I Should Have Known Sooner

   I should have known sooner that this would eventually end. I should have been sure of what I wanted before we dragged the kids into it. I should have realized that I couldn’t do it….not again.
   I know now that I don’t want to raise more children, not mine or anyone else’s. Not half time or even every other weekend. I can see the light at the end of the intensive parenting tunnel. I’m enjoying a new found freedom because of that, and discovering myself. I can’t put that off indefinitely to put myself last so that the children come first, as they should. I won’t wake up some morning years from now to realize that I resent you because I fell into a life without examining it. I must hurt you now, so that I don’t hurt all of you more later. I’m sorry…

Say My Name

   I had asked my ex if he would agree to use the on line program that hosts communication between parents (because of the volatile texts that his girlfriend sends me through his phone). He disagreed, of course. The other day I got a call from my lawyer saying that my ex had called to make a counter offer….he would agree to use the computer program if I changed my name. I literally laughed out loud. He’s no longer going to bully me into anything…my lawyer agreed. I’m also pretty sure that this request comes from the girlfriend, and that they are planning on marrying. Good luck with that!

My Minimal Life

   As I am forging my way into my new life, I have had the pleasant rediscovery that I am a minimalist. It’s something that I realized in my teen years, but after living with a hoarder for so long I had forgotten.
   My tiny little apartment, and my tiny little car, and my tiny little garage and backyard….they are enough for me ( and my cat and daughter when she’s here). They are not quite all as organized as I’d like, but they will all get there.
   Yesterday, I did a wardrobe purge. Now, I didn’t have a whole lot of excess to start out with….but it was annoying me to open drawers and see things that I no longer wore. The closet was feeling cramped, and so I knew that it was time to purge. I got rid of one trash bag of clothes, plus a few pair of shoes. Now my wardrobe is feeling manageable again. I would rather have one perfect item than several good items. That’s just the way that I have always been. With my weight loss, I’m sure that my wardrobe will be revolving a bit for a while, but it’s a manageable size for now. I have one smallish dresser (one of the drawers of which contains my boyfriends things), and a small walk in closet that also houses my lingerie chest, all of my coats and jackets, the vacuum, and my hamper. And yes, it’s big enough.
   Purging and making sure that all of my kept items are usable and in good condition makes me feel calm…centered….in control. I follow that rule about everything in your house needing to be useful or beautiful. The garage still has some surplus, but I intend to get to that as I am decorating the patio. Today, I saw strings of solar powered outdoor lights….oh yes, my patio needs these!

The Weight of it All…

   I am not one of those lucky, naturally thin women. It made growing up near the beach very difficult. My schools were peppered with long blonde tresses and bikini bodies, whereas my own body had not been bikini ready since I was six, and my hair was decidedly short and dark.
   At some point, I decided in my mind that I was simply a different species. The junior sized clothing was so far from fitting my frame, and the advice given in teen mags was so far removed from my experiences, and I looked so different from everyone else that I saw, I thought that surely this must be the case. It is only now, in my forties, that I have come to the realization that I am a real human woman. My size and shape, although not necessarily the ones usually seen in the media…are very common, and quite normal for my age group. I have also discovered that my body is also quite attractive to the opposite sex. This was quite a surprise to me, I’m rather sad to say.
   I have gained and lost quite a lot of weight over the years (including a 2 1/2 year stint where I lost 70 pounds, and came to the realization that my body image issues had nothing to do with my actual body). Recently, because of health issues I have changed my diet. A not unwelcome by-product of those dietary changes has been weight loss.
   Believe it or not, I am usually the last person to realize that I am losing weight. I should be familiar enough with this process to understand it, but I don’t. The first sign of weight loss for me is usually needing new bras. Not in the way that you are thinking, though. I usually loose weight from my ribcage first, so that I need a smaller band size, but a bigger cup size because the girls have not yet followed suit.
   Recently, this phenomenon occurred, followed by the bagging out of jeans, and tops becoming drapier. On a recent work trip, I had to purchase new jeans because mine were stained, and I went down a size. It really wasn’t until that point that I noticed how much weight I’d lost.
   Contrary to what you would think, weight loss makes me more uncomfortable with my body. My skin begins to get really loose, people who know me are looking at my body judging it, and I get more attention from men. It’s a serious struggle for me, and can wreak havoc on my psyche.
   Because I am losing weight as a side effect of dealing with health issues, it’s just something that I will have to learn to embrace. It’s funny that I probably had my worst body image at my lowest weight. It to was at that time that I realized that my body was truly different that someone who is naturally thin. I am muscular, I have larger bones. I have a soft shape. I will never been a size 4, or flat chested. I have come a long way in embracing my body and loving myself, but body changes always sort of drag up the past.
   I am proud of myself for maintaining a healthier diet, for taking my health into my own hands, and dealing with things my own way. I am happy to be losing weight- not just for my health, but my vanity. At my natural size, it is more difficult to find clothing that fits and flatters. Even at one pant size down, a whole new world of clothing options has opened to me. Shopping has become much more fun, and I have been enjoying the fact that I need smaller clothes.

Dad’s Girlfriend

   I need to get something for the kids for easter….this whole ‘Dad’s Girlfriend’ thing is weird. I’m never quite sure what the protocol is. I wasn’t even going to get my own kid anything (I mean, she’s almost 16….a little old for the Easter Bunny), but he has Littles….and I wanted to get them something. So, everyone is getting a little something. But not his mom. I got her a Christmas gift, and then she made me feel totally unwelcome in his home. It’s not out of spite or vengeance, I just won’t spend the effort on someone who will probably never like me.
   It’s awkward being ‘Dad’s Girlfriend’ when Babymama is around…..and she’s always around. Not just for weekly kid exchanges, even during her weeks she comes to his house and puts the kids on and picks them up from the bus at his house. She is a prominent fixture at every holiday gathering, and is in constant contact by phone. Yesterday morning, she called him at 7:30 in the morning….just because she got to his house and he wasn’t there.
   I think his family thinks that our relationship is waning because I’m not constantly at his house. It’s not…I just refuse to let his mom bully me. I’ll come down for special events or to hang out with his friends, but that’s it.
   Things would be different, of course, if we were married (at least in his mothers eyes), but she would never accept me. She doesn’t know that I’m not a Believer…. (and I’m not about to tell her), or that my kids are both homosexual. She hid her own nephews Facebook page because he came out. I think her head would explode if she found out that my daughter is non-binary and gender fluid. She probably wouldn’t understand it.
   Sometimes I get caught wondering if I should say something to one of his kids when I see them doing something they shouldn’t be. I mean, everyone else seems to. It just feels weird when their mom is in the next room. I know that he trusts me and appreciates the help, but lines are not always clear.
  

Where is All of This Headed?

   I know that if I’m asking this about my relationship, it isn’t a good sign. But lately I have been wondering. I have been seeing the same wonderful man since summer. I love him, we’re good together, and I enjoy his company. He has been very clear that he wants to spend the rest of our lives together, but he’s not yet in a position to do that….
   Sounds like a million other stories, doesn’t it? I think we both put the cart before the horse, in a sense. We were both still going through divorce when we met (which we are both finishing), and neither of us were living alone. I now have my own place, but it’s small….too small for him to bring all four kids for the weekend. He lives with family…..and his extremely religious mother has decided that if I spend the night- he must sleep on the couch. It almost feels like we are teenagers again. I certainly didn’t imagine that I would be dealing with these problems in my forties.
   He’s just started a new job that he’s really excited about. The hours are still part time for now, but they say he will be able to work up to full time. Even working full time, I don’t think that he could afford to live on his own with all four kids. He thinks that in a year he can get a promotion. Maybe then he could get his own place. But that’s a maybe….and a year away. In the meantime, I am left alone more and more often. I understand all of the reasoning behind it, but I didn’t get into a relationship to be alone most of the time. We’re both busy- it’s not just him. His schedule has changed dramatically, though.
   Even when we get time alone together, his ex-wife is constantly calling and texting. They are very committed to parenting together, and I applaud that. But sometimes it feels as if there is no space between them for me.
   I know that things won’t change. His mother will always be nosey and pushy, his ex-wife will be at every family function, and his kids will always need something. I don’t expect that to change, but I do need to figure out if I can really deal with those things.
  

Delicious Dinner

   Cooking can be a very relaxing and therapeutic task for me….sometimes. Tonight was one of those nights. Just me and my daughter….she’s sick with a cold, so I wasn’t sure if she would even eat. No pressure.
   I had found a boxed mix for Sweet Hawaiian Bread, and had been waiting for a chance to try it. It’s one of my favorite kinds of bread, and fresh baked yeast bread is one of my favorite comfort foods. Daughter is a vegetarian, and also dairy free due to tummy issues, so I usually just cook what she can eat.
   The mix was super easy, just took time for rising. While it was on it’s second rise, I started some water boiling with a couple of veggie bullion cubes. I cubed a green bell pepper, and roughly chopped an onion, and added those to the mix. Once the cubes had disintegrated and the veggies were soft, I added two cans of rinsed black beans, some freshly ground black pepper, and a smidge of chili powder. I let it all simmer until the beans were tender, and added salt to taste.
   The beans were delicious, and so was the bread. I served it with a simple green salad, and even my sick daughter ate. Today I enjoyed the simple pleasure of preparing a tasty meal for someone that I love, and that was enough…
Hope