Life · Parenting · Relationships

He held my hand

I had a very difficult funeral to attend to this last weekend. I haven’t had anything extremely difficult like this happen since my divorce. While I don’t believe I “need” a man in my life, not having a support system at a time like that, isn’t something I’d thought about until I was sitting there listening to and crying about the amazing person that left this world.

My ex husband and I both knew this person and his family well so we agreed to drive the girls and I to the service to show solidarity to the family that the remembrance of this person was bigger than any bs my ex and I have gone through and that we can be bigger people around each other and for each other when it counts.

I was sitting in between my daughters with my mom on the left and my ex on the right.

Well during an emotionally charged song that was playing, through my plethora of tears, I reached out and took my mom’s hand on my left, and with a gusto of courage, I took my ex’s hand in the other hoping he didn’t retreat.

He didn’t.

He clasped my hand and squeezed back.

About 10 minutes later, I moved my hand to get another kleenex. After I wiped my eyes, he reached out for my hand again for the rest of the service.

After we got back home, I hugged him and said thanks for the support and we went on our way.

It’s times like these that are so important to remember that we were once there for each other in sickness and in health. While the “til death do us part” portion didn’t pan out, we still spent more than a decade supporting each other and doing what we could to be each other’s rocks.

In doing so we also showed our girls that, just like when we were married, we may fight but we still take care of one another. There have been some really rough times between us as we’ve learned this divorced/two-house route, but we’re figuring it out one day at a time and that’s what matters.

There was something extremely comforting that in times like those we could still count on each other to be the other’s rock. We have more support around us than we think and often times in some of the last places we’d think to find it. Sometimes we just need to be the first one to put it out there.

Life · Parenting · Saving Money · Summer

Summer Rain

So my girls and I have a summer rule to do something active every day. We had decided to go on a bike ride as our Wednesday activity only to walk to the window and see the downpour.

The sound of rainfall is one of the most soothing sounds to me so we opened the garage door and sat watching the rain. All of the sudden I stood up and walked out in it and the girls shrill laughter made my day.

I turned around, smiled and said “let’s go!” and we were off. Running the sidewalks, jumping in every puddle, splashing water as high as we could. When the rain stopped, we sat down in puddles and continued splashing around until we couldn’t take the laughter anymore.

IMG_3111.JPGThere’s too much time in the day that’s  necessary to adult and be serious and plan. When I take a spontaneous moment to be a child and be silly, we always end up creating some of our most favorite memories together AND this is a free activity that only requires some warm, dry clothes after.

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If you haven’t already, get out there in the warm summer rain and show your kids, or even remind yourself, you still have a carefree, silly side.

Bonus: if you happen to have cool neighbors, maybe they’ll grab a hose and join in like ours did only extending the party.

Life

Amor Fati

Sometimes we have the best, most unimaginable phases in our lives that we can’t truly put into words what they mean to us. It’s our own personal utopias that scare us to the core they could end. That’s how you know what something means to you, think about losing it.

Then there are the phases we can’t explain for different reasons. The ones that feel like we just hit a wall, and we can’t take anymore, yet the hits just keep on coming anyway. However, we just need to live them and ride through. We don’t know what’s waiting at the end of the trip.

Now I don’t like to wish away time (my girls are only little for so long) so I try to deal with the lows with a grain of salt until they’re over, and I try to take each moment for what it is. A learning experience.

Everything is meant to teach us something about ourselves or the people in our lives. Our experiences help us to grow into the people we’re supposed to become.  Most things, after a lot of discovery, are all part of a plan to build new strengths in us and push us to new levels we had no idea were possible. Almost every negative thing that has happened has the possibility to bring something new and wonderful we had no idea even existed. We just have to remain open to new possibilities and keep ourselves from being closed off.

This is why I can’t truly be unhappy with any part of my life, and I try not to have regrets. We wouldn’t be who we are without every single moment. Get hurt, get out there anyway. Get burned, trust again. Lose someone, love anyway. When we choose to become bitter and close in on ourselves, we miss all the beauty that there is out there to explore.

Everything happens for a reason so Amor Fati, “Love your Fate” and enjoy the ride and where it takes you.

Fitness · Life · Relationships

Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.

Life · Relationships

What everyone should know about their significant other and what I learned too late.

Does this situation sound familiar?

Husband walks in the door, wife is instantly annoyed because husband is late from work and has thrown his socks on the floor tired from his long day. Wife says “Thanks a lot. Now I have to pick those up AGAIN,” under her breath. Husband becomes annoyed because the last thing he wants is to be nagged straight when he gets home and counters with “Seriously? This again?”

All of this could be prevented and especially before it gets worse. If husband knows socks on the floor are a hot topic, why are they on the floor? The kind act would be to place them where they don’t then have to be picked up. When wife made the snide remarks about his socks, it instantly made husband feel defensive escalating the conversation.

Here’s another situation. Husband walks in the door and places socks in the hamper knowing wife likes that. Wife says “Thanks for keeping those picked up. That means a lot to me,” adding positive reinforcement to his kid act. Husband gives wife a huge kiss and kids shout “gross!” from across the room. Beautiful, right?

Both set off by each choosing one small change.

Reading The 5 Love Languages, by Gary D. Chapman, recommended to me by a good friend (Thanks Dawn!), has completely changed my perspective on my past marriage and all relationships (including my kids, close friends, and family). 

It states that there are 5 love languages which are “spoken”. Many people have more than one. 

1. Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through spoken affection, praise, or appreciation.

2. Acts of Service: Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love.

3. Receiving Gifts: Gifting is symbolic of love and affection.

4. Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention.

 

Physical touch? I’m not going to go too deeply into this one since you can use your imagination for most of it, but a back or foot rub after a long day is a big one that gets overlooked. Holding hands more and making sure to get small kisses in more often. It’s too easy to let each day go by and not set time aside for the small things in this one because of work, kids, and housework and remember… “Hugs… release oxytocin, the bonding hormone that appears to build trust, reduces fear, and increase compassion and generosity.” Sounds good to me!

Life · Parenting

Here’s to the jerk parent.

As I was driving around today, picking up new bikes for my kids I purchased from other people whose kids had outgrown them, I started to tear up hoping they’d like the bikes because their dad just went out and bought them each new $200 mountain bikes.

My ex and I have very different ideas when it comes to raising kids and how to show love.

When my kids ask for something, he says yes. If it’s not a birthday, holiday or need, I  typically say no. I’m the jerk parent.

They visit the Nike store regularly and the girls have so many Nike sweatshirts and tennis shoes, it’s ridiculous. Here they get excited about our consignment store “binge purchases” where they each spend $60 and receive roughly 14 new (name brand) outfits each.

When they want to watch, read or try something new, he buys it. At my house we try the library, dollar store and finally consignment shops first for ideas.

When my 11 year old loses her lunch box, he buys her a new one immediately. I would’ve had her brown bag it for a few weeks in hopes she learns to take better care of her belongings or at least look harder for them. I’m the jerk parent.

He does all the expensive and extravagant vacations. I believe kids can have fun on road trips to wherever and make your own nachos in the kitchenette after a day on the beach. (And I was right on that one, we had a blast.)

This doesn’t mean that his versions are any more right or wrong than mine, but if he’s going to choose all the expensive ones, then I’ll gladly chose the lesser to keep my kids feet on the ground.

I hope to help them understand that shiny and brand new does not always mean it works or looks better. Wearing the latest thing or name, means nothing. I just recently bought a cute, flowy shirt from Rite Aid for $8 (Yes! Rite Aid), and I had so many compliments on it at work and no one could believe it. My girls thought it was hysterical.

So I get to be the jerk parent who has to make sure they keep from being spoiled and hopefully have a better understanding of reality and money as they get older. I get to be the parent who says no, write it on a list, sorry you’ll have to go without, you’ll be ok without it, and you could save up for it. I’m ok with that.

As adults, we can’t just walk around randomly asking for everything and receiving it. I wish. So if I have to be the jerk parent who says no, but they become better people for it later, I’m ok with that too.

My kids love me and the amount of time that we spend together coming up with cheap, hair-brained ideas. Our time together and the memories are better than any store could provide. When their Nike sweatshirts and shoes don’t fit anymore, my girls will have all the pictures and memories of how mom did just as great and with so much less.

So cheers to being the jerk parent…some day they’ll get it.

Are you a proud jerk parent?

 

 

Life · Parenting

What we don’t say but should.

About a year ago, I was brushing my girls hair after a shower. I asked them to look in the mirror and name one thing they liked about themselves. I was floored that they couldn’t. They actually even got upset.

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I know the things to not say in front of them, and I always compliment them too. I don’t put myself down in front of them (sadly I do in my head) but I don’t pat myself on the back either. I always feel like I can do better, and I’m the worst at accepting compliments. However, it’s not just about what we say. It’s also about what we don’t.

So I did. I complimented things about myself over and over until they started to giggle. Finally they each picked something about each other. They found that easier to start. Then they found things about themselves. Then we went into things we’re good at and we found it hard to stop. Soon we were in fits of laughter because one fessed up to loving her toes. Lol.

We decided to do this more often. Even though I was on a quest for them, I found it was good for me too. It’s too easy to focus on the negative all the time.

Even at 34 I’m still learning that.

Hopefully this new process is working. At least it appears to be when my youngest writes messages like this for me to find.

Life · Parenting

This is me