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

Project 1: Done?

 

Well, as it turns out, I am either incapable of, or unwilling to create the outdoor oasis of my dreams.  It would seem that lush foliage is expensive, and I’m just not ready to spend hundreds on a project just yet.  But I did complete the project, and although my previous self would have declined to publish pictures, fearing that since it wasn’t “perfect,” it shouldn’t be seen, my current self (or the self I am striving to become) realizes that it’s a vast improvement over the former patio, and I should be proud of it.  It’s really nice not to be limited by the prison of perfectionism.  I hope this a trend, because I’m much happier in the land of “good enough,” at least when it comes to home improvement projects of the aesthetic kind. 

And that’s all this one was, right?  Or was it?  It’s certainly not a load bearing wall, or insulation, or water proofing.  But it was much more than just a pretty project.  I got sweaty, and dirty, and I moved and cleaned heavy things.  I really felt that I was accomplishing something.  So, in a way, it was a mental or emotional weather proofing.  If I can be confident that I can take care of things on my own, then I don’t “need” someone around, such as a man.  If I am whole on my own, then any man that I may choose to bring into the picture in the future is an accoutrement to my already complete ensemble.  As a side note, I broke the garage door this weekend, (the how is not important, as it is highly embarassing to me) and tonight, I repaired the door all on my own.  I am feeling very “Super Woman-like” and will be shopping for my bullet proof bracelets soon.  I’m already on the road to self-reliance.

So there.

And now, without further ado, is my new happy place……

The new view from my kitchen.  It’s so inviting, and waaaay better than the rotted out grill that used to be there.  And see the new hummingbird feeder?  I hope they find it soon!

And here is the view of the seating area as I exit the sliding door from the kitchen.  Can you see the margarita?  It’s already a happy place! AAAHHHHH……

Here is a view from the backyard area, except in closer.  I wasn’t able to decorate the entire patio, but from about halfway in, the effect is close to what I envisioned…

This is the view towards the backyard, and as you can see, there is about half the length of the patio that is a little bare. 

Another view of my seating area.  This one kind of captures what I was hoping for, a bunch of color and texture.  Can you see the frog art piece on the fence?  It’s “whimsical” and the previous me would never have gone for that, but now, I think it’s awesome.  A little iron, strong and long lasting, and a little colored glass, bright and happy.  All the things I want to be.

So, there you have it.  I have officially “completed” project 1, but I am not going to stop working on it.  I am going to get more plants over time, and transplant and propagate new ones from existing growth in my yard.  I am also going to replace the grill soon so that I can do some grilling.  That was always my exes job, and I loved the taste, so I am going to learn how to do it now.  I think by the summer, this patio is going to be the vision I have in my head and a frequent place to hang out.  But until that time comes, I’m pretty darned pleased!  I sat out there this evening and it was just wonderful.  I relaxed after an exhausting week and weekend, and just felt the stress melting away. 

And tomorrow morning, I will be out there bright and early with my coffee and the paper.  I look forward to having some guests in the near future!

Maggie

My Baby is 1-Year Old Today

Today is Jack’s first birthday!  I can’t believe that I have a son, much less one who has survived birth 10-weeks-prematurely.   And open heart surgery.  And three heart-catheters.  And paternal abandonment.  And tachypnia, jaundice, apnea and his heart stopping.  Twice.  I have been blessed with a truly miraculous child who is stronger than I ever imagined he would be.  And he has shown me how strong I am, too.  He has brought me so much joy, and I consider my life much better for having him in it.

That is the portion of today’s post where I remember how much I have to be grateful for.  Now comes the crap storm portion of the first day of Jack’s life…

Jack was born very early and I had been in pre-mature labor two days before a c-section was ordered because he wasn’t tolerating the labor well anymore.  His heart rate was plummeting after each contraction, and since we knew that with each heartbeat, his heart was creeping towards heart failure, surgery was the best option to deliver my son safely to me, and the surgeons who could save him.  I was terrified, but all the appropriate personnel were in the delivery room and prepared to rip Jack from my body and immediately thrust him into medical interventions meant to prolong his life until we could get to the Children’s Hospital where they would try to figure out how to do open heart surgery on a heart the size of a small strawberry.  I heard him cry a blessed four times before they intubated him and set about placing iv’s and lines into each and every (it seemed) open vein in his tiny body.  Below, he is four pounds, two ounces, and 17 inches long. 

The delivery was fairly routine, according to the doctors and nurses, but they took my baby and put him in an incubator isolette and delivered him to the NICU, where he waited for emergency transport to Egleston at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  I was taken to “recovery” where I merely “rested” until they took me to my room.  My own recovery wouldn’t come for a while.  I was told that I wouldn’t touch my son for weeks, if I was lucky and he did very well.  I felt like I had been robbed of the emotional climax of pregnancy, being allowed to hold my son just seconds after his birth.  But in those horrible and scary moments, we began life together.  Faced with major health issues and forced alienation, Jack and I were apart and I had to let go and trust that others could care for him in my absence.  This would be a struggle that continues to plague me.

While his first day was terrifying and disappointing and awful, it is still one of the most amazing and wonderful days of my life.  I remember the news of the c-section, the epidural, the delivery and those wonderful first cries as if they were yesterday.  And I remember exclaiming, upon hearing those tiny cries, “I’m a Mama!”  It was suddenly clear that I had a child, and that this was what I was supposed to be my whole life.  Jack’s Mama.  And I relaxed.  No time the previous ten years of work and life with his father had it ever been so clear to me what my purpose on Earth was.  I knew that we were in for an epic journey together, but I felt peaceful just having him in the world with me.  He was here, and now we could begin healing him.  And what a journey it has been, but that story will come in time…

For now, I have to decide on the first project or activity that will help deliver me to “happiness” in the coming year.  Check back to find out what I have decided to attempt in this first week of my journey.  I may start out gently, or I may dive right in.  I have a few ideas swirling around my noggin, just gotta figure out where to start… 

I will decide by the end of this week, and in the meantime, I am enjoying a delicious glass of wine, which is, in and of itself, a mini-step towards happiness.  Prior to my separation, I enjoyed wine regularly, but since I have lived alone (and was pregnant, then breastfeeding) I haven’t done so, in part because I couldn’t finish a bottle by myself before it went bad.  But this week, I bought a delicious bottle of red, and will enjoy it until it sours, and then I will throw out the remainder, without guilt.   The point of enjoying life is not limited by achieving the absolutely most efficient use of my funds.  I haven’t spent the equivalent of a car payment on the bottle, just about $10, so I will not fret, and I will not be concerned with the safety I no longer believe a big savings account can buy. 

I will merely enjoy my glass of wine.  In the back yard.  Yes, that’s it.  Because I live in Georgia, where the spring and summer evenings are among some of the most beautiful on Earth.  And I deserve to enjoy them.  I can feel the happiness creeping in already………..

Optimistically yours,

Maggie

Below, a photo of the love of my life, on this, the anniversary of his brave and valiant entry into this world…  Heart defect?  What heart defect!!