The Things I Should Have Said | #BehindTheBlogger


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I can remember what the door of the car looked like as we wound around the mountains of Colorado. I don’t really remember if it was dark outside or if the memory is just so dark that it feels dark in my heart but everything in the memory is that of gray. A black and white that can’t be duplicated in photo. I remember looking at the door handle and feeling the car juggle my body around and then I remember he was gone and I knew he was never coming back.

My parents divorced when I was very young and my biological father is/was a bad man. I like to think in the years since he was so awful to my mother, that he’s changed but I know better from conversations with my half brother. I saw him periodically growing up. I remember a brief visit at Easter and car ride with blankets from our mother’s home to his, almost an hour away. I remember racecars and Camel cigarettes and two tiny boys who were my brothers. I remember all the mean from that house and all the sad when I knew I’d never see him or the tiny brothers again when he created an ugly scene in the San Jose airport.

I also remember how it felt to know your parent didn’t want you. I still know, with the full burn of a fresh wound because I think about it looking at my own children. I think about it more then I probably should.

Sometime ago he tried reconnecting with me on facebook. It felt uneasy and sad and I can remember the hurt I felt when he called me by a childhood nickname that means nothing now but did then. He told me I take after a man who I knew only bad about. The only stories I’d ever heard were of suicide and sadness and now he was comparing me to him. He asked about my kids and I told him and he asked about my brother and I told him only a little because I almost felt like he didn’t deserve to know him.

But I was kind. As kind as I could be. To a man who left me so damaged that I am almost 40 and I can’t help but feel worthless. There was so much I should of said to him. That I didn’t because I don’t want to hurt people, just because they’ve hurt me.

The things I should have said to him, GO AWAY. You don’t get the privilege of knowing my beautiful children. A perfect stranger stepped up to be my dad and HE gets the privilege of being their Grandpa. You don’t. Ever. I shouldn’t have to share their names with you because a REAL DAD doesn’t walk away from their kids and so they get to know their grandkids. A real parents doesn’t  let kids feel worthless into their adult life. A real dad sticks around when there is no money and when they hate the other parent because real parents do whatever it takes to be a part of their children’s lives. Love doesn’t come from money, love comes in time spent and you missed out. You don’t  get to know my kids. Ever. It’s the one thing I can’t bend on.

There is so much I should of said and instead, I gave you grace. I don’t know if it’s true but there is suppose to be healing in forgiveness and I am choosing to forgive you but never forget.

I should of said, I’m sorry but you’re not privy to my life anymore. But I felt like grace should win.

Sometime last year I unfriended him. I haven’t looked back. I feel sad for him. And for what he misses. And someday just saying the words, words he’ll never read are enough to begin to let go. I can’t imagine leaving my kids. I can thank him for teaching me that lesson. I know what not to do to my kids…

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Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

Cookies or grapes

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January and February are particularly tight months for us. It’s after the holidays and a birthday and I just have never had much work in the cold season. When I was shooting it was because of the cold but now that I mostly focus on graphic work, I think the slow period comes from other people’s tight months too. I am a meal planner, a frugal shopper. I utilize both Aldi and freezer meals. I have to, I’m feeding 7 and 5 of them are boys. We do what we can to get through the lean months. All of the time I worry, all of the time we come out okay.

Yesterday I took my weekly budget to the store for the staples I can’t keep in stock. Milk, chocolate milk (yes, I know how much it costs), bread, bananas, apples, carrots and some treats for today’s school Valentine’s party. I got healthy snacks this time and pre-cut, non-brown apples are where it is at. I buy eggs at Grocery Outlet though. You can get 2.5 dozen for around 2.00. Dexter eats at least one egg a day and with baking and what not, I need eggs all the time. It’s conveniently next to Dollar Tree too. Win win.

I wandered around the store for awhile, taking note of new items and how their produce looked. I grabbed lunch meat and some frozen fast food for the days when dinner doesn’t come till 9PM and then I stood in line behind a woman who smelled lovely, like the woods but didn’t crack a smile and counted her money over and over. 26.00. I couldn’t help but count with her. She’d placed most of her items onto the belts but held onto a bag of grapes. And when it was her turn, she asked how much they were and when the checker  replied, she dropped her head and asked the checker to put them back.

I couldn’t help but notice she’d chosen two, several pound logs of cookie dough over those grapes. And I wondered, without judgement, why?

I played out several scenarios in my head. But I couldn’t help but think why I’d of chosen the cookie dough. If my kids needed a treat for school, they’d signed up for it, for a party, and I couldn’t bake, I would’ve chosen the dough too. To make sure they fit in, to make sure they have what they need. And while cookie dough doesn’t seem like a need to some of us. I might be a need to them. Did she chose her kids over herself? I couldn’t help but think those grapes might of been a want, a need for her. That she gave up to makes sure someone else was taken care of.

As a mother I always try and put my children before myself. Often at the sake of sanity. I want grapes. I want them but their need for cookie dough always comes before mine. When they need a haircut, they get it. When I do? It waits until I make sure their needs are met. It’s what parents are suppose to do, isn’t it? There is so much huff and puff these days about self care. You need time for yourself, they say but when it comes at the expense of your children, how do you choose self over the people you brought into this world and promise to take care of.

Tough being a mother.

My self care has fallen to the way side. I don’t go out much and though a tried and true introvert, I still experience the longing for connection. I just think it’s not in the same way of the masses. I am never going to go to moms night out but I would really like a mom friend at baseball. Even if we don’t talk, it would be nice to breath in the presence of her and her of me. But my going out? It’s Cub Scouts and while I cherish and value the time I get to spend with my Drew and I think Chuck, Steve and Charlie are pretty much the bomb.. .I couldn’t care less about how to build a tent and I am a TERRIBLE Pinewood Derby car creator. I’m trying to retrain my brain into taking those moments in as “self care” but I find myself thinking about what it would be like to be 17 again sitting at a table on the Pearl Street mall listening to Open Mic night at Penny Lane cafe. It was my self care. My connection to people, my  grapes.. and I am missing it. This weekend, at a Cub Scout related volunteering, I listened at the pastor taught about rest.. and I thought, I never rest. Even when I am still….

I feel fortunate in the fact I have a couple pretty stellar online friends. I chat with two every day. Both too far to visit daily but close enough that if I filled up my tank I could go see for a few days. I’ll do that some day, when there is more time for me.

The days are long but the years are short, they say. I think while I struggle with it right now, ultimately I am doing the right thing by my children and kids by giving them the very best I can. But I think I need something, even if it’s little, just to myself.

How do you self care? Or are you, like me, struggling?

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.

It takes a village

12545490_1672146226396144_1312233716_nDrew joined the Cub Scouts this last year. Late by standards I am sure, but after the troops visited school, he asked, a lot, to join and finally after talking to a friend about his sons’ involvement in Boy Scouts, I decided to give it a go. He’s been a member since right before the holiday and it’s been fun. It’s the thing he and I do together even though it’s probably more a dad and son thing to do. I have enjoyed going to the meetings and the field trips.

I have not enjoyed how freaking confused I am. I admit, I should probably read this Bear book. I am totally lost when it comes to understanding why we’re meeting policemen and visiting wildlife places. And outside of being helpful to the hungry, I don’t know why the Scouts annually collect food. Except maybe to earn badges… but I don’t really know much about that either.

And then, gasp, Pinewood Derby hit and they said, “buy a kit, it’s all you have to do” and so I did and it was a block of wood, four pins and four wheels and I was totally lost.

Lost.

My brother is handy thankfully. And despite my house of subpar tools, a beautiful car was created. Drew painted it and Kevin will take it to a friends how to make sure the wheels and axels are just so. And so while I wanted to do it myself, because I am the Cub Scout Mom, I had to rely on my village.

The whole idea of a village is hard for me. The introvert. It’s also hard for me to accept help. I have always thought to myself, “these are my kids, they are my responsibility” especially  with the stigmas attached to large family (see the Duggard’s buddy system). I also hate the thought of not being able to do something. But, I cannot cut wood. And I need more time to learn to build a really good derby car.

It took a village. I fell short, because I am human and my village stepped up.

I have a strange brain. Even though I know I should think about the “what ifs”, I do. What if I was a single mom? What would my little Cub Scout do? I think people think this is a bad thing to do sometimes but I think it’s makes for good planning. Good helping. I’ll ask now… what happens to the Cubs who don’t have a parent who can help them with this kind of thing? Maybe a single Dad who doesn’t work wood and doesn’t have family near. Maybe some kind of network, some village needs to be in place for that. People helping people. Because you never know.

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I also learned from all this that you can’t take over the projects. Holy heck I wanted to paint that car so bad. But this is not my project. It is Drew’s and letting him do it, is part of the journey. It’s a real struggle to not say, “this could be this way” or “paint it like this”. I cleaned up his bomb and realized what I was doing. And I stepped away. It’s Drew’s car. Not mine.

More lessons in parenting. I’m learning more and more every day.

Saturday is the big race. The weather is calling for a tremendous amount of snow so I am hoping we can still get there. We bought a van to replace my much loved truck and judging from how it did in the first snow, we may not be going anywhere.

Oh how I miss my truck right now. I really don’t want to miss his derby.

I don’t want to miss anything.

 

Hi! I’m Gail, the voice behind Mimicking Motherhood. I started blogging after the birth of my 2nd child as a way to connect with far away family. Things have definitely changed since then. Now, mama to five, this is a place to help connect with other mothers, who feel like me.I love to make and write all while trying to figure out how to be myself in the world of anxiety and depression. Glad you stopped by.