Wednesday, January 13, 2016

An Open Letter to my daughter, as she becomes a teenager

My sweet baby girl,

I know you're probably rolling your eyes (because by this age you have perfected that so well) at the fact that I just called you that, but that's exactly what you are.  My first baby.  And that's exactly what you'll always be.  I can't believe that my sweet little baby, that I brought home nearly 13 years ago is now entering into her teenage years.  And when you enter those adult years, and become a mother yourself, you will still be just that.  My baby.

I remember bringing you home after two weeks in the NICU, wondering how your life would be.  Wondering if you would even make it to 13, for that was so uncertain at the time.  Wondering if you would struggle more than most.  Wondering if you would have friends, or boyfriends.  Wondering how this big, mean world would treat you.  I had so much anxiety for you for these upcoming years.  Everyone always talks about, and it's no secret, the fact that middle school can be the toughest years of your childhood.  God, I was scared.  But guess what I have figured out?  Your teenage years are going to be freaking awesome!  Because that's exactly what you are... Awesome.  You will approach them with your contagious smile, your amazing sense of humor, and those big blue eyes, taking it all in, just as they have done since the day you came into this world.

While I know that you will take these tough years and make the best of them, like you do most situations, I also want to warn you that you will be facing some tough times ahead.  No one makes it out of these years unscathed, sweet girl.  Even the most ideal of childhoods produce less than ideal memories from this age.  You will fight with your friends, have your first boyfriend, break up with your first boyfriend, lose people you love, experience your first heart break.  And I will be there to hold you as you cry during all of this.  As long as I am walking this earth, I will always be a safe place for you to fall.

I am prepared for the fact that as you grow older, and your social life becomes more important, that movie and snuggle nights with mom will become less cool.  I am well aware of the fact that my opinion won't matter quite as much as it did a few years ago.  I am somewhat prepared for the fact that there may be a time where "I hate you" or other terms of endearment are thrown my way.  Why am I so sure these things are bound to happen?  Because I was 13 once too.  But just as I know they will happen, I also know that some day, you will chose to drive home from college to see me "just because".  I also know that you will beg me for a girls night or weekend.  I also know that you will someday call, crying telling me you're sorry for all of the times you told me you hated me, because you now realize how much I have loved you when you look in the eyes of your own children.  Why do I know this?  Because I have been there too, sweet girl.

The first time I ever held you in my arms.  A moment frozen in time
As each day closes in, I know that you are closer to becoming an adult, and you may not "need" me quite so much.  But I also know that you will some day replace that need with a want.  The more and more independent you become, you will need me less, for a time not want me at all.  But then some day, that pendulum will swing, and you will want me back by your side.  But we aren't there yet.  Right now we are in that transitional period that so many moms have warned me about.  The teenage years are supposed to be as trying, if not more, than the toddler years.  You were a very easy toddler, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that these teenage years don't break us!  But when you get to the point, and you feel broken, know that I am always here to help put those pieces back together.  Know that I will never let you completely fall apart.  Know that I love you with my whole entire heart.  Know that the first time I held you, was the first time my heart ever felt whole.  And it has been whole every since because of you. 

Please, go easy on me these next few years.  Remember, you are my first child, so being a mom to a teenager is all new to me too.  Let's forge this road, just as we have done all the others: Together.  Remember baby girl, It's us against the world.  Let's take it on.


From the most precious little baby...
To the most spirited young woman I know,
Happy birthday baby!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

What you have to know when raising a strong willed child, coming from one herself

I got spoiled with my older kids.  They were so easy, although I didn't realize it at the time.  Last but not least, came Breckyn.

For the past 4 years I have said if B would have been my first child, she would have been my only child.  Being the youngest of four, she has definitely been my challenge, and I guess many would say, my payback.  Time after time since she has been born, I have heard it said that she acts just like me.  And while many days I have felt like I want to either rip my hair out or overdose on happy pills, I can also say that I get her.

Being a very strong willed "child" myself, I can remember some of the frustrations of being a little
Here we have a ruffled sleeve shirt,
some Nike shorts,
and some ballet flats. 
Who says this doesn't go together?
person that has so many rules to follow.  Some of the most common fights can be avoided with her by simply picking my battles.  I have learned I can't put too many restrictions on the choices she gets to make.  One of the most common battles we have had is our morning routine, and deciding what we are going to wear.  I battled this for so long with her, until I finally just gave up.  I remember being younger, and laying out my clothes for the next day and hearing "No Cora, pink and red don't go together", and I've found myself saying very similar things to B in the mornings.  Then I remembered how frustrated I used to get by that.  To me, it didn't matter if it matched, I like the pants, I like the shirt, and I wanted to wear it together.  And today, many times I have heard my sister say that she never would have thought an outfit I bought looked good on the rack, but once I put it all together, she loved it.  Maybe in her mind, B is doing this too.  So one day, I let go.  I just let her wear it.  And the most miraculous thing happened, we had a good morning.  So I decided that's how it would be.  As long as it's weather appropriate, she can wear it.  Who cares if she looks like one of the kids that came out of a Gap Kids ad?  She's happy, and "expressing herself".  She's not hurting anything at all by wearing a pair of rain boots with a Christmas dress.  As of lately, we have been wearing our swimsuits to bed, and guess what?  The world is still on its axis.

I HAVE to answer her.  If  don't, she will just keep at it.  Fighting for her place among 3 siblings, sometimes I think she just wants to know she is important too.  I can't get away with just telling her to wait a second, or ignoring her until I get done with what I'm doing.  She needs to know, and she needs to know now.  It doesn't take that long for me to simply look away from what I am doing and give her an answer.  I don't have to give her exactly what she wants right then, but I do need to give her an answer and acknowledgment of what it is she is saying.  It may not always be the answer she wants, but I have learned that if I at least answer her, the meltdown lessens. 

To piggy back off of that, she needs explanations.  Simply saying "No" won't cut it for her.  It wouldn't have for me at that age, and it still doesn't work for me.  I want to understand reasoning for things.  If there is a reason I should or shouldn't be doing something, I want to understand why.  She is a little person, growing every day towards adulthood, so why shouldn't I help her understand things?  No, I don't cater to her, or bargain with her when she doesn't like the answer, I simply explain why it is the way it is, and most of the time we can just move on.  She simply wants to understand the way of the world, just like most of us (though little does she know, we will never fully understand how most things work the way they do).  Another thing that I can attest to from first hand experience, is that most of those famous Breckyn meltdowns come from frustration.  I know, because I had them, and sometimes still want to!  Strong willed kids are so black and white, that they just don't see why it can't be the way they want it.  You have to take the time to explain things to kids, and that some times things just don't go as planned.  I used to be that mom that would say I didn't understand why people would sit there and explain things to their kids after they had said no.  NO means no, right?  Why sit there and debate over it?  Don't let your kids be in control.  Tell them no, and let that be the end of it.  Well, for some kids, that's enough, but for B it isn't, and it helped me remember that it was never enough for me either.  Explaining isn't letting your child be in control, it's YOU taking control of the situation, and avoiding a meltdown, potentially in a very public place. Help them understand, and remove the frustration.

Pick your battles.  Every once in a while, you just have to give in.  You/I may be busy cleaning house, or getting caught up on binge watching Netflix, but it won't kill to me to stop and put in a Monster High DVD and watch it with her for a few minutes.  Besides, soon she will fall asleep because she has been going a hundred miles a minute all day, and some day, hanging with mom won't be cool.  When she is "bugging" me, hounding me about putting that movie in, what I really need to understand is that she is asking me for a few minutes of my time.  While she might be doing it in a very demanding manner, she is simply wanting me.  The laundry can wait.

On the flip side of that, you also have to be consistent.  You have to stand by your words.  If you say no, for whatever reason, don't go back on that.  If they aren't allowed to play outside for the night, don't give in just because they are pestering you about it.  If you give in once, they will see that, and never forget.  You will forever be pestered about changing your mind, because you've done it before.  Trust me, I know.  I did it.  They can be stubborn, but you have to be more stubborn.  You can win this battle!

My mini-me and I, having the time of our lives
Let them be them.  Don't dampen their spirit.  That strong willed nature, or stubbornness if  you will, will carry them through some down right hard things in life.  That nature may be what gets them through certain things that other people would give up on.  Very rarely will these kids take the easy way out.  They're
going to do something, or finish something, simply because people thought they couldn't.  They are going to try their hardest to prove everyone wrong.  And because of this, they are going to do great things.  These kids grow up to be leaders.  That can be good or bad, depending on how we shape them.  So mold them into something amazing, and they will do their very best to make you proud! 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Adios 2015

I didn't send out Christmas cards this year.  I've always said I was going to send out one, with the cute collage of family pictures, and the letter explaining our year, but it still hasn't happened.  And this year especially, I just wasn't feeling it.  I wasn't feeling especially festive, and I didn't want to send out a Debbie Downer Christmas letter, because it may have potentially gone a little something like this:

This year has been a living hell.  Filled with one obstacle/tragedy/whatever!, after another, and it has really gotten this girl down. I wouldn't relive this year if someone offered me some obscene amount of money.

It started in mid-January when they announced they were putting my grandma on hospice, followed by my mom's wreck, a major surgery for one of my uncles, my aunt having stints put in her heart, my cousin's house burning to the ground, a very personal tragedy for another of my cousins, and possibly the most heart wrenching, my grandma's passing in April... and that was all in the first 5 months of the year.  The in between times were filled with an exceptionally challenging year at work, toddler challenges, and the stress brought on by everything combined.

By the time it was all said and done with my mom (if you didn't hear about her wreck, here is the scoop), she had 11 surgeries under her belt, stays at 3 different hospitals, and a total of over 40 days spent in the hospital combined.  It was crazy scary, exhausting, and heart wrenching to watch her hurt and struggle.  She is officially out of her wheelchair now, having turned it back in to the company she rented it from, but no where near 100%.  The sad reality is this:  This may be her new 100%.  This, walking with a severe limp, and moving slowly and cautiously, may be as good as it gets for this one time go-getter.  And I've never witnessed something so frustrating as watching my mom struggle, and just wishing I could fix that damn leg.

Grandma lost her fight on April 9, never getting to say goodbye to mom because she was not able to travel other than to and from the hospital at the time.  That has to be what is weighing on my heart the hardest about this year.  The two most important women in my life, both crying over each other.  And I can't fix it.  I will never have that chance, or the power to do so.  And I miss her.  Oh, I miss her terribly.  My world just hasn't seemed right since April 6, the last time I heard her voice.

Work has been especially crazy.  I lost a couple of girls due to career changes, and have hired more, which involves training, and coaching, both for them and myself.  I have some pretty high expectations put on me, both by myself and the higher ups, because of the good numbers my team has always pulled.  Because of that, this year was by far the most stressful I have experienced as a manager.   

To top all of that off, we have preteen hormones, and toddler tantrums running rampant through this house, and my dog that I had had since I was a senior in high school died.  He was my first side kick, and the best feet cuddler ever.  Some days, it was hard to pick if home, work, or Zimbabwe was where I wanted to be.  There were days where running away had never sounded so good.  There were plenty of days where the sound of my phone going off made me want to vomit.  Locking out the world seemed like the better option for a good portion of this year, however unrealistic it actually was.  I just didn't have that option...

So I trudged through.  And I made it.  Always looking for the silver lining in that proverbial cloud, I do have a lot to be thankful for this year.  First off, I made it through it all.  "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  Yeah, I have heard that quote, but didn't really want to test it out again.  Second, my mom made it through it.  I don't know that I could have made it through all of this without her, so we were kind of a package deal there.  Third, I got 32 full years with the most amazing, loving woman I ever could have known.  If I can end up being half of the woman that my grandmother was, I will consider myself a huge success.  Fourth, while my career was more exhausting and stressful than ever before this year, it also prospered, and grew.  My client base grew, my skills as a stylist, and definitely as a manager and leader grew, so how can I consider that anything but a success.  And last but not least, my kids are GOOD.  They're healthy, they're happy, and they're smart.  And they love their mom... HUGE success right there.  No greater reward.

While it was definitely the most challenging year I have faced to date, it wasn't all bad.  There were definitely some bright spots.  In January, adding another iron to the fire, I signed on with Mary Kay as an Independent Beauty Consultant.  I have taken a trip to Dallas, hosted several parties, and actually made some money!  So far, I am loving it, and have found that it is actually enhancing my career as a hair stylist as well.  It all kind of goes hand in hand.  In June, I got to take a trip, with Ashlynne, to NC to see one of my lifelong best friends.  While we were down there, we took a side trip to Myrtle Beach, where we met up with my "sister from another mister", Jordan, and I finally got to get my hands on her perfect baby girl, Sadie.  While in Myrtle, Ashlynne tried to buy a "tobacco" pipe, and then a matter of minutes later, smelled what it is that pipe was really used for when we walked through a cloud of smoke on the board walk.  She also got to see some "working girls".  I would say the trip was pretty enlightening for her.  Toto wasn't in Kansas anymore.  Gavin had his first year of tackle football.  He learned so much, and had a blast getting in those pads every week.  And I was so proud watching my little bruiser out on that football field.  Breckyn played her first year of tball, and Logan his first year of coach pitch, and both survived and enjoyed it!  Logan survived another entire summer with us, and I think actually had fun!  Breckyn and Ashlynne both did their first year of dance and had some adorable recitals.  My children have always been my driving force, and this year, I really had to lean on that.

I also had two other friends that both had happy, healthy baby girls.  I so much enjoy watching my friends have babies, and look forward to getting spoil their kids as they have done with mine.  And through all of this I have learned that I have some pretty amazing friends, and a lot of people in my life that really love me.  Sure, I had some people that I expected to be there that let me down, but that was the least of my worries when I looked around and saw the overwhelming amount of support I had.  So one thing I guess you could say that I wouldn't change this year, is that, becoming more clear.  If ever I had a doubt about whether or not my friends would be there for me, there was no reason to doubt that now.  I hope that I never have to repay the favor in the form of what they did for me, but I would do it in a heartbeat if life played that card.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
from my family to yours!!
So I will gladly close the door on this year, and welcome 2016 with open arms.  If new years are about new beginnings, then let's begin it already.  2016 has GOT to be a better year than this one.  I am going to make it a better one.  That's my goal.  I won't let the hard knocks of life take another year from me.  I'm going to take this new beginning, and run with it.  Look out world, cuz this girl is on a mission.

Happy New Year!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Be the change...

A tragedy rocked my little hometown to the core this week.

A teenager, a 16 year old boy, took his own life.  Leaving a very loving, very devastated family behind.  The PROJECTED reason? Bullying.  I don't know for sure that this is the reason that Tommy isn't with us anymore, but it has started a serious discussion around here.

This has been a subject that has been a very hot topic for years.  We have workshops.  Our children attend anti-bullying assemblies.  We drill into our children that there is zero tolerance for bullying behavior. We try to teach them to report it, and speak out against it. But it seems as if it never really gets better, regardless of the action plans that schools and communities seem to put into place.  I feel like there are a couple of reasons for that, and if we open our eyes, they aren't hard to pinpoint.

First of all, do kids really even understand what bullying is anymore?  It's not just physical.  It's not just a group of kids encircling one kid on the play ground and pushing him around.  It's not just shoving a kid into a locker.  It's RELENTLESSLY tormenting someone.  It's not giving this kid a break.  And a lot of times, it's sneaky.  Its done when the teacher isn't looking.  It's done when walking home from school, where there isn't an adult to stop it.  It's on Facebook, or Instagram, or snapchat.  Social media apps, such as After School, have given kids a way to torment others, completely anonymously, allowing them to hide behind a computer screen.  It doesn't just stop once kids walk out of the doors at school.  It follows them everywhere.  It's when someone actually makes a sport out of ruining someone else's day.  But this term has been used so loosely.  I've heard my own children use the term when someone just doesn't talk to them.  I have had to explain, there is a huge difference between someone not talking to you, or going out of their way to be your friend, and bullying.  But because this term has been pounded into their heads, and gets used so frequently, I have witnessed a generation of kids that misuses a very serious term, and has desensitized the rest of us to this word.  It has almost become a situation of the boy who cried wolf.  And in cases like what happened this week, it sounds like we should have listened.

Second of all, I think we, as a society, need to take the blinders off when it comes to bullying.  EVERYONE is susceptible to being a victim of bullying.  It knows no socio-economic boundaries.  It does not discriminate.  Just as equally, everyone is also capable of being that bully.  Bullies don't just come in the form of the big jock with the crew cut wearing his letter jacket.  Your kid may be getting bullied, but as parents, we need to open our eyes to the fact that our own kids may be the bullies we speak of.    Breaking this cycle has to stop at home.  We need to teach our kids right from wrong, hold them accountable if they don't make good choices, and be AWARE of what our kids are doing.  Monitor their social media, get to know their friends and their parents, pay attention, and lead by example.  If you bully your children, you can almost bank on the fact that they are passing that on to someone else.  And if you bury your head in the sand, and think your child is incapable of doing wrong, or would never do that, you can bet they're probably doing it, and knowing they're getting away with it.  Step up.  Make your kids take responsibility for their actions.  Teach them right from wrong.  Teach them compassion.

People are so quick to place blame on school administrators and teachers for not doing enough to prevent the bullying, or stopping it once it starts.  But our educators are paid to educate our children, not raise them.  That is our job. Fingers have been pointed at three administrators in particular this week concerning this topic, saying that over the years they haven't done enough.  But I ask you this: how do we expect these 3 administrators to know what is going on in the lives of over 1000 kids in our school system right now?  Shouldn't that be the role of the parents?  When I got in trouble at school, I got a call home, and that was the worst punishment imaginable.  But too many parents become defensive and combative when problems are brought to their attention, rather than sucking it up, accepting the fact that their kid may have screwed up, and handling the situation.  It sucks, you don't  want to imagine your kid may be part of the problem, but it's time to get realistic.  We have created an environment where educators don't feel comfortable approaching parents for a variety of reasons.  Whether it's because nothing gets done, or because they end up feeling attacked or because it's just easier, that bridge has, in many cases, been burned.  But have any of you stopped and thought about this:  the frustration we feel, many of our educators feel as well.  Why?  Most of them are parents of children currently in the school system.

So I propose this:  Let's all step up.  Let's hold each other accountable.  Let's stop being scared to approach another parent to have that difficult discussion.  Let's be the change that we all keep saying needs to happen.  I promise you, that if one of the "popular" kids, stepped up and said, "this is wrong and I'm not taking it anymore"  they would quickly see the influence they have and many would follow suit.  And if you have been one of the people bullying, it's NEVER too late to change how you treat people.  Young or old, we are all given another chance to change each and every day.  There are some people that are natural leaders, and some that are natural followers.  I can honestly say that I don't ever remember "bullying" someone.  But I can also remember plenty of times I saw it happening and did nothing to stop in.  As an adult, reflecting back, I wish I could change this, but I can't.  So I am drilling into my children the importance of it.  Not once, did I ever have a friend turn their back on me because I stood up for something that was right.  We need to stop being so scared.  I am very proud of some of the young people that I have seen speak up in Abilene this week.  They have shown class, and compassion during something that people their age aren't equipped to handle.  And this gives me hope.

Today, as Tommy is laid to rest, let's all decide to stop fighting.  Let's pull together.  Let's stop talking, and start doing.  Let's make this town, this school district a better place for our young people, and many generations to come.  Change can start with one person, I believe it already has.

Friday, September 4, 2015

We still do: 5 years later

Today marks five years that I have been married to my husband... And this man deserves a medal.

If I'm going to be completely honest with myself, and everyone else, I can be challenging.  I don't handle stress well.  I am moody.  For the most part, he handles me pretty well in all of my moods.  I can be funny, dramatic, anxious, sensitive, snappy, happy, and emotional, sometimes all the same 5 minute conversation.  He just rolls with it.  I came with some "baggage" in the form of a 5 yr old and a 7 yr. old at the time we got married.  I came with a lot of hurt, and pride, and one hell of a broken heart.  He stepped right up to the plate:  Good thing he is always up for a challenge, and good thing he thinks I'm cute!

In the past five years, I have learned a lot.  One of the most important things I have learned is something my mom always told me, but it took me experiencing it to fully understand what she meant.  That lesson is this:  love isn't a feeling, but an action.  Love is a choice.  Love is a verb, an act of doing.  Loving someone, and being "in love" with someone are two completely different things.  "In love" is a feeling, those famous butterflies.  Butterflies die.  Feelings come and go, and come back again.  Feelings sometimes fade.

Love, however, is an action.  It is a commitment.  It is a choice.  It is choosing to wake up every day, and honor and support this other person, even when they are at their worst.  It is showing them understanding, and acceptance, even when you may not wholly understand them, or their NASCAR obsession.  It is choosing to put them above all else in this world, even when you want to run away.  It is supporting them when they are unsure, and and reassuring them when they are scared.  It is being the light in their darkest days.  It is keeping them grounded, when they are getting a little big for their britches.  It is putting them in check when they need it.It is building life, and a family together.  Russ chooses to love me.  And I choose to love him.  And it isn't always easy.

The whole "don't go to bed mad" thing is a crock.  That's going to happen.  I have gone to bed so mad at Russ I can envision myself flipping him right off of the side of the bed once he is in a good deep sleep.  There's going to be times that you go to bed mad and that you wake up, still mad.  But you can still love that person.  When I come home from work on a Tuesday night with some shopping bags, having spent more money than I made that night, I'm sure he has gone to bed a little on the mad side, but he still loves me.  When we have skipped date night so he can watch the end of the game or race, I may have stormed off to bed mad, but I still love him.  I would still be there in a heartbeat for anything he needed.  I am still committed to him.  I am not going to walk away from him, from our marriage, our kids, the life we have built, because I may be angry with him about something.  I still choose him.  No matter what.  I choose the man that I committed to love before God.  Every.  Single.  Day.

Marriage is clearly not all rainbows and puppies.  It is sometimes yelling, and fighting over money, and baby puke, and a messy house, and busy schedules, barely seeing each other throughout the week.  It can be exhausting, emotionally draining, and frustrating.  But it is can also be worth it.  It is a partnership that if treated like the sacred covenant it is, is meant to make both people involved the best they can possibly be, together.

Thank you, Russ, for loving me at my worst.  Thank you for this crazy/beautiful life we have built.  Thank you for being the husband and father you are.  Thank you for being my partner in crime for the last 5 years... Here's to many more!  Happy anniversary!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

To the man who just can't keep his comments to himself...

Cutest Bumble Bee I've ever seen!
Recently, Ashlynne had her very first dance recital.  I was on my way back from Texas from Mary Kay Seminar and burned back into town just in time to make it to the recital.  It was a nature themed recital and her class was dressed as bumble bees.  She rocked it out, and was awesome!  She was so proud of herself, as was I.  It takes a lot of guts to get up on a stage, in front of many people you don't know, and perform.  It takes an extra lot of guts to do so when you have a visible difference, and physically you don't move as well and aren't as flexible as the other girls on the stage.  After her performance, where she had A LOT of friends and family, just she and I were walking back to the car, where I was letting her know just how proud of her we all are.

Enter stage right:  The one man who has to make an ignorant comment.

"That's the reddest bumble bee I've ever seen!"

I had to have had the biggest look of disgust on my face.  I didn't respond.  I tried to just keep my conversation with Ashlynne going, hoping she didn't hear him.

"How'd she get such a bad sunburn?"  He was making sure he was being heard.  AND making sure we saw him staring.  Now it was my turn to turn red.

"She doesn't have a sunburn, she has a skin disorder."  Once again, trying to just turn my conversation back to Ashlynne, he interrupts again.

"Oh, but why is she so red? I mean, she's SO red."

What I really want to say is this:

"Yes, we have eyes too, we see that she is red.  And while she has a skin disorder, and has very red, dry skin, and limited movement, she also has ears.  And those work just fine.  And you are offending that sense in every way possible.  You are clearly, elderly, which means that you have probably seen many things in your lifetime, and if you have reacted this way to everyone you have come across that is different, I'm surprised your jaw isn't wired shut. You know when you're saying things like this to a child, you are chipping away at her confidence, and her self esteem.  People like YOU are the reason it is so hard for her to get up and do these things.  And then, when she does, and she feels great about it, you march right up and open your mouth and take some of the wind out of her sails.  Shame on you.  But I want to thank you for once again teaching me a lesson in self control, patience, and understanding, because everything in me right now wants to verbally assault you. But I won't, because you aren't the first @$$hole, and you won't be the last."
These girls did awesome!!

But what I really say is:

"She has ichthyosis.  That is why she is red, and her skin is dry.  But I think she's the cutest bumble bee I've ever seen."  And I take Ashlynne's hand and simply walk off.  But my daughter's spirit won't be broken.  She just made crazy faces to his back when he walked off, and laughed it off.  She just shook her head and said "Old people..."  She won't let people like that keep her down.  She is still going to do dance, she enrolled in Lyrical for this session.

One thing I will never understand is why some people feel that it's ok to make ignorant, rude comments to a child.  Think them to yourself, ask someone else, but she is a CHILD!  But something I have learned is this:  Common sense, and common courtesy... they aren't very common.  Maybe we should have an awareness month for that....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

To my ex on Fathers Day: Thank you

I have an amazing husband, and a pretty close to perfect dad.  But I also have a complicated little family unit.  Between my husband and I, we have four kiddos.  We have his, mine, and ours.  I have two children from before our marriage, he has one, and we have our explosive red head together.  I went through some tough times in my younger years.  I was married, and had Ashlynne when I was 20.  When she was a few months old, her father left.  At that point, I met Devin, over time became engaged to him, and had our amazing little man, Gavin.  After a few years, this relationship fell apart.  But his relationship with his son never suffered for it.

In honor of Father's Day, I'm going to do something most women rarely do.  Something I wish more moms took the time, and thought to do.  Something I wish more moms would do, while taking a step back and putting their anger aside.  I'm going to give a HUGE shout out to my ex. Because he deserves it.  Yes, I want to honor this man, that I couldn't make a romantic relationship work with, for the fact that he never took our differences out on our son.  Because of the love and commitment I see him put forth into being a dad, I admire him so much.  It wasn't always rainbows and roses, in fact, it was pretty rough for a while.  But over time, I have come to consider Devin one of my best friends.  We have one very important thing in common, Gavin.

Gavin and his Rad Dad 
I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but we have a pretty good set up.  Devin and I truly do get along amazingly well.  This was something that took my husband quite some time to figure out.  We couldn't be together, yet when it came to our son, we were rarely apart.  I can see how from the outside looking in, it is a strange set up.  No, we don't live together, but he was over for every holiday, first days of school, birthdays, and any other important date.  He still comes to my parents house for holidays, and stops by my grandparents' house just to say hi.  And why not?  Isn't this best for Gavin?  It's not "my time" or "his time" with Gavin, it's Gavin's time.  He offers things that Russ and I can't, and vice versa.  He knows that if I make any suggestions, or express any concerns on anything going on with it comes from a genuine place, and the same goes for me.  We are doing everything we can to try to make the lives of Gavin, and the other kids, the best that we can.  He is still very active in Ashlynnes life, and he and Logan are buds too.  If he is going to take Gavin for ice cream, and Breckyn wants to go, he takes her too.  If he is going swimming and I can't take the other kids, he loads them all up.  In fact, Breckyn loves him! That's "her" Devin.

He had one doozy of a life.  An absent father that was never in his life, and a mother that passed away when he was 13, left him with little guidance.  He was a wild child, and made a lot of mistakes.  As far as a positive male role model goes, I guess you could say he didn't have one.  But the day Gavin came into this world, he started turning his life around.  He was not going to repeat the pattern or let history repeat itself.  So the same went for he and I.  When we split, he was a big part of breaking the cycle of those typical nasty relationships where people use their children as weapons. It took a lot of work, on both of our parts, but when we split, after both of us trying our butts off to make it work, in very short order both of us realized we didn't want it to be ugly.  Those things are hard enough on their own without creating more complications for the other person.  Neither of us needed that, but more importantly, neither did our son.

So this Father's Day, I want to give him props.  Thank you for proving everyone wrong!  Thank you for being such a good friend to Russ and I, and a good buddy/ family member to the other kids, and an AWESOME dad to Rad Dude.  While our romantic relationship didn't work out, I'm still convinced I couldn't have picked a better dad for Gavin.  And I couldn't have picked a better friend.

Happy Father's Day!