Thursday, December 8, 2016

Today I'm 36

Another hard fought lesson I've learned is how to just enjoy a day for the simplicity of it and recognize the small things that mean the most.  Birthday's always fell short for me because now looking back I was looking for something it was never going to be. 

I remember the last birthday I had with my X.  He wanted us to go to the rink and watch his rec hockey game so we bundled up and went.  The kids (being just 5 and 2) got bored and cold fast so we went to the truck and played around in the warmth.  X was agitated when he came out that we hadn't stayed in the stadium for the entire game but I was used to that.  We went to Tim Hortons and they had out their Christmas mug so I said I was going to buy one and he remarked "It's your birthday you can do anything you want to do." That struck me funny because the first demand of him that day had been to go to his hockey game and watch him. 

I remember getting out of the tub later that day and finding a brown paper bag from a store I recognized in the doorway.  I looked in and found an unwrapped chunky knit wool throw that I had lusted after a few days previous in that store.  There was a card and it had a message about being a great mom to J and E.  I remember thinking how strange it was that there was no handwritten message from X, no Love at the end, and the kids had no idea I was even opening my gift or what it even was.  It was very impersonal and cold and immediately I felt my body reacting to the fact that something wasn't right.  I gave him an awkward hug and kiss but he was stiff.  This wasn't how you treat your wife on her birthday.

A few days later in the middle of the night he ended everything I thought I was going to have and essentially he gave me back my life.

Today I woke up to start the day as.  I needed to get kids ready for school, pack lunches, get myself ready for work, the usual.  In the hustle and bustle we stopped so I could open the gifts they had got me.  The night before we had gone to the mall and J had taken his nan to go buy me something.  I took E to a home decor store she likes and she picked out something for me and had the cashier check it in and bag it before I came to the cash to pay....she really wanted it to be a surprise.  She painstakingly decorated the bag for my gift for well over and hour.  This morning I opened an adorable deer shirt from J and a wooden sign from E that says "always kiss me goodnight."

I spent the day at work quietly and happy.  I treated myself to a specialty coffee in the morning and to a special lunch.  I kept getting Facebook messages, texts and phone calls all day that warmed my heart.  This evening I picked up my own cake (I ordered Paw Patrol) and the kids and I feasted on pizza and cake before going to practice for the church pageant. 
I topped the night off with chores, bathing kids, cleaning, laundry, and tucking in one very angry little girl who got the grumps just before bed. 

But the best most awesome part of my day was the two homemade cards the kids made me while in school.  I love them, love the way words are mis-spelled which means he tried himself without help.  Love the scribbled letters from a little girl writing with her left hand because of her thumb in a splint.  Those cards made my day along with a sweet little bracelet E made me and had her teacher help tie.

Funny enough but because of X I've learned how to enjoy life.

to my favourite mom.  I gave you a special Birthday with a deer

could this bracelet be any cuter, they are doing patterns in school and she wanted me to recognize it was an AB pattern.

over an hour she worked on this bag for my present

cake time

presents that I dearly love not because of what they are but because they came from people I love

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Letting Christmas be

This year I am letting Christmas be whatever it wants to be.  Yes we have traditions that we are following but nothing is mandatory, nothing must happen, Christmas is going to be full of family time and memories.

like this ceramic christmas tree my mom made many moons ago, this is a part of the decorating and always will be
 I've continued the idea of the elf, I enjoy those who make them kindness elves more, but this little visiting elf brings Joy to E (J appears to be a non-believer of it this year without openly admitting it) every morning when she searches for him and laughs at his antics.  Watching J question and begin to form his own truths makes me even more aware of how precious and magical Christmas is when a child truly believes in the magic.  So far Ralph the Elf has reappeared back with candy canes, had a few glugs of maple syrup, used the printer to make some elf sized coloring sheets and gave one to E to color for Santa (oh and scanned himself with a creepy effect) plus hung out in the newly decorated Christmas tree.

I mean when she leaves him this note how can you not love doing the elf for her

day 1

day 2 with a little syrup drink

Day 3 I went the way of pinterest and downloaded some elf sized coloring sheets

day 4

So far this year we have been using our Advent Calendar that I made for the children and stuffed with a little higher caliber treats than those yucky $1 drug store variety.  We've gone to the Santa parade, had our annual pancake breakfast with Santa, went to see grandad and his community choir in an evening performance, and decorated our first real tree.  The house smells fantastic and I am so pleased I chose this route this year.

We have some school concerts to look forward to, a church pageant, a Hanukah celebration with a friend and her family, and a laid back Christmas where we do no running around, just enjoy the holidays and being together. So far this Christmas has been exactly what we want it to be and the laid back feeling is sweeping over the house. 

No expectations for it to be decked out, sparkly, over the top and perfect - just cozy and simple where the memories come from the things we did, not the items we bought.

we did the first reading for the lighting of the advent candle in church

and E (with my help) did the lighting of the star

J read the meaning of the Poinsettia

Monday, November 21, 2016

easy silence

I'm basking in the quiet easy after a stressful time.  Lately our life is very calm and nice, nothing spectacular or out of this world, just calm and calm is a nice thing.

Cat is loving this weather, sitting in front of an open window the end of November, until she went outside and realized it was raining.  This picture was in between her frantic clawing at the glass window

I love that my son has a fascination with Thanksgiving dinner.  This year I was in the hospital for Canadian Thanksgiving and he was utterly devastated.  I've never cared for the holiday or went out of my way until he was old enough to realize it meant a turkey dinner and pumpkin pie.  He was quite pleased to learn that Thanksgiving in the USA was a different time than Canada so I promised a turkey dinner and I delivered, complete with pumpkin cheesecake tarts with pumpkin pie spice whip cream.  Sure we mixed up the dates and had it a week early but all the same he was happy.  

 One of the favorite activities here on a weekend when I want the electronics to shut off and the kids to get along better is to decorate cookies.  I always have a stash of icing pens, eyes, sprinkles, candies, and pillsbury does a great job at pre-cut cookie shapes to just open and bake.  Sure it's a little bit of a cheat but it works on a rainy afternoon when I can't stomach the sound of an Xbox any longer

Christmas is seeping in slowly.  We have some new ornaments bought, a nice tacky blow up for the front lawn, a star shower light thing to cover the house in shimmering greens and reds, and the kids have a tiny little tree for their room.  With our flood earlier this year we lost everything Christmas related so I made another advent calendar for us and have slowly allowed things like Poinsettias, candles, and my ceramic Christmas tree to emerge from storage.  Pretty soon that horrible Elf will return and I'll be jumping out of bed at 6 am because I forgot to move him again,

We've also been enjoying our activities.  It helps when the kids really enjoy what they are doing and want to go.  Ballet for her, hockey for him, and swimming for them both.  E is certainly embracing our time in the stadium and my little Yukon born girl gets quite a few comments for never being cold in there while the rest of the spectators are huddled in Canada Goose jackets.

We've also got a few domestic chores out of the way.  I finally finished my living room board and batten, now to paint the top, and I am diligent with my meal plan and love my new chalk pens.  Seeing my own hands transform out little home, and seeing my life organized makes me quite happy

I can't help buy enjoy life lately and I think it shows.  My family is fun to hang out with, my kids are funny and good company.  We can't even take Christmas card pictures without chaos.

Friday, November 18, 2016

This too shall pass

I handle stress well.  It's a learned experience that has come from nothing more than life itself.  I've learned that bad, dark, trying times will always come, they will sometimes linger as we navigate rough unknown patches, and it can bring with it as much negativity as we allow it.  I've also learned that it will go away and easier days will follow.

In my marriage I had a spouse that handled stress horribly.  Everything was a catastrophe, everything was someone's fault, usually mine, and stress brought about anger and swear words, fragile conversations, and magnified the divide we had in our marriage.  I learned to see stressful times as one more thing I had to shoulder, one more issue that was going to make a fight erupt, just another moment for him to blame me.

One of the greatest gifts I ever received from my divorce was the ability to deal with the ups and downs of life.  To weather the bad with an outlook that this will not last, that hard work and positivity will result in good things happening.

This past month has been one of the worst.  After finishing my degree I was left jobless, no student loan to fall back on, mounting debt, dwindling bank account, and Christmas looming.  I was underqualified for the social work jobs available, over qualified for everything else that I applied for.  I felt the burden of trying to maintain a household alone and meet the needs and expectations of my children, which are very minimum.  I had my moments where stress overtook me and I cried in the shower.  I had times when I placed on paper the worst case scenarios and wondered how much I could reasonably borrow from my father or sisters.  But through it all I reminded myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Keep trying and keep moving.  Today does not dictate tomorrow, this too shall pass.

I never allowed my worries to overtake my moods.  I never allowed myself to fall apart and stop trying.  And yesterday I received news that I secured a job that is going to make me happy and content, that is going to provide for my family, provide for me emotionally, and fit our lifestyle perfectly.  I've learned there is always a light at the end, there is always a good day at the end of a bad just have to have the faith to stand strong during the bad and be patient for the good.

Monday, November 7, 2016

the reality that is divorce

There are times when I can't help but curse him.  When my life is drastically changed with stress I never expected, I curse him.  I remind myself that my happiness is worth more than anything in this world, but I curse him.  There....that's out.  I've applied for every job in town.  Every $10.50/hr job, every admin job, every job where I am somewhat qualified, over-qualified, a perfect fit.  I have had zero interviews and there have been zero postings for my career field.  My bank account is dangerously low, I've been spending today crunching numbers to see how I am suppose to make this work, worrying frantically about paying for licensing my car, paying ballet dues, Christmas presents, groceries, NLASW dues, it's never ending.  I blame him because he was my partner, the one with the stable steady job that would always provide for us.  I've stumbled along and made it ok but that's with student grants and min pay jobs.  I'm stuck in this town with a son who needs the stability this school year and yet as frantically as I need a job I can't find anything.

Oh the joys of divorce. 

On the plus side we've had fun.  Halloween was a blast with a haunted hike and trick or treating, the weather has been gorgeous, we've had suppers with friends and lots of activities to keep us busy like a circus show. Also my degree arrived, a full fledged tangible item that reminds me of what I am capable of and what I can accomplish.