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Archive for the ‘Moms’ Category

Beloved is in graduate school.  He attends a pretty cool low-residency program in Vermont specializing in children’s literature.  He’s doing really well, and is accomplishing VERY long-standing goals.  However, we (you may have noticed) do not live in Vermont.

Because it is low-residency, he only has to attend school twice a year, for 10 days.  January and July.

Last January, I was such a baby-lawyer, I could barely open my eyes.  I was a little busy, and it made me nervous when he was gone.  What if something comes up?  What if I get a new assignment?  But it was fine, and I think I left at 4:30 every day.

Last July – the girls were in the Middle of the Country with the Ex, and Beloved and I had already started our moving process.  There were no difficulties.

This January – total different picture.

I’m fully engaged in a case that is culminating this month in every way.  Discovery is closing, summary judgment is being filed, experts are being hired, court hearings are happening.  It’s insane.  INSANE.  And I’m heavily involved in every aspect of it.

I was already nervous – that getting out of work at a reasonable hour was going to be difficult.  Of all months, this is the one where deadlines happen.  I was nervous.

Then, ha ha!  What made me think I knew what nervous was?

It looks like I have the great honor of traveling to a very different part of the country to tend to one of the many aspects of the case that is my Life, even though it’s a bit beyond my seniority level.  It just so happens to be during Beloved’s absence (and over days that are (a) a national holiday, and (b) inauguration day.  Feh.)

At first, it looked like it was just one day, and it was a day that was a school holiday, so I knew that the kids would be fine with friends.  Then it ended up two days, and two long days – long enough that once you add in travel, it may affect 4 days.  Yikes.  Beloved’s only gone for 10 days — I’m having issues for HALF of them?  Unbelievable.

I was going to post about how my decision to make my community one of my many priorities with my time becomes oh-so-valuable in times of need.  I have friends that I can ask for a hand – friends who I’ve given a hand to in the past, and who know that I’m an active and engaged member of our community.

But now, it seems like my needs are too big, and instead, I’m turning to family.  I’ve begged my mother to (re)arrange her work schedule so she can come while I’m gone.

E is mad at me – she overheard me talking to a friend who is my back-up plan, and insists that I hadn’t told her the whole story about next week before telling the friend.  She is mad about the options I have considered for her while I’m gone.  Some friends are out of favor, and others are just plain old “annoying.”  Humorously, she thinks she should be left home alone.

It was hard not to laugh at that one.

All in all, the stress levels are high.  I keep thinking about how, in the past, I’ve looked forward to certain things – or dreaded them – and then they happen.  And before I know it, it’s behind me.

I keep telling myself … it will be January 22nd before I know it.  Beloved will be home, and this difficult time will have passed.  i have a lot of friends.  I am very lucky.  The girls are well-loved, and people are happy to be supportive.  We live in an awesome community, where people are nearby and hyper-willing.

It will be okay.

And I will miss my Beloved.

And I am sad that I should be more supportive, and excited with him about his exciting time, and instead, I’m kinda on the verge of tears over my own stress and fears.  He gives so much, and deserves better.

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Years old!

Today was my birthday.

Through fantastic home cooked meals, disproportionate investments by offspring, phone calls from loved ones, and yes, Facebook Wall posts, I felt as loved and celebrated as I wanted to.

And through 10s of thousands of documents that HAD to be reviewed today, and the ever-growing to-do list at work and at home (i.e., kids’ school commitments, which may or may not include, oh, i don’t know, producing a major school play????), I was reminded that 3 dozen is far from 3.  Or One Dozen.  I am old.  And my birthday does not matter all that much, except to those who are dear to me.  And I thank them for their love and consideration.

Onward !!!  (because tomorrow is Beloved’s birthday!  And I have gifts to wrap, and a cake to wrap!!!)

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I do not write this blog to educate others.  I am not here to give you instruction or advice.  There have been times that people have read my blog and thought perhaps I would have some advice, or experiences to share, and they’ve written to me through my publicized e-mail, and they received the advice and they’ve received more details. Through a private conversation.

If you want to know what it’s like to be a lawyer-mom, then you’re going to have to find people who want to tell you what it’s like.  You don’t have the luxury of just browsing the internet and stumbling on this blog, which is MINE (not yours), and having that particular detail of my life exposed to you.

Blogs are public.

My job is important to me.

It is not the fodder for public commentary.

Regardless of the “honesty” that you feel I have somehow committed to just by using up this URL.

Having a blog has NOTHING to do with my livelihood.  I will not risk one for the sake of the other.

If you want “honesty” from people – dig a little fucking deeper than clicking on a link.  That’s not where real sharing comes from in my life.

Real sharing comes from a give and a take – from an investment in each other’s lives.  From some sort of trust which – in my opinion – cannot be built amongst strangers.

Hell – in my experience – real trust can barely be built through years of friendship.

So if you want more – give more.  Make a fucking effort.   Don’t just sit there whining about other people’s choices and other people’s refusal to hand you your life’s research on a platter.

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I spoke with the other mom.  I was clear about my goals – I was careful not to spew accusations.

J sort of changed the landscape, because at school today – she got up the guts to say “I don’t want to be your BFF anymore.”

The reaction was tearful silence.

instead of calling the mom to say “your daughter is mean to my daughter” I had to call and say “I think my daughter hurt your daughter’s feelings.”

I tried to explain my hopes that our involvement – as loving and involved parents – can prevent our children from devolving into she-devils.

I think I’m optimistic.

I made it clear that if I am 100% wrong (I don’t think I am, and as of right now, either does the other mom) and my daughter is actually a meany-butt, I want to know, and I will deal with it.  I received similar promises in exchange.

I plan to organize a group outing for Saturday – several girls – including J and the ex-BFF – to go to the pool or to a movie or something.

I have to believe that kids are not evil, and that with a little support and encouragement, and a little bit of reinforcement that we are good people – we respect each other – they will follow suit.  They can watch their mothers talk, and they can watch us push aside our instincts – not our good instincts, but our mean-nasty-rip-her-throat-out-instincts — they can, too.  They can take deep breaths and realize that compromise and cooperation serve our interests more than do domination and castration.

Oh wait – we’re girls.

We can’t be castrated.

But whatever.

I want a KIND child.  I want a respectful child.

But a kind, respectful child who is no-one’s doormat.

——————————————————-

(and certainly not the doormat of her nasty-ass politician husband – Jesus, Sue – did you have to be so damned inflammatory?)

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With who?

Why, my offspring of course.

Look.  The truth is — we watch American Idol.  Is this proof that we’re classy?

Uhh …. no.

Is it evidence against the fact that we are?

No to that, too.

The rule is:  All homework must be done.

E, in 6th grade, has missed a few of the audition shows because her homework wasn’t done.  American Idol is not a priority.  It’s a luxury.

Tonight, the trade off for this luxury was a rather reasonable plan for chores.

During the first two commercials, it was J’s job to empty first the top and then the bottom of the dishwasher.

During the second two, it was E’s job to first load the dishwasher and then clear the table.

They both did their chores cheerfully and without complaint.

!!!!!!

Cheerfully!!!

Without complaint!!!

I was/am very, very proud.

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Instruction

I have a “recently favorite” blog. This ridiculously humorous woman who possibly farts more than I do, and who is so honest and clever and loving.

She is so famous and popular, she does not know that I exist.

But still, I love her from afar.

Today’s post was one that I would like to savor for a little while. I am writing about it so that I have to remember it – despite my illness, despite my girls’ gone-ness this week. I have to have it mind when E comes home and starts yelling at me for making assumptions about her behavior. And about how unfair it is that just because she’s on the computer, I assume she isn’t doing anything productive. About how I should not accuse her of playing games all the time, when she is in fact writing a story. About how no matter how hard she tries all the time, everything she does is wrong.

All of that, in response to my asking her to put the computer aside, and to hang out in the kitchen with me while I cook dinner.

The nerve.

But it is true, as a more experienced mom related to Jessica, that I respond with a similar level of passion. I’ve been noticing this lately (with some help from my Brave Beloved), and working to change this. I try so hard to unentangle myself – emotionally – from these rejecting outbursts. From the fact that a hug from me no longer makes things better. It is no longer the pinnacle of resolution. It’s just me invading her privacy.

This is her development. And as she is struggling to make sense of it all – in the irritating “tweener” manner: one part teenager (rational, logical arguments) and two parts child (tears, foot stomping, reaching the emotional tipping point) – I need to see that it not my development. That my role is no longer the mother of a 4 year old, 5 year old, 8 year old – or even 10 year old. I need to buck up.

I know that her friends are going through similar things. No one is doing it exactly the same. Some kids are being really mean to their moms. (In ways that I would not tolerate.) Some are just shutting themselves up in their rooms. A luxury E does not have, since she still shares with J.

(Which is a whole other can of worms, and 1/2 the reason why I am getting ready to call a mortgage broker so I can decide if I’m buying or renting in the next 8-12 months. Even that feels too long.)

But the story linked to above, I think, helps to ground me in the understanding I already have, but have a hard time keeping ever-conscious of when in the throes of an outburst.

It is funny, because Beloved and I having been laughing HARD at the response he got a post he had written on his blog. Despite his posting having nothing to do with babies walking, it’s been absolutely swarmed to by people looking for poems about “baby’s first steps.”

And I have been vehemently mocking these women – these mothers. I believe some of my utter disgust with the idea that someone honestly feels that their child’s first step is poetry worthy is because I know that was me. And I no longer understand that me.

When E and J were little, every little milestone was my entire world. Everything a photograph. Everything a phone call to my mother. What they ate. What faces they made when they saw something for the first time.

It all felt so big.

But it got smaller. It happened naturally. I didn’t need to know about every bite they took. I didn’t need to know when they pooped. I didn’t need to watch every single social interaction.

I didn’t mind that. It’s kind of nice to no longer have an intimate relationship with someone else’s waste. It’s nice to have more space that you can occupy alone. Without a little one attached to your leg.

Now that the distance should keep growing, it’s a little harder.

I’m working on it.

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My daughters – two wonderful, intelligent, creative, funny, loving individuals – are spending their holiday vacation with their biological father. 

They arrived in his care on Monday (Christmas Eve) at approximately noon.

Christmas was Tuesday.

Woe – wait.

Guess when they last saw their biological father?

Well, that would be August 5th.

I spoke with E on Wednesday – her 2nd or 3rd day with her biological father.

She was telling me of some strange voice mail recordings on her cell phone.

I responded with, “Did you share them with [fuck-head]? What did he think?]

She responded: “I can’t, he’s been out all day – he isn’t here.”

OH.

I see.

I know that the vast majority of parents need a break. They want their parents, or in-laws, to give them a hand iwth hte kids – to give them some breathing room – some adult time.

But the vast majority of parents have contact with their kids more than 10% of the year.

Seriously – my ex does NOT.

Does he really need a break?

After 48 hours?

If I only saw my girls for a total of [quickly doing math] 25 – 35 DAYS!!! per year … you can be certain that I’m not “going out” for a day – or even an evening – while I am with them.

But I also would never make the decision to live first 1,000 and then 2,000 miles away from them. After moving 3,000 miles away — the distance only shortened by their other parent’s decision to go to law school on the other coast.

Why does he continue to take their summers from them? To insist on removing them from their everyday lives? I do not understand. If his time with them is so very disposable – why put them through it?

I am anxious for some explanations. If anyone has a theory – or a disagreement with my assessment – please, let it be known.

I do not understand.

They’re such great people.

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