The Loving It Part:
I’m not discovering a new me. I’m still me with the same likes, interests, values, morals and goals etc. However, in the marriage I sacrificed some of the things that I enjoyed doing, not just for Jack but also for the entire family. I know I will sacrifice more, that’s part of being a mom.
I enjoy much of the same things Jack does. Hiking, camping, fishing (from time to time, if they aren’t biting I lose interest). In the time we were married I also found new interests because they interested him, and found I also enjoyed them. I learned to play golf, I started running, while in Japan we did a lot of biking around (I don’t really enjoy it as much here in the states as I did in Japan). There are also other things I like to do and haven’t done, growing up I used to go horseback riding, I loved being on the water. I grew up on the ocean. I didn’t care if it was fishing boat, sail boat or row boat,. I loved hanging out with my family no matter how nutty we are. Unfortunately that was a sacrifice I regret deeply and I should have NEVER sacrificed. We always went to his family.
The going home part was partly my fault, when I left I didn’t want to come back. However, I realized as I got older those roots were deep within me. I don’t want to go back there to live, but I needed to go home. I only went back 3 times in the marriage, twice with the family (2001 with the whole family, 2002 by myself when my best friend got married, and 2006 when mom was sick). Jack would say if I wanted to go home for a visit then I could, but I would go by myself. I DIDN’T WANT TO GO BY MYSELF. I wanted my children and my husband to enjoy what I did and had when I grew up. I wanted my kids to roam the shores and see crabs, sea cucumbers, periwinkles, clams etc. I still have family back home, but since mom has died it’s not going to be the same. I wanted my kids to enjoy their nana on her turf. Jack never got that. He didn’t like the people, he didn’t like my friends and it was too slow paced for him. I don’t know when, I don’t know how because money will be tight for quite awhile, but I will be taking my children on vacations back to my home. I will be taking them on vacations that I have always wanted to take “the family” on. Some might be out of reach for a single mom, but if I can financially do it; I will.
In this new chapter, like I have said, it’s not discovering a new me; but I am understanding me a lot better. For years (even before Jack) I knew I was different than other people. From the time I was a toddler I danced to the beat of a different drum. If my mother were here she could attest to that, I’m the reason she got all her gray hairs. I was a very independent child right from the start. However, I was also shy, until I felt comfortable around people, I didn’t always have to be playing with friends. If I wanted to play with the neighborhood kids I did, if I didn’t I always found something to do. I was never this person that needed a lot of friends to make me feel important. In my school days (Grade 1 to Grade 12) I had 2 best friends. They are still my friends today. Sure we had other friends come into the group, but it wasn’t a big group.
My mother always said I wore my heart on my sleeve; I was her Tenderheart Carebear. I would get more upset at how others were treated, or that others were hurting, than I ever did about myself. Despite being shy, if you ticked me off I would come at you. I don’t like confrontation, I never have, but when I have had enough, watch out. The Irish in me comes out. I can be nice, compassionate, kind, loving and all those wonderful things in a person; take advantage of it, hurt me, my kids and at one time my husband; you messed with the wrong woman. I come from a long line of strong, independent women. I will stand up for what is right even if it means I am the only one standing for it.
I don’t always have to be doing something. For me I am just as happy reading a book, hanging out with a group of friends, having a bbq, or just sitting around talking. But also I can be in big groups and enjoy them just as much. I just don’t need it all the time.
Personally I think being an independent woman is hard, especially in a relationship. I never needed this person to be all over me all the time, that is just as much a turn off as someone not giving any of it. For me I just need equal balance. I also see that because I wasn’t getting the “equal balance” of it from Jack, I would be all over him. I can see how he thought I was needy. If he had just given me a little it would have satisfied me.
I can also see how some could see I am uncaring, selfish etc, because I am very private for the most part. I don’t always talk about my emotions. I learned a long time ago my feelings and emotions would get shot down. I can be abrasive when I need to be; mainly it’s to protect myself from getting hurt. I have this tough exterior but on the inside I have this soft center that needs to be protected.
I have never been this woman that couldn’t do for herself. I can be a dreamer, a thinker, and I can hesitate however, when it’s something I want; I go after it. Don’t tell me I can’t do something because I will show you I can. For me going after something I want, doesn’t mean hurting people. Achieving something isn’t worth it, if you push your loved ones away, or pull someone else down to get to the top. A person can be the best in their career field and work long hours and dedicate all their time to it and it will make them feel important. Of course however, they have put their loved ones on the back burner, they alienated the ones who supported them through it all. They find when they are at the top they are alone. That’s another area where Jack and I differ. He calls it lazy. My job, my career doesn’t make me feel important. I love what I do, I love interacting with the people, I love helping people. My career doesn’t define me though. I do love it though when I get appreciation for the hard work I have done. I don’t expect it but it makes the soul feel good that your hard work, dedication is being noticed. It’s a simple, “thank you for taking the time to explain this to me,” or “thank you for making me feel so welcome.” I’ve had co workers come up and hug me or thank me for just being me. I have had them say they enjoy coming to work because they know I am going to be there with my jokes, my smile, my hard work and everything about me. I will shrug it off “it’s nothing.” For those people it is. That makes me feel good that just the little things help my friends, my co workers and the customers. I might not do great things, but the small things are what count.
For so long I thought there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t like Jack. I kept hearing there was something wrong with me because that’s what Jack said. I wasn’t and I am not personable all the time. I don’t always strike up conversation with a stranger. I don’t always have to be in a conversation with someone. It’s funny a co worker who I now call a very dear friend and I sit at lunch and hang out. There are times we are chit chatting like you wouldn’t believe and other times we just sit in the silence and enjoy each others company. I do not always have to be involved in something.
The comical part for me, I didn’t understand who I was by sitting in a therapist office. It was at a workshop for my new job. The instructor had us do a test; the Meyers Briggs test. It’s a personality test. If you have ever been interested in psychology or taken a course in psychology; Carl Jung and probably the Meyers Briggs personality test rings a bell. Why did we take the test and why did they feel it was so important that new employees take this test. In life we deal with many different personalities. It wasn’t just to understand our customers, it was also to understand our co workers and their personalities. I gained a wealth of information that day, not just about myself but even about the person Jack is. Amazing! I wonder if Jack and I had taken this test as a couple years ago and learned our two personalities, if life would have been better. I was the far end of the spectrum and he was on the other end of the spectrum (while in the work shop I did his evaluation). The instructor even said that these two personalities are the hardest, work and personally, to jive. Often times though despite the differences, they are the best matches if the two can understand and accept the huge differences in their personalities, work and personally. If they don’t they will always come to blows. Despite the realization and understanding of the two personalities, I have all ready let go and moved on. I have no doubt that as things come up in life without Jack, I will analyze and say “we should have done that.” but it no longer matters. Again I have been validated that nothing is wrong with me. It was Jack who felt there was something wrong with me. Jack’s opinion no longer matter. Jack no longer matters to me. I don’t wish him ill, I also hope he doesn’t get hurt, how he hurt me. Just because Jack hurt me, doesn’t mean I still do not care for him. It sucks caring about people when they don’t give a rats ass about you. That’s me; not Jack.
At this point in my life; I do not want to be in a relationship. I do not want to be someone’s girlfriend, fiancée or wife. That’s not to say it won’t ever happen. In life I have learned to never say never. I’m happy with it just being the kids and I. Easy? It’s not easy doing it on 1 pay check. It’s not easy doing everything yourself. However, it is a hell of a lot easier doing it on your own, than doing it on your own in a relationship. It’s also easier to know you don’t have help when you are by yourself, than asking for help and not getting it when you are in a relationship. I do the same things I did in the marriage. I mow the grass, edge the lawn, do dishes, laundry, clean, shuttle the kids here and there when I can, take care of them when they are sick; dash out of work if the school calls (unless Jack has them, then it’s on him), I referee the fights the kids have, I do things with them, go get groceries, pay the bills as best as I can, get up go to work, fix a toilet if it’s broken, fix a bike if it needs fixing, make supper. At the end of a long day at work, I can say I am tired and not hear “you don’t know tired.” If I sit down on the couch, I don’t have to feel like I am being lazy because I am not doing something. The kids have chores, but I don’t run them like a military camp. If they do wrong, they get disciplined. I don’t put the fear of God in them. The three of us bump heads at times. I might say the wrong thing, or they might lose their mind and think they can talk to me a certain way. If I hurt their feelings, or if I say something wrong, or do something wrong, I apologize to them and work on not doing that to them. I have seen that my example has rubbed off on them. They have both come to me an apologized for what they said or did, and I know they truly mean it.
I don’t want my children to feel that my way is the only way. I don’t want them to feel that Jack’s way is the only way. They too have their own opinions. It’s not being soft to allow your children to have their own opinions if they do not jive with yours. However, I do expect them to have respect for me in when they are voicing their opinions. Even adults have a hard time respecting other peoples point of view and opinions. I also teach them to respect one another. Just because my son doesn’t understand where his sister is coming in her feelings, doesn’t mean they should be discarded and vice versa.
As a mom, I want them to think on their own, have their own dreams, be who they are. I want them to know that I love them no matter what. We may not always agree. At times, it might feel I am knocking their dreams and their thoughts down. That’s part of adolescence, we think our parents are knocking us down when they give advice. It’s only when we become adults that we realize they wanted us to have those dreams, goals, opinions, but life doesn’t always go as planned. We can think one way, or have this plan in life, but we also have another plan or another path in case what we want takes longer to achieve or doesn’t happen.
Having a boy and a girl, I have to instill in both of them different and yet the same thing. I don’t want my son to think that he will be the bread winner in the family. I also don’t want him to judge his wife (if he chooses to get married) if she wants to stay home and take care of the kids. Or feel inferior if she is the bread winner of the family and he is taking care of the kids. I want my son to be a good person in whatever path he chooses. Being a real man isn’t being tough, the bread winner, the leader. I hope that my son will have the compassion, love, respect, intimacy and all those emotions that aren’t easy, not just for a partner but for others that come into his life as well. I want him to be independent. Most of all I want him happy in his life.
For my daughter, I want her to be also independent. Like my mother wanted for me; I don’t want her to feel she needs to have a husband or a relationship to be complete. At 8 years old she doesn’t take much crap off of anyone; at two years old she didn’t take much crap off of anyone. I want her to be able to do for herself. I don’t want her to think that she is weak if she cries about something, that hurt her. I don’t want her to feel she needs a man to fix the toilet or mow the grass. I want her to be able to figure things out for herself.
As a single mother I don’t want either of my children to feel they lost a part of their childhood because of what has transpired. In these past two years they have had to grow up more than they probably should have. Right now it might not seem fair to them, but when they become adults they will appreciate it more.
I see over the past few years how they have developed. I am SO proud of them. I make sure I tell them and show them everyday. Last week I gave them both a chore; my daughter had to have her room cleaned by the time I came home from work, my son had to have the living room vacuumed. That’s all I asked of them. After an exhausting day at work, I was thinking crap I have dishes to do and get supper ready. When I came home, I saw what I had asked them was done. Then my son said “go look in the sink.” I walked into the kitchen, all the dishes were done. They both beamed. I hugged my son kissed him and I thought I was going to cry. Of course he was like “Jeez mom it’s just dishes.” It wasn’t just dishes, it was the two of them worked together, one washed, one dried and it was one less thing mom had to worry about after a long day. It was small, the rest of the house was a mess…I didn’t care. The small things are what matter to me the most.
I was complementing a friend who had lost weight and my son spoke up; “mom has lost weight too, she looks awesome.” Pride, beaming from me and my friend gave me the look of pride.
My daughter will come snuggle in the bed with me; and I will ask why she won’t sleep in her bed. Her response, “you make me feel safe mama.” I can look horrible and she will tell me how beautiful I am.
My children are TRULY awesome. I am so proud to be their mother.
I don’t want to have anymore children. I don’t want to be someone’s step mother. Like I said that might change down the road. The guy will have to be truly amazing for me to even consider any of those. My mother said to me when I was a teen I was picky when it came to dating. My response was “It’s not picky, knowing what you want.” The bar at this point might be set to high for anyone. It’s set higher than it ever has been before. I know what I want in a relationship, I won’t settle for anything less than I deserve. If a man wants to be with me he will have to understand and accept who I am; as I will also have to do for him. In a relationship I want compassion, support, respect, appreciation, intimacy (not just the physical), fun, enjoyment, learning, romance, independence and so much more. That person will get the same from me. I am not ready to give anyone other than my children that, at this point in my life. I have a right to be picky because it’s not just me that a relationship will affect; it will also affect my children. I don’t want them to go through what they went through and are going through with their father and I. They deserve better and I also deserve better. The three of us are a package deal just like it would be a package deal if the person in a relationship had children of their own. I don’t want that package right now.
What are my plans? I am going to go back to school and get the degrees I want to get. I’m looking at building a house that is mine and well within my means and probably not over 1000 square feet. That’s my 10-20 year plan. I have always wanted to travel and when I get in a financial place to do that; I will. I may run that marathon I was working up to ,10 years ago. The sky is the limit. Just because I haven’t done it yet, doesn’t mean it won’t get done. One of the things I have always wanted to do was learn how to ride a motorcycle. I’ll do it. Jack kept promising me we would get a motorcycle for me. Guess what; I will get my own damned motorcycle.
My life hasn’t just begun; it’s only going to get better. There will be rough times, depressing time, happy times, exhilarating times. I’ll be loving it.