11/7/12

The Day After. And Everything Else.

It's alive!

I've been missing in action lately...my apologies to the four or five of you who have expressed concern.  I'm here!  It's been an intense and grueling couple of weeks and to be honest with you, I just didn't have the oomph to write here.

Everything I started to write sounded hollow and echoey, like I was yelling through a megaphone filled with socks.  I don't know what the deal is..is it the gloominess of November triggering some Seasonal Affective Disorder crap already?  Is it this damned election and the absolute WORST it's bringing out in people?  Or perhaps it's just me.  I feel drained and exuberant, jumpy and listless all at once.

I had my day in court with Big Daddy on Monday the 29th of October.  A huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who sent love and prayers and good vibes along with me that day.  I needed them, bad.  Talk about nervous.  Sweaty pits, nausea, stuttering...I was a class act.  Thank God my sexy attorney held it together, though, and I am declaring a winner.  Not me, not Big Daddy...but my kids.  They might actually come out as the victors in this one.

Don't get me wrong.  The judge wasn't like Tinkerbell in a black robe, spreading joy and fairy dust all over the courtroom.  In fact, she was a steely lady.  Tough.  Tough like boot leather.  She scared me so much I couldn't remember how much I make an hour, and as I spoke into the microphone in response to her question regarding my income, I stammered out: "Umm I think I make $XX.XX an hour.  Around that.  I think."   So obviously it wasn't my sparkly personality or firm grasp on facts that won me any favor.

Out of respect and a slightly murky idea of what is legal for me to gab about, I won't divulge any more detail.  I will say that my attorney was slack-jawed as we walked out.  I looked at him and said, "Are you surprised?  Is this a good ending or a bad one?"  He looked at me with his dreamy, vaguely ethnic brown eyes and said, "It's good."

I am, for the first time in a while, cautiously optimistic.  Because I know, very well by now, that ordering someone to pay doesn't mean they'll pay.  But this does mean that I will have, at the very least, a piece of paper signed by a judge saying my kids are owed money.  And that piece of paper?

That's a win.

Don't think that this is a windfall for me and the kids.  It's not, not by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, it's not going to change my present day finances very much at all.  Enough to maybe take the edge off a week or two every month.  What he will be paying in child support is probably less than the average car payment.  But I'm not complaining.  As I have said before, I'd be happy with an extra twenty bucks every week.  When you're stuck in a blistering hot desert, even the tiniest bit of shade is a welcome relief.  I'm grateful to have anything.

I'd be a shitty friend if I didn't take a second to thank my friend Danielle for coming with me that day, and to the others who offered to come, and to those who sent texts and messages and support and to the amazing Emily who joined us at lunch afterwards and gave my sexy attorney his new nickname, "Aladdin".  I have the best friends in the world.

So that's one reason for my absence.  I was nervous about court.

Another thing that had me feeling wonky was the election.  No, no...don't worry.  I'm not going to talk politics.  I'm so sick of politics that I would rather talk about football.  Or lawn fertilizer.  I saw friendships end over this presidential race, and that saddens me.  It doesn't seem as though our country has ever been more divided (at least not in the last fifty years or so) and this division is scary.  So much hatred, so much vitriol, so much doom and gloom and in your face and nah nah boo boo rhetoric.  I am trying so hard to teach my kids how to be good citizens, how to be good people.

It's hard to teach your kids things like that when there are adults all around them acting like preschoolers.

I don't see my friends as Democrats or Republicans or Smurfs or whatever.  I see them as people.  I may disagree with some of my friends about certain things, but one thing I do agree with is that we are all entitled to our opinions and our feelings.  I had to take a break from facebook due to the rising tide of anger and the back and forth that was going on (ok it only lasted 24 hours but still..I made a status update about it and everything!). My love of Scrabble and also the sick need to know what's going on in EVERYONE'S LIVES proved to be too much so I logged back on, and like a junkie sinking back into a stained crack-den couch with a needle stuck in my arm I started clicking "like" again. 

I'm glad the election is over, but I will be really glad when everyone figures out how to work together without all of this animosity.  Nothing good can come from so much anger.  Nothing.

I've also been occupied with something else the past couple of weeks, something not so awful and nerve-wracking:

I've been busy dating.  John McCain and I have been dating, and it's been really nice.  So nice, in fact, that he's decided to take me on a very super amazing trip over Thanksgiving.  I'm not going to get too detaily because I don't want Big Daddy and Secretary all up in my business (hi guys!  Henry wants me to tell you, "enough with the Hamburger Helper").  But I will say that it's something pretty darn special and a passport is required.  The kids are supposed to be with Big Daddy for Thanksgiving weekend, and I always get sad.  Doesn't matter what kind of plans I have for the day or the weekend, it's just a bummer for me.  So John, being the spontaneous and very kind person he is, offered to take me somewhere fun for the long weekend.

I hemmed.  I hawed.  I tried to come up with excuses.

But in the end, I said yes.

This might be a good time for me to tell you guys that when I'm with McCain, I sometimes feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.  No, I'm not a hooker, but you know when she's still wearing her whorish clothes and her hair is all prostitute like, and Richard Gere is gingerly leading her into the life of privilege?  Like when Barney the hotel concierge teaches Vivian how to use the silverware for the fancy business dinner?

I kind of feel like that when I'm with him. 

When we're together, I can't help but think of the stark differences in our lives.  He spends more on some of our dinners than I spend on groceries for an entire week.  This trip we're going on, I'm sure it's costing more than what I make in two months.

I feel as though I am somehow being unfaithful to my kids.  Is that insane or what?  But that's the truth.

As I told one of my BFF's....I'm conflicted.  I've been down here in the trenches for so long, covered with mud and dodging bullets and trying to keep my little troop safe.  Part of me feels as if going out and enjoying the Good Life is nothing short of treason.

I know that as I board the airplane with McCain, I will be nervous.  I'll be nervous about a lot of things:  flying, whether or not I packed the right clothes, how I'm going to conduct my morning bathroom business with a roommate (a single woman gets into a routine, folks, that's all I'm gonna say).  But I'll also feel some anxiety about my kids.  How they feel, knowing Mom is living it up, going to museums and seeing sights and being wined and dined while they are left behind.  My kids wear the same few pieces of clothing week after week.  The three still in school are on the reduced lunch program.  My eldest is 18 and doesn't have his driver's license, let's not even dream of him having a car.  They have gone so long without so much and complained so little.  And here I am, thinking about things like itineraries and jet lag.

I feel like Cinderella's stepmother, leaving poor Cin dressed in rags and mopping the floor while I get all glammed up for the ball.  I feel shady and phony and to be honest, like a bad mom.  Everyone tells me that this is awesome, this will be so relaxing and wonderful for me.  Telling me that I deserve to have something special like this.  But I can't quell that little voice in my head saying, "Your kids deserve better, too."

Mommy Guilt.  Making women crazy since the dawn of man.

And there you have it.  Just a few of the nuggets that have been taking up my time and attention over the past couple of weeks.  There was also the demise of a friendship, and of course the daily joy of single-handedly raising three teenagers and one 12 year old who may as well be a teenager.

Life has been crazy.  It's been scary and exhilarating and sweet and sour.  Above all, though, as always...life is good.  I hope YOU are doing well and feeling good and if you're not either of those I hope it passes quickly and that you are soon well and good.

Thank you... for being you. 



16 comments:

  1. Yay for the court battle going in your (kids) favor! Yay for still dating McCain! And another really big YAY for taking a trip with your fella!

    Looks like the good things in life are finally catching up with you. I'm happy for you but if you ask me, life better not stop here cause the way I see it, you're still owed quiet a bit...like maybe another expensive trip after this one or a new car? Yep, that sounds about right. And stop with the mom guilt. Your kids are probably a bit jealous but ultimately they're happy for you. Much like we are :)

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    1. Thanks Lin!! I have to admit, it's nice being pampered. I could get used to it.

      That mom guilt is a bitch.

      Thanks for reading!

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  2. So glad to see you amongst the living again! I have to admit, after following your blog for only a few months, I missed you! Congrats on your big day in court! I hope this is only the beginning of good things coming your way. And I hear you on the election crap. So glad it's over. If I had one more phone call or watched one more political ad, I was gonna pull my hair out.
    So sad to hear about the end of a friendship though. It would be so nice if everyone could just respect each others opinions (from the left and the right). My BFF and I voted differently in this election, and I knew we would, but she'll always be my bestie no matter what side of the party line we are on.

    Ok, let's get to the good stuff. Woo-hoo! How exciting for you and J.M. Wherever you're going, I'm sure you'll have a blast! But I can totally understand your feelings of guilt. It sounds like you are a wonderful mother, and your kids know it. They would probably tell you themselves that you deserve this break. So enjoy it! All exclamations aside, I'm very happy that you have found someone special. After all the crap you've dealt with, it's about damn time.

    Have a wonderful week(end)!

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    1. Awww thanks Traci! You know, one of my BFFs also voted differently than I did and honestly, it doesn't matter to me. She has her reasons, I have mine, and that's it. We still love each other!

      My kids are slowly accepting it. They have given me a list of acceptable souvenirs, ha!

      Thank you so much for reading, and for the nice things you say. It's appreciated :o)

      Jenny

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  3. Good to 'see' you back! I too am glad the election is over. In my 41 years on earth I have to say I've never seen such blatant racism displayed by so many. Even my church (white pastor, mixed congregation) seem to be having issues and I get to witness it via emails being thrown back and forth...and people wonder why folks DON'T attend church! Anywho...have a great time on your trip. You deserve it and your kids will be fine.

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    1. Oh Mommyof1, I'm sorry to hear that. I've seen things that have horrified me during this election and it makes me sad. We think that as a society we've come so far, become so advanced, but there is still a strong undercurrent of racism and ignorance. It's heartbreaking.

      Here in Minnesota we had to vote for an amendment to our Constitution that would affect gay marriage. Not on gay marriage itself, mind you, just some wording that would hopefully pave the way for equality. Some of the horrific things I heard people say...you'd think we were still in the Victorian age.

      Thanks, as always, for reading! Hope things are going well for you and the boy.

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  4. The famous Mommy Guilt...does it ever go away? But you need time for yourself sometimes and it's not like your kids will be sitting at home...they were going to be with your EX anyway. What's the saying...If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! You deserve to do fun things too.
    Congrats on court...reading your post, I was reliving all your feelings again since it's only been a few weeks since I went through it. Amazing how strong we can be when that is the only choice we have. Especially when we are being strong for our kids. So glad to see a new post from you...I missed reading them.

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    1. Thanks so much Sil. I thought about you while I was in court! It's such a surreal experience, huh? I too am amazed the reserves of strength we have. It's good to know we can keep rising to the occasion!

      I appreciate your kind words and your support. So much :o)

      Thanks for reading!

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  5. Great news all around!! I know that mommy guilt so well; Back when my kids were like 1 & 4 we used to go to a hotel just for 1 night, like from 5 p.m. to 11 a.m. and it was so hard for me. I would sometimes cry and fret until I had a couple cocktails. We did it maybe 2 or 3 times a year so we could actually see each other. Now I still get a pit in my stomach when thinking about spending a long weekend away from home even though they are older. I am so happy for you b/c you really deserve a nice companion and to get some (at least paper) justice for your children.

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    1. Gail I am freaked out about leaving them. But I think a mutual friend of ours is going to stay here with the two older ones (and the furry one). With the teenagers I worry more about something bad happening (like a party or someone going to jail) than anything else. Parenting is FUN!

      Thanks for reading, and for being a friend :o)

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  6. Jenny -- welcome back to your blog. I missed you. Kinda like you on FB, I was checking every day for a new post from the Happy Hausfrau. This post is awesome! I am glad you had a success in court. Gosh, it kills me how a dad could think that he can get away without supporting his kids. The kids did not ask for the divorce -- they should be cared for (emotionally, financially, all ways!)

    I am also glad that you and JM are getting a chance to get away. Congrats to you on that, and I wish you a wonderful trip. You deserve happiness. Your kids will survive (though I truly hope that they will not have to eat Hamburger Helper on Thanksgiving!) And your kids will even be happy for you if you are happy!

    Cannot wait for the post AFTER the trip! Waiting for the juicy details! :)

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    1. Hey anonymous, thank you!

      No worries about Hamburger Helper..I think as long as there are other adults around to impress, they will eat well.

      I promise to take pics, and hopefully some of them will be "postable". For sure the details will be here.

      Thank you for reading!

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  7. No. One. Deserves This More. (See how I capitalized that? And emphasized it with well-placed periods? Yeah -- I'm serious!)

    Go and live and love and report back to us as much as is tactful. I, for one, will be living vicariously. :)

    Think of this as Mama Medicine. It makes Mama healthy and hearty and puts her in a wayyyy better mood. Your kids will likely *want* you to take these refreshment trips more often! Win-Win, baby, Win-Win!

    Hugs (and damn glad you're back here posting),

    --Salish

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    1. Oh Salish, thank you!

      I will come back with a full report for you guys. With as much tact as I can stand. Which isn't much, so I apologize in advance.

      Hugs back at you, lady. thanks so much for reading.

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  8. Great to see you back and also on how the hearing went ... All will be well...truth will prevails.. he has to pay for your kids, he owes it that much to them and you too..the great mommy guilt.. yeah it will always be there.. just like said they will be with your ex.. and am sure they would want you to be happy too..(make sure you get their lists right ;)You deserve it.. Hoping to see the post-trip report soon..

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    1. vbabe, good to hear from you! How are things? I've been thinking about you, hoping that everything is going as smoothly as possible for you. Please let me know.

      Thank you so much for your kind words...I love all of my fellow moms telling me to GET OVER IT! You guys are awesome.

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