When I think I’m done here, I’m not

So, so, sooooooo much to say!

I’ve really been on the edge of telling you, my Readers, that it is time for me to move on.   This blog has been a place of healing, a place of learning, a place of refuge, and so much more.  I’ve made friendships across the written line, and I’ve been inspired by others almost every day.

But, I’ve experienced this before with my art, my music, and many other hobbies or passions–it seems there comes the time when I’m done.  For whatever reason, the necessary point of it passes, and I look toward the next phase of my life.

Kasey on Hi C

What, I guess, is difficult about leaving my blog is that as much as it is a bunch of thoughts converted to words and notsocautiously placed into cyberspace, it is also a bit of my exposed soul.  The ideas, hopes, dreams and struggles I’ve chosen to share.  These are parts of living that will never die.  They continue to ebb and flow, and so, there is always something to think, do, or say about them.

I began writing to find a voice as a single working mom.  I felt alone, I felt angry, I felt overwhelmed, I felt abandoned, I felt suffocated, I felt…..so much….and voicing this to an unknown audience helped-still helps. I figured, heck, if I was feeling this way, perhaps sharing about it would also give voice and insight to another.  My feelings have transformed over these past four years.

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Today, I don’t feel alone.  Today, I don’t feel angry.  Today, I don’t feel abandoned or suffocated.  Certainly, many moments I do still feel overwhelmed.  This, I’ve realized and accepted as the nature of single parenting.  It doesn’t take me over anymore.   It only looms slightly upon my back with a tidbit of constant pressure.

This year, 2015, has brought with it some exciting changes, and thus has kept me busy from reading my favorite blogs and, also, from writing.

After six years at my job, I was able to transition away from being an administrative assistant to a field position that takes me into and through the vineyards we manage.  With the mentorship of our assistant vineyard manager I will be studying all that goes into growing wine grapes successfully and sustainably.  I will also be signing up for an on-line certification course in viticulture.  For an “artsy-fartsy got a C in Science type” this is pretty darn cool!  The past six years of learning everything on paper have groomed me to be able to do this, and the support of my superiors allowed it to happen.  Gratitude and excitement fill my heart.

I’m a horse set free to pasture galloping through the hills to the perfect spot to graze on fresh, green grass.

My horse and pasture when I’m at work.

In addition to this wonderful work opportunity, I was also given my precious Chief, that I’ve been leasing for about nine months.  The owner is moving her other horse away from our barn, and she willingly and sweetly gave Chief to me because she believes (as do I, of course) that we belong together.  Just after this news, I found out that our barn is up for sale.  Mixed emotions consumed me, as the only way I am able to afford keeping two horses (Chief and Star for Maycee) is if I work off the board.  What if the new owners don’t need my help?  What if they don’t want to keep the boarding business?  What if they are mean (I don’t do mean.)?  Ha, ha, ha….what if’s will drive us nuts!

Instead of panicking (too much), I’ve done some due diligence and have a couple of back-up options ready to go in case of such what-ifs.  This type of tentative planning I’ve become accustomed to as a single mom.  No longer do I even entertain the idea of giving up (NO WAY), and no longer do I fret to no end when I’m in the hallway.

Progress.

The reason I’m not dating, and the reason I’m happier for it: CHIEF.

2015 is certainly shaping up to be interesting.

And, so, I’ve been in a place of contemplation.  Is my time here at WordPress slipping away?  Should I abandon ship and move on to new lands?

For now, it appears not.  Once again, just when I think I’m done here, I’m not.

I want to share some of the blessings that have occurred in my life-not just this year, but over all of these years.   Because….in the beginning of this blog I was desperately afraid and broken.  In the beginning the hard knocks took precedence.  Now, they don’t.  Singleworkingmomswm has grown into her own, and isn’t that all we can really hope for in a world that is crazy, scary, and uncertain?

Blessings, to only name a few…

Family, friends, and neighbors who’ve sustained me through the good and the bad.

My daughter who gives me a zest for life at just the perfect moment.

Horses.   Their spirits are like no other animals.  Pure beauty.

Our pets, for their unconditional love.

Learning to embrace change.

Finding strength in the smallest of places.

Resilience.

Hearing the crickets, and seeing the birds, jackrabbits, and butterflies in the field.

A home and a job that provide a sense of stability.

Tuning out the voices that say, “You can’t.”

Simplicity.

Just being me.

I don’t know how often I will get here right now, but I do want to tell you, ALL of you, that I’m grateful for this forum.  I’m so grateful, and that is enough to keep me hanging around, if even on the perimeter.

I’ll see ya!

And to other single moms who may be reading my blog I say this: Yes, you can.  You and your children are worth it.  Ask for help.  Be gentle to yourself.  Press forward and have faith because there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it will show you the way to new beginnings.

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XOXO,

SWM

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For me and for her

It is a fact that hurtful words and actions can have a lasting impact on a person just as much, if not more so, than empowering words and behavior.  If this weren’t the case, I don’t think the campaign against bullying would be at the forefront of media attention and such a focus across school campuses today.

Honestly, my gut (and not a 10-year study) tells me that very few of us grew up evading even small amounts of persecution in some form or another, sneaking through high school hallways without mean looks or derogatory comments.  A greater majority of us dealt with a lot of negativity, even abuse, when truths be told.

And, as women, we grew up under additional pressures, if I may be so bold as to say, that included fitting within certain molds for body, hair, and face type, style, behavior, career paths, and more.  We learned to scrutinize over fitting in and becoming what was expected from our families, our friends, society, and certainly, the opposite sex.

When I decided to divorce, I explained to my ex how un-attractive I felt, and I questioned him as to why he never seemed to want to be with me any more (physically).  His response I have never forgotten, and I think, moreover, I have never quite gotten past to a degree: “Maybe if you hadn’t cut your hair.”

Yep.  That simple (not).  Cutting my hair made me unattractive to my spouse. Cutting my hair because I had a baby in tow that awakened numerous times in the night day after day, and I was too tired to deal with fashion faux-paux’s, lessened his libido. His baby, too, mind you! Ya, well, I know that it wasn’t my hair that was the problem.  But, nonetheless, the comment has stuck with me for over seven years.

Until now.  No more sticking.  Little by little these negative pieces are being tossed and replaced by new positive pieces. With my daughter’s telescope in full view of my choices, I’ve made many changes in how I do things since that conversation.  And a couple of days ago, I added one more change…

I’m here to tell you today, that I WANT MY HAIR CUT OFF!

Hello, Happy Me!

With every step I take, or every haircut I get, I do so knowing that my own empowerment gives power to my daughter.

There are NO MOLDS to fill that aren’t meant to be broken.  Make the positive overshadow the negative, and a whole world of possibility stands ready.

Life is short, so lop of any unwanted locks, break the mold, and while you’re sweeping away the pieces, give a chuckle!

XOXO,

SWM

Through Kid-colored Glasses

Summer break is on our heels.  With only two weeks left of school, it looms over my head like a hawk scoping out its prey.  Summer break means summer camp.  Summer camp means weekly dues.  The schedule doesn’t stop like it used to when I was young.  Mom (me) still has to make lunches every day.  Kid (Maycee) still has to wake up at 7:30 A.M. and get ready to be gone 9 hours, Monday through Friday.  The only difference between school and camp is that there is no homework, and I have to pay for it.

We’ve accepted the pace of our life.  Maycee used to complain.  She used to point out that most of her friends didn’t have to go to camp.  I used to point out that their moms got to stay home or they had aunts and uncles, grandparents or siblings to watch them.    She used to say things like, “It’s not fair!  I don’t ever get a break or get to sleep in and watch cartoons!”  I used to get mad and tell her, “Well, life isn’t fair!”  Now I don’t.  We don’t say these things anymore.  We don’t complain about the state of our union as single mom and daughter.  We don’t point out the inevitable and wish it were different.  We’ve accepted the pace of our life as it is, and after several years, it’s okay.

Now we know what to expect for camp.  Maycee knows where she will be going, and we sign up well in advance so we can anticipate the fun weeks planned, the visitors who will come and bring animals or do dances or show the kids how to garden or build things.  Instead of being angry, I say things like, “Gee, I wish I could go!” And, Maycee responds, “I know, right?!”

We plan two weeks out of the summer during the beginning and end that she will visit Grandma in sunny So. Cal.  They set up a pool in the backyard and leave it up all week to splash around in, and do crafts, play Barbies, and sometimes go to the movies or shopping.  And, we usually plan for a mini-vacation just the two of us…

Last year was the best because I saved enough moola to rent a trailer for camping and take us to a water park.  It was perfect weather, and my best friend and her kids even met up with us for the day!

With two weeks pending until summer break I’ve been fretting, hemming and hawing about not having the money for a trip this year.  I’ve been stewing in those single mommy “less-than” emotions…the “why didn’t I’s” or “I should have’s” or “if only’s”.

“We’re going camping again, right?”

“Ummm, well, I’m not sure, honey.  Maybe not his summer.”

“Oh. (Pondering…)  Well, we can just camp in a tent!  We don’t need a trailer.”

“We’ll see.  Not sure what I can afford this time.”

Ugh.  These constant admissions of no-can-do wear me down.

Last night, we were driving home from an errand after school, and the subject of having a vacation came up again.

“Who needs to go anywhere, anyways, Mom?!  I mean, we have horses to ride!  We live in a pretty place!  We have a nice house.  We have EVERYTHING!”

Driving, trying to focus, I looked in the rear view mirror back at my effervescent girl.  Her eyes bright and lit with joy, she convinced me of these inherent truths.

“Why, yes, we do!” I confirmed.

Smiling, I dropped the rock and decided to take a view through my daughter’s kid-colored glasses.

WHAT A SIGHT.

Summer is indeed coming, Readers!  Whether you have grand plans for Disney World or grand plans for the best staycation ever,  if you’re feeling overwhelmed I suggest you take a moment to see the sights through your child’s eyes.  I just bet a weight will be lifted, and you will give a chuckle as you wonder how you missed the beauty before.

XOXO,

SWM

Tuesday Tidbits & Tips: Acting “as if”

Today’s topic is more on the tidbit-side, I suppose.  I’ve been thinking lately about how I handle “stuff”.  It is my hope and belief that I have gotten better, generally speaking, in dealing with situations that I’m either not happy about or that cause me to feel less at ease.  I learned early on the road to recovery from alcoholism in my mid-twenties a tool that has done me well under many circumstances: the ability to act “as if”.

Now, before anyone gets knicker-twisted, I’m not suggesting brushing feelings under the rug, ignoring unpleasant issues that arise, taking crap from folks, or being a doormat for dirty shoes.  Acting “as if” is more directed towards those situations that are for the moment creating havoc (requiring acceptance) and also situations that perhaps are good for us, but we don’t like them in the beginning.  This is the context I learned the tool in: getting sober was not fun, but it was necessary…for me. 

I’d attend twelve-step meetings begrudgingly, commonly saying this in my mind, “Oh, great, nothing like hitting a meeting on a Saturday night, wooohoo, what fun (no exclamation point, but lots of sarcastic emphasis).  As the first few months progressed, and I managed to stay sober a day at a time, the chip that resided on my shoulder wasn’t falling off.  Then I heard an “old timer” (one of the guru’s with a gazillion years clean) say, “Ya know, sometimes you have to act “as if” you enjoy attending these meetings. Eventually, you may find that not only are you feeling better but you actually do like coming.”

This person was 100 percent correct.  I knew I had to change, but I resisted the change at the same time.  Once I started acting “as if” I enjoyed people sharing their experience, strength, and hope I started to hear what they had to say.  My attitude followed suit…and with that my recovery began to take flight and mean something.   Those same meetings that I scoffed at became my refuge filled with people I adored and couldn’t wait to talk to and give a hug to each week.

What started out as acting became my reality, and a change that I initially didn’t believe I could endure, a blessing.

Do you have any situations in your life where acting “as if” might be helpful? 

Hope your Tuesday was Teeeeeeeeerrific!