I’m the least “doom and gloom” person on the planet. I’ve been dealt blows that would bring a strong woman to her knees. I used to call myself the Ronda Rousey of handling stress but we all know how THAT turned out.
It’s January 1st. I know this because on this day every year I do two things:
1. Stress about remembering to write the new year on my checks
2. Realize I’m only 30 days from my next birthday (47) inching closer to 50
I’m proud of how I look, don’t get me wrong. I’m told I’m beautiful and funny and magnetic. On the inside I’m living in my twenties and on the outside I’m not too shabby, although I could stand to lose a few pounds. Turning 40 was no big deal but getting closer to 50? That’s going to be a day that I don’t leave the house and finish off every flavor of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting.
I’ve noticed that my mom, always so vibrant and busy, is slowing down. She’s almost 70 but I still see her as I saw her when I was a child. She can’t walk as quickly as she used to. She can’t remember things as well as she used to.
My dad is in his 60’s but is seriously ill with a heart surgery coming up this month. He’s my hero. The strong, practical daddy that I’ve always been able to turn to when I’m worried or scared. I’m terrified of this upcoming surgery and the thought of losing him has me understandably worried and stressed.
My son is 17. He’s signed a 6 year enlistment in the USAF. I’m incredibly proud of the man he’s becoming. In March he turns 18 and in August he heads to basic training, then to tech school and then, possibly, overseas.
My daughter is 12. She’s a joy and has an amazing social butterfly personality. She is almost a teenaged girl. I remember how I was as a teenaged girl and I don’t know how my sweet parents didn’t kill me.
You see, the older I get, the older THEY get. The closer we get to the people I love more than I love anyone or anything being gone. Its a battle that I’ve fought within myself over the past five years.
I’ve lost everything at some point since my divorce five years ago. My marriage, my children full time, my job, many friends (by choice), my health, my hope, my joy. 23 years ago I lost a child. But I can tell you this. I’ve fought to earn it all back and am standing here today fulfilled and dare I say HAPPY?
I am the best of friends with my ex husband and his family which I’m eternally grateful for (I’m not friends with his wife, we are neutral. She’s nice to my kids and that’s all that I care about). The first year 1/2 following our divorce we hated each other. Over the past 3 1/2 years, though, we’ve rekindled our friendship and he is an amazing dad. He’s been sensitive to my feelings when it comes to the sharing of our children. He doesn’t bring her with him when he drops off the kids. He knows it was so painful for me and does everything he can to ensure that I don’t have to interact much with his wife. Driving to the home that we built, choosing every tile and carpet swatch and cabinet color that is now inhabited by his wife and her children along with ours is still the most heartbreaking thing I still have to do. I don’t dislike his wife. I’ve never interfered or caused problems for her, nor has she ever caused problems for me, we just respectfully stay out of each other’s way because it’s uncomfortable for both of us. The friendship between my ex husband and me happened naturally. Let’s face it. You don’t spend 20 years of your life with someone and not realize there were good times and develop respect for each other.
It’s rare, apparently, to have a good relationship after divorce. To not fight, to put your kids first. To not argue over holidays and not follow the divorce decree. I can have my kids anytime I want and so can he. We don’t alternate holidays and weekends, we do that together. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are always spent with the kids. The same with birthdays and other holidays. We both have it good and we know it. The maturity it takes to do these things FOR OUR CHILDREN is important and has made this divorce an afterthought. I am grateful for the way we co-parent our children. It seems to be so uncommon these days and I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. I’m an expert at dancing to the beat of my own drum.
I have challenges coming up this year, but I’m ready for them. It won’t be easy but I’ve come to realize that I am a BADASS. I bounce back. I fight and persevere. I’m proud of myself and the things I’ve done.
I’m going to make 2016 my bitch. It won’t be easy but it’ll be worth it.
Happy first day of the new year. Here’s hoping it’ll be better than any of us could’ve imagined.
I’ll see your stress and raise you a panic attack…
– THAT crazy girl