Blogging, Children, Love, Truth

Along the way…

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I’ve been silent… and just plain exhausted, for two years. Somewhere along the way, I got lost in my own head and stopped writing. Having my words held against me during my custody battle, stole the joy out of blogging.

I’m really sad that I’m missing those two precious years from my journal. Regardless of the very public nature of my blog, it keeps the significant moments in my life that run together in the daily chaos, somewhere I can find them. The struggle of single parenthood means you spend twice as much time doing, and half as much time reminiscing. Blogging has allowed me to do both.

I burn the candle from both ends at an Olympic level. Last week, it caught up with me. I’d been up for 3 solid days and nights with a sick toddler, and our entire world was peppered with vomit, diarrhea and snot. Hers and my own. We were a hot mess, literally. Flu, my ass… I’m pretty sure we had the plague.

And I needed to wash diapers. FML.

Sneezing, coughing and struggling to throw the wet bag full of ungodly-smelling diapers into the washer… whilst sterilizing jars in preparation to can chili and black beans, because I STILL have tomatoes from the garden this summer.

Oy vey… I had to sit down and laugh/cry… because this was certainly not the Happy Ever After I envisioned when I fell in love with her father.

I wasn’t all wrong about her Dad. He helps in the ways he can from a few states away. He lets her live the life of a normal kid, and not one forever split between two parents that wanted her more than they ended up wanting each other. It’s not her fault that we aren’t together, and I’m thankful her life isn’t fractured on a weekly basis. He got engaged this fall, to a woman that suits him perfectly. They’re a happy couple and he’s a father to her three kids. All is well that ends well… aka: I work hard to bite my tongue. I lose my temper and text war breaks out every now and then, because while his not being here allows her to live a normal life and I’m grateful, she also deserves to have her dad around.

After the most recent argument, I spent a little time cleaning up my blog and deleting random mindless crap from the past few years. Reading back through the blogs I wrote is always good for a healthy reminder of why things are the way they are. I don’t always like to read back, but it always reminds me that once upon a time, I thought he was the one. I’m glad I wrote about it because it reminds me not to be a bitch to him, now most of the time.

I do believe my ten days two years of puke, mucous and shit entitle me to a little righteous indignation, but my 39 years should also grace me with enough maturity to be kind. I’m grateful that I gushed embarrassingly then, so that I can remember now to not say what does not NEED to be said.

I’ve learned a lot by being quiet. Leaving something unsaid is far more powerful than having the last word, and given how short life is, I sincerely hope that the words I leave with people on a daily basis, are kind.

Except Thomas. That guy can still go fuck himself.

Blogging, Children, Family, Farming, Happiness, Victory!

Write on…

It’s been a long year. In fact…it’s been a long decade.

I finished planting my garden earlier than ever last year. My corn was a huge success for the first time! The pumpkin patch of my dreams, was a reality. Through morning and afternoon baby naps, I managed to get it planted and weeded. It was actually beautiful… but sobering. I CAN grow an acre of vegetables and bottle enough to feed an army, but I don’t NEED to. I’ve given up on the fantasy of my children loving to garden, and I remember clearly how much I hated it as a child. I’m determined to cut back this year so that it’s a blessing, not a burden.

I figured it may be relaxing to write again, if only for myself. I get the nicest emails from people, asking me why I don’t write anymore. I’m not sure how to answer that?

I’m a different person than I used to be. Growing up, and more importantly fucking up; changes you. I guess you could say that I finally learned from my mistakes. As a result of my relationship failing, finding myself as a single mother with a teenager AND a newborn and a side of heartache… I grew up. I’m slowly finding my footing again, while carefully choosing each step with the knowledge that the wrong one can have lasting consequences.

I’m a little sad to see my tiny one grow so fast and I miss her infancy when I see newborns. She lights the whole world up with her constant smile, hilarious laughter and baby chatter. I don’t know how we ever lived without the joy and love she brings to everyone and everywhere. She’s nothing short of magical. I’m that annoying friend on Facebook who shamelessly inundates everyone with baby pictures and videos.

The teenager is absolutely frustratingly normal. Most days I’m the stupidest person in the world and live purely to thwart her plans for part of the day, and her best friend the other half. I am proud of the young lady I know that she is, and hopeful she’ll escape our small town after graduation to pursue her dreams. I’m grateful for the friendship I have with her dad and step-mother.

All in all, and in every aspect; life has calmed down. The custody war has long ended and my relationship with my baby girl’s dad is peaceful and friendly. He’s dating an old friend and has moved back to Colorado to live with her. He calls regularly and I hang pictures of him around the house so she sees his face. She’s just begun to say Daddy. I’m grateful she will grow up surrounded with love, not hostility. I never dreamed in a million years that I’d be raising a baby alone, but I treasure every single second and appreciate that he does everything he can do from thousands of miles away.

We’ve learned to coexist, sleep, love and make the most of every moment in the last year. We’ve weathered financial devastation, laughed through a lot of creative pasta and rice dishes and have found a new-found peace in being carnivorous vegetarians. We all love a good steak but we can afford veggies, and I grew enough to feed us all winter.

Life has changed and it isn’t what I thought it would be, but it is absolutely joyous and full of everything simple and sweet that I treasure most.

The last vestiges of babyhood have been hard to pack away. A long-outgrown bassinet stands in the corner of my room, because I love it too much to part with it. Baby shoes, pacifiers and miniature socks clutter the top of my dresser. It’s a strange mix, no matter where you look. My black work apron, a few pens, a wine key and wilted gardenia still hooked by the bobby pin that held it in my hair all night. A school progress report for Little Red, lipgloss and an antique jar of buttons. My latest knitting pattern, some industrial foot cream for my mangled server feet and a stack of bills. As always, my crafts create a happy clutter that reminds me to take time to create. My vices are all healthy, and I am definitely guilty of being a little boring these days. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m only growing three varieties of tomatoes this year. I did away with my whimsical round garden and have practical, straight rows. I wouldn’t say I’m disenchanted… more so that I’ve gotten an epic reality check. I don’t want to be bitter and jaded, but my fairy-tales turn into nightmares when I least expect them to and my heart is not a good judge of character. Consequently… I have taken myself out of the pool, entirely, and permanently.

Never. Another. Boyfriend. I have two cats… and I’d be delighted to adopt a dozen more.

IMG_7334Being boring is awesome. ♥

Blogging, Family, Friends, Halloween, Happiness, Hope, Love, Victory!, Yarden

Grandma

I had someone ask me if my baby was my grand-baby the other day. Seriously. My Little Red looked up in horror at the person and half shouted that her sister was NOT HER BABY.

I laughed. I was stunned at the thought, but… I’d had a baby 18 years earlier and my mother was the same age I was when my son was born. Good Lord in the morning… what an amazing difference to feel like the “old” mom.

So I went to a mommy & me group. I’m staying home with Muffin right now and I figured it would do us both well to get out and about.

I walked in wearing my favorite yoga pants and nursing shirt, My uniform du jour, so to speak. Wandering through a sea of bejeweled postpartum asses, I feel like the sharpest tool in the shed. What’s up with the bejeweled ass pants? I don’t get it.  Perhaps when I was 16?  It was awkward… but I was willing to suffer a little for some adult conversation. Ish.

I start to notice things.

They’re all younger than me.

I hate to say that was my first thought, but it was. So there it is. They all drive nicer cars than me. Ok so that’s petty but I had to laugh about it too since I’m so damn thankful I don’t have a car payment to be late on right now.

They’re all worried about being hot for their husbands/boyfriends.

I’m the only single mom.

I keep hearing them refer to me as “You two” as in, my husband and I… not my little baby and I. I’m happy I’m over 30 and dealing with this sort of shit. I can remember feeling really uncomfortable at the absence of a wedding ring on my finger when I was pregnant with my son, at 18. I do not feel that way anymore. I’m happy with the silky nakedness of my ring finger.

I explained quickly, smiled widely and reassured the few naysayers.

Blonde idiot: Oh my word I could NEVER do it without my Huuuuuuuusband. He is my rock. He is my man. I am so tired and if he didn’t do all those night time feedings I would just break down and DIE

I’m judging her before she opens her mouth to tell me these things so there’s no point in pretending I’m not. She’s a grade A, fresh off the subdivision, Walmart girl. She doesn’t breastfeed <sneer> she doesn’t get up with her baby <sneer> and she’s one of “those” women.

Those women: The women who can’t think clearly without a man telling them which way to go. Uck.

J- We do really well. That’s wonderful of your husband to help so much.

It’s amazingly uncomfortable, to be honest. They pretty much just chat amongst themselves… about things like baby shoes and strollers. Some of them are gluten free. That’s fun.

It is too much to ask for an adult mom friend? I can’t tolerate the youngsters. I admit it. I hate myself for it because I can remember clearly how the “judgey” older moms were so frustrating to me. I was a good mom, and they weren’t nice to me because of my age.

I am now that “judgey” older mom, and I can’t do it. I don’t want to hear them chat. I care about the world, at large… beyond the superficial “We went with the Bugaboo. What did you two decide on?” I hate to stereotype them. Truly, I do… but the shoe fits and it’s too damn tacky.

I’m not going back to “group”. In fact I wonder if I can make a group for old moms. I wanna talk about politics and healthcare. I want to have friends who give a shit about GMO’s.

I’m a new old mom, and I love every single bit of it.

Even being called Grandma. I just don’t want to hang out with my old self anymore.

That baby of mine is nothing but pure love & joy. Her and I have gotten our routine down. She gets up at unspeakably early hours. I sing to her day and night. Life is an awesome bunch of grins and details.  I never thought this would be my life. I had this beautiful baby because I loved her daddy so much I lost sight of the fact that sometimes things don’t work out. I never thought I’d be raising a baby alone, however… I treasure every second.

I could care less if her socks match or she’s in the same pajamas for the second day in a row. I show her everything until she smiles. I sing the ingredients I’m using to can marinara if she gets fussy while I’m rushing to get it done in between nursing and patty cake. I make a point to write the love notes in my teenagers lunch box. I remember all over again what it’s like to have a newborn that takes so much energy and inspires that much ooey-gooey adoration for just laying there like a potato.

With no child support & no second set of hands, the eyeliner and primping have to go. I have clean clothes on and her pants are dry- everything is just as it should be.  I’m thankful that she’s unscathed by it all. She’s just happy and loved and protected from everything that isn’t perfectly wonderful and happy. I could care less about makeup.

I’m going to make my own group.

For the moms who want to make friends but don’t want to change into something less comfortable.

For the moms without dads.

For the mom who is thankful for the blessing of motherhood.

For the mom, like me… that treasures every exhausted moment that makes life worth living.

I wanna hang out with those moms. Or Grandmas.

Blogging, Family, Friends, Happiness, Love, Truth

Just when you thought you’d seen it all together…

My dear friend and tattoo diva is leaving. Moving back to a sunnier place… sob. I look up to her so much and value her opinion so much- I’m going to be a little lost without her and I’m kicking myself for not making more time to hang out with her in the past.

She helped me for 7 hours in my garden last week… and I knew in her voice that she was serious then. I just didn’t want to even consider it, really.

On my hardest days, when I’m at a cross-roads, when my life is a disaster, when I’m in love… I run for tattoo & sister therapy. I completely embrace my tattoo habit and I will probably be covered at some point. I have no doubt, because I’m already wishing I had more skin to color in. I have a habit… and my habit makes me beautiful.

I have a poppy and a honeybee princess for my daughter, a honeybee for my son and (my favorite) my queen bee. I have a regretful tramp stamp I would love to erase. I have a kanji symbol I’d love to transform into a tomato… I have the ghost orchid for my mother, the dandelion and birds I always wanted and a four leaf clover because I’m the luckiest girl ever when it comes to finding them. I have a poem about love on my foot complete with a little red heart that I adore. I look at my skin and smile when I used to frown.

It’s still a body too chubby for my taste, I still wear the same stretch marks. I just love the beautiful pictures painted into skin I’d previously resented. I’ve never worn flip flops. I hate my feet. Hate them. I have horribly ugly feet and I’m incredibly self conscious about them. Or was. I own three pairs now. I love the tattoo my darling sister-friend drew on my foot just a week before I landed in Puerto Rico. It’s gorgeous, and deserves to be shown off. I love that foot now- and there were moments in Puerto Rico that I stared at that foot and tried to channel her.

I also have a beautiful purple orchid that Nathan Steinbauer bought me a few days before my birthday… just before I found out what a pathological liar he is. I’d taken him in with me and he’d bought me a tattoo for my birthday- anything I wanted- no questions asked. He got a military tattoo for the Army Rangers, something he’d always lied about being. He went back for a second one- the day I found out about the other girlfriend.

Through it all, my darling friend has been there… fixing me when it hurts the most, with a beautiful new reason to love the woman that smiles back at me in the mirror.

I got a new one when I panicked over Superman. A beautiful dandelion with birds… feeling like I wished for him and was so fucking scared of something being so good that I was literally flying away from that same wish. Reminding myself to breathe and spoiling myself with some time with one of my favorite people, ever.

I miss her already, and I can’t imagine not having her to run to when I need advice rooted in love and compassion- and not sugar coated or biased. Good old fashioned strong woman advice, from someone I would like to be more like. Gentle in her words and actions, but confident in her ability and worth. She’s the sister I always wanted- and there’s a lump in my throat when I think about saying goodbye to her.

Also in the increased cost of my tattoos, because they’ll have to include a plane ticket from here on out. Sigh.

Another friend of mine was going in for a tattoo today, and it was the perfect excuse for another visit to say hello before it gets a whole lot harder.

We hung out and watched for a while, then chatted before heading out the door.

… and just when you think you’ve seen it all, and your heart is a little sad at the the thought of lost opportunities to make new memories… a new one just jumps right into your lap.

There on the sidewalk outside her door, is a man taking pictures of license plates. Standing in the middle of the road to photograph cars and actually crouching down to take close-ups of license plates. He has a favorite even… the poor innocent red Geo Metro parked directly in front of her shop.

WTF?

It gets weirder…….. He has his son with him. They’re walking around side by side while the dad squats periodically to take another picture of another license plate. Nobody does a thing- myself included. I weigh my options, to be honest- because I’m dying to hear what his excuse is… but anyone willing to do something that bizarre in front of their kid, obviously has a few screws loose and I love my life these days and treasure my safety.

But…

The blogger in me is already laughing… and I can’t resist… you’re welcome.

This is, after all, why God made iPhones.

and the mother in me has to stop for a moment and hope his wife or this child’s mother reads my blog… because this is worth a chat with good ol’ Dad about the crazy example he’s setting, if nothing else.

My daughter is instantly sympathizing with that poor kid, who must be so embarrassed… but my girlfriend and I are more than a little sketched out by him…. and his love for the Geo.

We waited to leave until he’d wandered on to photograph more license plates…. sort of hoping he’d be taking one of ours when we got there… (thankfully, no such luck.)

My daughter and I both climbed into the car and said simultaneously…

J & R- I’m sad she’s leaving, and gosh that was funny.

Another crazy funny memory with a woman I’m going to miss SO much. She gave me my Blogoddess tattoo the week my blog went viral and I was having a mild nervous breakdown. She’s filled in the blanks and taught me to not only love myself, but to love myself enough that I don’t have to give anyone an explanation about who or what I am.

She’s fixed the tattoos I hated, made beautiful the things about my body I resented & has been by my side during some of the most epic moments in my life.

I miss her already.

But no matter how far she goes… we’ll always have the Geo Metro Stalker.

Blogging, Family, Friends, Happiness, Hope, Love, Truth, Victory!, Yarden

Indomitable

Happiness is free, and thank God too… because unemployment is rather stressful financially.

I’ve had plenty of reason to feel bad. Losing a job I needed to survive, watching people I thought were friends vanish as quickly as the dollars in my wallet and being 86’d for life from a place I’ve worked hard to support.

I’ve been a bitch, but I challenge anyone to tell me they’d react differently if they were walking around in my shoes.

I grew up with The Desiderata on the bathroom wall. At 6 years old I remember reading it every time I brushed my teeth. In high school it really made sense and now? I have my own copy hanging on my own bathroom wall. It’s the foundation of my hippie upbringing, and I find myself swimming in it lately.

I can be wicked hateful, and I arm myself with the details most offensive and use them to my benefit like bullets in my very own verbal arsenal. If I want to kick you where it hurts, you’re going to feel it. I’m one supercilious nightmare when inspired to be.

Which isn’t who I want to be, but who I need to be sometimes.

I take a lot of shit. I swallow a lot of pride. I also return the feeling, tenfold-when you push me too far.

I could ramble on and on with an acid tongue and a thesaurus of hurtful adjectives… but it’s just not who I am or who I want to be.

So they hate me. Oh well. I’m not terribly offended considering the facts on the ground.

So my dear friend is jealous enough to post offensive bullshit on my Facebook wall. Oh well. Jealousy doesn’t inspire me to love anyone, and I’m single. I’m fully entitled to inspire jealousy with absolutely no ramifications and beyond that? I know a man who opens his mouth only to bless me with his kindness and affection. Real words from a real man make jealous insults sting a lot less.

I wish I could say I’m surprised- but I’m not- just like I warned him…

J- You do not want to date me. We’re friends. You’re only going to hate me at some point. Trust me.

Guess who was right…

BUT….

Being hateful only drags me down to their level, something I’ve worked too hard to avoid in the last year.

So I flushed the hateful crap and took my little mangy hounds on a walk. I picked a bouquet of daffodils for the dinner table and hung the sheets on the clothesline. They’re crispy smooth and smell like sunshine and spring time.

I baked some honey wheat bread… and snuggled with my little mangy trio while cracking out on the first season of The Tudors…filling out the millionth job application. I weeded a row in the garden and planted more potatoes. I have about 15 pounds of seed potatoes left to plant… Good lord.

Hi, my name is Jenni and I’m a vegetable hoarder. I come from a beautiful line of hoarding gardeners- and hey… I absolutely loathe store-bought marinara. I may be a size 5 by the end of summer because the garden is out of control weedy…

Bonus! Free daily workout and veggies too? See how it starts? Too much of a good thing is still TOO MUCH.

I’m a little haunted by the silence and boredom in my daily life these days. I had the best interview I’ve ever had in my life yesterday, dinner and a drink with a dear friend last night and another favorite chick sighting this morning.

I know I’m being redundant… but for all the shitty men in my life? I am surrounded by phenomenal women.

My dear friend Miss Wisdom saved me yesterday with truth. Not bullshit flowery nonsense, but real “Get a grip and take your own advice” sort of words. Love her. Love them all…

It takes a real friend to see you making bad choices or flailing. We touched on the sorest of subjects…

W- Why would you go there, when you know he’s there and you know it stings and you know he’s bad for you.

J- I have a crush.

W- You HAD a crush… why would you like anyone who would treat you so poorly?

That applies to so many people in my life right now, it took my breath away. Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment? Either way- it’s a thing of the past, and I’m cutting the bullshit out of my life at record speed.

Life is too short, and it’s too beautiful outside. My garden is all the challenge I need at this point, and my favorite flowers sprouted this morning.

Baby Bells of Ireland, smiling up at me and reminding me that everything is as it should be.

Life goes on- and happier when you cut the nonsense out of your life. More than that, it’s even better when you learn to love yourself first and let the assholes fall where they may in the hurricane of figuring out how to demand respect from people.

Or how to tell them to go fuck themselves.

Either way? I haven’t been so happy in months and I made a few hundred bucks today getting shit out of my garage.

Purging at a profit… now that’s the kind of chaos I can get behind.

Yeah I’m pissed off, offended and insulted- but I’m also single, smart & funny as hell. I’m doing what I need to do and remembering who I really am, now that I’m away from the cancerous source of suffering.

Welcome to the chaos of my fancy schmancy new life. It’s scary uncertain and full of potential disaster, but when I sink to the point I use my words to hurt someone instead of to free myself- I become an asshole like the rest of them.

No hate. No haterade… and most importantly?

No haters.

That right there is quite the victory, if I do say so myself.