Friday, April 29, 2016


Motherhood is exhausting. Being a single parent (with no involvement from the other party) multiplies the exhaustion exponentially.

Sometimes, I feel like I'm at the end of my rope, flirting with burnout.

It usually has nothing or very little to do with the three kids five and under I spend nearly all of my "free" time away from work with, except for the all-nighters my youngest has me pulling some nights and the decent sleep shortage she induces almost every night. Other than that, when I really look at it, there doesn't seem to be any differences between weeks I feel refreshed and ready to tackle parenting as opposed to the weeks I want to wave my white flag, hide under my blankets, and let the cat take the lead.

But sometimes, it's just extra taxing.

I toy with the thought "I could just give up."

It crosses my mind, but I never say it aloud.

I don't even know how I would give up. Even when I feel like the worst mom ever because I've had 6 cups of coffee and can't keep my eyes open, or every one of my nerves is fried to a crisp, or the sound of another request or inquiry makes me want to put on noise-cancelling headphones... I still don't know how I would give up when the thought of giving up crosses my mind.

I suppose that's a good thing.

What I will tell you is every so often, I reach my limit, or I get close to the edge of it, anyway, and silence and sleep sound so enticing I contemplate the "what if" situation where I wonder what it would be like had I not put my foot down, or didn't care about their father's poor choices and questionable, unstable parenting. I wonder what it would be like to have had a more "typical" or even amicable split where there was shared custody and I had a weekend to myself every so often to just sleep or do something for me.

But, that's not the case. 

Time to come out of my bedroom where I'm not really putting away the laundry so I can change another diaper.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Not forgotten

For as long as I can remember, I have had the blessing of being able to remember people's faces and names fairly easily.  If I see someone I recognize, there's a good chance I can recall their name and likely where I met them or know them from.

I know this isn't so with a lot of people, and for that reason, I find it's rare that I approach someone that I haven't seen in years, especially if we weren't ever close, and let alone ask if they remember me.  I don't want to put them in a position where they feel awkward or feel bad that they can't remember me.

Why? Because I don't feel that memorable.  I really never have felt memorable.

I feel very common.  I'm a very ordinary woman, really.  I don't see anything that remarkable about myself that would make people remember me after years, especially if we never had a close-knit relationship.

Today, at church, two questions were raised in the message.  Where are you from? Where are you going?

I realize I write often about where I have come from, specifically the saga leading up to my current single-mother-of-three-ages-five-and-under-who-never-hear-from-their-dad situation.  If it gets old, I apologize, but as I have said before, I write therapeutically, and also for those who may need to find someone to relate to.


In the message, there was a comment about how it is okay to look back to where you've been or what has happened and compare it to where you are now, and to see where God is leading your life.  I know I'm guilty of looking back, probably more than I should.  The past week, I have had many instances were I looked at where I've been, and I see God in the steps along the way to where I am now.  I see them much more clearly and much more significantly than ever before.

There are so many moments that I can see that God had it all under control.  I see people and places and situations he orchestrated that broke down my walls and chiseled away at my pride, to mold who I am becoming.

I see that even when I felt like I might have been forgotten, he never left my side and he never forgot me.

What is equally mind-blowing is the fact that, although I'm ordinary, there are many people who have remembered me that I would have not expected to remember me (or my children).

Over the past year or so, there have been multiple people that I have not had contact with for a very long time come back into my life for various reasons.  There are people I was never close with, that I just sort of knew from high school and my hometown.  There are people from college, from former jobs, from old blogging and message board websites, from local mother support groups, and so forth.

These people have all shown me and my children God's love in ways both big and small.  I never sought them out, and they found their way to us.

It's totally a God thing.

Because although I'm ordinary, to Him, I'm remarkable. I'm memorable.  And as I have been struggling with the fact that I feel discarded and forgotten by my former husband, he's been in the background sending me these messages  (that I may or may not have understood at the time) that my former husband is just one little person in this great big world who happened to hold a huge piece of my heart and was a part of my life's treasure.  But, he has so many other people who I had placed on my mind or heart's shelves and set aside.  And these people, people that I remember and never expected to remember and love me, these people remember me.  They remember me because God remembers me.

He has also brought people into my path who know me, or know of me, that I didn't know had any clue who I was.  Considering how, really, when it comes to my daily life (although I am much more outgoing on my blog) I shy away from meeting new people and feel uncomfortable doing so, it is incredible to be known and not know it.

And God wants me to let go of the value I placed on what one person thought of me, because what He feels for me is much more significant.  He cares about me enough to show me in tangible ways that I am remembered, because as he knows, sometimes I need to see something tangible to get through my fogged up vision.

He remembers each and every one of us the same.  He loves each and every one of us the same.  And while he may have sent people to show me that I am remembered, it doesn't mean He will speak to each of us the same way.  But, He does know how to reach us, when we are open, ready, and willing to receive Him.

Thank you, Jesus.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Don't get me wrong...

 Hello, Saturday.  

It's been a short while since we've had quality time together. Truthfully, I haven't looked forward to your presence as much as most do, or as much as I once did, over the past couple of years.  I know, you probably think I'm some sort of traitor.  We used to have such a fun, carefree relationship.  I used to look forward to you for six days out of every week, anxious and anticipatory for each of your coming arrivals.  I used to spend days thinking about you, longing for you, planning for our time together.  I used to invite or seek out others to join us in our rendezvous.  We made so many wonderful memories together, you know.  So many big and exciting things would happen when we were reunited after our long, exhausting days apart.  Oh, Saturday, you were one of my greatest joys in the course of each tiring week.  Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy the idea of you, Saturday.  I still enjoy your existence.  You just don't hold as much meaning as you used to.
You see, there's three busy little people who occupy most of my minutes when you roll yourself around again.

Don't get me wrong, I love them dearly. But let's be honest, there are some things I miss.  I miss some of them on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays as well. 

I miss being able to sleep in, Saturday.  I miss the feeling of waking up after a deep sleep, well rested and refreshed.  I miss sleeping past seven in the morning, and then lying in bed until I felt it necessary to wake up.    

But, I do enjoy the look on three little faces as they ask me to wake up as I pretend to sleep.  Their blue, green, and brown eyes all smiling at me and cheering when my own eyes open to greet them.  Sure, I might not get to use the bathroom in a timely fashion, having to change a diaper or two and wait my turn for those who can't wait as long.  But, there's something to be said about the joy on their faces that helps me rise out of bed much earlier than I ever wish to.  And while my two-year-old still sleeps like a newborn and I'm constantly exhausted, I must remind myself the early years go way too quickly.

I miss having silence in the morning.  Don't get me wrong, the laughter radiating from the living room as the three of them reunite after a night's sleep.  Sure, the annoying voices and simple story lines of morning cartoons can be quite irritating when I would prefer nothing more than a quiet morning to read, but the excitement in my kids' voices is pretty adorable.

I miss having someone to talk to.  Don't' get me wrong, my children can all speak and carry on conversations now, but I miss in depth talks with someone more my own age.  Whether it be a husband, a roommate, a cousin, a sister, a brother, or a friend, for most of my life, I have had at least one person my own age living with me.  There was someone who understood my jokes, my fears, my dreams, who could carry on an in-depth conversation that didn't revolve around bathroom habits, toys, the desire for juice or poptarts, or tattling.   

I miss the effortless planning of a cup of coffee or a meal together with someone my own age.  Don't get me wrong, I still drink coffee, and I definitely have the company, but I do miss not having a tiny person commanding me to "take a drink" and "set it down" every twelve seconds just out of her own personal amusement out of being bossy.  I miss sitting down at the table and not having to worry about cleaning up the floor because my company can't figure out how to not smash their cereal or drop their grapes.  I miss not having to wipe off my lunch-mates face because they eat a peanut butter sandwich open-faced and from the middle.  Don't get me wrong, its pretty amusing to see the messy faces and all, but having to clean up so extensively after each meal gets to be a pain.  I also miss having people to cook great meals for.  Don't get me wrong, it's nice that sandwiches and nuggets, waffles and fruit are easy to prepare, but its a bit depressing to make a delicious casserole or soup and having 2/3 of your dinner guests tell you it looks gross or that it is made from leaves and is completely inedible, refusing to so much as try one bite.

I miss the ease at which running an errand once was accomplished.  Don't get me wrong, my children are well-behaved most of the time for any sort of errand we run, but when all I need is a gallon of mile from the gas station two minutes away, it's exhausting to spend ten minutes to get everyone ready, into their car seats, drive there, unload them, walk them in, bypass all the treats, get the milk, pay for it, take them to the van, get them back in, attempt to coax them back into the apartment, take off the outer wear, and put the milk away...  The same goes for needing toilet paper, when your youngest secretly tears up what you have and throws it square-by-square into the toilet before handing you the empty roll.  

Don't get me wrong. I love my life, and I love my children with every fiber of my being.  

But, from time to time, I do miss my old friend, Saturday, and the relationship we once had.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The other guys

Tonight, something inside of me shifted.

Over the last few days, I have been mourning the absence of my children's dad in their lives, as he has now chosen to ignore each of their birthdays and Christmas and Easter, some of the most significant dates and holidays in the year. I found myself thinking he should be here, or even send a card. I found myself wondering if the children even cross his mind.

As I was looking through some photos tonight, I felt tears trickle down my cheeks. I had to stop and process.

What I found surprised me. I wasn't sad. 

I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

While it is utterly heart breaking to know he walked away and my children are left to miss him and wonder where he is or if they will ever see him again, I realized how incredibly blessed we are that God has given them a group of "other guys" in their lives.

I know, as do my children, that these men will never be a replacement or substitute for their dad. But, they are so fortunate to have these men in their lives, helping to show them their value, that they are wonderful, important people who are worthy of being loved. These men have chosen to step into my childrens' lives, or chosen to remain in their lives despite the fact that they could have walked away alongside their father because they were first connected to me through their father. There are also equally important men that are my family, who choose to love them so deeply and dearly as well. All of these men invest their hearts into my children, creating lasting, positive memories, hugging and holding them, helping them feel safe and secure, and letting them see what good men are like and how good men treat people.

And even if some day, for some reason, these men are no longer in our lives, the fact that they are here right now, and have been during such tribulations, and during the childrens' early formative years means the impact is significant enough to last a lifetime.

I have known these men love my children, and they love me, and they want us to be happy. I have known it, and I have felt it to be true. 

But tonight, it shifted, and the impact is deeper and greater than I was able to comprehend or allow myself to feel before. Tonight, it overwhelmed me.

Thank you, other guys, for what you have given to me and my children by choosing to care so deeply. You know who you are, I hope.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dear Spenk, Ollie, & Pippin

My darling children,

Momma is having a hard time falling asleep tonight, despite my state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.

I rest quietly in the dark, and my mind starts to wander.

I think about how unfair life has been to you the past couple of years. You've had such instability, loss, and trauma. 

My eyes swell with tears until they begin to overflow.  My heart physically aches for you. I say a prayer that God will protect your hearts and minds from the effects the years could have on you, and ask Him for the strength and grace to get through, alongside you, whatever lies ahead. 

He has carried us this far and I know He will carry us still.

I hope that you never feel forgotten, discarded, or unloved. Even if you have every justified reason to, I pray against it. I know I personally struggle with these feelings as well, after all we have gone through, so if they do come, know I understand. And, if those feelings arose, I pray you will come to me so I can guide you through them in the way that others have guided me through them and into God's arms, time and time again.

As you all sleep soundly, my heart goes from aching for your pain, to aching with love.

I have so much love for you. Sometimes, it feels like my heart cannot contain it, and it aches as if it may actually burst. Funny how the heart aches in the chest when the love really stems in your mind... But that's a lesson we will have another day. 

Babies, I fought for you. I fought for you before you were born, and I fought for you since your first breath through the ones you're taking now, and until I no longer breathe my own.

 I have tried so hard to fill you with goodness, with joy, with compassion, and with love. I know that there are times when those things won't be on the forefront, but I know with every fiber of my being that those things are within you. I see it in your eyes, I feel it in your hugs, and I hear it in your laughter. 

I apologize, my little ones, for the days when I shed tears, am sick, in pain, exhausted, or drained. Please know, even on those days, I am trying to be my best for you. I will fall short from time to time. I pray I am always humble enough to apologize, and strong enough to try harder the next chance.

I am so thankful that we have each other. I know we all need our space sometimes, and it's hard to get that when its a small apartment and our days are often so busy. I know also that there will be days we feel we need less togetherness and more time apart, and others we feel like all we need is more time together. I pray we will be able to find a balance in it all.

I hope you know how very much I love you, and how I wouldn't trade you for the treasures of the world. I hope you'll always feel the same of me.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

On Your Second Birthday, my Princess

Sweet, beautiful, baby girl,

Tomorrow, when you wake, my gorgeous one-year-old daughter will cease to be, and in her place, a two-year-old will wake.

It seems surreal that I've blinked so many times that yet another year of your short, miraculous life has passed.  It cannot be true.  And yet, it is.

My momma-heart aches for your baby-hood to remain longer.  I want to linger in this infant and toddler moments a while before the sun sets and rises too many more times and you are a preschooler.  The years, fly by, even though some days it seems that time slows down due to the chaos of life.  But what they say is true, these years go by much too quickly.

I regret not rocking you to sleep more often in this past year.  I rocked you many times, but I could have held you against my beating heart more than I did.  I know it won't be long and you will not want to rock that way, and I will miss it so much.

I find it harder to watch you grow up than your brothers, simply because you're my baby, I think.  Although, the fact that you're my only daughter, and that I never imagined I would have a daughter has some weight as well.

Sweet Pea, you are such a joy.  You're a huge blessing, and a bright ray of sunshine every day, rain, sun, clouds, snow...  You just radiate beauty, love, and warmth.  Yes, of course you have your moments that are a little more cranky, bossy, or stubborn, but those are far less than the great moments.

You are so intelligent, little lady.  I know that parents automatically think that of their children, but your knowledge and language skills astound me.  You have spoken so clearly and with such a vast vocabulary for months that you would seem to be older than you are.  You have such a beautiful singing voice, even if at times, in the van, it's quite boisterous nonsensical vowel sounds.  I love listening to you sing "Jesus Loves Me," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "The Wheels on the Bus," the ABCs, the "Hokey Pokey," and the past few days, "Happy Birthday."  We have been talking about your birthday a lot this week, and many mornings, you've sang the song to me as the sun rises.  It's the most precious little thing.

Although you still sleep like your newborn self, waking multiple times most nights (I wouldn't mind if you slept a little better, you know.. just something to consider, perhaps a Mother's Day gift...), I love how happily you get ready for bed.   You tell your brothers "Nuh-night Brothers!" and beg for giant bear hugs from them, which they happily give you every night, before you climb in bed.  I sing "Jesus Loves Me" to you once, before I kiss your forehead and tell you "I love you, sweet dreams baby girl."  You tell me "Love you too!"

Pip, this past year has been incredible. It's been filled with anxious and sad moments for our family, for sure, but one thing is for certain, God knew what he was doing when he brought you into our lives.  The boys and I adore you so much.  I am so thankful that God has chosen me to be your mommy.

I pray for you daily, and I ask that God mold your heart to be warm, pure, and strong.  I hope you are filled with courage and strength.  I hope that you're brave, but wise.  I pray you find life-long, lasting friends, and that your memories are as joyful as possible.

I cannot wait to see you in the morning, Norah Rachelle, and to hug that little two-year-old body that I held for the first time not all that long ago, but ages ago, just the same.   The twinkle in your chocolate brown eyes when you whisper in my face is a memory I hope I never forget.

I love you, baby girl.

Momma Bear

Real Life?

Years ago, back in high school, I had a phase where I loved reading mystery books, psychological thrillers, and books that really made you think and question what was going on. I read many, many books, and would get caught up in the stories and how fantastical they were, thankful that no matter how engrossed I became in the story, they were just fiction.

It's a completely different feeling when you're living out one of those stories. 

My love story started out like a proper romantic novel might. The dashing, tall, dark, and handsome man caught my eye with a gleaming smile, and we were swept up in love. Over the course of a few years we went from best friends to soul mates to married.

We fought long and hard to have our first child. We lost our second before we knew whether the baby was a boy or a girl. We bounced back, and welcomed a second son into the world.  We were content. We were at peace. We were thriving.

So I thought...

Together, we fought to provide a loving home for our two sons.  My husband worked hard, long hours, so that I could stay home with our boys.  He told me repeatedly he thought it was best, financially, and for the children.  So, we made due with less than many people, renting a cute old home, not having a ton of time together, but striving to make sure our children were raised by loving parents, and a mother who had all the time in the world for them.

I had no idea there was a secret life being lived outside this scenario.  I had no idea that dark things were happened outside our home in the name of our family, until months later.  I chose to believe my husband when these things came to light, and believe that inherently he was a great person trying to do what was right, believing he loved his family deeply and would do anything for them.  I believed he was a good person who had fallen into some mistakes and bad decisions.  I chose to work through these things with him, stand beside him, fight for our marriage, fight for our family, and believe that good would prevail.

I became pregnant with our daughter in the midst of great tribulation.  It was a complete and utter shock for many, many reasons, a large one being that I was told it was highly unlikely I would ever become pregnant without medical assistance.  My husband was paying for some of his poor decisions when I found out I was pregnant, and I was devastated.  I knew the timing was horrible, and I was not sure I could handle having another baby around while dealing with everything else my marriage was throwing at me.  I cried day in and day out, even though the few people I trusted to tell all told me that "everything happens for a reason" and "it's God's plan, not ours," and other such phrases.

Knowing things were in a bind financially, I had applied for jobs, and had just accepted a position the day prior to finding out our third little miracle was on the way.  I worked long hours most days of the week while allowing my sister to spend those hours with my children, raising them as she knew I would love them to be raised.

When I found out our third baby was a girl, he wasn't with.  I went to tell him in person, and the light in his eyes and the smile on his face was genuine, thrilled, and joy-filled.  He was finally getting that daughter he had hoped for, that I was sure would never happen, believing with my whole being we would have four sons someday.

I was exhausted.  I was strained.  I was working, raising children, pregnant, worried, fighting for our marriage to prevail.  But I had faith and hope and everything inside of me believed things could and would be okay in the end.

By the time our daughter arrived, things seemed to finally be getting back to where they were when our lives were good again.  I was finally thrilled at the prospect of a daughter being placed in my arms.

She arrived, and was beautiful.  We were smitten with her, as were her brothers.  Our family felt so whole and complete.  He told me many times it didn't make sense for me to go back to work with the late night hours and expense of daycare, so I should stay home and he would provide again.  He had gotten a raise and a promotion, and so it worked out okay.  Things were good and back to normal.  It was like a dream.

Only the dream wasn't what I thought it was.

Months passed by, and at the end of the summer, out of seemingly nowhere, as I had, over the course of the previous months, confronted my husband as to his distance, wanting to work on things that seemed strained again, and straight out demanded to know if he wanted out of our marriage and he swore up and down, inside and out that he wanted nothing more than his family and his wife, he told me he wanted a break.  I was shaken.  He told me he was not going to come live at home until we went to counseling together.  I was truly relieved at the idea of counseling because I had suggested it many times and he often told me we didn't need it.  So, we made an appointment and went.  I thought we were going to continue going. He paid for the session an arranged others.  Then he decided he didn't like the counselor and we weren't going anymore.

A few nights later, creepy, scary things were happening at our house when he wasn't home.  In the dark of the night, our garage was broken into, our freezer tipped over, someone running through the yard.  Someone broke our window with a rock.  Someone turned on our outside hose and ran it through our back door into our kitchen, opening the front door as they walked through while I did laundry below.  I called the cops multiple times in a week, and they gave me a few ideas of who, what, or why it could be happening.  Uncertain and terrified, at the urging and help of a few close friends, I took my three children and left town without a word.  Someone egged my van randomly while I was gone.  When he found out we weren't home anymore because he offered someone to stay at our house a night and I had to tell him I wasn't there, things stopped happening.  It was strange, but I refused to jump to any conclusions, and to this day, I have no real answers.

While away, I found many phone calls in his call logs to a random woman all hours of every day.  He swore it was for work. I didn't believe him, but there was nothing I thought I could do to prove otherwise.

He came and brought us back home after about a week.  He didn't stay at the house although I begged him to sleep in the basement because I was terrified for our safety.  It seemed so strange to me that he wouldn't and as always, he used work as an excuse.

It was weeks later that he refused to pay rent, saying he couldn't afford it (although I found out a bit later that he could, he was making much more than I ever knew about and I had no idea where any of it had gone), and his children and I were evicted in short notice.  A friend rescued us and we stayed with her a few months, while I found a job at a daycare that the children were able to attend. Then the children and I went to the homeless shelter a while before finding ourselves in a transitional housing apartment.

Despite the very strict rules, we stayed multiple months before I was able to find an apartment for us.

During this time, he had our family vehicle, and I had to trust him to come and get the children and I for work each day, and then to return us home.  There were many times I hadn't heard from him until minutes before he was supposed to be there, and there were many times he failed to show on time at all, leaving me in a panic and having to find other rides to work. He didn't seem to find urgency in high temperatures and illnesses with the kids and it would take all sorts of begging to get him to allow me to take them to the doctor or have him take them to the doctor.  He was always busy. Eventually, the children and I were blessed with a van so that I could be self sufficient.  He visited a bit, acted like he cared and wanted to be with us, but he was still a bit distant.  The children were seeing him daily, which was a nice change, but he wasn't really there half the time he was there.

It took many months before he let me know where he was staying. He would tell me with a friend or other such things, but never specific.  Eventually, he was renting a room in someone else's apartment and the kids and I were able to visit.

He came to me a bit over a year ago to confess and ask forgiveness for the many, many things he had been doing over the course of the year beforehand.  I forgave him.  He asked to reconcile.  I agreed to try under strict guidelines.  I was extremely leery and cautious, but allowed myself to believe in miracles and to have hope that our family would be together again and our marriage could be restored.

We spent a few days together after that, Easter was one, and our daughter's first birthday party and the evening of her first birthday.  He seemed to be trying.  He seemed to really want his family.

Then, the wind was knocked out of me and the world around me seemed to fall apart when the day after her birthday, I received a random message from a guy I had never heard of, asking how to reach him.  I told him he didn't have his phone at the time, and I asked who he was.

"He told me he told you.  We've been dating over a month now."

I couldn't breathe. I thought I was going to pass out from trembling and dizziness.  There was a photo of the two of them together in a bar.  They were hugging.  My husband had a secret boyfriend, while he was trying to get the family back together.  He had never once said anything about this friend, even in his confessions he only spoke of women.

I confronted him when I was able.  He said it was a goofy drunk picture.  I could honestly understand that because he's always been one to give hugs, and I knew he was battling a drinking problem.  I chose to give him the temporary benefit of the doubt while he was going to prove it was a lie and this guy was out to destroy our family.  He swore he wouldn't talk to him or anything of the nature.

Except he did.  And he wasn't very secretive, and I found out.  He still denied their relationship was romantic and they were just friends. I knew better. I confronted him so many times and it was always the same, but I knew better.

He saw the children a few times over the next few weeks. I even allowed them, for the sake of my own sanity because I was exhausted, to have them overnight without me.  I found out he was sneaking this guy friend around them, and the children around that friend's family.  I confronted him and was given many stories, lies, and discrepancies.

I told him that he wasn't going to have the children alone until I met this guy. I told him we were over and his relationship with the other man didn't really matter, but since he couldn't be trusted to be honest and I didn't know this guy or anything about him other than they went to bars together and I was being lied to, he couldn't have the children alone.

And then he disappeared.  Completely disappeared from our lives. It's been almost a year.

In the following months, I found so many more secrets that he hadn't confessed to.  More lies, cheating, and so forth.

He made it nearly impossible to find him.  He worked under the table so he couldn't be tracked for child support.  Anyone that I new he had contact with prior or during refused to help me or would lie to my face about him.  I was hitting wall after wall.  But I was persistent.  In December, he was finally found and served with divorce papers.  It devastated me to have to file for divorce myself.  I was the one, all along, fighting for our marriage, never wanting to be out.  I wanted to fight.  He clearly didn't want to be married to me, but he wouldn't divorce me. I had to.  It was a hard pill to swallow.  Come February, everything was finalized, and I felt some relief.

I thought the crazy plot twists were over, but every once in a while, something new and obscure still pops up and I live through the emotional storms all over again.  Thankfully, through it all, I've had some consistent support systems, and I've had God.  I have places to lean when I feel like my legs are going to fall out from under me all over again.

I've never felt the world crumble as many times in my life as I have in the last two and a half years.  It's been exhausting.

As I sit here this morning, writing, because writing is my therapy, I scrolled through photos to find one to add to the post.  I watched my crazy, psychological thriller of a story unfold before my eyes, although you cannot see that in any of the photos.  The photos so clearly depict the deep, dark story that I had kept hidden for so long to keep my pride in tact and my life guarded never really existed.  There's mostly smiles and hugs, baby chaos and other such things.  You don't get to see the terror, the exhaustion, the tears, and the agony that existed simultaneously.

The past years have been the most exhausting of my life.  It's been years since I've had consistent, quality sleep or relaxing days.  And for the most part, I'm okay with that, because I've fought to keep myself surrounded with happy thriving children and a job that I love.

I find often that I'm unsure who I can really trust, still.  I know that God has me, and I can lean on him, and I know there are some people walking beside me on this earth that I can truly trust.  But I find many times that some I start to trust I find I cannot.  It cracks the heart a little each time, but such is life.

I find myself putting down my guard to new friends more often now.  I spent the last year or so feeling like I shouldn't, couldn't, wouldn't be loved by people.  I felt like if the one person who spent over ten years telling me I was the best friend in the world, the most loyal person they knew, the most compassionate, tender hearted, loving, hilarious, all around wonderful person could up and walk away from me without a word in any form, despite the promise to be friends no matter what happened... well, than anyone can or probably would leave me too.  I mean he knew me best, inside and out, and he couldn't stay, so no one else would want to.  He promised to and no one else ever made that promise in front of family and friends and to God.  Surely, I'm not worthy of love from anyone.  God is the only one who could love me, because he loves everyone.  No one else really could, and I expect them to disappear too.  I battle this still, knowing it's a lie, but often feeling it's the truth.

 I'm so thankful for the support I have that prays over and for me and reminds me to turn to God when I feel he's too far away.

I question my mothering often.  I put such pressure on myself to be a good mom, because I'm the only parent they have.  If they don't know I love and care about them, then they are completely devoid of good parents.  I know that I'm not a terrible mom, but this is another attack I deal with, especially over the course of the last three weeks where I've been so sick and in so much pain that I can hardly function by the end of the day.

That enemy, he's a sneaky, vile one.  He definitely knows where and when to attack and he latches on deeply, my friends.

I spent many months feeling like I must be crazy.  I was sure I must be mentally ill to have missed the first instances of my former husband's betrayal, let alone his cheating, wanting to take a break, alcoholism, and whatever else that has gone on that I either haven't spoken of or do not know about.  I must be crazy to believe he loved us and wanted us.  I must be completely insane and making all of this up, because it cannot be real life.  It's just a messed up movie, right?

Unfortunately, it's not.  It is real life.  It's a day by day challenge.  Sometimes it's a breath by breath marathon.  I'm living those novels I read, and it is not nearly as entertaining as reading them.

Yesterday was rough on multiple levels, and I poured my heart out to a friend. She prayed for me. Immediately after, the lyrics "Jesus is my strength, my shield, and He will never fail me." Came through the radio I hadn't realized was on. They've been my mantra since.

Fortunately, I know God has a great ending in store for my children and I. So, I'll make it through each plot twist and wait for boring and commonplace things to happen instead.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Struggle

I apologize in advance that this post is not written in my typical fashion.

The past couple of weeks have been quite exhausting in my world.  Two weeks ago, my dad had a stroke.  I packed up the kids and drove to Minnesota to be with him in the hospital, freaking out internally the entire drive, so they wouldn't see my fears surface.  

My dad is recovering in a nursing home currently, with medications and therapy to help improve his life and hopefully get him back to where he was while attempting to disintegrate the potential time bomb in his carotid artery.  

I came home for Palm Sunday, so the children and I could be at church (and feed the cat), and I wept repeatedly in church, both out of gratitude for God allowing my dad to live through the stroke and to have a second chance.  I wept out of fear of losing him despite it all.  And I wept out of loneliness.  I realized in church that God is with me always, and I have friends and family to support me.  But, I also was presented, again, with the reality that the person who chose me, that I chose to spend my life with, well... he is still completely missing.  The one who promised to be my pillar of strength when I would someday lose my parents is nowhere to be found, and in his place, I have to place my trust in Him who I cannot see, cannot audibly hear, cannot feel him hold me.

As you know, I believe in God, devotedly.  I am striving to raise my children to feel the same.

But sometimes, it's still very difficult.

Fast forward two days, and I sat at work coughing and coughing and gagging and coughing.  I had been fighting off a cold for about three weeks as it was, and didn't think too much of it, other than it a continued nuisance.  But as Tuesday became Wednesday, and the cough got worse, and one of my ribs (which had admittedly been giving me issues for a few weeks after a coughing spell at the beginning of March) felt like it was piercing my side.  It made it hard to breathe, which made me cough more, which made my lungs hurt.  It was a mess.  Come Thursday night, I was actually a bit scared about it, but still trying to push through it, because I was sure it was just a cold and I was being ridiculous.  Then, my friend told me, "It shouldn't hurt to breathe," and I decided to bite the bullet and head to the doctor (uninsured, which is another story).

I saw a CPN who listened to me, felt my rib cage and could tell it was swollen and tender, took my temp and oxygen, and diagnosed me with bronchitis and a bruised/fractured rib, or possibly just swollen cartilage from forceful coughing.  She prescribed two medications and listed a bunch of others that I was supposed to buy and take.

I tried to tough it out and go to work the next morning, but it wasn't getting any better, and I just couldn't do it.

I haven't been back since.

Over the course of the weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to sleep while my children were loved on by other people.  I missed Easter church, which would have felt incredibly devastating had I not been feeling so wretched physically.  Easter is my favorite holiday.  The kids and I watched it online, which was nice enough, and then they went to our "adopted" family's house for Easter while I stayed home and slept.

I cried quite a bit before I finally fell asleep.  Easter was the last holiday that the children and I had with their father before everything truly fell publicly apart.  And here I was, alone, sick, almost unable to function, and while my children were at the same place we last celebrated Easter.  This year they had no dad with them, and their mom couldn't be there either.  

That moment began the struggle I've been fighting most of the week when I'm awake.

Monday led into Tuesday, and by Tuesday night, I had made my rib worse and my coughing was not better, likely worse, and I was completely freaked out.  A friend met me and waited with my children while I had x-rays done proving that I had pneumonia and a fractured rib.  I was given more prescriptions and advice and sent back home.  It's insane how much a fractured rib hurts. It hurts to walk, to sit, to lay down, to cough, breathe, cry, lift, push or pull with that arm, drive... pretty much everything.  And then the pneumonia, where it hurts to breathe, to cough, and I cough every time I walk too far, or there's a slight breeze, and I get dizzy and lightheaded. It's a stupid combination.

It's been very rough being home this week.  My children are very energetic, and I have zero energy.  It hurts to breathe, even though my cough has finally began to become less frequent and forceful.  I still sound raspy and wheezy, but it's become productive, so I feel like there's at least some light at the end of this tunnel.

But the struggle to be mom while being sick has been intense.  The children have been pushing all the buttons and pressing boundaries, testing and trying, making mess after mess, fighting and needing and jumping on me and being mad that I'm no fun.  It hasn't been that way 100% of the time, but it feels overwhelming when it is.

I have found myself crying in front of them, because I feel like this week, I'm failing them.  They've eaten cereal for almost every meal.  They've been left to their own devices in the living room while I lie down in my bed from time to time, fending for themselves when they're able.   I know that's okay and kids need to be self-sufficient, but I still feel horrible.

I've had to ask them multiple times not to jump on me or hit me because of my rib, and it makes me so sad, because my middle child loves to climb and jump and I feel like he thinks I am personally rejecting him, even though I know that's not the case, and I would just love for him to sit calmly beside me or on my lap and snuggle.  But he's rowdy and he doesn't seem to have time for that.

I feel like I'm boring and no fun.  In fact, both of the boys have told me more than once they don't want to be here with me.  I don't blame them, because I'm so exhausted that I, as much as I hate to say this, wish they could be somewhere else so I could just sleep.  I don't let them know that of course and attempt to engage with them as much as I can, even if it means Netflix watching on my bed, reading books together on the couch, rocking Norah's babies, or watching videos of them on my phone.  It seems like every part of my body hurts and aches and is exhausted, so I don't blame them at all for thinking I'm such a bore.  I totally am.

But I'm trying. I keep telling myself that.  I hope that they know.  Because right now, I'm struggling feeling adequate and not a failure.  I'm struggling feeling like they think I don't care and don't love them as much as I should.  I struggle to feign the energy and excitement they need when they ask me to put up the basketball hoop yet again.  I struggle with the creativity to find things to engage them day after day in this apartment, because even being on the deck has made me cough so hard that I nearly throw up.

Then, I've been struggling with frustration and anger at their dad.  I have to tell myself that while I think "he SHOULD BE HERE" to help me in times like this, it's not the case.  But it feels horrible to know that he's chosen to not be here and care even a little bit and help me out during a week or two when I could have used his help so desperately.  I don't like feeling this way, especially when it seemed like a couple of weeks ago, I was at peace with this whole marital saga and how it ended.

I'm going to be better, and soon. I tell myself that.  I've been praying fervently.  And I will be returning to work next week.  It's going to get back to normal.  It just seems like it's been forever.  

Sorry for all of the whining and the incessant rambling  I am not looking for pity, I just needed to get it all out.  I know I've been incredibly whiny and negative lately, as much as I've been praying against it.  I've not had contact with many people for that reason, because I believe I am likely irritating in this state, and I feel bad for subjecting people to that.  I haven't been this sick before, ever, as far as I know, and I think I handled all three of my children's births better than I have been this pneumonia and broken rib combination.  It's quite a paradox though, not wanting to bother people and missing adult interaction so deeply.  I've been more lonely than I care to admit.

  I haven't blogged in quite some time, I know, but I haven't felt up to it with everything going on.