When I became pregnant with my daughter back in March of 2007, I was in shock. She was a "surprise" (let's use that term loosely) and I didn't have any one to talk to. So, I went online and found a website with an online message board that had specific sections for each month babies were due that particular year. I joined the November 2007 Due Date Club, and started posting. We spoke about pregnancy, our lives, our hopes and fears.... pretty much every topic a woman can chat about, we did.
And come November our babies were born, and our conversations flowed into breastfeeding, and diaper rash, and our lack of sleep. And then it was the terrible twos, and crazy threes, and second babies, and preschool.... just a timeline of life. But throughout the past 5 years, so much has happened to some of the individual women, that our chatter has become very serious. We have dealt with cancer, with families losing a home to fire, with abandonment, I mean.... you name it and we have gotten through it.
I started the group as a casual poster and observer, and I think back then my heart was much harder. I could never understand why some of the women made such a big deal about meeting, or talking to each other, because afterall, these were just some online "imaginary" people where all we had in common was our kids just so happened to be born in the same month. But, what I did witness was kindness of heart, emotional support, and incredible generosity. Even for events that happen to everyone in life, like the loss of an elderly loved one, the girls come together and chip in for flowers, or a small gift just to cheer another's day. When one mom let it slip that she was excited because an organization near her had made it possible for her to get a kitchen table and chairs, the ENTIRE group was shocked... we had no idea times were so tough for her and her children. And in response nearly every single member of our group did SOMETHING...whether it be a giftcard to Target, or a home good, basically ANYTHING they could think of to show her support and love and also that she is not alone.
Seeing all of this amazed me. I mean, how often is it that virtual strangers go above and beyond with random acts of kindness? Not too often in my experience. I personally have not had any true financial struggles in the sense that my family has always been wonderful in helping me out, but recently my divorce and custody battle has been challenging. The women all know what is happening and are very supportive emotionally. Afterall, what can they really do? Not much other than cheer me on and assure me that I am a good mom and that things will work out.
Well, my last post included my friend Meg and our Kelly Clarkson concert voyage, and she is one of the few women who I have been fortunate enough to meet in person. Heidi, another member of our group was flying into SF for the weekend and made a point to let us know well in advance so we could schedule lunch with her this past week. So, on Wednesday I get up, get ready for work, return my lawyer's phone call discussing what has been going on with my legal issues, and head into work. At around 10am I get an email from him regarding my soon to be ex husband's lawyer's response to his email. I respond. And at 11am I get a phone call that rocked my world. My ex husband was attempting to achieve full custody of my children on an emergency custody order. I had to be in court that day at 1pm.
So I called Meg, who was on her way to the airport to pick up Heidi for our lunch date and told her that I wouldn't be able to make it because of all of the legal drama unfolding. Her response: Do not leave I am coming to your office RIGHT NOW. Apparently she hung up the phone with me and let Heidi know she was picking me up on her way to the airport and we were going to fight for my kids TOGETHER. I felt guilty asking them to come... I mean Heidi is on vacation, and Meg had just driven for two hours to get here... they should just go and enjoy their day. But no, Meg insisted that there is nowhere she would rather be than by my side. So we grabbed Heidi at the airport, said "so nice to finally meet you!" and headed to the courthouse.
I cannot explain in words how wonderful it felt to have physical support with me for the hearing. Thankfully the judge saw right through the paperwork and denied his request and re-set the hearing for a later date. But no matter how much you know in your heart that you are a good parent and have done nothing to harm your children, there is always that chance that something could go terribly wrong. I do not know what I would do. And I will be the first one to admit, I was scared. Horribly, terribly, scared.
With a sigh of relief we were able to leave the courthouse successfully but as a little army. The Mommy Army! None of us had our kids that day so we felt out of sorts but it was so nice to just enjoy talking to each other and laughing and rehashing the events that just took place. I grew up an only child until I was 13 when my mom had my little brothers, and my sister who I love dearly, and I are not very close, so this is my first real experience with "sisters". I honestly think of my group of "mommies" as sisters, and our bond transcends what an outsider can understand. Roger would often comment about how my friends are imaginary and I have no "real" friends. Well, the truth of the matter is that my friends are "real" alright... we just met in an unconventional way. And they are so real that they would have my back in a minute. The proof is in the pudding!
Here are my beautiful friends who I love dearly, and who I sincerely wish I got to spend time with more often... Heidi and Meg.They're beautiful huh?! Yup these are some hot mamas!
On to the kiddos.... Benji's surgery went well according to the surgeon. Roger and I were able to work together and focus on his care which was really nice (and which made his custody filing even more shocking because it was AFTER we had successfully co-parented after a major medical issue). And he is on the mend with no complications. However, as a parent, there is nothing more heart wrenching than seeing your child on a hospital bed, being put under general anesthesia. The minute I left the room I started crying. But, I know for certain that this surgery is going to better his life and make him more physically comfortable so I am glad that we got it done and can move forward. I fell in love with my little boy the minute I saw him and there is just something about his little face that melts me. As you can see in this picture, he is doing great and growing so quickly!
And his big sis.... well, that crazy girl LOVES to drive her mama crazy! And in between the sass is the most loving, affectionate, smart, absolutely INCREDIBLE little girl. Aidan manages to make me laugh, fall in love, and make me want to pull my hair out in one foul swoop. She is 4 going on 25. She loves her brother, but hates sharing her mom. And she also loves anything and everything girly. All she wants to know each morning is if she can wear a dress to school. Or if she can borrow one of my necklaces. Or if she is allowed to bring her "lipstick" to school. The teenage years are sure to do me in!
I love my little princess.... she definitely takes after me personality wise which can only mean one thing.... trouble!
And in quickie housing updates, here is a quick pic of the green bedroom... I still have to put some pictures on the walls to spruce it up, but the kids ended up getting beds to suit each of them. They are super fun and should entice them to each stay in their beds at night, right?! Ummm no. We have been having challenges with them staying put... 3 in a full sized bed (mine) is challenging to say the least. So.... we just have to keep on coming up with ideas to help them stay in their own beds while Mom is in hers. Any suggestions or ideas are much appreciated!
Lastly, with everything going on I could not be more stressed out. With work, and kids, and legal battles, etc etc... life has just been crazy. I found that I was stress eating and started to really worry about gaining my weight back. I had bounced back up to the high 130s and decided to take advantage of my doctor's aftercare plan that I was forced to buy when I chose him as my surgeon. Well, I am glad that he requires it because a) I don't have health insurance right this moment and b) I have taken advantage of it more than once in the past year and some months. I was able to get some medical assistance and have since been able to go back down to 134, a very respectable number :)
And then of course my tropical vacation is right around the corner at this point... I have my bikinis ready to go, and although I have my tummy skin, I am pretty proud of my figure. One thing that I really appreciate about my new relationship is my partner's freedom with kind words. It never gets old to hear you are beautiful or smart or sexy. At least not to me! And the best part is that he makes me FEEL all of those fabulous things. He also does things like this:
and to be honest the picture does the arrangement NO justice whatsoever... it is about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide and just GORGEOUS. And the best part... I had no idea it was coming. He sent it "just because". I have never in my life been treated so well by a man. It's not just gifts, it's his kindness, generosity, PATIENCE (I capitalize this because I know I am a challenging woman!), and the craziest part.... often time I feel like he knows what I need, even when I can't put it into words. He knows when to shut up and listen, when to give me a hug, and when I need someone to tell me what's what. I can only imagine what the future holds based on how things are right now.
So although life has been absolutely insane, each day I am reminded about my blessings. I have so much to be thankful for, so much to look forward to, and I am surrounded by amazing people EVERY SINGLE DAY. I pray that the storm eventually calms and I can just enjoy life again. I guess time will tell.