Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Halfway there

FForty. Say it with me. F-F-Forty.  Put your top teeth on your bottom lip and make the  FFFFFF sound.  Yeah, I can't say it either.  It sounds too weird. Like the whole time I was in my Thirties, no big deal and now it's like that stamp I have been avoiding for so long has finally been applied to my forehead.  I'm totally not feeling it.

I know they say you are as young as you feel.....fine then I will stay 32 forever.  Actually I look  and ten times better than I have in the last 17 or 18 years so I guess there is that  I truly feel young, and I know I don't act my age. (that probably isn't a good thing to admit)

But really, think back to when you were 20.  What did 40 look like to you?

To me it looked like this: Being married, kids, jobs, dogs, happy, living the white picket dream.

What it really looks like: Divorced, kids, job,  two annoying cats, yes I am happy, exhausted, stressed,    holding it together with a smile. (and no boyfriend, thanks Jeff for breaking up with me six weeks before my birthday)

The other part I don't like about being 40 is I don't feel like I have done ANYTHING.  I haven't gone anywhere cool. I've never even been out of the country.  I haven't done anything significant I guess.  At least to me.  I feel like I have wasted the first 40 years of my life being boring, and safe and somewhat comfortable.  Why?  I have always had some excuse.  Kids, no time, no money.  So now I feel this pressure to start doing things.  I need to go somewhere far away. I need to finish school. I need to get another tattoo, I need to sign up for a half marathon.  I need to learn new things. I need to feed the starving children in Africa.

No, it's not a midlife crisis, so you over there in the corner looking down your nose at me, you can give it a rest.  And what does that mean anyway?  When people say that I imagine the quintessential balding man in his 40's dumping the family for an earring, hot rod and trophy wife.  Well, worry not, I have no desire to be younger, I am not going to start wearing inappropriate clothing, pretending to be 25 and trying to hunt down a younger man.  (35 is the lowest I will go).  I have seen that and let me assure you, it's not pretty and that will not be me. 

I just don't want to get to 80 and look back and think---I should have done more with my life, because that is how I feel right now, how did I get to 40 and not feel like I have accomplished anything much at all.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Treat her right

One of my many jobs as a mother of boys is to teach them how we treat people.  Being divorced I can't depend on their dad to take up any slack on this and the fact that the way he treated me was a major factor in why our marriage failed....this just solidifies the fact that the job falls on my shoulders.

Daily I try and show them in my actions and words.  I say please and thank you to everyone.  They have never seen me lose it with anyone directly.  I may have raised my voice once or twice or been stern to get a point across but never acted like a fool or disrespectful.  Once we have left the situation I may have gotten upset or explained to them how frustrated I am but never in front of the person.  We are pleasant to everyone.  They hold doors.  They wait and let ladies, and elders in ahead of them.    

It's basically like this.  Be nice, be polite.  Life is too short to get mad about everything.  Save  it for the big stuff and let the little things go.  Some people are having a bad day and you can make them smile by being nice.  Common sense stuff I think.

My oldest is Twelve.  Girls are starting to enter the picture.  Though he won't tell me outright, he likes them a lot.  As much as I want him to stay a little boy forever it's just not happening.  He is almost taller than me, his voice is doing that cool Peter Brady trick and he is looking more like a man every day.

Before I know it there will be a girlfriend.  Probably the two-week variety like we all had in junior high, but before long, one might stick, and like I said, the treat a woman right talk is only going to come from me...so what do I say?????

Treat her like a lady. Hold doors....all doors.  Give her your coat when she looks cold.  Carry her books or backpack.  Talk to her every day.  Treat her with respect.  Compliment her, Listen to her.

That's all good for now.  But I want these boys to grown into good men who love God and know the right way to treat a woman.  So from some of my personal experiences I would tell him this once he is older

Don' t tell a woman you love her if you don't--- The fastest way to tear apart anyone's self-worth is to tell them you love them because you think that is what they want to hear. If you don't love her, don't stay with her out of obligation or comfort.  Letting a relationship carry on too long will end up destroying one of you.

Don't use women. Look, once in our lives we will use, be used or witness someone being used.  It happens, it's a fact of life.  But don't do it more than once.  Just because some girl/woman would probably do anything for you doesn't mean she should be at your beckon-call.  It may feel good to know there is someone who would do anything for you but if you don't love her and can't treat her right, you aren't being a man.

Don't tell her what you thinks she wants to hear.  Don't tell her you will do something or be something you never intend to do.  Don't pacify her with words.  Show up, be present and do what you say you will.

Treat her like she is the only woman in the world.  If you can't give her your full attention,  if you are talking to other women. flirting with other women, you don't need to be with her.

Find out as much as you can about what she likes and what interests her.  It's not all about you.

Be respectful to her friends and family.  Respect any rules her parents have set. Get to know her family and friends.

Talk to her.  Call, text. send a smoke signal but don't tell her you will call her and then don't. If you are busy tell her, but don't ignore her.

Her opinions, thoughts, dreams and future matter just as much as yours.  Don't undervalue anything she has to say or make her feel like she doesn't matter. She is your equal. She should be your best friend

Be respectful.  Don't brag to your buddies.  Don't dis her to people.  Don't discuss your private conversations.

Right now if I were to discuss this with him he would either roll his eyes or exit stage right as fast as humanly possible.  All I can do is keep reiterating this to him.  Treat people right.  Treat women right.  Be a good man.  Be a Godly man.  Over and over and over.  I would say treat any woman like you would your mother but he can be such a butt to me sometimes I think I will save that little gem.

At least with the little one I have a few years......he is still positive girls are gross and have cooties......

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


So back to school today here in Michigan.....a boy in 7th grade and a boy in 1st grade.  And tomorrow, Mama starts back to school after a let's see.....20 year hiatus. 

Let's start with the kids first.  The first grader...no problems there.  He is so smart and so good for other people.  I get compliments everywhere about how helpful, and sweet and kind he is.  Luckily they didn't witness the screaming fit he threw when I told him no computer and Netflix on Friday (when they come back from their dad's) because of his mouthy comments to me and his brother.  This will be a breeze for him.  His reading level is almost second grade and everything else comes naturally.

The seventh grader.  This one has me worried.  Not because he isn't smart.  He is.  Extremely smart.  But somewhere around 5th grade he stuck his head up his rear-end and has yet to extract it.  I know, I know, It's a boy thing.  But it's extremely frustrating to tell him something or ask him something and get that blank stare.  Or how he "forgets" to hand in work, or bring work home, or what the teacher told him.  The fact that he has six different teachers this year terrifies me and I have gotten him as organized as I can without actually being there.  Now all I can do is pray and hope he finally starts listening.

Then there's me.  School is something I have wanted to do for years but either it wasn't the right time or the support to go back was not there.  I have had this unwavering feeling for awhile that I needed to be doing something different with my life.  Profoundly different.  Luckily for me my bank got bought out a year ago and this year it was announced that my department was being moved to another office in Ohio.  I could have stayed.  I could have gone back to a service position, but to me that was a move back about 12 years and since I already feel burnt out with my current job, just the thought of staying was making me physically ill.   So tomorrow I start the first of two classes this semester and then when my job is done the end of this year, I will be able to start back full time.  The "plan" is to go until I am done which I am anticipating will be about 15 months, barring any issues with classes.  This is going to take some sacrifice on my part.  Some creative accounting if you will.  But at this point in my life it's almost a do or die.  It's just me here.  At least for now, and the only way out of this lovely hole I am in is a better job which will require a better education.  So I am ready.  Two business classes this semester, the whole hog next.  The only thing that terrifies me more than no job is the Inorganic Chemistry I will have to take.

So like I said, I have been feeling like my life needed to be taking a different path.  Besides school, I felt like I needed to be doing something more with church.  I go nearly every Sunday.  I participate in classes and events, send my kids to events.  I have volunteered for a couple of things, but now I am doing more.  This Sunday I will help co-lead a small group for 8th grade girls.  This has me excited and freaked out all in one. I love doing this. Leading, counseling, teaching.  Terrified because what do I know about leading a small group?  And you know what this means.  I am probably going to have to GULP, Pray out loud.  ( I have to go breathe into a brown paper bag) So please pray for me. I know it's going to be OK, it will be rewarding and if I am lucky I might come out of this a slightly better person.  Lord knows I need that daily.

So it's off to the races, kids, work full time, classes the only two days I don't have kids. No spare time really.  But it will be good, the less time I have the less time there is to think about how sucky things have been, and how I am going to make things better, one way or another