Crying “Uncle!”

According to Wikipedia: The Roman Empire theory says, Roman children, when beset by a bully, would be forced to say the Latin phrase, “Patrue, mi Patruissimo,” or, “Uncle, my best Uncle,” in order to surrender and be freed.

Common, Kid, just do what I do, and you’ll be fine.

I’ve learned over these single parenting years, especially, not to be ashamed when I hit a brick wall.  I mean, everyone hits them…that place where, left to our own devices, no clear path presents itself.  I usually have to hit the same wall a few times, no, maybe several times, befor I cry “Uncle!”

“Patrue, mi Patruissimo!”

As my daughter approaches her teen years, I find myself continually perplexed by my parenting inconsistencies.  One minute things are fabulous, and I’m sledding smoothly down the hills of Mt. Pinos, the next minute Mt. Everest shows up, and I lack any sort of mountain climbing skills.  Yesterday I was singing “Riser” by Derks Bentley, and today I’m a Yahoo News headline: Single mom drowns in a sea of tween drama.

I can be calm, cool, and collected, and in ten seconds switch to screaming, ranting Mommy Dearest.

All it takes is one trigger, one button push, one hot spot (and I don’t mean AT & T).

Whoa, Nelly, I didn’t ask for this!

I’ve also learned through various trials that, typically, it’s what I’m doing that is the biggest part of the problem. I whole-heartedly believe in looking in the mirror. No, I’m not taking full blame for every attitudinal tantrum or smart remark made by my pre-teen, but I am willingly admitting that when I step outside myself and take a deep breath, I usually mitigate the situation.

I’m the adult. I’m the one who’s lived the life, been a kid, been an adolescent, teenager, 20-something, etc, etc, etc.  I have the experiences of decades to remind me of the turmoil and trials that pervade these developing years.  Sure, I can tout, “Well, that’s just the way it is.  We’ll get through it.   We all survive and turn out okay.”  Fairly true, but as y’all probably know by now, that’s not my style.

Case in point…with horses in training, the more you force them to do something they don’t want to do, the more they plain and simple will not do it.  Sound familiar?  See any correlation?  On the contrary…as soon as a horse believes that what you’d like him to do is actually his idea in the first place, it happens.  Sure, it might take more than one try, one baby step at a time (usually it does), but it does indeed happen and in a much nicer fashion than, “I said do this!  Do it now, dag-gummit!”

Now you’re gettin’ it.  Good job!

Not that my daughter should be compared to a horse (although, I don’t think she’d mind, knowing how much she loves them), but I am at a place where I’m asking myself, “What on earth am I thinking?  Why am I acting like this?  What can I do to change myself and to help us both along?”

I’ve been so frustrated trying to make my kid do what I want her to do (basically, I want her to do things just like me, duh), with ZERO REWARD, instead of looking for a different path.  Brick walls abound, and I am humbled by the ever-present realization that my way is not the only way or the necessary way, and her way may be different but equally worthy and sufficient for success.

So, I am embarking on some parenting research to help me cope with my own insecurities and fear and to help guide me through these unchartered waters.

A friend of mine posted a quote on Facebook today by Ian Leighton, a renowned horse trainer, which says this:

I wonder what it is about some people that find unpleasantness rewarding.
I can’t think of an animal that thinks that way.

I do not find unpleasantness rewarding, and I know that my kiddo doesn’t either.  I will not settle for things “just being” because of her age and my inexperience as a pre-teen parent.

I ordered book on Amazon called Wise Minded Parenting: 7 Essentials for Raising Successful Tweens + Teens by Laura S. Kastner.  Her parenting techniques go along with the “Mindfulness” movement.  I reviewed the book and scanned the intro, and it completely hit home.  When I read the following statistic, As of 2010 more than nine million families with children under the age of eighteen were being maintained by single mothers, I knew this person had done her research and was going to address things from a real world perspective-not a glorified, shiny, “quick fix” perspective.  Not only will I have the book for reference, but there is an online community to reach out to for support through the author’s website, entitled the same.

We will see how it goes, but one thing is for sure, I already feel hopeful by taking this step.  And, I have faith that while there will be ups and downs, they will certainly be better than hitting brick walls.

Mom may not always get it right, but she’ll always love you.

Have any of you had to cry “Uncle!” with your kids?  If so, what measures did you take at that point to encourage positive change?  Please share!

Life is short…too short not to chuckle about the journey, so c’mon, give it a try. Oh, and thanks, Google, for the awesome photos!

XOXO,

SWM

 

 

 

 

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More Than Surviving

I just received a new follower to my blog, and when the notice came to my inbox, I admit I was super pleased!  My little blog is still alive and kicking even though I’ve neglected it in the worst of ways for the past three months.  Oh, my gosh, and WordPress has changed things, too.  At first I shuddered, but now I appreciate how easy it is to maneuver!

In addition to the other fall festivities, I moved Chief to a new home where I can spend more time with him!

This was my first harvest working in my new role as a vineyard technician, and thus, my first harvest running what is affectionately called “The Sugar Shack” where we test all of the grapes for their acid and sugar levels prior to being picked.  Yes…ALL OF THE GRAPES, covering approximately 1,600 acres plus of fruit over 12 ranches, traversing the rows via quads and trucks to pick and crush bucket-fulls by the dozens each day for two solid months.  And, with record breaking heat, many of those days were spent in triple digit temps-unheard of for the Central Coast.

I never get tired of harvest.  Ever.

In conjunction with harvest, this year my daughter joined AYSO soccer for the first time as a newbie U-12.  One of my dearest barn buddies offered to coach her team and take her to practices, so how on earth could I say “No”???  Every single Saturday from August through November I played the soccer mom role, and also ended up being the steadfast snack bar gal before several games, as no other parent stepped up to help.  Maycee LOVED playing soccer, and while I LOVED that she LOVED it, the season seemed never-ending, and lord knows I was one tired mom.

First-time soccer kid!

Through this busy-ness I realized something very important, however.  No longer was I simply surviving my life.  No longer was I so exhausted (at least not 24/7) that I couldn’t enjoy the harvest or enjoy the Saturday soccer games.  Once upon an earlier time, say about five years ago, this was not the case.  I often began each morning dreading the hours ahead, sometimes feeling as if my feet were made of lead, and putting one in front of the other appeared fruitless for the catastrophes to come.

Harvest was a blast being in and around all of the hustle and bustle for the first time, and soccer was a budding new experience (for both me and Maycee).  Balance was fleeting during the past few months, but as the dust settled, the balance returned.

Patience.

In a chaotic world in a country that thrives on instant gratification, the history of my single mom years has proven that patience and perseverance are key.  The old addage, “Good things happen to those who wait.” rings true.  Sure, rough things happen, as well.  But, this is the seesaw of living.  Keeping the faith when the mountain seems insurmountable is crucial.  I know, and we all know, that life can change on a dime.  Never once did self-pity project me forward into positive outcome.

I took this photo while I was filling my car with gas.  Here these ducks were, waiting patiently.  Not sure for what, but, nonetheless….

I’m a single mother.  I’ve been a single mom since 2008.  I didn’t want to be a single mom.  I didn’t choose this path, but it was laid before me.  In the beginning I fought it, about a third of the way in (to present) I truly surrendered.  Now I look back and feel gratitude for the struggle, for the scary moments, for the strength that came from nowhere, for each piece arrived me here today.  Those who helped me along the way gave me hope and heart not only for my own situation but for humanity.

When it feels like you’re hitting a wall, all it means is you need to change direction.

And, to those who said, “You can’t do this (to many different this’s)!” I retorted, “Yes, I can!”  I did and I will.

So, thank you to all who read here and to my latest follower who inspired me to share once again.

Remember: life is short, and time is a-wastin’, so give a chuckle and don’t give up!

XOXO,

SWM

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Jan 2013 004

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.

img_0800.jpg

XOXO,

SWM

So Much, So Fast

Hmmmmmmm, how interesting! I clicked on the suspicious pencil-looking icon at the top of my WordPress Reader site and vwala!  There appeared the “new editor” allowing me to type a post that I had no idea I was going to write….until this very moment.  And, honestly, I have a lot on my mind.  A LOT. But, sometimes with so much brewing it is difficult to narrow the writing down to what is burning the most on my heart to get out, to purge or to share.

The thing is, that clicking on this new icon to which I had no idea what it was simply allowed me to narrow it down that much easier.  It’s about change.  It is super easy to write about CHANGE.  At least, I think it is because it is the ONE THING we can always count on-the ONE THING that is always taking place with or without us.

This year Maycee entered the 5th grade.  She is an upper-classman in elementary school now-more-so than as a 4th grader.  She is one step away from being top dog.  One step closer to ruling the entire roost.  She has embraced this role fully, and along with it, she has embraced so much change within herself.

Up until this year I have been the doer of almost all things for her.  I cleaned her room, washed and put away her clothes, made her meals, packed her lunches, woke her up with the sound of my voice and a light nudging or tickling of limbs, checked her homework for completion, helped with any challenges.  All of that typical parenting/mom stuff we do for our kids.

Up until this year I was still the “cool mom” who all of my daughter’s friends thought was “pretty and nice”.  I held my daughter’s hand while walking across campus after picking her up. I dried her tears if other kids were mean to her and had discussions with her teachers or counselors to make sure any issues were handled and quickly.  I was desired at all functions and for sitting down and watching Disney Channel together.

This 5th grade thing has brought into our lives something I wasn’t quite ready for: INDEPENDENCE.

Ha!  Just like that Maycee is saying comments like, “Mom, pleeeeeeeezzzz don’t do that.  You’re embarrassing me!”  So what if I’m dancing around like a crazy woman in delight over the taste of some delicious cafe mocha yogurt at Yogurt Creations in front of a whole bunch of folks, not to mention Maycee’s BFF?  Whaaaaat is so embarrassing about that?!

“I’m going to clean up my room after dinner tonight.  I need to start keeping it neat.  I’m done with Barbies.” OK, who are you, and where did you place my child?

“Mom, I’m going to start bringing my own purse with me everywhere I go.” AKA, I don’t need you to hold MY MONEY.

“Mom, can I ride my bike to school ALONE?” That’s what I’m talking about.  Say what?! No!

“Mom, can I get Lunchables to make my own lunch?  ALLLLL the kids are eating those now.” Why certainly-let me hand over my lunch-making torch from the last 7 years gladly.

Teacher to Mom during recent Parent/Teacher conference: “Ms. MacInnes, I’d let Maycee start making her own decisions about when she finishes her homework.  She knows the consequences if she doesn’t complete it. You don’t need to help her.  Give her more responsibility.  This is the year for it, and all of MY kids know that.  Maycee tells me, ‘After all, I’m in the 5TH GRADE NOW.'”

Morning wake up?  No more.  Alarm clock to the rescue, and what a happy child it produces!  No longer do I hear, “Uuuuugh, I’m soooooo tired!  Why did YOU wake ME up so early?!?”  Nope.  She hears the beep, beep, BEEEEEEEEP and saunters out of her room on time with a smile on her face (a lazy smile, but still a smile) and even says good morning!  Well, OK. GOOD MORNING THEN!  Yahoo!

And, I won’t even get into the health education and puberty talk.  But, I will say that if there’s attitude in the room, well, poor Miss Puberty is to blame according to Maycee.  “It’s puberty, Mom.  My teacher said.  It causes all kinds of behavior stuff.”  Well, indeed, it does, I guess. Did I go through that? No wonder my mom is laughing at me on the phone.

“I need to text Fabby now, Mom.  It is VERY important.  Oh, and I know I said I loved my texting phone, and I do, but I REALLY like Fabby’s I-Phone, and I totally know how to work it.  Oh, and I would REALLY like my OWN laptop.”  Huh.  Really?  And, I would like money to grow on trees, but that’s another blog post.

Texting went from nil to 90 within the last few weeks after Maycee discovered Fabby has a phone, too.  I am currently using the phrase, “I’m going to have to take it away if you don’t put it down-now.”  Help me. Prior to this Maycee said the likes of, “I don’t even use my phone.  I forget it’s even there.  I don’t want to be one of THOSE people who texts all the time anyways.”

Change can make us forgetful, I suppose.

Drying tears?  Over and done with (for now, except if there’s a texting crisis).  “Oh, my gosh, Mom. He was so rude (speaking of a bullying sort in her homework class)!  And, I told him so, and I thought he was going to come up and shove me because he looked so mad, but I just stormed off and told the teacher!  I’m not afraid!”  Wowzers.

Hand holding-Lord knows I try.  I have to sneak my hand underneath Maycee’s and touch the fingers, which creates an automatic reflex  that quickly disappears once she realizes it’s happening.  Darn.

Disney Channel?  Replaced by Nick at Night’s re-runs of Full House and Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  If I’m lucky there’s some room left on the couch for me to squeeze my mommy butt and sit with the girl.  If not, I return to my post located in the kitchen corner not to be heard.

Certainly these are all positive changes and quite exciting!  Well, a little frightening, too.  I mean, it’s just SO MUCH, SO FAST.  But, I know that one of the biggest parts of mothering is also learning to let go.  Each stage in a child’s life requires a bit of this. If we don’t do it, then independence is hindered and opportunities become more difficult to experience.  Not to mention our kids might end up never leaving the house-ever.

When Maycee turned 10 I wrote in her birthday card that I wanted her to soar, and this is what she is doing-in leaps and bounds as her 5th grade year takes shape.  I may need bigger wings to keep up, but I’ll find them, if nothing more than to watch and wonder and smile.

I’m glad I logged onto WP today and clicked on that funny little pencil that led me to this “new editor” prompting me to write about the one and only constant in life.  And, I’m glad I got to connect with you, Readers.  Remember: life is short, so if you’re feeling a little funky just blame puberty, start texting, and give a chuckle!

XOXO,

SWM

Some people don’t like change….I count on it!

Welcome to my new blog!  Well, it’s not new, but the design is, and I really, totally, completely like it.  How ’bout you guys?  Please tell me!  It was time for a change.  Everything changes, and I felt my blog’s look needed a face-lift.  It feels good.

Lately, my head has been full, so full, of junk.  Spam.  When I write, I honestly don’t like to write about it-the junk, that is.  Spam is gross, whether out of the can, found in my in-box, or spattered on billboards, TV screens, and the Internet headlines.  Yet, as much as I want to, I can’t escape it.  I tend to wait out the days until I feel a more light-hearted mood consume me.  I linger with ideas until the “full” feeling passes and I’m inspired again by some small passing thought.

Luckily today, Darla, my blogging buddy over at She’s a Maineiac, covered this need to rant for me in only a way that Darla can do, so I feel relieved of the duty.  Thank God!  If you need a hearty chuckle, please take a look-see.

I think my head is on overload because my kiddo is growing up in leaps and bounds, and it’s overwhelming.  She’s 10 going on 20.  She’s a 4th grader buying an apartment.  She’s changing, physically, mentally, emotionally, and she’s got questions-a myriad of them.  But, the questions aren’t of the same level as years-gone-by….I miss those.  “Mommy, why doesn’t Elmo have ears?”  Oh, Elmo, where are you?  Tickle me.

No, she questions all that she sees and hears at a maturity level that is astounding in my mind, and with so much SPAM in the universe today it gets difficult to keep up and stay ahead of the game.

Sunday night Maycee was bored watching her Disney shows for the 500th time, so we started channel surfing. Usually she goes to HGTV, Mommy’s channel, which she has grown fond of, as well. (Like I said, apartment living in her little mind already.)  Nothing good there, either, so we went to prime time.  We ended up on ABC’s The Bachelor, the wedding ceremony getting ready to take place between Sean and Catherine.  Maycee pleaded…”Can we watch this, Mom, pleeeeeeeez!  I want to see her dress!  I wonder which one she is going to choose!”

I conceded, looking at the time, only 8:15 at night.  Plenty of families watching TV together. It should be okay. I’m not into weddings much, but Maycee’s never seen one, so I need to let her explore.  I do-I know I do!

However…

The next 30 minutes were spent going over the details of the couple’s impending wedding night, complete with a tour of Sean picking out the skimpiest of lingerie for Catherine-the shop lady even referencing, “And, this one has easy access at the bottom”.  O M G! I shrunk into the couch.  I glanced at the clock-only 8:30, and I KNOW that most children aren’t tucked into bed by this hour.

Maycee cringed, “OH, YUCK! WHAT’S THAT, MOM?!? GROSS!  DID YOU WEAR STUFF LIKE THAT WITH DAD?!?”

I grabbed the remote and changed the channel before the shop lady could say another word or show another “outfit”.  I answered frantically, “Well, no, I didn’t.  I just wore a pretty nightgown, but nothing like THAT.” (Sad, but true.)  I was fumbley and felt stupid in the moment as I tried to explain why they were making such a big deal about it in 10-year-old appropriate conversation.  Maycee looked at me with her hands covering her face, sort of smirking, sort of giggling.  “Okay, Mom, okay. I get it.”  She knew I was in a pickle, and it was pretty funny-I have to admit.

Change.  It is the one thing that is constant, and without it life would be predictable and monotonous.  Sunday night was ANYTHING but predictable.  Some say, “Ya, but I don’t like it.  I want things to stay the same.”  Well, that’s great when it’s great. But, not when it’s not, and we can ALL relate to that.

So, my head is full as I make my way through this crazy environment where everything that can possibly generate hype is exposed to anyone anywhere-no discerning for age.  I wait to write posts that leave me with a smile and hopefully resonate with others, regardless of the fact that they don’t make the press or shock people or whatever else.

I make my way through the spam and try to figure it out.  I get overwhelmed and have to hang on to what is my truth, while also allowing change to wash over me.

A little face-lift here at the SWM site, an unexpected sex-ed talk with my 10-year-old on a Sunday night (of all nights).

Change makes everything interesting.  I can’t count on much, but I can certainly count on that!

Hope to hear from you all. Remember, life is short, so let it go, and give a chuckle!

XOXO,

SWM

Run in the wind like ponies!

2012 I Madonnari Festival-SLO-Street Art by Kasey MacInnes

We stepped outside the front door this morning immediately hugged by the warm air of the Santa Anas.  Today the temps were supposed to reach into the mid-90’s, and I’m expecting  they did based on a couple of trips from my desk to the recycle bin and our Safety Coordinator’s exclamation of,  “Okay, now it’s officially HOT!”

However, this morning driving out to the ranch to grain Hi-C the whipping breeze seemed to push us along the road a little quicker.  As we arrived, heading down the dirt path to our usual parking spot, pieces of eucalyptus bark, twigs, and leaves fell around us, some hitting the windshield, others floating to the ground.  Maycee and her buddy, who catches a ride frequently, were squealing and giggling, “Oh my gosh!  It’s blowing all CRAZY, Mom!”

We got out of the car, and dirt, dust, and debris flew this way and that.  Maycee held up her arms and spun in circles–a full grin on her face.  Her buddy continued giggling, shouting, “Mayceeeee!”  I had to get in on the fun and exclaimed to J,  the ranch hand, “The sky is falling!”  He waved and smiled as he always does and laughed, too, then diligently returned to his morning task of cleaning stalls.

Down the stable path the current was so strong it felt as if we were in a wind tunnel.  The horses were a bit jittery–maybe we looked like dim ghosts coming to greet them surrounded in such a tan-colored flurry.  The kids picked up straws of hay that had blown out of the horses’ feeders, and I gave Hi-C his grain for the day. He raised his beautiful head up and moved quickly from side-to-side, chomping the yummy mix as I stroked his coat and told him I’d see him later.

J stopped his work for a moment as I commented again about the eucalyptus and how wild the sky was acting.  He said, “I know, I know…I’m afraid the trees will fall over!”  I chuckled lightly as I listened to Maycee and her buddy talking to Jenny and Snickers, June and Bailey and the rest…then told them we had to hurry-we were running late.

Back to the car we galloped, and I was reminded, as I always am when the Santa Anas show up, of being a child and excited by the activity of Mother Nature; moments like when my best friend and I, still in our pj’s, were told by my mom to “go outside and run in the wind like ponies!”  And, we did, our manes getting tossed around in all of life’s possible directions.

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I’ve been exploring lately, Readers: watching different TV shows at night, paying better attention to what I eat, starting to work out again after a multi-year (not complaining) hiatus and losing a little weight to make it worth my while (wink), playing my guitar and building up calluses, skipping church (I won’t be gone long, Lord), and being okay with being a bit out of routine because I know the routine will always be there.

Life is short, which is why we have to accept change, try new things, and of course, give a chuckle or two or three!

What have you been up to?

In the headlights

One week ago last Thursday (so, that’d be April 26th) after a church team meeting, I wandered into the church office to collect a stack of paperwork that the secretary said was waiting for me.  I assumed it was music-related.  I am, after all, working on getting a regular contemporary praise night and praise band up and running at my new church home.  I assumed it was about that.  I assumed.

When I got into the office I couldn’t see anything with my name on it, so I asked the pastor (who was still around) to see if she could help me.  She found the stack.  I assumed wrong.  Instead of new music, or ideas from other church members, etc, it was a stack of files and paperwork from the house I left behind over three years ago.  A stack of paperwork that came from his house.  The man who haunts me every now and again.  Just when I think I’m totally removed from him, fear and the anguish subsiding into nothingness, he comes back.  It can be in the form of a recurring dream (or nightmare), the siting of a red Nissan Frontier pick-up truck, or the behavior of a totally unrelated man that stirs my nerves, and he’s right there glaring at me with staunch, dark eyes, blowing smoke in my face, no remorse or comprehension of his transgressions. Like a deer in the headlights I was hit by this stack of papers–out of nowhere.

I asked my pastor if she knew where it came from…she had no clue.  As she began conversing with another church member, I fingered through the stack, piece by piece: files, flyers with his last name on them (which I never took-thankfully), reminders of what I thought my new life, and Maycee’s was going to be like.  And, as I fingered the stack and shot back into time, the blow hit me harder, like the deer, and I found myself crumbling emotionally right there in the church fellowship hall.  I implored the pastor one more time, “So, you don’t know how this got here or who brought it?”  She said, “Why no, Sweetie (with her thick Alabama accent). I have no idea.  Why? What’s wrong?” BAM! The tears started flooding, my body began shaking, and in one quick moment I was taken down.  “What’s wrong?” she begged. “Are you in danger?”  “No.” I muttered.  No.  I’m not in any danger.  I’m not.  But, nonetheless, I couldn’t stop the trembling.

Pastor called the church secretary at home to find out where the stack of paperwork originated.  Apparently another church member from my old church found it somewhere (all of my belongings had been brought there without my knowledge three years ago and dumped in the hall in a mish-mosh of piles, his display of anger from my leaving).  She brought it to the secretary to give to me.  I was not warned of the contents, obviously.  Pastor asked me if I needed the stack or if it could be tossed.  “You haven’t needed it for this long.  Why don’t we just throw it away.  (She stuffs it in the trash.) There.  All done.  He’s gone.  He can’t hurt you anymore.  You’re safe.”

That night started an exhausting trip for me, Readers.  I’ve had anxiety dreams since, and wake up feeling as if I’ve run a 10K marathon.  I’ve also had a lot going on in general-but whoooooo hasn’t, right?  I’ve tried to focus on the matters at hand: a praise night last Sunday, work picking up both at my regular job as well as my part-time side work, Maycee’s horse lessons and swim activities, a wedding I attended yesterday with my main squeeze who was the best man (and a super handsome one, at that).  I’ve managed to get through.

Like a deer in the headlights I was caught off guard, startled, and scared, but unlike the deer, the situation didn’t kill me.  It didn’t three years ago, and it didn’t on April 26th, 2012.  I knew I wanted to write about this.  I’m hoping it will dispel the hold.  I didn’t know when I’d write….when I’d be ready to write again, period…then tonight…his name appeared in my email in-box.  Once again, he was asking me for assistance with something business-related, criptically written and demanding.  No punctuation.  All lower case letters.  No less creepy than the person who wrote it.  Really? These headlights are blinding, and I want to be on the other side–for good.  Please.

I know this, too, shall pass.  I’ve missed you, Readers.  Be assured that I won’t be struggling for long…a rocky road still leads us somewhere.  Life is short, too short to dwell; I know this well.  Be happy….and chuckle over the irony.

Tell Me Now…Where Do I Belong?

This gallery contains 4 photos.

She walks in the church and cautiously looks around with her four-year-old daughter in tow.  She hesitantly makes her way to the back of the church and sits quietly, thumbing through her Bible, avoiding eye contact at all costs.  She has contemplated this day for months.  She wonders if she should be here.  Does she … Continue reading

“You Get What You Need”

Ready to become a Dolphin today!

Can you feel me going “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh…..”?  Well, you can imagine it then, because I am.  I’m here with my green tea, sugar, and creamer in the cup my daughter made me for Mother’s Day at school going “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……”  The kids are tucked away and dreaming in Maycee’s bunk bed (sleepover night), and I’m finally ready to write this week.  In my head I can hear the song playing, “You can’t always get whatcha want….You can’t always get whatcha want….You can’t always get whatcha want….But, if you try sometime….You just might find….You get what you need!”  Sing it Stones, sing it!

Earlier this week, after writing about the Black Cloud syndrome, I was surmising this: isn’t it a dubious luxury of those of us with roofs over our heads, food in our tummies, heaters, air conditioners, cars, clothes, and shoes on our feet to fret about life on life’s terms?  Sunshine has appeared where the Black Cloud cleared.  This is life-isn’t it?  Most certainly we have to go through the ups and downs, the ebb and flow, and when it’s bad, it’s not that bad, but until we get to the good, it’s difficult to remember that.   So, tonight, I’m remembering, and I really NEEDED this week to happen before I could honestly write anything.  Well, at least, I feel I did.  I’m turning older tomorrow, I’M TURNING 38!  No, not 28, and no, not 40-not yet.  I don’t care much about my age, nor do I think about it on any given occasion most of the time.  With my life bumping and twisting the past few years I’ve often forgotten my birthday was even coming until a card would arrive in the mail to remind me.  Each year has been different; some super fun with parties, others just struggling to survive the hours not bursting into tears.  It’s all relative, and this year is no different with the exception that I think my age is now finally correlating with the way I want my life to be-at the same exact point.  This being the best gift I could receive, and I’m actually giving it to myself with the help and guidance of others-is the footprint I want to leave behind as birthdays pass and the world rotates with or without me. 

Maycee began her new school two days ago.  She is officially a Dolphin.  I’ve written about this up-and-coming change in past entries. From Christian School to public.  From driving 100 miles each day commuting to driving 3.3 miles down the road (and only 12 to work).  From paying out the nose in tuition, daycare fees, lunch fees, and everyotherkindoffeetherecouldpossiblybe to paying, uh, ZERO for all of these items.  It’s been a highly anticipated event, one that began with tears and then went to acceptance both on my part and Maycee’s.  Two days ago the switch came to fruition, and let’s all cheer: give me an “M”- M!  Give me an “A”-A!  Give me a “Y”-Y!  Give me a “C”-C!  Give me a double “E”-Double E!  What’s that spell?  MAYCEE!  Goooooooo, Maycee!  She loves it! She absolutely loves it at her new digs from the time the bell rings in the morning at 8:50 to the time I pick her up at 6PM, and I have to admit I’m amazed, and I’m totally, totally, totally thrilled.  Maybe the Rolling Stones should have written the line, “You can’t always get whatcha want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you DO!”  Ha, ha, ha….Want, need, I’m not going to argue either way.  The wait is over, fear is behind us, and Maycee and I have an extra hour of time together each morning and an extra several hundred dollars in our pocket for necessities,  maybe even a little bit of fun without the guilt on top.  Happy Birthday to me!

9.9 million: The number of single mothers living with children younger than 18 in 2010, up from 3.4 million in 1970.**

**Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2010.html

As I prepare to enter 38-year-old-ness at 3AM tomorrow morning I opened this card from my mom:

I love you, Mom!

I can look back on this year with the particular hardships it brought and offer one word of wisdom: patience.  I may not always get what I want, but I typically have what I need.  This week was another testimony to heeding the past, listening to those who’ve gone before me, and being willing to keep trying and trusting no matter what.  The numbers are astounding, aren’t they?  9.9 million.  More and more women take on the SWM role every year for various reasons, but it should not be a deterrant to the ideals listed in my beautiful birthday card: singing (belt it out!), hoping, dreaming (yes, do it!), smiling, laughing, finding joy in small places, and staying true to onesself, which brings nothing but happiness.  This year’s birthday will not come with cake, candles, or parties, but I’m celebrating in leaps and bounds.  My daughter is the gift that keeps on giving, and this week we both held steadfast and strong to the wonders of change and breezed through with vibrant colors. 

The seeming hindrances of raising a child alone are only as big as we allow them to become.  As more of us women live the single mom life, this doesn’t mean more of us have to give in to the notion that we can’t get what we want or don’t deserve what we need.  Dwelling on our sorrows is a natural part of letting go, and part of being human, but it is also truly is a dubious luxury when put into world view perspective.  Don’t let circumstance be the determining factor for progress; get creative, work hard, remember life goes up and it comes down, and stay focused on what really matters. 

Well, my soapbox is closing, the hour is getting late, and the kids will wake plenty early in the morning ready for Selena Gomez to turn on, so I’ll end with this tonight:

Bring on 38, bring on more challenges, BRING IT ON (and I think I’ll give a chuckle to that, as well)!

I may be at work, but I'm with her, too, hiding in her lunchbag.

Happy weekend, Readers.

Good Morning, Kasey

Every day is a winding road.  I get a little bit closer.*

Monday.  Monday morning.  Some Mondays I’m rollicking with energy after a somewhat decent sleep or sleeps from the weekend.  Other Mondays are simply: Monday.  Like today.  I seemed to be running a marathon all night in my head, dreaming of this person and that person, feeling emotions that I cannot put into words but you know the ones, hidden Freudian thoughts popping out here, there, and everywhere.  This, intermingled with two trips to my backyard in the ohsodark hours so that my poor dog, Percy, who is having an increasingly difficult time with pottying, could relieve himself. (I just found out a week ago that he more than likely has a disease called “Cushings Disease”, and this is one of the symptoms-bugger.)  Then, waking at my usual 5:00AM to feed both pups (Percy the Grandpa, Louisy the Grandma), get coffee ready, make Maycee’s lunch, then head back to bed for what feels like two minutes but is really a full hour of additional sleep before my alarm goes off at 6:30.  Whew.  Nope, the energy wasn’t flowin’ this morning.

However, I had a particularly neato day to look forward to: I was meeting with the pastor from the local church that I plan to check out once Maycee begins school here in town.  I’ve known Pastor A. for over a year.  I visited  his church quite a few instances prior thinking I was ready to leave where I’m at now.  Hmmmmm, but in typical Kasey fashion….”…nnnnooooooo, you can’t make me…..nooooooooooo……God……nooooooooooo…….I’m not ready yet….. nooooooooo!” I changed my mind and decided that since Maycee was still going to school in the same city as my home church, we’d stay put.  The congregation had been there for me during that horrific period during which I had to literally rebuild my entire life from dishes and water hoses up to being able to make it through a day without feeling like killing myself.  The man I mentioned in earlier blogs whom I sold my former life and livelyhood and moved up to the Central Coast to be with who ultimately put us through hell in the household.  This is the church family that had my back, as we don’t tend to think perhaps the righteous  can; they made sure this person would not bother me or my daughter, gave me advice, helped me get what few belongings I could out of the said household.  You name it, they did it.  They didn’t hold back their own emotions towards this person, either-right or wrong-and I didn’t have to suppress mine. If I had any slight remaining doubt or lingering thoughts about “religious intentions”,  my church put those to rest.  I wasn’t ready to leave them, not then.

Today, I met with Pastor A.  He is a jovial dude.  And, yes, he is a dude.  A young man, married, with two sons, and he is real.  REAL.  No B.S. but all pastor.  He wears blue jeans, hooded sweatshirts, and sandals (no socks).  He drives what could be construed as an archaic Mercedes Benz wagon; he confessed, over 300,000 miles on it.  The engergizer bunnies of vehicles.   I connected with him a year ago, and I connected with him today.  I told him my latest story, the reasons why I believe it is now time for Maycee and I to “move into the neighborhood”.  He will be there for us, and so will the new church. He has some ideas, too, of how I can bridge the gap between our two places of worship so that I don’t have to leave my church behind completely.   He even has a “surrogate” grandma and grandpa in mind to meet Maycee and me who live right here in our mobile home park, along with two other families.  Right here. Fabulous.  We had fun catching up over burros-hey, talk to the restaurant owner, that’s how they were listed on the menu! A little over an hour later, while heading back to work, I felt calm. I felt some more peace settling in my soul.  Change.  It’s a word I tend to grapple with and wear in  “Kasey” fashion often, but this change, it feels right.  Like the dots are FINALLY connecting.  

Back at my office, I get in and sit down to my computer.  I open my email.  Nothing different, nothing out-of-the-ordinary.  Wait.  Yes, there is something….an email…written at 6:20AM… from R.M. (the MAN referenced in paragraph two).  It reads, and I give you a direct copy:  

Message line: “update”…then…
 
good morning kasey
wondering about kc life policy, am about 1 year smoke free
thank you
 
Good morning kasey.  Good morning kasey.  Good morning kasey.  As if there were pleasantries to exchange after two and a half years of silence.  As if I WANTED to still be his life insurance agent.  As if I cared that he was “smoke free”.  As if he didn’t tear apart my life, cause my daughter months of pain and acting out, but oh, excuse me,  would you mind….I told you I was getting help, but oops, forgot to mention I had moved on to someone else while you and Maycee were struggling in a ghetto apartment,  while I used your furniture and ate from your dishes and made coffee in your coffee pot, oh, and by the way, could you help me reduce the rate on my policy?  And, best of all, “thank you”, as if I was actually going to get back to him!  Does anybody else find this the least bit ironic after my morning of peace had prevailed?  Me, me, me, me, I do, I do! To say I was stunned would, of course, be the most understated of understatements.  Two and a half years later.  Wow.  I don’t hate R.M., I have forgiven R.M., but I have not FORGOTTEN anything about him.
 
Well, yes, it was a good morning.  I plan to delete the ludicrous email. It is a complete and total freedom to use the “Delete” button.  At least something in life is that simple.  R.M. will maybe or maybe not figure out that I in no way, no how intend to service his account.  After all, if his elevator went all the way to the top floor he would not have emailed me, end of story (and I guess a bit less exciting of a blog post, at that).   I am grateful that as  a SWM I only have to sell insurance sporadically to boost my income, and that while I live frugally, I do not feel the need to “sell” myself or my soul just to make a buck.  With the changes coming down the pike, I plan to be floating further and further away from what brought me to this place, not in physical miles, but in metaphorical ones.  Moving into the neighborhood. We’ve lived in our yellow submarine for almost two years now, but we are finally going to be moving in.  The timing is right.   And, as Pastor A. said to me as I was telling him I couldn’t believe how some people just seemed to be able to lie so easily and how much it bothered me, Pastor A. said this, “Yes, you do, Kasey.  Think about how much you lie to yourself. All the time.  We do it all the time.”  We do it all the time.  Speechless I was;  it made me want to try a different “Kasey” fashion on for size: one that didn’t involve holding on for dear life, but rather letting go and letting God. A lesson I’ve learned but find diffucult to put into practice.
 
You’re welcome.
 
Every day is a faded sign.  I get a little bit closer to feelin’ fine.*
 
Now, have a great Tuesday, be happy, and give a chuckle.
 
*Sheryl Crow, Jeff Trott, Brian Macleod