Wednesday, April 27, 2016


How to parent by myself.

How to keep a schedule that seems anywhere near the same as the old one.

How to straighten my hair.

How to wear a belt properly.

How to unclog a drain.

How to catch a mouse.

How to drive in snow.

How to drive in ice.

How to smile at people I don't know.

How to look into people's eyes when they are speaking.

How to add pictures to my blog.

How to prioritize my books.

How to write a resume.

How to write a cover letter.

How to concentrate on today.

On this minute.

On this second.

How to lift properly.

How to keep my eyes on my own yoga mat.

How to make appointments. On the phone.

How to be alone.

How to sleep alone.

How to maintain a relationship that it would be easier to give up on.

How to make peace with a past you cannot change.

How to live with a future that seems undefined.

How to unmoor from all that you know to be who you are.

How to be.

How to feel joy again.

How to feel again.

How to feel at peace with your decisions.

How to forgive.

Really, truly forgive.

How to move forward.

How to let memories find a place to live.

How to remember that you are the only one who remembers.

"If I'm the only person who remembers, did it ever really happen?"

Monday, April 25, 2016

What I'm Reading Monday...

Mondays are for books.

I enjoy Gillian Flynn, though not quite as much as most people, I think. I like her premises, I like her style, but I always feel that she chases one too many white rabbits. I must be one of the only people who liked Gone Girl as a movie better than the book. I felt like the movie tightened everything up, did away with so many overreaching elements that Flynn throws in-I feel like she is trying so hard to make it twist, she ends up tying herself in a knot.

This is true of her other books also. I have actually read Sharp Objects twice because I didn't remember that I had read it and I promised April I would read it with her. The concept is better than the execution, this one is clearly a first novel. It is fairly easy to guess the twists, and it goes on too long. Dark Places is my favorite, as promised it goes to incredibly dark places, but Flynn is afraid to stay there and the ending is a muddled up mess. The rest of the book, though, is excellent.

And today I read The Grownup.

I found it by chance at the library last week. It is a very short story. Flynn does slightly better with short stories, I think, because even though she still wants a twist every few sentences, there are by nature fewer to be had. She has to be concise. This was a nice, easy read if you are in the mood for some suspense and only have, you know, a half hour while your youngest daughter is at dance class to get a book read.

So that is what I read today. I haven't quite decided what to read next, I have collected such a stack that I may have to play eeny, meeny, miny, mo in the next few minutes.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The story of a (tattooed) girl...

If my life were a book, I am fairly positive that I would begin with my tattoo. My first tattoo.

The butterfly that was etched into my left ankle as a present for my 22nd birthday was meant to illustrate a rebirth, an emergence of a new person, a new woman. It was a gift from my boyfriend of a month. He went with me and looked through books of pictures and forked over $60 and watched as my leg was scarred black. It was bliss.

I got my tattoo the day that I met Isaiah. It was meant to be a permanent reminder of the day that I met the boy who would become my stepson. Isaiah had just turned one. He scared the dickens out of me. I didn't want to let on, of course. I wanted Nick to see me with his child and marvel at how wonderful I was, what a fabulous stepmom I would be. In reality, I had never been around babies very much, certainly not little boys. I had no idea what I was doing.

Luckily for me, Isaiah was laid back even as a baby. He made things easy because he just took to whomever was willing to play with him. I didn't realize at the time that things could have been much harder.

So, on December 22, 2000, I met my future stepson in the morning and I went to a tattoo parlor in the afternoon. As you do.

Truthfully, I wanted a butterfly on my ankle because I love the movie Son-in-Law and in it she gets a butterfly tattoo on her ankle. But I am a writer and I do love a narrative, so I easily created one: I was changing, transforming, metamorphosizing into someone new. I was leaving a young girl behind and emerging as a whole new being, my first step on a road that would lead to my becoming a wife and a stepmother.

Nick played along because he always does. He gave me a birthday card in which he wrote, "Tattoos are forever and so is my love for you."

I couldn't look at my tattoo without remembering that.

I know it's stupid. I know in my head that he meant it at the time. I know that neither he nor I could have imagined that there would come a day when everything would turn so inside out and backwards. It all seemed so straightforward at the time. I loved him, he loved me, we were becoming a family.

I could even have spun a story in my head that Nick does still love me, just in a different way. But somehow, the butterfly just needed to go. It took awhile for me to be okay with that feeling. I love Isaiah exactly the same as I always did. He is the girls' brother (and he is a wonderful and patient big brother). Ultimately I know that Isaiah knows that I love him even if I'm no longer technically related to him.

Getting a tattoo as a 37 year old woman was a completely different experience than getting one as a besotted 21 year old girl. First of all, I did all of my research ahead of time, looking at all kinds of tattoos to decide what I wanted. I asked my friend Shawna, who has a wicked cool tattoo on her shoulder, where she got it. She led me to Jenn Seigfried of Red Rose Tattoo in Zanesville. I emailed Jenn with pictures of my tattoo and ideas for what I liked, and then I met with her to discuss what was possible. I found her to be super nice and friendly and loved her artwork.

It all felt most grown up.

And so, last night I went to a tattoo parlor after work. I cannot begin to describe how much I love what Jenn was able to do with my general ideas about what I wanted.

It is a large tattoo. It is much bigger than I felt at all comfortable with, but as I sat there, I realized that it was exactly what I needed. I am making a statement with this tattoo. This tattoo is not about being crazy in love and excited to do something that no one would expect me to do. This tattoo is telling a story, my story, and it is telling it loudly. I will be proud to be a grandma with this tattoo on her leg.

My transformation this time is not a complete and total changing of my being. The butterfly represented a whole new me, someone frankly that I barely even knew. She was so excited by life. I have always described meeting Nick as winning the lottery. And even at this end of the story, I would describe it that way. Meeting Nick led to absolutely every dream I ever had coming true. I have discovered as an adult that not everyone has what I had, has been as contented and happy as I was, even if it didn't last a lifetime. I wouldn't trade what I had even knowing how much pain there has been living through my marriage ending.

So my transformation this time is not that of a whole new being. My transformation this time is about evolving, emerging from one existence into another, still carrying all of those memories, all of those feelings, but bringing it forward in a new (and hopefully better) way. The best way to illustrate that was with a flower. A rose, because I love roses. The seed that began is still there, underground, but it has blossomed into something that it didn't even realize that it was capable of becoming.

The key is actually part of a story that I've been writing for most of my life. Maybe someday it will find a life somewhere other than the inside of my head.

While she was working on the tattoo, Jenn said to me, you know, the old tattoo is still there. And I hadn't thought of it that way. And that brought such peace to my heart that I really hadn't expected. The butterfly is still there. That Joy is still a part of me, a part of who I bring to the world. She is just absorbed into something bigger, something that she never expected, something that she didn't know she was missing. She was so happy and contented to be Nick's wife. It was the culmination of her dreams. And now I am so thrilled to see how much more there is to who I am. I would never have asked for the life that I have been given, but in the past few weeks I have somehow discovered that I have been given an opportunity to figure out who I am outside of the definition of wife. It's the most freeing thing that I have ever experienced.

I don't mean to make light of my marriage. I wouldn't be who I am without it. But I had been allowing myself to be surrounded by darkness because of it ending, instead of realizing that it wasn't an ending, it was a beginning. My grief has given way to light. It's just the most profound change I've ever felt in my life.

Lastly, there is an E in the middle of the rose, and an F in the middle of the key. For Elizabeth (Betsy) and Felicity. My life. My loves. No matter how I change and evolve from this unexpected turn in my life, they are rooted within me. Where they led, I will follow. Always.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Postcards from a hybrid weekend...

And just like that, I blink and it's Tuesday.

This was a hybrid weekend. I had the girls an extra day. We call it bonus Friday. Bonus Fridays seem even more special that regular Mom-weekend Fridays because it's like we are getting a gift of time. So bonus Fridays involve fun. We wouldn't want to waste bonus Friday on reruns and homework.

This bonus Friday involved the movie theater, shopping, and dinner. Loads of fun.

We saw The Jungle Book. We all three enjoyed it. Not quite as much as the animated version, because it is crazy silly and this, being more realistic, just couldn't be as wacky. But taken on its own, it's a good movie. A little intense at times, but the story is a good one-family is family no matter how they came to be, which is timely in our little family. The 3D is decent and not a complete waste of money. And I sort of love Christopher Walken and feel that his casting as King Louie is pretty genius, though I did hate the monkeys themselves-I am not a monkey fan and these particular monkeys are filmed in such a way that they kind of resemble bugs crawling all over him. Not a pleasant image.

We shopped-new dresses for all of us, new swimsuits for the girls-and had Olive Garden for dinner. It was a pretty great bonus Friday, as they go.

Saturday we were able to participate in Let's Pick It Up New Concord before heading to opening day for softball. It was a beautiful day, but unfortunately it was apparently a high UVA/UVB day, and Felicity and I both now resemble lobsters. The old Joy would never, ever have forgotten sunscreen. The old Joy was in so many ways a better mom than the new Joy. The new Joy is more fun, she's nowhere near as particular about things, but she is also forgetful of things like sunscreen and balanced meals and perfect spelling words. I know that I need to find a balance, that I am more than capable of being this new person and still not allowing Felicity to turn red, but I am still struggling with that.

Hybrid weekends, of course, mean that the girls then left with their dad and Jenifer. And so I was left with my normal, what should I do now? I went to Adornetto's for dinner. I highly recommend Adornetto's for eating alone because they have no bar and you can sit at a table with a book and not be bothered. And, hello, Adornetto's.

Then I went and saw The Boss. It was much like all of Melissa McCarthy's movies to me, meaning that it is hilariously funny in places and then drags on in others. Melissa herself is hysterical to me. She just needs tight scripts. It is very similar to how I felt about Jim Carrey before he only did important movies. But for the most part it was an enjoyable movie even if it didn't exactly make a whole lot of sense.

Sunday my sister and I went to Playhouse Square in Cleveland to see Beautiful, the Carole King musical. It is appropriately titled. I love Carole King and her music. This is particularly about her days on Tin Pan Alley. It is really a glimpse behind the scenes at these songwriters who were expected to churn out hit after hit like a factory. Carole's story is that of a wife and mother trying her best to love someone who is just unable to love her back, try as he might. But she takes that loss, the loss of more than a husband but that of a partner, of the other half to her creative side, and uses it to create such beauty that became Tapestry. It's inspiring.

And yesterday I hosted a party. I never do that. Ever. But I have come to really love Lularoe clothing, particularly their dresses, which are so comfortable but still really pretty. They are like the yoga pants of dresses. And so I hosted a party, and had a fabulous time talking with my friends and trying on pretty clothes. It was so far out of my comfort zone and yet I think it went well. This new Joy, she tries so many things that the old Joy would never even think to do. It can make my head spin sometimes.

And so, somehow it is Tuesday. And I am looking forward to an evening with nothing on our calendar, an evening of reading and running with Betsy and probably watching Saved by the Bell. Mostly my life is complete bliss. Blistering, red skin and all.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

No friendship is an accident...

I met Jennifer at MOPS. She was friendly and nice (of course, Jennifer was the homecoming queen, she is super nice to everyone), but we didn't really get to know each other until retreat. And at retreat, I talked to her about my friend Christy, who was looking into some speech therapy for one of her sons...

Christy I met at school during the Thanksgiving lunch when Betsy and Amberleigh were in kindergarten, but we really got to be friends when both girls were on the same softball team in the spring. I always took Betsy to practice and brought along my book to read. But Christy always sat beside me and just started talking to me. And one day she mentioned Amberleigh's dance teacher to me, said her name is Lacie, and I laughed and said, yes, I know Lacie...

Lacie I have known since she was born. I can remember of being at church for a dinner of some kind (it really seems like we had a lot of church dinners when I was a kid) and Lacie was a baby sitting on the counter in some kind of car seat type deal. Lacie is six years younger than me, but she had Brooke at the same time that I had Felicity and we would sit together in church and nurse them and talk...

And somehow we all, Jennifer and Christy and Lacie and me, became close friends. We aren't quite sure the organics of it beyond that they were all friends with me, so clearly I am the linchpin.

I hadn't had a real friend outside of my sister and Nick since high school. A friend that I really call in emergencies, a friend that I text in the middle of the night, a friend who let me collapse at her house when my life fell apart at every possible seam and I was scared to be in my house alone for fear of what I might do to myself.

It's a genuine friendship that I couldn't live without.

Who would have dreamed just a couple of years ago that one of us would move away, two of us would have babies, and one of us would get divorced? Lucky me on that lovely roulette spin.

We don't get to hang out like we used to. Christy moved away, I have a full time job, and Jennifer and Lacie have babies-but when we do get together, it's all just the same as it was. We laugh a lot and act silly and talk about our kids and our families. They talk about their husbands, while I bemoan ever dating again, which they kindly act like is ridiculous.

I could not have gotten through this year without them.

It is easier to see, looking back, all of the people that have come into my life to help me to transition to who I am becoming. I am grateful to all of them. I am grateful for friends that I have reconnected with from high school, for new friends from Genesis and Village Hall and MOPs. And I am immensely grateful for these three ladies that I know that God brought into my life when he did so that when everything fell apart, I would have someone to lean on. Someone to listen. Someone to be silly and crazy with and not worry that they will think any less of me. They have seen me at my worst. They have seen me out of my mind with grief, they have seen me scared and lonely and down a dark hole. And the most important thing is that they stayed with me. They knew that I had to work this out for myself.

I can never thank them enough for knowing that being my friend meant just sitting beside me while I cried.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dead boys don't have birthdays...

Jonathan Brandis would have been 40 years old today. If he were alive.


It is hard to wrap my mind around Jonathan at any age other than about 18. But then again, I would surely feel that way even if he were still alive. He would likely be someone that you would look up on a 'where are they now?' site and be amazed at a receding hairline or much weight gain. But he would still have those piercing blue eyes. And I would remember how my little 12 year old heart sped up at the sight of those eyes.

Jonathan was my all-time favorite teen idol. I bought every teeny-bopper magazine that featured his picture when I was around 13. I made collages of photos. I learned everything I could about him from those magazines, which was mostly things like his favorite food was Italian and he liked Pepsi.

I loved him with all of my heart.

He starred in many movies that you surely don't remember, or at least have very hazy memories of watching at a slumber party with your friends and making fun of it. At least, if you are any of my friends from middle school, because it was at my slumber parties that I forced Jonathan upon you. The Never Ending Story II. Sidekicks. (Yes, I forced my closest friends to watch a Chuck Norris movie.) And my favorite...Ladybugs.

Ladybugs was a vehicle for Rodney Dangerfield. In it, he basically stars as his standup character, a kind of a sad sack guy, Chester Lee. Chester is really a great guy stuck inside of Rodney Dangerfield's body. He is trying to gain confidence by asking his boss for a raise so that he can marry Bess (Ilene Graff from Mr. Belvedere), but he somehow ends up agreeing to coach his boss' daughter's soccer team. It just so happens that Matthew (Jonathan), Bess' son and Chester's soon-to-be-stepson, is a soccer whiz. Wackiness ensues. Chester puts Matthew in drag to play as Martha. Jackee provides lots of comic relief as Chester's assistant. Matthew develops a crush on Kimberly, the boss' daughter, who is a terrible soccer player but drop dead gorgeous. Will Kimberly discover the truth? Will Chester get his raise? Will Chester and Matthew learn to love each other despite obvious character flaws?

It's all completely and totally ridiculous. And I loved it so much. I read an article a while back about teen idols and how many of them are actually very feminine looking, very 'pretty' boys on the verge of puberty. The article assumed that this was due to girls wanting someone safe, someone not really spit and cuss and muscle, like, say, Axl Rose. (Axl is another huge crush of mine...but that is a different blog.)

Anyway, all of that is likely true. This is an actual Leonardo DiCaprio quote, "My two main competitors in the beginning, the blond-haired kids I went to audition with, one hung himself and the other died of a heroin overdose..." Assuming, of course, that he is speaking of Jonathan and River. And River is just a whole different blog post, so I will let that lie. My point here is that we seldom think about how we adored these beautiful boys who grow into men with facial hair and deep voices.

But likely for me, my love of Jonathan probably had something to do with the fact that he was dressed as a girl. Sleepaway Camp had done its number on me by that point, and that movie made me obsessed with boys who dress as girls. So, so obsessed.

And so, I loved Jonathan. I watched SeaQuest DSV even though I didn't especially love it because he was in it. I obsessed over him. I disliked Tatyana Ali for no good reason because they dated and were very obviously in love. I watched a movie with him and Kellie Martin as druggies sometime when I was in high school, even though my friends made fun of the entire premise of the movie. I loved him long after I had graduated away from teen idols and 90210 and all things 13.

But somewhere along the line I stopped paying attention. Or maybe he just fell so far off the radar I couldn't find him. Or, as is most likely, I became obsessed with Nick Johnson to a ridiculous degree in the year 2000 and he just took over all of the space that I had for obsessing over anyone else. In November of 2003, Nick was in Iraq. My husband, who I loved with all that was in me, was in mortal danger every second of every day.

In November of 2003 Jonathan Brandis hung himself.

I don't know when I found this out, because it was not when it happened.

As a result, I kind of just have little snippets of news releases that I have found on the internet long after it was all over. And sadly, that is probably all that there even was at the time. But there is precious little to be found about Jonathan at all after his roles kind of dried up. He didn't leave a note. He was depressed over the turn in his career and drinking-that is all that you can find to sum up his final days.

Why would someone kill themselves in such a dramatic way? I say this as a person who has been up against suicide and a death wish more times than I care to admit. I understand depression. I understand grief. I understand the desire to go to sleep and leave everything behind.

I do not, however, understand being able to harm yourself in such a painful way. I don't understand leaving your body in such a way that you know whoever stumbles upon you is surely going to have issues to deal with for the remainder of their life.

I am sad that Jonathan would have felt so bereft that this would have seemed like a reasonable solution. I am sad for his parents every year on this day because I do know that he was an only child and I cannot imagine having the strength to go on if one of my children died, much less died in such a violent way.

I know in reality that I was just a young, dorky girl with a crush. One of millions of girls who professed their love to him and then years later moved on to actual human boys who professed to love them back. But love him I did. I would even watch that Chuck Norris movie again. Maybe.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A love letter to Ramona...from Beezus...

Beverly Cleary is without question one of the greatest influences in my life.

And Ramona Quimby is one of my most favorite people.

When I was in second grade I was placed in a split class of second and third graders. My teacher was brand new, right out of college. She was blonde and beautiful and I was completely mesmerized by her. Her name was Kim Wells.

Miss Wells is still a third grade teacher for East Muskingum Schools. She is Mrs. Slack now. I often wonder if she reads any of the same books that she chose to read to us that first year that she taught. As usual, I can't think of a way to say, Miss Wells, you changed my whole life with the books that you chose to read aloud to me when I was seven years old. Because, come on, it sounds cuckoo.

But change my life she totally did. It is probably not too terribly surprising that I loved listening to teachers read a book aloud. Even as I got older and could have easily simply read the book myself, I preferred to be read to.

Miss Wells read me many books that I have adopted as among my favorites. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. How to Eat Fried Worms. Otis Spofford. And...Ramona the Pest.

Ramona is only surpassed by Anne Shirley in my world as my literary best friend. Ramona went through life with me getting messy and questioning authority and sticking burrs in her hair and cracking eggs on her head. Ramona was so accessible to me, and I have no idea why because I am Beezus made over, the good little girl sitting with her book and getting all of her homework done.

Reading the Ramona books with the girls has illuminated to me exactly how genius Beverly Cleary is. Ramona's family has it rough. They don't have a lot of money. Her dad is without a job for an entire book, and even when he manages to get a job, he doesn't especially love it. I related to Mrs. Quimby on our last run through so much-she is trying so hard to keep everything together, to raise a spirited girl, to keep Mr. Quimby from getting depressed, to run a house and have a job and sometimes forget to plug the crockpot in.

The Quimbys are real people from the 1970s and 1980s. Frankly, I don't have a lot of books that would meet that criteria. (And I do love 1970s and 1980s literature. So very much.)

Beverly Cleary will be talked about this week, as she turns 100 years old, as someone who writes children well. And oh yes, she so does. But she writes people well. Moms and dads and big sisters and ornery boys like Otis and mutts like Ribsy...

She is a genius. I am so blessed to have met her at the age of seven, so that I have been able to read her books over and over and over again. It is my pleasure and honor to introduce her characters to my girls. And if somehow you have never had the pleasure of meeting Ramona, or Henry, or Ribsy, or Ellen, or Otis...please seek them out.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thoughts from a lazy Sunday...

Today is Monday, so I should write about what I'm reading. Which I will. But yesterday was Sunday. And somewhat normally on Sundays (for at least a month) I have blogged about my divorce.

Yesterday was an odd day for me. Normally Sundays are kind of hectic, which is not at all what I want them to be. But because we try to attend the early service, we get up early, go to church, eat lunch, and just go, go, go all day long.

But yesterday, I decided that we were going to have a lazy Sunday. We slept in, read, the girls played on the Xbox, which they rarely do since their father left, we had dinner with my parents. It was nice. It was unhurried. I intend to do it again.

I watched the Catholic Mass on television. I enjoyed it. I have been thinking a lot about the Pope this week, because he has been on the news, I suppose. Once upon a time, I wanted to be Catholic very badly. I love the ritual of Catholicism. I love the rosary, I love the pageantry, I love how sure and steady Catholicism seems. But I am not truly Catholic.

However, I do admire the pope, particularly this pope, who seems so grounded in genuine love. I don't totally agree with everything he says, but I think that he is learned and kind and someone that anyone could learn from.

And this week he talked about being divorced.

Being divorced is not something that I intended. I realize that no one likely intends it. But sometimes people say things off handed, not meaning anything by it, and it stings like a dagger because I take it personally. I did not want to get divorced. It was thrust upon me, and it took me such a long time to come to terms with it. But I have.

Laura Bush, who I simply adore, said last week that the best thing a person can do for their child is to love their father. "Marry someone you like," or something of that nature. Upon hearing that, I want to scream, I did! I loved him, and liked him, and in the end, it didn't matter. And now I worry constantly that I have likely screwed my children up, and am leading them down a road of promiscuity and drug use. Seriously, when you go to the divorced parents class, they tell you all of these statistics about how much more likely your kids are to go a dangerous route. It's lovely.

But, after digesting it for a while, I came up with my answer. And maybe it's just my answer, but it's my truth. Nick and I are doing the absolute best that we can. The girls are absolutely the most important thing in the world to me. Maybe it's crazy, but remaining friends with Nick is crucial to me in raising my girls. They love their dad. As they should. They didn't ask for any of this either, and the last thing that they need is for their life to hold any more turmoil.

We are still a family. We are a new and different family. It's awkward sometimes, but Jenifer and I are friends. Her kids love my kids. She loves my kids. I can see myself, my future self, thanking both Jenifer and Nick for giving me this life that I have. It was born of a lot of pain, yes, but it has led to a place of healing. A place where my kids get to have all of these people who love them. And for us, that is the best we can do.

Anyway, what I'm reading:

Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Roswell Fan Fiction (that deserves its own blog post)

I'm still reading Founding Mothers and Leaves of Grass.

The girls and I are still reading Ribsy. We read a lot more slowly than we used to. But trust me, we are having a lot more fun.

Monday, April 4, 2016

What I'm reading now...

I am in the mood to not blog about grief or loneliness or sadness or anything of that nature.

So, I was thinking, what would make a good Monday blog?(It is so my intention to blog every day. Or at least more than once a week. But usually my best intentions lead me to my tired self saying, oh well, tomorrow, at 11 at night.)

I love blogs that have a theme for every day. I wish I could figure out a theme for mine, but unfortunately at the moment, my blog is too much for my healing process to be able to undertake such a massive endeavor. I need to know that I can blog about my divorce and my grief and my healing and my whatever whenever I need to at this point. I can't schedule it on a calendar like cool bloggers do.

That being said, I am in the mood for something different today. Something more uplifting.

Something that quite possibly no one in the whole world cares about except me.

So, on this Mondayest of Mondays, I'm going to blog about what I'm reading.

Exciting, no?

And possibly, writing it down will push me into a place where I am reading quite like I used to, once upon a time, before the whole world seemed to need to sit on my shoulders.

What I'm Reading Now:

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Ribsy by Beverly Cleary (with, of course, my favorite girls)

I'm trying to figure out some magical way to read fiction, non-fiction, poetry, many blogs, and throw in some childhood favorites-it's a tall order that will require some serious time management. And Betsy and I need to get back to Harry Potter, which we are kind of in the middle of book four, I believe. This year has gotten us all off schedule and out of whack and I'm only just beginning to get organized enough to reclaim some normalcy from this ever changing year.

So, perhaps only for this one Monday, but hopefully for more to come, this will be Monday's theme. What I'm reading....

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Figuring out alone....

Weekends go quickly around here.

It's kind of amazing.

At the beginning of the school year, weekends without the girls dragged on forever. I felt like I had nothing to do but stare at the walls and count minutes. I tried to read, but everything that I read last fall has melded together in my brain into pieces of mush. I don't really watch TV anymore except the news without the girls. I did go to the movies a lot, and while I enjoyed the show itself, I also often sat there feeling alone.

Alone basically was how I felt all the time.

Alone felt heavy and hard and sad.

Alone felt lonely.

Somehow, though, alone has morphed into something that I am enjoying. Books make sense again, thank goodness. Yoga kicks my butt, and I am so far from where I hope to be, but I enjoy it immensely. And sleep. My old friend. Sleeping as long as I want to-it's a luxury.

I still miss the girls. I look forward to picking them up and drinking them in while they tell me about their weekend. They always seem slightly changed. We are still learning, all of us, still growing into our roles, still pushing past feelings of sadness and grief. But we are all striving to find our place in this new family.

And my place includes this time to myself. Time to figure out where exactly I am going and what I want to do. I heard myself say to someone this weekend, "I hope that you enjoy your job. Because you should feel so excited that you get to do this everyday."

And as I was saying that, I realized that I genuinely mean that in my own life. I am so excited to go to my job everyday. I am so privileged to be Betsy and Felicity's mom. And I am even blessed to be Nick's ex wife. Somehow.

I am somehow happy to be in this mess that I call my life.