Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I have a warm, safe home and food in the fridge.   So many do not.  

For years as a kid my dad and I spent Christmas Eve volunteering at the Tree of Joy delivering the gifts to those who were home bound.  People whose only gift was the one we delivered.

I remember. I have so much to be thankful for, and I am. 
It doesn't make it any easier.

We've never had lavish Christmases full of presents, but Santa always brought toys and gifts that Mom and Dad couldn't afford.

Not this year.

This year, between the divorce and other unexpected expenses, it’s going to be tiny. 

I’m know that Christmas is about family and being together.   Not about gifts, but giving back and all that. 

But you know what?

For my kids – it’s about that Christmas magic of Santa coming and leaving exactly what they wanted.   It’s about going to sleep Christmas Eve and waking up at the butt-crack-of-dawn to find the tree lights on, the train running, and presents waiting to be opened.  It’s about whispering to each other and sneaking out to look the gifts over before the appointed time.


I can’t do it this year.  And it is breaking my heart.

I know they’ll be happy regardless, but I so love making their eyes sparkle and hearing the excitement in their voices.

I mentioned to them that this Christmas was going to be smaller – they know things are tight.  They agreed and said they understood, but then my eldest turns to the others and says, “There’s still Santa. Even if the gifts from Mom and Dad are smaller, Santa’s gifts won’t be.”

My heart hurt.  Oh, my precious child. If only it were so.
(Yes, she’s 11 and still believes in the magic of Santa)

J and I are combining our limited resources for our kids’ Christmas.  We’re working very hard to talk through the money part of Christmas. 

This Christmas will be different.   We will split up the decorations.  The tree will be smaller, not scraping the top of my vaulted ceiling. No fancy tins and boxes for home-made treats to giveaway.

All those holiday tasks J and I did together, I’ll do alone.  Wrapping gifts.  Waiting for them to go to sleep to arrange the Santa gifts.  No need to make rum balls and caramel corn for him to take to work.

Santa will still come, but their stockings will be a bit thin and the things on the top of their lists won’t be under the tree.

Will I have a hard time? 


Heck, I have a hard time just thinking about it.  

I can fall apart after they’re asleep in bed.

While they’re awake we’ll make treats and wrap presents and watch White Christmas multiple times. We will smile, laugh, and be normal.

I can do that for them.

Monday, October 21, 2013


I was discussing kids with someone at work.  Actually, I worked the conversation in that direction on purpose. They were shocked to find out that I have three kids.  AND that the oldest is eleven.

“Wow, you don’t look old enough to have three kids, let alone an eleven-year-old.”


It was pretty amazing how quickly he started treating me with more respect, like I actually knew what I was doing.  (Or in this particular case, had no clue what I was doing, but was doing my best to learn enough to get through the day.)

Don’t get me wrong, I love that people seem to think I’m younger than I actually am.  Really, it’s great.

I remember a time I was at Freddy’s turning in a winning scratch-it and got carded. 

Seriously?!? For a lottery ticket?!?!

I just looked at my cart, which at the moment was full of children.  My niece was with me too, so I had FOUR children ranging in age from infant to five.  I pulled out my ID and the clerk kinda sheepishly said “oh.”

Back to now.

I already face challenges in my chosen field because I’m not a man.  When you add the inevitable challenges that being perceived as “young” adds it is frustrating.

I’m not twenty-two.  I’m thirty-three.  I have three kids, two dogs, two cats, a flock of chickens, and a mortgage.
I’m a grown-up.

I have invested many years into learning my strengths and weaknesses.  I know what I’m good at, what I’m capable of, and what is beyond my abilities.

Everyone who’s worked with me treats me with the respect I've earned.  (At least to my face)

This summer was the first time I didn't have my choices and decisions questioned repeatedly by those who believe they are older and “wiser.”

I have to laugh at those that haven’t worked with me, because otherwise I’d be so frustrated all the time.  

At 5’4” and under 120 lbs, I’m not very physically impressive or dominating.  But don’t discount me.  Don’t assume that because I chose not to yell, curse, or be abrasive that I don’t know what I’m doing.

I do.

And I’m doing what’s best for me and mine.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Titles, Family and... Guitars?

There are so many things that I wanted to talk about this week.  I started a bunch of different topics, only to have them dissolve into “gut reaction” posts.

Too many sensitive topics for me at the moment.
Too many unfinished sentences. 
Not enough sleep.

This week has been exhausting.  I’m still figuring out what my job encompasses.  I was the LD (lighting designer) for a concert at the venue I work at.  I know there are people laughing.  The last time I did anything more than push “go” on a light board was 15 years ago.  Totally not qualified to do much more than push go.

I have a theatre background – not a concert background.
The band had a billion guitars.
Do you need a different guitar for every song?
EVERY song? 

And does it have to be so loud?

I digress.

Today was the 16th anniversary of the day my former husband and I started dating.

Honestly, I had been so busy trying to keep up with work and kids and home that I didn't realize it was the third until I got a text from him asking if I had time for coffee.  At that point I was in the middle of trying to trouble-shoot a passel of wireless mics that didn't want to function.  I am so not a sound tech.  Basically, I know how to turn a mic on and make sound come out the speakers.  I don’t know how to troubleshoot.  

Sink or swim, right? 
I think I managed to tread water. Barely.

Anyway, I replied sure, but asked if there was a particular reason – There’s no emotion in a text, so I couldn't tell if there was something amiss.  Nothing amiss, just wanted to spend a bit of the day with me.

We ate and talked.
He bought.  Pizza and salad.

It was nice.  More than nice.

At some point he made a comment that stuck with me.
“Even if I knew what the outcome would be, I’d still do it all again.  It was an amazing 16 years.”

It was. 

Still is. We’re still good friends – best friends.

Know why?

We didn't push it. When we figured out it was over – we weren't in love with each other and we weren't going to find that kind of love in each other again. We accepted it.
We grieved that loss, together.  We moved forward.
We didn't “try” until there was no trust and all hate.
We looked at the three beautiful children we had created together and decided to do what was best for them.

Know what?  We did it right. 

A professional even said so. We made an appointment with a child therapist to talk with us and all three kids to help them process everything that had changed.

We all talked with him together, then the kids went out to the lobby and we just talked with him.  He was truly amazed that we never – not once – argued in front of the kids; never talked negative about the other parent.  He commended us and commented that he wished more parents he saw would do what we had done.

We truly care about each other and want our family to continue – our marriage ended – not our family.

Which brings me to the other bit I wanted mention.  I don’t like referring to the man I spent 16 years with as my “ex-husband.”
To me that sounds so negative.  And then what are my in-laws?  Ex-in-laws?

Same rule applies – just because our marriage is broken, doesn't mean that our family is broken.  After being part of my in-law’s family for 16 years, I’m not just going to walk away – I care about them too much to do that.  They’re as much my family as the family I was born into.

So, we decided that we’re not going to refer to each other as “ex’s”.

Former husband/wife
“We used to be married.”

My kids’ dad – doesn't seem to encompass what we are to each other.

We both know that we have no clue what comes next.  We might end up bitter and hateful. But we are doing everything we can to avoid that.

I cherish his friendship and he treasures mine.