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.

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XOXO,

SWM

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

Into the Trees

Happiness

Sunday morning I awoke with anticipation.  All night long I was up and down, coming to, in and out of eyes closed, wondering what it would be like.  I didn’t have the stomach to eat breakfast once out of bed.  I showered , got my boots on, and grabbed a granola bar and an apple to take with me.  With no appetite, I ate the granola bar on the way simply because I knew I should.

At the barn I felt the excitement stirring within, and I couldn’t wait to see Chief.  We are bonding, he and I.  Everyone says we are made for each other, especially my daughter, and coming from her makes it all the more true.  (Kids have stellar intuition.)  He was finishing his breakfast when I approached.  Slowly he moved back, turned around, and then looked at me.  I held out my hand and said, “Come on, boy.  Today is a big day.”  Then, he approached bringing his nose right up to my palm for a loving scratch.

Chief and I are a lot alike.  He can be a leader when he needs to be, but is just as good of a follower.  He’s not aggressive and doesn’t like to argue unlike the mares that surround him.  He’s strong and stoic when protecting his fellows but also likes to be protected in return.  He’s experienced many things in his life but is also still teachable and always willing to learn.  He loves affection and returns it fully.  When his basic needs are met, he’s content; there are no games to be played or hoops to jump through so he “behaves”.  We speak each other’s language when we are together, and the longer this lasts, the stronger it will grow.

My friend and I saddled up our ponies-she, the well-traveled trail rider, and me, the single mom with horsey dreams.  As we ascended up the hill I’ve so often watched all the other barn gals do, waving good-bye and hollering, “Have a great ride!”  I felt like a child who finally gets to hang out with the grown-ups.  Everything was fresh and new: the asphalt street, the house with the noisy neighbors,  the fields–as if I’d never seen them before.  The “big girls” told me about the trails, told me how much fun they were and how much I’d love them once I went.

But, to be told a story is one thing….to live it is another.

Well, look at that!

Well, look at that!

We crested the hill above the barn, Athena, Chief’s sister, leading the way, and there it was….the trail head.  Like waters parting for Moses it felt like the field was parting for us.  The brush spread into two parallel sandy paths twisting and turning….a little to the left at first, then to the right, and to the left again.  The long wild grass tickled Chief’s nose, and he couldn’t resist grabbing a snack here and there as we entered into the trees…eucalyptus trees-nature’s towers.  Beautiful towers that majestically accepted us. “Welcome to our kingdom!”

As we walked along I gazed out into the surrounding palace.  Serenity hugged me tightly with each step, and voices hushed.  Slight rustling of leaves, a little breeze picking up in the treetops, and bird songs.  Over logs and through crevices Chief kept me safe with each step.  “Wow, this is so amazing!”  I couldn’t hold my wonder in any longer, and my friend answered, “Isn’t it, though!”  She knew, she already knew, and now, so did I.

At times I was nervous, at times I was mesmerized.  There were moments I had to stop and take deep breaths.  This wasn’t trail riding of the pay-your-way variety.  We were on our own with only the unexpected to expect.  I was proud to be riding Chief.  I was proud of myself.

About an hour later we were back at the trail head beginning our descent, and we came across two other riders from our barn, one of whom has become a good friend of mine.  “So, how was it? That is a pretty big smile on your face!”  And, it was.  If she could have seen the smile in my heart, it was even bigger.

Descending down the hill my partner exclaimed, “There’s the barn!  See?!  You did it!”

Needless to say, I let out a whopping, “Yahoo!” as Chief and I rounded into the barn alley.  More gals were out by then and were able to celebrate the “newest trail riding member” with us.

Once I pulled Chief’s tack I hugged him around his big ol’ neck , kissed his nose, and gave him a couple of carrots to show my appreciation.  He looked pretty darn proud of himself, too…

Yep, made for each other.

It may not seem like much to any of you who have ridden horses all your lives, but for someone who just began this journey three years ago with no horse knowledge in the least, it was super exciting!  Friends, it’s never too late to try something new.  It’s never too late to follow your dreams…to allow yourself childlike wonder.  So, chuckle a bit and answer me this….anyone up for a ride?

XOXO,

SWM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired Minds Want to Know

The rules: 1-Display the Award logo on your blog. 2-Link back to the person who nominated you. 3-State 7 things about yourself. 4-Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link back to them. 5-Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award requirements.

Back in the day (a whole long 2 1/2 years ago), I decided to blog about my life as a single working mom.  My best friend’s hubby was blogging through WordPress about being a stay-at-home-dad.  I loved reading his stories. Then, I watched the movie Julie and Julia about which a woman decides she will blog her way through Julia Child’s entire cookbook one recipe at a time, one day at a time.  These two events led me down the blogging road to a place I now consider my blogging home: Single Working Mom (SWM). 

I didn’t really know what would happen.  I didn’t know if people would read my words.  I didn’t know if I’d be able to touch another’s heart with the shared knowledge that in trudging this path we aren’t alone.  I didn’t know anything except that in my head I had much to say, I had experiences to share, and writing seemed to release the pressure of doing it all on my own.

Since starting this blog I’ve grown immensely.  I’ve healed tremendously. And, I’ve done so by building relationships in this computer-based world with people from various walks of life who have broadened my horizons and helped me see the light.  I no longer wonder what will happen when I write.  I know that connections will be made, feelings will be validated, and my life will be enriched beyond my wildest imagination!

I’m so happy to have received the nomination for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”!  Thank you so much, Shandra Harris.  Getting this nomination made my day and put a neverending smile on my face because, well, to me,  inspiring each other is blogging at its finest.

So, here’s the rest of what I’m required to do as a recipient of this awesome award:

Seven Things About Me:

1. I have a motorcycle license, and I owned a classic 1979 Honda 650 (rootbeer brown) before Maycee was born.

2. I didn’t want to have children when I was younger. Then, at age 30, I freaked my ex-husband out and decided, “Holy, Crap, the clock is ticking! If I don’t have kids I’m so going to regret it.” 30 days later I  was pregnant, and now I can’t imagine life without my daughter.  EVER.

3. I’m a musician.  I’ve been playing the piano since age 7, drums since age 14, and streel drums since college along with guitar and bass.  I toured with a 22-piece steel drum band when I attended Humboldt State and loved it!

4. I have an art degree.  Yes…a totally useless art degree.  But, it’s okay, and I’m at peace with my past as well as with my inner artistic self.

5. I’ve decided that the reason I could never make marriage work (tried 3 times and gave up) is that I thought I needed a man, but what I really needed was a horse.  Now, I don’t fret, I just ride off into the sunset….pure bliss.

6. I didn’t believe in God until I got sober.  However, there was absolutely NO other logical answer to my recovery. 14 sober years and counting I’ll preach this truth!

7. I’m not really turning 40 this August…seriously.  And, I’m not in denial either. Promise.

My Inspiring Nominations (in alphabetical order):

1. …from the bungalow-Chris writes from his heart…always inspiring.

2.  A Slice of Mudpie-Great mix of fun stuff and the reality of single parenting.

3. Hot Rod Cowgirl-If you like pics of breathtaking scenery and animals and heartwarming stories….she’s the gal!

4. My New Favorite Day-Just the title is inspirational, and Shannon’s journey is, too.

5. QBG_Tilted Tiara-Valentine says what she means and means what she says and says things I want to say and mean, too. And her Flash in the Pans are awesome!

6. Running from Hell with ElTalented indie writer who poignantly tells stories that need to be shared and heard.

7. Shandra Harris With Heart Wide OpenI’m new to her blog, but she reminds me to stay vigilent to my faith as well as who’s in charge (not me).

8. She’s A Maineiac-I can’t make it through the week without a laugh from Darla-you won’t want to, either! Her top ten lists ROCK!

9. Surviving the Madhouse-I love the Sunday Funnies!

10. Taking the World on with a Smile-My NY blogging buddy inspires me weekly; I freak out if there isn’t a post in my in-box by Sunday.

11. Transitioning Mom-She’s graceful in style and yet deals with the impending empty nest syndrome by guiding us right along with her.

12. The Lucky Mom-Lisha’s last post is a must-read…and then when you’re finished, go back and check out everything else, too!

13. The Monster In Your Closet-I could not complete my list without including my longest subscribing reader, Deb, as well as a woman who’s inspired hundreds of bloggers with me top of the list.

Yes, I know I didn’t quite make it to 15, but these are the blogs I read regularly and the people who implore me to keep on keepin’ on.  I hope you visit each and every one of them!

Reader’s, thank you for your support. Thank you for being a part of my journey. Now if your U.S. bound I hope you enjoy our country’s birthday tomorrow.  I’ll be with my sweet girl riding horsies and then barbequeing up some pork ribs before fireworks!  Yummy!

Now, remember, life is short so be happy and give a chuckle!

XOXO,

SWM

Not Quite Ready

Lately I’ve been evaluating my blog.  I’ve been contemplating the need for it, my need for it, anymore.  Am I done sharing my experiences with others, have I grown and healed enough that writing weekly about what I see, hear, and feel isn’t as essential to staying focused on my progress as a woman, mother, and productive part of the human race?  Would my subscribers really care if Single Working Mom SWM retired into the blogoshpere as a short, sweet, and distant memory?

Yep, I got the horse, now all I have to do is ride off into the sunset…

Then, last week, I celebrated my 39th birthday.  This was a milestone, not because I am now in my last year of being thirtysomething, but because I had said to my mom notsolongago that I just hoped I’d have my life together at least before I turned 40!  Alas, as 39 crept closer, I surmised my fate.  I reflected on allllllll that had happened, especially over the past five years.  And, as I did so, I felt an internal peace, a reward of emotions that settled within me cementing a foundation deep inside that whispered: you did it, and you did it BEFORE you hit 40. My life (for the time-being) is very much together, at least way more together than apart (wink).  Maycee is smart, confident, safe, and content, and her singleworkingmom is, too.

Uh huh, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Truthbetold, we keep growing, don’t we?  At least, shouldn’t we be striving for this instead of relaxing into a stagnant state of “I’m good.  It’s all good.  Just the way it is. No matter what I feel.”  For, as fast as the world spins, as quickly as new inventions are discovered, as much as momentary decisions can alter lifetimes, change is inevitable.  I learned in the beginning of recovery that change is the one thing we can count on, so we better embrace it.  Easier said than done, but I’ve succumbed to the truth in this idea, and it sets me free when I let it.

I felt a sense of peace and tranquility as my dear ol’ birthday rolled around.  My family came up to be with me and Maycee.  A small little “party” of sorts was held and personal, thoughtful gifts were given.  Cards filled the top of my refridgerator.  And, as the week progressed, it seemed as if my birthday continued on and on…more cards, more gifts, messages from distant friends and relatives.  Even my ex-husband gave me a card that said the most touching of sentiments: “You’re a person to be admired and celebrated…and you are….”, which brought me to tears, not that I cry a lot, honestly, truly….no really…I mean it. I was so fulfilled with gratitude my cup runneth over.  How on earth could this be?!

As I brewed some black tea with sugar tonight, winding down after a busy day, I knew I wanted to write.  Often, I have so many thoughts, I become stifled with which one I should actually pursue.  This leads me to believe that I must continue on…that I may have grown and healed a superduper whole bunch, but there’s still so much life to live…and guaranteed, it will continue to be a bit of a roller coaster ride with twists and turns and loop-da-loops.

Case in point: the end of my birthday week was a completely different story from the beginning-possibly Lex Luther’s Drop of Doom, personally speaking. Hmmmm, shall we say where “Holy Crap meets Out of the Blue”?  I guess we shall.  Again, I found myself pondering…

While the reasons behind my writing have evolved, my need to do so has not.  I may not have the highest stats, the most followers, or the consistent posting ability of some, but these were never my intensions upon beginning anyhow.  My intentions were to get out of my head what was stuck inside  lest it blow up AND to connect with others who may need to know they are not alone in the journey of single parenting and beyond.  Just as I knew sitting down with all of you tonight to share this tidbit of experience, strength, and hope whilst I drink my black tea in a homemade “MOM” mug would make me feel better.  And, it has.

No, I’m not quite ready to give up my little corner of the blogosphere.  Contemplation and reflection are a necessary part of being human…but then again…so is chuckling at the feeling your stomach is going to come up through your eyeballs.

Now, go ahead, at my expense….and do just that because LIFE REALLY IS SHORT.

*Thanks, Google, for letting me borrow these images from Magic Mountain.  If I wasn’t such a huge chicken, I swear, I’d actually ride them myself.

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.

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to

accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

My daughter is amazing.  And, although I’m biased, yes, she is truly amazing.  During the course of these past four years, enduring much change, Maycee and I have journeyed through many unknowns.  There have only been a few staples in our life where we live now: our church, my job, and Maycee’s wonderful school.  She attends a Christian academy where she began preschool after we moved to the area.  I decided to keep her there for kindergarten because I felt it was safe, the people had grown to know us, and most of all, Maycee loves being there.  The school is in one city, while Maycee and I now live in another.  It is a half-hour commute one-way, upon then which I have to turn around and go the smackdabopposite direction to head to work, another half-hour commute.  Total drive time for one day is about 100 miles.  With today’s gas prices, well, you can do the math.

Maycee flourished in kindergarten.  She was pretty much the top student of her class, the top reader, received Principal’s Award and the beloved Christian Character Award at the end of the year for exemplifying the Fruit of the Spirit.  Testing scores revealed that she was reading at around a 4th-grade level, and she was only six.  Let me tell you, I was not the type of mom to push early reading, either.  I’ve always read Maycee a bedtime story at night and spoken to her with a more grown-up vocabulary, but learning to read this quickly was primarily due to one-on-one reading tutoring within the classroom.  She also was taught basic computer skills, music, and was starting multiplication.  In between the academics, the school put on two large musical productions with the kids, and Maycee was also given the gift of having a chapel service every Friday where the students from kindergarten to sixth grade worship together as a school.  It was a quite a year.

By the end of the following summer, after struggling to make it through full-time daycare for two and a half months, I knew that the bank was eventually going to break.  Her father and I would face tough decisions regarding this private school placement.  We received help from my dear ol’ dad, but we also had to come up with quite a chunk ourselves for the balance. My ex has had trouble landing full-time employment for a few years, and my income is low.  It was a sacrifice, but we pulled it together and managed to place her for first grade.  This year was just as stunning as the last with accomplishments continuing at lightning speed.  Maycee even landed a lead part in the Christmas musical production.  My once super stage-frightened child who would stand frozen, not move a limb, and stare into the great unknown during each and every pain-staking song, was acting in front of a HUGE family audience, donning a microphone!   Now, it’s almost June, and the end of the school year is days away.

With another summer of full-time, out-of-sight daycare costs looming, car issues, house issues, and my ex still struggling to get decent work, it is currently music-facing time.  “Oh, Darlin’ Darlin’, Stand by me.  Oh, Stand by me…”  Here is the beauty: the Serenity Prayer.  First, I asked God to give me serenity.  It’s been a tumultuous month with a break-up and getting my house back in order from repairs.  However, God, please, give me the serenity.  To what?  To accept the things I cannot change.  We live in a different town than her school. We need to embrace our existing community and continue to build relationships.  Her dad and I cannot afford to pay for private schooling without selling the shirts off our backs.  Now, God, give me what?  Courage.  Courage to change the things I can.

I can research the schools here in town (and I have).  I can place Maycee in a good public school with free full-time childcare that is only a few miles from home.  I can reinforce to Maycee that her dad and I love her ad-infinitum, God  loves her, He is with us, and that while it won’t be exactly the same in the new school, she will make friends quickly because of who she is, she will still have a ton of fun, and even though she’ll miss memorizing her Bible verses and going to chapel, we can find other ways to get those extra “God” shots when we need them.  Better yet is that her little neighborhood buddy attends the same school and can show her the ropes-sotospeak.

Wisdom.  And, God, please give me wisdomWisdom to know the difference.  I cannot change anybody.  I cannot change anything that exists outside of my own self, life, or my daughter’s.  But, as for her school situation, I can change that to make our lives more doable.  My biggest fear has been how Maycee would take it.  Maycee is an amazing daughter. Yes, I am biased, but she truly is an amazing daughter.  She screamed, stomped her feet, said she wanted to die instead of going to a different school, she sobbed, she hyper-ventilated, she held her head in her hands as if it was going to come off her shoulders.  I hugged her.  I love her, and I stayed calm while she let it all go.  She was letting it all flow out of her, processing the news that had been in the clouds above us for months and months with slight mentions every now and again.  Then, with puffy eyes, red, swollen with tears, she stopped.  She breathed.  We rocked in silence in my chair.  And then, my amazing daughter began to ask me questions about “Her New School”, and by dinner time she was smiling, laughing, and telling me how she went a “little overboard” getting so upset.  She’s seven.  Let me say it one more time: amazing. 

Thank you, God, for granting me the serenity.

Have a blessed night everyone.