Parenting is the most difficult job in the entire world.  Step parenting doesn’t even have a difficulty level; it’s beyond the scope of anything I know.  Parenting with someone else has it’s struggles, but can be accomplished with good, consistent communication.

Enter the 12 year old boy.  Obviously he knows so much better than those of us who have lived on this earth for 3 times his lifespan.  Duh.  And the thing is?  I’m at a point now where I am ready to let him prove to me that he knows better.  I am ready to let him fail.  Completely and totally.  I am so hoping this does not make me a bad parent in the long run, but honestly I don’t know what else to do.  I have been battling the feeling of Care.  I love him with all of my heart, and I want what is best for him (I’m assuming those are normal parent feelings).  But I have come to a point where I can’t make him choose the thing that is best for him.  So I have to let him do what he thinks is right for him. Which is fucked up!   It’s like dealing with a drunk person trying to rationalize things at all times.  It’s misery.  I finally just started introducing myself as the lame parent.  But even though I am lame to kids, I think I am appropriate to adults because I have rational reasons surrounding my decisions, rules, and structure.  So I must be doing the right thing.  Right?  Because it is starting to be hard to resist the peer pressure of him.  Tell me, does anyone else out there have a future first-born lawyer they are raising?  Lord have mercy.

I haven’t written anything here in over a year.  And it kind of sucks that it has to start out with something so . . . negative.  But I’m hoping that I will be able to get through this patch by writing about it.  And making it to the other side.  This is without a doubt, besides dealing with the death of my brother, the absolute hardest thing I have ever had to do.  It is the hardest thing I have ever chosen to do.  And sometimes I need a bit more strength to get through it.  Because unlike parenting, step-parenting doesn’t come with the ‘I love you because you are mine’ attitude.  For me, it is a feeling that ebbs and flows; while I always love the boys, I don’t always love their behavior and I don’t think that their personality should be what gets them out of being naughty.  With step-parenting, tolerance is an entirely different animal.

To say this doesn’t bring tension also into your relationship is a farce.  How could it not?  We’ll save that for another conversation.


It’s really hard to be in a relationship as good as mine.  And yes of course I sound pompous, but isn’t it also true?

I have had years. . . shit, I’ve had decades of practice navigating so-so relationships.  It was easy to know we could be breaking up but we didn’t want to.  The point being, we could.  And I guess I never knew how it was to be in a relationship that I believed in so greatly.  I don’t want out, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have times where a break, a time out, a truce calling is needed.  The difference is, these are moments I still need to learn how to navigate.

See, in the past, an  argument that ended the night with a very strong,  ‘I am done talking to you tonight’ would have been interpreted as, ‘I am not willing to put in the time and effort it will take in order to determine what is going on with you, in the hope to keep our relationship proceeding smoothly, so let’s go to bed and hope instead that you have returned to normal by morning and that we can then have sex’.

Scary, but this is something I can handle.  I know how to return to ‘normal’ by morning:  act dazed, non-affected, and show that I can let things roll off my back.  (I am an amazing actress, yet to be nominated for a known award).  And the thing is, men have always fallen for it.  I mean they have always accepted that the easiest way out of an emotional situation must be the best. (I could go into instant gratification here, but I will resist).

Enter my newish, healthy dating relationship.  Enter Jason.  Enter the love of my life and the man I will be with forever.  (As he says, we are like ducks: we mate for life.  And yes, we have both since learned that the female ducks have been known to get around, which I personally think makes my history so much easier to understand).  But anyways, We mate for life;  We are willing to do whatever it takes to be in this relationship.  And with that comes a drastic reinterpretation of  ‘I am done talking to you tonight’.

Instead I hear this: ‘I know that continuing this conversation in a heightened emotional state can only lead to insults and injury and misunderstanding, and I want us to sleep on it so we can come at it tomorrow fresh–with our own emotions known, accepted, and understood, leading us not only to comfortably share what we are feeling, but also enabling us to understand that what the other person is feeling is something they own, and not a personal attack against us’.

Yes, it  is still new ground for me, even after 2 years.  But I couldn’t ask for better:  someone who gets that a time-out is clutch in order to resolve the really simple problem at hand, which, at times, can be heightened due to emotions.  And that doesn’t discount our emotions at all, it just makes it so that the conversation is heard, understood, and respected by both parties.  And of course it then gifts you with one of the BEST parts of a great relationship.  The make-up sex.

A few weeks ago I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and finished the final touches on packing for our trip to Mexico.  I called the cab at 4:00 and we were at the airport by 4:25.  Between Jason, Jasper, Eli and myself we only had to check one bag, commonly referred to as big red, and then we each had one to two carry-ons.  It was brilliant.  We were at the airport over 2 hours prior to our departure and we had time to review everything we had packed, and everything we hadn’t.

I counted the passports, 4.  Tickets, 4.  Swimsuits, over a dozen total.  Pens, paper, markers, colored pencils, activity books, headphones. We were so prepared it was disgusting.  There was only one thing I had forgotten to bring along: a good book.   We were in the North Satellite terminal at Sea-Tac.  Not the area known for the bookstore.  In fact, there was only one Hudson News Stand open so I made my way over there around 5 am.  Let me point out, I don’t normally wake up until way after 9 am.  If you see me out of bed before then, I’m most likely sleep walking.  I perused the small table stacked with the latest best selling novels.  I don’t purchase the Multi-Media size (I hate the paper, text size, book size, etc.) so I had really limited myself.  Fiction it would be, and I narrowed it down to two choices.  One was about a Piano Teacher and looked amazing.  But the other was about the relationship between three sisters.  $14.00 later and I was back at the gate.

I didn’t start reading it until the second flight, and I noticed that the writing was. . . well, it was sub-par.  The descriptions were so flowery and I had to skim over quite a bit.  But the story was developing and it was beautiful, the sisters and their love, their lies, their betrayal, their understanding of each other was something I know so well that I was enthralled.  Not only did I pick a good book, I picked one that I could relate to and enjoy.  I savored the nights when everyone would go to sleep and I could read in bed with the waves crashing outside of my door.  I didn’t finish it in Mexico, nor on the plane (try as I might is is impossible to read when you are sitting next to two boys under 10).  When we got home, I had to tell Jason to please stop talking to me as I was at the climax of the book and NOTHING he could say was more important that what I was reading.  I cried, I laughed, I loved it.  I got to the end and I noticed she had another book, another best selling novel, and I knew I had to get it.

See, I haven’t finished a book in over 5 years, except for one exception, The Time Travellers Wife.  So I was kind of beside myself and my newly rediscovered ability to complete something.  Maybe it stemmed from years of being an English Major and digging my way through Emily Dickenson, Dostoevsky, and George Eliot.  Maybe it was trying to get into other peoples recommendations and finding them not by style.  Maybe its that I didn’t have any focus and would rather watch TV.  Who knows.  But I had finally done it.  And it felt so good.

This morning I took a long walk, did some stretching, checked my bank account, and added up some spare change.  I had enough to run to half price books and get the authors first publication.  I drove off with the back of my Mini Cooper taped up and didn’t even mind the missing window; I was on a mission.

I walked into the bookstore and headed straight for the Fiction section.  H. . . Hannah. . . no Hannah? Hmm.  It must be sold out I thought.  I wandered around, found a few more books, and noticed the giant clearance section in front of me.  I figured that I may as well take a look, seeing as I have all day.  I looked straight down to the ground and there it was, 3 copies and I didn’t even have to search for it.  I was so excited, and even more so when I saw it was on sale for $1.00!  Feeling quite proud I looked at the other authors on the same shelf and my worst nightmare came to life.  I was shopping in the Romance section.

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I was on a date a few years ago, with a man whom I was so interested in:  A talented artist, a gentlemen, an extremely handsome and decidedly kind man.  I remember driving north on 99 in his Volvo wagon late one night, from West Seattle through Downtown, and telling him what I wanted in life:  To have a family, to have the luxury to be a part-time stay at home mom with a part-time job, and during all of that to be inspired to write and to have the time to actually do what I am passionate about.  I remember my sister Lanie telling me about dating men, and that I had to be able to share with them what I wanted.  And this pivitol moment in my life where I was able to say exactly what I wanted out loud and not be afraid of the consequences.

I spent this evening picking up Jasper and Eli from school, shopping for toys and grocery’s and art materials, coming home and watching I Love Lucy on the TiVo, making dinner, and waiting excitedly for Jason to come home from work.  Then we took showers (the boys) and baths, (the adults, who clearly know the luxury here), and watched Benji, entertainment not just for the kids, but for the adults, and our very own Chesterfield*.  Jason read stories to the boys while I made sure their beds were made over the top of them as they lay in them, and when Jason was done I fluffed his covers and turned out the lights.  A perfect Friday evening.

I may not have made it work with the man who drove the Volvo, but I put out what I wanted and it came to me ten-fold.  I am forever a changed human being, with a life I was dreaming of for years but too afraid to tell anyone about.  But once I admitted and accepted to myself what I wanted, the reality followed.  And I have never been happier.

Soccer Saturday tomorrow. And more to follow.

*A new breed of dog, the Chesterfield was derived from the Yorkshire Terrier and proved to be so magnificent, devoted, agile and loving he was able to  develop a breed named specifically after his own name.

You know how many first sentences I have written tonight?  Too many.  So I’m going with this one.  Well, that one over or up there depending on how it renders on your screen.  I like first sentences, and I fear them.  I fear I have nothing to say that hasn’t been said before in a different way.  I fear that what I say might actually matter, and that it may affect people and make me further away from people I dearly want in my life.  I fear doing damage, and I have lived through enough damage lately.  I want to live and be happy and not rock any boats.  I want to be safe and be held and be loved and more importantly get to do the same back.  And I greatly fear that if I do or say the wrong thing, I could lose everything that matters to me.

It may seem like a control thing, and part of it is; a sleeping dog lies.  But I know my intentions and I know I don’t want to hurt, but I also know I have to protect myself.  So I’ve found myself in a box: how do I help without hurting myself?  What did someone say about a wounded healer?

I hurt myself for too long.  I sat in a small, dark apartment and I ruined myself.  And I came out of it, but not without scars and hurt and pain, and memories that I would love to forget.  I still remember the phone number of my dealer, and I am pretty sure as punishment I will know it forever.  But I woke up, and I got back on a track.

This is the part where I start to edit myself because later, in conversation, I don’t want to have to defend my actions.  And I’m not going to.  I’m neither going to defend myself later or edit myself now.  I am who I am, and it isn’t who I was back when I hurt myself, but I am a direct result now of the choices that I made then.

I wish I had a million different ways to summarize this post into a little light-hearted package now, a couple of sentences that tied it all together and made everyone feel good.  Heck, I wish I felt good about this now, but it isn’t so.  This is just a confession of sorts and nothing I’m proud of and nothing I’m ashamed of.  Just a slice of Me.

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I posted last week, a week ago today, and something unsettling has been happening since then.  On the surface, I have been writing about Josh’s death for almost 5 months, and I have been hesitant to actually hit publish and send it into a place where people could read what I have been going through.  What I have learned since posting is greater than the fear that initially held me back.

I know now that the process of writing a summary of what I felt following Josh’s suicide was going to disappoint, but maybe only to me.  I felt that by being able to say what I needed to would trigger some magic in life; that I would be transformed and grow in a way that I hadn’t been able to tap into yet through my mourning.  That post was not complete, and now I know and understand that it will never be completed.  I could edit and rewrite it and still, it would struggle to be something in black and white explaining how my brothers suicide affected me.  The truth, is that I will never completely understand what happened that night, and worse to me,  I will always struggle with the dichotomy of writing about his death and trying to understand it; I will spend my life being equally repelled and inspired because of his choice to commit suicide.

I don’t know if I will ever rationalize why Josh taped up the window of his car with a hose and attached it to the exhaust.  But I will search for it forever, over and over again, because I am human and I loved him and I will never, ever forget you Joshua.

I love you Joshie.

Mourning is a weird phenomenon.  It is something you can not patrol, even with your own, finest team of officials in place, monitering the information passing between your heart and your brain.  In fact, the only thing that happens when you have said officials in place is that your awareness of death is heightened, and if you see that look of loss in someone eyes, it has the ability to take you down, or sometimes up, depending on your present day.  It can be a look that you see in your own eye, staring hard into a mirror.

I mourn.  It will have been 2 years on September 24th since my Brother was alive, and longer than that since I spoke with him and longer still since I saw him.  But there is something about the night he took his life that I can not escape.  A Final Connection.  An appreciation of his choice.  Not an acceptance by any stretch, but a window into his final life decision.  I lost someone to suicide and the gift for me is understanding self destruction.  And that may be the most painful state of mind I struggle to live with.

One of the greatest fears in life is that you will turn into your mom.  Well, as it turns out, when a certain 10 year old asks you why you always do things the way your mom did, and you know he is only asking because you always say, (as justification for your actions and in a somewhat snarly voice), “because this is the way my MOM did it”, well, then you know you have become your mom.  

So, fear realized. . . not so bad. 

Take a leap with me  here, and remember that I have the most adorable yorkie in the world, Chesterfield.  But, as it turns out, HE has a slight addiction.  He loves to lick.  And I’m not talking just a quick pass by with the tongue (note, that is a kiss), but a full on session of mono-y-mono time, I’m gonna lick your hand off with a devilish look in my eye time,  pink tongue to bare skin love time, brought to you by none other than the one and only nutt time.  (Note, Chesterfield may also be referred to as the the nutt, chester, ches, bunnel, bunce, and confusingly, many, many more).  But the thing is, I have grown used to it.  And I don’t mind. . . I actually enjoy spending some cuddle time with my little bunnel.  

That is, up until the feet thing started.  

A few days ago, Chester’s tongue and my feet got acquainted.  For him, no big woop.  For me, getting used to the tongue was a little strange, but only initially, and then it was fine. . . nice. . . comfortable. . . enjoyable.  And then. . . it happened.  The moment we have all feared and never admitted to ourselves, the moment where epiphany takes over your life and lends a hand in a way you never would have expected, the moment you have that detached out of body experience that is really just a drug induced nightmare, and you wake up in one of those states you never imagined.  Mine was Heaven.  

Which is when it all hit me: I’ve turned into my Grandma.

I live in a little place.  It gets messy in 10 minutes.  It can be cleaned up in 10 minutes.  It can be CLEANED in about an hour.  Regardless, there is something magical about going to a grocery store, and I realized what it was today while I spent 30 blissful minutes not caring if my cart was in anyone’s way.  I walked around and picked things out, put them back (per the 8 item minimum in order to be in the faster line), and talked to myself outloud (just once, but someone totally heard me).  It wasn’t until I was placing the yellow cake mix box back in its exact and perfectly aligned location that I realized just what I loved so much about the grocery store.  Someone ELSE has to organize it every day. 

(oh, and I found out they sell part of my youth now!)

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So I decided today that Chesterfield’s leg hair was disgusting.  It was all matted (even though I have a cute dog does not mean I know how to maintain a cute dog), and smelled like foulness which in turn made me want to vomit even though he is SO fricken cute all curled up and showing his belly off at sunrise.  He STUNK.  

Here he is, lounging in his perfect atmosphere. . . comfy bed, enough sun to enjoy and not as much to the point where he wants to be tucked under the covers, and a cool breeze.  Clearly a perfect nap has just occurred (this is his after-yawn).  

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And then there is the after. . . Dog Gone World.  I love the way he was totally obsessed with the scissors up until the MOMENT I put it on the ground, at which point even a 5 year old could hear his displeasure.  

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December 2016
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