Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My baby is a toddler

 
My little goofball! November is 14 months old! I feel like she is suddenly no longer a baby; she's a toddler. But I'll continue to call her my baby. Forever. She's been all about trying to figure out how things work; trying to fit into her moo cow house, rearranging the Tupperware cabinet, unfolding her clothes, taking them out of drawers, putting them back in, putting them on. She's a smart little cookie and loves making everyone laugh. Oh where is the time going?! So cliche, yet undoubtedly true!


{Emotional Healing} forgiveness

 
Image from {here}

If you've been following my blog, you know I've been working through issues of fear, self worth, anger, and bitterness. Well, I reached a much anticipated turning point much sooner than I had thought: forgiveness.

I'm not exactly sure when my feelings shifted, but there was one day where I just realized that no matter how bad my ex had hurt me, I took no joy in seeing him hurt. I realized I wanted him to be happy. Even if that meant him being happy without me (or even with someone else.)

I knew the day would come when I would be ready to forgive. I intuitively knew I would never be able to fully heal, move on, or love again until I could forgive him for the pain he caused me, and wish him well. I had imagined, however, that this would be a gradual, long process, so it took me by surprise when it dawned on me suddenly that I was ready to forgive.

I think it really got to me when I stumbled upon the Mars Hill Church Real Marriage sermon series and watched the one about fighting and forgiveness. The Christian view on marriage is quite new to me and I am so fascinated by its principals and have found that my ideals are very aligned; duty, honor, dedication, friendship, love, respect. Anyhow, I learned a few things to help clarify my confusion over the whole forgiveness issue:

1.) forgiveness does not mean the other party has to beg forgiveness or even to be sorry. I knew my ex was sorry, but we hadn't gone deeper than an 'I'm sorry, you deserve better.' He didn't express what he was sorry for or tell me what he thought he had done wrong, or ask to be forgiven. Was I supposed to wait until he wanted forgiveness? Was I supposed to tell him he was forgiven? The answer is no. Forgiveness is about me. It is about freeing my heart. It's about letting go regardless of the one who hurt me. 

2.) forgiveness does not mean trust. I thought I might be ready to forgive, but I still didn't trust him, or even understand the whys and reasons behind what he had done. I didn't even think HE knew! If I forgave him, did that mean I was supposed to trust him immediately? If he suddenly wanted me back, was I just supposed to act like nothing had happened and trust him? No. Again, forgiveness is about setting my heart free. It doesn't mean giving it away again recklessly. You can forgive and not trust the person. Trust takes much more work than forgiveness. 

3.) forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. I thought I was ready to forgive, but there were no talks of reconciliation. If I forgave, would that mean we should get back together? No. Forgiveness can lead to reconciliation, but one does not produce the other. Reconciliation takes repentance (being genuinely sorry and passionate to work things out) AND forgiveness from BOTH parties! And even with all that there, it doesn't mean reconciliation will even work out. It can, but it is not guaranteed.

So, with the realization that forgiveness was a one-man (or woman) show that occurred solely within my heart, I forgave. I wished him well. From the deepest of my heart, I wished to see him happy. Not necessarily to his face, but in my heart and mind. Sometimes my past wounds reopen and I have to stop the drama playing out in my mind and remember that I have forgiven him. I also learned that forgiveness is a continual process. You don't forgive once and never feel anger again; you work on it every day.

Forgiveness may be freeing but it doesn't mean life has been a piece of cake. I still get depressed and anxious and worried about my future on occasion. Since giving birth and getting my 'monthly vagina party' back, I have experienced a first: raging PMS! I'm not sure why having a baby has changed this, but I just notice that a few days, or up to a week before my monthly party, I get incredibly depressed. It is NOT a fun time to be me! It's like being a 'sad-drunk' because all I want to do is cry and 'drunk' text everyone about my misery. Then the monthly vag party starts, the fog lifts, and I'm as jolly as a rabbit on ecstasy. Being a woman is crazy.

And I even get anxious on normal days too. It's just part of life when you let your thoughts run rampant. I've been doing my best to be present and enjoy the amazing beauty of my everyday life; my baby, my friends, my family, potential romance. I've got a great life and great people in it. I don't know where my life will take me or what will happen, but my present life is lovely and my future is sure to knock my socks off; it always does.

Who do you need to forgive?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Goodbye Kitsune


I know 3 posts in one day is a little excessive, but I figure if I'm on a roll, go for it!

A few weeks ago I made the decision to get rid of my first baby, the four-legged one; Kitsune. I loved her so much and she's gotten me through tough times and has been my snuggle buddy through cozy times. But I knew when I was pregnant there would be a chance that she wouldn't adjust well to the baby. Even though she has never been viscous, she is a sometimes skittish dog who likes privacy and space when she needs to be alone, especially with strangers and children.

At first things were fine. She seemed to grow from indifference to liking the baby over the months; snuggling by her, bringing her toys (even when Nova was sleeping Kit would often lay one of her icky dog toys next to the baby!) but once November became completely enamored with Kitsune, things went south. Nova loved her doggy and was so fascinated by her, chasing her, grabbing at her, falling on her. Then she started pulling on her, cornering her. It was nothing too bad, but you could tell it was starting to stress Kit out. She growled a few times, even bared her teeth and snapped. Luckily, she never came close to truly biting, but with our Big Change, it was enough to stress me out to my breaking point.

So my beloved Kitsune (fox in Japanese) has a new home with my friend Josh. He seems to love her and can even take her to work with him! I'm glad she has a home with someone who can give her the attention she needs without the stresses of a baby. I feel bad taking Nova's dog away, bug not as bad as I would feel if she got hurt by Kit. Now here is my photo dedication to Kitsune and the baby she loved/loved to hate.
Kitsune I love you and miss you and wish you the best darn doggy life!




Happiness is a warm baby

 
I'm feeling emotional and depressed this evening. And while I enjoy the therapeutic quality of my emotional healing posts, I feel like that's all my blog consists of lately. So instead I'm going to share joy with beautiful pictures of my lovey love, and in turn I will feel much happier (I already do just from looking at them!) I haven't continued with November's monthly picture updates since the big transition, so these are some pictures since her birthday.
Rainy dog walks at grandmas house
New shoes
New toy
Good morning, new room!
New yard
New tunnel

Whenever I get caught up in dwelling on the past, or grieving the loss of the future I thought I was going to have, I need to stop, look at my sweet girl, and be grateful for the life I DO have, with the family I am in. I may not be a wife with a loving husband, my own household, and more babies on the way, but I am a loving mother WITH a loving mother, living in a beautiful home with my beautiful daughter and family that loves and supports me. I still have time to live my dreams and create the domestic bliss I desire. But life is RIGHT NOW. And I am so grateful for it.








November's first Santa

  
She seemed a little confused about meeting Santa at our first Christmas party of the year, but she was pretty relaxed about it! She even got a gift from him; a stuffed snowman! November absolutely loves all things Christmas. She loves Christmas trees, the bright lights, the decorations. It's so cute to see her whole face light up whenever she sees our tree or hugs her little snowman. I can't wait to watch her enjoy Christmas morning!
Happy holidays!


Monday, November 26, 2012

{Emotional Healing} Fear

Following the theme of my post about self worth, I'm taking a look at another emotion that lurks behind my more obvious feelings of hate and bitterness over my breakup.

Today's emotional discovery: fear.

I realize that a lot of reasons I harbor so much bitterness is fear; there are so many things that make me fearful.

I'm afraid I will make the same mistakes I made with him. I'm afraid I'll give my heart away fully only to get hurt again. I'm afraid I will choose wrong. I'm afraid that I can't trust myself to choose wisely.

I'm afraid he will do the same thing he did to me with another girl; I'm afraid he will impregnate someone else. I'm afraid he will love his next girlfriend more than he ever loved me. I'm afraid he will start a new family and pay less attention to November. I'm afraid we will lose him more than we already have.

I'm afraid that I'm damaged goods. I'm afraid no one will ever want me as a single mom who has made many mistakes.

Looking my fear in the face shows me how ridiculous some of those fears are, and helps me overcome the more reasonable fears. In answer to the fears I listed above:

Yes, I'm afraid I will make the same mistakes again, but I've already learned a lot and am doing things differently. I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning of our relationship involving rushing into a serious relationship too soon, alcohol, promiscuity, and not listening to my inner sense. I'm not making any of those mistakes now. And the bottom line is: our relationship was NOT a mistake. No matter how many times I wish we had never even started dating in order to avoid the heartache I suffer, I must understand that it had to happen. I got November out of it, I became a better person, I grew wiser. This was meant to be no matter what came of it. I've learned so much and am armed with better knowledge to choose someone better for me next time. Yes, I might get hurt again. But if that is meant to happen, it will, despite all the wise choices I make. I just have to decide; be brave and try again, or hide from life?

I'm afraid of HE will make the same mistakes again, which obviously means I still care about him and don't want to see him screwing up his life. But his future is not my concern or responsibility. All that matters is his relationship with our daughter. Where my fear concerns him abandoning November, well, that is a very serious fear. But if he is a shitty enough person to stop being a good father to our daughter due to starting a new family, then he doesn't deserve to be in her life and she would be better off without him. I'm not exactly sure what to do with my fear of watching him love someone more than me, other than trusting that someday I will no longer give a crap about who he loves. I know in the future I will be with someone freaking amazing and will be loving that man more than any other, so why should HE not have the same happiness. In the end, I want us both to be happy in our separate lives.

My fear of being damaged goods is ridiculous. Yeah, some guys consider single moms to be a no-go, but they can suck it anyway. Choosing my next or even TRUE great love will be a very selective process. I only need the RIGHT kind of dedicated, family oriented man. Everyone else need not apply. I'm not interested. I know for sure that there are tons of guys out there who are more than happy to love a woman, even if she comes with some baggage...even if that baggage drools and poops its pants.

Fear is often unfounded. Once you really take it apart and look for truth, it can no longer scare you quite as bad.

In other news, I've been working on pampering me, doing things I love to do or that make me feel good. The other day November and I had a mommy-daughter date to the library, to get frozen yogurt, and then on a walk down the beautiful, peaceful trail that goes through our new neighborhood. Today I took a sunset jog down the trail!

I won't give up on love due to fear. 



Sunday, November 25, 2012

My heart works just fine

Image from {this great article: 10 tips to mend a broken heart}


My heart isn't broken, my heart works just fine. It hurts, it aches. It feels the pain of lost love. It numbs, it hides, to protect me from feeling. It bristles at the prospect of being hurt again. Yet still it blossoms at the sight of my baby's sweet smile. It will open when it's ready to let love in again. It will learn, it will heal, and repeat when needed. My heart is strong. My heart is wise. My heart is brave. It knows how to love. How to endure. How to repair. How to love again.

My heart isn't broken
My heart works just fine

{Emotional Healing} Self Worth

In an attempt to identify my feelings to work through them, instead of skirting around them, I've been searching beyond my feelings of hate and bitterness to see what really lies beneath. The end goal is healing. Overcoming my negative feelings to a place of forgiveness and freedom.

Today's discovery: feeling unworthy.

Coming to terms with the fact that I have been left, broken-up with, dumped, abandoned, set aside, or whatever you want to call it, has not been easy. Throw in the probability that I was left for another girl (who doesn't have an 'insurance policy' before breaking up with someone?) and I'm furious.

I feel so angry and bitter when I think HE left me, our relationship, our family, and the life we were making together to start a different life with someone else. Lets say even with the unlikely miniscule chance that another romantic interest had nothing to do with his decision to leave, he still left ME. Me, who was madly in love with him. Me, who did all I thought I could to keep the magic alive. Me, who always tried to be the perfect girlfriend. Me, who hadn't the slightest idea anything was going wrong for him.

It brings about all these questions about what is so wrong with ME? What did I do wrong? What is so repulsive about me? What is so much better about some other girl(s)?

And there it is; the ego. My anger and hate stem from wounds to my self-worth. I feel unworthy of love, I feel unattractive, and unlovable. 

But that is not true. He obviously lost appreciation for me and all that I brought to our relationship and his life. I have NO idea what went wrong or when, what he was thinking, or what is going through his head. It's none of my business. My business is me. And guess what: I'm damn worthy of love and affection. Guys really do find me both lovable  and attractive. I am worth it. I am.

Someone else will love me for me just fine. Someone else will be thrilled to have a chance with me. Someone will want to stick around. And all dating prospects aside; I'm thrilled to be with me! I like myself. I like the changes I've made and the person I've become. I like the ways that I'm growing and I KNOW great things are in store for me.

There's always someone better. And I deserve better. Sadly, I really thought HE was better. I thought he was the best. I have a hard time figuring out where I messed up in choosing him. Aside from a few mistakes and warning signs in the very beginning (age difference, he had just been dumped from a long relationship, I was still getting over my ex, our relationship was ignited by alcohol, sex came before romance)...ok now that I write it all out I can see those were HUGE warning signs. But aside from that, his courtship seemed so genuine and I felt like he would be good for me. But lessons have been learned. Maybe the ME I am now, never would have attracted him and his tempting romantic courtship? Hard to say. What's done is done and everything happens for a reason. The point is that I'm the cat's f-ing meow and deserve someone better. I'm worthy of someone better. I'm totally worthy of real, lasting love.

Don't ever let someone else's actions bring down your self worth. People are weird and do crazy shit. Don't let their problems bring you down. Just work on being the best version of YOU and you'll attract the right people. Smile! Life will get better.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012


Happy Thanksgiving! We've had one heck of a month. I've been a single mom for one month, spent a lot of time grieving, hoping, crying, smiling, laughing, and healing. I've gone from living on the floor of my parents work-out room to living in a new house, in a great big new room. I've gone from heartbroken to newly married to a handsome british millionaire and am wildly in love...ok, just kidding about that whole part.

I'm still healing from my broken heart, have up days, down days, good days, bad days, awesome days, worse days. But I'm doing it right this time; I'm feeling my feelings and working through them. Slowly. I'm so thankful for sooooo many things; for my family for loving and supporting me and for moving into an awesome, big new house just so November and I can live with them and have a real live giant room of our own. I'm thankful for all my loving, supportive friends who have been talking to me, listening to me, praying for me, helping me and just downright being there for me. I'm thankful for my job. I'm thankful for my beautiful, amazing, delightful little girl and all the joy and love she brings me every day. And even though I naturally have a lot of negative feelings about him still, I am grateful for her father for making my beautiful baby with me, and for being a somewhat easy to handle ex-baby-daddy.

By this time next year, I'll have even more to be grateful for and I'll look back on the toughest month of my life with pride, knowing I survived and I'm stronger. 

I'll elaborate more on our newest big move, especially once I have pictures of our new room. I hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving, and I wish you lots to be thankful for!
  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First Flu

 
There's nothing sweeter than a {sick} sleeping baby! My whole family got the 24 hour flu. Poor Nova got it first, as I discovered when she suddenly threw up all over me at 3am the other morning. Like a super-mom, I quickly and quietly cleaned a lot of the mess, put down a towel, and snuggled my stinky baby back to sleep. She was lethargic most of the day, but only threw up once more, and was feeling better by the evening, when she conked out in the middle of the bed as seen in the picture above. I, my mom, and step-dad all got it the next day. I thought I would feel terrible today, but I woke up feeling fine. What a miracle sleep can do! I can't afford any sickness in my life; tomorrow is the opening day of my work's (Trader Joe's Issaquah) new store, and this weekend is the big move to the new house! So I'm wishing all my friends, family, co-workers, and reader the best of health and love!

All You Need Is...a lot

  
Original image from {here}

The Beatles lied to us. They lied about a lot of things. Love songs and poetry, written in a fleeting moment of whirlwind lust and passion, boast beautiful words and false promises that can only be fulfilled if the artist is bound by duty, honor, and a strong moral compass. Because, like I said in my heartbroken post, those initial, lustful feelings always fade. Love becomes boring, domestic. Don't fall for a love song.

When I got out of my first long relationship, I read Being in Love by Osho. It was a great book and really helped me come to terms with the ending of my relationship, and move on. It taught me that the end of love is normal and often inevitable. It taught me to accept that people change and grow apart. I learned to be brave, accept the possibility that love could end again in my future, but to embrace new love without fear. I lived by this as a newly single woman on the rebound, and really resonated with the message.

The day my perception of love was once again altered was early in my relationship with November's daddy at my friend Abi's wedding. Her pastor was telling a story, as he stood before the couple ready to seal their fates together, about another couple he had recently married. This other couple had vows that ended in 'as long as love endures.' I was like, 'heck yeah, that's very realistic and forward-thinking of them! No one can promise an eternity to each other.' To my shock, he went on to explain how cowardly this vow was. He explained how the feelings you consider to be 'love' at the beginning months and years of a relationship or marriage are actually the fleeting, excited feelings of lust and passion, and if you expect to leave as soon as those feelings end, you certainly won't make it very far. He explained that love was a choice, and that marriage was a commitment to stay with the person you choose to love, even when things get tough, and passion fades.

I remember my feeling of awe and intimidation at his words. There I was, comparing these two opposing mindsets; I loved the freedom and fearlessness of Osho's philosophy, but it wasn't very secure; I loved the security and dedication of a Christian marriage, but it seemed so grim and difficult. I toyed with both ideals in the back of my mind, never settling on which was 'better'...until I had November.

Starting a family taught me the meaning of dedication, commitment and working hard at love through tough times; not only with Spencer, but with my new baby too. I realize now how important it is to be honor-bound by your spouse and children, to commit to them, and stay through the toughest times. NOW I understand the importance of having children AFTER you're married...to someone you have selected to commit to, to start a family with; someone who holds the proper values as a dedicated spouse and parent. Oops.

Not saying that married people have it any easier; divorce happens to the most well-planned couples. All I'm saying is that I totally get it now, especially why religious couples go through so much counseling and preparation; they are bound by faith to make their marriage work and want to do all that is possible to make that happen.

Osho's philosophy is wonderful for young singles, newly broken-up singles, or even more open-minded attached peoples. But I realize, at least for me, when it comes to marriage and starting a family, I want the dedicated, the honor-bound, the dutiful, the true heartfelt, life-giving commitment. Yeah, it's scary. Yeah, it's hard. But that's how you build a strong, unbreakable family. But first you have to choose the right person; someone who shares the same philosophy as you as is willing to work just as hard as you.

Love is just not enough.

You can love someone, but not be committed. You can love, but not behave dutifully. You can love, but not be right for someone. You can love, but not be dedicated. You can love, but not act loving. You can love, but not be loved back. 

You need love...and a whole lot else. 

With all that said, I know that November was meant to come into my life and I don't regret a thing. I was always meant to be a mom; she was always meant to be my baby. And while I would prefer she was born into a strong family, after a strong marriage between her daddy and I, it just didn't happen that way. Things happen for a reason, and I was meant to learn this lesson. I am already smarter and wiser from this experience, and better equipped to find the TRUE love of my life...whenever that is meant to be. In the meantime I am working on bettering myself and being a great mom. Being single (and sober, and NOT on the rebound) is giving me plenty of time to think about who I want to be and who I want to attract in the future. By becoming the type of person I would want to date (sober, family-oriented, smart, responsible, etc), I will more easily ATTRACT the right type of guy to me.

I've learned so much, I'm almost ready to be THANKFUL for this still-painful experience.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this little girl!



Monday, November 5, 2012

Homemade Kombucha! {how to brew 2 gallons kombucha}

  
Finally I get to share something I've been happy and excited about: homemade kombucha! My friend Abi has been making her own and gave me a scoby mushroom so I can join in the adventure! Here's how I did mine (based off this tutorial)

First, I got my glass (glass is by far the best for kombucha) brewing container. After much research and price/shipping comparisons, I settled on this 2.5 gallon container, because it was the best-sized and priced container I could find that I could immediately buy in person as opposed to waiting for an online purchase to be shipped (I'm impatient like that!)  

Since I had chosen such a large jar, I decided I would brew 2 gallons kombucha, therefor I got 2 gallons worth of ingredients. Halve these ingredients (besides the scoby) if you are only doing 1 gallon.

Ingredients:
-scoby with one cup previously brewed kombucha (whether you buy or inherit from a friend, your scoby will come with this liquid)
-2 cups sugar
-16 black (or green) tea bags 
-2 gallons filtered water
-white vinegar for cleaning
-fruit or juice for flavoring, if desired (after batch is done fermenting)

Supplies:
-stainless steel stockpot
-wood stirring spoon 
-clean kitchen towel and rubber band
-large bowl or plate for the scoby (after batch is done)
-containers for storing and flavoring (I used 16oz mason jars)
-stainless steel ladle (unless you're strong enough to pour a 2 gallon jar gracefully!)

Next, I cleaned my supplies. Keeping everything sanitary is important in kombucha brewing. I chose not to wash my brewing jar with soap, and only used plain white vinegar to clean it inside and out. I ran all my other supplies through the dishwasher, and submerged each piece in white vinegar. Once I started the brewing process, I made sure my hands were always freshly cleaned with white vinegar (I only used soap for an initial hand-washing, rinsed well, and then vinegar only afterward.) Since you don't need the mason jars until the batch has fermented, I didn't wash/vinegar them until the day I was ready to use them. Helpful tip: if you do use anything with a metal lid, dry the lids with a clean cloth to prevent rust.

Now for the fun! Boil 1/2 a gallon of filtered water in the stockpot. Once it boils, take it off the heat, and brew the 16 tea bags for 5-10 min. Remove tea bags when done. Stir in 2 cups sugar.

Pour this mixture into the jar, and add the remaining 1 1/2 gallons of water. Let this mixture cool completely, at least 1 hour. A hot tea will kill your poor scoby!

Once cool, add your scoby and the kombucha it came with. Cover jar with towel, secure with rubber band. Now you wait (peek all you want, but don't move the container around or bother with it) until a new scoby forms on the top of the tea, and your tea becomes a sour-slightly-sweet concoction, usually 7-10 days. My magic day is 8; it produces a tasty tea reminiscent of hard cider. You can experiment with the flavor you like best. The longer it sits, the more sour it gets. I had to let mine sit for about 10 days this last time, but it tasted great.

Once your tea is finished, wash your hands with white vinegar, remove scobys (you will have two, the original and the new 'baby,' I then reserve one scoby in a mason jar filled with kombucha and covered with a towel/rubber band. This becomes my reserve scoby that I can save in case something happens, or I can give it away.. Then I place the baby on a plate or in a bowl and cover with some kombucha. I set this aside, along with about 1 cup of freshly brewed kombucha in order to start my next batch.

To bottle your finished tea, pour the kombucha into storage jars using a ladle (or free pour if you are brave) and seal. Helpful tip: if using mason jars with metal lids, after pouring in the kombucha, dry the outer rim of the glass with a towel before sealing to prevent rust. Refrigerate and enjoy.  


To make flavored kombucha, pour some frozen or fresh fruit or juice into the storage jar (just a few tbsp fruit, or 1/2 inch juice) before adding the kombucha. Then seal and leave on the counter an extra 2-3 days. After that, move them to the fridge and enjoy!
The flavors I have done (I used frozen fruit); strawberry basil, blueberry rosemary, plain strawberry, plain blueberry, mixed berry, and mango. This is so much fun to make, and saves a lot of money, if you frequently enjoy store-bought kombucha. It was so much easier than I thought it would be, and I quickly got the hang of the process, and found it to be quick and easy, even with November running amok. Have fun brewing yours!







Sunday, November 4, 2012

Choosing Happiness


We've got our happy faces on and we are ready to start our new lives.

Of course, I can't pretend that I am fully OVER what has happened, or even that every day is positive. The truth is that this is a work in progress. My heart will heal, but not overnight. Our lives will be beautiful, but I'm still mourning what I thought I had. BUT I realize that happiness and moving forward is a choice, and that is what I choose.

This past week has been full of ups and downs; I go through all the stages of loss (depression, anger, acceptance) over and over and back again. This break up isn't like the others; I can't just avoid seeing him until I'm fully over it. I can't put a time frame on my healing. But I will say that, for the most part, I've chosen to stay positive and work toward moving on. Every day gets better and better.

I have so much to share about this process, and hope I one day will, but for now ill keep it short and sweet. While I have been feeling good about our future and my new journey as a single mom, it's still emotionally exhausting to delve into. I just wanted to pop in here and say that my period of silence and mourning is (hopefully) at an end and I look forward to posting.  I STILL have tons of posts I'm dying to write (like about homemade kombucha) as well as sharing a little of my soul from this experience. 

Tell everyone you love that you love them. Hold your babies tight. Kiss yor doggy's nose. Cherish every moment. Choose happiness.
  

Friday, October 26, 2012

heartbroken

 
Image from {here}

I thought my last two posts were hard, but they just keep getting harder. I prefer posting happy pictures of my baby and fun art projects, but I've always been dedicated to staying true on this blog and not glazing over the hard stuff as if it weren't there; the hard stuff is what makes us stronger. It's what others relate to. My story could help someone cope with their own experiences.

So here it is: my ever-changing life is changing yet again. I'm officially a single mom. To put a long and personal (to a person other than me) story short, Spencer does not want to be in a relationship with me anymore. He still wants to be a good father and be active in November's life, but he can't marry me or be with me.

I'm so broken-hearted and in a tremendous amount of emotional pain, even though it has been slowly lessening since yesterday, when we talked and made it official. I've never hurt like this before. It's a deep wound and will take a lot of healing.

I'm also dealing with a lot of negative feelings right now. I'm feeling a lot of deep sadness and grief over the loss of the love I had and the future I had dreamed of and tenderly cherished. I'm feeling betrayed by his lack of communication and the suddenness of this whole situation; I thought everything was fine and would be perfect once he was less busy. 

I'm feeling remorse for not following my intuition; deep down I knew something was up with him, but I convinced myself I was imagining things. There were so many things my gut told me that I ignored. Even from the start, I knew he wasn't ready to get into a relationship with me, as he had literally just come out of one. I knew he would regret settling down and choose freedom eventually. I knew the restaurant job would be the breaking point. I knew and know so many other things. I will never doubt myself again.

I'm feeling unworthy, unloved, and rejected. If it were up to me, we would make it work, do whatever it took to make our relationship survive for November, as I recognize the importance of a child growing up within an unbroken family. I've always been dedicated to making it work. Every time the passion dwindled on my side, or we were having some issues, I made the choice to get the passion back, to ask myself what I could change within me to make our relationship better. That was great on my part, but I didn't realize that action needed to be on both sides. I thought I could carry the relationship for the both of us through my effort alone. But that isn't how it works. You both need to work on it and be dedicated to it. He is no longer 'IN love' with me, and is choosing to leave our relationship, and boy does that hurt. Badly.

I'm feeling ashamed. I feel like a failure. I'm almost 29 (this coming Wednesday) and I'm back at my moms. I would feel more successful and powerful if I were living alone with November, but being around family might be what I need. I'm also feeling humiliated knowing that, since Spencer is friends with the circle my ex belongs to, the ex is sure to find out and probably think it's awesome that I've been dumped after having a baby. It sounds petty, but I can't pretend it's not in the back of my mind.

I'm feeling sick to my stomach about how this will affect November forever. No matter how involved Spencer turns out to be, or how amiable our relationship is, nothing compares to having her loving biological father in the home EVERY day. But, as this is no longer an option, we will have to do our best. We were friends for many more years than we were lovers, so I hope we can find that friendship again to help lessen the blow and continue to provide her with the family she needs. 

I know these negative feelings will fade. I will feel happy, beautiful and loved again. I'll feel confident and worthy. I'll quit caring what others think. I'll meet new people, new friends. I'll fall in love again, and I'll be even stronger and smarter next time, and life will only get better. I'll smile more, cry less. I'll heal. Ill love. Live. Learn. Grow. I'll be better from this.

But right now it just hurts. 

I wish Spencer luck. I truly want him to be happy. I hope he finds what he is looking for in life on this new journey of his, and I hope it's worth losing me for.

The lesson: Love is a choice. Once the lust, passion, excitement and obsession fade, you are left with sober, boring, calm, reasonable love. But most people don't understand; that's what REAL, true, honest love feels like. I know it sounds grim, but those other feelings always fade. Always. If you expect those feelings to last, you will jump from one relationship to the next without ever knowing true, hard-earned love. Once the passion fades, love becomes a choice. It's hard work to maintain, but it's up to you to keep the flame alive, to bring back the passion, remember why you fell in love and try to live every day like it's the first date. You have to grow with it, be willing to change with it. And the results are subtle; not as flashy as a new, sexy mate. What you get is a family. A partner. A life. Something to build, nurture, and be proud of. Someone who loves you unconditionally. Or you can choose being alone. Or the Russian roulette of ever-changing mates, drama, and superficial bragging rights over your hot new upgrade. No choice is wrong or right but it is all up to you.

I will say that I am so grateful that our short-lived love story resulted in the most amazing, wonderful thing; November. I am so happy she is in my life and am going to do my best to give her the life she deserves. And I know her father loves her too. That we will always have in common.

You see, I'm already healing; I wrote this entire post without shedding a single tear. Goodnight, world, tomorrow is a new day and it's going to be better than today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

But it gets worse before it gets better

  
Image from {here}

Things did not go as planned. Date night was not the magical cure I had hoped for. Because date night didn't happen. I was stood up and had my heart completely shattered. I'm not ready to go into details, but I will say that I don't know what the future holds.

And ladies, let me make some amendments to my previous post: grooming yourself to be the perfect girlfriend/wife by avoiding nagging and 'bothering' your partner will do you no good, because he will likely push against even the SLIGHTEST restraints, whether real or imagined. So, girls, tell your man what you need from him and expect him to follow through. I SHOULD have been able to rely on Spencer for help and support. He SHOULD have made himself available, regardless of what was happening in other areas of life. Once you become a parent, your life changes forever. Whether you are ready or not; whether you run and hide; once that baby is born you are a parent forevermore. The ONLY choice you have is what kind of parent you will be. Strong or weak. Loving or cruel. Attached or distant. 

And the best choice you can make as a parent, is to put family first. In every choice you make, in every new endeavor, ask yourself: will this benefit or hurt my family? If I do this, can I continue to maintain balance with my family? No ones feelings or needs should come before family; not your boss, your job, your hobbies, or your friends. You can maintain a healthy balance with all those aspects of life, but family should never leave the top of the list of priorities. And if you find that balance starting to tip, stop, and figure out what immediate changes you can make to bring things back to center.

And above all, communicate. Over-communicate. Communicate whether it's easy or hard. communicate even when you would rather shut everyone out. In fact, comminicate MORE than you want to. I don't think there is anything more damaging to a family unit than failure to communicate.

I pray that things really will get better. I KNOW they will because I'm strong and I ALWAYS make it through the toughest times. I will always put my family first. It WILL get better.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This too shall pass


Image from {here}

 Do you know how many times I've used and heard used this mantra among young mothers? It's no wonder; being a new mom is hard work. Even when your child gets easier and older, there is still so much to be done. November is at my favorite age so far. Her high-needs personality is rarely visible. She's often independent and always cuddly. She's smart, learning quickly, listens well, and responds well to gentle, loving non-physical discipline.

But this past month has been increasingly tough with Spencer at his new job. Lately, I only see him for a few hours, a few evenings a week, and sometimes for a minute before he goes to work. Often I spend the entire day with only November. All the household and baby responsibilities are solely mine. This is so much to do alone! This week, with planning november's birthday and recovering and cleaning up the aftermath, has been particularly rough. Add to that extra emotions and loneliness, and you've got one depressed mama. 

I knew when Spencer started this job that it would be rough for awhile, and that was no joke. But I find myself feeling exhausted and drained and in need of some recharging. It's natural for me to put on a happy face and do it all myself, but I just can't. I have to ask for help. I keep wanting to reach out to Spencer and getting upset that he isnt here, but it just isn't reasonable to expect him to be available right now. He is so busy with this new restaurant. BUT IT WILL PASS! He will have days off again. We will have our evenings together again. We will share baby duty again. We will get our relationship back in balance, but in the meantime I NEED to take care of myself, before I break down and emotionally shut down.

To do this, I need to ask for help. Even though I keep telling myself no one is available, I need to try. I need to ask everyone. I need someone to come over and help with Nova so I can clean, do yoga, talk, socialize, and exercise. To be a good mommy I need to take care of myself! I have to ask for help.

This is a hard post to write, because it isn't all sunshine and rainbows. But it is therapeutic and I know so many people that can relate. This will pass, the good and the bad, the happy and sad. I will cherish every beautiful thing and give as much love as I can...and take care of myself!

Step one: date night starts tonight. We planned this night to go to a bar to see some bands play for weeks in advance, and boy am I glad we did. Even though I'm not feeling social (especially not in a bar atmosphere mood) and as much as I want to stay home with November, and I'm worried she will wake a ton while we are gone, I really need a night out with her daddy. Here's hoping this is the magical cure to what ails me!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Twelve Months!

 
 
My big one year old! This last month of her first year has been all about walking, gaining independence, playing with toys, and talking. Most of her words sound like variations of 'mom' and 'dad' but she really tries mimicking words. Right now she likes saying 'light' (dight), 'dog' (dog-t), 'arf' (the sound dogs and birds supposedly make), 'off' (when she's looking at lights). She likes pointing at things she wants and things she is curious about. She loves dancing and singing. Her hugs and cuddles are even more sincere, and she loves touching soft things, laying her cheek on them, and saying 'awww.'