On anger

It’s 11:30 at night, the girls are asleep, the dishwasher is running, clothes are folded and put away, daycare bags for tomorrow are packed. I should be sleeping right now.

Yet all I can think about is this rage I feel swirling around in my head, and I don’t know what to do with it.

I’m not generally an angry person. I don’t like to hold grudges. That’s not how I want to live my life. I don’t want to be one of those angry, bitter people. (You know the people I’m talking about. Everyone knows at least a handful of them.)

Lately all of my anger is aimed at Dave. Other than the obvious reasons, I can’t exactly pinpoint why. Generally we’ve been ok with each other lately. We’re civil, anyway.

But then I have a day like Monday – and of course, even though I texted Dave to let him know we were at the ER, I still had a lot of that resentment, that “your kid is sick, you should be here right now; or at the very least, you should be taking care of your other kid while I take care of the sick one” feeling.

I’ve also felt that way a lot over the past couple of weeks, when I’ve been having problems getting Lucy to sleep. Because yes, as it turns out, I do kind of need another adult in the house who can take over at 4 a.m. when I’m at the end of my rope.

I’m guessing it’s natural to feel that way when the father of your children lives 3,000 miles away, and is no longer a regular physical presence in their lives.

But it really hit me hard this past Saturday. Why Saturday? Because I spent all day with the girls, just me and them. And yes, it was exhausting (my god, was it ever), but there were so many good moments.

And I just stop and think, god damn you, you’re missing everything.

He doesn’t know how Lucy asks for her bottle, what words she knows, her favorite foods, who her favorite person is (hint: my dad), or the little “jokes” she tells. (Slapping her forehead and saying, “D’oh!” is one guaranteed to make me smile every time.)

He doesn’t see the way Lucy’s face lights up every morning when she sees her big sister for the first time.

He doesn’t get to look in his rearview mirror and see the two of them in the backseat, and catch a glimpse of Catie reaching over to tickle Lucy to make her laugh.

He doesn’t know what Catie’s favorite bedtime book is this week. He doesn’t know the songs she sings along with on the radio.

He misses the bad stuff, sure – he never has to do the grunt work of changing diapers or reminding Catie again that she needs to pick up her toys. But he misses all of those amazing and precious moments too. It makes me so angry FOR THEM. They won’t get to have memories of their childhood that involve their dad. At best, those memories will be sporadic and fleeting.

We have a lot of mutual friends on Facebook (obviously, we de-friended each other a LONG time ago), so I hear things about how he talks about the kids. He makes it sound like he’s this super-involved and loving dad. I guess that’s what he wants his friends and family to think, because the reality of it is just so unbelievably shitty.

And he brought it all on himself. He chose to leave. There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t force him to stay in North Carolina and be a present figure in his children’s lives.

I’ve dated/am dating guys who are divorced with kids. So far, all of them have joint custody and see their children on a 50-50 basis with their exes. I’m jealous of that. I mean, sure, I’m jealous that their ex-wives get a break, some “free” nights off here and there. But I’m mainly jealous that their kids will grow up with their fathers in their lives. I wish to God I could make that happen for my girls.

I can’t fix this. I can’t change what it is. I just have to figure out some way to work around this anger that I can’t seem to get out of my head right now.

Mother's Day 2012

This evening, I started thinking about how this Mother’s Day ranks in contrast to prior years.

I think last year might’ve been my worst Mother’s Day ever. I was nine months pregnant and my marriage was falling apart. Pretty hard to get worse than that, right?

By comparison, this year, my entire Mother’s Day weekend was really fun. And although I didn’t take nearly enough pictures of it, I’ve been thinking about all of the little moments from this weekend that I want to remember, and wishing I had snapshots of them.

These are my top ten snapshot moments that I want to remember (in chronological order, not order of importance… that’s just how my brain works).

1. Spontaneously deciding to take the girls to the playground with my dad on Saturday afternoon. The look on Lucy’s face in the swing. The look on Catie’s face the whole time.

2. Catie going for a sleepover at my parents’ house on Saturday night. She spent the afternoon and evening gardening with my mom. (Her report of it, later? “Mommy, we put POOP on the tomato plants!!” Ahh, thank you, fertilizer.)

3. Watching Lucy enjoy being the center of my attention for a few hours, and not having to share any toys whatsoever with her big sister.

That's her, "mama, you so crazy" look,
One of the only pictures I took. That face she’s giving me just cracks me up.

4. My “friend” (because I don’t know what else to call him) who came over on Saturday night and brought me flowers (“Because you’re a mom, and moms are supposed to have flowers on Mother’s Day”). He even knew to bring tulips, because they’re my favorite. He also brought me mango and dark chocolate, and he snuggled up on the couch with me and rubbed my shoulders while we watched a movie.

5. Deciding on Sunday morning to get Lucy and myself dressed, head to Fresh Market, buy some expensive-yet-OMG-delicious pastries, and take them to my parents’ house to surprise them.

6. Taking a nap with Lucy in my parents’ guest room while Catie and my mom planted more flowers in the yard.

7. Listening to Catie’s happy sing-song voice outside as I fell asleep.

8. Going to dinner with my parents, because my mom and I both decided that we weren’t cooking on Mother’s Day. The kids were both so, so good in the restaurant, which is freakishly rare. (Usually you’ll have one good one while the other melts down. It almost never happens that they’re both good at the same time.)

9. After bathtime, dancing around my bedroom to “Rumor Has It” by Adele with my girls. Catie and I both singing along to the song, while Lucy giggled and squealed with delight when I bounced her around to the beat.

(For the record, “Set Fire to the Rain” is Catie’s favorite Adele song. Which is kind of hilarious, to hear a 5 year-old sing a completely tortured love song. But she rocks out to it, and I love it.)

10. At bedtime, Catie hugging and kissing me and telling me that she missed me while she was at Mimi and Pop-Pop’s house, and that she was glad to be back home. And then immediately asking if she could spend the night at their house again soon.

Overall, yeah, this Mother’s Day pretty much kicked last year’s ass.

I hope all of my mama friends out there had equally fantastic Mother’s Days this year. Because God knows y’all all earned it.

Odds and Ends

Random update of stuff that’s been going on lately:

I went out of town about two weeks ago, and the girls stayed with my parents. It was the first time I’d ever spent the night away from Lucy, and it was stressful for me, but I don’t think she even noticed I was gone. It probably doesn’t seem like a big milestone to most people, but it felt like one to me.

Catie also did great while I was gone.

These two. I swear.


Other Catie stuff:

On my way back from my trip, I had a layover in Chicago. It occurred to me that I hadn’t gotten souvenirs for my girls while I was out of town, and I noticed a plush toy T. Rex while I was at O’Hare. (It’s based on Sue from the Field Museum of Natural History.) I figured I could use this to my advantage. So, when I came back, I told her that I had a present for her, but I couldn’t give it to her unless she made me a promise: in exchange for the dinosaur, she has to stay in her own bed all night.

(Wait, have I mentioned that Catie has been getting in bed with me every night for months? I forget if I’ve mentioned that or not.)

Anyway, of course my little dino-nut went bonkers over her new T. Rex toy, and she agreed to the terms of my deal. She’s been sleeping soundly in her own bed ever since. Praise the baby Jesus and Hallelujah.

Also, I found out what kindergarten Catie will be going to in a few months, which is freaking me out completely. I’m going to leave that topic for another time.


Other Lucy stuff:

She’s cruising around the furniture, and letting go/standing on her own for a few seconds at a time. I’m pretty sure she’s going to start walking any minute now.

It’s funny just to discover the things that she knows. Like, she has this little toy bell at my parents’ house, and if you ask her, “Lucy, where’s your bell?” She’ll find it, pick it up, and start waving it around to ring it.

She’s also starting to dance, which I need to get a video of, because it’s impossible to describe, and completely hilarious.

She hasn't napped on me in ages. I missed it.

See also: eyelashes. I melt.


Other me stuff:

Work is good. I’m still working on a diet and hitting a lot of plateaus, but I’m doing my best and figuring that I’ll get there eventually.

I’m also… um… dating. Which is weird, and I don’t really know how much I want to talk about it on the blog.

I will say this: When I first mentioned this to my mom, she freaked out about it (in a bad way). But she’s chilled out significantly, after I explained my motives. The thing is, I work full-time, and I have the kids full-time, so I’m not out looking for a full-time boyfriend. Quite frankly, I don’t have the time. But you know what? It’s really nice to sometimes put on a shirt that doesn’t have a smear of baby snot on it, and to do my hair and make-up, and to feel cute, and… you know, FLIRT.

It’s fun. And there’s been a serious fun shortage in my life for the past year or so.

Ladies room self-portrait from last night.
See? No baby snot anywhere. Also: HAPPY.

The other thing I told my mom: the girls will not be introduced to anyone that I date. They’ve been through enough instability and upheaval, and I’m not about to add to that.

If/when something starts to get serious (and I don’t expect that to happen aaaaanytime soon), they will be introduced to that person as my friend, just like they’ve met female friends of mine. And there will be no public displays of affection in front of the kids, because it’s inappropriate. Just like there wouldn’t be PDA in front of my parents – again, because it’s inappropriate.

I don’t know why I feel like I need to be defensive on that subject. Maybe it’s because I’m not officially divorced yet, that it all feels kind of unseemly. But I also don’t see how this is doing any harm, and it’s been a pretty big ego boost to find out that there are guys out there who think I’m cute. So I think it’s a good thing.

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.


someecards.com - My Valentine runs on batteries.

Sigh. Yeah. Sad but true.

finding my flirt



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.


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.


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.