The Girl Next Door

{October 17, 2011}   And The World Falls Down

My Dearest Goblin King,

I write to you on this the day following a full moon, full moons signifying completions, and endings, to say the one last thing, the one final thing that I have realized, only recently, I want to say to you, that I need to say to you. 

As I feel like the world falls down around me once again, having been served with another motion in your never tiring campaign to push my buttons, feeling like there is not enough room in this world for my pain, and feeling some of it for the first time since you left, I feel like now, with the full moon energy supporting me, is the perfect time to end this energetically, and to say the only thing I care enough to say.

My therapist and I were discussing my revenge fantasies (which for the record she finds quite healthy) last week, most of which involve your mother, and she asked me what I wanted to say to you, what revenge I wanted to serve you. 

I told her that I just want to torment you, that there is essentially nothing that I want to say to you.  You have left me screaming, though voiceless for so long, as you have rewritten history and painted yourself the innocent victim through your endless and exhausting lies, that I didn’t see, long haven’t seen, the point.  Anything that I could say would only fall on deaf ears that are incapable of hearing anything other than those lies of convenience. 

But, upon further reflection, and an epiphany that brought me to my knees in tears in the shower, the long-awaited catharsis finally beginning to manifest, I realized that neither statement is accurate.

My original statement that I want to torment you, was based on the thought that I could make you think I was the whore that you and your family seem to need me to be by making it appear that I am this great dating machine, with the line for my would-be brothel forming to the right.   

I would derive a minimal amount of satisfaction watching you squirm knowing you will never be able to touch me again, never again be able to hold me, to call me yours, or to look into my eyes without seeing what you could have had – seeing instead what you not only killed, but violently murdered.  It would ultimately be empty and fleeting satisfaction because we both know that just isn’t me.  I don’t have the capacity to play that game, to play any games really, or to be that monster that you seem to need me to be.  I grant you full license for that. I will not play.

But what will bring me great satisfaction is this: I am going to live the best life that I can, my best life, THE best life, with our son, and I am going to get everything that I want, and I am going to do it all without you, and I am never going to look back.  Just to be clear, that life will not include you in any capacity. 

I AM going to have everything I want, as will our son, and if we’re honest, I should say MY son.  Let’s face it, he was never yours.  You have now made sure he never will be.  The last time that you had any potential ownership over him was when he was one of your swimmers.  That was the closest you were ever going to get to him because sadly, you have treated him, from conception on, with about as much care as you would show your ejaculatory emissions. 

But know I don’t blame you for that.  You couldn’t show him any care because you were never shown any yourself as a child.  I do not blame you for the faults of your parents.  I don’t blame you for your parentage.  You were an innocent, and I suspect, quite similar in temperament to our own son as a baby, and you were horrifically abused and outrageously used – you were conceived by your mother’s manipulation with an agenda.  It is never fair to any child to be born with a job, much less a job the magnitude of making sure their parents stay together.

Truthfully, you never had a chance.  You were broken, brutally broken, and every chance you ever got to see the light and potentially heal, you were forced back down, beaten down, and broken some more.  That cycle is unfortunately still ongoing.  I pray for you that one day soon it is broken.

I want to say this to you, because I don’t know that anyone ever has, and you deserve to hear it: what happened to you, how you were treated, the abuse that you suffered, NONE of it was your fault.  Please, read that again, right now, so that you understand it: NONE OF IT WAS YOUR FAULT

You were born into this world, as all people are, as an incredible being of light, full of potential and deserving of love, and through some cruel twist of fate, or karma, or circumstance, you were not shown love, and were repeatedly denied it.  You did not have the ability to show our son love or care or concern, because you never knew it, not in its pure form, not without severe conditions and extremely high prices.  I do not and will not fault you for what you were never capable of.

I’m sure you don’t believe this, especially now, because I’m pretty sure that you are wallowing in self loathing and beating yourself up at every given opportunity, but I swear to you, that incredible being of light is still inside you, and you are still deserving of that love.  There never is a cut off or a statute of limitations on that. You will always be deserving of that love.

I don’t blame you for what happened to you.  I don’t blame you for what you became because of it. You were, and in some ways still are, a victim of circumstances that most of us never want to imagine and truly wouldn’t believe.

I blame her. 

 (For much of it anyway.  You cannot be completely absolved of responsibility because you always have had, and still have free will choice.)

It has been said that some people should never have had children.  Your own mother is one of them, by your own admission and acknowledgement, however long you may struggle to get your head around that fact.  The selfishness that she showed in conceiving you and your siblings is disgusting and inexcusable.  The cruelty that she showed most severely to you is physically sickening. 

One could argue that she too was a victim of her own upbringing, and that may very well be true, but her tyranny and abuse is simply unforgivable.  That it has been allowed by all parties to continue into and through your entire adulthood is unfathomable, but also speaks volumes to the depths of the sickness of the situation and the level of abuse.  I hope that someday you are able to know this truth.  It may set you free.

As a mother, I cannot fathom her actions, just like as a parent, I cannot fathom many, if not most, of yours.   

I do not blame you for not having the capacity to love me or to love our son. 

I do not blame you for leaving me when I was pregnant, because I knew you’d be back and I knew you were terrified and paralyzed by your demons. 

 I don’t blame you for leaving after our son was born, because you were overwhelmed to the point that you probably didn’t know what you were feeling. 

I don’t blame you for not wanting to be a parent or not wanting to change your life style. 

I don’t blame you for walking away and not seeing our son for 42 weeks during his first year. 

I don’t even blame you for running home to her, because that’s all you’ve ever done and all you’ve ever known. 

No, I don’t blame you for any of it.

I probably understand it all more clearly than you do, and possibly ever will.  We both know I’ve long known you better than you ever knew yourself, and that is unlikely to ever change. 

  Moreover, I have long ago forgiven you for all of that, which is something that you will never be able to accept or understand.  I cannot force you to accept my forgiveness.  All that I can do is offer it with an open heart.  But I do hope, for your sake, and for that of our son, one day you are healthy enough that you will be able to accept my forgiveness, and in turn begin to forgive yourself. 

I blame you for one thing, and one thing only: 

I blame you for not having the courage to know or to say “this isn’t what I want” and “I can’t do this right now” and for not walking away and staying gone, thus emotionally damaging and neglecting our son through your ultimate act of selfish cowardice. 

If you truly loved him, on any level, on whatever level you are capable of, you would walk away and never, ever look back.  You have done enough damage already.  Let me go.  Set him free.

Haven’t we all suffered enough already?  You included?

Just so we’re clear, because I haven’t said it before, and maybe I have been remiss in not releasing the energy into the Universe: I have moved on.  You know that I never say never (“because no one ever has!”), but I will say that I cannot conceive of a circumstance in this life time, or for many to come, which would make it possible for us to be together. 

I have already forgiven you for many, if not most of your transgressions because I refuse to be defined by hate and anger.  It is only the aforementioned act of selfish cowardice that I am struggling to forgive because I live with the ramifications of what that on-going act does to our son every single day.  I struggle not to hate you for it.

But I do love you.  Which is why I have chosen to let you go.  There is simply nothing else that I can do for you right now.  So I make this choice, and I let go, with love. 

I acknowledge that whatever place you are in right now, wherever you are, you have long been unreachable by me, or anyone else.  You have chosen your path, and frankly, in my opinion, you have chosen poorly.  You are better than this.  You really are, and we both know it.  But this is your choice. 

While I do not like it, to put it mildly, I do accept it as your choice, and I leave you to it.  I leave you to walk the path that you have chosen, to get to wherever it is you are going, without me, and without our son.  Alone.

You are the expert self saboteur.  You sabotaged our relationship and my feelings for you beyond the point of no return.  I loved you the best that I could, the best that I knew how, and we both know that I loved you better than you have ever been loved.  You couldn’t accept the gift of my love because you felt you didn’t deserve it, and I can understand why given your history. 

But you did.  We all deserve to be loved, especially those that have suffered the unspeakable crime of having a mother’s love withheld. 

I know in my heart, and most of the time in my head, that I gave you my all.  I loved you better than many people would argue you ever deserved to be loved.  I have no regrets.  I would do it again.  I know in my heart, and most of the time in my head, that none of this, NONE of this is my fault.  I know in my heart, and most of the time that none of this, NONE of this is because I did anything wrong. 

I know that you will never find anyone like me, that you will never find anyone to love you like I did, that you will never let anyone get that close again, that you won’t even ever look.  That is your choice.  All I can do is be okay with my role, and I am, because I know that I did right by you, that I did better than right by you, and that I may be the only person in your life who ever has or ever does.

But please know that is not my wish for you.  That isn’t what I want for you.  

I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you to know that I am teaching our son about magic.  Not the illusionist “pull a rabbit out of a hat” or “saw a chick in half” side-show variety, but the real secrets of the Universe.  I have taught him to wish in fountains, and like many beautifully simple things, it is something that he takes great joy in doing. 

Each time we see a fountain, we make three wishes: one for him, one for me, and one for “daddy.”  We always make the same wish for you: that daddy will find peace, love, and his divine right family.  That is truly my wish for you.  I cannot think of anything more that I could wish for you.  I cannot think of a greater magic to ask for on your behalf.

I know that you are lost.  I know you are scared.  I know that you’ve never felt at home, anywhere, most especially in your own skin, a single day in your life, although you may have come closest on all accounts during your time with me.  I know that it is very dark and very cold wherever you are.  But, when you’re lost, you have two choices: you can keep fumbling forward, blindly, in the dark, likely wandering further from where you want to be, or, you can stop and figure out where you are and wait for help.

You have continuously wandered farther into the dark.  I am ever hopeful that you have not past the point of no return, and though I have always believed in you, and in your power to reconcile yourself and save yourself, yet again from your darkest days and those demons they contain, that hope dwindles with each passing day. 

Know that if you ever decide to wait for help, I will always be here for you.  I will never close that door.  I promise you that.  But that is all that I can do for you.  That is the last promise that I will make you.

There is a scene in the movie Moonlight Mile, which is one of my favorites, that we never did get around to watching together, in which Bertie confronts Joe about being lost and being untrue to himself and making some very poor decisions, mostly for the benefit of what other people thought. She asks him “Where’d you go Joe?  Where’d you go?” 

I would love to look into your eyes and ask you “Where’d you go Ton?  Where’d you go?”  Because you aren’t here, and you haven’t been for a long, long time. 

 But truthfully, I would be afraid to look into your eyes, not because of what I might see, but because I’m afraid there is nothing there anymore, nothing left to see at all.

In the movie, Joe sends this letter to Bertie once he realizes how lost he’s been: “Dear Bertie, You asked me before where I went. And I want to tell you. I went to a place where nothing’s right, where every moment’s backwards, every sky’s without colour, without hope. I tried to come back, Bertie. But I got lost. And while I was gone, I met you. And I didn’t even have the courage to realize I was home. A wise friend of mine told me “we all have our homes”, and now I know it’s true. I hope you get this letter, Bertie. I figure I got 75 chances. Cause if you do you’ll know that in the end, that’s where I was. I found home, Bertie. I found you. I hope you can find your’s soon. Get there – as fast as you can. And write me when you do. Love, Joe.” 

My last wish for you Ton, is that you find your home, your true home, because I accept that our son and I were not it.  I want you to get there fast, out of that place where there is no color, and every moment is backwards,  and is devoid of hope – out of your bizarro world.  Find your way home.  That is all that any of us can ever do. 

 You were my home for a while.  You were truly the first home that I had ever known.  I will always have that, and it will find a place in my heart, a happy place, when the dust eventually settles, as the healing continues.  I will always have 1477 and I know that it was real.  I know that we were both happy in a way that neither of us had ever known before. 

What you said that November night was true: we were happier together than any two people ever deserved to be.  We did work better together than any two people ever had.  We did laugh more than two people ever should.  And you were right, I AM magical.  More than that – I’m amazing.  We both know those things are true.  You can attempt to rewrite history all you want and you can disconnect from it and you can block it out, but you can never take that away from me.  I know the truth because I was there.

So were you.  Maybe it is too difficult for you to remember the reality of what was because you didn’t have the courage to stay and let me love you.  Maybe it is too much for you to know that you did in fact throw away the best thing that you ever had and will ever have -  what was most likely your one chance at true happiness.  Maybe it is simply that in the place where you are, where every moment is backwards, every memory is too. 

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter to me.  I know the truth just like you do, even if you choose to bury it and deny it.  You can never erase it.  You will never chance it. 

The ultimate truth speaks for itself.  Our love was so beautiful that it could not be contained between two people.  It combined to produce a third person.  It created our son.  Our gorgeous, beautiful, amazing, wonderful son.  You can never erase him.  You will never change him.  That must really kill you.  But some things do speak for themselves, even if just by their mere existence.

So, my wishes for you are that you realize that you are a loveable being of light – that you are able to see the truth of your existence and your own personal history, and that the truth does set you free; that you find peace, love, and your divine right family; and that you find your home Ton. 

 Maybe when you do, you will write me, and we can meet again, in a very different place, in a much different time, and we can get to some place different. 

But until then, as my world falls down, again, it falls for the last time because of you.    Like Jareth, you thought you asked for so little, asking that I fear you, love you, and do as you say.  But I will not fear you, anymore.  I will always love you, and maybe I always have.  But I will never do as you say.  I will not ever do as you say.  One out of three ain’t gonna cut it, so you cannot be my slave in return.  That contract is null and void.  Instead, you’ll have to settle for being hers.  At least until you decide to sever the tie that binds. 

So, I say to you now, as Sarah said to Jareth:

“Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great… You have no power over me!” 

And with that, I release you with my final words, and I set you free, with infinite love and gratitude.  So spread your wings and fly, My Dearest Goblin King.  Fly away home.

As The World Falls Down

Unbelievable.  I realize that I say that all the time with respect to my son’s father’s family, but seriously, they are unbelievable.  This is unbelievable.  What just happened still has the feeling of being horribly surreal.  I can’t believe we are back to this, just like that.  But seemingly, we are.

When I picked up my son from his father this afternoon  following his overnight, he forgot to give me back my son’s comfort items which include his blanket and one of my nightgowns which I have recently worn which has my smell on it.  I didn’t notice that he had forgotten the comfort items until we were home and I had nursed my son.  When I realized that he had not returned them, I also realized that if I text him and asked him to return the items it would turn into a big “to-do” and probably end up in a fight and/or with me being verbally abused.

I felt I had a much better chance of actually having the items returned if my mom attempted to call my son’s father, since after all, he claims to like dealing with her.  I called my mom at work and explained the situation and gave her his new phone number.  Then I held my breath and crossed my fingers, knowing there was only about a 50% chance that he would take the phone call given that he would not recognize the number.  Thankfully he did answer the call.

My mom said that he seemed to have genuinely forgotten the comfort items, and this time I don’t believe that he was playing games or that it was intentional.  He was in too big of a hurry to give me our son when he dropped him off which told me that he was just eager to be rid of him and probably had rushed out of the house.  In any case, he said he was faxing at the Library (which is suspicious in and of itself – why wouldn’t he just fax from his parent’s house?) and that he would be about another hour (REALLY suspicious – what the hell could he be faxing for an hour that he wouldn’t want his parents to know about?!) but that he would be coming back to his mom’s house, and that he would call my mom and let her know when he was there.  Great.  Phew.  Bullet dodged.  Or so we thought.

Of course, predictably, my son’s father cannot do anything he says he is going to do when he says he is going to do it.  He didn’t used to be like this, but we don’t have the time and I don’t have the energy to get into what potentially happened there.  So, an hour came and went.  An hour and half came and went.  Now it was getting uncomfortably close to the time when my son needed to go to bed.  Dammit. 

My mom called him again, this time from her cell phone because she was now home from work.  He did not answer.  She left him a message reiterating that we still needed the comfort items and asking him to call her.  He never did.

Fifteen minutes later, I was sitting on my couch with my son in my lap reading him a book when I saw motion at the outer door wall on my porch.  There she was.  Batwoman.  Seriously?  What the fuck?!

I could not believe what I was seeing.  This woman, my son’s father’s mother, my son’s paternal grandmother, bane of my existence, root of all evil (and then some) had not set foot on my property, much less in my house since Thanksgiving of 2009 when she was physically violent in my home in front of my mother, myself, and my son to the extent that I should have called the police.  She had been out of fucking control.  I have never seen anyone as out of control as she was, screaming, irrational, getting in people’s faces, knocking over furniture, stomping and storming about, and slamming doors hard enough to make whole walls shake. 

That was the last time that she was in my home.  That was the last time that she spoke directly to me.  That was why my son’s father insisted he and I and our son go away for Christmas that year because she would not apologize, would not own her behavior (although she did admit to it to him and his father) and he felt that she could not behave appropriately around our son so she therefore did not deserve to see him.  Supposedly when my son’s father and I were in counseling together, she was drafting an apology letter.  I have yet to receive that letter nearly a year and a half later.

Given what happened the last time that she had set foot in my home, and everything that has transpired since then (most of which she has orchestrated from behind the scenes), you can imagine my shock (and horror) at seeing her entering my home again, unannounced, and certainly unwelcome.  I thought I was hallucinating.  Could my blood sugar really be that low?  Had I eaten today?

I watched out of the corner of my eye as she strolled right through my outer door wall as though she owned the place and nothing had transpired which should have made it difficult for her to come back to my house.  I managed to say to my mom, choke out to be more accurate, “Batwoman’s Name is on the porch.”  Even as I said it, the words sounded more like a question and I could barely hear them over my heart pounding in my chest.

She walked through my sun porch right up to my back door and she tried the handle.  Had it not been locked, she would have walked right into my damn house!  It was as though she thought she owns the place!   I was in shock, and truthfully a bit in awe.  Batwoman has some stones.

She knocked.  My mom opened the door, standing as far back in our entry was as she could and still operate the door.  Batwoman spoke “hear you go.”  Her voice grated my every nerve.  In one smooth motion my mom took the bag with one hand and shut the door in Batwoman’s face with the other.  My mom never spoke to her.  That would be funny, once we could breath again.  Batwoman of course took great offense at the lack of the warm reception she received (seriously, what could she have been expecting?) and threw her arms over her head in a disgusted gesture and stormed off my porch.  Just like that she was gone.  She was gone, but she was back at the same time.

Obviously, in the land of people who have brains and exercise common courtesy, it was inappropriate of her to come to my home unannounced.  My son’s father should have called my mom to let us know that his mom would be stopping by to return the comfort items.  Or, she should have called herself.  Or, she should have left the comfort items on the porch, not come into my house, and called to tell us they were there.  Shit, she could have put them in the mailbox on her way by and called to let us know they were there and that would have still been more appropriate.  There are about one million different, more appropriate ways that this could have, and should have been handled.  What is it with these people and boundaries?!

The thing of it is that her coming over represents much more than a one time isolated incident where she was seemingly being helpful (nothing is what it seems with her – nothing.)  I had said a few weeks ago when the whole incident happened with Aunt Jane peeing at Uncle Jerry’s house which subsequently lead to Batwoman losing her source of information about me in Paul, that Batwoman HAD to have a source of information about me.  I said that if she couldn’t find one, she would start sniffing around me again.  Sometimes I hate it when I’m right.

Tonight, she was testing the waters.  She didn’t get the reception that she anticipated, but she better knows where she stands.  I doubt that my son’s father even knows what she did, that she came in my house and I believe he would be furious if he knew.  He probably told her to put the comfort items on the porch or in the mailbox.  He should know better than anyone that she never listens.  She saw an opportunity and she seized it.  I’ve lived next door to these people for over 25 years and I know how they work. 

Yes, tonight she was testing.  She was testing, and she got away with it and she’ll get away with it.  I can’t do anything legally to stop her from coming on my property until she does something and I have grounds to get a Personal Protection Order (and she will, mark my words, she will).  If I say something to my son’s father, even though he will likely be furious with her for what she pulled, he’ll just defend her and it will cause additional conflict between he and I and I can’t risk looking like a petty bitch in e-mails.  Plus, dealing with him just isn’t worth it.  If I or my mom say anything to Batwoman directly, it just feeds her martyr complex and in a sick way it reinforces the behavior.  No thank you.  So yet again, I’m stuck.

This will therefore play out one of two ways: either she’ll lie low and regroup because of the icy reception she received, or she will force more opportunities for incident.  She’s a Leo, my money is on the latter.  As calculating as she thinks the is, she is nearly incapable of inaction.  I would be willing to bet that something else happens within a week.  Clearly, I can see where this is going, and I see that she intends to be in my face this summer.  Obviously she is not getting the access to “the baby” that she wants from my son’s father so she is going to try to worm her way back into my good graces.  Problem is she doesn’t realize that when it comes to her I no longer have any.  The other thing that this tells me loud and clear is that she is not as in the loop with my son’s father as she wants everyone to believe that she is.  Every time she has been in this position in the past, whether he and I were together or not, she has come to me to try to get information about him.  Ah, the tangled webs we weave.

The only positive thing about this invasion, and truly I feel my home was invaded by her and I do feel violated, is that it is the beginning of a prophecy of sorts coming to fruition.  I had a psychic-type reading with my Reiki teacher on New Year’s Eve Day and she told me that Batwoman would be coming around to my point of view and that she would be helpful for me this year.  I thought my Reiki teacher was seriously off her rocker.  She didn’t know and doesn’t know the back story with Batwoman or much of what has been going on, only that Batwoman is crazy. 

But, she insisted that beginning in the spring, Batwoman would start to come around and there would be one big incident where she would be helpful for me in July and another bigger one, a culmination of sorts in September.  She said that she didn’t know if she would help me by providing childcare (over my dead body, like I said, she doesn’t know the back story) or even by giving me money, but she swore she would be a large help to me. 

When I heard this, my first thought was that if Batwoman would be helping me, my son’s father had to be totally out of the picture and she would basically be kissing my ass to beg her way back into my good graces (ha!).  I also thought that whatever the September happening was, it most likely would have to do with their family’s large family reunion picnic which takes place every year the third Saturday or Sunday of the month (so lock your doors).  But still, I was beyond extremely skeptical. 

But now, with this, with her prancing onto my porch, and in the spring no less, I don’t know.  Or rather, I do know.  I have always known.  And I don’t like it.  What else can I say?  She’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkk!


{April 12, 2011}   Day Twenty-Six: Affirmations

The Universe has this magical way of making sure that when you really need to hear something, that you hear it more than once, from multiple sources.  It must be another Universal law, and I don’t know how it works, I just know that it does.  It always does. 

This was the case recently when I have gotten some not-so-subtle messages from the Universe about getting back to the practice of using affirmations.

I used to use affirmations.  For a while I had a fantastic practice where I used several of them every single day.  Of course for a while I had a fantastic practice of using many of my tools every single day.  Not so much anymore.  Some have been long forgotten and I have been struggling to find those tools that I am missing and to rebuild practices that I have lost. 

I have been trying to do some LONG overdue spring cleaning (does it really count as spring cleaning if it has needed to be done for a year and a half?) and the other day I began to tackle my room which had been taken over first by my son’s father moving in shortly before he was born in September of 09, and then by my son’s birth and the bassinett and miscellaneous accompaniments, and of course my son who slept in the bassinett (sometimes, more often he slept with me) until over the age of seven months.  I have never until recently reclaimed my own space.

As I organized a few things and tried to make them more functional, I came across the affirmations that I used to use.  The first two I pulled out really hit me because they were exactly what I needed to affirm.  Of course they were.  The first one I pulled out read “A helpful, knowledgeable, experienced person with integrity is in my life right now and this individual will help me with (insert what you need/want help with here).  This person comes to me easily, naturally, and without delay.”  I have been struggling trying to find a psychologist who will give me the documentation that I need for my son for court and this particular affirmation rang true to that.

The second affirmation that I pulled out read “I now focus on the love that is the spiritual truth of my father, and I hereby balance any karma between us.  I now let go of everything but the love and the lessons of my relationship with my father.”  Although this affirmation is one that I used following the death of my father, my first thought was that I could alter in slightly and use it to focus on the love and spiritual truth of my son’s father.  I hope this will help me heal if not our relationship, at least my hurt and anger.  I felt like a dolt that I hadn’t thought of an affirmation to help me with this sooner.  Doh!  Hindsight really is 20/20.

I re-wrote some of the affirmations on a piece of paper and put them with my daily meditation books which I have gotten back into the habit of using (at least I’m on the right track with something!).  I also reviewed the rest of the affirmations that I had written:

“New abundance and exciting opportunities wash over me now.”

“I am a grateful recipient of good!”

“I let go of old guilt and remember that I’m God’s perfect child.”

“I ask that all effects of my mistakes be undone in all directions of time and I now release old guilt completely.  I love my true self from top to bottom.”

“I move beyond old limitations and now allow myself to express freely and creatively.”

“I have infinite patience and al Divinely Directed to always be in the right place at the perfect time.”

“Thank you for the gifts that have come to me now.  I gratefully accept them for the good of all.”

“I am alive in joy.  I am powerful within.  I see good.  All will unfold in Divine timing.  Fear has no more power than I give it.”

“I am grateful, prepared, ready, and excited to receive and embrace my romantic love now.  I deserve fulfilling romantic love.”

“I succeed at everything I do every day in every way.  I am a success.  I joyfully embrace my increasing success.”

“I am opening the gates of manifestation now.  I am fearlessly manifesting change!”

“I embrace the incredible sense of wonder that manifests miracles.  I give up the path of struggle.”

“I now receive good graciously into my life.”

“I am open to giving and receiving love.”

“I know I deserve to receive good in all ways.  I am worthy to receive!”

“I allow others to give me loving care.  I receive without guilt or apologies.”

“I am open to receiving Divine guidance and assistance.  I deserve Heaven’s help.”

“I expect to see astonishing results manifesting as miracles in my life.” 

“I am not defined by past results or outcomes.  My present actions yield positive future results.

“Thank you for helping me focus my thoughts completely on JOY and the desire to be connected to Divine love.  I am so grateful that all of my needs are so carefully addressed instantly!”

But it didn’t feel right to take up my affirmation practice again.  The seed had been replanted, but I still needed a further nudge. 

A few days later, while chatting on-line with a former member of the Spiritualist church that I sometimes attend, we got to talking about the power of positive thinking and specifically about affirmations.  Obviously the Universe was relaying a message to me through this gentleman.  I can’t count the number of times he mentioned the word “affirm” during our chat.  He also said something about being open to the situation with my son’s father resolving in a positive way right now.  I replied that I was going to turn that into an affirmation, to which he said “couldn’t hurt!”  He’s right, it can only help.  That night I wrote down this affirmation “I am open to and receptive of the situation with “my son’s father’s name” /visitation/his family resolving positively for my son and I right now.”  I have used it often after dropping my son off and prior to picking him up from his father. 

To further drive the point hom, I had an aura photograph and a reading of my aura photo done a few days later.  The reader emphatically encouraged me to use affirmations in order to help me from thinking negative thoughts about the situation with my son’s father (or anything else for that matter) for more than 17 seconds (no, he did not fully explain this specific number).  Because this was the third time I had heard it, I knew it was time for me to pick my affirmations back up.  So that night I did. 

I am starting small, because I want to stick with it because I believe wholeheartedly in the power of affirmations.  In the past, I had read through and stated each of the aforementioned affirmations aloud, three times each.  I also have three that are not in English, two given to me by my dear friend and mentor to remove obstacles, and one given to me by a Holy Man whom my mentor had met and I had the honor of meeting several years after her death.  These I state aloud three times each at least once a day, but I have gotten back into the habit of also using them whenever I am stressed out and they help to instantly change your vibration. 

I believe that with time, affirmations that you have used often enough don’t need to be restated anymore because their intent becomes an inherent part of your being.  However, I also feel strongly that most people, myself included do need to use them, and to state them aloud so that their vibration is emanating from our being and into the cellular structure of all that is around us.  Affirmations don’t just change the way we think, more importantly they change the way we feel which is the basis for most of the Universal laws, specifically the law of attraction.  If we can add voice to how we feel, thus spreading the positive feelings to everything around us, we surely must be multiplying those good feelings.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems simple to me.  Like attracts like.  Positive attracts positive.  Affirmations beget affirmative results.  That’s my story and until my experience shows me otherwise, I’m sticking to it!

This isn’t going to be the post that you expect.  I am not going to talk about how everything that has happened is my son’s father’s fault, or blame him for anything.  Actually, quite the opposite. 

I had a realization the other day.  One of those grand epiphany moments where you actually hear the choir of angels singing and can see the proverbial light bulb.  As Oprah would say, an “Ah-Ha!” moment.

Everything happens for a reason.  Most of the time we are not fortunate enough to know what those reasons are.  I have been blessed, because I KNOW things (which is another post entirely), to see the reasons why some major things have happened in my life.  This has been true over the course of my relationship with my son’s father.

When my son’s father broke up with me suddenly, with no warning, with a joint mortgage application on the table, I was devastated, in part because I was totally blindsided.  I was so secure in our relationship, and so certain of where our life was heading, that I not only had to regroup, but I had to rediscover those parts of myself that I had lost to the relationship. 

I went to the bar.  A lot.  I drank.  (I would say a lot, and it was a lot for me, but in truth, I am not a rock star, although I may think that I am and I may try to be, I simply cannot drink a lot) and I tried to drown the pain.  All this really accomplished other than some interesting photo opportunities ended up being a torn ligament in my left ankle which resulted from a not well thought out combination of drinking, stiletto boots, inclement weather, and a negligent homeowner in my would-be date for the evening.

The ankle injury is relevent because it literally forced me to slow down for several months while I had to wear an air cast and endure tons of painful physical therapy.  The pain from the injury, which I not only tore, but then tore off the bone a month later was excruciating.  I was on HIGH doses of pain killers and I don’t deal well with low doses of pain killers.  I was still in terrible pain and I was emotionally more miserable than I remember being at any other point in my life. 

I was reading the Phenomenews, when the Phenomenews still existed, and I came across an ad for a free mindful meditation session which promised to do a whole host of wonderful things for you.  I popped a percocette and asked my mom to drive me to the session.  I had never been successful meditating before and I like so many other people believed that it was something that I simply could not do.  But that night I did, and it changed my life.

I received a message loud and clear during that meditation session which lead me to sign up for the six-week mindful meditation class.  That class changed my life.  That class gave me my life back.  That class also lead me to take a Magnified Healing class, which lead to a crystal healing glass, which lead to a sacred geometry class, which lead to me taking Reiki I, II, an III.  I went from being someone who believed that I was incapable of meditating to a Reiki healer and someone who was teaching mindful meditation in less than four months.  Whoa.  Talk about your major transformation.

Right before I completed my last Reiki III class, my son’s father and I got back together.  It didn’t change my commitment to my metaphysical studies, in fact, I went on to begin my Reiki Mastership which I completed in September of that same year. 

However, I knew even then, as I know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I NEVER would have taken a single class if he and I would have still been together.  I wouldn’t have changed my career and I wouldn’t have changed my life.  I never would have seen the need.  I knew that whatever his role was in that break-up, whatever his reasons, whatever he had to do, it was still in my mind always more about me because I needed to go down the path of my metaphysical studies and I simply would not have considered it, much less done it, had he and I not been apart.  As a matter of fact, when he and I got back together, I explained all of that to him and I thanked him for the opportunity, I thanked him for forcing me to change my life.  He looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears and three tits. 

Sometimes there are places we cannot go and things that we cannot do, cannot see, cannot achieve, cannot experience with the people we love.  Sometimes, we must walk alone.  We’ve all experienced it.  Even in our friendships, sometimes we all go through time frames or phases when we just can’t have someone in our lives on an active basis, so we pull away.  We may not understand it on a conscious level, and we could surely never explain it to them.  Often, feelings are hurt.  But, it can’t be helped.  Sometimes we must go it alone. 

My moment of realization the other day was about this very phenomenon and it hit me over the head like a brick.  When I was pregnant and my son’s father left me, as painful as it was for me, as much as I didn’t like it, and as scared as I was, I knew that he had to do that for himself, that he could not come to terms with the situation with me there.  He needed to go it alone.  I couldn’t help him.  I couldn’t make it better for him.  I couldn’t go there with him. 

At the same time, I don’t know, as a matter of fact I seriously doubt, that I could have, or would have made some of the same choices and some of the same decisions that I made for my family, meaning my child, had his father been in the picture the whole time.  Not only do I not regret any of those choices or decisions, but if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change anything that I have done.  I did right by myself and by my child and I am certain of that.  I don’t know that I could have that same clarity had there been someone else’s feelings to consider, had there been someone else’s opinion, or even had there just been someone else in the mix.  For that I am grateful, as much as I didn’t like the situation then.

So my thought, my realization, my epiphany was that perhaps my son’s father was not in the picture for most of the first year of my son’s life and not truly in the picture now, not because he has to figure out his own shit (not that I am negating his need to do so) but so that I could figure out mine.  I needed some time and some space to figure out who I was as a mother and what type of mother that I wanted to be.  I don’t know that I could have done that had he been here the whole time.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that I would not have, that I would not have been able to.   I would have been busy taking care of him on some level, and I don’t know that I would have made my son the priority that he always deserved to be.  I believe that the Universe in all of its infinite wisdom gave me this time so that I could grow into my role as my son’s mother and define what that meant to me.  I am grateful for that time, just as I am grateful for the wisdom that allows me to know what that time has been for.

But, at the same time, if this was time that I needed to take, for growth that I had to do without my son’s father, I can understand on some level why he is so angry that I needed it and that I took it.  If this wasn’t really his choice on a conscious level and for whatever reason, in whatever way the Universe forced him to leave and stay gone in order to give me the time I needed to grow, when he may have wanted nothing more than to be with my son, and possibly me, I can understand why he would be angry.  It wasn’t his idea.  It wasn’t his lesson.  It wasn’t his time.  In a way, it really wasn’t his choice. 

It is also a doubly sharp sword that delivers this particular blow to him because not only did I have the time that I needed to grow into mommy-hood, but in doing so, it bumped him down the list of priorities and even if we were still together or we could ever find a way to be together again, he would never be as high up on my list as he was before.  Ouch.  On top of that, my newfound mommy-ness, also made me stronger and it gave me the confidence and the courage not to accept behaviors from him that I had previously accepted, namely the abusive behaviors.  That changed he game with me, and it is a game that he never wanted changed.  I’d be pissed too.

I can’t do much about his anger.  Currently we really aren’t speaking so I can’t do much about anything when it comes to him.  That is the way he has chosen for it to be right now, unfortunately.  Even if we were on speaking terms, which some day I do hope we find out way back to, I doubt he would want to hear much, if anything, about my epiphany or my newfound understanding. 

He used to be all about my insights, my “messages,” my metaphysical knowledge and practices.  In fact, it was like crack to him – he couldn’t get enough.  But that seems to be who he used to be.  He has forgotten himself in this war.  He has forgotten me to, who I am and who I am not.  It has become easier for him to make me who he needs me to be right now, which is absolutely not who I actually am.  He has also long since forgotten us.  He has forgotten that at the heart of it all, we were really great friends who were always comfortable with each other and could talk about anything.  Anything. 

But, none of that matters.  None of that is anything that I can in any way control.  All that I can control is me, myself, and I, and how I choose or don’t choose to react to things.  Whether he ever hears it or not, my epiphany is still a blessing.  I understand.  I get it.  This was about me.  It was never about him.  He doesn’t like it.  He is quite angry about it.  Moving forward with that awareness, I can meet his anger with understanding from where it is born.  I can meet it with understanding and I can embrace it with love. 

It won’t be easy (nothing worth doing ever is).  It will be harder than hell to send him extra love and understanding when he is acting out like a petulant child.  But it is necessary.  It is necessary for my own inner peace to act out of a place of compassion based on my understanding.  It is necessary for my sanity to act on what I KNOW to be true.  I will be a stronger person because of it.  I have already learned to be the kind of mother that I want to be and to stand up for myself and my child even in the face of terrible abuse and intimidation.  I don’t know what other lessons I am meant to learn from this.  But I sincerely hope that someday in the future, I am able to again sit across a picnic table from my son’s father, and thank him for all of it, from the bottom of my heart.

I am in a bad space and I am having a hard time.  The stress from this entire situation is getting to me and this week I have hit a wall with it.  I have just felt like I cannot go on and I can’t take anymore. 

I took my son to his 18 month check-up yesterday and this is in large part what has led to me hitting my wall.  My son’s doctor has said since last December when I took my son in because he had diarrhea and was losing weight, that he believes that my son is stressed by the situation and that he should not be with his father as much as he is.  He believes that all of my son’s behavioral changes and symptoms including the teeth grinding, the additional sleep disturbances, the now chronic diarrhea, the increased stranger and separation anxieties, etc. are all do to the stress of the situation of the visitation schedule with his father.  But he will not put that in writing because he does not want to be involved, and because he feels he cannot quantify it because he is not a psychologist. 

At his 18 month check-up, my son’s doctor told me that because these situations have been on-going, he now has to refer my son to a pediatric gastroenterologist, a pediatric dermatologist (for the chronic diaper rash and the mystery belly rash which he believes to be contact dermatitis from my son’s father not changing him frequently enough), and a pediatric ENT (to test his hearing due to the language delay – this one I expected).  He is also recommending that my son see a special pediatric dentist for the teeth grinding. 

I understand that the Pediatrician wants to cover his own ass, but at the same time, to give me FOUR referrals for specialists for conditions that he doesn’t believe to exist, but to be caused by neglect is more than somewhat infuriating.  As is the fact that I cannot get in to see these people for MONTHS and I don’t have other choices or other options because of my son’s insurance, which he has because his father refuses to get a real job which would offer benefits.  I cannot get in to see the ENT until April 22nd, and that is only because they had a cancellation, and ironically the least needed appointment.  I cannot get him in to see the pediatric dermatologist until May, and I have to drive over an hour away because there is only ONE pediatric dermatologist that takes my son’s insurance.  But the worst of it is the pediatric gastro, who I cannot get in to see until July or August.  So my son is supposed to continue to have diarrhea for the next four to five months?!  Seriously?!

It just felt like I was again caught in the quagmire of catch-22′s, buck passing, and finger-pointing, where I have been caught and fighting to get out of since visitation started.  Everyone seems to agree that what is happening, what my child is going through, is horrible and should not be happening.  But no one is willing to stand up and say something or to stand up and be the first person to actually DO something about what is going on.  Heaven forbid we infringe on his rights. 

Child Protective Services says that Friend of the Court has to be who makes any recommendations or changes.  Friend of the Court says they won’t change anything unless Child Protective Services makes a recommendation to do so.  My son’s Pediatrician won’t give me documentation unless a psychologist does.  The psychologists I have talked to say with a child as young as my son it needs to be the doctor who provides necessary documentation.  Yet they all agree that my son is being neglected and that it needs to change.  It is an impossible position for me to be in.  All of the people who are supposed to be helping my child agree that he needs help, yet they refuse to be the ones who provide it.  It is a constant struggle not to give in to the despair or to give up from the unrelenting feelings of frustration.

So I have to take comfort in the small things and relish the little victories when then happen, even if they are unrelated to the bigger picture or the battle at hand.  I had one small reprieve, one tiny feeling of victory, and one feeling of elation in the midst of all of this buck passing referral crap this week.

I had wanted to get my son a sandbox for him to play in this summer.  He’s 18 months old and a very active toddler, and he loved the beach when I took him last year, so I thought a sandbox would be perfect for him.  I have been looking on Craigslist and figured that I could get him a used Little Tikes type turtle or crab sandbox for around $20-$25.  But, I wasn’t 100% comfortable with getting him a plastic sandbox because I do try to be as natural and sustainable with my choices for his toys as I can be.  I had looked at a gorgeous wooden covered sandbox at Costco this week, but it was $130 and there is just no way that is doable for me, as much as I want it to be.

When I got home from Costco, I decided on a whim to check Craigslist, but this time for wooden sandboxes.  I was super excited when I found not only a covered wooden sandbox, but a covered wooden sandbox that looks like a boat with storage in the bow, a wheel that turns, and a padded seat.  The seller was only asking $30 for it but stated they would deliver it for an extra $5!  I couldn’t believe it.  I was shaking as I dialed the phone and thrilled when they answered.  It was still available and she told me that it was mine and she’d pull the listing.  I was so excited that I was jumping up and down as I talked to her because I knew my son was going to love it and it was SO cute!

We arranged for her husband to deliver it, and he did so tonight.  He put it exactly where I want it in the yard and all it needs is a tarp for the sand to sit on and a tarp to act as a cover.  I was ecstatic when he got here with it, and as an added bonus, my son’s father was at his parent’s house next door and they all peered out the window of their back room to see what was going on and who was at my house, and who this guy was that I was talking to.  I just laughed at their idiocy.

For me, it is a huge victory that I was able to find, or more accurately manifest, and in a matter of hours, something that was even better than what I had originally wanted.  My sandboat (this is what it says on the side of the boat) is adorable, sustainable, and in line with my natural parenting choices.  It is something that my son will be able to use and enjoy for several years to come.  It has built-in storage, built-in sun protection, built-in seating, and the opportunity for a ton of creative play both relating to the sand that it will soon house, and also with the boat and the wheel.  I am totally stoked about the sandboat, and for once, I feel like I did something right by my son, and something that his father would never think or know to do.  Score one for me, Craigslist, and the sandboat.  It truly is a very little victory, but it is a victory nonetheless, and right now I will take what I can get.

Even with the time that I have away from my son while his father has him, I still can’t get anything done, partially because I am so exhausted and my son doesn’t sleep, he never has.   When he gets back from his overnight with his father, he is in my bed at 3 AM for the next 5-6 days.  All I can do during the time my son is with his father is sleep or rest, or I end up doing legal related things, or chasing down whatever new appointments need to be made, or doing follow-up for something relating to his language delay.  Sigh.  I can’t get anywhere.

As a result, I always end up feeling frustrated because I can’t get anywhere and I don’t enjoy the feeling that I am always only spinning my wheels or barely treading water.  The feeling that I’m not managing to get anywhere, that I am barely (?) maintaining, doesn’t do much for my stress level or my self-esteem.  I feel like I’m not good enough and am never making the grade not only as a mother, but as a person, and those feelings leave me feeling even more drained.

Emotionally, I am running on empty, because I am always running around like a chicken with my head cut off, or running in circles, or chasing my tail (apparently today is mixed metaphor day).  I feel like a hamster in a wheel, or better yet in one of those clear balls in which you let them run around the house, since I do feel like I am literally running into walls.  I know that I am not doing a great job of taking care of myself because at the end of the day, at the end of my energy, at the end of my rope, there is nothing left for me.  This results in one of the nastiest catch-22′s that I have to deal with. 

If I don’t take care of myself emotionally, there is no one else who will.  Most people in my life are so outraged about the entire situation with my son’s father that it feels as though they don’t care about my emotional state, plus, I put on a pretty good show, a pretty solid front that I am maintaining.  Or, as is the case with my son’s father, they do everything in their power to try to cause me emotional pain, to try to do emotional damage.  I already struggle with my self-worth and my self-esteem.  I struggle with feeling undeserving of my son.  I worry all the time that I am not doing right by him or not doing enough for him.  I am under enormous stress because with our situation still being active in court, I am also under a microscope, with my son’s father’s lawyer eager to highlight anything that I may be lacking or doing wrong, even if it isn’t true.

I don’t have anyone that I can share my feelings with or off of whom to bounce ideas, and I certainly don’t have anyone telling me “hey, you’re doing a good job!”  Aunt Jane has always been a great supporter and tells me fairly often that I am a good mother, and I do appreciate that.  But, just like Julia Robert’s character says in Pretty Woman “Sometimes the bad stuff is easier to believe.”

My counselor has told me as I have cried over my feelings of failure and struggled with my feelings that I am a bad mother, that I am not, that I am a great mother.  But, she doesn’t have kids, and she hasn’t been in my shoes.  In a way, it doesn’t mean anything when she says it.  I can’t believe it. 

I feel like I have failed my son because he is in this situation.  He is in this situation because I agreed to settle out of trial.  *I* did this to him.  I KNEW that his father didn’t want this, didn’t want him, but I let it happened and I signed the agreement.  Granted, I never would have thought in a million years that his father was capable of neglect of this extent or that he would have let this go on for as long as he has because this isn’t what he wanted, but regardless, this was my doing. 

I did the best that I could in a nasty situation, but it wasn’t good enough.  I allowed threats and nastiness and my fear to dictate my actions instead of standing up for my child as I should have.  I did not only fail, I failed epicly.

So every time my son comes home with another unexplained bruise or scratch or mystery rash, every time his diaper rash is so bad that he cannot walk normally and he cries when I change him or when I apply ointment, every time his weight takes another dip, every time he has diarrhea, every time he screams when I hand him to his father, I feel as though I am not only to blame, but my guilt is to the extent that I might as well have done all of those things to him myself.  Protecting my child is the biggest, most important job that I have, and I fail at that every single time I send him to his father. 

These feelings are eating me alive and they hang over every single thing that I do.  They make me physically sick.  They keep me up at night.  They wake me up from a dead sleep when I am able to sleep.  They suck every ounce of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence right out of me.  They are truly, truly ugly, and as a result, I feel truly, truly ugly.  There are times when they consume me to the point that I don’t even want to leave my house because I am afraid that everyone can see me for what I feel like I am.

I fear that my son’s father can see these feelings, see the ugliness too.  I fear that he not only sees it, but preys on it, causing weakness to beget weakness.  The uglier I feel, the uglier he seems to be towards me, which as a result, causes more ugliness all around.  If I could hide away from him and never see him or deal with him for the rest of my life, I would do so gladly.  It is a rotten way to feel about someone whom you loved enough to create a child.  It is a rotten situation and it leaves me feeling less than nothing.  It leaves me less than empty.

Mercury went REtrograde last Wednesday, March 30, at 4:50 PM Eastern.  Maybe it is because I have a REtrograded mercury in my birth chart, but I love me a REtrograde because of all of the positive ways that you can harness the REtrograde energy.  Sure, the communication and travel snafus are a bitch (and predictably, my car has started acting up), but the rest of it is so calming, so peaceful, so soothing, and such a welcome opportunity to REgroup, especially in this tumultuous time of rapid change and transformation.

Perhaps because of what is going on globally, all of the change and transformation that is happening on the marcrocosmic level, this particular REtrograde has been such a welcome RElief that it has felt like a breath of fresh air.  It has actually felt freeing, liberating, and has an underlying sense of elation, almost like a high, for the REevaluating in preparation for shedding the old and welcoming the new. 

REtrogrades are great times for all “RE” things.  I am using this one to REgroup, REcenter, and REconnect with myself.  I have also had some welcomed opportunities to REconnect with several good friends.  I had already REstarted this blog, well before the REtrograde, but the REtrograde energy has REinforced what I was already doing.  I have taken great strides to REorganize my house, my car, my life, even to large extents my thoughts.  I have REacquainted myself with long since forgotten spiritual practices.  I have REvisited old projects, plans, and dreams.  It has been REvitalizing.

I have been REinspired to consider REdecorating, but I have neither the time or the money to make that a priority, so that will likely have to wait until the next REtrograde.  Unless of course I simply REarrange some furniture and REpurpose some of my existing household items.  I may have to REvisit this idea toward the end of the REtrograde.

Of course what I REally need to be working on is REnewing my energy and REbalancing my life.  This seems to be an ongoing process for me, but maybe this time I will find a way to REwork my priorities in a way that will better serve me moving forward.

If I had one REtrograde wish, it would be that my son’s father would use this REtrograde advantageously and REevaluate his priorities and to REconsider his attitude towards me, his anger, and this ridiculous fight.  REtrogrades are great for REviewing and for REnegotiating and somewhat notorious for new beginnings and I would welcome beginning with him anywhere other than where we are now.  Civility would be a big plus!  I REally pray that this will happen.

But, the focus of the REtrograde period is on withdrawing, REtreating into yourself a bit, so I leave him to his own devices as I have put my wish out to the Universe, so it is.  I am doing my best to look inward and REalign with the Universe and REconnect with my guides.  I am looking forward to some “down time”  to REprioritize and to just be.  I also REally hope that I am able to get a bit of REst!

What are you working on or looking forward to during this REtrograde?

I’m exhausted.  Bone tired.  Dog tired.  Beat to shit.  Wrecked.  Just when I think that I have hit a point where I couldn’t possibly be more tired, something happens either with my son’s “sleep” schedule or his father’s antics, or a general household crisis type happening and I get run further into the ground.

When the unsupervised visitation schedule started, I had every intention of really making some serious progress, of getting some things DONE, of getting caught up.  I tried for the first couple of visits to stay busy so that I didn’t have to focus on being away from my son and what he was going through.  The holidays were a big help in keeping busy.  But, they came and went, as did staying busy preparing for our last court date, and although I could never run out of things to do, or items that need to be checked off of my proverbial “to do” list, I did run out of steam. 

So, for several weeks back in February, I spent most of the visitation time napping, or I should say trying to nap.  Phone calls, my overgrown kitten, guilt over “not doing anything,” and anxiety about the whole situation usually kept me from being able to sleep, but I rationalized that I was at least resting.  Occasionally I would nod off, only to be jarred awake minutes later by the phone or the cat either trying to cuddle or trying to smother me to death (trust no one!)  It seemed as though the more “rest” I got, the more I needed, which made me feel more guilty about resting at all.  Talk about your vicious cycle!

Lately, I have attempted to schedule in my naps, to no avail.  My son’s father has him Wednesday and Friday for five hours each day and then Sunday from 10-5:30, and 6:30 until 3 PM on Monday.  Somehow even when I look at my week and attempt to schedule in a nap, it just never happens.  I guess I’m not making it a true enough priority. 

Today is a perfect example: I had to drop my son off at 10.  I could have gone to a free yoga class at noon, but I am too tired to go.  I decided because I am tired, I should probably just sleep today.  I had decided last night that this was what I was going to do.  But then I got up this morning, after my son had slept in my bed from 3:20 AM until 6:20 (which means I was NOT sleeping during that time), and even though I have been up since 3:20, and I am exhausted to the point of needing a caffeine IV and barely functioning, I am not napping.  Nope.  Instead I’m working on my Blog.  This will likely lead to me doing many, many more things that I didn’t intend to do today, and before I know it I will need to pick my son up.  Five hours seem like it is a long time, and I know it is for my son, but it is never long enough for me to truly get anything one or to take a damn nap!

I want to sleep.  I really do.  Maybe I don’t feel like I deserve to or that I should have to.  Maybe I am buying into that “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality.” Regardless of the rational, not napping is not working for me and I don’t seem to get any more done by skipping my nap than I do any other time.  Hmmmm.  It seems very much like I need to reprioritize during this retrograde and try putting my health first for a change (we all know I am not going to succeed trying to put myself first, but maybe I can find a way to rationalize my health onto the list of priorities.  I suppose anything is possible.)  I do not know why this is so damn difficult for me when I made a living telling other people what to do and how to take care of themselves. 

Tomorrow I won’t be able to nap because my son has play group and then I have an appointment in the afternoon.  He will barely be able to nap, but at least he can sleep in the car.  Friday I have two appointments during the time my son is with his father which will collectively take the entire 5 hours.  It is possible I may be able to nap with my son on Saturday, but I never sleep well because he insists on sleeping on me.  So, perhaps Sunday.  Yes, Sunday I will make an appointment with myself to take a nap, to get some much-needed sleep – even if I have to curl up in a pile of laundry to do it!

{April 3, 2011}   Day Twenty: Applesauced.

I knew my tiny tyke was smart.  I tell him all the time that he is too smart for his own good, and definitely too smart for mama’s good.  But I had no idea that he was also a brilliant actor, and a con-artist too.

My son’s father has been court ordered to keep food logs of what he feeds my son during his parenting time (we both are to submit them to the other parent following our respective parenting time).  He of course is in violation of this order because he is only submitting them weekly, sort of, when he is supposed to be submitting them following his parenting time on a given day.  My lawyer is working on it.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter anyway because the logs that he does submit are ridiculous works of fiction.  He lists foods that my son will not eat, in absurdly large quantities (i.e. stating my 18 month old son ate 3 hot dogs and two pieces of bread for dinner when he won’t eat meat or bread), or foods that we have argued over before (I could do - and may at some point - an entire blog over the banana cookie incident) because he is always trying to push my buttons.  He also leaves off foods that he does feed my son, like raisins, which leave glaringly obvious proof.  But, we can’t prove any of it, and it isn’t an actionable offense.  Like many other things, it is just him being a jack ass, being a negligent parent, harming our child, and getting away with it.  For now.

I have tested several things from his foods logs, if only to prove my sanity (he is uniquely gifted at making me feel like I have lost or am losing my mind.  That is what good abusers do).  I tried feeding my son the aforementioned hot dogs, he ate less than 1/3 of ONE hot dog, mostly chewing bites of it and then taking them out of his mouth because he doesn’t care for the texture of the “meat” (we are talking hot dogs here, the kid sort of has a point!) 

I offered my son a chicken leg after his father claimed he ate two entire chicken legs (and some bread) for one meal.  He picked it up, looked at it as though he had never seen it before, and dumped it into his bowl of soup refusing to do anything else but play with it.  I pulled some of the chicken off of the bone for him.  He wouldn’t eat it.  He would only eat white meat chicken – which I knew.

There are countless other examples of these food log fallacies that have been tested only to prove what I have known all along: my son’s father is a big fat liar.  But, the one food that had me the most flummoxed was that he was claiming that our son was eating 4 and 8 ounces of applesauce.  I knew it was crap, but I couldn’t even begin to make sense out of what was going on.  Until my son showed me.

My son has NEVER eaten applesauce or apples.  I didn’t feed him pureed baby foods when he was a baby, so he didn’t have the typical first foods that you may be familiar with.  Instead, I introduced solids by using baby led or baby directed weaning.  The basic idea being that you wait until your baby is over six months old (i.e. at least 7 months old) and instead of rice cereal or baby food, you begin by offering them safe portions of table foods and allow them to explore and play with their foods because at first they are still getting their nutrition from nursing.

This worked beautifully for my son.  He will try nearly anything.  He is a very healthy eater – he loves homemade soups (I know, what kind of baby likes soup?!  Mine!), he eats zucchini muffins with black strap molasses in them, he eats pancakes with flax-seed meal in them.  He is not really picky.  Food is a big motivator for him.  He’s a great eater.  He has also rarely put any non-food items into his mouth, he was never the type of baby to chew on everything, and I believe there is a correlation.  

His first food was avocado.  It got mixed reviews.  His second food was banana and he refused to even try it.  To this day, he will not eat banana (I know, what kind of kid doesn’t like bananas?!  Mine.  Sigh.)  We tried applesauce and he was NOT a fan.  He still isn’t.  He won’t eat it, even the flavored varieties.  For a while, we could mix the flavored varieties with plain oatmeal (still one of his favorites) and he would gobble that down, but that has long since passed.  The only apple related thing that we have been able to get him to eat recently was prepackaged organic oatmeal that had chunks of apple in it, some of which he picked out.

After he got home from visitation with his dad the other day, he went to the pantry and opened it (he lies on the floor and pulls the bottom of the door with his little hand – I can’t keep him out of anything!) and grabbed two flavored applesauce cups and brought them to me.  I knew he was hungry, but I was confused because I couldn’t believe that he was going to suddenly eat applesauce when I have spent nearly a year trying to sell him on it.  But I went with it.

I got him into his high chair and put his bib on, got him a spoon and opened the applesauce cup (he decided on blueberry).  I then watched in a mixture of horror and delight as my son began his applesauce eating charade.  Although he is proficient with both a spoon and a fork (his fine motor skills score an entire year plus beyond his actual age) he began by dipping his spoon into the applesauce cup and dumping a huge spoonful, nearly 1/3 of the applesauce cup, onto his tray.  He did it again. 

He shook off his spoon and touched it to the tip of his tongue, which was protruding through his pursed lips, ever so slightly, which was the only time that I saw applesauce go anywhere near his mouth.  But he chattered, as he typically does while he is eating.  He even made his yummy noises despite the fact that he hadn’t actually consumed any applesauce. 

He dunked his spoon into the applesauce cup again, this time depositing a mound of applesauce into the pocket of his bib.  He spread the applesauce that was already on his tray around, somewhat artistically.  If I hadn’t been paying attention and I didn’t check his bib, I probably would have thought that he had eaten that applesauce. 

It looked like he had been eating applesauce.  Applesauce was missing from the cup.  He had applesauce on his hands and face.  There was applesauce on the tray.  If I hadn’t been paying attention, it would have also sounded like he was not only eating applesauce, but that he was eating applesauce with great abandon and truly enjoying it.   Wow.  He is good.

I stood dumbfounded watching more applesauce go into the pocket of the bib and onto his tray.  I never saw any applesauce actually go into his mouth.  He was so absorbed in his performance, it was clear to me that this was something he had executed more than once, perhaps even often enough to perfect it.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. 

But as I stood there watching, the magnitude of what I was seeing and what it meant began to hit me and I could feel rage, sheer rage welling up inside of me.  I wanted to scream.  I had to walk away, so I asked my mom to go sit with my son while he completed his Oscar worthy performance. 

Yes, it is funny, in a way, that my 18 month old child has figured out how to convince his father he is eating something that he clearly is not (good thing he likes peas or they wouldn’t stand a chance over there!).  But, it is also sad on so many levels.  It is sad and it is sick.  It is sad that my son’s father isn’t paying enough attention to his child to see the same things that I see when he is eating.  Where is he while our son is eating?  How far away can he be?  How little attention must he be paying?  According to his food logs, he routinely gives our son things like gummy bears and raisins – known choking hazards for a child our son’s age, so where the hell is he when our son is eating those foods?

There are too many similar moments in this situation.  “Ah-ha” moments where the spark of validation that I was right or I knew that something was amiss quickly fizzles out as the reality that these things are going on sets in and any relief or elation that I might have briefly felt due to the validation is overshadowed by grief, and rage, and fear, as well as hopelessness, sorrow, and desperation.  Nothing is simple anymore.  Not even applesauce.

{April 3, 2011}   Day Nineteen: Not Enough Time

Man, daylight saving’s time is really kicking my ass this year.  Never before do I remember springing forward and still missing my extra hour weeks later.  I miss that lost hour.  I have been struggling to find it ever since we lost it.  This is making me feel as though *I* have lost it! 

This time around I feel as though that one lost hour every day is highlighting all of the things that I have to do, all of the projects that are left unfinished (still), all that I am failing to do (failing to get done), all of the things that I am struggling (and failing) to juggle trying to find some balance.  I have been even more exhausted than what has become my norm, and I cannot blame my son this time around because he seems to have had no trouble springing forward.  I am frustrated and I feel as though I am drowning under my never-ending to-do list.  At this point my “to-do” list is so long, it is really more like a wish list.

It doesn’t seem like it should be this difficult.  It doesn’t seem like it is this difficult for other people.  It doesn’t seem like it is this difficult for other mothers.  It doesn’t seem like it is this difficult for other single mothers.  I know that I have a chronic illness, yeah, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah, but it STILL doesn’t seem like it is this difficult for other chronically ill people.  I feel as though I am an epic failure on every level.  Very much NOT winning.

I have said all along that I could be a single parent standing on my head blind folded, with one hand tied behind my back, while juggling knives.  That is the easy part.  (So that we are clear, I am in NO way saying that it is easy to be a single parent.  Being a parent is no joke.  It is the hardest job on Earth, and doubly so when you are going it alone.)  I could even be a single parent with a chronic illness still standing on my head and blind-folded, although I might need the use of both hands to continue to juggle the knives. 

What makes it difficult is this epic battle with my son’s father.  It would be so much easier if he weren’t here.  It would be so much easier if he would just man up, admit that this isn’t what he wants and check out.  But he won’t, because his mommy is riding him like a show pony.  So he fights me on E*V*E*R*Y*T*H*I*N*G, in and out of court.  He fights me on everything from parenting time, to diapering, to feeding our child.  He fights me on minutia such as the wording of my carefully crafted e-mails and what I do and don’t say to him during parenting time exchanges.  All he wants to do is fight, and control.  Realistically, he’s probably fighting himself for control. 

Even the things that he doesn’t fight me on, he does.  How so?  He refuses to co-parent with me on ANY level.  Currently he refuses to even speak to me.  I tell him things about our son’s needs, he ignores them, our son is harmed and very much caught in the middle. 

Maybe it isn’t so much that I am fighting my son’s father, but rather fighting for my son, because God knows someone has to since his father only wants to fight me.  Fighting for my son, with the last person on Earth that I should ever have to fight at all, is a full-time job in and of itself. 

It is this job that takes up the majority of my time.  It is this job that exhausts me through and through, each and every day.  It is also this job, that I cannot walk away from.  I cannot take time off.  I can’t take a break, I don’t get a breather, and I cannot let my guard down, even a little.  The stakes are too high and my son is too important.  His health and his well-being are too precious a commodity to be ignored. 

So, instead of having the impossibly tough job of being a mother, I have not one but two others as well: as a single parent, I must also in many ways take on the job of father, and as my son’s rock, I must also take on the job of undoing the damage that his father is doing.  Phew.  No wonder I’m beat.

Truthfully, I think I have been behind on everything and constantly playing catch-up, spinning my wheels and getting nowhere my entire adult life.  Some might say that I made a series of bad decisions and constantly took on too many new things without taking the time to clear my plate.  Others might acknowledge that I have just had a run of really shitty luck in a lot of ways, which has equated to, pardon my french, a fuck ton of paper work and constant follow-up.

For example, my father died in 2005.  Even though I am chronically ill and was coming out of the most debilitated period of my entire adult life, which included three surgeries in 6 months, and three subsequent hospitalizations, a mystery respiratory ill-ness, supplemental oxygen dependence, and oh, almost dying myself, I was named executor to his estate.  My parents were divorced.  My brother is, well, my brother.  My father was the baby of the family by 16 years.  There was no one else to do it.  Subsequently, his estate still isn’t closed.  It is on the list.

In 2006, I found out that a childhood friend had not only stolen my identity, but had obtained and sold 19 of my social security cards.  So, if you are doing the math, that means there are up to twenty, yes, twenty additional people running around as me.  (As though the world ever needed more than one!)  They changed my social security number, but that didn’t stop the issues.  Even now, I still find out about new credit issues on a regular basis.  Most recently, I found out that the person who stole my identity has a defaulted student loan in my name and birth date, under the former social security number.  I have had a number of lovely conversations with the US Department of Education and gotten the run-around.  I have made only minimal progress trying to clear up all of the issues associated with this and my credit under both social security numbers is a mess.  Trying to deal with that is a full-time job.  I am now back to square one with some new protocols that the government has instated, we’ll see if we get anywhere this time.  This adds a number of things to the to-do list, constantly.

Between my mother and myself, we have in the past decade run SIX, count them SIX business out of our home.  That generates more paperwork than you can imagine.  Paperwork is my pink elephant.  It is constantly on parade.  It is all in need of being gone through, sorted out, and organized.  Right, in my spare time. 

I tried to play catch up while I was pregnant with my son, but I didn’t get very far.  I was so debilitated by my pregnancy that I had to stop working.  I had morning sickness multiple times a day, EVERY day, for my entire pregnancy.  I delivered at 38 weeks 6 days (assuming that my due date was accurate), not that I was counting.  I don’t think that I would have gotten very far even if I hadn’t been so run down and so sick while I was pregnant because with some of the unconventional delivery, health, and parenting choices that I made, it required a lot of research and I took it very seriously.  That was also a full-time job.

I probably drove myself crazy and went overboard with some of it, but I couldn’t help it because I was pregnant (and pregnant people cannot be held accountable for their neurosis), and I felt added pressure to do everything perfectly and get everything exactly right because my son’s father had left me for basically my second trimester and I was terrified about being a single parent.  My pregnancy was not only unplanned, but by some accounts would constitute a miracle.  I didn’t have anyone else to help me sort information or to bounce ideas off of.  I didn’t have anyone else to decide how my child was going to be born or parented.  It all fell on me, and the pressure was overwhelming.

The pressure is still overwhelming, perhaps even more so now.  When my son’s father left when I was pregnant, I always knew he would be back.  I knew that he had to have his tantrum and work it out for himself and I knew that he would.  Sure, I had moments (MANY) where I doubted that, but at the crux of my being I knew.  Knowing didn’t make it any easier and knowing surely didn’t help plan, prepare, research, or make decisions. 

But now, he isn’t coming back (and even if he were, I wouldn’t want him.)  Now, he is dead to me, but he continues to haunt me and torment me.  One of the most insidious things that he has done since my son was born, is that he implies, at every opportunity that I am a shitty mother.  Nothing preys more on my insecurities. 

I believe that if every parent were honest, we would all admit that our biggest fear is not doing right by our kids, doing something wrong, screwing them up, or just plain screwing up.  It just pushes me even harder to try to be everything for my son, and to try to be everything his father isn’t (which to review, is nothing, well, nothing positive) and to make up for most of what his father is.  I feel as though the weight of this responsibility is crushing me, it eats me alive, and I cannot escape it, I cannot shake it, no matter what I do or how hard I try.

Our son is who he is, all on his own.  But, much of what he is, if not all of it, is because of the work that I have done, the parenting decisions that I have made, and the time that I have put in, and due to examples I have set.  I wouldn’t change much that I have done.  I am proud of my son and most of the time when I can keep his father out of my head, I am proud of the job that I am doing as a mother, and as a parent.  Trying to keep him out of my head is another full-time job.  As is trying to keep my sanity.

To be the mother that I want to be, it means that I have to make choices with there being limited hours in the day, and limits with my energy.  So, I have dust bunnies on my ceiling.  I haven’t seen my bathroom counter in weeks.  My fridge is an ongoing rotation of science experiments, although the one that was formerly known as “month old mango, I think…” did force me to clean out the produce drawer today (I revel in the little victories when I can, even when they are forced by thinly skinned produce!)  I am down to only two piles of paperwork in my living room, which I can’t celebrate because there are still two large piles of paperwork in my living room.  I don’t think that my bedroom has been clean since my son was born – I wish I were kidding.   

Then there is my basement.  This is my epic battle, my Goliath.  My basement is where things go to die.  Nine months before my father died in 2005, which resulted in the importation of the entire salvageable unsorted contents of his apartment, per my brother’s grief-induced neurotic mandate, by mother’s father had died.  This resulted in the importation of many things that according to my mother “we might be able to use someday.”  Someday has not since come. 

I was a PartyLite Consultant from 2002 until I became pregnant and that resulted in “The Great PartyLite Invasion.”  I believe that there is a “PartyLite Portal” next to the “Left Sock Portal” (you know the one where all of the left socks are sucked out of the dryer into the “Land of Lost Left Socks”), but instead of being an exit portal, it is an entrance portal where PartyLite products that I have in many cases never even seen before, enter my basement.  Due to some law of gravity/physics/Murphy, this product can apparently never leave and multiplies like rabbits.  There are millions of PartyLite “bunnies” in my basement. 

Truth be told, my basement was my epic battle before I got pregnant.  I have been battling that space, alone, while living with two pack-rat-ians (they are a special breed) for most of my adult life.  The day that I took two pregnancy tests (which is definitely blog-worthy in the future), I was grasping at straws googling the possibility of medications causing false positives on pregnancy tests, panicking, trying to convince myself that I was un-pregnant and not understanding fully what it meant that I was. 

My dear friend who witnessed much of my neurotic meltdown took me to dinner where she ate and I rambled about all of the reasons that I simply couldn’t be pregnant (because surely those reasons could change the fact that I was).  I looked her straight in the face and said “But I can’t be pregnant.  Someone who has a basement that looks like mine cannot have a child!”  She looked at me with the most bewildered look that I have ever seen on a human being and calmly assured me that she really didn’t think that the conditions of people’s basements had anything to do with whether or not they should have children.  Even so, I exclaimed, nearly hysterically, “YES IT DOES!  I mean, have you SEEN my basement?!”  She just stared at me.  I mean really, what can you say to THAT?

You can’t say anything to that, just like I can’t seem to do anything about it – I may have to move or have the house demolished in order to solve “the basement problem.”  For now, it is another 100 plus tasks on my “to-do” “wish” list.  I just can’t seem to get anywhere with anything.  I seriously need to catch a break.  I don’t have enough time and what I really need is a time out!

With everything on my “wish” list hanging over my head, I can’t take time for myself.  I feel endlessly guilty when I take time to do anything for myself, even those things that I need to do.  I want to start working out regularly again, which I know will help me to feel better and have more energy overall.  But when?  When can I find the time to do that?  I know that I need to start meditating again, consistently, even if it is just five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening, and I know from experience that when you meditate you actually do seem to find MORE time.  But by the time I get around to trying at night, I am literally too exhausted to focus on not focusing (if you meditate you understand what I just said, if not, just shake it off).  I need to start using my affirmations again, all the time, but I never remember, never find the time.

Much of this is yet another annoying catch-22 because if I were able to find the time to re-instate some of these practices I would probably feel better and less stressed.  Much of it, if I could get things done or organized would save me time in the long run.  But how do you find the time to make these changes and do these things when there is just not enough time and you are constantly running out of time?  I wish I knew.  I wish I knew.

et cetera

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