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:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~From the television show The Wonder Years

I hope you are all enjoying some downtime on the long weekend here in the United States.

The weather here has been so bi-polar. Overcast today, rainy tomorrow, and in the seventies next week. My poor water logged garden doesn't know what sunshine is. In my neck of the woods few are swayed by this weather as they head to the mountains and the desert sand for some R&R Rough-in' it and recreation)

My daughters have had to work or we might have taken a short road trip to a small town for lunch, or perhaps a drive down by the lake.

Last year I wrote a post about the true meaning of Memorial Day Holiday.

It certainly takes on a new meaning when you know someone in service. So many sacrificing for us every day.  With low pay and a rare day off for fun. So many Law enforcement, Military, Fire fighters, Secret Service, and so many others sacrificing so much for so little.

Three years ago, my three girls and I drove through nine states to pick my oldest and only son from his basic training camp and bring him home. He graduated on his eighteenth birthday. I was proud and nervous for him. He was a man.

He was also bursting with pride. So much pride he hardly wanted to change out of the uniform. On our three day trip home, it is all he wore. Proudly. No matter where we stopped people shook his hand. Strangers thanking him for his service. He was given many offers. Offers from a free lunch to some strangers own personal information and the promise to be there for my son, for anything, with just a phone call. I tried to hide my emotions. My son beamed.

Some people really GET IT. The sacrifice.

I could not be filled with more pride for my son and the man he has become. But as a mother, I cant help but be a little terrified inside too. Since that road trip, my son has served a tour overseas. He has slept in Hussein's palace. He has walked through Iraqi towns,  an M-16 over his shoulder searching faces for those most wanted.... And for now, he is here in the states, safe.

Some are not so lucky.

Please take a moment to reflect on those sacrifices as you lay safe in your bed.

Then I hope you take a moment to visit the resting spots of those who have gone before. Pick up the phone and call someone you have lost touch with who is still here. What a perfect day for reflection.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I have so many things to write about and no words seem right to put it here.
Busy times with my youngest graduating next week and preparing for college in another town. A town over 300 miles from home.
I am still on the employment hunt myself and things are getting even more tense.

It will be a nice break to have family in town for the graduation and not think about anything but celebration for a few days.
My daughter has done a complete U-turn on the attitude and even apologized for the outbursts. I understand what she is going through. Eighteen is a crazy age. So many expectations and yet so many limitations at the same time. Grow up! You are not as grown up as you think you are!

But she is making a mother proud. She is such a strong, independent girl with a lot of goals to fill.
And she is on top of it all. Thus, the stress levels are at their peak.

What was once her favorite teacher has let her down in such a way and with such enormity that it just may stay with her for life. I certainly hope that this brings with it good lessons rather than wounds that wont heal. Some people just should not be teachers.

But we are preparing for the festivities of the upcoming graduation, and hoping the weather warms long enough to enjoy the memorial weekend so that we may visit the graves of those who have passed, try to visit those we always say we would like to see, and then to spend time with family we don;t see near enough.

If you are in the United States, I wish you a great (and safe) memorial day weekend. If you are not, I wish you a great weekend nonetheless.

Monday, May 9, 2011

If you have never been hated by your child you have never been a parent. ~Bette Davis

Things are so much better around here.
Many close talks with my daughter. Much more understanding on both sides.

She is certainly still digesting all the changes there will be in her life in the coming months. I too am apprehensive.
But I know she will do just fine.

She will graduate high school in a little over a month and her father will be here. She promised he would be out of her life forever if he did not attend. In the years since he moved, he has manged to make it to each of our other kids graduations. It is bittersweet. He SHOULD be there. He SHOULD be proud of them. He SHOULD NOT take any of the credit for them.
But times when he is here, old wounds and feelings emerge. Not with me, those feelings were gone long ago. But no matter his absence, they love him. They miss him. They still have deep rooted needs for him to fill that void.

I on the other hand could not be more proud of my youngest daughter and her latest of so many accomplishments so far in her life.

A few weeks ago, we shared a mom and daughter day. Although this is not a rare occurrence, every one of them is a treasure.
We have recently been recipients of Bountiful Baskets co-op. If you have never heard of it and love fresh produce year round, you really should check it's availability in your area.

In our most recent basket, we received some sweet potatoes. I am not a fan. But my girls love them.

My mother makes them every thanksgiving. She mashes them much like russet potatoes, but with a little molasses and seasoning and then melts marshmallows on top.

Since I don't care for them, I don't know much what to do with them. So, we decided to make some:

Sweet potato Fries

I completely made up the recipe with a little trial and error. But the girls said they were the best they have ever had. Could it be they were just appeasing me?

Sweet Potato Fries.

 Simply cut the potatoes lengthwise into French fry cuts. Ours were approximately 1/4 in

We placed a cup of flour into a shallow bowl and dredged four or five potato sticks in at a time covering fully.

 Drop each stick into 1/2in deep hot oil in a skillet. (When a drop of cool water dropped from your finger sizzles in the oil, it is hot enough). Cook 2-3 min per stick. Turn over for another 2-3 min.
Remove from the oil using tongs or straining spoon. Place on paper towel to drain off fat. While still hot, sprinkle with season salt to taste. Serve with Fry Sauce (Utah readers) or Ketchup.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I think every parent, every generation has wanted their children to do better and have a higher standard of living. But I think there's too much guilt. Phil McGraw

This past year has been a busy one for my youngest daughter.
Her senior year of school has held many activities. School, work, pageants and plays. She has been riding a coaster of emotion. From energized, to overwhelmed and excited to defeated.

She is also fighting with emotions from the past that are deeply embedded. I worry.

Being a single parent has its struggles with finances, time management, discipline and so many other issues regarding child rearing and running of a household solo. I cannot say which is more difficult, arguing with the ex over how child rearing should be done, or an absent father which leaves the burden on the attentive parents shoulders.

I am struggling with the later. Going on 15 years of solo parenting I have worked out quite a n efficient system. However there are still moments I would kill for a support system.
Don't get me wrong, friends and family are great help. But I am not sure that married parents understand what a gift it is to have someone there making the tough decisions regarding their children for and with them.

So many nights I wished for the simple option of leaning on (or being able to call on) the other parent and stating- 'Your turn.' This is not an option for me, nor is it for so many divorced or widowed solo parents in this world. I have mentioned many times on this blog how proud I am of my three children. And I am!

But none of us are perfect and there are lessons to be learned. I am constantly learning to parent at the same time I am trying to relay lessons to my grown children.

The older they get, the harder it is for me as their sole parent. I share experience and knowledge, while they are finding their own individuality and facing their own unknown futures. Oil and water. Stresses of their last years of school, their first years as working class and college students are hard on them. I do my best to stand back and let them figure things out and am at the same time frustrated with poor decisions on their part.
I am the person I am today because of both poor decisions and good. And they will be too. But it is hard to be the parent watching the hurt.

Most recently, conflict is with my youngest. She is strong willed, opinionated, emotional, and independent. An awful lot like her mother. She has struggled the most with her fathers absence. Testing him constantly on his commitment to being her father. He is failing miserably. It is a tough thing to watch.
I worry about her.

There are many articles about daughters of absent fathers. Many choose to replace the missing male figure with bad relationships and even causal sex. I see signs that she could be headed in this direction. Since turning eighteen the end of last year, she is really pressing the point of being a 'grown up'. That she should be able to make her own decisions (most often poor ones). In other words- her own rules, and guidelines.

I am sure this too shall pass and she will make some mistakes as we all do. But it is tough position to hold as a single parent. A single parent facing her own guilt and past.
Prom was this past weekend. It was a great time for her. It did not go off as I had planned, no pictures on the porch, no pinning of flowers. She primped and left from a friends house and they didn't have time to stop home. I felt a little left out. But the fight came when their was a disagreement over the curfew. Give me the strength!
This fall she will be headed to college approx 300 miles from home. I just pray that she understands what is important in life and what is menial.

We always hope that our children can learn from our own past. That we can save them from themselves in times of bad decisions. I hold out hope that I have planted enough seeds deep into the recesses of all of my children's minds to help them avoid hurt in their lives and loves. For now, sleepless nights of worry, wishing for someone to share this tough parenting time with.

One day at a time. Deep breaths. This too shall pass.

On a lighter note: I am excited to announce that an old post/article of mine is featured on Rich Single Momma's Blog today for her Mothers Day celebration series. I am truly honored. Check it out here. Thank You Samantha.