When finding yourself requires a passport…

I often journal and last year when I traveled to London, I did just that.  Below is the first entry in my journal recording my trip, the first I had taken in four years…

October 31st, 2012:  9:50pm EST

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I awoke this morning with a mix of excitement and dread.  Excited about the trip that would begin today, and dreading the actual traveling.  Leaving Jack, leaving my young business, leaving my house and all my things and the comfort they provided me…  I actually thought, many times, about cancelling the trip.

In the past, I would have done just that.  Convinced myself that I had too much work to do at home.  That I couldn’t be so far away from Jack.  That I couldn’t afford it.  And while all of that is true, here I sit, in the International Terminal of Atlanta’s airport.

I was hoping for a sit down meal to linger over, because I had to be here so early, but the only food is food court style.  So, I had a crab cake and jalapeno and pepper jack grits and a sweet tea and observed the passing travelers.

I don’t usually wonder where people are traveling to or from, as most people do.  No, I am most often wondering if they are traveling on business, or for a vacation.  And I wonder if they left a family at home.  And I wonder if they miss the ones they left at home.

That is certainly due to my history of being the one left at home so often, and wondering, from my own house, whether LK was missing me or what he was doing while on the road…

But this trip is for me!  I haven’t had a real (international or plane required) trip in four years.  No, I’ve been at home, pregnant, or nursing a sick child, or raising a relatively healthy child, or nursing a broken heart, or staging my comeback, most recently.

So I really, truly hope, that this trip can be the start of a new chapter in my life.  A happier, brighter chapter, full of optimism, hope and opportunities.  A “reboot” of sorts.  People always tell me I have earned happiness, and that I deserve happiness, and I believe that for other people.  But for myself?  Not an easy entitlement to take on.

Happiness has, for so long, looked to me like marriage and a family.  But now I am, surprisingly, looking forward to a trip to London without a significant other.  I’m pretty sure that’s called growth.

And if I get home happier, rejuvenated and engaged in life again, well maybe someone will find me.  And if not, I will be all those wonderful things for me and for Jack.

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My next journal entry finds me freaking the hell out, having left Jack and barreling over the Atlantic Ocean, farther and farther away from what I know and love…  Check back soon!

Warmly,Maggie

 

Sometimes, it takes a year to start again…

Well, it’s been a year since my last post.  It seems like only days have passed, really.  I go through cycles of wanting to share, and wanting to protect my story, and the last 12 months were a protective time.  Now, I am feeling the desire to write again and to share my corner of the world.  It’s such an amazing life, and I’m blessed to be living it.

I have promised several friends, who have promised to become accountability partners, that I will begin writing again.  So below is a quick recap of the past year.  I will try to catch up and let you know the highlights of the past year in the coming weeks, and also write more regularly about life here with Jack.

As you may have noticed, I bought the domain name and have moved my blog from a free site to this one.  I haven’t “prettied it up” yet, but that will come in the future.  For now, I just wanted to make the change to a site I owned.  It just felt right.

And now….  The STAR of this show…

Sweet Baby J is continuing to grow and learn, and quite honestly, amaze the medical community.  His last cardiology appointment was a few weeks back and his heart is looking very healthy.  What is most frightening to me how quickly life is passing these days.  Jack is taller and more talkative everyday, and I can feel him growing up and away from me, the way children do, but mothers dread.  He loves school and is learning so much, and he seems destined to have the love of reading and knowledge that I have enjoyed.

My business efforts have been paying off in the past year and I’m starting to see some good traction and growth. I wake up each morning looking forward to the opportunity to help my clients grow their businesses and, thereby, improve the community I live in.  I used to always feel superfluous as a sales rep for  large companies, telling myself that we “weren’t curing cancer” and that what I did didn’t really matter.  And maybe this business isn’t really as important as healing people, but I am helping them to realize their goals of having successful businesses.  I love helping people learn new things, and that has become a major focus of my company lately.

Some of the things I will write about include making the decision to commit to my business and really try to make a go of it as an entrepreneur.  Some of the highlights include a trip to California, where I met a personal business inspiration and several women who continue to amaze me with their success and willingness to help one another.  I can’t wait to tell you about that trip!

And in what is a surprise to no one, except for me, I am dating.  Close friends frequently told me that I would date again, but I was happy alone, and dating is exhausting. Lots of people told me that men were “intimidated by me” and that’s why they didn’t ask me out.

Apparently being an intelligent, independent, single mother with her shit together is far less attractive than the feminists would have us believe.  Well, I have no time to invest in making a man feel superior to me, so I didn’t waste time with it.  I knew that there had to be a man out there who was not only NOT intimidated by me, but could hold his own, celebrate my strength, and still make me feel like a pretty, pretty princess.  And y’all, I found him.

At least I may have…

It’s still very new, and who knows what will happen, but we are enjoying each other now and he is teaching me a lot about relaxing and enjoying life.  And Jack thinks he’s really fun, too.

OK, so there you go.  A quick peek into the past 12 months.  As promised, I will detail a few highlights and keep you posted on the awesome monotony that is daily life around here.  I no longer feel like my happiness is a year away.  It’s always just around the corner, if not all around me like the blessings and joys I’ve found lately.  I just had to look.

Good to see y’all again!

Maggie

Continuing the journey…

I knew going into this blog that it would take more than a year to find happiness.  Anyone who is honest with themselves knows that it is an ongoing and never-ending task, searching for their own happy.  But I like to set deadlines and goals, and a year is a good length of time for new ventures.

 

My latest journey on the “road back” was a short trip to London, England last week.  I used to travel all the time; for work, with LK, whenever the opportunity arose.  But with all the upheaval in the last three years, I hadn’t been able to, and realized this summer that I hadn’t travelled in almost four years.  I was beginning to get a bit of cabin fever and wanderlust, but the ties to Jack were too strong to allow me to branch out very far.

 

But then, this fall, I reached the point of no return.  I was frustrated, lonely, exhausted and, quite truthfully, angry.  I had been taking care of all my obligations at home, which I freely and joyfully took up. But let’s be honest here, taking care of a special needs child is difficult.  Doing it as a single parent feels like an impossible task some days.  I consider it a blessing and an honor to be doing it, and doing it fairly well, but even I have my limits.  So I decided to call in a favor.

 

Immediately prior our separation, LK and I had a trip to Paris planned for my birthday.  Once he left, I discovered that he had cancelled the trip without telling me.  I asked him why he cancelled my ticket and he was stunned when I said I would have gone alone.  Of course the ensuing discussion wasn’t very civil, but what came out of it was a promise to provide a plane ticket (via his immense bank of airline miles) once I was ready.  And while he was a little hesitant when I called the favor in, he did book the ticket for me. 

 

In another blessing, I had friends in London who offered me a place to stay.  I had known JS, the wife, since she was dating LK’s brother, nearly a decade ago.  I had always prayed they would marry so that we could be partners in the crazy family that was LK’s.  But in a bit of divine intervention, it didn’t work out.  And now we know why.  :-)  I had only met RS, the husband, a few times, but we had become “Facebook friends” and shared Likes and Comments back and forth for a few years.  They were wonderful hosts and I loved their neighborhood and hospitality.

 

Those two bits of the trip, a plane ticket and place to stay, removed a significant barrier to my ability to travel: money.  I could afford food and some sightseeing, but that was about it.  The addition of a longtime friend, JD, who travels regularly, meant that I would have a sightseeing partner, which removed the final fear: Being kidnapped in a foreign country.  Don’t laugh.  I have watched a lot of Lifetime movies in the past four years at home.

 

Over the next few weeks, I will share my photos, as well as selections from the travel journal that I kept.  I saw lots of old stuff, ate tons of delicious food (it’s a myth that the English have terrible cuisine) and learned a lot about myself.  I was also reminded of the Maggie that I knew before LK left, Jack arrived and I let myself be forgotten so that other things could be taken care of.  

 

I hope you will check back and if you do, that you will enjoy my remembrances of the amazing trip.  And I really hope that if you have been putting off travel, or been putting yourself on the shelf for the benefit of others, that you will be inspired to again place yourself in the forefront.  At least long enough to remind yourself of who you are and want to be.

 

Maggie

Irony and Football Game

Today is the three year “anniversary” of the day my whole world was turned upside down.  On this day in 2009, LK, my ex husband, sat me down at the kitchen table and told me he was out.  He didn’t want to be married, he didn’t want the baby we had been trying to have, he didn’t want me.  It felt eery and significant this morning, waking up alone, and yet not alone.  Sure, I don’t have a husband to share my bed with anymore, but there is a wonderful child down the hall, and as I listened to him snore softly on the baby monitor, I steeled myself for the emotions that would come today.
But they never came.  Not really.  I am a little sad, but mostly for the life that I imagine having lost.  The intact family, growing together and sharing a life of fun and learning.  But we wouldn’t have had that.  So I was glad that my first real emotion upon getting out of bed was that of exasperation.   It is so funny to me that some people are so hell bent on being “right” or doing what makes them “happy” that they can’t let anyone else in the world tell them what might be enjoyable, or fun or rewarding.

 

That was how LK was.  Especially near the end.  And now, as I look back, he was so violently angry at me for wanting him to have a child, and now, he just picked him up for a weekend visit.  He is now so in love with this child that he so easily and immediately abandoned.  And in my head, all I can think is, “What a moron.”  He missed out on Jack’s open heart surgery and the late night feedings and all the crying, mine and his.  But then again, he missed out on the first words, steps and other milestones, too.

 

So, today, I mostly feel the amazing irony that is this life.  He wanted the freedom to be with his girlfriend and travel where ever he wanted, and this weekend, they are, all three, driving to his alma mater for a football game.  He wants to share Jack with his friends, and his past with Jack.  And that’s great.  I really am happy that they have a relationship.

 

Especially since I knew he would want this all along.  And ironically, the best life I’ve ever had is the one with Jack in it, and LK far, far away…

 

Maggie

 

 

Picking Uniforms for the Summer

Recently, I have been discussing the coming swimsuit season with my girlfriends and many of them are self-handicapping their search.  This happens every year, but for some reason, it really bothers me this summer.  Women hate shopping for bathing suits.  Well, not all women.  I am sure that there is a small percentage of women who have low body fat percentages (except in certain, strategic areas, mysteriously) and high self esteem (at least, evidentlly), who find the process beautiful and self affirming.  The rest of women hate those women.  Not really.  Just kidding….

But, as I said, this year feels different.  Maybe it’s the battle I’ve been through, or maybe it’s the beautiful child that I grew in my stomach, but this year, I am going to buy a suit that I like.  I am not going to worry if it “makes me look fat” or is “age appropriate” or whether it confirms my “mom” status.  It is just going to be for me.  I didn’t get stretch marks while I was pregnant, and sometimes I cry about that.  Unfortunately, Jack came 10 weeks early and I didn’t gain that much weight.  I would trade a stomach full of scars for a healthy child, but I can’t.  That experience does give me some perspective, though.  While I was pregnant, I began to see my purpose on Earth was to raise Jack, and it made the changes in my body beautiful and meaningful.  When I see the rare woman, covered in stretch marks, yet brave enough to don a bikini, I silently revel in her bravado, and envy her healthy children, whom she carried to term.

Now, I understand that some men may look at women in bathing suits and make judgements or even comments.  But I believe that the biggest problem is from women judging each other.  One friend said she stopped wearing bikinis at age 37, because it was time.  I will be 37 later this year, so I guess I get a little leeway this year.  She is now looking for the “one piece with the skirt” ensemble so popular with middle aged women.  And she is gorgeous!  So why are women worried about the suit?

Who knows?  Some of it is that they want to hide body imperfections, or appear responsible enough to have children, or even just to be comfortable.  But whatever the reason, buy the damn suit you want, ladies.  And let the 400 pound “adonis” who is looking at you worry about the stretch band on his own suit.

I told my friend last week, when we were discussing the little black bikini I was searching for “don’t hate the player, hate the game!”  It was a joke, but I am working hard on a body for health reasons, and it allows me some latitude, in terms of the suit I wear.  But I WILL NOT be self handicapping my bathing suit search in order to avoid attention or make others comfortable.

Just say NO! to the one piece with the skirt!!!!

Unless that’s what you really, really want to wear…..

Maggie

Where does the time go?

I had no idea it had been nearly four months since my last post.  Life goes by so quickly and while I know that I have done a lot since that last post, I am amazed at how much is left to be done.  And isn’t that a wonderful way to live?  To wake up every morning with a list of things to accomplish?  Oh the accomplishments in the past four months…..

By the end of January, my divorce from LK was final, and while we still have occasional issues, we have settled into a comfortable, Jack-focused, civility that I am at peace with.  I have forgiven him for so much, but still feel I need to protect Jack from him.  Which I don’t.  He is trying his best and I am glad for it.  Jack needs his father in his life and I am in love with Jack, so I will make it as easy as possible.

Jack turned two this month and that was such an amazing day!  I remember, vividly, being told that he had a serious heart defect, and that he may not even survive his birth.  The days when I only ate or got of bed because I had a son to live for and take care of are painful reminders of my past.   But to see him now, I am just amazed and blessed.  All the fighting and crying, all the nights I slept at the hospital, or not at all…  They were all worth it.  He is an amazing beacon of light and source of happiness and I love him more every single day.

I finished a lot of soul searching, looking for my passion and started a new business.  I am now a “Social Media Consultant.”  I had no idea that this was what I would be doing, but by following every opportunity that came my way in the past few months, it literally fell into my lap.  I have a wonderful mentor and a few great clients and, for now at least, I can support Jack without leaving him for 10 hours a day, and it feels wonderful.  It has been a very stressful time, becoming self employed, but the blessings continue to come my way, so I am thankful and continue to welcome them.

Another big change in my life has been that I have begun dating again.  I felt that it was important to wait until the divorce was final to start dating again, and in so doing, I was single (but not yet ready to mingle) for nearly three years.  I really didn’t want to enter a relationship until I was healed anyway.  What hope of success can a relationship have if I wasn’t able to trust anyone?  But now I think I can. Or, at least I think that I can choose better.  We’ll see how that goes.

I have been on a few dates so far and I can tell you this:  Dating at 36 (with a child) is a whole different ballgame than dating as a 20-something single woman.  The stakes are so much higher, and my patience for games is practically non-existent.  Does that mean that a relationship “just for fun” is out of the picture?  No.  I am not looking to get married and have kids by the end of the year, that is for sure. Sometimes, just having someone to go to dinner with is a welcome change from the dinner at home monotony of single life.  But I have very particular criteria for the kind of man that won’t fit into my life, and I won’t change myself to fit his mold of what kind of woman I should be.  And isn’t that better?

The trick now will be to find a man strong enough to handle me.  I have been told many times that I am the strongest woman a person has ever known.  But even the strongest woman wants to be taken care of sometimes.  It’s not reasonable to be the strong one all the time. It’s exhausting, and scary, and lonely.  So hopefully, somewhere there is a man being prepared to be my partner.  Lucky him. 😉

I may share a few of the more interesting stories of my dating experiences in the near future.  I am keeping a journal, as usual, so all the ridiculous, charming, wonderful and awful things that I see are safe and recorded.  But for right now, I am going to keep them to myself.  I have only been “out there” for about a month and I think I need to reflect a bit before sharing.  What I can say is that it is fun and frustrating and exciting and terrifying, all at the same time.

I kind of feel like a kid again.  One with a mortgage and a 401(k), but still…

Hopefully,
Maggie

Will you just tell me what my passion is, please?

Three years ago this month, I was planning to quit my field sales job and begin looking for my “passion” and my “dream job.”  I have always enjoyed sales, but something was missing in my life and I wasn’t “blissfully happy.”  Of course, what happened instead was quite life-changing, has been documented in this blog.  And in the midst of taking care of Jack, and divorcing LK, I have been too busy to actually work on finding my passion.

Our society is very concerned with finding your passion, or bliss and working at the job that was meant for you, and makes your life full.  So, what happens if you haven’t found it?  Well, you are miserable and stuck in a job you hate and wondering why, oh why, can’t you figure out what your passion is?  It’s a lonely and sad place to be.  Especially when you see all the beautiful people on television living their own personal dreams.

I have been trying to figure out my passion for so long that it’s become comical at this point.  And the sad thing is that I may have finally realized that my passion is to love and raise children, but since I married a man who didn’t want children, I have just the one, and now I don’t have the option to stay home with him.  In any case, the search continues.

While I was in therapy, I frequently asked my therapist what the hell my passion was.  I figured that she was listening to me for an hour a week, and had great insights, surely if she was paying attention, she knew what it was?  But either she didn’t know, or she wasn’t telling.  I would have to do that hard work on my own.

So then, I asked a friend, who is a business coach, and while she was able to tell me what she saw me get excited about, it wasn’t an actual declaration of what my passion was, and there was no path for my future to be had.  But she did give me a list of questions to work through that would cause me to consider what it was that made me happy or fulfilled or excited.  And as I have been working through them, I am realizing that I don’t know what makes me feel that way.  Except for caring for Jack.  And as good as I am at that role, there is no one offering to pay me for it.  Yet.

I did consider a nursing career while I was in the trenches of the hospital and caring for Jack while he was very sick.  I decided that I only really wanted to care for Jack, and although I would love to take care of other babies, the pain of losing any (which does happen, as I came to find out while at Children’s Healthcare) was more than my tender heart could bear.

So I am going to return to the quest to find my passion for a while.  I am going to really “sit with myself and feel my emotions” and reflect and question and consider what may help me find the path to my passion.  I do realize that my passion may actually be Jack, and not some job or career that will allow me to support him.  So, perhaps a paying job that does not fulfill all my dreams, and even makes me less than blissful, is still in the cards.  But maybe I will find some passion that I can convert into an income.  I am very hopeful.

As with all of my projects, I began my research with Google.  If you Google “how do I find my passion” you will get over 62 million results (in under .13 seconds) with a myriad of techniques and exercises to help you find said passion.  I am going to try three in the next few days:

1:  Self Reflective questions that ask what in my life has been exciting, when have I felt fulfilled, when I felt trapped or unhappy, etc.

2:  A Dream Board:  This is a collage that includes pictures and words that I respond to in some way, or represent the way I want my life to look, or feel, or be like at some point.   I am instructed to flip through magazines and cut out any picture or word that I am drawn to, even if I don’t understand it at the time.  I am getting less and less “engineer-y” and more and more “artsy fartsy” lately and the old me would have scoffed at this “go with your feelings” nonsense, but I am really looking forward to this one.

3:  A Core Values List:  This is something that I did when I went through a Franklin Covey course and really helped me focus my abilities and goals in my sales job.  I am hopeful that if I complete this exercise while considering my personal life, it will be similarly successful.

So, there you have it.  The quest for my passion has begun.  You’ll notice that “find a man” is not on the list as yet.  I am getting closer to being ready to try to date again, but I’m not there yet.  I don’t think I have the energy to find someone and make sure he’s feeling good about himself and feels loved until I’ve done the same for myself.  I am going to find my passion, and then if a man fits into the plan, I’ll look for him at that time.  For now, it’s about me and Jack and our future.

And I’m really hope my passion involves living at a beach house…

Passionately yours,

Maggie

A New Year Deserves a New Post

Well, Happy New Year!!!  I haven’t written in almost five months, and I’m sorry.  I hope that some of you are still out there!

I wanted, so many times, to write a blog post about what was happening in our lives, but kept worrying that I was exposing too much, or putting our future at risk.  For example, if I were to write about all of the things that were going on in the divorce negotiations, would I anger LK, resulting in a court battle and losing assets that Jack would need.  Many of the things that happened were so ridiculous, that I jotted them down in case I’m ever asked to write a movie about how stupidly people behave during divorces.  So I sat back and kept my story to myself for a while.  And now, the settlement has been made, the papers signed and filed, and we will be divorced by the end of the month.  There was a lot of give and take, and in the end, as much as can be said, Jack won.  He gets all the time and assets both of his parents can afford, and a great shot at a cooperative co-parenting experience.

Overall, we have had a good five months.  Jack did suffer a febrile seizure which was terrifying and required a 911 call and an ER visit, but everything resolved well and he has had no repeat episodes.  He has been an absolute star at school (my words, not the teachers) and loves to get ready for “skuul” every morning to go see his friends.  Jack did bite another child, and when I was told at pick up, I was horrified, but sure that he had been framed.  Unfortunately, the teacher told me he was still clamped down on the other childs arm as she tried to separate them.  So, I’m sure Jack was provoked somehow, but we have been working on the “catch and release” technique anyway.  Since that day, he has had no “aggressive acts” at school, thank goodness!  He brings home lots of beautiful art work that I hang all over the house in “mini art galleries” that Jack seems really proud of.  He’s very talented!

As far as I am concerned, things are going very well.  I have a cordial relationship with LK and his girlfriend, although they both piss me off.  LK for obvious reasons, and Her for being so stupid.  I say that in the grand scheme of “don’t get involved with a married man who has abandoned his child, that you have to talk into having a relationship with his son, and think that he is actually the one who was meant for you, because he is actually a selfish egomaniac who will not change his character and marry and impregnate you in 5 years.”  But she’ll have to be my age to realize that, I guess.  Or maybe he will change and she will “fix” him, which would be best for Jack.  Either way, I don’t care.  LK is her problem now and I am in a surprisingly wonderful place.  However, I think that if all women on Earth would unite and agree not to “be with” men who are married, or have abandoned their children, there would be far fewer men who cheat or leave their families.  If they didn’t have other outlets, one would presume, they would have to behave like adults and actually work on relationships.  But that is my pipe dream for a better world, full of better people.

I am essentially underemployed right now.  I have no idea what I want to do for a job, and no prospects.  And I’m not really all that worried about it.  This is such new territory for me that had I not been through the massive life changes I have in the past three years, I would be worried that I was losing my mind.  The only reason that I am considering a full-time, “former life” type job with lots of hours and lots of money, is that those kinds of jobs also come with lots of really good health insurance, for Jack.  But I LK is providing the insurance now, and if he loses that insurance, we can use COBRA to buy the same coverage for a while.  And I have money saved for that.  So I  can wait for the perfect opportunity for Jack and I to come along.  And so I am.

At least, I’m trying.  I frequently slip back into my old mindset of “money equals security” and now there is a new one, “single mothers who are able to support their children well, should.”  But to provide Jack with more financial advantage than emotional advantage might result in a man who would value money over family, or his own child.  So I relent and stop berating myself.  And I get on the floor with Jack and read one more book, or pretend to eat the delicious dinner he has “cooked” in the fireplace.  And it is so much more fun and rewarding than any job I’ve ever had, or could ever get.

So that’s a quick catch up on our lives. Except for my newest project:  I am training for a half marathon!  My resolution last January was to run a 5k, and I did it before the weather even warmed up.  While enduring the divorce negotiations I began to create a “Bucket List” of things I want to do before I die.  Running a marathon was on it.  But I am starting with a half marathon, and while I was worried, I have come to love running.  I sleep better at night, I have fewer negative or depressing thoughts and I’m even working on the body that will soon re-enter the dating pool.  Well, not too soon.  More about that in a later post.  For now, the running is awesome, and just for me.  I’m a happier Mama, and that’s my goal right now.  I’ll post about the running progress soon, but in the meantime, I’d recommend a 5k resolution to everyone reading this.  It’s an easy distance, that can be walked, by most people, in under an hour.  Let me know if you try one this year!

New Year, New Me!
Maggie

Projects Update: Closets and Faucets

I hope you all are having a great week.  Atlanta was blessed with beautiful, mild weather today and Jack went to his first day of preschool.  What a great milestone for him, and for me!  When I dropped him off I expected at least a little bit of a fuss, but he just went right in and never looked back.  Clearly, he will have a love for school just like I did! 

When I picked him up, there were two children asleep, one crying his eyes out and Jack was playing with a toy telephone that another child was trying to take from him.   He just looked at the boy, held on tightly and waited him out.  Jack retained possession of the toy and when he noticed me he didn’t run right to me, but just kept playing.  Fortunately for me, the crying child needed a hug so I got to sweep him up and love on him until Jack was ready to leave.  The teacher told me that Jack was the only child who hadn’t cried that day and I felt blessed to have such a happy, confident child.  In spite of his rough start and all my overprotectiveness!

So, finally an update on the projects I’ve been working on!  With the help of my father and his friend, we replaced all the faucets in the bathrooms.  I have lived with the ugly bronze ones that were here when we moved in for a decade.  I didn’t want to spend money fixing something that wasn’t broken, but when they began to refuse to yield water, one by one, I was able to give myself permission to go buy new ones.  And I found gorgeous brushed nickle ones for less than $50 each!  It was a small change that makes me happy everytime I look at them. 

Below is a photo of the old faucet, which was the same in all four sinks.  All four were removed before I remembered to take a picture, but I believe the ugliness is still obvious:

And below is the new faucet.  This one is in the powder room and as Daddy pointed out, it matches the mirror that I bought for that bathroom over six years ago. 

I love the new faucets!  I will keep squirrelling a little money away each week until I can afford the next bathroom fix-up: new lighting!!  Each bathroom has, wait for it, ugly brass light fixtures that I really don’t like.  I’ll let you know when I get that done, hopefully before Christmas!

The next project that I want to catch you up on is the closet build out that I started in the guest room.  I absolutely love the result!!  I am still planning to add drawers in the future, but the three drawers cost as much as the whole organizer, so they will be acquired as I save for them.  For now, the shelves are working just fine.  This photo is of the closet organizer empty:

And here is the closet filled with my sewing machine, some extra blankets and pillows, luggage and off season clothes:

I am very happy with the end result and have been in there to just look at it several times since it was finished.  Clearing out the clutter is great, and creating a beautiful, functional storage space is absolutely wonderful.  When your whole world seems hectic and out of control, it’s just nice to have a corner of your home whipped into shape.  Is there anything more relaxing?

So is there anything you can do in your own home to make a corner of your world more relaxed and peaceful?  Let me know if you start a project of your own in search of happiness!

Enjoying my home and life,

Maggie

 

Hard Times and Sweet Babies

I have been in a funk since LK took Jack last Friday and I’ve been trying to figure out how to escape it without success.  I have tried exercising, which is usually a panacea for me.  I have tried going to bed early and resting, getting up early and being productive, working hard and hardly working.  So far, nothing has eased the pain and depression.  I am not a person who cries easily or frequently, except for when my child is in a cardiac or NICU hospital unit.  And yet, I know that it is a good and healthy thing to do.  So, tonight, I tried to cry.  I can work up a few tears, and cry for a few seconds pretty easily, but those types of cries don’t do alot to lighten a funk, so I had to bring in the big guns.

I watched a story on NBC news tonight that finally brought the cleansing cry that I have been searching for all week.  It was about a woman who had won a prize to throw out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game.  She threw the pitch to the catcher, and as they always do, the catcher began to trot to the mound to return the ball and pose for the picture.  But as he got close to her she gasped and drew her hands to her face.  It was her husband, who had been deployed overseas with the Army.  He had worked for two weeks to set up the surprise return, enlisting the help of their kids and the baseball team.  As the family posed for pictures I sobbed and finally realized why I was hurting so badly.

This was the type of man I had wanted to marry.  A man with the courage and bravery to fight for his country, and the tenderness and heart to love his wife so much that he would orchestrate beautiful and memorable interactions and experiences for her and their children.  As the media snapped photos, he held tightly to his wife and kids and kissed her repeatedly on the top of her head.  He looked as happy to be with them as they did to be with him.  He loved his family so deeply, so fully.  And what did I end up with?  A loser who abandoned me when I was pregnant, then denied his own son for over a year. 

How did I make such a mistake in selecting him?   It’s hard to say, but when we met I was much younger and overlooked quite a few things that I wouldn’t today.  Early in our marriage, I was bitten by a friends dog and required 22 stitches in my lip.  He still left for a business trip the next day.  I suffered broken bones, the flu, bronchitis and other ailments alone, while he continued with his work and travels.  And I never told him how hurt that made me.  I knew several years ago that I wasn’t happy and never did anything.  I don’t think I would have ever left just because I was unhappy.  I am the child of divorce and wanted so badly not to be divorced myself that I would have stayed for the rest of my life.

And so I cried, for the man I married, and the man I had wanted to marry.  I cried for the life I have and the life I had wanted and was now mourning.  And I cried for the me that I denied for so many years, sentencing myself to a marriage in which I was unloved and uncherished.  I cried with pain that this man who had ignored and hurt me so deeply was now going to be in my son’s life.  And I regretted marrying him.  And then the most amazing thing happend. 

Jack, who had been playing and drinking from his sippy cup walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder.  I looked at him and his concerned, furrowed brow relaxed into a goofy smile and he patted my shoulder several times.  He was trying to comfort me.  And that made me cry harder.  So he put his sippy cup down and stradled my legs, crawling into my lap.  He put a hand on each shoulder and looked at me with a concern so deep that it broke my heart, and then a smile so big I laughed out loud.  I gathered him into me in a big hug and he let me. 

And then I was done.  The pain was gone and the joy was back.  I had a mini-breakthrough and Jack showed me something.  I had never been able to say that I was grateful for the bad marriage and all the pain, just because I had this wonderful child as a result.  So many people had said this to me and I had considered their words trite and naive.  I am an analytical person and reasoned that if I could have avoided the bad husband and marriage, then I wouldn’t know about the child that didn’t result, and may even be living in an intact marriage with a loving husband and our half dozen loving, beautiful and smart children.  But tonight, I got it.  Jack is my son, the one God designed for me.  And if I had never had him, I might not have lived the life that God meant for me. 

And I would have missed out mightily. 

Maggie