. Yes, it’s very make believe, but wouldn’t it be grand if that’s how crime was solved and criminals were caught? Like a beautifully scripted dance…which inevitably ends with the person charged with the crime crying out at the end “I don’t know why I do this!” or “I don’t know how I became this person!” This is exactly what happened in two episodes I watched tonight.

In one, a woman who had become a murderous monster on account of her greedy husband and a nightmare divorce (“Look what you turned me into!” she screamed as she was hauled off camera by two NYC police officers). In the other, a shy, socially awkward man in his 20s who performs lobotomies on women he drugs and kidnaps so that he can cuddle with them and care for them and they never leave him. He even eats some of their body parts to connect with them (“I don’t know why I do this, I’m so disgusting”). With tears and snot running down his face, the cannibal, played by Neil Patrick Harris, breaks down after being coaxed into a tearful confession by D’Onofrio, who has taken pity on this young nerdy guy who can never get the girl, and masterfully pulls the confession from him in order to avoid the death penalty.

I can relate to these revelations. While I have not murdered anyone, disabled people so I could cuddle with them against their will, or eaten human body parts (THANK GOD!!!!), I often find myself alone crying “How did I become this person?” or “How did I get here?” At first, I would blame something or someone, usually a husband, romantic interest, family member, or more recently, children. If I wouldn’t have met that person, made that decision, sacrificed for that partner, things would be different. Then it was unhealthily turned inward (and still sometimes is) with I’m so screwed up, I’m stupid, I’m unlovable, God hates me, I’m worthless. I once visited with a sort of “medium” who tried to explain to me what had happened in my past lives that had caused certain things to happen to me in this life.

I guess when we are young, we often imagine our future lives as something that is known or familiar already. So it resembles our childhood experience or something we saw on MTV Cribs (wow, that dates me). I certainly didn’t envision two failed marriages, having children by myself, dealing with several mental health diagnoses or living in my MTV Un-Cribs neighborhood and single in my mid-40s (yeah, I’m on the high side of mid but nearly 50 sounds totally inaccurate). These kind of thoughts haunt me on a daily basis. I imagine it might be a common experience, but people rarely talk about it unless it’s a positive thing.

“I never thought I’d win the Powerball!”

“I never thought I’d get to work with Lil Wayne!”

“I never thought I’d win a Grammy!”

“I never thought Bradley Cooper would discover me singing at a drag club and I would sleep with him!”

You get the point. Some days it’s hard to combat the “I never thoughts” with gratitude. And yet, on the positive side, I’m not killing people or eating them. There are no restraining orders out on me. I have a job that is in the field of my passion. I own a house (which is a privilege reserved for the very wealthy in Denver these days). I have great friends. I have two amazing children. I have a great family where there is relatively little drama (it depends on any given day how much I might be causing).

Do you ever think about the “I never thoughts”? How do you deal with them?

(Photo credit: Me)

Solo Mama Moving Through Marriage Like a Knife to Butter

I’ve been married twice. I may have been struggling with my mental health long before I was married the first time. Definitely with depression.

These past two weeks have been killer sitting through church. The messages have been about marriage and divorce. Nothing condemning or guilt producing or traumatic in terms of the message. Just the idea of marriage and divorce throws me back to traumatic times and it’s hard to sit still and listen.

I was married to my first husband at a very young age. I was 21 and finishing my last year of college. He was a year older and was doing construction contracting jobs through family. We lived in a tiny apartment in a moderately crappy neighborhood in Chicago. We almost lost our apartment when an angry ex of a tenant came and blew up his ex-girlfriend’s new guy’s motorcycle, parked under the wooden stairway of our complex. We also experienced our first shooting as a couple when there was a shootout happening on our stairway and the Chicago Police gained access to the gunfight by storming through our front door.

We had a dining room table, two chairs, and a bed, that was it. Early on, I remember feeling a strange mix of terror (holy shit, we were married, this was it) and exhilaration (holy shit, we were married, this was it). I was struggling with an eating disorder (yup, there’s that pesky mental illness!) and we were both struggling with a mother (his) who thought we were too young for marriage and didn’t want to let go. Eventually, we moved to an apartment 4 blocks south of our first place, which put us in a slightly better neighborhood (where our first car was stolen), he got a job that was closer to his career aspirations, and eventually we moved out of the city to a brand new condo in a western suburb.

Things went from rough to worse. Maybe we WERE too young. I thought marriage was forever and wouldn’t have dreamed of seeking a divorce no matter how bad things got. He didn’t share the same value. Just 4 years in, including a year of marriage counseling, he announced to me one February Sunday afternoon as we were pulling into our driveway after a shopping trip, that he no longer wanted to be married.

Our lives went from the Friday previous where he kissed and hugged me goodbye before he left for work, to the following Monday, when he started slipping out of the house in the morning, off to work, without a word.

I remember reading and rereading his Valentine’s Day card to me, written less than 2 weeks before that Sunday. There was nothing there to indicate he would be leaving. I took the card and followed him around the house one evening, screaming at him, asking him how his mind changed so quickly. We ended up celebrating his birthday together in mid-March, at Red Lobster. We went out for ice cream after and he told me that he didn’t think he had ever loved me, that we should have just been friends. That we would have been great friends.

I lived in the condo until May that year. I couldn’t afford the mortgage so I moved into a studio apartment in Evanston, the first suburb north of the city. I was 6 blocks away from Lake Michigan, and I felt like a tremendous weight had been lifted off of me. I would walk to the lake regularly, sit on the shore, and stare at the lake for hours. It was so big and I was so small. My life, my husband, my marriage, the ending of my marriage, it was all like a tiny drop in the lake when compared with time. Even less than a drop.

I left the marriage with a total of $600, a bunch of furniture, a vacuum cleaner, a knife, pots and pans, and silverware set (which I still have and use to this day), and a leased Dodge Avenger. The intangibles I left with were probably more heavy hitting. Marriage doesn’t last, I can’t count on a man, when he left me, so did my livelihood, and I was not good enough for someone to stay married to. I would need to work my ass off for the rest of my life, and always question a man’s intention.

Of course what I expected to find, always found me first, creating a lifelong pattern that was maybe broken slightly with my second marriage, but I hadn’t processed the trauma and lessons from my first and I blew up my second.

I’m sure all my relationships have been sabotaged to some extent by my mental health and my inability to sit with or process my demons in an effective manner. This year it finally all exploded in my face. A lifetime of unprocessed relationship dysfunction. There’s a ton of stuff written on this, courses offered, support groups, etc. I’m sure it’s the experience of lots of people, it’s just not a popular topic in conversation with friends. You’re never sure…

Thanks for reading. Hearing from people who share their experiences, or just the fact that they’ve had similar experiences, is healing.

Solo Mama: The Facebook Highlight Reel

Social media has taken over our lives. At least twice a week I hear someone say “I’m quitting Facebook” or “I’m taking a break from social media.” We hear more and more about how too much time on social media can be detrimental, not only because it’s making us forget how to talk to each other and interact as humans, but it is also giving people a false sense of the reality of other people’s lives, causing depression, anxiety and other ailments.

Strangely, it occurred to me the other day that I’m no longer affected as much by others and their seemingly perfect lives on Facebook, I’m more stressed out by my own highlight reel, which pops in as a “Facebook cares about you and your memory from x years ago” almost daily. Can anyone else relate? Pictures of my children’s happy faces, running through sprinklers, building snowmen, eating popsicles, taking vacations, drawing with sidewalk chalk and cheerfully skipping along in a beautiful setting, holding hands. My eyes tear up every day as I open up the Facebook app and see yet another memory of a happier time. I wonder, who are these happy children, smiling all the time at me and at each other? Will a study come out some day talking about how my Facebook memories can actually worsen my depression and make me think that I’ve already lived through the best times of my life? Instead of being jealous of all my friends, I will now find reasons to be jealous of myself, in my earlier, happier days?

Is it worth taking pictures of my kids right at this moment and posting them? One’s face is buried in an iPad and the other is writing incoherent sentences about a stuffed reindeer. Then in “x” number of years, this memory will come up and I will cry harder because at that time, maybe my son will be sitting across from me, smoking pot on my fake leather couch (which I will probably still have), watching reruns of Phineas and Ferb, while my daughter is hunched over on the couch next to him, texting some gross boy who is probably too old for her and complaining about wanting her own car. I liken this to seeing old pictures of myself, knowing that back when the picture was taken, I was probably complaining about being too fat, or having bad hair, or just generally being unhappy with how I looked and now I reflect back and think “damn, you were HOT!”

I need to cherish every day and live in the moment, because inevitably, Facebook will remind me that as the years pass, my children will get older, more surly, and more expensive as I get older, more poor, and less attractive. 🤪

Solo Parenting: Putting All My Distressing Thoughts in a Container

It’s no secret I’m an advocate of therapy. When you try to experience life to the fullest, you pull in the bad and the good, and the really really bad. You don’t give up on people and you don’t give up on hope. You need a backup though, and over the years, I’ve realized that I can wear my friends out as backups. Sometimes it’s just good practice to pay someone to be your backup.

I’ve been working with someone recently, a.k.a. paying someone to help me process and also assist me with developing some positive coping mechanisms. We’ve been talking about all sorts of abstract yet concrete things and I’ve been practicing some visualization. One practice that’s connected to a larger strategy that I’m working on is this idea of storing my distressing thoughts and experiences in a container for processing later. It’s not something that comes naturally, and I’ve kind of scoffed at similar practices in the past – for example, writing things out on paper and burning it, and even journaling is a somewhat lackluster practice for me. I just want the pain to be gone NOW. And we all know, in the day and age of mobile phones, messaging and texting, painful words and experiences can be as frequent as breathing. When I’m not feeling at my best, it just takes the wrong person to message the wrong thing, and my day can crash and become irreparable. I have to admit that I turn off my phone frequently, turn off notifications from people, or hide my phone for periods of time so as not to engage with someone when I’m hurting. Sometimes I don’t do it quick enough and I shoot off words I wish I could take back.

So back to this concept of putting distressful thoughts and emotions in a container. I’m trying to practice it on the go as things happen, or as I try to recall experiences. My container is a shipping container you’d find on a major port – maybe somewhere on the east coast on the ocean. There are lots of seagulls squawking and I can smell rotting fish in the air. I cross a wooden dock to where there is a collection of containers, and I heave open a metal lid to one of them (it’s probably more like a large dumpster, but a shipping container sounds more capable of holding my pain and distress), and shove my distress in that container. I try to pull it from my body, where I’m feeling the distress the most.

It’s interesting because different types of distress show up in different parts of my body. Distress caused by parenting and children usually shows up in my chest and sometimes up as far as my head. Friend and family distress shows up primarily in my chest and head. Romantic distress is solidly located in my stomach. Visualizing tearing the distress from my body and shoving it through the open lid of this container is gratifying but my practice isn’t quite perfected yet. As soon as I shove the distress in the container and start to walk away, it seeps out through the lid, which isn’t securely fastened, and chases me down the dock, oozing around my feet in an attempt to get me to process it – maybe just a little bit? – and ruminate over it. Instead of sending positive energy out, I’m trapped by my distress and futile attempts to process it. I feel creepy and sad and overwhelmed. Part of this practice is visualizing my safe place to go to after dumping my distress, but for some reason, that damn smelly shipping container gets a hold on me and I can’t walk away. I know not all distress is avoidable, but I do know that often I’m attracting distress into my life. And getting trapped in the vicinity of a smelly dumpster doesn’t help repel distress.

This Solo Parent and Her Inability to Answer the Hardest Questions in the Universe

I was browsing the Internet doing some research for a job I’m working on, and happened to come across this article: Curious Children Ask 73 Questions Each Day – Many of Which Parents Can’t Answer, Says Study.

I’ve been asked to brainstorm thoughts about parenting tips and traps around some major concepts. I am thinking that this could be the most ill-assigned project I’ve ever been asked to do. It makes me laugh. Every tip I’ve brainstormed is something I’ve never actually tried in practice, and I fall into so many traps, I can’t even recall any to share. My life is a blur of one parenting trap to the next. When I came across this article, though, I had to stop and reflect.

My kids have been asking me so many questions about fathers, mothers, babies, biological relationships, donor dads, blood relatives, stepparents, same sex marriages, etc. The other night before bed I was dodging left and right and returning answers like a skilled squash player on the court (isn’t that reference great? I’ve played squash maybe twice in my life). I prayed my son would fall asleep mid-sentence like he usually does and that my daughter’s questions would devolve into some conversation about her stuffed reindeer Reiny’s father being King of the Forest. I was having a hard time explaining “blood related” and how two people’s blood can get into one person’s blood and really, blood related doesn’t have the same meaning it once did, so I just wanted to skip it.

The title states that kids ask around 73 questions each day and further into the article it says “while fathers field the most questions, mothers deal with 413 on average each week.” Laugh. My. Ass. Off. I did the math. If we use a 7-day week, at 73 questions per day, that’s 511 questions, with mothers dealing with 413 in a week. That leaves 98 per week for fathers. Taking the father out of the equation, and accounting for an extra child, 511 x 2 children is 1,022 questions per week. That sounds about right.

Some the most challenging questions for parents, according to the article, are:

1. Why do people die?

2. What is God?

3. What does “we can’t afford it” mean?

4. Is Father Christmas (ok, we’ll give this British author a pass) real?

5. Why can’t I stay up as late as you?

I WISH my kids would hit me with these questions. These would be nice and easy for me. Most of the answers they’ve already learned through life experience to date. Except for Santa Claus. We are trying to preserve that fantasy for awhile. And for the record, I go to bed at the same time as they do, sometimes before.

This article has inspired me to jot down as many questions as I can from my kids over the next couple of weeks and report back on my findings, as well as the percentage of questions I can’t, or don’t have the energy to, answer.

As a final note on this post, I would like to specially recognize the single mothers I’ve had the honor to meet over the past year, some of whom have more kids than I do. Bless you. Sometimes answering the questions is more tiring than providing for and cleaning up after a family by yourself.

This Solo Parent’s 10 Most Mundane Yet Creative Ways to Save Money

Ever wonder how I look so well put together and stress-free? No? Some of these are for real tips on saving money, folks! I don’t mess around 🤪

  1. Live in an undesirable neighborhood. We may know our neighborhood officers by name and may lose a few household or yard items occasionally, but did you know I have a super low mortgage in an unaffordable city and the best access to all the major highways in town? Every time a new store pops up, it’s a pawn shop or a check cashing store, not some cute coffee shop. I know some of the best drive through liquor stores in the metro area, and the parking lot of the abandoned strip mall makes a great place for riding bikes, as long as you keep an eye for cars cutting through to skip the light at the intersection. No cute coffee shop boutique yuppies are going to ever buy up property in my neighborhood, it’s a well-kept secret.
  2. Enroll in an automatic “round-up” savings account. I love this. Similar to the way the local grocery store cashier hits you up to round up by 13 cents to the nearest dollar to donate to a cause, some banks also offer this option to dump into a separate savings account. I’ve saved over $900 in 3 years. This doesn’t look as good typed out as it does in my bank account, but it’s $900 I definitely wouldn’t have saved for myself.
  3. Split sides at restaurants when you do eat out. I came across this fascinating practice when traveling to India over the years (prior to children – who can afford to travel with them?). I remember going to a small roadside restaurant with my former in-laws and watching my brother-in-law order soup “1 by 2” or “2 by 4.” I doubt any American server would clue into this lingo, but our portions are so huge here, ask for an extra plate or bowl and split it at your table. My Indian coworkers did this with their Starbucks every morning. Saved themselves a truckload of money.
  4. Have lots of low sodium canned soup on hand to resist the urge to eat out when you are too tired to cook. Our favorites are anything lentil.
  5. Don’t accept a dry squeeze as the end of a product! Cut open every bottle of any product (food, beauty, etc.) when you get towards the end and dig that sh*t out.
  6. Opt to gamble with driving a car old enough to be your great grandfather. Low or no car payments and the money you spend on repairs might not exceed what you’d pay on a new monthly car payment over a year’s time. The key word here is “might.” Try at your own risk.
  7. Enroll in something that is sent to your house for you to peruse and opt to purchase. I’ve seen people do this with makeup, athletic clothing and dog accessories. I do it with clothing. Some may argue this is not a way to save money. I think it has helped me. I receive a box of 5 clothing items every quarter. They always fit perfectly. I think it’s because everything is stretchy. I can try stuff on in my own home and send back what I don’t like. I have not gone clothes shopping outside my home in 2 years. Good riddance shopping! I hated you anyway.
  8. Order food from the grocery store online and pick it up. My brother and sister-in-law swear by this. I’ve tried it a few times. It prevents me from impulsively buying a bunch of stuff in the store.
  9. Use your exes’ phone numbers at the gas station to get the 10 cent gas discount they’ve racked up over this past month buying groceries. Just kidding. I’ve never done this.
  10. And just like it helps you lose weight, if you must eat out, because you are just too damn tired to create a meal, buy meals for your kids and pick off their plates (or out of their bags in our case). Then snack on popcorn, cuties, and cottage cheese when you get home.

Solo Parenting and the Date

I went on a date recently. Nice guy. Employed, close in age, legally divorced (bonus), lives within 10 miles of me, has hair, can fix cars (also a bonus), has two young children, drives a Jeep and loves hockey. Did I say nice guy already?

As the evening wore on, I found myself trying to imagine what it would take to get to know someone. A lot of money in babysitting hours. Negotiating time to communicate when my only free time is really a small slice between 8:30 and 9 pm. Thinking up interesting conversation topics and thought provoking questions when I can’t even remember my name and where I may be sitting at any given moment. How trapped I felt when said date filled in awkward silence with “so, is there anything else you’d like to know about me?”

Guiltily, I was thinking, “No. This is the first chance I’ve had in weeks to eat without someone sitting in my lap or asking me a thousand questions or demanding a fork. I’d appreciate it if you would just shut up and let me enjoy my food.”

Instead I said, “ummm…..hmmmm….that’s a good question. I’m not sure….”

Awful response. I have to admit, I’ve been a convenience dater for the past decade. Which explains my track record of law enforcement and corrections personnel and lawyers. I’m too wiped to go anywhere to meet anyone, so I’ve been dating based on accessibility – people who work nearby at my job. Dating people in my field of work doesn’t lend itself necessarily to engaging with healthy mindsets. We’re all pretty much dysfunctional, cynical, suspicious and distrustful to some extent. The benefits are proximity and commonality. Coffee and lunches make it easy to get to know someone without paying for a sitter, and a common language and understanding of someone’s day without even having to ask, as well as some interesting and sometimes humorous material about the human condition just make getting to know someone that much easier. I’ve needed to expand the pool of candidates for some time, and this was one of my first attempts.

“The Date” aka Nice Guy said he was interested in pursuing something long term and getting to know me, in particular. He had a lot of nice things to say based on our limited conversation and exposure. At another time in my life, I may have jumped at the chance, especially since he was empathetic and could relate to having two small children (albeit only 50% for him). I’ve found that adding the fact that I’m 100% mother with two elementary-aged children to my online dating profile cuts down visits to my profile and messages from potential dates by 99.98%. Single men are just not interested in a woman who doesn’t have 3-4 days a week to go have some adult fun. Men can be so shallow.

I thought about what Nice Guy said for a couple days. Then I gave him a call and expressed that I just couldn’t afford to date and probably didn’t even have time if I could afford it. After all, I’m working an almost full-time job and have 3 part time jobs. I’ve given up the fantasy of a 4th part-time job – that of dating blog writer. There are lots of freelance opportunities out there for people who want to write about their online dating experiences. We are all voyeurs.

There you have it. My advice to myself? Quit while you’re ahead.

SUP?

I’m sitting at an intersection with my windows cracked and Jay Z and his friends busting out of my mom-mobile and a surly tow truck driver at about 2 o’clock from me looks back over his shoulder and eyes me. He is tatted from his fingertips to his eyeballs. I give him a traffic head nod like “sup?” He shakes his head and huffs then turns and takes a swig from a gallon of water in a bottle labeled Juicy Juice.

Really? Hey Juicy! You’re not so hot yourself. Don’t you know 40-something white ladies are probably one of Jay’s largest listening demographic? Lighten up. Maybe mix something stronger into your Juicy Juice.

I’m glad to have a few moments to myself after dropping the kids off at school and before I have to rush into work. How many coffees will I need today? I ponder.

What’s happening this week? I’ve been debating whether to join a softball team at work. Practices are once a week, right after work. I’m falling off the fence on the “no” side. The exhaustion that comes with figuring out who to bug to take care of my kids after school once a week is what forced me to take a hiatus from belly dancing. My job hangs in some weird balance, with a vote coming up in a month that will decide whether the unit I belong to will continue after the end of June. I’ve always taken government job security somewhat for granted. Guess what! I shouldn’t have thought this way! Your financial well-being and quality of life may lay in the hands of one senator who thinks he has come up with a brilliant idea and a legislative analyst. I’m sure this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened…

My daughter informed me this week that I have a fourth child (I can’t figure out what happened to number 3), whose name is Kool Tooley. It turns out that I gave him away at birth and she and her brother have recently discovered his existence. My son won’t confirm or deny this story. He sits in the backseat of the car, staring out the window, while my daughter weaves fantastic stories about Kool. My son already looks like a defeated husband with selective hearing. I’m hoping that wherever Kool lives, he’s in a financially stable home because I just can’t provide for one more child if he decides to come looking for me.

My daughter is also going public more frequently with her discussions about her absent father, or “donor dad.” She is wavering between whether she will continue to harass me about his whereabouts, or if she will just adopt a father. Because if people can adopt children, then they surely can adopt fathers, too. Another tricky issue I’ve had to address with her lately is why even half siblings aren’t allowed to marry each other and have babies. I’m always too tired to explain this in a way that a 6-year old going on 18 will understand.

“Because the baby may be born with an arm growing out of his head.”

Really? That’s all I’ve got? Way to go! Currently, I’m looking for volunteers to pick up their phone when one of my children calls with a difficult question like, “Can I play on the iPad tonight?” or “What will you give me if I pick up my toys?” or “Why does that boy have long hair?” I just don’t have it in me anymore…

Was v Were

Was v were. I never thought I’d be THAT mom.

“Momma, I were at school yesterday and -” my daughter starts.

“Was. You was at school yesterday.” I’m such a jerk.

“You was not at school yesterday, I were.” Correct. I were not, you was.

“No, I WAS at school yesterday, NOT I were.” My final attempt at teaching good grammar.

Her, exasperated: “You was not at school, Momma! I were.”

Like a nightmare flashback of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” in the making. Where are the cameras? I’m being punked.

Keep in mind, my correcting her is VERY recent. I’ve listened to was/were reversals for months now.

“Momma, if Reiny and I was at school together, is it was or were?” We are on to something here. If I can’t communicate this concept, maybe with the help of a stuffed reindeer, we will be golden.

“Ahhh, yes. If there is more than one of you, it is were. If it’s just you, then it is was.” I am pleased she is making the plural form connection, which we’ve touched on a few times.

“Momma, where is Reiny?” Uh oh.

“She stepped out back to smoke a cigarette.” Me, trying to cover for the fact that I forgot Reiny at home when I came to pick up the kids. Along with their snack.

“Reiny doesn’t smoke.” Seriously? Then who is leaving their butts outside my back door?

“Then she is at driving lessons, with Alec.” I took at stab here. Last week, my daughter swore Reiny had enrolled in driver’s ed.

“Reiny hates Alec. He makes fun of her in ballet class. Plus she doesn’t drive, Momma.” This is all news to me. In fact: Newsflash. Reiny doesn’t smoke, drive or take ballet. And who is Alec? We don’t know a single person named Alec. Yet these are all things that YOU, child, have told me she is doing over the past week when I ask YOU where she is. I was just playing the game.

“Ok, baby. I have a confession. Reiny isn’t feeling well and she’s at home in my bed.” I come clean. Kind of.

“Did she throw up?”

Oh my goodness. Really?

“I don’t know baby. She were not throwing up when I left her this morning.” BAHAHAHAHA! So bad.

And now you know why I am rechecking my medications, giving up gluten, catching up on past church messages, listening to soothing classical Indian ragas and meditating like a boss. All in my free time.

The Light and Fluffy Pre-Holiday Recap

Hey blog. It has been awhile. So much has happened over the past 3 months and instead of happily chatting about it to the world, I’ve decided that large chunks of the time period should just be swept under the rug. Not too much damage done, thankfully, but maybe enough to close out 2017. Let’s do a quick and light recap.

The Tinder Trap: There is actually a lot of material here, as to be expected with an online dating app. Suffice to say I escaped with only a few minor cuts and scrapes, a potential lifelong friend, and another acquaintance whom I enjoyed meeting enough to agree to Facebook friendship for the time being.

The Unexpected Father Meeting: Running into my daughter’s father by chance in a public place, with her in tow. This could have been REALLY awkward. My daughter and her father have never met, until last week. I felt that a meeting like this had the potential to implode, like in Back to the Future when Michael J. Fox traveled back in time and befriended his father in high school and was trying to facilitate the romance of his father with his mother, without vomiting. I watched my daughter and her father together, chatting like old pals, old pals who had the exact same eyes. She only knows him as “Momma’s friend,” but for a chance meeting that could have been disastrous, it was actually very pleasant and peaceful. For those of you who are wondering, there was no miraculous father/daughter reunification, but I’ve been at peace with his absence for awhile now, and so that’s ok.

Skincare and dog care: My businesses are right about where I can manage them at the moment. I would love for both to grow, but my bandwidth this time of year is severely limited by my insecurities around providing great holiday experiences for my children and keeping up with the craziness as a single mom. I am thrilled to have great clients in both areas of work, and a wonderful business partner on the skincare side with whom I’ve reconnected with after almost 20 years. I’m looking forward to some quality time with her in Las Vegas at the end of January, while she is there for work and I’m taking advantage of $70 airfare to catch up with her in person. I’m confident the new year will bring some fabulous experiences and the opportunity to meet and work with many more cool people! I’m so thankful I dived into these side businesses.

Self care: In early summer, I joined a belly dancing class at the local rec center. We just wrapped up our last session for the year. Through this class, I met many amazing women, in particular, two very special ones, and I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and practice this beautiful art form with good friends who are authentic, loving and fun.

And finally, bah humbug: I’m not a fan of this time of year. I know there are many who are not, for so many different reasons. It’s the time of year when being on your own with two children feels like a giant pimple on the end of your nose that is angry and red, and refuses to be fully realized so you can just pop it and be done with it. Just to be able to pop that sucker, so the pus can ooze out, the swelling can go down, and you can feel some relief. Graphic, I know, but this is how I feel being a single parent during the holidays. This will be the first year since 1991 that I will not exchange gifts with some form of a significant other. After several goes of scratching out invisible numbers on the couch beside me, I’ve concluded that it has been 26 years. I’m really looking forward to the handmade items that my kids brought home from school today and were begging me to open. It appears that they are ornaments and have to be opened prior to Christmas, but I’m holding out as long as I can.