Holy cats, I haven't written in what seems like decades! And once you hear what ALLLLLL I've been up to, you're going to think it's been decades, too.
Soooooo.... where do we begin???
Last time I posted I was 37 weeks pregnant with my sweet little Baby Super Girl. Yeah... She is now nearly 21-months old. :) What can I say about my daughter? She is... everything. She is wild and lovely. She is me. From her sassy, stubborn little personality to the wary look in her eyes. From her scrawny little peanut body to her voracious appetite. From her love of movies and books to her love of girly-girl things. She is 2000% my child. And I adore her, from her adorably sweet mop of fine corkscrew curls down to her delicate little painted toes.
And my gorgeous little Super Boy is no longer quite so little! My little man will be 10 on his next birthday in May, which makes me want to cry sometimes when I think that I gave birth to this child A DECADE AGO. He is... amazing. He's smart and sensitive, intuitive and wise beyond his years. He is already the boy that the girls love, and he has the perfect mix of shyness and outrageousness. He's got a quirky sense of humor, a knack for all subjects, he's a great artist, incredibly creative, and just a very, very cool kid. The older he gets, the less he is willing to let me hold his hand and give him hugs and kisses anywhere outside of our house (with the blinds drawn), but when he does allow those rare bits of displayed affection, he embraces them fully. I am madly in love with this boy, and I always will be.
As for me... Well!
Just as the whole baby thing was coming together and I was preparing to welcome Baby Super Girl into the world, something else was falling apart, and that something was my marriage. It's funny because - at the time - I had no idea that it was happening. In that bizarre phase of shock and bewilderment that immediately followed awareness (which came hot on the heels of Baby Super Girl's arrival), the pieces slowly came together and then it was more surprising that I HADN'T known it was happening while it was happening. I guess we see what we want to see. Either that or we hope that it's just one of the "downs" in the oft-referenced "ups and downs" of marriage and we believe that another "up" will be arriving imminently. Sadly, that's not how it went in this case.
Three months into that whole nightmare, in August of 2011, I experienced another life-altering blow when my father died unexpectedly, in a motorcycle accident. He was only 62 years old, and hadn't met Baby Super Girl yet. I was devastated. I was certain there was NO WAY I could endure all of that grief and sadness and loss at once. I needed my dad more than ever just then, and he was gone, gone, gone forever. It was easily the darkest period of my entire life. Had it not been for my very best friends and my family, I literally do not know how I'd have survived the loss of my dad, the destruction of my marriage and the beginning of the rebuilding of my life. He's been gone a year and a half already and I can honestly say that I still don't think I've fully processed his death, that I've fully grieved the loss. I think I've had to defer it emotionally and psychologically because I simply couldn't/haven't been able to go there 100% yet, not with everything else that was and has been going on simultaneously. I know that when it REALLY hits me, it's going to level me. Until then, I just miss my dad, like crazy.
Three months after my father's passing and six months into counseling that clearly wasn't bringing us any closer together, the plug was pulled on the whole "trying to work it out" thing. It was simply declared one day, right before Thanksgiving: "I don't think 'we' can be happy together going forward." So - okay. We faked our way through the holidays so as not to spoil them for the kids, continued in counseling to figure out how to tell the kids, and finally told them in mid-January of 2012, the day after we filed papers.
I should mention that up to that point, I was still a stay-at-home mom. I was terrified at the prospect of re-entering the job market after 4-1/2 years as a stay-at-home mom, considering the economy and the job market were both in the toilet and my life was in shambles. Somehow, by the grace of God, I landed a phenomenal job with a great company just three weeks into my job search. What was even better was that I re-entered the job force at the same pay level as I had left it at 4-1/2 years earlier. To say I was happy with my offer is an understatement; I was ecstatic. That was the first piece of the puzzle that was My New Life to fall into place, and the piece around which all the others could be added. Knowing I was going to be financially okay on my own, able to support myself and my kids, made all the difference in the world. I was back, baby!!
I started my new job at the end of March 2012. It was strange and exhausting at first, trying to get back into the groove of full-time work while still caring for a baby and a busy 9-year old who were both thrust into daycare again, going through the emotional drama of the divorce (all the while still living together), still coping with the loss of my dad, and trying to get all the other bits of My New Life together, like figuring out where the kids and I were going to live when it was all over. The first week of work, I fell exhausted into bed at the end of each day at the same time the kids went to bed. I couldn't imagine how I was ever going to be able to function normally and have an actual life at that point, I'll be honest. But I am delighted to say that things DID improve as the weeks went by, and now I DO function normally and I HAVE an actual life. Well, kind of, anyway.
The summer passed with us trying to sell our house and wrap up the divorce. It was strange, living together through the whole thing, but neither of us wanted to add the expense of a separate living space, and with as much as NSSuper Man worked and traveled for work, we weren't in each other's faces all the time so it wasn't as AWFUL as it could've been if he were an 8-5 worker. As soon as we filed for divorce, we started taking turns being gone every other weekend from Noon Saturday to Noon Sunday, to get the kids used to the new routine and so that we didn't have to be around each other EVERY day. Which was nice except that NSSuper Man felt justified in paying to stay at hotels on his weekends and I felt too guilty to spend the money and, thus, stayed with my best friends most of the time. It was nice to spend more time with them and their kids, but it's also not a normal way to live for any of us, and as the months wore on, we were all looking for the light at the end of the tunnel a bit.
In the end, with our house not selling, NSSuper Man bought me out of my half and stayed there, which freed me up to look for a great new nest for myself and the kids, which I found and had an offer accepted for on September 1st. Which was excellent timing, because our final divorce hearing was September 18th. I couldn't CLOSE on the new house until October 31st, however, because we needed to wait for NSSuper Man to close on the refi on our mortgage first to get my name off of it. If we thought it was tough living together DURING the divorce, it was much tougher to do it for those six weeks AFTER the divorce! I say that mostly in jest, really - I give us credit for doing our divorce rather amicably, all things considered, and we remained civil and friendly through the entire thing. NSSuper Man even helped me move when the time came, and although we are much less involved in each other's lives now, we are still civil and friendly when we need to interact. It's of course weird after you've been married to someone for more than a decade, but it's better for the kids this way, without a doubt.
So, the new house: I love it! The kids love it! It's about 1,000 square feet smaller than the old house, but it's been fully updated, it's perfect for me and the two kids, it's in a nice, quiet neighborhood, it's more affordable than a 3-bedroom apartment would've been, and it's only 1.5 miles from the old house and 1 mile from Super Boy's school. The only blemish on the whole "new house" experience was that we were broken into and robbed, in broad daylight, three weeks in to living here. Thank God no one was home at the time, because it was only "stuff" that was taken and "stuff" can be replaced, unlike lives. And as much as I freaked out at the beginning, both the police and my neighbors have assured me that this hasn't happened in AGES in this neighborhood, so it's not like it's crime-ridden and I need to fear that I've just moved to the 'hood. Needless to say, however, security was stepped up following that experience and we are gradually returning to regularly scheduled programming! The hardest was staying in the house the night of the break-in, which I chose to do because I knew it wouldn't get any easier to come back the next day if we left for the night. I also figured that the house was no LESS secure than it had been the night before - and, in fact, was likely MORE secure because (a) the window that was broken into was now boarded up, and (b) we no longer had much of value to take! From there, it only got easier. I still have moments of freaked-outedness, mostly when the kids are gone and I'm alone in the house, but those get fewer and farther between with time, too.
We had our first Christmas in our house; that was lovely. We went fake with the tree for the first time EVER (Super Boy's suggestion), and it was a good choice. With Baby Super Girl being so mischievous, I can only imagine how many times a real tree would've toppled over from her yanking branches, or how many pine needles I'd have found in her diaper... eek! No, a fake tree was TOTALLY the way to go this year. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in our new nest, and it was different, but sweet.
I can honestly say that the only time I was ever happier to see a year end was December 2011. It is simply a statement of fact that the past two years have SUCKED. My mom nearly wet herself laughing when I told her that after the prior two years, I'd best have rainbows shooting out of my ass EVERY DAY in 2013. No lie, my friends. No lie.
In any event, the tone of my blog is likely to change from here on out, for what should by now be obvious reasons. My life is completely different than it was when I started this blog, but for the fact that I am still essentially me (although 20 pounds lighter thanks to stress) and I still have my children (all but every other weekend and one night per week, anyway). I am back to work. I am a solo homeowner. I am without a dog for the first time in 11-1/2 years. I am SINGLE. I am dating - or hope to be soon, anyway.
That last bit alone is enough to make me want to crawl back into bed with a GALLON of Ben & Jerry's and NEVER resurface again. It's not that I don't want to find someone fabulous to spend time with and share my life with; it's that I've caught a glimpse of what's out there - and it's insanely depressing. It's the idea of the whole process of just meeting someone at this point in my life that is exhausting. That said, I am CERTAIN that it will provide plenty of fodder for this blog, and I hope it will be something others in my shoes can relate to (and something that those who can't relate to can laugh about).
Along those lines, I will say this: the smartphone, as indispensable as it is to me in ALL other respects in my life, is pretty much the tool of the devil in the present day dating world. TOOL OF THE DEVIL, PEOPLE. Texting should just be banned among single men and women, period. It's SO much easier for guys to commit fuckwittage when they can avoid actual voice or face-to-face contact, regardless of the existence of email. At least the last time I was single - 15 years ago - we had to wait until the end of the day when we returned home to our empty apartments and our silent, unblinking answering machines to feel utterly rejected and hopeless. Now we get to experience it INSTANTANEOUSLY when a text doesn't get answered forever (if at all) when you KNOW the other person has their phone on them 24/7, just like you do. It's all a big game - one I loathe - and I still don't know all the rules.
Anyway - stay tuned. There will be rainbows shooting out of my ass ANY DAY NOW. ;)
I've missed you guys - thanks for reading!