Stopping for Fun

I’m writing this post as I sit on my comfy leather couch for the first time since moving into my new place. Sitting hasn’t been on the agenda as of late. I’ve been slowly moving since last Wednesday. We’re not closing on our old house until this Friday, so I have the luxury (or curse?) of time on my side.

We’ve got all the big stuff in our new house though. It’s really just small odds and ends and cleaning up the old house before saying goodbye to it. Bittersweet, I suppose, but I love my new place. It’s a much more manageable size for me and my boys, and we’ve got a playground that’s typically full of kids just steps from our backyard.

In the past few weeks, I’ve packed up my big old house, finalized a divorce, acknowledged what would have been my “firstborn’s” fourteenth birthday and an almost 14 year wedding anniversary, and moved into my new normal.

Who am I kidding? I am still moving into my new normal. And I’m enjoying every moment. Because even when the stress piles on and the to do list seems like it has no end, life is still pretty darn good.

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A big New England blogger meetup with Bev from Linkouture, Tamara from Tamara Like Camera, and all our kiddos!

Sometimes you have to just stop and breathe. Or maybe just take off for a few days and meet up with some good bloggy friends and their kids. While I should have been packing, it was worth it to meet up with people whom I had only (with the exception of a quick meeting at BlogHer in Chicago) corresponded with online. And when we met in person, it was if we had known each other for years.
Of course, I couldn’t let summer go by without letting Biz ride on his very first big roller coaster. While I stood mildly terrified on the ground, he just made the height requirement. Had he worn different shoes, it might have been a different story.

It pays to stop for some fun every now and then.

canobielakecoasterDuring the chaos, I was also tagged on Facebook to do a five day gratitude challenge. While I’m not big on those type of challenges, I figured it was a good week to acknowledge my gratitude publicly. Gratitude is good for the soul after all.

Since last week was a blur, I decided to take a look at what I shared:

  1. My two amazing boys, who will always be my #1
  2. My inner strength, which has taken me further than I ever thought possible
  3. Those people in my life who “get it” (and still stick around even when they don’t)
  4. My furry boy, Kailua, who still gets mistaken for a puppy even though he’s 11
  5. Meaningful words and actions
  6. Knowing what happiness means for me
  7. Adventures new and old
  8. A big, comfy king-sized bed
  9. Good wine after a long day of shlepping boxes
  10. The ability to work for myself and follow my dreams
  11. Big opportunities
  12. Secret, non-judgmental Facebook groups with sinister hashtags
  13. Freedom
  14. Good, supportive friends near and far
  15. The amazing view from the high road

I’d say the list is pretty accurate.

While my brain continues to go in all directions, I am starting to settle down. I’ll be back reading blogs and responding to your wonderful comments. I’ve missed you all this past week.

Split

courtroom2I could feel my bones press against the cold, hard marble bench as I sat and waited outside of Courtroom 2. A tsunami of feelings were flooding my brain as I watched people mill about first thing Monday morning. Pain, sadness, anger, happiness, hope and relief all wound into one beautiful ball of raw emotion.

There was nervous laughter, talk of PFA orders, and a general uneasiness in the air.

I came to the courthouse happy and hopeful, but I found my heart beating harder as the time ticked on. The man at the metal detector had asked me if I had any throwing stars with me today. If only.

My phone vibrated again and again, sending me messages of encouragement.

Split.

On what would have been our “firstborn’s” 14th birthday. On the eve of what would have been our 14th wedding anniversary. The day after the “superest supermoon” (not to be confused with the blood moon). Two days before moving out of the home we were to live in until the boys graduated from high school.

Closure.

When our last name was finally called, the last time I will hold that name legally, we were told to sit at separate tables facing the judge. We went through our agreement, an agreement that took months to finalize together, raised our right hands to swear we were telling the truth, and we confirmed our irreconcilable differences. An understatement really.

I didn’t expect to feel so much emotion, but I guess that’s to be expected. Not just the splitting of a marriage, it’s the split of a twenty-year relationship. The split of a family, including kids and dogs. The split of bank accounts and property.

We were 18 when we met. It seems a lifetime ago. So many memories. So much growing. But people don’t always grow in the same direction. What once was aligned can fall off kilter.

No regrets.

It’s the right thing to do, and that taste of freedom, admittedly, has been enjoyable over the past few months. The finality feels weird. That had been my only word for it. Weird. Yet, I still have two boys whose hearts have been broken.

I continue to focus on the good. Because there is much good going on in the background right now. So much. Enough good to combat the bad. There’s that too, of course. A lot of bad. But we all have the choice to be happy. It helps to have a good attitude too.

Breathe.

We will put back together the broken pieces and find our new normal. In a new place. Very soon.

My mantra for now:

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A Good Attitude

I dreaded waking up on Saturday morning knowing I would need to start lugging all the glassware, toys, trinkets and other random household items outside for the impromptu yard sale I decided to hold only the day before.

Operation: Purge was in full effect and it was time to get rid of the excess “stuff” from the house. Packing up would only be successful when that excess was gone.

I wasn’t really looking to make money. I’ve had yard sales before and rarely make any good money from them. I just needed to get everything out of the house and on its way to a new home. It was the process.

I thought it would be fun to have the boys help me with a yard sale. Last year, we had talked about having an art sale so Biz could sell some of his art. G wanted to plan an elaborate lemonade stand. Why not combine them all on Saturday morning?

I did not prepare for the event. I posted something on Facebook Friday night and told the boys we’d start taking stuff outside on Saturday morning. I put a quick listing up on Craigslist and hoped for the best.

G, on the other hand, woke up at 6:15am and made a checklist in bed.

g-checklist

He brought the checklist down to my bedroom, where Biz and I hid under the covers and thought about staying putting for just a few more minutes.

G was proud of his checklist and couldn’t wait to share. He turned a light on and started to read his list. He was ready to tackle the day and his lemonade stand duties. Number 6 on the list was key, he told me and Biz.

“You have to have a good attitude, Mom.”

“You’re absolutely right, G,” I told him.

And we got up and started preparing for our yard sale. I started taking things outside as the boys ate breakfast and a light rain started to hit my skin. I kept going, despite my doubt about the yard sale, and the boys eventually started to help. G made his lemon iced tea, poured it into cups, made a sign, determined his price, and set up his cooler. Biz, eventually, got his art outside. Our table full of stuff was strategically set under a tree so that the exact area we were in was dry. We hung a few signs (made by G, of course) around the neighborhood.

The rain was light and eventually stopped. We had a few customers. We sold some stuff, some art, and some lemon iced tea. A man in a dress stopped to tell me I was pretty.

We kept our good attitude and celebrated our success. Then we loaded up my Explorer and donated the rest. A carload of things we didn’t have to worry about anymore. That evening, we hopped into the car, drove to Boothbay Harbor and ate gourmet popcorn by the water.

As stressful as all of this is and has been, #6 really is key. I’m lucky to have one smart 9-year-old to remind me.

How’s your attitude today?

 

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