My daughter’s poem

Today, in going through my 11-year-old daughter’s room, I found this poem she wrote… tacked up to her bulletin board. It’s so sweet, it brings tears to my eyes.

For those days that I struggle being a single Mom, question myself and what I’m doing… this poem will warm my heart. Five years ago when I became a single Mom, I wasn’t sure if our newly-created family of three would ever completely heal.

For quite awhile, I felt that we have. Then this. This sweet, short, self-created poem shows me that I’m not the only one who feels it. I wanted to share it with any other single parent who questions if your family will ever be whole again.

Her words. Created without my knowledge.

Her words. Created without my knowledge.


The beauty of the backpack

It’s nearly here. Today is the eve of my youngest off to kindergarten. This milestone that

His first day on the preschool bus last year. Yep. I'm 'that' Mom.

His first day on the preschool bus last year. Yep. I’m ‘that’ Mom.

felt miles away is here. Tomorrow.

I blinked and he went from a baby to a kindergartener. And  he’s even an ‘old’  kindergartener as his 6th birthday is in a few weeks. But he’s ready. I’m just not sure I am.

It’s been an incredibly hectic time frame as of late. All of my worlds are colliding — work, family, kids, friends — and I can feel the pressure all around me. I think I’ve gotten better at handling pressure over the years, but I admit. I’ve been feeling, sorta… over capacity as of late.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m trying to keep my eye on it. The pressure lets up in a few weeks, so I’m giving myself pep talks on keeping my perspective. Prioritizing. Recognizing this is a ‘moment in time’ and not forever.

But it’s hard to do. Hard not to give my kids the short end of the stick. And then beat myself up with guilt. Due to this, it would be easy to give myself a ‘pass’ on this milestone. Send my boy in the door with a kiss and a tear and run off to my other commitments.

But I’m determined not to miss this milestone. Because I know I can never get it back. And maybe it seems stupid or small. But not to me. Maybe he won’t remember tomorrow. But I will.

She's ready to go.

She’s ready to go.

You see, tomorrow is the first day of school. My daughter starts 4th grade and is in a new multi-age program. She’s a bit nervous, was pretty upset that she’s somewhat segregated from all of her friends. We’ve been focusing a lot of time on it. Talking about it. Visiting the school. Meeting the teacher. Asking other parents. I’m pretty confident she’s in a good place and ready to go.

My little guy? Whatever. He seems unfazed. Unfazed it’s a new school. Unfazed he doesn’t know anyone in his class. Unfazed it’s a new teacher. And he’s not really asking for anything.

So, tomorrow, I give my daughter the pep talk and walk  her in the door. My son and I have about an hour of class together and then it’s our last day. Our last day of my youngest being out of school. My baby is in kindergarten.

With a mountain of work and less than two weeks from a HUGE work event that I’m a point person on… I’m taking the day off. It may be a career limiting move. I know the timing is bad. And maybe a few years ago, I would have worked this last precious day. But not tomorrow.

I can't wait for this year's picture!

I can’t wait for this year’s picture!

It’s our day. My son and I. And I’m really looking forward to it. Five years from now, I won’t remember that work event. But I’ll remember his first day of kindergarten. His little backpack. The little chairs and the little table with his name on it. His excitement over the block corner. And watching his confidence to take on this new phase of life. Knowing I had a role in that and having to let go a little. And being in awe of my 5-year-old. Being in awe that’s he’s ready. Being in awe that he’s growing.

I remember my daughter’s first day of kindergarten. Her brimming with confidence. Being so proud of her.

Now, I’m ready to be proud of him. At least, I think I’m ready. Maybe I’m being melodramatic. Maybe nostalgic. I just don’t care. I’m going to be there.

And I don’t care how many mountains I have to move.

A wiggly tooth can throw you off balance

Jonah's first toothTonight is the night. It finally came. My son. My easy-going, easy-to-please 5-year-old son finally lost his first tooth.

He got his first wiggly tooth about five days ago. He’s been sitting idly by watching his older sister pop out teeth like popcorn lately. After each tooth fairy visit, he would do a check.

Nope. Nothing wiggling.

Poor guy. He so desperately wanted a wiggly tooth. And then, the other night… it was there. I went to help him brush and he had a tooth nearly sideways. He didn’t even know it. When I told him, the sheer look of joy on his face was just too cute for words. He was sooooo excited!

And so was I!

Then, I realized. The next day he would go to his Dad’s. For four days. And most likely lose that first tooth. Without me. I know it’s selfish. But I was unbelievably disappointed.

It’s the first time in a while that the ‘unfairness’ of divorce hit me again. Unfair that I may miss my son’s first wiggly tooth. And I’ll admit it. I was upset. Especially as I just LOVE the tooth fairy visits.

While the precedence I’ve set makes the whole process more difficult, I love it. Love telling the story of how the tooth fairy brings special little gifts. Because the tooth fairy is tiny and her little wings aren’t that strong. I love listening to the kids dream up what might be small enough for her to carry.

I love the tooth in a bag. I love the special placement under the pillow. The expectation of what may be and sneaking in, in the night to carefully pry the tooth out from under the sleeping head. I love discussing the order of finding the present. Will he wake me first? His sister first? Look at the gift by himself first?

I was downright bummed thinking I was going to miss it. This was one of those times, I really hate divorce. A time when I can get really angry about the parts of my kids’ lives that I have to miss. I know it’s my reality. And I’ve accepted it and feel we are really in a good place. Finally found a way to make it work well for all of us.

But not for the first wiggly tooth.

So, I was angry for a bit, (mostly at myself for being angry) but then got over it. And tried to make the most of it. Because, really, what else can I do?

I called each night. Asked for ‘wiggly tooth updates’ and did my best to stay involved. And the days ticked down with the tooth still intact. I’ve been searching for weeks to find the perfect tooth fairy gift. My little guy, the guy who barely asks for anything, is hoping beyond hope that the tooth fairy will bring him a ‘teeny, tiny garage to fit his teeny, tiny car in.’

Guess what? They don’t make them.

Yesterday, the kids came back. And surprise of all surprises, that tooth was still there! So, I encouraged him to wiggle it, fed him pears and had corn on the cobb for tonight.

Then, when I picked him up after school… he had the tooth in a bag and a smile on his face. I tell you, it made my whole year!

As I finish this blog, waiting to make sure he’s sound asleep, I can’t wait to sneak the garage‘teeny, tiny garage’ under his pillow that I happened to stumble upon today. (Ok, so it’s a dog house, but it’ll serve the purpose, I know it will!) I can’t wait to see his face.

That adorable little face that now has a gap in the center bottom. I know I’m his Mom no matter where he is. I know I’m a part of his experiences whether they happen at our house or at his father’s.

I know that in my head, but I don’t always feel it in my heart when I have to miss out.

But for that first wiggly tooth… I’m so grateful I got to tell him it was there. So happy he got to tell me it came out. And so thrilled the tooth fairy happened in our house.

It’s true. There is something magical about the tooth fairy. 🙂

Relationships are like TVs

analog tvLook at this. My sad, sad old analog TV. Just recently, I finally got rid of it. Replaced it with a flat screen.

It’s a little sad as I have some nostalgia tied up in it. Well, maybe not nostalgia. I’ve just had it so long, I’m used to the crappy picture and poor sound.

I haven’t even really questioned whether or not to keep it because I’m just used to it being there. I guess it’s comfortable.

Nothing wrong with that, right? Until it becomes more work than it’s worth.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Lately, this TV has been a TON of work and getting more expensive. And why was I doing this? Oh right! To spend more money and time to keep a crappy picture and poor sound.

Ridiculous. Time to cut my losses. It’s no longer working for me. And I’m tired of trying.

Sometimes relationships work the same way. Romantic, family, professional or friends. Without even realizing it, I can sometimes put a lot or work into a relationship only to realize… it’s not really working for me. I’m just keeping it around because I’m used to it being there.

It’s not even a particularly good relationship.

Sometimes I forget that simple little question… is this working for me? Coupled with… is it worth the energy I’m putting in?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m willing to work. I’ve worked my butt off for some really great relationships that I have in my life that went through some really bumpy times. Many times, I nearly threw in the towel out of sheer exhaustion. Now, looking back? I’m really glad I didn’t. I’m glad I stuck it out and worked to make those relationships stick.

And then there are those other times. The times I haven’t thrown in the towel soon enough. Knocked my head against the wall until sheer exhaustion strikes.

Isn’t that the million dollar question? When do you quit trying? When are you just stubbornly trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and when are you persevering?

I don’t know. I don’t have those answers, but it’s always worth a good look.

So, with spring coming, it’s a good time for me to go through clothes, TVs, clean-up and re-evaluate. Where do I want to put my energy? Where do I want to invest my time? 

Honestly, it’s often clearer than I give it credit. If I only see what is there versus seeing what I want to see.

Kinda like the crispness of a new digital picture.

Sometimes a new fresh look puts the old one in perspective.

New places, new faces

Married with children. Didn’t someone do a sitcom on that once?

When I was ‘Married with Children’… I’ll admit. I got comfortable. Not as in sitting-on-my-couch-eating bon-bons type of comfortable. More like sprinting in a crazy-rat-race-of-expectations-to-try-and-be-everything-to-everybody type of comfortable.

It doesn’t sound too comfortable, does it? But what happened was that taking on anything new was out of the question and completely uncomfortable. So, I just… didn’t.

Nowadays, I have a different perspective. I’m mostly out of ‘that’ rat race but maybe in a different kind of race. The single-Mom-with-shared-custody-race. It’s completely different with its own sets of challenges and rewards. Not better. Not worse. Just different.

But in some ways, I feel calmer, in general, knowing that sometimes I will fail. Even fail big. But knowing it won’t be the end of the world if I do.

Given this, these days I find myself ‘game’ for all sorts of new places and new faces.

One important piece of this is the job I started last year. One that has been a pretty good fit  especially as my old job was comfortable. This one has me out and about around town, involved in the business of the city and meeting lots of new people, learning lots of new things. Whether I want to or not. It’s an adrenaline high just to keep up and manage my schedule with my kids.

But what I’ve found is that I actually want to. Keep up, that is. And it’s not a deterrent from my kids or my life. I actually have capacity.

In addition to that, I’m lucky to have great groups of friends. Long-term friends and new acquaintances, in all walks of life. Inviting me to places when I used to say no.

No, because I ‘shouldn’t’ take time away from the kids.’ No, because I ‘felt guilty not spending the time with my husband.’ No, because I ‘should get things done around the house.’ And the list goes on. All, primarily self-induced. 

Now, as a single Mom with joint custody, I recognize the choices I have. Choices, frankly I had before but thought that I didn’t.

The map to new places.

I can sit in my house and stare at my walls, never to be seen or heard from again. Or get out there and explore. What’s the risk? I might look ridiculous? As I’ve said, been there, done that. Got the complimentary t-shirt.

A few years ago, I had to be dragged out. And my friends and family obliged.Then, I started to go, more willingly, but still with trepidation.

Now, I really enjoy the new places, the new faces. And sometimes, I even seem to be the instigator.

In this process, I have to say, I’m acquiring some really great stories. Some that are downright hilarious. Some almost unbelievable. But most are just truly great experiences. With fun new people in fun new places that I would probably not have explored when I was “Married with Children.”

And the fact I didn’t explore them before is not the fault of my ex-husband. Not the fault of having children. Not some type of cosmic circumstance that I was dealt. It was my perspective, my capacity level and my  moment in time that I mistook for forever.

Ultimately, it’s what I chose for myself.

So, now I’m choosing differently. What’s next? What will be my next new place? My next new face?

I really have absolutely no idea. But as I’ve said before… there’s only one way to find out. 🙂


Photo: Burying the magic jelly beans again this year with Auntie Susan Irene and Neil Luedtke. What will they grow to on Easter morning? ;-)Holidays. I love them. The family. The tradition. The magic. The nostalgia.

Holiday always seems to make me philosophical. Easter Sunday was no different this year.

We had a fabulous day. Finding baskets. Finding eggs.

A note from the Easter bunny answering the kids’ questions. The new tradition from my sister of  planting magic jelly beans that grow into morning surprises. And Easter Sunday church service. 

I love the holidays.

And lately, it seems each holiday holds a new little lesson for me. A new perspective on life. I’m not sure why.

Today’s church service had the message about being ‘remade.’ No surprise with Easter, the service was about renewing, rebirth. (This isn’t a blog post about church and religion… I’ll leave that for anyone else but me.)

But the ‘remade’ part. It’s such a great term. That’s exactly how I feel.


Sometimes I feel remade into a completely different person. Others times I feel remade into someone I used to be. And other times it’s a combination of ‘new’ versus ‘old.’

Enough people have told me that I have to believe it is true. (And I don’t think it’s the change from blonde to brunette!) I get lots of comments about how different I am these days from four or five years ago.

RemadeI’m not always sure how to take that, but I have to agree. I feel different. And I wish I could specifically say how. But I can’t always articulate it.

Today, I finally could. I feel remade. Remade by life. Remade by determination. Remade by life events. Remade by my own choices… some good… some bad. But remade, none-the-less.

And I don’t think the process has a beginning or an end. I think it’s lifelong. Many times, I think the remaking was gradual over my life. Sometimes I probably tried to force a ‘remaking’ when it wasn’t there or wasn’t time. I just don’t know that I ever paid attention to it or thought about it before. 

The last three years… was probably a warp-speed remake. But it’s been interesting however I look at it. 

So, it begs the question, am I better than I was?

I feel if my answer isn’t a resounding YES!… then I’m lacking some type of self-confidence. But the truth is, I’m not sure if the answer lies with a better or worse ‘than before.’

For me the answer lies with who I want and need to be today.

What about tomorrow? Will the remaking be appropriate tomorrow?

I’m really not sure. I don’t have that answer.

But I do know… there’s only one way to find out… 🙂

A Happier Medium

Happy MediumIs there a ‘non-traditional’ way to have a long-term, committed and intimate relationship?

Something that falls between casually involved and married under the same roof?

It’s what I’m referring to as ‘a Happier Medium.’

I tried the ‘traditional and socially approved’ route that goes something like this:

  • Meet THE GUY.
  • Fall in love with THE GUY.
  • Introduce THE GUY to friends and family. (Ta-da! It’s…THE GUY!)
  • Get engaged.
  • Get married. (Insert monochromatic bridesmaids, groomsmen and cake.)
  • Get house.
  • Get dog.
  • Have kid #1.
  • Have kid #2.

This is where the ‘socially approved’ stopped for me. Divorce came two years later.

So, now what?

Any relationship for me now involves a man who is not the father of my kids. A man who may potentially have children of his own and his own ex-spouse. Which also means navigating custody schedules, child support, shared holidays, not to mention all of the emotions of the kids and how everyone feels about it.

Whew. It’s daunting to say the least.

Therefore, ‘traditional’ is off the table. Which isn’t a bad thing. ‘Traditional’ didn’t equate to happy for me. So, I’d like to try something different. I’m bound and determined to learn lessons from my previous relationships and apply them moving forward.

Married with kids. Divorced with kids. Single. Dating. Never been married. Whatever your relationship status, it has its pros and cons.

And I find it interesting. Talking to people in different relationship statuses. What works, what doesn’t. Expectations and perceptions.

One such conversation sticks in my head. It was with a gal pal who is twice married, for more than seven years. I asked her, now in hindsight, would she get married a second time?

Her answer was simple. “It’s not the marriage, it’s the living together. I’d do two houses. Side-by-side. Maybe with an adjoining walkway.”

We laughed about it, while recognizing the brilliance of it.

Is this it? The Happier Medium?

I’m a huge fan of her idea! It doesn’t have to take away from the commitment, the intimacy or the sharing of your lives. It also doesn’t have to take away from good old fashioned time together, meeting each other’s families or knowing each other’s kids.

But what it does provide is:




You take care of your stuff and I’ll take care of mine. We can choose to share and help. But the boundaries are clear.

Takes away a lot of the things couples argue about, doesn’t it?

Now, I’m not saying the theory is without potential flaws. And yes, any healthy relationship should be able to draw clear boundaries regardless of where you live. But as many of us know, it’s hard. Being roommates has foiled many a friendship and sunk many a marriage.

So, I’m curious. A committed, intimate, co-mingled relationship. You may spend every night together and be all up in each other’s business… if you choose. But you don’t live together.You don’t get married. You choose the commitment.

Can a daily choice work better than a forever choice?

Could it be? The Happier Medium?

What do you think?