Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Enjoying My Life As It It Right Now...

I'm learning to handle being alone. Please don't confuse it with loneliness; I'm not lonely, just alone. I wanted this and believe me, I'm not complaining about it. But my life has changed in the last 6 months like I never thought it would. I don't think I have gone out once on a Saturday night since my marriage ended, but I'm not all that upset about it. I'm doing the things I want to do: eating the the restaurants where I want to eat, seeing the movies I want to see, I'm knitting without any snide comments, I read in bed with the light on and I keep hand lotion on almost every flat surface of my apartment.

FRU and I had a nice weekend together. I took her shopping with me, we played a few board games, watched a few movies (actually, we watched the same movie over and over...ok, she watched the same movie over and over and I napped), we made marshmallow rice crispie treats...we simply did fun stuff, without any schedules. She even tried a new food on Saturday. I had heated up a bowl of leftover lo mein and she asked for some. I was shocked; she has eaten nothing but chicken nuggets and PB&J with no crusts for months now. I gladly shared my lunch and lo and behold, she liked it. So much so that when I asked her what she wanted for dinner last night, she said "That Chinese spaghetti stuff." She ended up having chicken nuggets, and got a promise that I'd get her some lo mein the next time I ordered take-out.

As I was watching the Golden Globe Awards last night, I got to thinking...Life is Good. It's that simple. I know so many people who are having troubles right now, but life is on a pretty even keel for me right now. I have a routine, and I don't freak out when that routine is disrupted. I am enjoying the simple things right now and I'm appreciating them more then ever. When I shut the light off the other night and finished saying my prayers, it warmed my heart that I didn't say any for me. I prayed for those who need them, but I didn't say any for me. I said my thanks for my strength, my health and my beautiful child...but I didn't ask God for anything.

Anything I need I can do or get for myself. It took me an awful long time to get to this place in my life, but I'm liking the scenery and I think I'll stay here a while.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Oh, The Possibilities...

Today is Friday and it's right before the long MLK Day weekend.

What is it about 3 day weekends that get everybody so crazy? Is it because a) they can say "Naner, naner" to the alarm clock on Monday morning? or b) because they can get some project done, like painting the living room or laying kitchen floor tiles? Or c) because they have a extra 24 hours to goof off?

I'm going with "c"...at least that's why I get so worked up about them. I have an extra night to watch movies, more time to do fun stuff with my child and one extra day to wear jeans.

Oh, the possibilities of an extra 24 hours. It's like a gift from God.

When I was a kid, MLK Day wasn't a federal holiday. It was celebrated in school and we learned about the Civil Right Movement and how Dr. King's words affected the way society treated those who look different than our founding fathers.

It was a loooooong stretch between Christmas break and the long President's Day weekend. Six weeks of snow, cold and misery. When I was in high school, MLK's Birthday was declared a National Holiday. All of a sudden winter didn't seem, so bad. We got a nice little break to either play in the snow or to never leave the house.

Now that I'm a grown-up (shhh, don't tell anyone!), those long weekends help the time pass like few things can. They help mark the passage of seasons and years. Many come with parades and traditions. There are barbeques in summer, sales in the fall, and skiing in winter. The possibilities are endless.

For me, though, it's all about the possibility of goofing off and not getting trouble...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Coming Back to Center...

Earlier this week I was ranting and raving about dealing with the needs of others. Then I got some sense knocked into me...FRU got sick. It was just a virus but it was enough to keep her out of commission for 2 days. That brought me back to center.

Having to take care of a sick, helpless child is enough to humble anyone. Hearing the words, "Mommy, I trew up a little" at 4:35am sent me into panic mode. My child has hardly vomited at all so when she does, it's bad. I brought her to bed and never went back to sleep. I just watched her, ready to spring into lifesaving procedures if necessary.

Thinking about this got me to thinking about the different aspect of parenting. My parenting style is rather relaxed. I don't run wind sprints to the pediatrician every time FRU has a sniffle or a cough. Some parents would have had their child in the ER within minutes. Still, other parents would have done nothing, sent their child to school, hoping they wouldn't get a phone call to come pick him/her up.

When FRU gets sick, I react by getting a little crazy, then I try to bring it all into focus: What are her symptoms? Is she very uncomfortable? Is she drinking/eating? Does she have a fever? Once I have the basic questions answered, I can make a judgement about how to deal with her illness. She's only 4, so if you ask her what's wrong, she says, "I sick." When my father asked why she was staying home from school, she said, "I got 2 sicks." That translates to "I threw up twice."

Being a parent has humbles me in countless ways. There are many times I couldn't give a damn about how I look, but FRU was dressed to the nines. I have eaten week-old Chinese take-out, but FRU can get a fresh grilled cheese for breakfast if she wanted it.

I know certain women were not cut out for parenting. They make great aunts or godmothers or cousins or babysitters...but they simply can't parent.

Knowing that FRU I'm a good mother is always enough to bring me back to center. Knowing she thinks I'm fun and silly and the cat's pajamas is icing on the cake...

Monday, January 8, 2007

Someone Else's Needs

I'm in a place in my life when everyone needs something from me.

Since I broke up with my ex, FRU has needed me more than ever. She no longer wants to sleep at anyone' s house (she used to have sleepovers at my parents' house and my aunt's house quite frequently) and wants no one else to put her in her car seat, to fold her laundry or make her PB&J sandwiches. I don't mind these tasks. I feel that it's part of my job as her mother to try to help her understand the confusing world we live in and to help her navigate through it..

But it seems that everyone else in the world needs something from me. Family, friends, co-workers. I have to be the one to make phone calls to unpleasant relatives, I have to be the one who has to figure how to make ends meet, I have to be the one who has to remember to bring the blanket to day care.

I need to be the one who gets taken care of once in a while. It would be nice to feel cherished. It would be great if I could finish a sentence before someone cuts me off. I'd love to be able to watch a movie all the way through without having to pause it for any reason.

I want everyone in my life to just do whatever it is that needs to be done without asking me any questions and without my assistance.

Oh wait, tonight I get a break. Someone else is picking up FRU at school and giving her dinner...BECAUSE I NEED TO GO TO THE DENTIST...what kind of break is that? It's a pathetic one...I'm actually looking forward to going to the dentist just so I can get some alone time. I can drive with the radio on MY station and can sing at the top of my lungs if I want. That's my alone time...big whoop...

Friday, January 5, 2007

Hopes for the New Year

Every year, many people make resolutions: to quit smoking, to exercise more regularly, to get a hold of their finances, to not get caught up in any drama.

Well, I vow to do all of these...

I quit smoking in mid-November and vow to remain smoke-free. Maybe a few months from now, I can smoke a cigarette or two without it becoming a habit again. But for now, NO CIGGIES!!!

I need to start exercising on a regular basis. I like how exercise makes me feel, I just hate doing it. I have the clothes and I have the machine; I figure all I need is some motivation...now, if only I could buy motivation, it would make things so much easier.

And that last statement leads me to my next: I will continue to work on getting my finances under even tighter control. I can manage to make it from one pay period to another with a few bucks leftover but my goal is to actually save something, even if it's just $20. I have reigned in my spending and have started little tricks to avoid unnecessary spending (carry lots of pennies so you get lots of quarters as change from your purchases; save $5 bills so you won't need to hit the ATM as often) and I can see the benefits of these tricks already.

As for drama, sometimes it's unavoidable, we all know that. Drama is something that some people thrive on and that others avoid like the plague. I think I fall in the middle. I like having all the attention on me sometimes but there are also times when I want to sit in the back of Starbucks and read and have no one notice me. My vow is to not create drama. I'm on the road to rediscovering myself after spending 10 years with a man who isn't in touch with his emotions and therefore made me believe that it wasn't okay for me to be in touch with mine. There's no place for drama in my life right now. I'm raising a little girl, I work full-time, I have a household to run and I'd like to have a bit of time for myself. It's all about balance, and learning that lesson can be quite eye-opening!!

I have great hopes for 2007 (2006 was especially hard) and am willing to put in the work to make it as fabulous as possible. New beginnings are filled with hope and now, at the cusp of a new sense of wonderment, I am filled with hope too.