on Valentine's Day

I was in a little bit of a funk yesterday.

This is the first Valentine’s Day that I’ve been single since 2004. Eight years is a pretty long time.

Also, exactly one year ago (on Valentine’s Day eve) was when Dave first announced that he wanted to split up. I was pregnant with Lucy at the time. So I guess you could say that I now have sort of a sour taste in my mouth about Valentine’s Day. It was never a huge deal to me to begin with, really, but that’s a pretty bad association to have with this particular holiday.

I completely forgot about the Valentine’s Day party at daycare today, so I ended up filling out Catie’s Valentine’s Day cards for her at 10 p.m., after both girls were in bed. Those kids are getting the most slapdash, thrown-together Valentine’s Day treats ever. Seriously, I used Ziploc sandwich bags filled with candy and stickers with the kids’ names on them. I figured that when you’re 4 or 5 years old, you only really care about the candy, not the card, right?

Still, that seems like the lamest Valentine’s Day goodie bag ever. It felt like a huge “mom FAIL” moment, even though I know Catie doesn’t care.

So, yeah, I was bumming pretty hard yesterday.

Then I got some messages from Guy #3. I need to call him something else because the other two guys are really out of the picture now. Oh screw it, his name is Matt. I’m not posting his last name, and there are enough Matts and Matthews in the world that I doubt anyone searching for him is going to stumble upon this blog post by accident.

So, yeah, emails from Matt. He managed to steam up my inbox pretty well. (Note: that is not a euphemism. He’s still in another time zone.) My day was brightened up considerably, as pathetic as that may sound.

And then, this morning, Catie brought me a flower for Valentine’s Day. Sure, it was a fake flower that we already had in the house, but still. I thought that was really sweet.

So, you know, maybe it’s not so bad after all.

Still…

someecards.com - My Valentine runs on batteries.

Sigh. Yeah. Sad but true.

finding my flirt

So.

Ok.

This is kind of a weird topic for me to bring up, but I use my blog as a place to kind of vent whatever is on my mind, and this seems to be taking up an awful lot of my brainspace lately, so I thought maybe writing through it might help me figure some things out.

(Also, Dad? If by chance you’re looking at my blog today, stop reading now. Really. I don’t want to hear it.)

So, lately I’ve been doing a little… um… flirting.

This all started innocently enough. I have a guy friend from college who I always had a crush on, but for one reason or another, we never dated. We’ve stayed in touch off and on through the years, but in the last month or so, our texts have suddenly taken a turn for the steamy. (As in, “Damn, you text your mama with those fingers?”) Funny, considering I’ve never even kissed the guy outside of a peck on New Year’s Eve.

But, you know, he lives in another state, so it’s not like anything is ever going to happen.

Then there was another guy who I dated (very) briefly, who dropped me an email just to say he heard I was getting divorced, he’s divorced too, he’s been thinking about me… which, ok. It was a random, but totally G-rated exchange. Still, the “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately” was flattering and nice, and it didn’t come off as creepy, which I appreciate.

Then, there’s Guy #3, who, man, where do I start? We were never really a couple. I knew him when I lived in Wisconsin. I hung out with a bunch of girls there and we all had a crush on this one guy at some point. He was gorgeous, and had absolutely no clue how cute he was. (Which, seriously, is an awesome trait to have if you’re a good-looking guy. Guys who know they’re hot? Tend to be a bit on the douche-y side.)

There is no possible way to explain this and sound like anything less than a total slut, but basically: we never dated, we just fooled around a lot. Like, I don’t think we ever had dinner or saw a movie together or anything. It was just casual and fun.

What can I say? I enjoyed my 20s.

So, Guy #3 (as I’ll call him because I probably shouldn’t be posting his name on the Internet) found me on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and messaged me. Turns out he’s also in the middle of a divorce. We had some friendly “what have you been up to for the past decade?” emails. Then he started emailing me with stuff like, “Hey, remember the time we [fill in the blank with something completely X-rated that I am not about to write here]?” And the emails are… well, they’re pretty hot, I have to say.

The thing is, none of these three guys even live in the same time zone as me, nor are any of them really suitable long-term matches for me. And besides that, I absolutely do not want a relationship right now at all. I have way too much on my plate to deal with. It wouldn’t be fair to drag some innocent bystander into the chaos vortex that is my life at the moment. And it would be absolutely unfair to my girls.

Oh, and let’s not forget that thanks to ridiculously stupid North Carolina divorce laws, I can’t even file for divorce until August, so I’m still technically married for the time being.

So, nothing is gonna happen. I mean, outside of harmless flirting with guys who are all at least 1,000 miles away in one direction or another.

But, what’s interesting (to me) about all of this, is that fairly recently, I would’ve sworn on a stack of Bibles that I never wanted to have sex again. And something about these exchanges lately has reignited some little spark in me that I didn’t think I had anymore.

Obviously, I’m not going to act on anything anytime soon, but it’s got me thinking about the idea of “Someday.” I’ve been so caught up in trying to get through my day-to-day life, that I hadn’t really thought about the future at all. And I don’t just mean sex (although yes, that would be lovely, please and thank you). I mean the whole relationship thing. The idea that I might be willing to give men another chance is a pretty new concept for me.

So, yeah. That’s kind of weird, huh?

back and forth

We’re mostly all better here now, thankfully. I still have a little bit of a cough and Lucy still has a chronic case of Drippy Nose, but I think that’s more just because she’s a baby who goes to daycare. Sort of goes with the territory, right?

I don’t know, what do you think? She looks pretty healthy to me.

This one is apparently oblivious to the fact that her mama has to get up early tomorrow.

This week is chaotic in both good and bad ways. The good is that Catie’s birthday is tomorrow, and my big girl is turning FIVE. YEARS. OLD. A fact which she gleefully tells anyone who’ll listen. So we’re having a party at one of those bounce house places, because I really don’t need her entire daycare class plus all of their parents in my house. She is ecstatic.

[Aside: Can I rant about parents who don’t RSVP to birthday parties? I have 5 confirmed guests and about 11 others that have been given invitations, but I have no idea if they’re coming or not. And the party is Saturday. Rudeness!]

The not-so-good chaos is that Dave is coming for a visit, which means working out details about visitation and dealing with lawyers (because that’s the only way we communicate these days), and all kinds of things that I’d rather not have to worry about.

So, yeah. That stuff. Boo on that.

I also started this new diet thing this week because I decided that my jeans were getting too tight and I’ve had quite enough of that, thankyouverymuch. I don’t really want to talk about it too much because it seems like every time I do, I jinx myself. But that’s another added layer of chaos to my life, just because it’s something new and different, and changes are difficult, yadda yadda.

Lots of ups and downs, clearly. But overall, things are good, I think. Even though I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I’m about to be the mother of a five year-old child. How the hell did that happen?

the new normal

Catie is almost 100% recovered from the ear infection/pneumonia double whammy of last week. And thank God, because she was totally miserable, the poor kid.

I could tell the minute she started to feel better, too, because suddenly she was driving me crazy. She was running all over the house, “Mommy? Hey Mommy! Watch me do this! Hey, Mommy, can you turn on another ‘Pocoyo’ please? Hey mommy! Can I have some more juice? And some toast? Hey, Mommy, I’m gonna pretend that I’m a baby triceratops so you have to be the mommy triceratops, ok?” And on and on and OH MY SWEET MERCIFUL GOD, CHILD, BE QUIET.

At one point, when I was picking up Lucy from daycare, I ran into Catie’s daycare teacher and mentioned how Catie was driving me batty (but still coughing too much to go back to daycare). Her teacher gave me some worksheets to keep her busy. Catie was all excited to have “homework” from her beloved Miss Germaine. (Seriously, she cried daily about how much she missed her teacher and her friends last week. It was exhausting.)

Working hard on her "homework" from daycare.

Needless to say, she’s back at daycare today.

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Meanwhile, this one is still up to no good whatsoever.

Do not believe this face. She is evil. And she won't let her mama sleep.

She is working so hard on trying to crawl, and she’s almost got it down. She’s doing the same thing Catie did with scooting backwards, as well as rocking back and forth on all fours (occasionally she’ll pull a full-on yoga plank or downward-facing dog position, it’s pretty impressive). So, based on past experience, I’m pretty sure this means she’ll be full-on crawling in two weeks or less.

I guess that means I should probably work on, I don’t know, child-proofing? Maybe? I don’t even own any baby gates. Oh god.

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Last night, my mom officially moved out of my house. My dad’s been living in their new house for a while, but mom stayed to help out while Catie was sick. It felt so weird when she left. She’s been living with me for the past 4 months. And I knew that she was only going to be less than two miles away at her house, and that I was going to see her twelve hours later when I dropped off Lucy at their house, but it felt like the end of a big milestone. (For the record, Lucy is staying with my folks two days a week and going to daycare for the other three days – I’m so grateful that they’re willing to take it on, because it’s saving me a few hundred dollars per month to cut Lucy down to part-time daycare.)

It was weird to be the one who had to turn off all the lights when I went to bed (my mom is a night owl and usually up long after I go to bed). And it was weird to not have a constant MS-NBC soundtrack in the background (my mom loves her some liberal television programming). Everything about it just felt weird and alien and new.

But it’s a good thing. Before I went to bed I kind of looked around and thought to myself that, yeah, this is MY house. And it’s going to be just me and my girls here. And that’s ok. We need to settle into our new routine, but I think this is going to end up being a really good thing for us.

New Year's meme for 2011

Well, this is probably going to be depressing, but it seems to be my annual tradition…

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Got separated. Hired a divorce attorney. A lot of other things I’d rather not remember.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I just checked last year’s meme, and this was my resolution:

Sometime in late spring/early summer, I plan to deliver a happy, healthy, preferably human baby. Let’s see how it goes!

So, yeah. I did that. Yay me! I didn’t make any other resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
ME! Plus about a hundred or so other friends and family members.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my dad’s cousin (sort of like an uncle to me). He was a very sweet man, and he’ll be very missed.

5. What countries did you visit?
Huh. I’m not even sure if I left the state of North Carolina this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Stability. Calmness. Serenity. Less drama. Two kids who sleep through the night in their own damn beds. Little things.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 31st – Lucy was born.
August 9th – Dave and I separated.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I went from a temp employee at my job to a permanent employee in February. That was a pretty big deal at the time.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My marriage. Enough said.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major, no.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Technically my health insurance paid for it, but I’m going to say it was the epidural when I had Lucy.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mom. I hope that my kids grow up and know that 35 years from now, if they need me, they can call me and I’ll drop everything to be there for them. If that ends up being true, I’ll consider myself a successful parent.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I refuse to answer this for legal purposes. If you know the inside scoop on my life, you can probably guess.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare. Lawyers.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The arrival of Lucy. The sale of my house.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Most stuff by Bruno Mars. For this reason.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Most definitely sadder. But optimistic because I know it’s temporary.
b) thinner or fatter? Well, I’m not pregnant anymore, so I guess I’m thinner.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer. So much poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Traveling. Reading books. Doing fun stuff with my girls.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Moping. Yelling. Crying.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home with Catie, Lucy, my parents, and my siblings. It was really nice.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
No. Sort of the opposite, in fact.

Unless you count falling in love with your kids, because…

And then the little one noticed my camera.

My god, yes. Them.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Not sure I had one. Probably Hoarders.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
See question 13 – no comment.

24. What was the best book you read?
I don’t think I finished a single book that I started this year.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Piano Guys. Who knew I’d ever have an obsession with the cello?

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
My parents moved here. We sold our house. I found a rental house for me and the girls.

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
A sense of closure.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I’m suddenly completely blank. Did I see any movies this year that weren’t animated? I mean, I took Catie to see “Gnomeo and Juliet” and “Rio,” but those aren’t on my list of fine quality films, so… yeah. I don’t know.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35. I don’t think we did anything since I was pregnant and miserable.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If my marriage hadn’t fallen apart, that would’ve been nice.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Total lack of fashion, all functional. I’m working on fixing that, though. I bought some cute boots as a Christmas gift to myself, and my goal is to try to take the time to make myself feel cute, because I feel a lot better about myself when I do.

32. What kept you sane?
It’s probably bad to answer this question with Lexapro, but… yes. Lexapro.

Also, my friends and family who let me vent whenever I needed to. Y’all know who you are. And you’re awesome.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I will admit that I have a huge crush on Matt Paxton, the extreme cleaning guy on Hoarders. Because I love the idea of a man who knows how to clean up after himself. That Corey dude isn’t too shabby either.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Probably the Amendment 26 vote in Mississippi. It’s my home state and I still get worked up about a lot of political issues there. This is one of the few times one of their elections turned out the way it should have.

35. Who did you miss?
I missed my Grandmother a lot this year. She’s Lucy’s namesake, and sometimes I look at my two girls and think about how much she would have adored them. She died 15 years ago, and I still miss her. My sister and I wore some of her jewelry to church on Christmas Eve this year.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
My new friend Tanya, another single mom at Catie’s daycare, who has been an invaluable resource to me over the past few months. It helps to have a friend who’s been through all of this stuff before, and survived to tell the tale.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Sometimes the people you thought you knew the best, turn out to be complete strangers to you.

Also, I can survive a lot more than I ever thought I could. Who knew?

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“Soap and water
Take the day from my hand,
Scrub the salt from my stinging skin,
Slip me loose of this wedding band.”
— Suzanne Vega, “Soap and Water”

(Yeah. I told you this was going to be depressing. Sorry.)

So, happy new year everybody. Let’s hope 2012 is far, far better than 2011.

The Christmas wrap-up

On Christmas Eve, we did our usual pre-Santa tradition: cookies & milk for Santa, carrots & a bowl of water for his reindeer.

Stocking on the fireplace, and treats for Santa & his reindeer

Catie was so happy on Christmas morning. She got everything that was on her list for Santa, and then some.

Catie opening her presents on Christmas.

At one point, she said, “This is the BEST! CHRISTMAS! EVERRRR!!!” Considering that I thought it would be the worst Christmas ever (the first one post-separation), I’ll take that as ridiculously high praise.

Lucy seemed a little confused by it all, but she had fun too.

Catie helped bury Lucy in her mountain of presents.

Plus, you know, there was this. Which made me laugh until I cried.

Lucy's new Foofa hat!

I mean, it’s a Foofa hat. Come ON. That’s just funny.

Hope you all had a nice Christmas too.

Merry Christmas Eve

This has been a pretty difficult Christmas for all the reasons you’d expect. There’s been so much upheaval in our lives, and the holidays are a pretty intense reminder of what’s missing.

But, I have these two. And that’s all that matters.

So Merry Christmas. From our house to yours. Hope your holiday season is as bright as these two girls’ smiles. (And the glare on the photos because I took them with my iPhone. It’s Christmas. I’m not busting out the scanner.)

Catie & Lucy school pictures