I’m calling Mom!

This is an example of daily phone calls with my daughter, when I call to check on them, or when she calls to tattle. Because, when all else fails, call mom. Enjoy!

 Phone Call #1

Me: How is everything going at home? Are the boys being good? Did they eat breakfast?

Gracie: Umm ya they ate, and  they are running around in their underwear.

Me: Why?

Gracie: I don’t know. They took their shorts off and are being weird running around and being loud.

Me: Get the boys and put me on speaker phone

Gracie: (screaming in my ears) BOYS!! MOM WANTS TO TALK TO YOU!! Okay mom they’re here.

Me: Boys put on your shorts! Stop running around in your underwear, being ding dongs. No one wants to see whats under your shorts, especially your sister!!

Boys: OKAY – giggle giggle.

 Phone Call #2

Gracie: Mom, since I made sure the boys cleaned their room, and I did the dishes, can I have some of your chocolate you have hidden in your room?

Me: Yes, but you have to do a load of towels first! And quit snooping in my room – one of the days what you find WILL NOT BE AS SWEET AS CHOCOLATE!

Gracie: Yes mom.

 

work

Phone Call #3

Me: Hello lovely daughter

Gracie: Oh, you are going to be thrilled!!

Me: Really?! Somehow I doubt that. What happened?

Gracie: Oh, well, remember your rule about no balls in the house. Because all your stuff always gets broke?

Me: Oh no, what broke?

Gracie: Well they were playing with balls in the house, and I told them no balls in the house, so they went and got a pillow – which was a foot BALL pillow. And don’t worry Gage already knows that was not a good idea. Then, Boone kicked the football pillow, and they broke the tall glass lantern you had on the table. So, Coleton is in one corner, Boone is in another corner,  and then I ran out of corners so Gage is crying in his room.

Me: (laughing) Did anyone get hurt? Is anyone bleeding?

Gracie: No.

Me: Okay can you sweep it up, and make the boys wear shoes until I get home and can make sure it’s all cleaned up?

Gracie: Yes, but what about the boys?

Me: Tell them I will talk to them when I get home, and let them stay where they are for 5 more minutes. and then call it good.

Gracie: Okay. Love you bye.

 Phone Call #4

Gracie: Mom. David (Step/Grandpa) is here to check on us and says we have practice, and I told him we don’t. But he says we do. Do we?

Me: No, practice got cancelled, let me talk to him for a second.

David: Hi there

Me: Hi, hey practice got cancelled, so I can get the kids tonight. Thank you though.

David: Oh okay, Matt told me they have practice.

Me: Yes, they did. It got cancelled. Matt didn’t know when he told you that this morning.

David: Oh okay. What are you doing?

Me: I’m working.

David: Oh okay, well they need practice. (laughing)

Me: I know, they’ll make up for it.

David: Okay then, bye. Have a good day.

 Phone Call #5

Me: How are things going? Did they do their chores?

Gracie: Um ya they did them, but then they made a mess again in the front room, but they won’t listen to me when I tell them to clean it up. They keep going out in the backyard.

Me: Give the phone to Gage

Gage: Hi Momma

Me: Gage Riley, clean the front room, do not go outside, do not get a snack, do not get water, don’t go pee or poop. Just clean the front room.

Gage: Okay Mom

Me: Give the phone to Coleton

Coleton: Hello

Me: Coleton Michael, clean the front room, do not go outside, do not get a snack, do not get water, don’t go pee or poop. Just clean the front room.

Coleton: Okay

Me: Give the phone to Boone

Boone: Ya

Me: Boone, clean the front room, do not go outside, do not get a snack, do not get water, don’t go pee or poop. Just clean the front room.

Boone: Okay.

Me: Give the phone to Gracie

Gracie: Hi Mom

Me: I told them all. Do you need anything else?

Gracie: No

Me: Okay. Love you

Thank goodness school starts next week. 

 

Divorce & the StepMom

Have you ever awoke from a dream that was so intense and real that your heart breaks as you open your eyes?

I dreamt about him again, and its such a double edged sword because even though for the duration of the dream we’re together again, there is always the waking up that rips him away.

Divorce sucks, everyone knows that,  divorce with your children involved even worse, but nothing is worse than divorce with a stepchild.  Nothing.

Ethan was only one when he blessed my life. Having had a hysterectomy after my son, I always believed God wasn’t done with me as a mother, therefore he brought me Ethan. We had him in our home every other week for a week at a time, which is virtually unheard of at his age.

At first, it was hard to get used to, because my children were 5 and 7 at the time. Diapers, sippy cups and highchairs were a thing of the past. But, it took no time at all to fall in love with this blonde little sweetheart.

He always called me mom, because he copied my kids. It was hard because his mother hated it. It was something he chose and though I was uneasy with it at first, I grew to love it and to call him my son. Raising him was a joint responsibility in our home. In every definition and action I was his mother, and I loved him dearly, and still do.

Through battles in court, battles between my husband and his mother, I fought hard for this little kiddo. My love for him and my relationship with him, is what started my blog, and my parenting page. My children took to him instantly and we were a family.  And then after three years, we weren’t.  He was gone.

His dad left for another woman. He left while my kids were not at home, and while Ethan was with his mom. There was and has never been a goodbye on either end.  My children were left heartbroken by the dual loss of a stepfather and brother. And, I, well…I haven’t seen Ethan since. Except in photos here and there.

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That is probably why I still dream about him. In my dreams Ethan calls me mommy, and hugs me so tight as if to hold me over until our next date in our dreams. He caresses my face and tells me “I love you mommy” the way he used to do. This time I was so happy to see him that I was crying, and woke up feeling as though I was going to cry. My heart hurts, still, a year later.

It makes me hate his father, and the woman he left our family for. The woman who informed me it was better for Ethan and my children, to not see eachother or the man that was a father type in their life. She has no children of her own, how does she know? She made the rules and he followed them.

While I’m thankful my ex is gone, and even more delighted that they two now are eachothers karma;  I miss my son. I miss his laughter, his silliness, his sweet breathy voice and the way he loved me so. I miss him crawling into my lap, caressing my face and telling me stories about bullriding and hockey with his excited little boy voice. I miss him holding hands with his brother and sister and how excited he was to see them when he came home every week. I miss the 3 am tapping on my shoulder, saying “mommy can I snuggle you?”

Now, awake and emotional, I will go on about my day dealing with the loss of my son again. The sinking  feeling in my heart, that dull aching pain which will exist unbeknownst to anyone throughout the day. I’ll suffer quietly because noone understands it and everyone expects it to go away because its been over a year. But, guess what?  It hasn’t. 

It hides away until we meet again in our dreams.  I miss you Ethan, and love you always. 

Two by two, what I wanted for you.

Two things, that’s all I really hoped my kids would be blessed with – because with those two things they could conquer the world.

One thing I wanted most for my children was for them to have a mother, an involved mother, someone who made time for them, whose hugs healed any pain, and whose ears listened to every story, worry, or concern. I wanted my daughter to have a lap to lay in, and hands to play with her hair. I wanted her to have a woman she could trust, a friend she could laugh with, and someone to show her its okay to make mistakes. I wanted her to have the woman in her life that I never had in mine, a mother. The same with Gage, I wanted him to have someone who would make him dance in the kitchen when a slow song came on, someone to nurse a scrape, tell him he would do better next time or someone to blow raspberries on his tummy until he could barely stand it. A woman for him to be proud of, the one that makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because they are made with love. And, the one woman whose heartstrings are attached in such away that whatever affects him affects her – a mother.

The second thing I wanted was for them to understand how vital their role as brother and sister to each other was. I can’t tell you the amount of times in the past nine years I have said “be nice to each other, you can’t possibly understand how important this relationship, this friendship will be when you are older!” Now, the two of them would be lost without the other. They have been this tight little twosome from day one. They were each others first real friend, and have grown into best friends. You probably are thinking – ya all kids are close, but by close I mean Gracie is like a second mom to Gage.

kids2

One of my favorite stories of Gracie and Gage was when Gage was about three months old. He was sleeping in his crib so I ran for the shower, literally! It couldn’t have been more than ten glorious minutes before I could hear crying from the other room, and I did what every mother to a second child does – continued with my shower thinking he would go back to sleep. Well, I was wrong, he kept crying, so I rinsed off, and then all of sudden the crying stops. I think to myself “okay maybe I will stay in here just a bit longer.” Then, I thought again…and all the mommy over analyzing took over and I hurried to the room. I’ll never forget what I saw when I peaked around the corner into the room – it melts my heart even now. There in his crib was Gracie about three years old, with her baby brother in her lap, her shirt pulled up on one side, trying to breast-feed him. And that is where their story starts, they have a bond that every mother wants for their children to share.

kids

Trust me they too have their days and moments. Gracie once while watching a commercial that was listing side effects leading to mental retardation if taken while pregnant, questioned if I took that medication while pregnant with Gage. And, for about six months she called him “big tooth” because he only had one big kid tooth up front (which was admittedly big)while waiting for the other to grow in. She even tricked him into picking up dog poop for a year by trading him a pack of gum, he didn’t realize each piece was equal to a month! He too has had his moments calling her chunky or mean and teasing her about liking boys, but you try saying one thing about the other, and see how quickly the other sticks up for them. They truly love each other, my daughter sneaks in and kisses her brothers forehead once he has fallen asleep, and at night if he is scared he will ask sissy if he can sleep with her.

In my opinion there is not a more important relationship between children other than that of their siblings. They learn trust, honesty, dependability, not to mention every bad habit we don’t want them to know, and most importantly how to love unconditionally. What about you? What is one relationship you want to encourage your child to experience?

Maybe that is why…

Driving the other day I realized something that was almost hard to swallow. The only long term commitment I have stayed true to, is my children. The people who I could not live without, who I need by my side, to see, touch, everyday is my children. Other than them, my life has been filled with disposable items, disposable friendships, disposable relationships even. There is not one single item, that if I lost, would cause me to feel like I lost a piece of history or value. Could it be that the low sense of my own personal value – has contaminated everything else? Or could it be that I have lost so much in my life, that what’s the point of adding value to something deemed for destruction?

Committing, is obviously not impossible – as I am responsible enough, caring and loving enough to care for my children, to always do right by them. My love for them is an emotional connection, that feels as if my heart literally has a string connected to theirs. When they hurt, I feel it. When they are sad, I want to make it better. They are not disposable to me, and the feeling of losing them, letting them down, is the only thing that truly breaks my heart – to the point of where I don’t think I would come back from.

Friendships in my life have been conditional, based on trust, involvement and my desire for things to be right or fair. Although I know sometimes things simply are not fair. If I lose a friend for some reason or another, it hurts – but not from suffering the loss – usually its from feeling like I don’t understand why. The most hurtful loss, is the ones I don’t know what caused the demise in the first place, the ones where people turn away to never speak to you again. Mainly because, I would never do that.

If I do not like you, you will know. If I choose to stop being involved in your life, or allowing your involvement in mine – you will know. Not because I told someone else and they filled you in – because I will tell you myself. I have never been one that dislikes or likes someone because someone else does, or because they are around someone – its just not me. The person who is probably the closest person to me out of everyone had a best friend – and it took me years to finally see she was a pretty great person. Part of that I realize was jealousy on my part – the feeling that I was going to lose someone else, and my internal struggle with seeing myself as disposable.  Today though, she and I are great friends. There are women in certain circles around me that I simply dislike – for what reason I don’t know – just don’t care to get invested or involved.

There has never been a moment in my life where my choices and convictions were not real or mine. Why would anyone choose to not live for themselves like that? Any failure, any blessing is on my shoulders – because of what I did in the process, somehow-somewhere. The ownership of that is most important. Maybe that’s why I handle loss better, because in a sense I can wrap it back to something that was my doing. OR because I truly believe that it needed to be this way. “Mistakes are like presents to me, the wrapping might be tattered and torn, the bow may have only a simple string hanging there, but inside under all the excess – is a gift.” Therefore – walking away from it – or being walked away from – makes sense.

This morning I woke up to a Facebook post from my little brother – saying how hard life can get sometimes and that he is blessed and continues to have trust and faith in his struggles and that he was thankful for his wife and his continuing closeness to me. It hurt me to read it – because there was a truth in that – We haven’t always been close. Being the oldest, my relationship with my two younger brothers has been – I don’t know – probably disconnected. I love my brothers, but I have also been able to exist without a relationship with them, and saying that makes me feel like a shitty sister. Truth is, I think I put my time and energy into those relationships in the moment. Maybe – I am a “moment” person – or just now realizing how truly messed up I am.  While responding to my brother, I wanted him to know that I am blessed too in having a closer connection to him, that his heart is good, and I know great things are in store for him. In my head, I thought to myself he has to be pretty great , because both my mother and father loved him – he was the good son, and I was disposable. Maybe that is why I pulled away from my brother –

It was also the first real moment of dealing with the fact of apparently being hurt by my visit with my mom. I suppose it would be abnormal to truly not feel anything – so I am alright with it. The same I suppose goes with my father – he fought for me to only give up on me in the end. He has passed now, and that’s the final feeling I have. I’ve never said that before. He fought for me, to only give up on me in the end. Maybe that’s why I refuse to let my children down.

In relationships, I would get teased that I was in love with love, and when the going would get tough I would leave. Then, there was the time when the going got too tough and I wanted to prove I was going to stay – but in that instance it was okay to leave. My role in relationships ending has been on both sides, I’ve been wronged and hurt, and I have caused the hurt and left them. Love was always something I could find somewhere else, a connection that was never too deep enough to hurt, if the root was pulled from the ground. The whole would fill in eventually. Looking back, I can tell you that in the relationship with my children’s father – all in all – its a wash. If we had wanted it to work, we could have – we just simply didn’t and are better off. The next relationship – all my fault – all my doing – and something I carry around with me in this small town of everyone knowing – but also something I am okay with. I messed up – I messed up big BUT, I learned BIG too and yet again – we are better off.  The next relationship was a year of hell – a year of proving I knew what I was doing – and although I can blame the demise on him rightfully so – it was my fault for being a dumb ass and getting involved in the first place. The odd part is, he is the only man I think I truly loved, the only relationship I really gave my all, and worked my ass off at – and the only relationship that has ever broke my heart.

Proving myself to people, prevailing, doing what others say I can’t, is the way I have lived my life. A get back of sorts – a proverbial fu&k you of sorts. You see, I am okay with who I am. Do I love who I am – no, but I am proud of who I am becoming. Not taking crap from people, or allowing their convoluted opinions of me break me down – is a blessing. Truth is I have prevailed in many ways, and I have been a good person, a caring person and I have loved immensely and truthfully. That is more than many have the privilege of. I’m thankful for that.

My marriage now is hard – its work – and that’s how I know its real. I have to let my husband in, forcing myself to trust him – which is a foreign concept. Trust is something I don’t understand. Why would I believe someone, and take the chance of being hurt? However, I trust my children – kind-of a funny concept, right? Maybe it’s because I have known them from the beginning? I know their ins and outs, the faces they make when they are fibbing or being truthful, and maybe its because I would love them either way. Maybe its because I know they will love me, either way as well. My life, is hard for even me to understand – I just have to keep at it, keep learning from my mistakes and at the end of day be thankful for the blessings I have.

What I want him to know…

One day without much notice this little blonde hair baby came totting into my home. Barely able to walk on your own, you were holding your daddy’s hand.  My life changed in that moment, almost the same as when you hear the words “you’re pregnant”. Except in my case, I didn’t have nine months to prepare. Didn’t spend countless hours searching for the perfect name, or daydreaming about whether you’d look like your father or me.  My body never carried you; I never felt your first kick or heard your first heartbeat. The love that created you, wasn’t mine, and the air you breath and the life you were given were not from me.  My heartbeat wasn’t the one you fell asleep to at night, and my voice wasn’t the one that would make you turn you head.                                                 

“There are a lot of things that I wasn’t – But listen to this instead”

Nine months of preparation was never needed with you, because you were someone I had prayed for all along. Countless hours are spent saying your name, sharing every funny little story, every sweet moment with whoever will listen to me share. Being just like your father, and having his smile and personality is all I could have ever hoped for.  The first time you laid your head on my chest, and fell asleep in my arms our heartbeats were one in the same. You were not someone else’s child; you in that moment became a part of me.  Your love was a gift to me, your innocence brought me youth, and your father showed me a completely new life.

You became a brother, and gained a big sister and brother.  Quickly you became best friends with your brother, and your sister couldn’t go anywhere without you.  They protected you, cared for you and loved you instantly, not because you were different, or special, or “extra” – instead it was because you are their brother.

Somewhere along the line, those nine months I lacked of worry and concern over how you would be or who you would be – I’ve made up tenfold.  Because when your heart hurts, mine does too. That’s why I want to say these things to you

My love for you is a bond that took time to create,

It’s not one that can be easily erased;

There will be times when you may have to choose,

My promise to you is to understand if I lose.

*****

My job as your stepmom is to understand,

I’ll always lend a helping hand;

Although my place may not be first,

I’ll be beside you through the worst.

*****

Your mother and I do have one thing we share,

Well two I guess to be honest & fair;

We of course share you, an adorable little man,

And we share moments of being your biggest fan.

Step moms aren’t made of steel

Thinking back I feel like I instantly became a step-mom, and honestly its a little shocking that it went so seriously so quickly. I remember being at my Mother-in-laws house for Christmas dinner, and all the family being there. My Stepson walked up to me and said something along the lines of “Mommy can I have some milk?”, and I didn’t know how to answer, and not about the milk, but the mommy part. I had at that point made sure that he knew how to call me by my first name, but because my children called me Mommy, he just picked it up. I of course stumbled, and mumbled and I overheard some voices behind me asking my mother in law “Did he just call her mommy?” and she very assertively said, “Yes, she is his mom when he is here, and we don’t see the need to differentiate in our home.” Getting him his milk, and moving on without a thought, our life just moved forward from there.

Being a mother to children whose father is remarried, I understood the stigma behind my children calling some other woman, Mom. It is not a dismiss-able, minor detail, and I talked to my mother-in-law and husband about how it would make me feel, and that I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. But, they both made a great point, I didn’t ask him or tell him to call me that, neither had my husband, he had done this on his own, and it would make him feel different if I made him stop and call me something different. But, I would by lying if I said that deep inside, I don’t still feel a little guilty that even two years later, he still calls me mom.

The difference between now and then of course, is that I am his mom, for all intensive purposes. He is the brother to my children, my husbands son, and we do everything any other normal family does. My duties as a mother to my two biological children, are no different with him, I still feed, bathe, and care for him. My husband and I provide a loving home for him, incur medical expenses, take him to regular doctors visits, kiss away boo boos, discipline him, and have weekend morning snuggle time. The only difference between me and my husbands ex-wife, is that I didn’t give birth to him. One small, MAJOR detail, that is constantly thrown in my face, a non-existent serious life event that will forever exclude me from all the future “Mom” events.

But, when we are in our little home, with our little family, I am safe from this exclusion. There is no worry about his wedding day, and when he has his first child, and what role I will play in those days, if any. We don’t talk about the day when he might come to me and decide to no longer call me mom, or the day he is old enough to not want to come for visits, and the possibility that he wont always love me the way he does now. Forgetting that I will more times than not come in second, possibly be forgotten, excluded and deemed the enemy by his REAL mom.  I forget he isn’t mine, that he isn’t fully my daughters brother, and my sons brother, and that he isn’t going to stay forever. Then, when Sunday comes, my heart feels heavy, the day is saddened, and I prepare for the disconnect that will continue my hearts beating while my son goes walking on his own for another week. Which in and of itself makes me feel like his is my son, because there is a quote that says ‘Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” by Elizabeth Stone. Which rings more truer that I ever realized.

Seeing the excitement, when we pull up to where his mother is waiting, makes my heart both happy and sad – obviously I love anything that makes his little heart happy, and even though for me personally she ranks nowhere, she makes him happy – and I know at the end of the day, if he never got to see me again, he would be just fine. Sure, he would ask about me, but he has his mom to fall back on. For me, if I could never see him again, my heart would suffer, it would break and I would never be the same, he is apart of me, he has grown into my heart, into my soul, he is an incredible blessing to my life, and it terrifies me to think of losing him.

But, this is the life I chose when I chose my husband and son to join us. I chose this when I decided to love without any conditions, to love completely, selflessly, and to never let him feel any less than mine.