Hey! After several years away, I started to blog again. If you are looking for me go to http://www.uneditedhonesty.wordpress.com . Hope to see you there!

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One Year Later

Yeah, I kind of disappeared for a while, like a looongggg while. There are lots of reasons, lots of excuses, but the point is, I have been a terrible blogger, and I apologize.

So, anyway, one year ago this past Saturday, I moved out of the house I shared with my soon-to-be-ex and moved into my own apartment. For the very first time in my life, I live on my own, with my two youngest children. I remember the day I moved in like it was yesterday. I was so happy, so full of hope, and determined to make our lives better than they had ever been. I admit that I was a little naive back then, I knew the road ahead would be hard, but I had no idea how hard. No. Idea.

This year has been the hardest of my life so far. Every detail of my life has had to be questioned, tested, evaluated. Things that I knew with one hundred percent certainty have been proven wrong. Things that I swore would never happen to me again have happened in new and even more painful ways. Every month has brought new struggles, more uphill battles, and sometimes, more setbacks. It’s not easy, this single mom taking on the world thing I am trying so hard to do, it’s not easy for me or for my kids, but my God, it is so worth it.

What I have found is that, even with the fighting, and screaming, and tears, my kids and I do really well together. We have formed a routine for our lives, one that gives all of us a sense of familiarity and strength. Our bond is strong, stronger than it was a year ago I think. I’m proud of that. We have worked really hard for that. It doesn’t always feel good, or right between us, but today, my kids are getting along, we have had probably the best family talk we have ever had, and I am so proud of us I could burst.

Alli has faced bullying for the first time in her life this year, because of me in a round-about way. Through it all she has shown such strength and determination I am humbled. She has not only stood up for herself, but for me as well. She has a very strong sense of what is right, and what is true, and the courage she has shown fills me with pride at the child she is, and the woman she is becoming.

Samuel has grown and matured immensely this past year. When we moved in here he was a little boy. He was afraid of a lot of things, and he has been forced to face every one of his fears this past year. He turned twelve in April, and the difference in him now is phenomenal. He isn’t my baby anymore, but he is a wonderful, smart, and funny young man, and I couldn’t be more proud.

I moved in to this apartment with some assumptions about how things were going to be, and as those assumptions crashed and burned one by one, the pain was, and is, immense. But we are here, we are together, and today, I am so grateful that we are and I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Tuesday Taylor and Childhood Dreams

Image  Do you remember this? Probably not. It’s called Tuesday Taylor’s Penthouse apartment and I used to own one and forced you to play with me as often as I possibly could. Do you remember we were going to live in a penthouse just like this, somewhere exciting and amazing like New York or L.A?  I was going to be a writer, and you were going to be an artist. We would have the coolest friends and have the best parties. Our apartment was going to be the best place anyone had ever seen, We were going to have charmed lives, you and I. Do you remember?

Needless to say, we never did have our apartment. I never moved anywhere exciting or amazing, just to Baltimore. You never left New Jersey for long. I never sold (or wrote) the Great American Novel, and you never sold a painting. The thing is, even with all the messed up, crazy twists and turns my life took, I always thought that there was time to go back. I always thought we could have an amazing penthouse, just like Tuesday Taylor. Then you left.

This has been a terrible week. It’s been a terrible string of weeks, actually. Last night, it happened again. I picked up the phone and called you. This time, it actually rang once, before I remembered that you will never answer my call again. I really need to talk to you. It’s not as bad as it sounds. I have friends here, a few that genuinely do care about me, and I know for certain that if I call them and say I need to talk, they will listen. All night if I need them to. Sometimes though? I need someone who knows my roots. Someone who knows me at my core, better than I know myself. Someone who can remind me of where I came from, and can make me laugh at things that happened before I  ever became the person I am today. For me, there was only one person left like that. That person was you, and now your gone. Who the hell can ever replace you in my life? Absolutely no one.

You really suck, you know. I have SO much going on in my life, so many changes. Some days I am literally paralyzed with fear (you know I never handle change well, even if it’s good change). I need to get drunk and listen to your stupid stories about your latest death defying antics. I need to hear you laugh when I tell you how hard it is to raise a teenage girl. I need to hear you cheer and say ‘I told you so’ when I tell you I finally left Bob for real and for good. Really, what I need is you. I need you to be there, and you’re not, and I am so pissed that you left me anchorless I cannot even begin to tell you. When someone is as important as you were no, are to me, for as long as you were, there isn’t any way to fill the void that is left. You know better than anyone, I know how to deal with death of people. People I love. People that mean everything to me. I just never thought I would have to deal with yours. I’m tired of dealing. I don’t want to have to deal anymore. You are in a better place now, and if I know you, you are completely in control in Heaven, so if you could make it so I don’t have to deal with anyone else leaving? That would be awesome.

I found the picture of our fantasy apartment on Ebay. That makes me happy. Maybe one day I will buy one. I will fill it with two Barbies, one blonde and one brunette, a computer for me, and an easel for you. It won’t be the same of course, but maybe, in some small way, I can make our childhood dreams come true. I love you, and I miss you like crazy.

All my love, always,

Me

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The Secret Of Happiness

Today was a bad day. Like lock yourself in your room and cry bad. Fights with my kids, fights with my ex,  hurting people I love and making their day bad because I was hurt and my day was bad bad. The badness started soon after I woke up and went strong halfway through the afternoon.  Then, I decided to forget about my messy apartment, and the dishes that needed to be done, and the laundry that is never finished and we packed up some towels and books and went to the pool. It was there, sitting in the sun with my book, that Jayden, my beautiful 3 year old grandson, taught me the secrets of inner happiness,  I know it sounds far fetched, but he is really smart like that, and I have a secret suspicion he is a Buddhist.

Anyway, watching Jayden play at the pool taught me things I probably already knew, but really needed to be reminded of today. This kid gets it,

1.Be honest. Is that kid ugly?  Is that guy over there mean? Jayden tells it like it is, much to the embarrassment of his grandmother. As adults, we probably dont have to be quite as blunt.  Are you unhappy?  Do you feel you’ve been treated unfairly? Say so. Don’t smile falsely. Don’t write everythings great and awesome and blah blah blah on facebook if things aren’t great and awesome and blah blah blah.    Be open. Be honest. Be real.

2. Cry like your life is over, and then move on. Jayden will sob uncontrollably with very little provocation. The ice cream truck not showing up at the pool will set him off badly enough to get concerned looks from childless adults, and wise, sympathetic smiles from mommy-veterans. If you are sad, go there.  Feel how you feel, then move on. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, because honestly, most people probably think about you very little anyway.

3.Laugh every day. Jayden has a laugh that can make the most miserable person in the world happy. The saying laughter is the best medicine isnt far off the mark. Laughing with Jayden today, I realized I don’t know when I laughed last. It probably hasn’t been that long, maybe a few days…I just don’t remember. I remember almost laughing, I definately remember smiling every day, but if you cant remember exactly when your last good old-fashioned belly laugh was, it’s been too long.

4.Love what you do. I should have put this little tidbit first on my list, its that relevant to my life. If you dont love your job, quit your job. This is not very sound financial advice, but I think it is sound happiness advice. In Buddhism its called natural hierarchy. Do what you love, what you are truly good at. and is the most service to the welfare of others. If you do these three things work then becomes a joy.

5.Forgive quickly and completely. Jayden gets angry at his mom a lot, mostly every time she tells him no. He yells, screams, sometimes he even tells her he doesn’t like her anymore. He storms away, stomping his feet with every bit of energy a three year old can muster, and two minutes later, he is sitting on her lap kissing her cheek and hugging her,  How much better would our adult lives be if we could forgive as easily?

Thanks for a great afternoon Jayden. Come back soon. I promise not to let your wisdom go to waste.

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For My Mom, On Mother’s Day

Dear Mom,

You and I have certainly had our problems over the years, haven’t we. I remember bumping heads with you countless times over the years. I can remember being so angry at you sometimes I was literally shaking, and crying, as I always do when I am really mad. The funny thing is, some of our biggest fights my friends from childhood now remember with fondness and affection, a treasured memory of funny times. Actually of all the childhood friends I still speak to, every single one remembers you with love and affection. They always told me growing up how lucky I was to have a mom like you, fights and all. As an adult, I absolutely agree.

You taught me so many things growing up. Some things I may not have been ready to learn, and deeply resented having to endure the lessons. I am so grateful for them now, and I see so clearly that I am the person I am today largely due to your guidance.

When I was diagnosed with a minor learning disability, you made it your mission to learn everything you could about it, and even volunteered in my school to learn more. From there you eventually got hired at my school, and made a career helping kids with a variety of learning disabilities. I am so proud that my mom would dedicate her life to something that started as concern for me.  Many years later, when I was told that the baby I was carrying had a congenital heart defect while I was still pregnant with him, I knew I had to learn everything I could about his defect. I knew how to do that, because I watched you.

Fortunately, I eventually outgrew my learning issues. Unfortunately, Daniel didnt outgrow his heart defect. When he died, I was devastated, a shell of the person I had been. I knew how to handle devastation though. When I came home at the age of nineteen and found out my father, your husband, had moved out in literally a couple hours, seemingly out of the blue, I watched you. The very next week, when you found out your stubborn, headstrong, rebellous nineteen year old daughter was pregnant by a boy you knew was in no way capable of being a responsible man, I watched you. You must have felt like your world had stopped turning, but you never showed it, and the love and support you gave to Jessica and to me was nothing  short of miraculous. Much later in life that lesson became invaluable to me, when Megan became a mom at fifteen. Because I learned from you to take care of the kids no matter what, I have a bond with Jayden that is remarkable, and will no doubt last a lifetime, just like your bond with Jessica still does.

Now, three weeks away from finally moving out of Bob’s house and moving on with my life, I think back to you often when trying to handle my divorce. My marrige ended far differently from yours, and should have been over a long time ago, but because of you I know how to handle myself with dignity and grace. I am thankful for that more and more as my divorce get progressively ugly.

Most of all mom, I learned how to be a mother to my children. I know that no matter how much I want to be their best friend, that can never be my role. I know that no matter how much I hate it, and how much it hurts, there comes a time that I have to let my kids go out on their own to make their own mistakes. I know they have to find their own path in life, no matter how much I disagree with their choices, and all I can do is give advice when asked, and listen when things go wrong. In the case of Megan, and myself, I learned how to pick my battles with a rebellous child, and stand my ground when it counts, even if it kills me.

In between these big lessons, there were thousands of small ones. You taught me to say please and thank you, to respect my elders, and that I can never, ever wear white after Labor Day. I learned how to handle myself in public with class, which fork to eat which course with, and how to decorate a Christmas tree perfectly.

I have learned so much from you mom, and I am so grateful. I’m an adult now. Do you think it’s possible that you could learn some things from me?

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love you.

Jenn

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JAYDEN

Three years old.  That is so amazing to me.  Somehow it seems like you just came, and yet I cant remember life without you.  I have told you before how unprepared I was to be a grandmother, but I have to tell you again, I am so proud to be your mom-mom, and I would never want it any other way.

Life is certainly never boring with you. From the second your eyes open in the morning you are in constant motion.  You entertain me, fill me with pride, exhaust me, and frustrate, and make me love you more every day.  Your sense of humor and complete joy with life are precious gifts to be able to witness firsthand.

One of the countless reasons you are so special to me is because you are like an unexpected do over in my life.  I knew after Uncle Sam was born that I would never have another baby, and as insane as it sounds coming from someone with five children, I was sad about that.  Then, when I had resigned myself to that fact, your mom had you and I had a brand new little boy to love.  And I do love you Jayden, every bit as much as I love my own children.

Things are going to change for us when I move, but always know that I am a phone call away.  I am so looking forward to sleep overs in my new apartment, to movie nights on my couch with you Uncle Sam and Aunt Alli, and swimming in the pool.  For now, Happy Birthday baby boy.  I hope you love your new big boy bed. Mom-mom loves you more than you will ever know.

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