Category Archives: Emotions

“I love you world.”

“I love you world.”

My son said that to me tonight. It wouldn’t make sense to anyone else, but I know exactly what he meant.

Every night Smiley is with me, before he goes to sleep, I whisper, “I love you more than anyone in the world loves you, and I love you more than I love anyone else in the world.”

I know he has a father who loves him dearly, but I grew that child inside my body, and I simply cannot imagine that his egocentric father loves him as much as I do.

Today we were eating dinner, and I told Smiley that I love him, and he said, “I love you world.” I know he’s just two years old and cannot know what exactly I mean when I say that, but my heart melted. And then in the next instant it broke when he said, “I cry for you, Mommy.”

Bedtime the first night he’s with me is always hard. He doesn’t want me to leave him alone in his room. “Mommy sit wif me.” I will acquiesce for a little bit, but when I get up, the crying starts. I feel awful leaving him. I try to explain that I’ll just be down the hall and I’ll see him in the morning, but, well, he’s two, and that doesn’t really get through.

“I cry for you in bed.”

What he doesn’t know is that I cry, too. I cry because his cries hurt me. I would love nothing more than to hold him closely until he falls asleep. I cry because he is not with me. He’s only two, and we can spend 5 or 6 days apart. It’s not right. But maybe that’s my punishment.

I love him world.

Sobbing on the Bathroom Floor

That’s where I found myself tonight.

I had knocked over the glass with my last vitamin C tablet. Tepid orangey fizzing liquid dripped down the side of the vanity onto the floor. Dripped behind the toilet. Dripped onto the trashcan.

This is not something that would send a normal person into sobs, but for me, it was the last straw.

I have struggled for years with clinical depression, and I’m the first to admit that PMS makes everything a thousand times worse. Combine those two factors with exhaustion, sickness, and the ache in my heart, and you get me, sobbing on the bathroom floor.

I miss my guys. Smiley is back with his dad after only two days, and last week’s time away from him was so hard, even with my great vacation. The Writer is on another business trip. I am home alone. It is too quiet. I have time to brood.

I worry about what I’m “doing” to Smiley. How he’ll turn out. Whether I’m ruining his life by “bouncing him back and forth” between two homes (his dad’s phrase). He’s so easygoing and adaptable and happy, and I know how important it is for him to have as much access to both of his parents as possible (and there is no way I’m getting back together with his father). But I’m so worried and I feel so guilty.

I twiddle my thumbs and get anxious for the day to come when The Writer and I can move in together and get married, and then I turn around and worry that I am wishing away these days. I know it will happen, but I am impatient. I worry that I won’t be a good stepmother–that I won’t even get a fair chance because The Writer’s ex will badmouth me to their daughter.

I worry that I’ll never get the weight off. That I won’t be able to keep up with Smiley. I worry that I’m not reading enough parenting books and I just go with the flow too often. Are there things I need to be doing? Am I stunting his emotional growth and education? Is he getting enough calcium? Is he getting too much?

I am looking ahead at the winter holidays and dreading more time away from Smiley. I’m dreading more time away from The Writer, when he spends almost a week with his daughter. (I am so glad they’ll have that much time together–it’ll be great for both of them–but time with her means our only contact is e-mail, texts, and whispered phone calls after she’s asleep.)

Smiley, The Writer, and I had one night together this week, and it was great. My family, all in one place. We made dinner, ate together, played, and had a wonderful evening. Those days are rare, and they have quickly become my favorite days of all. Then Tuesday it was back to mama and Smiley (which was still pretty awesome), and tonight, it’s just me. Planted on the couch, feeling sorry for myself, only realizing right before bed that I hadn’t stopped at the drugstore for more Mucinex. I was so glad there was a vitamin C tablet left, thankful I could at least take that to help fight the cold that surely has already taken hold.

And then I knocked over the glass.

And there I am on the floor, sobbing, cleaning up a mess beneath the toilet with the “good” towels I received as a wedding present.

It’s only fitting, I guess.

Dreaming of a Baby Girl

I was reading how Maureen at Tatterscoops used to dream of pink bows, and it struck a chord with me.

Before I became pregnant and then when I found out I was, I dreamed of a baby girl. I couldn’t wait to get frilly dresses and cute outfits. I was thrilled about having a little girl to dress in those cute clothes.

I’m not really a girly-girl, but I was so thrilled about naming a baby after my mother, and baby girl clothes are just so freaking cute. And I do love pink. My husband (at the time) was a man’s man, and decided he’d be “cursed” with girls because of the way he treats women. But he started to get used to the idea.

When I went in to my sonogram, things weren’t really going well for me. My husband was doing everything he could think of to keep the marriage from failing, but everything he did pushed me further away. (Dude, seriously, when someone asks for space, don’t smother them MORE.)

I was on the sonogram table, naked from the waist down, already making plans to walk away from my marriage and pretty disgusted by my husband, and he’s stroking my (unshaven) legs and telling me I’m sexy. Not. Helpful.

And then we saw the sonogram.

I was thrilled to see my baby. Her heart was beating strong. Her hands were perfect. Her spine. Her penis.

Wait.

Her what?

Oh. We’re having a boy.

My eyes welled up. It was just one more thing going wrong.

We waited and waited for the printouts. I got dressed and started walking to my car.

On the way to my car, my husband calls me to tell me that his parents had invited us over for dinner. (Because he had immediately called them, of course.) I said no, but he could go. But he wanted to spend the evening with me (see above re: smothering).

I got to my car and I began to sob.

I texted a few people. The BFF, The Writer, and my good friend Sue. I said I knew I’d be OK in about 8 hours, but I needed to mourn the baby girl I’d expected.

Sue and I had a funny exchange about my second husband giving me a girl, which made me laugh. The Writer sent me some comforting words.

I was miserable…but within about 6 hours, I was over it. I was OK with having a boy, if not super excited.

I never really connected with Smiley while he was in the womb. He was always “the baby,” although other people used the name we had picked out. I couldn’t ever really use it.

But the minute I heard his cry in the delivery room, I fell in love. I couldn’t imagine not loving him.

And now, I can’t imagine my life any different.

I love him so much that at times my heart seems like it will burst.

When I found out I was having a boy, I had no idea what I would do with him. Boys are so “different.” So physical. But I find that I love the horseplay. I love rolling around on the floor and wrestling with him. I love chasing him and playing hide-and-seek. I love how he climbs all over me, and it’s wonderful to sneak in hugs and kisses while he’s doing that.

I’m learning about the differences between combines and tractors. (Sort of.) I’m learning about airplanes and fire engines and cars. What he’s excited about, I’ll learn about, to encourage him to learn.

And now, when I think about having another baby (one day, I hope), sure, I’d love to have a little girl, but my boy is so much fun, I would be perfectly happy with another one.

Man, I love that kid.

Hardship is Not a Zero-Sum Game

I know I keep promising Roxanne the story of my ex-husband’s slutty girlfriend, but I keep having other things to say. And I’m not really in the mood to relive the story just yet.

In the meantime, I read a great post called “Being a Single Parent Isn’t Hipster,” and it brought up a lot of feelings about my struggle with calling myself a single mom. And it brought me back to my conflicted feelings on my situation.

I once heard that “talent is not a zero-sum game,” meaning that just because someone else has talent doesn’t mean that you aren’t also talented. I’ve applied that to so many things in my life, but lately I’ve been thinking about it in terms of tragedy and hardship.

It is difficult to parent on my own, to be the only one responsible for my son, and to be “on” all the time when Smiley is with me. Also, I only have my son 50 percent of the time, and that sucks, I miss him so much it physically hurts. But I try to look at the bright side: I get time off. I have time to myself, time to go on dates, time for uninterrupted sleep. And my son is being cared for by his other parent when he’s not with me. I have a decent co-parent, but he seems to be able to turn off and tune out when he doesn’t have Smiley, so when I’m on my own, I really am on my own.

But when I find myself complaining about my life, I sometimes think of some friends and how they have more difficult situations. I have friends who are single moms 100 percent of the time. But just because they have it tough, doesn’t mean my life is a breeze.

I have several friends whose exes have practically abandoned their children. But every one of those friends is in a different situation. Every situation is difficult.

One friend lives with her parents, who provide free daycare, which is a great savings, since the dad doesn’t pay child support. And her daughter gets to have a great relationship with her grandparents. But my friend doesn’t go out in the evenings or on weekends on her own because she doesn’t want to take advantage of her parents since they already watch her daughter so much of the time. Plus she is thirtysomething and lives with her parents.

One friend lives very close to her parents and has two sisters who are able to help with her son when she needs it. But she doesn’t get a dime of child support, and her ex-husband calls in the middle of the night to berate her, not to talk to his son. He lives out of town and has dropped off forms in the mailbox while his son is at school, never making arrangements to see him. And this friend is very strong and independent and doesn’t like to ask for help. (I know she’s reading, and I would like to say “Hi, I love you, and asking for help doesn’t make you weak. And please remind me of this when I am down on myself for needing help.”)

I try not to focus on the deficiencies in my life, but sometimes it’s difficult not to.

I miss my son–so very much–when he’s with his dad. Sure, both of those friends have their kids 100 percent of the time and they don’t have to run any decisions by their exes, but they don’t get any regular time off. Sure, both of those friends have parents and family members around who can help them and I don’t, but I get breaks every few days and my ex is finally paying child support. The numbers don’t add up. There’s no winner in this situation.

Hardship is not a zero-sum game. Just because it’s hard for you doesn’t mean it isn’t hard for me. It’s just hard in a different way.

This isn’t actually a response to Lil’ Devil Mama’s post. I completely understand where she’s coming from.  I had already been drafting a post about this topic and her post just inspired me to finish it. I know there are some ways I have it easier than others, but that doesn’t mean it is easy.

Also, please read Chopper Papa’s take on deadbeat dads. It is powerful.

I Want a Do-Over!

Today had some ups and some downs.

The Writer and I spent most of the day together, side-by-side on the couch, working on our laptops, watching Jersey Shore. It was kind of perfect. Then he left to see his daughter, and we won’t see each other for another week.

I was excited to get my new computer, and hung around the house all day, and in the 30 minutes I was picking Smiley up from daycare, between 5 and 5:30 p.m., UPS came and went.

Ants are making a resurgence in my kitchen. Yuck.

But I got to see Smiley for the first time in a couple of days, and that is wonderful! He’s so much fun and so cute and just makes me smile. But when he walked in the house, he started calling for The Writer, which simultaneously filled me with joy and broke my heart.

In the midst of it all, I tweeted, “Can I please have a do-over?”

That reminded me of my counseling session earlier this week, when my therapist asked me what I would change if I could do it all over?

I first went to, “Well, I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant,” but really, Smiley is my world, as I tell him each night before bed, and I would never give him up.

I then said it would have been best if The Writer and I had resolved any issues in our marriages and left our spouses before we became physically involved. I do believe this would have been a better way to handle things, but I have thought about this a lot, and I suspect that had we not become intimate, we never would have ended up where we did. I think if we’d backed off and not seen each other again after we realized our feelings, we would have gone back to our marriages and decided everything was “fine,” and continued on. The physical connection just enhanced our emotional connection, and we could not pass up any chance to be together.

And to put the two together, once I was pregnant, I didn’t want my child to have a miserable mother (and father) and think that relationship was “normal.”

So I guess I’d have to say that there’s nothing I would choose to do over.

Except maybe stick around for the damn UPS guy.

Not Such a Good Day

My baby’s been sick this week, with a fever and runny nose and a cough. He was with his dad for the worst night, which was tough. I have to trust the ex. He was in great spirits yesterday and back to good health. Or so I thought.

Today he was out of sorts and not eating well. He had an early nap and then I noticed a rash all over his torso and back. (Does “torso” include back? Nevermind.) I started to panic and get very upset. This is when my situation sucks the most.

When Smiley was sick at his dad’s house, I went over there to try to help. After Smiley fell asleep, I left. Then I got word that if he wasn’t sleeping, he was crying. I asked the ex if he wanted me to come over and he told me that his mother was there.

Today, when this rash popped up, I called The Writer. He was in the middle of traffic and couldn’t pick up. I called a good girlfriend (who also happens to be a single mom) and she reassured me and talked me out of going to urgent care. I needed someone to bounce stuff off. I left a message for the advice nurse and started looking things up on the Internet. (Smiley’s dad is out of town for the weekend and he has a habit of not answering his phone or even forgetting it.)

By the time the nurse called back, I had a possible diagnosis, and she confirmed it. A virus that will run its course. Nothing I can really do.

I’m so grateful for my friends. I don’t really think I could do the single(ish) mom thing without them. Today was rougher than others, with Smiley being fussy and sick, and our plans being canceled because of that. It was particularly hard because I didn’t have much adult interaction (the clerk at CVS wasn’t all that talkative). I talked to my girlfriend and The Writer for a few minutes each, but that’s it. (Oh, and the advice nurse. Woohoo!)

I’m definitely in danger of feeling sorry for myself. I’m exhausted and worried. I miss my man. He’s in town this weekend but with his wonderful daughter. We spent about 30 minutes together yesterday, and that’s all we’ll have until next weekend. I am thankful for any time we get.to see each other, but sometimes it’s harder to have such a small taste than to be completely denied.

This is just some exhausted ramblings, because you are my friend tonight and I am unloading. Thanks for listening.

Taking the First Step

The ex just posted on a social networking site that he will be taking Smiley to an indoor waterpark/resort around Thanksgiving, thanks to his mom. I expect it’s a big family trip with Smiley, the ex, the ex’s parents, and ex-brother-in-law and his family.*

That will be a great time. Smiley loves the water and loves to be social, and his father’s family loves him very much. He’ll have a blast.

But now I feel sorry for myself because I cannot do the same thing for my boy.

The important thing is that Smiley have fun with both of his parents, but I do worry about his dad being the “fun” one. I cannot give him the same sort of things his father’s family can.

Although, really, I guess the only thing stopping me is me. My insecurities and my anxiety cripple me. He is 16 months old, and I still worry about what we will do on the weekends. I am an overthinker and a planner. But beyond that, I find that it’s very complicated and hard to do things with Smiley on my own.

As I’ve mentioned, the schedule works out so the Writer is with his daughter when I am with Smiley, so outings with the three of us aren’t an option. (As for outings for the four of us, that’s not an option yet either, and I won’t get into it here. At least not now.) My parents have both passed away, so I can’t call on them to come to the pumpkin patch or the zoo with us. I have some wonderful “grandparent figures” for Smiley in my life, but they live an hour away, so it takes a bit of planning to spend time with them. I have amazing friends who have kids, but it’s not like having an extra set of hands with Smiley–they have their own to wrangle. (Plus they have older kids, and their schedules are crazy.) And I have amazing friends who don’t have kids, but they have busy lives and “adult” things to do. (I love to go wine tasting, but I’m not sure how fun that would be for the boy–or for me, if my friends get really into the wine.)

I know I need to just get out and do things–once I’ve done it, it’s not so daunting. But taking that first step is so scary. What if…? What if I need to go to the bathroom? What if Smiley gets upset? What if he has a tantrum? What if he screams the whole way in the car? What if…?

You know, none of those “what ifs” are all that terrible. It still is daunting to think of doing activities on my own with Smiley, but I just need to push myself into taking that first step.

How do you manage to get out and do things with your little ones on your own?

*At least, that’s who I hope will be there. I’m wondering if his new girlfriend and her three (!) kids will be there, too. But, say it with me, “That’s for another post.”