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Friday, January 28, 2011

Seeing Past What It Seems

I am not an email forwarder, I am not usually a link sharer but I can tell you, today at just the right moment I read something that touched me and so I am sharing it with you.

We Must See Past What it Seems…..

Go ahead, go read it. I will wait. Actually, if you go and you read it and you never come back for the rest of this post, you will have gotten what I wanted to share with you today.

Life, my friends, is not always what it seems.

I work with a girl who, by all accounts on the outside seems well put together. She shows up, she works, she lives a modest life and she has more financial problems than anyone can see from the outside. Her divorce ended badly, some debts that were supposed to be allocated to her ex-husband were in both of their names and even though the divorce decree says they are his, the debtors are coming after her. The courts answer, pay the debt and sue him. Sorry about your luck.

Yet I knew nothing about this until earlier today. All I knew was that sometimes I would see her cry. Sometimes, when she came back from the bathroom, or was in her cubicle, or in the copy room where she thought no one would see the tears would flow down her cheeks and her face would be all red the next time you saw her.

All of this, could have all too easily been me. Yet, until I asked this morning, I could have easily just assumed she was overly emotional. In fact, when another co-worker found out about this their reaction was she's still having problems? She needs money again? Oh, to be young and naive.....

Another girl offered her $20. Nothing much, just money to buy food. To eat, to live for the weekend and she cried. I'm sure tears of joy as well as tears of embarrassment. I remember having to ask, having to tell people, having to let anyone know that your life, behind the facade, is not what it seems.

So today, on my way back from physical therapy I took some money out of the ATM, put it in an envelope, and put it on her desk. She has no idea it was me, I have no intention of telling her. There are two other people in the office who know I did it, one because she is the one who told me about offering her money and the other because she sits right next to her, they have been sworn to secrecy. I do not want her to be embarrassed or feel like she owes me anything, I just want her to have it. It is not much but I know that she needs that money WAY more than I need to go out to dinner or to a movie this weekend. For her that money will be necessities, for me it will be luxuries. I can do with a few less luxuries in my week...

And then, almost by accident, I checked my spam filter and sitting in there, was an email with the link above. It was sent to me on Tuesday, I got it about 20 minutes ago. A sign from someone, somewhere letting me know that I did the right thing. That no one knows what secrets someone else may hide or what difficulties they may be facing and we need to remember to be gentle with other people. Their story may be more difficult than what it seems from the outside.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dancing

There are people who are born to dance. Every motion they make is like fluid movement. When they begin to sway in time to the rhythm you can't help but be mesmerized by their talent.

Then there are some people who hate to dance. As soon as the music starts playing they find the furthest chair from the dance floor and plop themselves down in it. Any attempt to get them up, even for a slow song, will be met with huge objection.

Finally, there is a third group of people. Those people that LOVE to dance..... but shouldn't. Those people that as they are walking towards the dance floor, you cringe. They look somewhat like a pig, rolling around under a blanket. And usually, there is not really enough alcohol in the world for you to think they dance well. Unfortunately there is usually plenty for them to think they do.

And my Zack... well, he belongs in that last group. As soon as that music turns on he starts to groove.... His head starts to bob and his body starts to wiggle and all you can do is stare...

video

Is it too early to teach him how to mosh? Because that may be his only hope....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Phone Calls

The phone calls have stopped...

I believe I have touched on these calls before but for those of you who don't know or don't want to search back through my archives here is the readers digest version. When Zack was two and we were still DHS involved he started going to a counselor. This counselor suggested that perhaps to help strengthen their bond FoTB should try calling Zack once or twice between visits.

At that point he was never calling to check up on Zack or even texting me to see how he was doing and she thought that perhaps hearing his voice would help reinforce that he was still out there, even though Zack didn't see him, and it would make it easier for him to be happy going to visits.

FoTB, never the one to understand moderation, promptly set an alarm on his phone and has proceeded to call us, pretty much every night that he does not have Zack, for over a year now. We have tried to explain to him that perhaps every other day would be sufficient but it is all or nothing with him so he calls.

When he had his first girlfriend, about a year ago, if Zack told me he didn't want to talk, I didn't answer. Or I text and told FoTB he didn't want to talk. Apparently that made me a liar and a very large argument, one that may have helped with the demise of that relationship... oh darn... ensued. A compromise was reached in which when FoTB calls, I answer. If Zack doesn't want to talk he won't say anything or he says, Dad, I don't want to talk to you right now. (He has no problem saying this and actually says it more often than he actually talks to him.)

And so it has gone... pretty much every night for over a year. And then sometime in December a day got missed here or there. Then a couple days......

In January, he must have set the alarm on his phone again because the phone calls started getting more regular.... until this week. Last week he called Thursday and Friday and then the phone went silent....

No call on Saturday, no call on Sunday, no call on Monday and no call last night. I'm assuming he will pick Zack up from daycare this evening at 5:00 but I have no guarantees....

And to be quite honest with you, I'm not really sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, the phone calls are annoying. Zack rarely wants to talk and they are mostly a pointless validation that his son still loves him. The standard conversation goes something like this:

Hi buddy, how was your day?
Fine? (Or, Dad, I don't want to talk to you.)
What did you do today?
Just played.
Ok, well daddy just called to say I love you.
I love you too. (Or, I know or you say that every time or he ignores it all together)
(If he ignores him this is where he will either say it over again or ask if Zack loves him)
Ok, well daddy misses you.
I know. (or he ignores this part...)
(This is where he will sometimes ask do you miss daddy?)
Ok, well I will talk to you tomorrow. Goodbye.
Bye... hey mom... can I push the button?

That is it. All 60 - 90 seconds every night.

So again, on the one hand... stupid and pointless and not really necessary.

But on the other hand, he hasn't checked on his son in four days. No text to say how is he, how was his day at daycare, any issues I should know about... nothing. Just living as if he doesn't have a son for four straight days and that part angers me. If he doesn't care why continue the charade on Wednesday nights and every other weekend. Is it just because his new girlfriend tells him to? Because she has a seven year old so he figures he should try to show what a good dad he is too?

So... what are your thoughts? I can't fix it, I can't change it... I need to accept it, that part I get. The state of Iowa has told me he gets visits with Zack whether he is a good dad or not. I am curious though if any of you have had any similar experiences. If you think I should just be glad to not have the hassle of daily calls. (of course once I post this they will start again...) So... thoughts?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Daddy....

"Daddy...."

"Daddy!!"

**blink, blink... look at clock... 1:05 AM**

"What do you need buddy?"

"Would you tell daddy that he forgot to get me water?"

"Ok, Zack. Go back to sleep now...."

"But I'm thirsty! I want my water!"

"Did you promise him water?"

"Yes..."

"Are you getting out of bed or am I?"

He throws off the covers in a huff....

"I just want to go back to sleep!!"

"Well, I didn't promise him water...."

Note to self, do not promise something to a four year old and not follow through. He will remind you... even at 1:05 AM.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Appropriate Conversations

Last night when I picked up Zack from FoTB's I decided to approach the subject of meal time. Lately Zack has been being a typical four year old. Eating one or two bites and saying he is full or not eating any of something we know he likes and saying he doesn't like it.

So, I wanted to see if they were having similar problems at their house. When I asked the first question I was immediately met with defensiveness. No, he eats well at our house. Why? So then I explained further. Oh... well he does do that....

As we were discussing that FoTB got fairly loud and aggressive sounding. His answer to me was he tells me that but I don't put up with it.

"Today he took two bites of his sandwich and then told me he was full. I told him that was bullsh!t and that if he didn't want to eat he needed to get his a$$ to bed."

Exact quote, said to my four year old and repeated to me right in front of my four year old. I was dumbfounded. I didn't ask him to watch his language because I was having trouble believing that he felt it was ok to even say it to me in front of Zack let alone TO Zack!

After we left and we got in the car the realization of what just happened started to hit me and I was sad for Zack. While I agree with sending him to nap time if he refuses to eat, the way he went about it, the language he used and the gruff anger that he displayed towards a child who is already struggling with his relationship with him just appaled me.

And now, my question is, to I mention it? Do I say something to Zack about how it is not ok for his dad to talk to him like that and that I'm sorry he did? Do I say anything to FoTB or will it not matter anyway? Because really... when has he ever cared what I thought?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Starting the Planning...

I have been dragging my feet on our wedding planning something fierce. The first time around it seemed so much easier. The strange part is, I am WAY more excited about the actual marriage this time, and not nearly as excited about the "wedding."

The first time it was about the day. It all had to be perfect. Perfect dress, perfect place, perfect day, all the details had to fall into place. This time, I could marry the man in the middle of a corn field in cut off shorts and a tank top and be over the moon happy. This time I am marrying him for all the right reasons and the party, the actual day, just doesn't seem as important.

Finally on new year's weekend it dawned on me that perhaps I might want to nail down some small details, like... I don't know... the person to marry us. So I went to our pastor's Facebook page (yeah.. I know... welcome to the 21st century) to get his email address only to discover that his anniversary is the same day we are getting married. So I emailed him anyway, but was not surprised to get his response that him and his wife will be out of town that weekend.


So, plan two... Jim worked with a guy who was a pastor... he's asking him...

That weekend I also contacted some party rental people to see about renting tents, curtains to section off the space we are having it, etc. I emailed, they emailed, I emailed, they emailed... finally Jim made it in there yesterday to talk to them further and get the quote. It's a lot. At least for us. For the smallish type of ceremony we want to have.

And again, I'm back to differences. We were discussing this Thursday morning, who did we REALLY want there. Could we scale it back so we could fit into the place we are getting married and eliminate the need for the tents and curtains? Perhaps it was easier to spend the money the first time when it was not my money to spend but this time... I'm finding myself to be somewhat of a tightwad.

Our goal, make a decision on guest list and size by the middle of next week. So at least we have a goal... even if we do not have a decision.

Hey, at least we have a first dance song right? And it's on my iPod... we can just blast it out of the speakers in the pickup truck when we are standing in the middle of that corn field. :-)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Still my little boy...

Four years ago, I had not yet kissed your sweet face....

Jess found one more for me. It's ironic that she emailed me this one this morning because I was just showing Jim this picture this weekend and we were marveling over just how much he has changed in the last two years.

Yet, as he was sitting in my lap on Monday night telling me that I needed to marry him instead of daddy, I was reminded that no matter how big he gets, he will always be my sweet little boy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Four years...

How is it possible that four years have gone by?


That four years ago, at noon, on Friday, January 12, 2007, I had never seen your face?


How is it possible that four years ago I had never heard you laugh?

Or seen you smile?


How is it possible that I had no idea how much you would change my life and how much better my life would be because of it?

Happy Birthday Zack!! Your mommy & daddy love you to the moon and back!! :-)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Awkward Moments...

In 1999 Lemony Snicket published his first book in a 13 part series. The Series of Unfortunate Events. In 2004, Jim Carey stared in a movie, based on the books. Every time I pick up Zack from FoTB's house, I think of that phrase.

Although the events are not so much unfortunate anymore as they are just plain weird and awkward. Pickup time, a series of awkward events.

Take for instance a week ago. They moved. I walk into the new house and he waves his arms around and says what do you think? I'm your ex-wife. What am I supposed to think? Your girlfriend bought it on her own... I think that was a wise move on her part. Other than that... I just stood there awkwardly... ummm... it's nice.

And last night. Zack keeps asking about his birthday party. He wants to know if J can come to his party. When I got there to pick him up he said in front of them that J says he can come to my party. No, kid. No the son of your father's girlfriend can not come to the birthday party your mom and step-dad are throwing. Why? Grown up things dear. Grown up things.

And when he mentioned said party in front of FoTB there was the deer in the headlights look I got. As if he had NO idea that his birthday was soon. So I clarified for him, his party is this weekend, his birthday is Wednesday. It's in the decree that we split it every other year. This is your year so he will just come to your house as normal. It is? He will? Oh, ok.

Why yes, yes I do believe he forgot his son's birthday. He, of course, tried to salvage the moment by mentioning that perhaps they would have to have a party for him the following weekend. With who, pray tell, will you be having this party? It was at this moment that his girlfriend piped in with, well I've never let J have a party. (He's 7) I didn't want to be responsible for babysitting other people's children. So I'm guessing a party is out.

Then as I finally get Zack's coat on and head him for the door he pulls one final awkward finale. He pulls out Zack's Christmas present to show me. Look, this is what Santa got him. He really likes it. First of all, you don't need my approval on what you buy Zack. That stopped when we got divorced. Second of all, no, the fact that you got him a Christmas present does not make up for the fact that I am 95% sure you forgot his birthday.

Most of my time at pickup just ends up with these thoughts swirling through my head:

Can I go now? Is Zack ready? Come on kid... hurry up and get your coat.... Oh please, don't speak... no really, it's fine... silence is just fine...

Pickup Time: A Series of Awkward Moments

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Thorns, Roses & Rosebuds

I saw this on a blog I read and so I thought it would be a good way to close 2010 & start 2011. Ok, ok.... so I'm a couple of days late. Don't judge. It's tax season... (No Jess, that is not the last time I will say that... it may be the first in a series of times... possibly hundreds....)

Anyhow, you are supposed to list a thorn, which is a not-so-fun/sad/bad thing that happened to you during the year. Then a rose, which is a highlight of the year. And finally, a rosebud which is what you're looking forward to.

So here goes.

My Thorn: DHS's inability to fix and/or take away visits from FoTB and our continued tension. I would say over all this is the only thing that has put a damper on 2010. I went into the year really thinking that we were going to make some progress and slowly, through out the year, came to the realization that I was on my own. As long as he showed up, was sober, and didn't kill the kid that was all they were going to make him do before they dropped out. Stellar parenting skills were not required. (As evidenced by his "forgotten" dinner just a week ago.)

There were moments, through out the year, when I really thought perhaps things were getting better. Perhaps he was going to change some things. When he got rid of the first girlfriend and got this new one, things did improve greatly but they are still not perfect. If tomorrow he relapsed, I would not be surprised in the slightest. I still approach every pickup with a little bit of in trepidation for what I may find.

My Rose: In one word - Jim. The most wonderful man I have ever known. We started out the year just two people trying to figure out our relationship. On January 1st of 2010 he knew I loved him and I knew he loved me but neither of us were sure if that was going to lead to anything else. By the end of February things were starting to fall into place and by the first of April he was telling everyone that would listen that he was going to marry me some day.

In July he moved in and in August he proposed. I have loved every single second of having him live here with us and I try to make sure he knows that often. While our life isn't perfect, we still disagree, sometimes we fight, our life is as close to perfect as I would expect it to be. I finally have someone that I can trust with everything. Someone who didn't bat an eye when I told him that come January 3rd I was going to start getting up at 5:00 to go to work and he was going to be solely responsible for getting Zack up, dressed and off to daycare every morning.

And finally... my Rosebud: Our relationship and our new family. I am so looking forward to marrying Jim in June and seeing where this journey takes us. Every single day I find new things I love about him or he does things that still amaze me. I have only known him 19 months but I can not imagine my life without him now.

I am looking forward to seeing his and Zack's relationship grow as well. Often times, when he does bed time I will mute the TV and just sit down in the living room listening to them laugh and carry on. I LOVE that given a choice, Zack picks him for things. I love that Jim treats him no differently than he would any other child. That to them, they are father and son and I can't wait to see how our family changes and grows together in the coming year.

So if you all had to sum up your years what would your thorns, roses & rosebuds be?
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