[Caution, rambling post ahead dealing with topics such as trying to conceive, baby loss and what not.]
We took a break from trying for a baby this month. Not on purpose; because the husband was across the country for work during the go-zone. It honestly feels like this is the longest two week wait in the history of ever, ever, because there’s literally 0% chance this month. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good knowing but also feels like such a waste of time. Our son is four, just about to be four and a half. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be starting over from scratch when my kid was essentially in Kindergarten. If we ever beat infertility and get to that point, that is.
Also did not dream up the divorce, or the time it took to get remarried or the losses or anything else that happened in between. If I wasn’t so sure about homeschooling the kid, I would probably get him enrolled in public school and pursue a new career. Be a “one and done” family, because after loss it pretty clearly feels like a closed door. Regardless, I would love love to study psychology in more depth than my animal health science degree allowed. But… there’s really no point if I can’t put it to use, is there? How would it look to get a degree now and not be able to use it for a decade, or more or who knows when because life as a whole is excellent at orchestrating plot twists?
Plus there’s the whole really can’t afford it thing. Is financial assistance for second degrees even a thing? Sounds a bit selfish but I would totally be all over that. Too scared to Google it. I suppose I am much more comfortable in the unknown. I do still think it royally unfair that we are supposed to know at eighteen what we want to do with our whole lives. Especially since despite having a passion for veterinary medicine and being very naturally skilled at blood draws, catheters and the like, it doesn’t fit who I am or what I want out of life anymore. I have a bachelors degree and licensure with my state and still cannot afford to put my kid in daycare to work. It’s madness. Props to all the technicians out there working their butts off for beans. It is definitely a calling and I have been called to something else.
So why do I feel so dissatisfied?
There’s certainly a bitterness that comes with pregnancy loss because none of this should even be an issue right now. I should have a five month old baby and be in the trenches of new-again motherhood but that’s not how it worked out for us. And I find myself drumming the keyboard at that thought because it just is. I wouldn’t wish losing a baby on my worst enemy, especially not three and especially not when the culture of our society is such that their lives were barely valid because they were never born. And I don’t know my point in writing this. Sometimes things just need to be written down and I suppose I am back to writing again, if only for now, because I have accumulated too many things to say.
I do know I am not exactly where I want to be in life and it’s hard. Because there’s nothing I can actually do about it. I feel like God has me in a holding pattern and I want to break free but I know that’s not the right answer either so I’m just waiting and waiting and that has never been a strength of mine. I have prayed for direction more times than I can count and last I heard over six months ago now was “REST.”
And I really did the best I could at doing just that.. maybe it wasn’t enough.
I have always had a green thumb. I kept an ivy plant alive for four years while away at college, reminding my mom to water it for me while I was away for extended periods of time. It only died when I moved across the country, leaving it solely in my mom’s hands. No great loss. I had won it at a carnival.
So when the husband decided to start a garden, I was psyched. I’ve grown basil and mint in pots before, but nothing on a larger scale. Please enjoy my wordy and honest memoir of starting our first home garden.
Step one. Putting up the fence. The littlest sister just so happened to be visiting for the weekend and we got to work installing a rickety wood fence, which has since come in handy with keeping the puppy and preschooler out.
Step two. Pulling all the visible weeds; and the ground was essentially a tiny forest of them. Tons and tons of mallow and stinging nettle. Tea anyone? (Here comes mistake number one, are you ready?) So once all the weeds were pulled we had what we assumed was a blank canvas. We were wrong. The weeds we didn’t see much of – nutgrass – took full advantage of being broken up by the tilling and the fact that they are tubers and came back in the hundreds. I could literally go out and pull 100 tiny nutgrass plants, easy. And that doesn’t solve the problem because they leave shoots underground much like bermuda grass. Let my first suggestion be, if you’re totally new, like me, and dedicating a new space to be a garden, let the weeds grow at least one full year and get them identified via an online plant ID group before doing any tilling. So not worth it. Especially since I’m not using any unnatural herbicides/insecticides because that defeats the whole purpose of a home garden.
Step three. Create the rows. The husband swears by this method and since I have zero experience growing plants outside of pots, I let him do whatever he wanted. He briefly mentioned making circle mounds, and I had not idea how this would have worked and I guess he decided against them.
Step four. Start the seeds. I’m just kidding, this should probably be done before you get the space for the garden ready. If you’re using miniature greenhouses like we did to start seeds, you’ll need to get them going about two weeks before you plan to transplant them into the garden, at a minimum. Honestly, I’m not sure when we did this all in relation to getting the garden ready. I think our baby plants were probably older than they needed to be. I also got half of my seeds from the dollar section at Target because I was really only intending to see if I could get things to grow. All of our current tomato plants, most of our cucumbers, and the watermelon plants came from the Target dollar spot. I definitely now recommend buying seeds from the garden center at any major retailer. At least then you know what variety you are working with. My husband is still a bit bothered that I can’t remember for sure if the tomatoes are beefsteaks or not. The package said organic tomatoes! I started them in a windowsill.. I guess that’s mistake number two, technically. Know what you’re planting. Also document in your phone when you start the seeds, so you know when they should be ready for harvesting. If you’re not buying them at Target, the package will tell you how many days away that should be. If you are buying them at Target, good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.
Step Five. Get ready to transplant and be sure to use markers! I went rogue and planted tomatoes from a cut up cherry tomato because that store-bought package had a really good taste and don’t exactly remember where I put them. Mistake number three.. I mean, I’m pretty sure because I’ve got clusters of little sprouts coming up in four places but theres also a two foot section of row on a different row that I also planted them and there’s nothing there so far. Mystery plants for the win!
Step Six. Buy cages for any vining plants and install them pretty soon after transplanting, if not at the same time. We did not use cages for our cucumbers and now the husband is saying we need to wrangle them into plant bras or else the cucumbers will rot!!! Exclamation point!! So use the cages and avoid mistake number four. We also got the cages that we did use from his mom because I wasn’t keen on spending a dollar more than we needed to. They’re old, and they are completely mismatched and a couple may be too small, but they will work for this year!
Step Seven. Water. You would think this would be obvious but after about two weeks I did forget and the poor plants went about four days without anything to drink. Thankfully still cool enough that nothing died. Keeping count? That’s mistake five and the last one I do believe.
Step Eight. Continue weeding. This never ends apparently. I mean, I knew that but was not prepared to discover a dozen new to me species of invasive weeds, a new one taking over after the last has been pulled every single time. Definitely think about going full nerd and joining that plant ID group on Facebook. They help. We will probably be trying some newspaper to cover the rows and see if that helps.
Step Nine. Prepare to battle pests. We’ve had cutworms kill two cucumbers and three watermelon plants. Just hacked them off at the base of the plant. They also pooped all over the broccoli leaves. Rude. Just rude. There’s insect ID groups on Facebook you can join. They’re pretty great at helping when all your little plants are in jeopardy and every morning you go out to find more basically chopped down. The husband also had me go out and buy thin dowels and bird flash tape to keep birds at bay. They haven’t been a problem so far, but I’m not sure they would have been anyway.
Step Ten. Harvest. This is when writing down dates can be important, but really it’s obvious when a tomato is ready to pick. The only trouble I ran into was the carrots, because those aren’t so obvious. Husband wants to pick them now but they need another two weeks.
So there you have it. Maybe this will help you on your new gardening adventure or maybe you smiled at how many mistakes we made along the way. In any case, it’s really awesome when you need lettuce for a salad or sandwich and you can just walk to the backyard and pick a few leafs off the plant. Still waiting to be able to do that with everything else, but we did get a late start..
Dustin and I had an amazing time yesterday. We have been talking about going to Six Flags Magic Mountain for over a year now and finally made the trip. Splurged on Flash Passes for the first time ever and got to ride every coaster we wanted, most two or three times. There were a couple good coasters I have never had a chance to ride before, and it has been years, but Goliath, at night, was still my favorite. Nothing beats that first drop. Nothing beats the anticipation and thrill, the energy in the air, that deep breath and long scream, and those moments that steal your breath away. It was perfect. Exactly what I needed and more.
And then this afternoon, during a quiet moment of the Hurricane’s nap, Facebook kindly reminded me that I have been divorced for exactly two years. So fitting, really, given the mild emotional breakdown I had in the car this morning on the way home… We are flying down the interstate and start talking about our wedding, just 40 days and 40 nights away. So soon, but so far away given that I feel like I have known this man forever – and often have to remind myself that we just truly met a year and a half ago. I commented honestly, that I am mostly pretty sure I am ready to get remarried when a wave of shame and anger and regret washed over me. Those deep in the pit of your stomach ugly, ugly feelings. And my concern for still being able to feel that way, even two years later caused me to burst into tears.
I am certain it is not that I am not ready to marry him. It’s the wasted time, years and years and almost a decade of wasted time, the cracks in my heart, the betrayal of trust that were all for nothing. Because besides the Hurricane, and being free and having a hell of a lot more confidence in who I am and why I’m here on this earth, no good comes from what I went through. But that’s everything at the same time, isn’t it?
It is everything. So I cried for my divorce and for me, and for the messy and beautiful family my son will have. For everything I never really wanted, wasn’t expecting, didn’t sign up for. Dustin reached over and grabbed my hand, calmly told me that it may never fully go away and that it’s okay if it never does and we sat in silence for a couple miles. He is my zen and I am so thankful. I still have a big heart, and it just so happens to be a big day in the short history of my divorced life. The highlight of which was picking up the Hurricane and him running at us yelling, “Mommy! Daddy!” before throwing himself into my arms. The gentle reminder that I am immeasurably blessed among this chaos.
When I was a kid, my dad deployed or went on detachment often enough, worked long hours, hardly ever felt home. When he did get back, it was always a bit of a struggle re-adapting to having him there. It was not always ideal, but I can see more clearly now having a son of my own and being a working mom, that my family was always doing the best we could. I always had a roof over my head. I always had good health/dental insurance. I always had plenty of food to eat. Those things, those blessings, are easy to take for granted as a kid, but my struggles as a single mom have clearly shown me otherwise. My dad was and continues to be an awesome provider. He had the strength to stay sane in a family with four alpha females and together with my mom raised three amazing women, the first of whom was me.
My dad taught me some of the most important life lessons I have learned. Taught me to be honest, a trait that has defined who I am almost more than anything. He helped me see that being very emotional and being logical is possible. That I never have to give up my dream, never have to compromise or diminish my standards to be on someone else’s level. He is the reason picking a toolbox/tool shelf is the first thing I do when I move. Confidence with laying tile floors, changing out ceiling lights, belt sanders, stud finders, laser levels, table saws and a variety of basic tools is a skill I appreciate more and more as I get older. My love for fixing things and almost anything do-it-yourself started as a kid, begrudgingly helping him with the current project in the garage. I did not appreciate those times then, but I certainly do now. I promise to make my hurricane help me out as well, to give him the same confidence.
My dad is so great that he was promoted to grandpa! He continues to be one of the most positive, fatherly influences in the hurricane’s life. I will be forever thankful for my family allowing us to move back in with them, for watching my son as I worked on myself and our future, for loving him as much if not more than they love me. He is blessed with some awesome grandparents!
Then there’s the boyfriend. He met me at a low point in my life. He respected me as single mom, living with my parents, trying to make the best life possible for my son and I. He watched many bath times, observed my parenting style in every situation possible, and was always okay with my son coming first in my schedule, in my life. There will be no step in his title. He is already a dad, even though we don’t have a kid of “our own” just yet.
And of course there is my ex-husband, because you did mention still checking in on this blog now and then. Without you I would not be a mom. We made the cutest kid (biased of course!) and I hope that we both continue to grow into inspiring, loving co-parents of this smart, sweet, hyper little hurricane. Your presence in his life does matter, as do those of your family, and will be always be important. He will never be able to say that he comes from a “broken home,” but rather from a village, surrounded by many adults who love and want the best for him.
Happy Father’s Day to the amazing fathers like mine, to the ones who help heal broken hearts and to those other single moms doing it all on your own.
I did not walk at my college graduation. Had to move out of my suite, did not feel like waiting for Sunday morning to come around just to walk all over campus in muggy, 100 degree weather. I was so burned out, finishing up a 23 unit quarter.. Besides, I had just made all of my family visit for my wedding six weeks prior. I didn’t think anyone would come, and my best friends weren’t graduating with me.
It’s something I have let go, for the most part. I am not the same person now that I was then. The idea of having all those eyes on me, what to wear, who would show up at 10am on Sunday, what if no one did… Those thoughts were overwhelming, so I pushed forward.
I rushed home, so I could rush to South Carolina to be with my then-husband. Four years later…I wish I had customized the top of my cap. Wish I had a photo of my best friend and me, because me leaving changed everything. I see the photos posted from my college every commencement and I wish I had stayed. I skipped out on one of the most quintessential college experiences, in my opinion.
You could say this post was inspired by a parallel debate in my mind. The boyfriend and I are talking big things, shiny rings and our future together. I have a tendency – I am learning of myself – to feel anxious, bored, overwhelmed and rush to the next thing. To just move to the next step, next stage in life, whether I am ready or not. It’s part spontaneity, part chaos.
My license is done. Got it. Finally. And now it’s time to tackle the next big thing, one chunk at a time. I think I’m ready this time. I know this probably sounds like a bunch of incoherent rambling to some, but that’s a peek into the mind of this mom/vet tech/fitness fanatic. I’ve got at least a dozen windows open and I am running on toilet sore legs, too little sleep, not enough water, and I still need to go grocery shopping tonight so I can go to the gym first thing tomorrow..
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.