Lessons Learned

This started off as a daily post has turned into a rambling full of everything post. 
 
Today started off well enough. T seemed to be in a great mood until he wasn’t. One of his daily chores is to empty out his school bag. Lunch kit. Not hard chore I am not asking him to scrub between the tiles with a toothbrush. Last night he ‘forgot’ given he had to take out the garbage. Clean the cat litter. Put dishes away. How could I expect him to remember everything?
I make his lunch and put it into a plastic bag. T comes out and says he brought his lunch kit home and I should put his lunch in there. I said no you should have cleaned out your bag last night.
This lead to a couple of tirades which I listened to. T thought he was winning. Than he bombshells well attempts to bombshell shame me (me ha I am shameless) with ‘you know mom people are going to start to think we are poor!’ I took a sip of my coffee peering over the rim at him. ‘T I do not care what people think about us I know our truth.’
T sat there staring at me and could think of no good come back so he just glared at me. Forced him to come into living room with me. Had more ranting and raving. And demanding to know why he had to come out 10 minutes before we had to leave. Which lead to the conversation about his ability to slow down time. 
Seriously this kid has a great super power that I wish I had had. He can control time. Not in the speed it up so work day is over but sloooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwsssssss it all the way down. Told him that he could turn 5 minutes into 15. I was told I had no patience. I am trying not to laugh but this conversation…..
Next I told him hoping he would understand  that he could turn a minute into an hour. He counted to sixty. I said trying to remember it was a metaphor. Apparently I am making up words. Tried to explain and was told he did not want to learn any more new words. Google it. For my knowledge and I was wrong. Still can’t remember what the word is to define the minute/hour analogy? I will google that too.
T is beyond pissed off at me. We get into the car and he is glaring out the window when it hits me. 
‘OMG buddy I am so sorry, I forgot how dramatic it is to be your age!’
T looks over at me. I am grinning like an idiot. T is so not impressed.
‘Text Chichi buddy she will tell you all about my dramatic personality.’
I am dramatic. And Chichi is waiting for his text. 
Driving T to school and I am chattering away. It is math quiz day. T is struggling with math. I am doing the best that I can to help him. New math sucks. The whole write it all out is ridiculous….let me tell you the math I learned which is the same as T is learning but longer and well…….
I told T that all I expected from him was his best. He is still glaring out the window. So I continue to chatter away…..telling him that I know he always gives his best….does his best…..but every so often he just needs a little pinch in the bum to goose him along. LMAO his head whipped around so fast and he was trying so hard but I caught the giggle.
Dropped the boy off at school.
Our week was like this. Back and forth. One day all was good. One day I was evil. 
We head into spring break. 
This week has been glorious. For the first time since December 2018 I am alone all week. Walk around the house naked. Yes I had T and K (his bff) for one night. That is all. M K’s mom and one of my BFF’s has basically had them all week long. Saturday to Tuesday with M. Tuesday night me. Wed through til Fri with the ex. He he he he. Fri to Sunday with M. 
I was given the option to take T and K for an extra night. Oh hell no. No no no. 
T and me are home before the whole week long visit/hang out starts.
‘Hey mom??’
‘Yes???’ he never asks without an ulterior motive.
‘I was thinking. You know if I was an adult and I had my kid as much as you have me, were my ex wife to have extra time off, I would insist that she take them. That is only fair.’
I stammered a little…….but he pashwed me. 
‘Mom I know that you love me……but we need time.’
My boy. He is the light and love of my life. He is also without a doubt a carbon copy of me in the male form. Not sure if I mentioned but T asked me not that long ago if anyone ever said that he and I looked alike. He is physically an amalgamation of his father and myself.  Mom recently mentioned that she noticed T and K (his cousin) had the same smile Someone (I think is was M-K’s mom) said that from the nose down T is me.
He is sassy. He is smart ass. He has some come backs that make me bite my tongue. Do not giggle. To giggle means he wins.
Once upon a time…..I was told that the reason my mom and me butted heads so bad….why me and that idiot brother of mine always were at one another’s throats……we are all too damn similar. 
T and me……he is the male version of me. So much younger. But I can look at him and I can see…..which is why I mock myself….laugh and tease……being a tween/teen is hard enough……never mind having all the adults in your life riding you. So I do my best to let T know…..mistakes happen…..lessons are hard to learn sometimes……let us do the best we can and the rest will fall a-line.  
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Mourning

**Picture is my own taken at Matlock Beach Mantioba**
I guess that I will never learn
to not give away my heart
to keep it encased
keep it locked away
so no one can hurt me.
When tears creep down my cheeks
and kleenex litters the floor
I chastize myself
for falling once more.
I thought I learned my lesson
years and years ago
only to discover
that I have not
as I lay here curled in a ball.
I no longer have the wherewithal
to text or converse with you
you have torn my heart
stomped it beneath your shoes.
I think that going forward
I won’t allow myself to feel
instead I will watch as lovers walk
holding hands
and mourn for you.
©Jay-lyn Doerksen

The Ex and Me

The Ex and me, we don’t always see eye to eye. Different parenting styles, different people, different lives all around.

Last evening one of the girls was over at his place for an evening of drinks and relaxation. And this was what she overheard. All I can say is that I am sure that this is the sweetest thing bar none that he has ever said about me:

‘She is a great mom. We have an amazing relationship and parent so well together. But she speaks her mind and doesn’t hold back. But that is okay.’

Now it has taken us a long time to get here. When first we split up and then when I moved out there was so much animosity. We could not tolerate one another and when we did have to interact World War III was simmering beneath the surface. There were a few times where I nearly stabbed him with a fork I was so angry however was able to maintain a level head. I really did not want to go to jail for stabbing him.

I am sure that there are things that I do that he does not agree with. I tend to be more open with T about things. I explain. My parenting is not about ‘do this because I said so’. My actions speak so much louder than my words do and if I want T to be l00x better than I am or ever was, I had better be providing him with a damn good example to follow.

I do have language issues. T is forever telling me to watch it. I have to laugh because he also tells characters in the t.v. shows we watch and any singers with explicit language in their songs, to watch their language. I have heard him a few times use shit or hell. As one of his dad’s siblings is married to someone who was once a farmer, I watched their three kids grow up and using the word shit as young as 5. I cringed but as it was explained to me, they heard it all day long. It was used to fertilize the fields.  So on and so forth. At least T waited until he was 9 before I heard him.

It is also important to me that he treats everyone the same. When he does not say good morning, or thank you, or please with others (i.e. school crossing guard, someone holding the door open for him/him holding doors for others and so on and so forth) I lecture. And I will do so until it becomes second nature.

T is an amazing kid. He is smart. Funny. Has a sarcastic sense of humor much like my own. He is fast to quip.

We were discussing how I needed to ensure that he was properly equipped for school. Jacket, that is a big one a) because at 9 he is too cool to wear proper winter attire and b) because it is March and who wears winter coats in March? Well if you live in Manitoba, you may well be wearing your winter coat until June. As we are going back and forth T looks at me and says if I am to make sure he is properly equipped for school where were his rubber boots? I admit, I barked with laughter before attempting to school my face into a disgruntled mom look, it did not work.

I also see his dad in there too. He is great with his hands. The designs he creates in Scrap Mechanic and Minecraft amaze me. Mechanically inclined as he has been helping his dad in the shop since he was 2. He can fold clothes from the dryer better than I can. (Which is why I hang everything up that can be hung up)

While there are times that I wonder what the Ex is thinking he is a good dad. He loves T with every fiber of his being. And when they have the time to hang out together, they have a blast.

As always this ended up being more about me and T than my thanking the Ex for the kind things he said about me. But I can only take the idea and go with it, the rest flows to my fingers and onto the page.

While neither the Ex nor I were good partners for one another, we are great parents together for T. And really at the end of it, is that not the best example that we both can provide him? He saw the fights between us and now he sees that we talk to one another. That we are friends. These last few months, the Ex helped me with food and lunches for T. He let me keep his share of the baby bonus each month so I could ensure that my bills were paid and I could buy groceries.

He really is not a bad man. And I hope that he is with the woman that is going to make him happy forever. Because I do want him to be happy. I want him to have a love that fills him from head to toes with light and laughter and songs. I was not that person and it is okay. We had a good life together and we have an amazing son. And now we are friends. And I can turn to him for help whenever I need it.

 

Policing

The descent into the asylum of Tween/Teendom has begun. I am sure that it won’t be that bad right? Ha! I remember what I was like. I have heard what the Ex was like. If I escape with only half of the crap we put our mothers through I will count myself lucky. However he was a wonderful baby and young child. Lately I have been getting glimpses of the ogre that is going to be my child.
T loves sleeping in his clothes. This way he is ready for the next day. An ongoing battle I have been a little lacksidaisy in enforcing the changing into pj’s at night. Well enough is enough and given that he soon will have to be showering daily, I decided last night that I was going to hold firm. T had asked to play Scrap Mechanic. I said yes as long as he put his pj’s on first. Which lead to a large amount of whining. And he did not want to. So up I got, I was in my room reading, and I took the mouse for the computer. That earned me a ‘Fine than! I will watch Youtube.’ Went back into the living room and took the controller for the Xbox.
Back and forth we went. He yelling from the living room, me holding firm and repeating ‘get into your jammies and I will give you the mouse and controller back.’ T was bored. I was ruining his life. How could I be so mean to him? And the best one ‘If this is how you are going to be I am just going to go to my dad’s.’
Now T so rarely uses the going to dad line but I decided that I was not going to allow this to become his go to threat. So I told him that I had text the Ex and told him that T would be taking the bus to his place after school today. Well my word but the water works began and he was caterwauling on and on about how could I have done that. I had hurt his feelings. As I stood at the end of his couch looking at him, tears rolling down his cheeks I informed him that I had not actually text his dad. I was hurt as well that he would use this as a threat to me.
All said and done last night I ‘wasted’ all his time. He only had half an hour to watch Youtube. I explained once more that had he done what I requested that no time would have been wasted. T would have been able to play his Scrap Mechanic. He would have been able to watch Youtube. But he chooses to yell and kick up a fuss, throwing things, kicking them around. I remained calm last evening although I sorely wanted to yell back at him. I can admit that. He was driving me absolutely insane.
Fast forward to this morning. I went in at 5: 45, 6 and 6:17 to tell T what time is was and he needed to get up. Finally at 7 with my going in to awaken him again, T got up. And once more I have ruined his day. Which as he is sitting on the couch removing his jammies became a whole lot worse when I discovered that he was wearing his jeans underneath. I looked at him and he gave me a smartass grin that I am all to familiar with. It has crossed my own lips many a time.
I asked him if he was proud of himself? Did he think that he had pulled one over on me? All this meant now was that I would have to stand over him and watch while he changed. He did not care. And the mouth began running again about my wasting all his time.
I told him that he was to get ready for school and tell me what he wanted for breakfast before he could watch Youtube. Oh dear lord but once more I became the world’s worst mom. I was going to be the root cause of his having a miserable day. It was not going to get any better. And he was going to his dad’s after school. I asked him if he would like me text his dad and he said yes. So I did.
While I was writing the text to the Ex, he slammed into the bathroom, knocking my body spray and mousse to the floor. The dryer door opened and was slammed. As I was finishing the text he came out. Hair styled. Shirt on. Same jeans but different socks. He sat on the couch and glared at me. I sent the text and asked if he wanted to read what I had sent. And he did. In essence I explained that T was having a crappy morning and may show up at his place after school because he was so mad at me. And if he did could he please return him to me. I went on to explain what the uproar was about and asked that he back me on this issue.
T was furious. Called me a tattle tale. How could I ruin his life even more? And he was not walking to school today. I could not make him do that.
Now the storm has passed. He is ready for school. We will be walking and have to leave soon.
I created this child. I am completely at fault for having not held firm on the pj’s thing. The getting ready for school and eating thing. But I am now. Much to his dismay. I held firm both last night and this morning. I did not yell or threaten him. I continued repeating my request over and over again. Until he did as I requested. I am hoping that it will click. That if he were to do as I asked when I asked this would be a nonissue. But he is pushing back because he wants to make those decisions. And I gladly would allow him to, but until we get these new ground rules established, I will have to be the PJ/Getting ready for school Police.
10:59 a.m.
While walking T to school he and I discussed what had occurred last night and this morning. I asked him if he had learned anything about what happens when I ask him to do something. He responded with ‘just do it mom’ which I am sure Chichi is thrilled to hear because that is her motto. We talked about how his dad and me are on the same page with parenting. But that I would probablly be more of a hardass than his dad but that was okay because Chichi had been with me. And I turned out alright. He agreed.
We were nearly at the school when T turned to me and said darn it mom we are having a really good conversation and we are almost to the school. I reassured him that we can always have good conversations that it would not end just because we got to the school. He gave me a kiss and ran off. I asked if he wanted me to walk him to his hut. There was a resounding No. I am beginning to think that he is embarrassed by me. 😂😂😂

Waves

How do you describe a wave?
Water pushing and pulling. Dancing upon itself.  Folding.  Grasping the dappling sun, pulling it beneath the teal waters. Twisting and turning. Capturing and releasing. At its peak it rolls, curling under, ready to submit to itself.
I am having problems with my fiction writing. While it was flowing before now it seems to have dried up. So I thought that I would begin to write. Let the words flow from my mind to my fingers. It did not matter what I was writing, I needed to be writing.
I keep picturing the wave in my mind. Seeing it build and peak and crash back down. Or smooth out softly hitting the shore with barely a ripple.
When I was younger, I would go to the cabin with my amma. The dogs.  It was at Beaver Creek, now known as Beaver Creek Provincial Park. It is on Lake Winnipeg. I loved swimming when it was rough. Wading in, diving through the waves. Laying back and letting the water hold me, keeping me safe. I would ride the waves. Letting the water lift and lower me. The water was my friend, warm even if the day was gloomy and overcast. I have always loved the water, feeling protected and secure.
I miss being a little girl. I miss my amma. I miss my grandma and grandpa. I want a chance to do it all over again. I want the chance to make different choices. I want to fly. I want to dream. I want to live as though tomorrow has no consequences.
I know that this is not realistic. I am an adult, I have responsibilities. I have a life. A son. So going back is not an option for me. And besides all my choices have lead to me being here.
I have always felt strong emotions. Sadness. Fear. Love. Pain. Joy. Happiness. Anger. And I really never knew how to deal with them. I was unable to see that eventually they would pass and I would go back to it being alright. I did not know how to let go of those emotions. I hoarded them. All the hurt and pain, I shut it out. I never learned to navigate those emotional waters. How much has time changed. Now my main goal is making sure that T is able to do so.
That he is going to know that not everything is going to go the way that he wants it to. He will learn to weather the disappointments and let downs, knowing that they are not going to last forever. T will ride the wave better than I have.
Going forward when things get a little much for me, I will ride the waves. The anxiety, pain, fear, disappointment whatever it maybe, I will go up and crest. Than slowly come down the other side. Landing upon the shoreline. I will ride each wave. Secure in the knowledge that the waves can be swum, I no longer need to fear being submerged and drowned.

Conquering Queen

Yesterday I received a text from the Ex indicating that his S.O. (significant other) was not working and that T could stay the night there. At first I was annoyed. I think I erased my text two before coming up with ‘Whatever T would like is fine with me.’ The reason that I put the choice in T’s hands is that this is his dad’s week with him. So he would see him before work last night and before school this morning. The first time in a long time. And I already knew what the answer would be. I did not hear back so text the Ex after awhile to check on T’s response.  And he said yes, he wanted to stay at his dad’s.
When I saw that single word response to my text my heart ached and I stifled a sob.
Even though the Ex and me share custody of T I have become use to having him here every night. We have a routine. And I get to see him every single day. So not seeing him last night was a kick in the pants. I had planned to see him. I was waiting to hear about his day. Now I had to reorganize my thoughts. Tears welled in my eyes, and there was pain. I decided that I would do the dishes thinking that if I had something to concentrate on it would not pain me so much.
As I stood at the sink, tears overcame me. My eyesight blurred and I gave into the sadness for a minute. And than I did what I do best now I talked to myself.
‘Jay you can feel sad but you need to get use to this. You need to get use to having one week where you are not going to have T. You won’t see him. This is normal. You have become greedy given that you are seeing him every day. Obviously he is going to want to stay at his dad’s, after all it is his week with him.’
I am not saying that I was feeling 100% better but I calmed down. And by the time that I was done the dishes and back on the couch, I had settled. I had come to peace with myself. Or so I thought.
Today as I am exercising I am looking at myself and critically. I am not liking what I see. There are small tweaks here and there that I could make. Where I was a year ago to where I am today is a huge difference. I am not drinking. I am not taking pills. I am working out. I am writing. But today I was not being nice to myself. I looked the wrong way at myself and decided that that was it, no more pizza. No more sweets. I text a friend and said over and over that I knew my thoughts were insane.
And as we text I realize I was being hypercritical of myself. Subconsciously something was at work and I think that I have figured it out.
I was sad yesterday and even though I did not consciously think it, I wondered what I had done wrong. Why did T not want to come spend the night here? Where had I failed that he would stay at his dad’s even when his dad is not home?  I had no control in that situation at all because I had given it all over to T and his decsion.
And my feelings were hurt. I really had thought that T was going to want to come and spend the night here with me. And because I could not admit that to myself the highly critical freak me rose to the occassion. I pushed down what I was feeling. I had cried but I did not say outloud  that I was hurt. Because that was wrong. I should not feel that way.
I am allowed to have feelings. In acknowledging this the critic in me, who was trying to skew my thinking and pull me back into an obsession with my body image, has been kicked to the curb.
This is a huge step for me. Admitting I am allowed to have feelings. Admitting that yes, I was hurt that T chose to stay at his dad’s last night but I understand why he made that choice. T is going to hurt me over and over again. That is what children do. The broader world at large does not exist for them. They are the center of their world and the immediate family is in their orbit. I will never tell T about how much it hurt. I did feel like he was picking his dad over me.
And he was because it is his dad’s week with him.  Just like he would chose to come home to me if this was my week.
Once more T has taught me a lesson. And in doing so he has helped me. I have a body image problem that I am acknowledging for the first time ever. I realized this because I stuffed the emotions down and than looked at myself for little things that I could criticize and than concentrate on fixing. That I could control. Perfect. Nothing is perfect, least of all me. And slowly but surely, all those parts of me, the ones that are not healthy, are becoming absorbed within me.
I saw very quickly what I was doing. This did not take me a week to figure out, a month, hell it did not even take me 24 hours to realize what I was doing and put an end to it. Each time I catch myself exhibiting behaviour that can trip me up I conquer it. That is not to say that it will not appear elsewhere but it is the catching it that is important here. Once caught I can change the way that I think and slowly but surely eliminate the behaviours that can harm me.