If I woke up sixteen again, I’d most likely do these things differently…

Any revision that would alter my children or my husband being mine was off limits! However, I’d be lying if my mind didn’t wander with other events or even some rather questionable choices. So, I began to play around with some tweaks here and there of what I would do just a little differently. Here’s what I came up with in absolutely no order of sense or occurrence;

I would hurt fewer people.

I would not put the edible underwear in the freezer, in plain sight, by the ice cream with young children in the house. (I know!)

There are a majority of life events that I would never alter, even some very painful choices, losses and lessons – because those molded me into who I am today. Truth be told, I’m proud of who I am today. I’ve never been one for regrets. I firmly believe the path I chose, tested me purposely, and grew me intentionally. Without God’s grace and mercy, I wouldn’t have found the path he made for me in the wilderness I created.

Any revision that would alter my children or my husband being mine was off limits! However, I’d be lying if my mind didn’t wander with other events or even some rather questionable choices. So, I began to play around with some tweaks here and there of what I would do just a little differently. Here’s what I came up with in absolutely no order of sense or occurrence;

I would hurt fewer people.

I would not put the edible underwear in the freezer, in plain sight, by the ice cream with young children in the house. (Gag gift, but still, I know!)

I would fight harder in certain situations but less in most.

I would not act on every impulse praying it was God, knowing it wasn’t.

I would attend my grandfather’s funeral even being disowned.

I would not take the position at the jail.

I would save myself, value myself and respect myself more.

I would not go to the hemp festival, or eat that ganja ball, or wear that shirt without a bra pretending to be a hippie. Actually, I’d probably go without the bra again! (Oh, the days before breastfeeding babies.)

I would beg no one to stay. Ever!

I would not sneak out that one time and go to that one party.

I would be more diligent in washing my face. (random I know, but dang it Jessica!)

I would not cheat, lie, marry, forgive or trust him.

I would know my worth lies in God’s hands, not anyone else’s.

I would not skip reading the instructions before using a tampon for the first time. (Okay, younger than sixteen but still… a necessary edit!)

I would re-do a majority of 2008-2009 with heavy edits, a diet and a healthy fear of God and a improved conscience.

I would not let a man ever lay hands on me, or stay with him after he did.

I would find and use my voice much sooner.

I would not leave my mustang with a manual transmission, in neutral in the mall parking lot – while I went shopping.

I would be more spontaneous.

I would not join any AOL chat rooms and talk with anyone who’s screen name was whippedcream24/7. (If you’re shaking your head, I am too – don’t worry!)

I would be a single mom much longer, and a stronger mom who focused on her kids being loved instead.

I would not say that “thing” I said at a softball game once, to his new wife.

I would apologize less for who I am and celebrate myself more.

I would not see trauma, abandonment and failure as a weakness. I would see a therapist and focus on healing as a strength.

I would let her keep him.

I would not drink warm Blackberry MD 20/20 behind the school gym during summer school.

I would stand up for others more in highschool. Including myself, especially during my senior year with those awful girls who cornered me in the bathroom. (If only I was who I am now, then!)

I would not attend a girls’ night in that rural city where a backyard holds too many secrets.

And, the final thing I would do differently if I woke up sixteen again, I’d get up at 2 am and join my dad in the kitchen for a grilled cheese sandwich.

What about you, what edits or additions would you make?

It starts at home.

I should not have to be in fear dropping my children off at school, that they may be a victim today because you were afraid to be a good parent yesterday!

What would you do or say if I called you right now and said your child told my child to kill themself today? That your child told my child to do the world a favor and simply die. That their only wish was that my child would be dead by the end of the school year. What would your response be??

Would it be “I don’t get involved in child drama” or maybe you’d say “kids say mean things, they don’t mean it!” Or how about this response: “your child is lying, my child would never say that!” Because, I know what I’d say, and how I would react and I would not be afraid to be the bad guy with my child, to discipline my child, to talk to my child until I’m blue in the face to explain that it’s not acceptable. I would do what we are expected to do as a parent sometimes; teach hard lessons!

IT STARTS AT HOME PEOPLE, IN YOUR HOME. And, the worst part is, it rarely ends there. WAKE UP!

Our kids see so much, that parents just turn a blind eye to. They either witness, run chance of being victims of or are doing one if not all of these things: Bullying, cutting, getting drunk too young, being sexually promiscuous and having multiple partners before they can even legally drive, drugs, suicide attempts, school shootings etc.

Do you know your child was too busy to get help from a teacher or counselor when he saw fresh cuts on a kid in PE class? Do you know that his reason was because he was too busy?? Too busy! Too busy to help, to care, to save a life! Who’s fault is that? Yours or his?

How about your child who gets drunk and makes it a point to sleep with or be promiscuous with other people’s boyfriends just to piss them off. Is that her fault or yours?

Or, how about letting your child go to a party where they get drunk and taken advantage of? Her fault or yours? His fault or his parents? And, vice versa.

It’s not just that kids need to start SPEAKING UP about potentially dangerous matters but also the uncomfortable ones. PARENTS need to start talking to their CHILDREN, open their eyes to witness their ACTIONS and for the love of all that is holy, monitor THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA accounts!! It can prevent horrific events in a childs life. We are supposed to protect them. God bless that grandmother who had to do such a hard thing by turning in her own grandson. God bless her for not respecting his privacy and reading his journal! And, God bless her for protecting our children.

You as a parent should be the first person to know something is off with your child. That’s your job!!!!

You as a parent should know your child is depressed/withdrawn and needs to talk to a professional or someone more qualified than you.

You as a parent should know where your children are at all times, instead of them getting drunk/high at a party, allowing them to get into horrible and unsafe situations.

You as a parent should know that your child is having sex or using their body inappropriately way too young! And, ask yourself why? Investigate that? Hurt people, hurt people! Think about it!

You should also know that you as a parent, not acting on suspicions, not checking social media, not wanting to piss of your child, or violate their privacy, not talking to your kids about every little thing and not getting them help when they need it, that you are just as guilty of your child’s actions if not solely to blame.

I should not have to be in fear dropping my children off at school, that they may be a victim today because you were afraid to be a good parent yesterday!!!

Packing my bags when I need to stay…

“I’d be packing my bags when I need to stay, I’d be chasing every breeze that blows my way” Toby Mac

For years, I was a strong believer in “If you aren’t happy get out” – so much so in fact that I did just that. If things weren’t the way I had expected, or something else was better, easier, or just less work I could throw that whole relationship in the trash and move on. It used to piss me off to no end, when I would hear girlfriends say, “I can’t leave because of the kids”, or ” when the kids are 18 or move out, I will leave then”. That was always a crock of really stinky crap to me, and I would fight back with advice like ” What about you, you don’t deserve to be happy now?” or “do you think your kids should live a lie thinking your life was great for 18 years than, all of sudden you get divorced?” Or, how about “your kids need to see you happy, they need to see two people who love each other, don’t you think they know you are not happy right now?” And, while those are all still great points, valid points, and should really be considered – I know see where that comes from.

Admitting I was wrong, or possibly, slightly, part way incorrect – maybe is well, the truth. I was wrong. Truth is, if you are scared, not dedicated, maybe didn’t really mean your vows or many variances of lacking in the commitment to the marriage, your spouse and yourself – leaving makes sense and will most likely happen.

My friends used to say I was in love with falling in love. That all relationships go stale and become work, that is normal. For me, I thought when it stopped being fun, all the lovey-dovey stuff went away – and lies and skeletons in the closet came out to play and REAL LIFE came into account – the relationship was over, done, finito – adios – buh-bye! Although in my defense, cheating, abuse and drugs and alcoholism all are valid reasons to end a relationship – but only if you really need to use that excuse. There are many marriages who have made it through that and much worse, my guess is that they were fully committed. My other guess is that the love and the respect for the other person were genuine.

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My heart is an odd heart, it backfires, misfires, gets overheated and freezes over faster than that Frozone’s snow boots! When I shouldn’t have loved, I did – and too much. When I should have loved, I didn’t – or not enough. Being thirty-three I can tell you I have been in love only two times – which is odd because there have been four “main” men in my life that I spent years saying the daily I love you’s, the promises of every tomorrow, the I Do’s which turned to I Don’t, I Didn’t or I won’t do that. One relationship which produced my beautiful children – my true loves of my life – but looking back now, wasn’t real – no love.

Then as with any broken or failed relationship you tuck a little piece of “baggage” into a deep dark little hole, and move on to the next. And so on…so that when you settle down with the right person there is just enough unpacking, sorting, and repairing to drive you crazy – but without driving you away.

My husband and I do not have the perfect marriage, we are not that couple that never fights, I am not the perfect wife, and he is not the perfect husband. Our marriage is WORK, literally getting down and dirty, elbow grease and all – WORK. There are days where he can do no right by me, there are days that he irritates me, hurts my feelings, pushes my buttons and my limits making me feel like at any moment I could bust through the barrier of wonderful married-ville, and strangle him. AND, there are days when its reversed and I am all those thing to him. We are not easy to be married to, to live with – but damn it if we don’t find a way to always find a way. We do that, because we finally found the person, the commitment, the relationship that is worth all the WORK.

If someone were to ask us, how come you don’t just give up, or how much more are you gonna take? Our answer would be because of our family, because we love each other, for the kids, the extended family, our life – etc. Before, my kids weren’t a reason to stay in a relationship – now I am not saying that you should stay solely for the kids, but what I am saying is that it makes sense what I heard my girlfriends saying all those failed relationships of mine ago. It makes sense why our grandparents and great-grandparents were married 40, 50 and 60 years to the same person. Dedication and Commitment. My grandfather made some bad choices, and I am sure so did his father, and his father’s father. They may not have been the same bad choice, but you can bet your tush they weren’t perfect – and neither was their marriage.

There are those select few, the elite married couples who just really do have it perfectly figured out, they never fight, no one gets jealous, they are always kind, considerate, thoughtful, selfless – no baggage, no dramatic issues or life altering problems and just are HAPPY. If that is you, you had better go in and find your spouse – lay a big smooch right on them and take a minute to realize that you are lucky. Not everyone has that, and not necessarily because they can’t – but because they won’t.

There is a quote by Marilyn Monroe that was me exactly. It says:

“A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love ;
Listens but doesn’t believe ; and leaves
before she is left”

What it should say is a wise girl is a lonely girl too….

If I truly loved the people in my past, the way I do my husband – I would still be there. If I valued my relationships then as much as I value my marriage now, I’d still be there. It’s the same with cheating – I used to think that you can cheat on someone you love – because to be honest I cheated – and I thought I loved the person I cheated on. Truth is, I didn’t – because if I did, I wouldn’t have stepped over that line. Cheating is a choice, it is a premeditated, thoughtful process that you either decide to follow through with because you don’t care or you don’t love the person you are with. We all could cheat, we all could fall into that bottomless pit of deceit and have great affairs that are pleasing for the moment, that will only be detrimental internally, and externally for those we let down.

The saying “once a cheater, always a cheater” isn’t true. The truth is, when you find something and someone who you could or would never risk the chance of losing, you won’t cheat. When you think to yourself, that would be “fun” but it would ruin my family or its “new and exciting” but how new would it be, if you got stuck with it forever? The new and exciting, the fun, is in having those “trying” moments and not failing – but instead making it through them. It’s seeing your family and knowing that they are not dispensable, that you are valuable to them and to yourself.

This may sound like a bunch of soap box talking – but truth is, it’s just a couple of things I learned from messing up. Before my husband, before this marriage, I was packing my bags when I needed to stay, I was chasing any breeze that blew my way…luckily it led me to where I should be. Now my bags are staying unpacked and the breeze will blow me closer to my family, not away.