Where are You?

I keep finding myself lost in my chaos. I want to stay focused and engaged, yet I find that the more I do the less I stay focused on any one thing. Which then causes anxiety for myself. Among all of this I am taking pleasure in each new day.

Rutledge_Snapshots01

This is Lily Lynn, my youngest daughters cat. She lives in the bathroom and likes to drink cold water from the running faucet. She drives me crazy, yet I enjoy brushing her and spending time with her. She is my daily reminder to enjoy a cold drink and let someone brush your hair :)! Now if I could just find myself and keep myself planted and focused.

Change is Coming

I thought the future had a clear path. I knew what I was doing for the next 9 months. My youngest had a questionable plan, her sister had a plan and their brother had a sort of plan. Then in the blink of an eye, one text message and a deep breath everything changed again.

My oldest daughter sent me a text 10 days ago and said she wants to come home. I was shocked because at the beginning of June she was trying to convince her sister to change her plans and go to school there. What it comes down to is the school lost funding for a scholarship she was receiving and she didn’t receive one of the scholarships she had the year before. With the loss of funds she couldn’t afford to survive. She is already working approximately 35 to 40 hours a week and attending school full time. She will be home in 5 days.

The youngest did debate heavily on moving to go to school with her sister. She decided against it because she made some other commitments prior to entertaining the moving idea. Although others tried to persuade her to move as well, her integrity to follow through with what she said she would do was too strong. I am thankful for that as those commitments would have been difficult to fill by anyone else.

The boy, their brother, my beloved son is a story of chaos all of his own. He seldom has a concrete plan for his life. Though he has many dreams that he will some day accomplish. He loves hard, dreams hard and works harder. He is finally employed doing property management and has dived in to working long days and making his world a better place. My hope is his personal life evens out soon.

I am looking forward to these changes. More time with my children together. I am hoping for Sunday night dinners, study sessions as all of us are taking classes and just some regular hanging out. Of course there will probably be some lunch dates, dog walks and late night chats amongst the 4 of us. I have decided not to depend too much on these changes right now because I know everything can change again in a blink of an eye.

Cherry Pie and Baby Cake

I was a young first time mommy. I was trying to conquer the world, at least my little world and leaned on my family for help. I took a night class two nights a week when I was in college. During that time my mom watched my little baby cake  would  take him out to visit my grandma so I would drive out to my grandma’s most nights after class and pick him up. It was always after dinner time when I arrived and usually around dessert time. My sweet son was between 5 and 6 months old and he loved attention and tasting new things. On one of these snow filled frozen nights my grandma had made cherry pie. I personally am not a huge fan of pie. I don’t care for pie crust. However this night was all about the warm, fat cherries floating around in the most amazing cherry sauce every made. I would pick up one of the plump, red balloon like cherries and grip it tightly between my fingers and my son would suck the all the cherry sauce away. His little mouth was a cherry sauce mess when we were finally done. I cherish this memory the most now because my mom is no longer with us, we hardly ever see my grandma any more and my sweet baby cake is a young man of 21 now. Amazing how many memories one cherry pie can hold.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Pie

Dear Father to my Children,

Dear Father to my Children Sperm Donor,

How do you measure your parental skills? How do you know when you are doing well versus when you SUCK? Do you care? How many “trophies” do you need? When will enough be enough? I wish you would stop causing heart ache and destruction in the lives of your children. I wish that you would do me a favor and MOVE.

For the past 21 years I can count on one hand how many times you have done the right thing for your children. The right thing is defined as when you did something that only benefited your children and did nothing for you including making you look good to others. Sweetie that is a total of 5 or LESS times.

  1. Secured Santa to come to the house to visit your son and oldest daughter.
  2. Gave your oldest daughter a bath every night for about 2 months straight during her 11th and 12th months of life.
  3. Secured lunch money for our youngest daughter last year, when she was a Junior in high school.

Yep less than 5. You have possibly done more, but I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t also make you look good to others. I could however think of lots of times you screwed our kids over.

  1. Sold the weight bench your son wanted, for $20 bucks.
  2. Didn’t show up when you promised to visit the kids, too many times to count.
  3. Told your friends you needed money to buy things for your kids when really you needed money for yourself.
  4. Promised to bring money to one of your children and show up weeks late or never.
  5. Making out with your girlfriend at your daughter’s birthday party instead of hanging out with your daughter.
  6. Going to your other girlfriend’s house in another state when your son came home for Christmas from Basic Training.
  7. Arriving late and high to your oldest daughter’s high school graduation and then skipping pictures after she asked you to take pictures with her.
  8. Not showing up at all to your oldest daughter’s graduation party.
  9. Not listening to your kids when they tell you something that is going on with your girlfriend and her kids.
  10. Driving like a crazy person because you are mad you said you would give your child a ride across town.

That of course is the short list 🙂

I would like to remind you that your 3 oldest children are 21, 19 and 17. These 3 are old enough to make their own decisions and are not at all intimidated by your loud voice or threats. You feel the only time they talk to you is when they want money. Perhaps if you looked at how you interact with them when you are together you would see that they just don’t like to be ignored or to hang out with your “other” family.

This past weekend you killed your relationship with your son. I understand you wanted your children at your wedding, but I hope you understand that they did not really want to be there. Your wife is not nice to them. She has double standards for her kids and your kids. Your children tried to talk to you about it, but you were unwilling to listen. They were not comfortable making the drive to your wedding location and the fact that they had to come back after dark was not very appealing to them either. The other kicker for them was the girls thought they were in the wedding, but somehow they got kicked out. Then two days later, after you came back to town, you couldn’t even find the time to see your younger daughter off on her trip. You sure are a classy guy.

Yes I am angry. I am tired of seeing my children hurt by your actions. I am tired of hearing how you promised them this or that and didn’t follow through. I am tired of seeing the pain on their faces when you don’t follow through or when you choose not to listen to them. You have produced 6 children that I am aware of, the 3 oldest you co-created with me. The other son is 15 or 16 (the one you never see), you have a 13 year old daughter (the one you signed away your parental rights for) and then there is the youngest daughter who is under 10, this is the only one you have actually made a go of the parenting thing with. I mean the one you pay child support for and take for full weekends during the school year and weeks during the summer. I am glad at this point you have figured at least that part out, for just this one kid. No worries for the other 5, I am sure they will continue to survive. I know my 3 would like you to stop ignoring them when they try to talk to you and listen to the words that come out of their mouths.

Thank you for also telling our son just how horrible my parents were. My parents that have both passed away in the past 7 years at very young ages. The same parents that allowed us to move in with them when we had no where else to go. I believe the year my mom passed away she gave you lots and lots of money to help you get caught up on some of your bills. These same people who supported me for months on end so I could help you pay of two different trucks on two different occasions. Yes my parents were awful because they supported us financially while you gambled and drank all of our money away. They did voice their opinions on your lifestyle but they still supported us. How many times did they take the kids when they were smaller because you just couldn’t handle it?? PLEASE tell me what did your family do to support us, how much contact does your mother have with these kids now? Does she even remember our youngest daughter’s name? Probably not.

7 months to go and I promise I will get to deal with you even less than I do now. I am looking forward to that more than you can possible understand. Good luck and best wishes 🙂

 

Quantity VS Quality

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Is it better to spend more time, quantity, with your children or is it better to spend better time, quality, with them? How many parents ask themselves this question? How many professionals have answered this question? Does it matter? Do the kids even care? I would say yes both matter and the kids do care.

My son told me awhile back this story of how when ever he has something important to share or something he is excited or unsure about he calls his best friend. That when he is fighting with his best friend it is very hard for him to fully accept what is happening to him if he is unable to share with his best friend. It turns out I am his best friend. I was touched and honored to make this status with my oldest child. Growing up he and I had a lot of struggles finding a balance that worked for our communication styles and his medical issues. My son suffers from ADHD, Oppositional Behavior Disorder and recently diagnosed with PTSD. He also had some scary anger issues growing up as well and became violent on a few occasions. I believe that I achieved this honored status by both quantity and quality time spent with him and his younger sisters.

I was never one of those lucky parents who had access to unlimited childcare. My family watched my children whenever I needed to work and occasionally so I could go out but never for silly things like shopping or house cleaning. Those times I had to take my little ones along with me. We spent a lot of quantity time together when they were very young. Running here, doing that, driving them across town to my parents so I could go to work and then back again at the end of the day. During those times my children learned a lot of things. How to push my buttons was a great one and then they learned when mom says no don’t ask again.

We also did spend quality time together. My children had a very extensive collection of board games and movies. We would spend my time away from work doing nights of dinner and a movie where they would pick what we ate and what we watched. For holidays especially we had many years of no TV and had to spend our time doing other things like playing games and hanging out together. Some of my favorite quality times are when they allowed me to read to them. For years I read to them every night before they went to bed and if they didn’t fall asleep while I was reading I would lay with them and talk about their days, their hopes and dreams and occasionally tell them stories.

Finding your own balance between quantity and quality is the key. Today it seems I get very little of either considering my children are moving fast into adulthood or are already there. My favorite compliment when the kids were growing up was from another single mom who told me she admired how much time I spent with my children because it seemed like we were always together and almost always laughing and have fun.

Name Change

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The path of a parent often reflects on the child. Where you work, how you interact within the community and your personal image all reflect back to your child. You might be the super cool parent that everyone wants to hang out with or you might be the parent that everyone avoids. Either way that reflects on your child.

When you make the choice to be a parent you should consider your power over your child’s world. At first you will make all the decisions and help mold your child’s mind, values and morals. Then when you are not looking, BAM, their friends and other peers take over. Did you make a good impact on their mind? Did you show them a path worth living?

What if you live for yourself? What if  you use your child as a pawn in your game of lies and deceit? What if you run from the privilege of raising your child to raise another’s child? What happens when you discover your past actions directly impact your child’s decisions about their future? How do you feel when you face the reality that you are the reason your child struggled through school and in society because of your negative reputation?

Your son started talking about a name change when he was 16. He was tired of the questions and stories he heard when anyone discovered you where his  dad. I discussed his options and persuaded him to wait and he waited, until he was 18. The age of adulthood and yet you still blame me. Silly man child, I raised your son to think for himself and make his own decisions. When the judge asked your son he told him the truth, you have given the last name a bad reputation and he didn’t want to be held back by obstacles he did not create. Yes he took my maiden name but not because I asked him to as I kept yours for my own reasons. Your daughters decided against going through the name change process, they both plan to marry someday.

Kanga and Roo

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My Kids grew up watching Winnie the Pooh. We have many of the episodes and movies on VHS. We have played Pooh Sticks and have pictures to prove it and we have played Guess Who is Sleeping as well. Eeyore is my favorite. I like that he is a donkey and that his friends want to  help him with his tail. Rabbit and Owl are my least favorite. They remind me of bossy know it alls or most every adult from my own childhood. Piglet is adorable and I remember I had my own stuffed Piglet when I was about 3. Pooh is Piglet’s best friend and they make a great duo. Tigger bounces way too much for me, I get a little dizzy with how much he bounces actually. Every now and then you hear about Christopher Robin. He is a great kid and has to leave Pooh at home while he ventures off to school. Kanga is the mother to Roo. Roo and Tigger are also the best of friends. They like to hang out and practice bouncing. Three or so years ago my son made a shattering discovery about Kanga and Roo. I still laugh about this, it amazes me that my children can still surprise me. Did you know that the names Roo and Kanga when put together make kangaroo? To add to my amusement my son was 17 when he finally made this realization. 😉