Articles

You Matter…

Picture if you will…

It was a beautiful Saturday evening… sitting in the courtyard of the local shopping plaza on plush out door furniture… and fake green grass being cartwheeled across by a handful of rambunctious children.

The fountain is spraying in a choreographed multihued performance to the music playing from the well placed speakers… out of sight in flower boxes as if the flowers themselves were singing to us…

Happily seated between Mr. Amazing and Small Child… waiting for our XD 3D center row seating to the latest magic Marvel has put before us.

Perfection … halted by the alert of a text on my phone…

The following image was received from my  best friend… She explains that she was cleaning her teenage daughters room while she is off at camp when she climbed into her bed which is in a nook and saw something that could only been seen by someone laying there… that is was not visible from any other angle… and she sent me this image as she lay there as her daughter does daily…

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A lump formed in my throat and dread settled around my heart like a cloak… and I can only imagine this is a sliver of what my friend is going through… I try to imagine how she must be feeling… and try to say the right thing…

I do not need to imagine how the girl is feeling… I do not need to imagine the depth of shame and self loathing that drives someone to write such things… to punish oneself so brutally. No Imagination required… I have an infinite pool of experience to swim in to know exactly what she must feel like… and what it must feel like to wake daily and look at those words. I run my fingers along the scars on my arms… they are 23 years old… I touch the deep gouge of a scar on my thigh… I can still feel it even through my jeans… I remember carving the word “Worthless” on myself… I remember my journal entries filled with too many feelings… filled with hate and pain.

It is wrong how we sometimes treat ourselves… If someone on the street… or in the children’s school spoke to our children that way we would beat their asses… we would intervene… we would get them help and support them and make sure they knew they were not alone…

But what do you do… when the bully… the abuser… the hate is being spewed by the person you love… in the case of our offspring more than we love anything else on the planet… People are left speechless… afraid and confused in these situations… They say horrible things… “They just want attention”… “Its the media… the marketing… the music… their friends”

So we did what anyone in my situation would do… We awoke early this morning… and I went to the craft store… I took small with me… not only to talk about the situation… but because we all love this girl so very much…  Her amazing mother and older brother hauled the bed in pieces to the carport and covered the words that beautiful girl… whose only vice is feeling maybe a little too much… and they painted over them in her favorite colors… Small Child and I went to work with stickers, stencils, acrylic paints and sharpies… 3 hours later…

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She may be angry with us when she discovers it upon climbing into her bed… and finds we paid little attention to her want of privacy… and space…she may be embarrassed… she may be revolted by the cheerful affirmations.. and flowers… and butterflies… but the message is loud and clear… “You Matter”… “You are loved” and if anyone had seen two teenage boys painting her bed pink and moving it around so that us mothers could tell her to “Shine” they would understand how very true those words we adhered onto her bed… with nothing less than gorilla glue…. were.

They were true for this young woman… they were true for the young men taking the time to make sure she heard them… without judgement… they were true for the mothers so concerned as we worked so hard to give her a different perspective…

They are true for everyone…

So if you needed to be reminded… as we all do from time to time… You are Loved… and You Matter!

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Dear Son…

It’s so fucking hard to believe you’re turning 16 today.

Apparently… when I blinked, your little blond mancub self… who used to spend hours catching grasshoppers and swimming and music has grown into a tall…kind.. thoughtful…  smart teenager who loves games and girls…

I know this journey hasn’t been easy.

I know your dad and I (especially I!) have made mistakes… but we have done our best… I promise to continue to do so.

It’s not easy figuring out what should be said and done and those words that should remain unsaid and the actions that should remain undone.

Because sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to stay back and let the lesson teach itself… I am so sorry about your dad not being here.

There have been a couple of close calls–a few times I felt my heart in my throat.

When you chased your sister and her friends around the block… with myself and some neighbor lady trying to catch you… when you got past the dead bolt for the first time… when the lump formed on your neck… and later when they wheeled you away to surgery to remove it….when you broke your leg… when the scuba gear sank you like a lead weight…. when your dad died…

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell you what I want you to know. Many times… we don’t see eye-to-eye. Sometimes…  I don’t do well when I’m put on the spot. Sometimes (most times),  I do better in writing. So here goes.

I know you think you have it figured out. Life, I mean.

And in many ways, you do. You get good grades, you get along with your peers, you love music and your viola,. You feel things deeply… and injustice bothers you.

These are all attributes that make me proud of you.

Please–never fail to listen when somebody older and wiser tries to give you advice… Let the BFG offer to help with math…  You don’t always have to take it (many times you shouldn’t!), but listen to those who care enough to try to help.

In just a few years, you’ll be going off to college– Now you are driving without me… making decisions on your own.

I’m not worried about that. Well shit…  I do worry a little, but I think you’ll be fine.

Your moral standards will hold. I know it may sound cliché but I’m going to say it anyway…  follow your heart. Follow your conscience. It’s kept you kind and compassionate.

One thing I do worry about: I want you to make time for friends. I know you are introverted and it’s easier to stay by yourself … but you have so much to offer others: your sense of humor…  your knowledge of current events… your integrity…  your wit. You’re so funny!

Please, don’t sell yourself short. Shoot for the stars! Set high goals. It’s okay to not always succeed — sometimes falling is part of the process. Don’t let yourself get discouraged. Sometimes, you’ll get told “No.” Even though it stings, it’s not the end of the world. If it’s important to you, keep trying…don’t let one person (or opportunity) hold you back. Never let YOU be the one to hold yourself back.

When you do win…know you deserved it. Nobody can say you didn’t.

I’m your mom, and I love you more than I can say… more than there are words to write…and I can’t wait to see how you’re going to shake up this world of ours.

It’s going to be beautiful.

You are My Sunshine...

You are My Sunshine…

 

 

Dear Nine Year Old…

It is no secret that Second marriages don’t always have the perfect start. It is hard to find happiness and love in a relationship which lacks foundation… By foundation I mean a childless time…. we started this journey as a family… and now you are nine…

Separation and divorce can sometimes make it difficult for some kids to get along with their step parent… . But life always presents opportunities to build bridges …   please don’t assume that I will never understand your emotions… and you should know your continued maturity does continue to amaze me and I can only hope my words and presence will have a strong impact on your perception about what and who you are as a person.

My biggest hope for us is that I can show you that It takes time to build relationships…  Be patient and selfless – and if you wait for it… one day you will realize how much love you have in store for your life… how much you are loved… and so to celebrate your 9th year my stunningly beautiful step daughter… 9 cheesy reasons I hope you have the best birthday ever

1)  A daughter who is a best friend in disguise – my dear you are my life’s biggest prize. Happy Birthday Banana Pants.

2)  You could have been a force that caused fights between me and your father but instead…  you became the glue that held us together… thank you for making the family stronger.. Happy Birthday Sweetheart

3) Stepmothers have to put in effort to find reasons and ways to love their stepdaughters… but you have made me a natural pro at my job. Happy Birthday Cuteness.

4) Fairy tales have always portrayed stepmothers as wicked…But for me, the only time I’m get wicked is when someone else tries to be wicked with you. Happy birthday Babygirl.

5) Our relationship is like clay… it can change its form according to circumstances but it will always make us stick together. Happy Birthday Angel Girl…

6) The best stepdaughters in the world are not the ones who accept their fathers’ new wives… but the ones who welcome them as new best friends in their lives. Happy Birthday Miss Bee.

7) You range from curious to anxious… nervous to afraid… worried to petrified –  all wrapped up in one tricky little girl… we all stepped into this  new family, and the adventure started… we have had so much fun. Happy Birthday. Pretty Facey

8) You could have resented my presence in your father’s life… but you cherished it. You could have hated my involvement in your own life… but you valued it… You could have detested my addition in your family… and your step brothers… but you welcomed it. Thanks, Happy Birthday Lil Miss Thang

9) If fights and distance make loved ones eventually come closer… let’s continue to fight… Someday it will make us the closest stepmom-stepdaughter in the world. Happy Birthday… Way To Go Buffalo.

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday!!

 

Plot Twist!

Writing Prompt :Write a blog post in exactly 15 lines.

Writing Prompt: Write a blog post in exactly 15 lines.

Everything is Changing!

<Insert action shot of leap of faith here>

Small Child bought a car 17 days before his 16th birthday (Pictures)

Tall Child is squeezing out a baby girl any day now

The Supreme Court ruled… churches burned… the flag was taken down by someone who could not wait any longer.

Change is in the air my friends and I can’t wait any longer.

Locking arms with my truth and facing the world without a single inkling of a purpose or plan

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The definition of genius is doing something you have never done before and not having any expectation of result.

I am somewhere in between these two

I am so far out of my comfort zone I cannot even see it from where I stand

But I am standing

I am irresponsible… and irreplaceable… and no one else can play my part

It is the role of a lifetime… my lifetime

this is line 15.

How to completely change your life in one week…. Wordless Wednesday!

Everyone Can Marry!

Everyone Can Marry!

The Kid Small Enough to still do this...

The Kid Small Enough to still do this…

Is 17 days away from doing this alone... and paid for his own car

Is 17 days away from doing this alone… and paid for his own car

I did some soul searching

I did some soul searching

Kind of lost my mind and started sending my boss texts like this...

Kind of lost my mind and started sending my boss texts like this…

Then quit my job

Then quit my job

Layer 2

The Light and Shade Challenge

The Light and Shade Challenge

An Epiphany has happened! I am about to tell you about it without the use of an adverb. Thanks to the Light & Shade Challenge! So if this is a hard read… Well… be grateful you did not have to write it.

As I spoke with Small Child last night (Small Child is a nick name, he turns 16 next month) he expressed his dislike of my Nicotine addiction. No, No, I am not a smoker… I used to be… I also used to carry 100 pounds more body fat than I do now… I used to smoke a pack a day…

I need to lose another 100 pounds (I say that with such a casual tone) I need to get off the Nicotine Gum.

Yes… the gum… I have chewed it for years… I feel a little embarrassed by it.

I am half way there. I have done half of what needs to be done.

We set a date… August 10th… to be weened off the stuff…

I hate that anything has a hold on me… I hate being dependent on anything… and as Small Child put it… What if…

What if the Zombie Apocalypse came… He said he would use me as a Nicotine withdrawn weapon… as it would not be available to me.

But I think at this moment, I could face any challenge ahead… Other than writing one more horribly boring … incredibly un-descriptive line of dribble about my mundane physical addictions… I would gladly write a million things other than that… but I needed to get it put in writing… and what better way to do it and aggressively make the point!

Small Child and I!

Small Child and I!

Crackin’ Crawdads

In 5 days this kiddo will have been without his father for 2 years … He is being a little passive agressive… I am being a little smothery…. Mr. Amazing and I took him to one of his favorite memory spots of his father… he ate two bucket fulls… (freaking gross!) …
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The Leprechauns have landed!

 

Well the year had finally come that St. Patricks Day fell on a day that smallest child was at her Mom’s for the holiday… I knew last year it was coming so I put in a little extra effort into the prank until the St. Patricks Day eve was upon us and we got a tearful call from that co-parent… She hadn’t realized how much smallest child was looking forward to it… smallest child could be heard in the background screaming “If there is no Leprechauns, then there is no Santa, no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy… ” and so on… we thought she had reached the age of not believing and treated her accordingly… only to realize at the last moment that she might still need/want to believe… we figured it out when she was berating her Mom with lines such as “You are ruining my childhood!” … Soooo what is any stepmother supposed to do that has created this monster? I put in a quick call on the Leprechaun line… they managed to pull off a miracle… and her childhood was saved!

They tiptoed outside her Moms apartment... sneaking up to her car... as it was too late to get into the abode.

They tiptoed outside her Moms apartment… sneaking up to her car… as it was too late to get into the abode.

They busted into the car in a flurry of green glitter and shamrock confetti!

They busted into the car in a flurry of green glitter and shamrock confetti!

They left their wisely worded note...

They left their wisely worded note…

And goodies for the wee lass... including her half sister... the wee-er lass

And goodies for the wee lass… including her half sister… the wee-er lass

And that is the story of how we saved St. Patricks Day

And that is the story of how St. Patricks Day was saved!

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Tall Child was not forgotten in all of this… he was rewarded with gold coins of his own for his help in the Leprechaun Miracle

 

(You may want to visit our Leprechauns past visits… they are quite evil)

I have had people bemoan my Leprechaun Loyalty in the past… there was the one year a wee lass at school didn’t believe in my smalls Leprechauns

So we helped her build a trap (actually a house because she was afraid of hurting them)

So we helped her build a trap (actually a house because she was afraid of hurting them) The Leprechauns broke into her house (They may have known where the key was hidden and played… quite messily in their kitchen and left some treats!)

And if that is a bit of the stretch from the original prompt I apologize … But you can’t talk about being tricked without a little Leprechaun story!

Writing Prompt :A Time I Was Tricked

Writing Prompt :A Time I Was Tricked