And I created that..well half anyhow.

Laying in our overstuffed chair with my now almost eight year old son, and ten year old daughter – my mind wanders. How did they grow so tall, their legs so long, their fingers and hands so big. It seems like just yesterday, there were still protected within my belly – and now their live, loud, funny and smart people. When you hear people say “don’t blink – they’ll be grown before you know” I should have listened.

Pregnancy for me was incredible. The feeling of them moving inside of me, or getting hiccups – every little kick, drag or roll, excited me to no end. Hearing their heartbeats, planning their names, their lives – imagining who and what they would be, consumed my every waking breath. Worrying clouded by dreams at night as well. What if they are missing a finger, or are born with an incurable illness, what if they are ugly?? Yes, I worried about that – you are not normal if you never worried that your kid might be the ugly kid. Yes, we would love them anyhow, and tell they were perfect and beautiful either way – but I still worried.

Truth is, my children are beautiful, so beautiful that if I hadn’t know for a fact, and attended their own birth witnessing them come out of me – I might wonder who they came from. Their eyes are green with specs in them that I believe are awesome sprinkles. Their skin tone is one many purchase in a tanning salon – or spend countless hours baking in the sun to attempt achieving. My daughter has long golden, soft, blonde hair that drops past the middle of her back – effortlessly. My son, carries a smile that aids in avoiding or lessening punishments when he rarely misbehaves.

brosis2

If you are like me, you may not have planned your pregnancy to one or possibly all your children. My daughter was planned, and my son was a blessing. With Gracie – I soaked in everything, especially once I found out she was a girl! It was all over then! Everything was PINK, girly, sparkly and frilly! She was born gorgeous, truly perfect and pink. Never in my life, have I ever felt the love you feel as you hold your child for the first time – the bond, and promise to never lose sight of what is most important.

momandgrace

My son, he was a different story – I found out I was pregnant with him during a hard time in my life. My husband and I were divorcing and I was in a constant state of disbelief, hurt and anger. Many times I secretly hated that I was pregnant, and questioned how I would be able to do this alone? What would people think – Who would ever love me? When I found it he was a boy, I cried and was angry more – all I knew was girls..what am I going to do with a boy? They are loud, dirty, obnoxious and unruly – what in the hell was God thinking giving me a boy to raise on my own? My delivery with him was difficult, and he had a small pallet so when he cried, he snorted – something now I wish I would have enjoyed a little more. He had a small face, and a protruding chin – he was a boy. He also became my world.

gageandmom

It feels almost impossible to express a mothers love for her children. With Gracie, I never thought I could love anyone as much – until Gage came to me. God was smart, knowing exactly what was given to me – one of the greatest blessings a mom could hope for… a Son. My daughter is witty, spunky, too smart for her own good, beautiful beyond measure and can make me laugh when I need it most. BUT, my son, Gage – he has the heart of an angel, his eyes can tell me he loves me, misses me, needs me, is hurting, anything without him uttering one word. His hugs don’t just wrap around me, they envelope my soul. His smile – makes me regret every day I questioned why he was being gifted to me – and makes me wish I had enjoyed him longer when we were still one.

Still, I spend moments of where I just gaze at them both and thank God they are mine. It’s hard to verbalize the pride I feel when I watch them succeed at something, or do something kind for another – or at times just how they breath. Questioning myself under my breath..I made this? Me – the most imperfect person, who has made mistake after mistake – how do I deserve such miraculously perfect children to call me mom – everyday? It’s enough to bring tears to my eyes now as I write this, and on many occasions past, present and future.

The point of this blog is for those mothers pregnant – maybe scared, worried, alone. Soak this all in, every Dr’s appt, every heartbeat, every uncomfortable elbow in your side, braxton hicks or even the fiftieth trip to the bathroom. If you lay in bed alone – remember you aren’t alone – you are becoming a mother, you are the beginning of the most important person you will ever be. Nothing will ever surpass being a mom – no love will ever touch it, and no person will ever love you back they way a child does.

Life is hard, and things don’t go as planned – and when you think you have it all figured out; you’ll find out that’s not always the case. However, one thing is planned and perfectly meant for you – and that is the child your carrying both in your belly and in your heart. Enjoy them, enjoy this moment – because you never have this again.  You will wake up one day with a boy who is eight and a girl who is ten on your lap – and although they won’t be tiny – you will realize you still have the whole world at your fingertips and close to your heart.

broandsis

Maybe that is why…

Driving the other day I realized something that was almost hard to swallow. The only long term commitment I have stayed true to, is my children. The people who I could not live without, who I need by my side, to see, touch, everyday is my children. Other than them, my life has been filled with disposable items, disposable friendships, disposable relationships even. There is not one single item, that if I lost, would cause me to feel like I lost a piece of history or value. Could it be that the low sense of my own personal value – has contaminated everything else? Or could it be that I have lost so much in my life, that what’s the point of adding value to something deemed for destruction?

Committing, is obviously not impossible – as I am responsible enough, caring and loving enough to care for my children, to always do right by them. My love for them is an emotional connection, that feels as if my heart literally has a string connected to theirs. When they hurt, I feel it. When they are sad, I want to make it better. They are not disposable to me, and the feeling of losing them, letting them down, is the only thing that truly breaks my heart – to the point of where I don’t think I would come back from.

Friendships in my life have been conditional, based on trust, involvement and my desire for things to be right or fair. Although I know sometimes things simply are not fair. If I lose a friend for some reason or another, it hurts – but not from suffering the loss – usually its from feeling like I don’t understand why. The most hurtful loss, is the ones I don’t know what caused the demise in the first place, the ones where people turn away to never speak to you again. Mainly because, I would never do that.

If I do not like you, you will know. If I choose to stop being involved in your life, or allowing your involvement in mine – you will know. Not because I told someone else and they filled you in – because I will tell you myself. I have never been one that dislikes or likes someone because someone else does, or because they are around someone – its just not me. The person who is probably the closest person to me out of everyone had a best friend – and it took me years to finally see she was a pretty great person. Part of that I realize was jealousy on my part – the feeling that I was going to lose someone else, and my internal struggle with seeing myself as disposable.  Today though, she and I are great friends. There are women in certain circles around me that I simply dislike – for what reason I don’t know – just don’t care to get invested or involved.

There has never been a moment in my life where my choices and convictions were not real or mine. Why would anyone choose to not live for themselves like that? Any failure, any blessing is on my shoulders – because of what I did in the process, somehow-somewhere. The ownership of that is most important. Maybe that’s why I handle loss better, because in a sense I can wrap it back to something that was my doing. OR because I truly believe that it needed to be this way. “Mistakes are like presents to me, the wrapping might be tattered and torn, the bow may have only a simple string hanging there, but inside under all the excess – is a gift.” Therefore – walking away from it – or being walked away from – makes sense.

This morning I woke up to a Facebook post from my little brother – saying how hard life can get sometimes and that he is blessed and continues to have trust and faith in his struggles and that he was thankful for his wife and his continuing closeness to me. It hurt me to read it – because there was a truth in that – We haven’t always been close. Being the oldest, my relationship with my two younger brothers has been – I don’t know – probably disconnected. I love my brothers, but I have also been able to exist without a relationship with them, and saying that makes me feel like a shitty sister. Truth is, I think I put my time and energy into those relationships in the moment. Maybe – I am a “moment” person – or just now realizing how truly messed up I am.  While responding to my brother, I wanted him to know that I am blessed too in having a closer connection to him, that his heart is good, and I know great things are in store for him. In my head, I thought to myself he has to be pretty great , because both my mother and father loved him – he was the good son, and I was disposable. Maybe that is why I pulled away from my brother –

It was also the first real moment of dealing with the fact of apparently being hurt by my visit with my mom. I suppose it would be abnormal to truly not feel anything – so I am alright with it. The same I suppose goes with my father – he fought for me to only give up on me in the end. He has passed now, and that’s the final feeling I have. I’ve never said that before. He fought for me, to only give up on me in the end. Maybe that’s why I refuse to let my children down.

In relationships, I would get teased that I was in love with love, and when the going would get tough I would leave. Then, there was the time when the going got too tough and I wanted to prove I was going to stay – but in that instance it was okay to leave. My role in relationships ending has been on both sides, I’ve been wronged and hurt, and I have caused the hurt and left them. Love was always something I could find somewhere else, a connection that was never too deep enough to hurt, if the root was pulled from the ground. The whole would fill in eventually. Looking back, I can tell you that in the relationship with my children’s father – all in all – its a wash. If we had wanted it to work, we could have – we just simply didn’t and are better off. The next relationship – all my fault – all my doing – and something I carry around with me in this small town of everyone knowing – but also something I am okay with. I messed up – I messed up big BUT, I learned BIG too and yet again – we are better off.  The next relationship was a year of hell – a year of proving I knew what I was doing – and although I can blame the demise on him rightfully so – it was my fault for being a dumb ass and getting involved in the first place. The odd part is, he is the only man I think I truly loved, the only relationship I really gave my all, and worked my ass off at – and the only relationship that has ever broke my heart.

Proving myself to people, prevailing, doing what others say I can’t, is the way I have lived my life. A get back of sorts – a proverbial fu&k you of sorts. You see, I am okay with who I am. Do I love who I am – no, but I am proud of who I am becoming. Not taking crap from people, or allowing their convoluted opinions of me break me down – is a blessing. Truth is I have prevailed in many ways, and I have been a good person, a caring person and I have loved immensely and truthfully. That is more than many have the privilege of. I’m thankful for that.

My marriage now is hard – its work – and that’s how I know its real. I have to let my husband in, forcing myself to trust him – which is a foreign concept. Trust is something I don’t understand. Why would I believe someone, and take the chance of being hurt? However, I trust my children – kind-of a funny concept, right? Maybe it’s because I have known them from the beginning? I know their ins and outs, the faces they make when they are fibbing or being truthful, and maybe its because I would love them either way. Maybe its because I know they will love me, either way as well. My life, is hard for even me to understand – I just have to keep at it, keep learning from my mistakes and at the end of day be thankful for the blessings I have.

Heartbreak – Reality of being JUST a Step-Mom.

When you truly realize you are JUST step-mom, your heart will break.

When you truly realize you are JUST a step-mom, your heart will break. It will feel like you have lost all control, all sense of function and almost as if you’ve lost a child. Once you realize or are even possibly smacked in the face with it – it will feel like a shock, like you were blindsided and never saw this coming. The reason I know this, is it happened to me today.

During this exhausting fight over contempt, parenting time, child support, having me banned from pickups and drop-offs and whatever else she deemed necessary – I feel like every aspect of myself has been tested and re-tested and I am the one who loses.

How did I lose exactly? Because, I married a man and we live in Oregon apparently-

Our attorney called us last week and said that he was going to turn in paperwork asking for in addition to our Tues-Sun every other week, that we also get Wed-Sat on the other weeks, so that we get him every week for at least a couple of days. You’ll notice I say “We” when another cold hard fact is it’s actually “he” and not we at all. My heart was ecstatic at the thought of having little man around every week, watching his bond with my husband growing more than it has already been and all the happy thoughts that follows having our family whole a little more than we have had.

Then, within a flash – it all changes. Husband walks out of mediation with a grin – he whispers to me “We got more time” my heart is about to leap out of my chest I am so excited!! BM even talked with me about Ethan and was very pleasant – things were really going our (his) way, finally.  Then once were outside I ask the details and he tells me ” during Summers we get him every other week from Sun-Sun and we get him spring break, and Christmas break” so he is set for school. Instantly I feel my breathing stop, my head is screaming internally WTF, you agreed to what?? and as he is trying to explain how this is MORE time, and now it’s not up to the Judge, and this is GOOD, all I am thinking is  my heart is broken! Who cares what happens next SUMMER, and we already have him on Christmas break, that’s not EXTRA that’s not what I want – Damn-it that’s not what I want!!! And guess what – It doesn’t matter what I want – because I am just a Step-Mom. As much I want him to be, he is not my son, I am not his parent and nothing will ever, ever change that. It makes me hate every article I read and was against, it makes me feel like a failure – it hurts –  A LOT!

As I yelled and freaked out, then calmed down and tried to rationally explain my point and how he just traded in for a horrible offer, because he is afraid the Judge wouldn’t have given it to him, because he is a man and we live in Oregon – we got nowhere. I should just be happy we got more time. In my mind we lost days,months even – this year overnight calculations will be 130 – next year with their “new agreement” he will have 145, had he waited until Monday and had his attorney go in like he was supposed to – he would have got 209!!   TWO HUNDRED & NINE days out of THREE -SIXTY-FIVE – but I’m just a step-mom, what do I know? I’m exhausted and don’t know what else to say at this point.

Have you felt the pain of realizing you’re just a step-mom?

See you next blog – Jess

Mommy cries….

The second the pregnancy hormone entered by body – my cry-ometer cracked! Sitting on a couch Indian-style, eating a Subway Salami Sandwich, and cheddar pretzel combos, I cried over a McDonald’s commercial. From then on, it was all over. In my defense, this specific commercial was one that aired during the Christmas season and it was a boy who had left home, ran away, as was calling from a payphone to ask if he could come home – his parents of course welcomed him. I probably balled for a half an hour over that.  Then, slowly I migrated to movies like Steel Magnolias, StepMom, My Sisters Keeper, and who knows what else. All of which were public movie theater snot fests of tissue to the max!

Things I suppose just hit me hard, maybe harder than the rest. When happy things happen for someone, I cry! When sad things happen for someone, cry & cry some more. It isn’t specific to movies either – I can feel my heart-break when I read a forward that is especially touching, or singing along to a song in the car. I’ll even admit to tearing up when I see my kiddos get out of the car together and going to school!! I’m just an emotional person when momentous, touching, personal moments happen.

There are certain songs that literally make the inside walls of my heart feel like they are caving in, and like my stomach has been devoid of any nourishment for months. One being, our national anthem, crazy right? When I stand there with my hand over my heart, tears come through. Same with, God Bless the USA, when the part “I’m proud to be an american, where at least I know I’m free” tissues are NEEDED. Another tear-duct pleaser is “The Christmas Shoes” both the song and the movie – just breaks my heart in half those Christmas shoes!

My husband teases me mercifully when we are watching a show or movie and he will hear the initial “sniff”, followed by a “sniff, sniff” followed by using a sleeve to dab the eye – and then I feel his eyes burning into my head! Looking over, he is laughing, and my laughing on top of crying makes me cry more!! I’m just a crying mom I guess!

If someone pisses me off, like seriously, angrily pisses me off, I will cry too… Not usually in the moment – but after – like a rinse cycle almost!  My heart is used and abused, its been tested and retested, its been set up and broken, it’s also been repaired piece by piece numerous times. It has helped me birth my children, to look into their eyes for the very first time, to have their heart calmed by only my heartbeat, their love only matched by mine. It has been there through divorces, marriages, death and goodbyes. If you think about it your heart does a lot – beyond pumping blood – at-least metaphorically.

Crying isn’t a bad thing, it’s a release – it’s a cleansing and apparently far more accepted in society since I am girl – at least the last time I checked I was. Although, I tell my boys if they need to cry, cry. Within limits of course. My husband wouldn’t admit it, but he has cried a couple of times during our marriage – and NO, NOT ALL WERE BECAUSE OF ME – Thank you very much!  You’ll notice I said not ALL, so that leaves a small possibility of once, maybe twice. But, you didn’t hear that from me.

Honestly though, I’m okay with being a mommy that cries – because I know that  I feel, that I live, and that I love. Do you cry during a certain movie or song? If so which one?

See you next blog – Jess

Being a Mom

Being a mom means more than having given birth to a child. Its loving and knowing a soul before you even see it. It’s carrying, and caring for a life completely depending on you for survival. It’s giving air to the lungs that grew with-in you, and sight to the eyes that will never see you as anything but mommy. Its sleepless nights, its nursing scratches and scrapes, its being stern and protective. It’s teaching them to talk, to walk and eventually run. It’s learning to hand your child to a stranger to let them teach what you cannot. It’s bracing them for a fall, and dusting them off after they do. It’s seeing them cry, and not knowing how to fix it, so you sit on the floor and hold them and cry right along beside them.  It’s teaching them, that they are smart, capable, funny and giving them the security to do great things. Its building their self-esteem, supporting their dreams and loving them unconditionally. Its letting them go, letting them fail, and teaching them how to get back up. It’s going without, so that they don’t have to, and being okay with it.

 

Being a Mother, is a gift that is unimaginable to any woman who does not have a child. It’s a connection that is unmatched and insurmountable in any form, fashion or other relationship.  It’s a love that grows continually, a love that always wants more and better. It’s being terrified that you can’t prevent pain, injustice, heartbreak, and at times even death.  It’s laughing at jokes that aren’t even funny, but the way they say it is. Its listening to stories, that go on and on without a point. It’s always being available for the “mommy watch ME’s” and “mommy I need you”.  It’s drowning out the word MOM repeated over and over, in attempts to get your attention. Its songs sang out of tune, and settling squabbles with siblings. It’s being mean, and teaching hard lessons, that hurt you inside so deep you want to cry, but you can’t. It’s being strong for them, when you are weak. It’s smiling when you want to cry, and crying when you’re smiling with pride.

 

It’s looking through photographs and feeling your heart swell with love and happiness when you see the beauty, the happiness and life in your child’s smile and eyes.  Its confusion, mistakes, uncharted territory and blind folded guessing. It’s snuggling on the couch watching a movie, braiding hair till your fingers hurt, it’s being woken up early on Saturday morning because they want to crawl in bed and be close to your heart. It’s having the worst day, and having them hug you and tell you ”mommy I love you”, and needing nothing more.

 

It’s a blessing, a gift, a relationship that never ends, and a love that never dies. It’s the best thing I have ever become, the greatest love I have ever felt and the best part about being me.