Monday, December 31, 2007

Year End, 2007

So, tonight is New Year's Eve. The day and night when so many people will be trying to tie up all the loose ends of 2007. There will be countless accoutants doing year-end counts (how's that for the use of alliteration?!?), bartenders and servers will make an entire month's rent in tips...and I'll be spending with my family.

My cousin is hosting as she did on Christmas and so a fun time is just about guaranteed. ML will, of course, make too much food, will give my mother too many Brandy Alexanders and we will all laugh too loud. Sounds like a good time to me.

This will be the first year I will let FRU stay up till midnight. Since her birth, I've always tucked her in at her regular time and cuddled on the couch, trying like hell to keep my eyes open till midnight. Before Ex and I split up, we made a tradition of going out on December 30th. We called New Year's Eve "Amateur Night." People who don't drink all year get all liquored up on New Year's Eve and make complete spectacles of themselves...and usually not in a good way. We liked to avoid this public display of intoxication at all costs. So we did it a full 24 hours before anyone else. Yeah, we're rebels.

But that aspect of my life, like so many others, has changed since my divorce. I spent New Year's with my family now. Actually, if memory serves, I was in my pajamas by 8:00pm last New Year's and spent it alone on my couch. I was perfectly content to doze while waiting for the world's most expensive chandeleir to make its yearly descent over Times Square.

So, as this Yenta slowly comes to the end of 2007, it seems like a good time to reflect. My divorce was finalized, I re-entered the dating pool, my daughter started kindergarten and learned to read, I went away with my girlfriends to Pittsburgh and had a fabulous time, and I came back to center. The divorce completely scrambled my life, but as I build it again, I'm realizing that Iwas a lot stronger than I thought. I have a lot more to offer than I thought. I just need to find the right person to share it with; no more co-dependent lunatics for me, thankyaverahmuch...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

So, Did You Survive?

I had a wonderful Christmas!!!

It was filled with love and family and can you go wrong?

Mom and I, without knowing it, started a bit of a silent feud with her 2 sisters and their respective families last year. One is a fiery, and somewhat nasty, PITA and the other is so passive aggressive, I'm not sure how she can stand herself. Between the two of them, they have raised the four most spoiled, most self-indulgent children this side of Buckingham Palace. They all have this sense of entitlement and it disgusts me. I don't want to be around these people. The passive aggressive aunt has the nerve to feel bad for me because I am divorced, but I think it's only because her husband won't let her divorce him. He must have this facade of a happy family on display and it's really quite sickening. I'm not even going to waste blog space on the PITA aunt...there's not enough room in the cyber world to talk about all of her issues.

The last year has been quiet and drama-free since the feud began. I really don't mind it. What kind of message am I sending to my daughter if I allow myself to be treated like a second-class citizen by these people. I was treated like that by my Ex and I refuse to allow it to happen again.

But let's talk about happy stuff...I bought...ummm, I mean, Santa brought FRU a telescope for Christmas and she's in her glory. She's developed a healthy fascination with the planets and I want to encourage her interest in science. I'm planning on setting it up on the balcony tonight so she can do a bit of stargazing. I hope the weather cooperates...

We had a great time at my cousin's house. She makes this huge spread with entirely too much food, made Brandy Alexanders for everyone, made us all laugh and encourages carrying on...what better place is there for Christmas! FRU loves this cousin. When we were leaving to go to my former SIL's, she says, " I don't want to leave" to my warmed my heart.

Tomorrow, my parents and I are taking FRU to the ballet, to see The Nutcracker. I think I'm more excited than she is, but only because she doesn't know what to expect. I saw The Nutcracker on New Years Eve when I was about 11 and I thought it was magical.

A few of my friends/mothers of FRU's friends are trying to figure out a night to have dinner together...sans kids...with no talk of chicken nuggets or potty training. I have another friend who wants to meet for coffee. And my family wants to get together on Friday to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge; I won't be able to join them, but we'll meet up for dinner.

I'm telling you, I know I've said this before, but I swear, life just keep getting better and better. And as for the people who think I'm doing the wrong thing, screw 'em!! They probably can't hack the fact that I'm a bit of a rebel. I do what's right for me and what's right for my kid. I don't have to explain my actions to anyone...and anyone who needs an explanation doesn't deserve one.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Ransom Musings about Christmas Craziness

I wrapped all the prezzies last Sunday but forgot a bag of stocking stuffers I bought in October. I had the bag stashed behind the chair in my bedroom (so FRU wouldn't find it). So, when FRU is with her father on Sunday, guess what I'll be doing? That's right, folks...wrapping stocking stuffers that should have gotten wrapped last Sunday...that's what I get for trying to be efficient.

On Monday just past, I realized I had forgotten to purchase gifts for FRU's teacher and for her between the workout at the gym and going to my Al-Anon meeting, I did some shopping. What do you get to show appreciation for the people who taught your child to read and who sits with our child while you go get your head together at an Al-Anon Meeting? It's hard to show appreciation to those who you aren't related to or friends with, but these are two very important people in FRU's life.

I really do love gift giving. I like watching people's faces when they open prezzies. I like buying things that people wouldn't buy for themselves. For my mother's birthday, I got her a gift certificate for a mani/pedi. That's something she definitely wouldn't have done for herself and really appreciated it.

The only one who ever really got me gifts I wanted (after I entered adulthood) was my mom. When I was a kid, my grandmothers and my aunts got me some great things...a popcorn maker, a nameplate necklace, roller skates (complete with coordinating pom-poms), a TV (Grandma hit the slots in Atlantic City big time one November and we all had a good Christmas that year) and the creme de la dog, Terry...he was a wire fox terrier that I got the Christmas I was 11. He was the greatest dog that ever lived. Really, no exaggeration...

Mom thinks about me and my likes and dislikes and buys me books, jewelry, and clothing that I really like.

Ex bought me terrible gifts. It's like he didn't think about me or what I liked or what I wanted. The only time he ever bought me anything I liked is when I told him EXACTLY what to get me. So now that I think about it, that means, that in 10 years, all I got that I like was my engagement ring and my hugs & kisses bracelet.

I better steer myself away from that topic, otherwise I could be here all afternoon griping!!

This year, we wholeheartedly accepted an invitation to my cousin ML's house for Christmas Day. I adore this cousin. ML is about 5 years older than I am, and since she was the youngest in her family, she always treated me like the bratty kid sister. I haven't seem her in a while, but we always laugh and carry on when we're together. I also try to help her out in the kitchen. She's famous for setting out this HUGE spread with entirely too much food, but it's all delicious and we all get goody bags to take home.

After an hour or two, I'll take FRU over to Ex at his sister's house so she can spend time with his family. I want her to spend time with as many family members as possible. Even though Ex and I aren't married anymore, she's still part of 2 families. I mean, heck, I had to deal with 2 sets of crazy people, why shouldn't she? Seriously, I want her to love all of her family. And there's bound to be plenty of food at my former SIL's house. She cooks like ML!!!

So, to end what will probably be my last blog before Christmas, I'll give you the secret to dealing with crazy people to whom you are related. Don't take anything they say too seriously, remember that you probably won't all be together again until at least 4th of July weekend...and that these crazy people are the reason egg nog is an alcoholic beverage!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Miracle of Ordinary Days

This was the title of a movie-of-the-week a while back and I usually never watch those things, but this one caught my attention.

The message was simple...the miracles of happiness don't occur on one's wedding day or the day you get a big promotion. They happen on simple average days, when you least expect them.

I had one of those days yesterday. Let me explain...

I am a grateful member of Al-Anon. I started going steadily almost a year ago to try to process some of the anger I have as a result of Ex's drinking. Last night someone spoke about a sibling and the spouse and their using and their kids and a horrible accident that nearly killed 3 of them. She burst into tears, basically begging for help on how to get through the holidays.

As we all went around and shared (I was the 3rd one to share) more and more emotions came to the surface for me. By the time the 15th or 16th person shared, I was a teary snotty mess. EVERY SINGLE PERSON said something can could be applied to Ex or my family. Things like learning to keep certain people at an "emotional arms distance," learning the lesson that every difficult situation can teach you, taking care of one's self during this time of year. There are people in this meeting whose childhoods were absolutely horrible...dangerous and painful (emotional and physical) and filled with terrible memories. But they were all able to teach this ex-wife of an alcoholic a little something about forgiveness and moving on.

I cried and cried and the woman sitting next to me, I'll call her D, just hugged me and held me till I was under control...and then she made me laugh. D has many years in program and always says profound things. She's going through a rather difficult situation with her daughter and her brother just died a few weeks ago, but she managed to find joy and show it to me.

And this is the lesson I learned...find joy, cherish it and when you're done with it, pass it on to others...that way, you get to enjoy it again when you watch someone receive it...

So, folks, as you prepare for Christmas and New Years...remember, joy and laughter and faith and love aren't in the gifts, THEY ARE THE GIFTS...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rambling Christmas Thoughts, 2007

Well, it's that time of year again...time to drag out all those dusty decorations, send Christmas cards to people you haven't seen in a gajillion years and probably wouldn't recognize of the street and spend painstaking hours wrapping prezzies that will be unwrapped at a speed faster than that of light.

But really...Christmas is my favorite time of year. There's a snap of excitement in the air that is almost visible.

My 5 year-old daughter is already suffering from I'm-too-excited-to-sleep syndrome. She bounces around the room as if on speed, trying to be good, but she ends up not listening to what I'm telling her to do and that means she ends up not being so good. It gets aggravating, but I completely understand it. I know she can't help it and (secretly, and I'll admit this only to you) it's heart-warming to watch. I have vivid memories of jumping on my bed yelling, "Only 4 more days of school till Christmas!"

Christmas in New York is magical. The people are moving just as fast, but there are more excuse me's being said and there are well-wishers wherever you go. I was in the Macy's at Herald Square over the weekend (I dare you to find me a place on earth with more people per square inch) and although it was insane, everyone was polite. Everyone there was on the same mission: To find the perfect gift for (fill in the blank). I took some time to myself and got a coffee from Starbucks on the balcony, which overlooks the main floor. Some people were strolling, some people were rushing, some people seemed to be standing there absorbing the energy of Macy's and New York...but as I watched, I thought of how lucky I am.

Maybe, that's selfish but I thought about my fabulous kid (you know, the one who has been secretly eating Energizer's the only viable reason I can come up with for her energy levels lately), my job, the security and benefits I get from the job, having both of my parents and watching their love grow even after 39 years of marriage, my friends who have stood behind me during many low points in the last 18 months (and I'll admit that they carried during some of time) and for the potential paramours who send me lessons from the universe, whether they mean to or not.

All of these things give me hope. All of these things make me happy. All of these things make me realize how far I've come on my journey to a better place.

I wish my ex-husband well on his life's journey. I hope he finds happiness. I hope he learns a few of life's lessons. I hope he can make peace with his past and not be defined by it. I suppose I wish that for all of us.

As we move towards the longest night of the year, the day with the least sunshine...may you all be wrapped in light and love whenever you need it and may you all learn that being alone isn't such a bad thing.