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Today was like…

…an emotional roller coaster. It’s Father’s Day, and I usually spend the whole day pretty sad missing, and thinking about, my dad and everything he’s missed out on, and everything I missed out on. But today was different. In fact, I didn’t get sad or teary until about an hour ago. I had other things on my mind. 

For the past few days I have been anxiously waiting for a childhood friend, Nicole, to make it to Vegas so I could drive down and see her. We met in 6th grade. We went to school together and were best friends, hanging out every chance we had. We bonded over the loss of our fathers, and our tough/harsh maternal figures, and NKOTB (what were we thinking?!?)…our lives were very similar back then, with some minor differences. The summer between 9th and 10th grade my family moved out of state. I hated my mom for making us move away (I had no concept of financial hardships at the time) and I vowed that I would make her so miserable that she would send me back “home”. Little did I know how devastating our move was to Nicole. We were inseparable, until our move separated us. We returned to our hometown for a visit the following summer. I don’t remember how long we were in town, but it wasn’t long enough. I was able to get in a visit with Nicole, and wanted to go back every year to visit her. Neither of us knew that we would not see each other again for 25 years. 

We lost contact after that visit. Many years passed and my mom contacted me to let me know that a letter had arrived at the family home for me from Nicole. I got the letter a few days later and responded. We wrote back and forth for a while, and talked on the phone occasionally…and then life happened. We lost contact again. I would occasionally look for her on Facebook, but didn’t have any luck. Just a few years ago she sent me a friend request. Life kept us both pretty busy, but we were better about keeping up with each other through Facebook. Our lives had taken parallel paths, both of us having many similar experiences, even our ex’s share the same first name (yes, I think all men that I have encountered with that first name have been asshats). We are both in a better place. 

I was so stressed out about seeing her today, the first time in 25 years, and I have changed a lot, I guessed that she did too. What if we don’t recognize each other? Which is kinda dumb because we see each other’s pictures on Facebook. What if she doesn’t like me anymore? What if I don’t like her anymore? What if we have nothing to talk about? J and I arrived at her hotel and she was coming down to meet us. As soon as we saw each other we smiled and hugged. It was so great to see her face light up, and I was put at ease. I couldn’t see myself, but I think I lit up too. We walked around trying to find a place to eat and talk. When we finally found a place we started talking like we were picking up where we left off. J said she heard Nicole say things and she thought to herself “That’s exactly what mom would say.”, and she’s right, it was what I would say. We talked about our kids and how both B and J were named after her. We talked about family and struggles and blessings and progress and church. An amazing visit, and the food was good too. We had to say goodbye too soon, but we both agreed to not go so long before seeing each other again. 

As J and I drove home I was replaying the visit and past things people have said to me about every friend I made after her. I have had some real doozies. I have picked some “real winners”. I suddenly came to the realization that I had never had a friend as true, loyal, reliable, understanding, compassionate…the list goes on…as she was to me. In every relationship there is some give and some take. For the majority of relationships I have had, there has always been more giving on my part and more taking on theirs, but not with Nicole. I think we both gave back as much, if not more, than we took. I cannot think of another friend who has been that way with me. 

Forward to an hour ago when I started texting my brothers to tell them happy Father’s Day, since I was traveling, catching up with Nicole, and having dinner with Jay and J, and by the time I got the chance to call the boys, it was too late. I got more emotional as I wrote each text. I made sure to let them know how much I look to up to each of them. I am sad that I don’t have the close relationships with them that I wish I had, and the ones I feel close to, I struggle with because of my emotional hurt. I have to find a healthy way to release grudges and hurts so I can move past the hurts. I miss my dad. I remember being a daddy’s girl. Maybe I remember right, and maybe I don’t, but I remember his love for me. I’m heartbroken, grateful and happy this Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to the many men in my life, present and past, who have had a positive impact on my life and the woman I’ve become. 

Life changes. Experiences change us. We change. Friends come and go from our lives. True friends may leave our lives, but reconnect as if no time has passed. True friends are selfless and love you for being you. I’m lucky enough to have one. 

Why do i feel like a loser? Oh yeah…

…because almost everyone in my life has treated me like one. My bonus kids, my birth child I placed for adoption, the only one of my kids I got to raise, my ex husband, past boyfriends, my current husband, my teachers in grade school, my brothers, my mom, my friends. Whether they have stopped talking to me without an explanation or they have come right out and told me I failed to live up to their expectations or they’ve treated me like an outcast. I’m tired of everyone else having the power over me to make me feel like shit about myself. So…I’m taking it back! All the power that I’ve given up…I’m taking it back!

I’m not perfect. I am seen as a disappointment to others, but only because of their expectations. I set my own expectations, and I don’t owe anyone an explanation. I’ve done more than I thought I could: graduated with 2 degrees; raised a daughter practically by myself; found my strength and determination when I needed it most; cut ties with some people who were not good for me; protected children that weren’t mine. I accomplished all this and more because I set my own expectations for myself and I rose up to meet them. 

I am fat and I am beautiful. I am sarcastic and I am smart. I am a jerk and I am kind. I am selfish and I am giving. I hate and I love. You don’t get to set limits on me anymore. You don’t get to put me down and watch me hurt anymore. You don’t get to push your beliefs on me and you don’t get to put me down for my beliefs anymore. I am a survivor. I am resilient. And I am happy with who I am and the accomplishments I’ve made. So what if it took me longer than you thought it should to get to where I am? I got there. You didn’t put me there. 

I don’t have to be like you. I determine my happiness, and you have no say in it. I am strong enough to stand on my own. Walk away, or sit by and watch…what you do doesn’t matter to me anymore. It’s my right to be in control of me! I’m taking my power back!

Better Days…

…are not only possible, but they are happening. I talked in a recent post about why T was sent home early from school, and since then I think we may have stumbled upon a routine to help him have better days at school. Every morning before we leave the house I ask him what kind of day he’s going to have today. He usually says “I’m going to have a great day!” Or “I’m going to have an awesome day!” Then, when I drop him off at school I will tell him to “have a great/awesome day today!” So I just remind him in a subtle way what kind of day he said he trying to have today. So far he has had a few great days, and no bad days. I hope it’s not a fluke and that we can keep this going. 

He’s asking about “baptisement” again, something he’s asked about before. When I asked why he said he wants to stop having bad thoughts. I explained to him that being baptized won’t stop him from having bad thoughts. He was so disappointed. I asked him about the bad thoughts, were they ones we’ve already talked about or are they new ones, is he able to not act on the bad thoughts, stuff like that. He said some of them are the same but some of them are new. He said he doesn’t feel like he needs to act on them, but if he does then he’ll come talk to me first. I suggested that he talk to (his therapist) about his bad thoughts during their next play date. He didn’t talk to him about it today, but (his therapist) says they will talk about them next week. 

T is trying so hard to be a good boy, and I know it is so hard for him to do. His dad called the other day and just can’t seem to talk to T without putting him down or trying to convince him to break the rules we’ve set for him. Dad wants to send him music, ICP to be exact. The music is full of fowl language and talks about things no 7 year old should be dealing with. Where his language and inappropriate behaviors have been an issue in the recent past, how could he possibly think that sending this stuff to T will help him behave better? Dad told him to have me explain what the song is talking about, and that he can listen to it in his room with headphones on. No, he can’t. Someone has had to start from scratch to help him fix his behaviors and since that person is me…no, I will not sit by and watch him take steps backwards when we have worked so hard to get some kind of forward momentum going. 

Dad was raised differently. Different rules. Different expectations. Dad, who is not happy with how he was raised, chooses to raise T the same way instead of changing it so T has a chance at a better childhood and a better life. Dad is supposed to be using this time that T is with us to get his life on track and get himself to a better place, emotionally, to take care of T. He’s on prescribed medication to help him get right, yet he’s still smoking “medicine” that is going to cause a drop in his happy hormones, so basically he is setting himself up for failure. I’m at a loss. Am I the only one who has a problem with this? Am I the only one who cares enough about T to protect him? The crazy thing is that he has a great mom, but she seems to not understand, and not see the devastating effect all this stuff is having on him. I feel like mom has been misled by dad, but I don’t know how to help with that, so I keep my mouth shut. If I can’t offer suggested solutions, then I can’t criticize. 

When we decided to take T in, we had no idea how damaged he was. I do not regret taking him in, in fact, I think it’s the best thing for him at this point. He is still such a good boy. We know his behaviors are things he had learned before we got him. I am excited about the good days he’s had, and I hope they continue. I hope he continues to build his relationship with (his therapist) so he has a trusted adult outside the home to talk to. It seems to be helping.