Out of the Park

The results of the Vet Tech National Exam (VTNE) are in……

I passed!!! Not only passed, but amazingly enough, knocked it out of the park. I wish I were not so surprised, but that test was HARD for this mom brain to manage, especially with a million other little things going on.

It has been so great not having that stress on my shoulders, and now, to really know I am over.done.beyond that stage in getting my license. All I need is approval to take the CA exam and I will be good to go, a registered veterinary technologist. T-minus three months-ish to wait. Boom. :)

As Always Before,

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Eye of the Hurricane

The hurricane has been super sick lately. I am talking a fever that rapidly climbed from 101 degrees (fahrenheit, for my non-US readers) to 105.4 degrees at its highest, and stayed mostly in the 103-105 degree range. Crazy, crazy high temps for a little tot. Way too close for comfort to the 107.6 degrees when brain damage can occur. Five trips to the doctors office, at least a dozen necessary doses of fever reducing medication, and one entire day spent at the ER later… he has/had not only an ear infection, but strep throat, which is apparently super rare in toddlers. I had the most difficult time finding a doctor or nurse that would take me seriously. I cannot tell you how many times I was told “toddlers do not get strep, this is probably just a virus.” The thing is, everyone who has access to the internet knows viruses rarely cause high fevers, and are even more rare to stick around as long as the hurricane had symptoms, which was for over twelve days, in case you were wondering. Still not sure how he caught it, because everyone, anyone who had or has had any contact with him, has not come down with strep themselves. Most importantly now, special shout out to my mom for coming down and spending the second half of this past week with us so that I could return to work.

And so now, the national exam is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Scary. I am not ready and yet so ready to have it over with at the same time. All of this studying and stressing is so reminiscent of college, around times when a big exam was coming up and I just missed having down time that was all my own…the time that does not already belong to one obligation or another. But I am way committed to finishing this, this year. Can’t stop. I did consider rescheduling due to lack of proper study time, what with work and the hurricane being ill, but decided against that idea. Plus, I did pass the practice exam I took yesterday, so here’s hoping for these final weeks of studying landing me a good score.

In the past month there have been a couple awkward, boundary-pushing text conversations between the ex-husband and me. My daily Divorce Care emails are just about done, having covered all five areas of grief, and are now heavily focusing on reconciliation, not that he could possibly know that, not that we are ever going to be candidates for the remarriage part of reconciling. I definitely feel comfortable saying that I hope some day we have a friendly relationship.. but at the same time know that may never be possible, because he may never do his part of the work to get there, and that does make me a little sad. Dream ideal would be me and my husband sitting with him and his wife with our families watching the hurricane’s high school or college graduation. That might be a little bit of a stretch but it is at least fifteen years away. A lot has happened in five years, considering I was still in college and not even engaged to be married five years ago at this time. Just imagine what might go down in the next fifteen…

I think that about wraps up the past forty-ish days since I was last able to squeeze in some writing time. Special hello to the random rush of new readers here, as well to the one or two potential regulars I seem to have from Brazil. I hope this blog is as nice an escape from your daily routine as it has become mine.

As always,

Michelle

ps. Next time you make pepperoni pizza from the freezer section add sliced avocado and sour cream after it’s cooled for a minute or two. Thank me later. Unless you’re on a diet, in which case you did not hear this from me.

This is the “then”

Hello again, world.

It has been a while… I have been busy, honest, and I know I say that every time. I have actually been pretty sick on/off since before Christmas with colds, dealing with antibiotic side effects, allergies, bronchitis. You know it is sad when you go to the doctor because you cannot sleep because you cannot stop coughing and your ribs hurt, and the antibiotic they prescribe to prevent pneumonia because you really are that sick, makes your ribs hurt from tendonitis (of your ribs!). Who knew that could even happen?! And since January first it has been all study, all the time preparing for the vet tech national exam. . . But then, last night I was editing the boyfriend’s resume and realized that I really miss writing just for the sake of saying something. I miss just sitting down and pouring my mind and heart out on this keyboard, if that is not already obvious.

There is just a lot going on that I am not sure how to process. It feels a bit like doing math in my head… which everyone should know is not a skill I possess, college degree or not. I am trying my best to get my RVT this year. Forgiving myself for not making that more of a priority sooner, when it would have been easier. Because some days it does feel like any time in my recent history would have been easier than right now to be studying for one of two $300, four hour long tests needed to get my RVT. Know better, do better, I suppose. I am honestly committed. I even gave up Facebook in its entirety for the month of February, maybe even until after the national exam in April. Super serious, yo. I miss my moms on there.

Then yesterday, I had to delete a bunch of old emails. Something about switching to a new phone has the memory on my iCloud spazzing out, asking for more space, so I decided it was time for some stuff to go. A lot of stuff. In the middle of my shift + delete spree, I found the inspiration photo for my second tattoo. A little surprising to see how different the real thing turned out. And it reminded me that reality can be so much better than your dreams. Sometimes. At the same time I found a couple hundred old emails between the ex-husband and me, and that was hard. I had forgotten not only that they were still filed away, but that I had saved so many in the first place. Do not bother asking why, I no longer have any idea. The topics of the emails were so broad and the dates went way back into our forever ago time. The boyfriend could sense a change in my mood and I let him know I was snooping into my past, shared a couple important bits with him and continued deleting. I am just so over feeling any bad about the divorce.

So this year things will be different on December 31, I can say that for certain, but when exactly between now and then things will change is a mystery. I am already debt free – having just recently made the final payment on my car – and that is one goal I set for myself checked off the list. I am studying my brain cells away, barely giving myself time to breathe it feels. I am contemplating a move to a different city somewhere along the way. And I will write, nonsensical posts like this on occasion, complete with run-on sentences because that is the way my mind works when I am flustered. Because some day I will think about these days living in a cramped apartment overlooking a busy street with a different mindset and like so many times before, will wonder what I was feeling “then.”

This is the then we will reminisce.

As always before,

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The Mommy Trenches

Babies. The boyfriend and I have discussed babies a lot lately. Let me just clarify, I am not pregnant. And thank God for that. Still, as good a time as any to hash out if/when we are married, how many kid(s) we would like to have. It is one of those things you ought to have figured out before you say “I do,” otherwise there might be trouble later. So I guess you could say we have been talking about marriage too, but that is beside the point today.

The boyfriend has been very clear that he would like at least one more chitlen, maybe two. At the minimum.

And I am leaning much more towards one to two kids. I always said two, two years apart…but that was before I met the hurricane, before I found myself divorced, starting my adult life all over again. So really now, really just one kid, like one and done, as in, I am already so done having babies, I think.. And that answer leaves a lot to be desired in the boyfriend’s opinion.

I do not know what to say to him. The further I get from those early days in the trenches, the more clear they become. So, honey, hindsight is twenty/twenty and I am not sure I could willingly go back there. I cannot even read my posts from around that time, not that I probably wrote a whole lot. I know I wrote those monthly baby updates… but did I mention that one week I got four – literally four, one hour “blocks” of sleep – in an entire week? And he was up at least three times a night 99% of the first year, despite every imaginable trick to get him to sleep better. We tried everything, read.every.book. He always had to be held, and he was always so discontent, and he always cried. Then I cried with the worry and guilt that if SIDS took him one night, he would die having never been happy. So deep in the trenches.

Looking back I am almost certain I was depressed. This all screams depression with a bit of post-traumatic stress. Depressed because my then-husband deployed when I was pregnant and did not return until our child was five months old. Depressed because I did not have my village. Depressed because my dreams of motherhood were crushed by a baby who spent a majority of the first year of life crying. And I am not talking the “nyah-nyah” nasally, baby cry (and I know you know what that sounds like), but a full out scream from day one. I have videos to prove it. It was not colic. At least that would have been predictable, at least that would have ended.

I probably sound horrible. I am not looking forward to proofing this post because I know this is definitely not what moms are supposed to say about motherhood, about their children. But my experience with new motherhood was hard. What to Expect When You’re Expecting (and the first year edition) let me down. I know, and am grateful, that my experience is not typical. That alone gives me hope that if I did decide to dive into the trenches for a second baby that I would earn my escape much faster than sometime around the second birthday. I feel I am just now finding a new normal, just now navigating my life with some sort of grace. Diving back in, any time soon, would be the very definition of insanity.

But then… then I think about who I want around my dinner table in ten years. And even after writing my heart out on this screen, after thinking and talking about this for weeks, I see more than just the hurricane and the hopefully then-husband sitting with me. I see at least one more tiny human… at least one more. So who knows. I am really not sold on the idea, but do not count me out just yet. There could be another year of adorable monthly baby photoshoots to look forward to, some day.

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The Search

My work friend and I had plans this weekend to pick out Christmas trees, decorate and have dinner with our kids. I was looking forward to getting out of this tiny apartment, but she cancelled late this morning, giving a reasonable enough excuse. I understand, that this thing that came up was more important to her. I understand that our plans were not the biggest deal, getting a Christmas tree so late in the month when she is not really in the Christmas spirit anyway. But it mattered to me. I needed a friend today.

I am searching for my village, and I will be honest that I am not sure one exists for me. I am looking for my friends here, in this city that is still new to me, who are more like family. The ones who don’t leave you because their life gets too busy or because your life no longer mirrors theirs. Those close friendships that stand the test of time. The friendships that survive moves, babies, hard times, divorces… Not many of my friends from before are around any more. I do understand, life goes on, but being a (divorced, full-time working) mom is so lonely and isolating sometimes. I am in this in-between space, not single and not married with a toddler just hitting the “terrible twos.” I am just twenty-something myself and even with the years flying by now, life is so lonely sometimes.

Speaking on being a mom specifically, I wish just for once when my kid was melting down in the middle of Walmart, I would look around and see knowing glances instead of disapproving looks. I wish the older women at Panera the other night had not audibly tisked at me after removing myself and my son from the restaurant because he could not keep his cool. I thought that was the best plan of attack in the moment. Letting him blow off steam and throw a fit outside was so much easier than trying to keep him in his high chair. I wish there were more support, more micro-villages of those who know how difficult and draining it is to be a parent some days. The judging looks do not help. The mean, under your breath comments, the glares and stares, do not make his tantrum end any faster. Anyone who has experienced life with a toddler can tell you, giving in to every whim will.not.work. It may make the lives of others more pleasant at times, but it is not a sustainable parenting practice.

When was it decided that we so often have to go this alone, and how can I unsubscribe from that list? If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you have probably noticed I am not the type to fit in right away. I speak my mind and find it difficult to sugar coat; traits that seem to conflict with having a large circle of friends. But that does not mean I enjoy the laughter and company of a good friend any less…it just makes them much more difficult to find. I became a mom two years ago, and after a divorce, two moves and getting a full-time job, I am still searching for my village. I do not need your house to be perfectly clean or even fully baby-proofed. I do not expect you to dress up or wear your Sunday best for an afternoon spent with me and my kid. Just time and understanding, camaraderie and those little tidbits of parenting wisdom that might work like magic for my little hurricane.

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Edit to add :: I definitely have considered joining a MOPS group, but considering I work every Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11AM, that really is not an option for me.

 

ps. Inspiration for the thoughts in this post via my late night reading of :: http://www.scarymommy.com/searching-for-my-village/

Leftovers & Missing Him

I miss my son lately.

I previously mentioned that the vet clinic I work for moved across town. A larger facility means more surgeries, means more cleaning, and with the same amount of staff (for now), it also means a lot of overtime. The extra money around the holidays is nice, but I miss my son. Daycare pickup has been pushed back to just after five, which gives us two, maybe two and a half hours together before it’s bedtime. And ever since the time change – over a month ago I might add – he has been especially grumpy once we get home. I can only think that he assumes it being dark outside must mean dinner is late and that we are starving him and he must fuss and whine and cry until food is actually on the table. But then eat nothing and of course, cry because he’s not free to run around anymore. It’s been less than ideal.

Before… I loved this time of year. The Christmas lights, walks in the fog, and the spirit of the season…and it is just so much different now with “mad at the dark” syndrome, the terrible twos in general and the pending visitation of my ex-husband. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas any other month. I suppose it might help to have put up a tree already but who has the time/money? I cannot afford to fix the dead home button on my iPhone, let alone put up decorations I have no place to store the other eleven months of the year.

Blah. My attitude sucks and I swear this is part of me working on it. What I really need though, is to get over this awful bout of bronchitis, and get back to the gym where everything is simple and nothing has to make sense for at least an hour or so… I need a real weekend to spend with Elliott. One where we can go to the park and continue the tradition of taking too many pictures for his birthday, as if the photos somehow capture and save the essence of his smile. Oh, and find time somewhere in all that running around to study for the upcoming RVT exam, because I am really beginning to feel like that is my next checkpoint; everything begins and ends there.

Until we meet again,

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catharsis |kəˈTHärsis|

I hope he is happy. I hope the divorce does not ruin his life.

I hope the same for myself.

My thoughts driving home from work are so random and odd at times.

And if my hope of these things does not speak of my progress in post-divorce healing, I do not know what will. I can understand now, why it is that my boyfriend’s mom can be friendly with her ex-husband. For the kids sake, sure, even though they are more than grown ups, but for her as well. In my experience and in most situations, it is easier to let yourself feel good things about people than it is to harbor hate and mistrust.

So I would rather he be happy. And as for remarriage and more kids, that is up to him. I would hope that things would be different in both of our “next time arounds”, but not dwell on the idea.

It is time again for letting go. For a catharsis of new what ifs and if thens I previously had no idea I was holding onto… Of walls meant to protect me from others, thoughts and other feelings that serve me no good any longer.

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Check. [Soul]mate.

Hello again, to anyone who thought my long leave of absensce meant the death of this little blog. I have been honestly busy this time. Moved two cities over, hit my one year mark at work just in time for the clinic to move to a bigger, better location and am adjusting to life just me and Elliott, although with lots of parenting help from the boyfriend. It has been hard but exhilarating.

So much activity but not much to say about it all. Very little I felt the need to write out loud until the past couple of days. Settling down, for a chronic over thinker like myself, was so much easier when I was sure I was meant to be with someone. I had that feeling with the ex, and even though that relationship blew up in my face in a most spectacular way, there was no denying the magnetism we had for each other. I am not sure I feel that way about the boyfriend, and I do not yet fully know how that makes me feel. With the ex it was all miscommunication and empty love tanks, but with the boyfriend I never think about a love tank, because it is honestly a non-issue. There are none of the dramatic highs and lows. We are steady and stable and it is (sometimes/definitely) weird to me. It is not at all what I am accustomed to experiencing in a relationship. He would marry me tomorrow, would have married me last week, if I let him. But there is just this feeling that I am not ready and I do not know why.

Having gone through a divorce, I would almost rather live with him first…test the waters, see what our relationship will really look like 24/7/365. But that won’t work for him; marriage first he says. And that is a huge commitment. That is quite literally signing my heart and love away to someone else, promising to be there, promising to stay no matter what. Marrying him would mean making myself vulnerable to being left in the most soul crushing way again. To be a little too honest, my scars from ending up on the wrong side of someone’s keep or toss list are still too raw, even more than a year later. I hate it. I hate myself for not entirely being able to leave those experiences buried in the past. I hate that while talking to my littlest sister last night tears formed in my eyes when I admitted another divorce will kill me, or at the very least kill my spirit. I still don’t quite understand how I survived the last one..

It’s all up in the air, and it all doesn’t really matter at the same time. Just that little tug on my heartstrings and the grieving of the idea of soulmates. Adult life is so limitless and immeasurable and hard and wonderful. I hope Elliott listens – but being my son, sincerely doubt he will – when I remind him to not hurry growing up.

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Sunday Mornings

The boyfriend has been bugging me about church for over a month now. Mornings are not my favorite time of day, and Sunday is not an exception. In fact, the only thing I really want to do on weekend mornings is sleep in. Fat chance of that happening with a toddler in the house, but a mom can dream. And if I can’t dream because I was woken up early (again), I can at least enjoy a cup of coffee or two in relative peace. So unfortunately, church often takes a back burner to being lazy, in an attempt to relax. Just being honest here.

When I first moved back to the valley, I did not feel comfortable going to “my church.” It was the one I attended in middle school, the one that helped me find God. The same church I attended with my then-husband. The one his family had attended when they were still local. The idea of going back there did not feel comfortable. I did not believe that I could go, a new divorcee, and not be judged. But eventually, I felt the need to be there surpass my discomfort so I swallowed my pride, and found a seat.

I am long past feeling uncomfortable, but do still feel a disconnect. My church was typically well suited for me. Began as a baptist church, and moved to a more non-denominational way of teaching the Bible. It was not the only church I tried out in the area (went to a Catholic church and Methodist church a couple times with friends), but fit me best. Now, as an adult and as someone who is divorced, I am disheartened that they skirt over the issue and do not offer a divorce care class. I know, without a doubt, that I am not the only divorced Christian in this city. I know I am not the only working mom, whose original intentions did not include working while my child was still young. And yet the women’s bible studies are offered at dinner time on a Tuesday or early on weekday mornings. This particular church supports those with addictions, christian camps, a local food pantry, a pregnancy outreach center.. but what about the single moms, the working moms, the divorced?

I guess I am disappointed. I was there with 2,000 other people at the Easter Sunday service when they said they would be doing remarkable things in the coming year… and aside from sermons reminding us not to compare ourselves to others and how as we travel through life God should be the first thing we consider, I am just not seeing it. Maybe I have high standards. Scratch that, I know I have high standards, but if the boyfriend wants me to go to church, I am going to be the driving force behind some new ministries, or I am finding another one that fits who I am now and challenges me to grow as a Christian. Besides the fellowship and church karaoke, is that not the biggest point in giving up relatively quiet mornings at home?

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