Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day! photo from Arlington Cemetary

Today is not just "another day off work" or "another 3-day weekend". It's not just a day to score deals as the stores all have sales. It's not just a day to go to the river and party with friends. Actually, it can be all of that, but it is also something much more.

Today is set aside to especially think about and remember all of those who have died in combat. It's something we should do more than once a year, and honestly, one day is not enough to give to them compared to what so many people have given for us to have the freedoms we all enjoy. It's not just those who died in combat - those people all had families, friends, pets. They were neighbors, sisters, brothers, cousins, sons, daughters, coworkers, husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers. They left behind loved ones who still ache for them. And they did it for a love of their country and a sense of duty to protect it. 

Agent M wants to be in the Army when he is older. I will not lie - the thought terrifies me. But he tells everyone that asks that he wants to do it to protect people, which makes me so proud. The other day, he came to me and told me that when he is in the Army, he will die young. Apparently, a school mate told him that everyone in the Army dies young. I told him that was not always true, but it is a sad risk and reality. I don't know if I explained it right or soothed any worries he might have held under the surface. But it brought right to the surface my own fears. That does happen. Mothers have lost sons, and still continue to lose them every day. There are many years until Agent M will be old enough to join the Army, and many factors might change that choice, but that little talk still was enough of a kick from reality to keep me thinking about it, almost a week later. It also makes me wonder - what kind of sadness has that classmate's family felt, for a child to think that all people in the Army die young?

So, today I will not be shopping. I will not be barbecuing or out drinking and celebrating with friends. Not that there is anything wrong with any of that, we all celebrate differently. Agent M is with his dad this week, so it will just be me home alone today. Quietly painting, cleaning, and just being thankful that I can enjoy a peaceful day because of the countless people who sacrificed it all.  This is how I will celebrate and remember the price of the freedoms I enjoy. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Agh! Work in Progress!

Please excuse the mess - working on the layout right now, and things are a bit mismatched! Everything will look all beautiful and tidy again soon! (Which is more than I can say for my living room...eek!)

Friday, May 20, 2011

100 Day Photo Challenge - Day 10 (well, #10 at the least)

Day 10 - A picture of the person I do the most messed up things with.

Well, to be honest...I have no idea what this means. 

I don't do "messed up" things. 

So - calling a "Skip!" on this one, and posting a silly string of photos instead...

If you are a parent, you know what it takes sometimes to get a good "casual" photo. 

However, if you are not familiar with the process of getting a kid to smile and hold reasonably still for the seconds it takes to capture a photo, let me show you...

First, you need to convince the kid to come out of hiding in his closet.

Next, take photo. Kid will claim to smile. This is a lie.

Threaten with kisses.


Try again. Get the only great photo of yourself that has been taken in weeks, but also get another goofy photo of the kid, not smiling and missing half an eye.

Try again. Kid smiles. Like a puffer fish would smile. 

To hell with it. Tickling commences. Camera is wildly turned about, capturing odd photos.

Threaten to eat brains unless a good photo is taken.

Kid will, again, try to convince you that this counts as a smile.

Make your own goofy smile, "Just one goofy photo, THEN a real picture!".

Kid takes camera. Kid takes self-portrait. 

Get a photo of kid with a good smile, and the closet in the background.

Make faces with kid, telling him to "get the goofies out". 

Show kid how to smile. He will laugh and tell you that your teeth need to be brushed.

Give up. 

But - try one last time!

Because once you have given up, the kid will smile for you.


Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I did it!

I first attempted to go to college in Fall 2001.

...five more "attempted" semesters, and ten years later...

...and lucky semester number seven is the first semester I have ever fully completed!

I feel so amazed, relieved, accomplished, and just a little disappointed that I did not do better. But I did it. I stuck with it when I could not understand theories, when I felt sick, when Spring Break threatened to pull my brain out my ear and on to a permanent vacation. When a recent health concern took me by surprise and kept me worried for weeks, instead of just throwing in the towel I talked to my professors. I got extensions on papers, make-up tests. I stayed up until the early hours and just gave myself little room for excuses.

I proved to myself that, no matter the labels I stick to myself - single-mom, on disability, in the divorce process, former housewife, no college degree yet, still a bit young and unskilled, etc. - I am one tough cookie.

Another notch on my "see, life is getting better" belt. Another high-five to myself that I can do this.

And, to add just that little extra bit of fantastic to my day? I can finally get some of my hair into pigtails again (my hairstyle of choice when my hair was long). When Agent M noticed this after we got home from school today, he told me I looked "just like one of those college girls".

Indeed, little dude. I'm just like one of those college girls.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I'm (going to be) back!

I am feeling better than I have in WEEKS!

Still have a seven-page paper, two quizzes, and a test re-take to do by...well, tomorrow...but there has been a huge change in my point of view, and I have finally gotten through the solid fortress of writer's block that I built around myself these last weeks.

New post soon!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Agent M!

Today's the day - in about two and a half hours, seven years ago, I finally got to look at Agent M's face and said, "Well, there you are!".

Every year for the last seven years, I have given him big kisses and hugs on this day. The day he starts another year around the sun, and I start another year of being the mum I hope to be. Every year, I have celebrated this day, and marveled at how much he's grown, his interests, the way my heart grows with each of his smiles, each achievement.

But, this year is uncharted territory for me. This year, he is with his dad. I don't know if he is having a party, I don't know if he is smiling and laughing. I can hope for all of it, and I am sure his dad is doing something to celebrate. But I am not there, he is not here. A two-minute and forty-six second phone call is all we got to share today.

To say that today is hard for me is like saying the ocean has some water in it. I keep trying to focus myself on other things, such as homework, emails, getting dressed so I can go run errands. I tell myself over and over that he is probably having a great time today, and that next weekend we will be on a family trip together. I think of yesterday, when we went to The Hamburger Farm, and how much fun we had as he got to pet a cow and grind wheat. But, the tears keep coming. My eyes are puffy and my head hurts.

There is no denying that in the last year, we have gone through so many changes. Last year, his dad and I still had a joint party, and it was successful, probably partially because it was big enough for us to not have to interact with each other. This year, when the subject of a joint party came up, I was the one to say i did not think it would be a good idea. Too much hurt, too much frustration in the last year, and I just didn't think we would be able to split a party 50/50 and be civil to each other the whole time. In this way, not seeing Agent M was my choice. Because I did not want to risk him seeing his parents clash on his birthday.

I don't know where this post is going, or where I meant to take it. Today is a difficult day, but like all the other difficult days, I know good days will follow and I have a lot of love and support. When these rain clouds come, my friends and family are here to open umbrellas for me when mine has turned inside out. This is just another bit of being a single mum that I knew to expect, but never could have imagined the impact.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

100 Day Photo Challenge - Day 9

Day 9 - A picture of the person who has gotten me through the most.


There is no one person who has gotten me through the most, and just listing one or two people who be a disservice to the many people who have been there for me.

My parents.
My closest friends.
The God I believe in.

The memories of loved ones who showed me how I want to live, who taught me strength in their lives and their deaths.

My Grandpa.
My Grandma Norma.

The people who I don't see each day, but know that if the crap hit the fan, they are there with words of encouragement, and often a shoulder to cry on, even if it's virtual.

My "brother".
My next closest friends who live out of state.

Not to mention, I have learned to be there for myself, learned to look to the good in my life and know that things will always grow, always get better.

And when none of that is enough to make me smile each day, when I just want to throw up my hands and cry "Defeat!", all I have to do, is look at my amazing, wonderful, almost-seven-years-old little boy...

...and his smile chases all the clouds away.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

100 Day Photo Challenge - Day 8

Day 8 - A picture that makes me laugh.

Sorry to Dr. Phil Fans, but this is exactly what I see when I see  him.

Today, the photos don't need many words.

My Dad - on some vacation with my Mum.
He was excited about something, like a cake or ice cream, I really don't know.
But the fake captions for this photo are endless.