Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memories- Making New, Remembering Old and Fearing Potential

Our Memorial Day holiday began somewhat early we packed a picnic and headed to the lake. This picnic was supposed to occur on Saturday or Sunday but the rainy weather deterred our plans. I don't mind the rain, it smells incredible. But this early in the season, it tends to make me cold and then usually sick.But this morning turned out beautiful! My daughter brought a friend, and we met a friend of mine who had a rare long weekend without her kids.
We roasted hot dogs, and marshmallows. Ate homemade summer salads, fresh vegetables, and some other snacks not as good for us. We played ball, and threw a frisbee, and took a short walk/hike to the shore of the lake. It was really relaxing and nice weather to boot.

During the day, I tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of my son. He is at military training this month in another state and they are training for his next mission in Iraq. A day like memorial day, when we are all remembering the family members we love, and miss, I miss him terribly. There are many military thank you events this weekend across our state. Although I think that they serve a very important purpose, they bring up emotions in me that I am not sure I am ready to face. So we picnic. And think about happy things.

Memorial Day has also been the day, since I was a very small child, my mother would take us to the cemetery's to remember and celebrate our family that had passed. As I have mentioned here before, my parents recently moved approx 300 miles from here. So, my girls and I purchased some daisies and took them to their burial spots.
I never knew my fathers father. He passed away when my older sister was a baby. But I feel connected to him through my grandmother, who passed when I was pregnant with my second child. I also feel close to him through stories that my parents tell.

This past summer, when we were packing my parents house for the move, I found a box. In that box, I found old pictures and dance cards. I also found high school journals of my fathers parents in their high school courting years. I read in their own words, how they fell in love. And both journals continue through their engagement and marriage. It was amazing to read those. They are now framed in my parents house. A gift for his birthday. The pages open to the date of their engagement. Don't we all wish we had a book of our family past written by them journal style?

My mothers mother, also died young. When I was just about to turn five years old. I remember her, but not well. Her husband, my grandfather passed away only a couple years ago. We were very lucky to have had a long time with him near to us. But i think he was ready to see her again.

I miss them all! Terribly. But I see bits of them in my parents. And even in my own children.
Remembrance is so important and I try to tell my children all I can remember. Especially my youngest! Talk about a steel trap memory!

Happy Memorial Day Everyone- hope it was great. Miss you Mom and Dad.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Single mothers where you least expect them

I hope that my thoughts and reviews of older movies are not getting mundane or boring.

We have had a lot of spring rain over the past week. Although I love the rain, I prefer to stay in watching old movies while listening to it fall on the windows and rooftop to actually being in it.
So a few days ago, I poured a cup of tea and snuggled in to watch another movie from my Netflix account.
In a recent post, I wrote an account of the movie Kramer vs. Kramer and how the events in my life changed the way I viewed it. This past week I viewed, Places in the heart another movie I viewed for the first time while in my teens. When I added it to my movie queue about all I could recall about this movie was that it was about a woman and her struggle to keep her farm. However I couldn't really recall what the actual struggle was.

Turns out, early on in the movie she becomes a widow and single mother. Her characters' struggles are somewhat typical of many single parents, such as learning to live without someone to wake up to or turn to during tragedy and trial. She struggles taking on what would have been her late husbands role. She lives in the deep south in a time of segregation. She becomes friends with two somewhat unlikely subjects and they all end up leaning on each other and become fast friends. They are all three facing challenge in their different ways and able to lean on each other.

Single parents cannot possibly survive without others to support them. In my life, it has been close friends, other single parents, my parents and even my own children who have helped me face the difficulties and challenges throughout the past twelve years.

Sally Fields character is stubborn and strong, but also has moments of self-defeat, worry, and fear. I can relate to all of those feelings. While she is struggling with her sudden thrust into singlehood, her sister is strugging with infidelity and forgiveness, another aspect I can relate to.

I was awarded our house in my divorce, it has been a blessing and a burden. Without a roof over our heads, I don't know where we would have gone. Without the house I am in and the mortgage and payments figured prior to the huge rate increases of the past ten years, I would never be able to afford a house on my own.

There have been times during my life as a single mother when coming up with the mortgage was tough. The house itself has cost me thousands in repairs and upkeep. I sometimes thought it would have been easier to rent and let someone else worry about the repairs. But it was worth the struggles to give my children a house of our own. A yard to play in, each a bedroom of their own. In the movie she is determined to keep her family together and in their own home, in her case a cotton farm.

This time, I watched the movie as a single parent. I read a lot of blogs written by single parents. whether by widowhood or divorce, single parents face a lot of the same challenges. Whether ex's are still in the children's lives or not, whether the relationship is civil or strained, whether the kids are young or grown, parenting solo has challenges and rewards.

The strength that the main character has in the movie is unyielding and I try everyday to keep the positive strength that she shows in the movie.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone, it is not all about singleparenting. The movie touches on many other struggles and also hope. A real feel good movie that touches your heart. Probably not as much a favorite with the guys. Perfect for a rainy day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Girls Night Out- Then Climbing the mountain

What a great weekend. As I mentioned in my last post, the girls went with groups to MORP. And as is the tradition here in town, they have 'day dates' prior to the actual dance.
I think it is just an excuse to get out of the house longer.
My older daughter started out their 'group day date' our house. The theme was neon and they were expecting black lights. They purchased a 6-pack of men's white T-shirts and used some bottles of neon glow paint we had used to paint the switch plates in her room when she was younger. I was really impressed as they created some adorable shirts. One of the guys had to work that day and so his date painted his shirt for him. They got a little TOO creative when he mentioned that he wanted a coconut bra on his. Lets just say, his shirt was 'bra-less'. Please don't be hatin' it was intended as a joke. And truly more cartoonish than anything. Teen-age potty humor. (and if you look at some of the pictures, you can pick out Colton- and why he deserved it. Look for the diaper skirt)
They had also purchased some glow sticks, grass skirts (which they also painted) and some leis for the party.
When Colton arrived, they showed him his shirt and he turned 10 shades of red. Then he said 'I cant wear THAT to dinner!' But put it on anyway. My daughter was laughing so hard she totally missed a picture but this is a family friendly blog anyhow. Honestly if I didn't take pictures they would have none!

So they finally let him in on the joke and gave him his real shirt sporting a neon orange skull. Anyone interested in a T-shirt with a rather ahem, inappropriate theme?
They headed out for laser tag then dinner at a Japanese steakhouse, then the dance, I hear that there were not near enough black lights and my girls hogged the few there were all night.. I didn't teach them to be so selfish- really.
My younger daughter and her group spent a day in the park. They grilled steak- yes steak. I did not go shopping with her. I understand that one girl brought a TV with movies! I don't understand TV - at the park??! They too had some rad neon clothes, but I didn't get to see them and they took NO pictures! sigh. They both had a really great time. I cannot believe they are already getting so old. And I am so proud that they are able to spend this time in groups and I don't fear their integrity. Good girls.

Well, its official. I just cant seem to keep still in this lovely weather.
After letting the girls sleep in after their late night out I woke them up with a promise of breakfast out. Then after I had them in the car, mentioned that we should once again take the opportunities that the weather is giving us to enjoy the mountains.
And so we headed into the wilderness once again. This time I knew right where we were as I grew up in this particular canyon. Well not literally, but we camped there many a weekend.
the road we wanted to take was still blocked as it is early in the season and high altitude snow often makes them impassible. We drove as high as we could then pulled into a parking area. We got out to stretch and I saw a trail head and talked the girls into a short hike.
we took some great pictures of the gorgeous trail. But about 2 miles in, my younger daughter began to feel ill and we headed back down. Still worth it!
she slept all the way down. We stopped in a few picnic areas to view the swelling river on our drive down.

We talked about how fast the river was moving and how deep with all the winter run-off. I said how sad it is to think that this is the time of year when toddlers who are not watched closely fall in the river. it can happen so quickly and I can't imagine the sorrow of the parents.
And wouldn't you know it! the nightly news had just such a story. Breaks my heart! And makes me a little angry too... hold on to your babies!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Nature Walk

Tonight my girls went to MORP. If you did not notice, it is PROM spelled backward. And it is exactly that- a girls choice dance where everything is the opposite of prom. No formal dresses, tuxes, no limos, or flowers. They wear jeans and the theme was NEON- but more on that later when all the pictures are back.

After helping the girls get their 'show on the road' I settled in and figured I would find a good movie, some snacks and relax. However mother nature grabbed hold of me and shook me to tell me that this was one of the best weather days we have had in a long time! And what was I doing inside?!

Ok stay with me here. I have not lost my marbles and nobody by the name of mother nature said anything to me. What happened was I got restless and a bit stir crazy and although most of my morning I tortured my poor body in the yard, I just didn't feel like sitting in on a day like this!

And so, I took a walk. Alone. In the worst choice of shoes I own. My flat leather flip-flop-ish sandals. And just like Forest Gump started ruunnnin'- I began walking. And it was great. This time of year is the season for lilacs.

I leaned in and took a good sniff of every bush I passed. Yum I love that scent and it doesn't last very long as the flowers die off after only a few weeks.

I walked clean across town and took a few more photos and just really enjoyed the walk for what it was. And now, I am sitting, and stiffening up a little and my feet are a bit sore.
But it was worth it.

Look what I saw on my way home!This!

And would you believe I took these pictures with my cheap, didn't cost me a dime, Sony Ericsson non- I-phone, cell phone?
And now I will just wait for the girls to get home and tell me how their evening was.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Make Believe vs, Real Life

The older I get and the more I experience in this life, the wiser I grow and the more I see things through different eyes.
Let me explain my most recent realization of this.

As I have mentioned here, I am a recipient of o mail-order video rental and have added a few of the 'oldies' to my list. For two main reasons:

1. Either I have 'always wanted to see it' and never did, or else I HAVE seen it, maybe more than once, and loved it so much I want to see it once more.

2. The other reason is that I love sharing my favorites and potential favorites with my kids.

The latest rental was a movie I saw for the first and only time as a young adolescent, I believe I watched it with my mother who is about to celebrate her 45th wedding anniversary in less than a year. There is a point to all of this stay with me.

The movie of the week, was Kramer vs. Kramer. an award winning movie with award winning actors starring in it. I cannot get enough of Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep?! Has she ever HAD a bad role? srsly.

The first time I watched the movie, I was not married, let alone lived through a divorce, and certainly never thought about having kids of my own.

But this past weekend, watching it for the second time, I am not only a parent, but a single parent. And not only a single parent but a woman who has been through a rather tough divorce, and a custody battle in its own rights.

Unlike the custody battle in the movie which just brings tears to my eyes, my battle was more a battle to get their father to see his kids.
In the movie, Dustin's character starts out as a father who is disconnected from his wife and child, busy at work but also seems more comfortable staying at work with fellow office comrades than being at home playing the husband/father.
Meryl's character is overwhelmed with a sort of single parenting while he is working late every night and then staying late to catch up with friends.
This I can relate to very much. There really is such thing as a married single parent in my opinion.
Later in the movie, they seem to take a walk in each others shoes. However without completely spelling out the storyline here, lets just say he becomes the dad he should have been all along and then they both end up fighting nastily for their child full-time. Until the ending....

When I first told my girls that this movie was so old, that I was younger than they are when it came out, they didn't seem too interested. They were busy on face book or finding a snack. But the longer it played, they were drawn in.

It is crazy how you see it all differently when you have felt that pain. And lord knows we have.
But there was also a hope in the story, that kids do make it through just fine. And that sometimes, dads who don't make very good dads, surprise us.
Of course we are still waiting for the father of my children to be their father. To be more than a guest at their graduations, or weddings. To feel more like a parent than a long lost uncle.

But, I am glad we rented this movie. we laughed at the hairstyles and seventies bell-bottoms. We cried when they fought in court and when his son seems to be the most adult of all of them.
By the way, points for the cute kid.
Move over Jerry McGuire!
I must have really been on a Meryl Kick- From Sophie's Choice, then Mama Mia, and now Kramer vs, Kramer. All great acting and writing.

Next on the rental queue: Places in the heart- Another movie rerun. Sally Field is one of my favorite actresses of all time. I want to meet her.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers Day and Such

My mothers day started out a little on the harsh side but not unlike days I have become accustomed to.
Late sleeping girls, who at first glance seemed to have forgotten what day it was...But then my daughter began to spontaneously clean house.. dishes, and bathroom. Resulting in a clogged drain.. which ran onto the kitchen floor... and smelled of rotting food.
I had just stepped out of a shower, completed my hair drying and styling, I was smelling fine.
Then had to clear a clogged U-trap.
However, the rest of the day was very nice and relaxing.
Ever since the kids were tiny, we have spent many a Sunday on a day trip.
Before seat belts were the law, and before I got my senses, We used to put down the back seat in our ford explorer, spread out some blankets and pillows and create a mobile play-pen of sorts. We would choose a town on the map, and drive until we found it. There are enough really great places just a short drive from home. My kids learned how to behave on long rides, and it was nice quality family time.
If the kids ever got restless, we could usually find a park or nice off-road path to keep their attention. Often they would nap on the ride and wake up even happier.
I am sure there were days when we had a cranky kid or two, but honestly, I don't recall them.

My mothers day was similar to one of these 'Sunday drives'. We loaded up the car, (forgot the Cd's- wont do that again) and drove south. The weather was absolutely beautiful! The conversation was fun and light. We stopped for snacks and bathroom breaks as needed and just had one wonderful day, the three of us.

We saw some really beautiful places and even a little bit of history in some old charcoal ovens from the late 1800's. Bonus! I got to try out my brand new digital camera (no more borrowing my girls).

I missed seeing my mother, I did give her a call just before we left town, and that helped. I will see her in a couple weeks.

I was still nice to be with my own girls. I miss my boy. He was able to send me his own Mothers Day message from his training in California.

All- in-All Great Mothers Day. Best way to spend Mothers Day is with those who make you a Mother!

Look closely - there is wildlife in this one!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dancing with my star

This year, my baby girl was asked to join the school dance class in order to become someones partner. Dancing has always come a bit natural to her, she feels the music and has no problem keeping up with the timing.
I know I am her mother, but she rocked the house last night at the performance. (she is the woman in red)

I tried downloading a movie but it wont take. Someday I will learn this!

She was absolutely darling. She was not part of the team, she didn't try out for that. She was in a group with the kids who just wanted an easy, fun class credit. But she picked up the dances so quickly. Her instructor even noticed a difference with her.

I am so proud of her and cant wait to see her make the team. Try outs for next years team are next week.

Tomorrow is the first mother's Day that I can recall that I have spent without my mother. I will call her and I have something for her that is just too expensive to ship (that I will give her in a couple weeks). I received a card from her and my dad for my own mothers day. They are always to sweet and thoughtful. I love you mom! Happy Mothers Day!!!!!
(And dad love you too.)
My girls and I will get out tomorrow and enjoy the sunshine together, not sure what we will do yet but we always have a ton of fun together.

To all you mothers reading this post, Happy Mothers Day to you all! I hope that at the very least, the day makes you feel a little more appreciated for all you do. And that it reminds you what we are here for.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another one becoming an adult

My older daughter turned 18 today. I don't feel old enough to have two kids who are no longer kids.

When I was pregnant with her, I was a young mother of a boy just turning a year himself. I was 22 years old, in my second year of a two year degree in college and my husband was on active duty serving a 5 month stint in Germany for desert storm. By the time May rolled around and she was ready to meet this world he would not be home for another month.

My due date was not for another 7 days, I was due on my mothers birthday and although it would prolong the swollen ankles for another week would have loved to have her on that day. But on the seventh, after showering for my doctors appointment that afternoon my water broke, in a slow leak sort of way (sorry to the squeamish) and I still arrived at my appointment and waited for the doctor to tell me to 'get to the hospital right away' even though i was alone at my appointment.
I was already dilated three sonometers (not sure that is correct?), and feeling no pains what so ever.
My first pregnancy had some complications but the labor pains for me seem to be mild and late coming.
I walked into the hospital doors and checked myself in. I still remember the look on the nurses face as I told them I was in labor. And surly showing no signs.
By the time they had me in a bed, the pains started, my mother and mother in law showed up and less than 45 min. later, she was here.
As a baby, she was a spitfire, her mild mannered brother didn't have a chance with her.
Now she is turning eighteen, and facing her own future and I could not be more proud! not only is she mild mannered but so caring of others, so tender hearted.
Happy Birthday baby!
Although I miss my little girl, I cant wait to see how you tear your own path in this world.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Prom went off without a hitch

Well, we got the dress completed and school appropriate and The knight showed up sans stead and armor to whisk her away to a true Italian dinner and then they danced the night away until the morning light.

I am so happy that she went. Although she has been to many dances, I did not want her to miss her prom. And there is nothing better than to have a fun date, and he was fun. Cant you tell by the crushed hat?

His boutonniere matches perfectly to her dress and see that HUGE flower that she is holding? She is not holding it, that is her corsage isn't it awesome? I am not an expert on flowers but I think it is a Zinnia. I doubt there are any teenage boys out there reading this blog, but if there are, get your girl one of these awesome flowers.

I also had a night out on the town. My friend and I do it almost too often but Saturday night there was a band playing at a nice club we frequent. I love this band and have not had opportunity to hear them play for many years.

Saturday night they were as good as ever. Also, a usually dead bar was a lot busier. My friend and I danced until we were wishing for some cool air which made the drinks go down a little too easily. I was nursing an upset stomach and after a few too many western swings spinning me like a washing machine agitator, I was ready to go home.

It was nice to get out...again. And much better than the nights she and I sit and stare at each other while men pass us by. We still are not sure why. We do get attention but usually from the really seedy creepy types, or else men old enough to be my father. No offense dad!

My younger daughter went to a friends to put together a DVD for a friend who moved. We were all busy doing our own thing. We all need these nights.

We all came home about the same time and were too tired to talk about our evenings until the next day. My daughters face just lit up talking about the night out! Whilst pulling the 2,456 bobbie pins from her hair.

I love having girls!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Its raining on prom night.....

Well, it will be. The Forecast calls for rain.
But it is more than just the clouds in the sky that might rain on this prom night.

Tomorrow night will be my older daughters senior prom. I am so excited for her. I was lucky enough to go to two senior proms, both mine and my ex husbands. We went to different schools but dated most of our high school years. (which is not what I wish for my girls at all)

My daughter has a pretty steady boyfriend which I have my own opinions about however she is not attending prom with him. As I mentioned in an earlier post.

The boy who offered to take her in his place, ended up not being able to go something about school grades or another teenage misstep which his parents felt warranted missing an extracurricular like a dance. Although we had found a killer dress for her at a going out of business sale, just before Christmas she was not going to be able to wear it because she had not found a date.

One of the many things that make me proud of my daughter is her ability to make and keep friends. She is a great person with a big heart and it comes back to her in large quantities from friends. Well, yet another boy has stepped up. She will be going with another friend and I am so happy. She is still steady with the boyfriend and I asked her how he was handling this?
She said, she talked to him and told him if he does not like to go to dances, that she is not going to miss it because he doesn't want to go.
Good for you my girl!

Tonight I turned down a drink with some friends so that I could work my charm on her dress to make it school appropriate. Adding a panel to cover skin that might show through the lacing. Very stringent dress codes in this school. She is working tonight and missing a night with the girls isn't bad because we are going to see a favorite band of mine playing tomorrow night anyway.

My other daughter, my baby, is also gone this evening and I am now enjoying my quiet evening.
I am proud of her too as she is just now attending an anti-prom party. Although she is only a sophomore and shouldn't be worried about not having a date to the prom, she and a group of girlfriends who are dateless for the festivities tomorrow night have decided to get together and have their own fun. Why they chose to celebrate the night before prom, is beyond me unless a girl or two are still holding out hope they might still get that phone call?
Way to be babe! party without the boys! Can be just as fun.

You will have to wait for a later post to see the dress, it is worth it! I would take pictures now but I just don't think it looks as nice on the hanger.

Busy times in this household. I hope I can handle a late night out after my first full work week in three months. I am sure I will be able to. But Sunday morning might be another story. For all of us! Might have to pop in a movie and become one with the sofa.- and each other.