#NaBloPoMo Day 20: We Have Two Cats

It’s November 20th, which means we are two thirds of the way through the most wonderful month of the year!  Today my NaBloPoMo theme is Pets.  Speaking of pets, a pet wasp is probably not a good idea.

Our family has two black cats.  They’re brothers.  They’re adorable.  They’re assholes and they ruin my life on an hourly basis.

Hubby and I adopted our cats from a shelter when they were kittens 9 years ago.  It was kind of a bold move for our relationship, because we were still just boyfriend-girlfriend at the time.  We joked about how we had to stay together for the cats, because neither of us could bear to part ways with them.

My, how things have changed.  Everyone always worries when they plan for children that bringing home a baby will change their relationship with their pet for the worse.  Well, those people worry for a reason.  Pets — well, annoying pets like cats — they don’t mesh with babies and toddlers.  Maybe if we were smart and got a dog instead, things would be different, I don’t know.

But yeah, my once undying love for my two kitties has dwindled overtime to whatever the opposite of “undying” is.  (Dying?)  The problem is that kids always need something from you.  They’re all over your body.  They’re noisy.  It gets exhausting.  And unfortunately, my two cats have all of those same traits, so they compound the problem.  Mommy is a little touched out.  And mommy doesn’t want to hear another peep after the kids go to bed.  So please stop effing meowing for dinner hours before it’s time to feed you.

There’s also just never a convenient time to deal with a cat problem.  For example, the other day, one of my cats escaped out of the house.   After he didn’t come back to the sound of me vigorously shaking a treat bag at the back door, I put the bag on the floor in frustration and resolved to go out looking for him.  Which means I had to strap Ell-Bell on in the carrier, peel K-Man away from the TV, bribe him to put his shoes and jacket on,  so we could all trek outside for an indeterminate amount of time searching for my house cat.  It was a nightmare.  And of course, right as we were all packed up and ready to head out for our walkabout, the other cat snatched the treat bag I had inexpertly left on the floor and started to run away with it.  So I had to drop everything and chase cat number two around the house.  He of course proceeded to spray treats all over the floor, and I had no choice but to clean them up before I left — he’s obese, after all.  I swear it was a big conspiracy.

Don’t worry, I found the other cat.

Sometimes at night the cats snuggle me or sleep on my pillow, and I remember how much I love them.  But then one of them gets up and starts scratching the wall when I’m trying to get in my very few hours of precious sleep.  Stupid effing cats.

Until next time,

Vee

#NaBloPoMo Day 19: The Sting of Halloween

Nineteen days into NaBloPoMo, and today’s theme is Injury.  I’m talking about a serious one today, folks!  By the way, if you need some help in the toddler raising department, be sure to read yesterday’s post about how I discipline my demonic two-year-old.

If there’s one thing I lack, it’s experience with bee stings.*   Or wasp or hornet stings, what have you.   Rumor has it that when I was a little kid, I was stung by a wasp on the butt while I was using a training toilet outside (as you do).  But that was the last and only time I’ve ever been stung, and I obviously don’t remember how it felt.

I do remember feeling pretty smug when, a few years back, my cousin’s family was visiting and her husband would not shut up about the wasps in our back yard.  “Katie, we CANNOT let our kids get stung,” he said to my cousin emphatically.  “That would just ruin our WHOLE DAY.”  I rolled my eyes inwardly, thinking he was being overly dramatic.  That was two years ago, but unfortunately there’s no statute of limitations on karma.

So let’s flash back to Halloween of this year.  We were at a “Boo at the Zoo” event, and K-Man was having a grumpy day.  He’s really not into dressing up in costume, but we bribed him into a fireman outfit by telling him it was just a jacket he needed to wear because it was cold outside.  Hah, sucker.

Once K-Man realized the event was an exercise in collecting candy, his mood brightened somewhat.  Nevertheless, we sighed loudly when he suddenly screamed and threw his pumpkin bucket to the ground.  Hubby made no effort to hide his annoyance as K-Man’s sobs grew.  But as I stared down at his sad little shaking body, I started to realize something was actually wrong.  Though there was no offender in sight, we thought maybe the poor little dude had been stung by a yellow jacket. I had seen them everywhere all morning, and of course his hands were covered in sugar.  When his finger turned red and started to swell, we were certain that’s what we were dealing with.

Since I had no recollection of how much a sting hurts, I didn’t know what I was in for with my injured toddler.  When the initial tears dried up after a few minutes, I figured the episode was behind us.  But no, every 2-3 minutes, K-Man would break down crying in long, morose sobs all over again.

It really was a “bless his heart” kind of moment.  Some of the attendants felt so bad for him — without even knowing why he was crying — that they gave him extra candy as he made the rounds.

Eventually we gave up and left the zoo.  K-Man’s tearful outbursts became fewer and farther between, but still lasted for several hours.  He even woke up early from his nap crying about how his “finguh huht”.

To make him feel better, I told him the story about getting stung on my butt when I was a toddler. Well, that surely left a mark. Here we are, three weeks out, and I will still hear K-Man whispering to himself in the back seat: “I got stung by a bee on my finger and Mom got stung by a bee on her BUTT!!” I guess we’re bonded now.

Until next time,

Vee

*I’m totally joking.  I am abundant with flaws.

How to Discipline Your 2-Year-Old (#NaBloPoMo Day 18)

And we’re on to NaBloPoMo Day 18!  I know it’s the weekend, but I hope you’re all behaving. Today’s theme is Discipline, and things are about to get pretty stern up in here.

Let’s talk about my son K-Man.  I love him to the end of the Earth.  But the terrible twos have struck hard, and my once sweet little boy is now a bona fide ass face.  Guys, it’s so bad, so bad that I have to wonder if everything is ok.  Is this normal two-year-old stuff? Or is he going to have major behavioral issues as he ages?

The biggest problem is violence.  His body is a weapon and he knows how to use it.  He knows how to use it on the cats, his little sister, and even his poor unsuspecting parents. It’s not so much that he’s outright hitting us — he mostly knows that’s wrong, though he’s not above it when he’s delirious with exhaustion.  Instead, he’s all about crazy, uncontrolled hyper movements that he knows are going to land on an innocent bystander.  And casually bumping his little sister out of the way when she’s already teetering on her unsteady feet.  Or hugging her and then slowly pushing her to the ground. (Rage.)  Or jumping on my knee caps when I’m sitting on the ground with my legs extended. (More rage.)  Or choking Hubby out from behind.

And then you have the epic tantrums and the never ever listening when you ask him to stop doing something destructive.  All of this without an ounce of apology or empathy behind those beautiful big blue toddler eyes.  Ugh, it’s so exhausting.  And it’s constant.  And it’s been going on since well before he turned two.  And he’s almost three now.  Relief, are you out there somewhere? Are you lost? Did you get my change of address?

So what do you do when you have an extra sociopathic toddler?  How do you discipline a two-year-old?

My knee-jerk response is to say that you don’t.  Because they’re still so dumb, you guys.  They really don’t understand anything.  I mean, I’m 32 and I still haven’t fully learned how to follow rules or do the right thing, so why should I expect my toddler to?

But deep down in my heart I know that as hard as disciplining is at this age, we have to try, right? Because if we don’t, sociopathic toddlers (normal) could turn into sociopathic adults (not normal).  Yikes.

So if your kid is about to enter this charming stage of his or her life, and you’re looking for help (because I know I still am), let me give you the low down on some of the things we’ve tried with our little butthead.  Spoiler alert: most of it doesn’t work.

  • Yelling:  Nobody likes to be yelled at, so this one should discourage your kid from doing most undesirables, right? Wrong.  Toddlers are immune to yelling.  They don’t care if you scream at them until you’re red in the face.  In fact, they enjoy watching you change colors.  There is, however, one exception.  If you’re yelling at your kid in terror out of fear for his or her life — as in, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP YOU’RE ABOUT TO RUN IN FRONT OF A MOVING VEHICLE — they listen right up.  And thank god for that.  (Hmm, maybe I need to learn how to emulate that terror in my voice even when I’m just asking K-Man to get his mother effing butt off the mother effing dining table, for the last time. Gawd!)
  • Time-in:  Time-out is getting a bit of a bad rap these days, so the new hip thing to do is sit down with your child for some “time-in” — you can discuss the transgression with your kid while also keeping them company and reinforcing how much you love them.  Aww!  For a while, time-in was our jam.  If K-Man smushed his little sister one too many times, we would buckle him in to his booster seat at the table and sit next to him to talk through it.  And once K-Man had a good idea of what time-in was, we were able to use the threat of it as a deterrent.  As in, “if you smush your sister again you’re going to have to do time-in!”  Unfortunately, in recent weeks, K-Man has learned a little self-determination, and he no longer willingly goes in to his booster seat for time-in.  And since I’m not cool with physically forcing his body in half to get him to sit down, we’ve had to retire time-in to the discipline graveyard.  Boo.
  • Bribes: K-Man loves him some choc-luht, and we’re not above luring it over his fat head to get him to do something that we need him to do.  They’re just baby teeth, right?  This tactic works well for encouraging certain immediate affirmative behaviors (e.g., “if you let me brush your teeth you can have some chocolate after”), but it is less effective for discouraging prospective actions (e.g., “if you don’t do the naughty thing that I don’t know you’re about to do, you can have some chocolate”).
  • Taking Things Away:  I can’t believe how long it took me to figure this one out.  Toys? A privilege.  TV? A privilege.  If my turd of a child is acting out, I don’t have to let him keep playing with toys or watching tv! Whaaaat? This is my current discipline of choice, because it is the most effective deterrent.  “If you don’t lay down for a diaper change, I’m going to turn Moana off!” or, “If you hit your sister with that truck again, I’m going to take it away!”  Genius! Should I write a book?
  • Telling Him He’s In Trouble:  K-Man hates being in trouble, even if it comes with no real consequence.  He just cringes at the word.  So sometimes, all I have to do is tell him that if he carries on with certain behavior, he’ll be in big trouble.  Or if he’s already done the offending act, I just let him know he’s in trouble and he immediately gets majorly uncomfortable.  “No, I not in trouble, you happy mommy.”  “No, I give you a hug and then I not in trouble.”  “No, I not in big trouble, I in small trouble!”  What a dork.

 

So there you have it, my busted up list of tips and tricks for toddler discipline.  (Side note: should they really let people be parents without first passing a course in child psychology?)

The only other piece of advice I have for those maneuvering toddler discipline — and this bit is actually genuine — is to sit down and talk through strategies with your significant other.  Make sure you have a game plan, and make sure you’re on the same page.  Ideally, you would do this before your child gets to the age where they need actual disciplining.  Because the last thing you want when you’re navigating your child’s first god awful temper tantrum is to learn that your hubby doesn’t even know what time-in is.  Yikes!

Until next time,

Vee

 

Soccer Mom In the Waiting (#NaBloPoMo Day 17)

It’s the 17th day of NaBloPoMo, yo!  Since 17 has always been my jersey number, let’s talk about Sports!  And if you missed yesterday’s gut wrenching Kardashian confession, go check it out!

Hubby and I are both former athletes.  I say former because these days we gym 1-2 times a week and rock some epic mom and dad bods.  But back in the day, I was pretty serious about soccer.  And Hubby played squash like a pro.  (If you don’t know about squash, it’s just this silly little New England sport that is the same thing as racquet ball.)

Because athletics were such an integral part of my youth, I can’t imagine my kids not sharing that same passion.  And if there’s anything I love more than my own children, it’s spectating sports, so they better be ready to put on a show!

And you know what? I don’t even care that kids suck horribly at sports for the first few years.  Trust me, I am not picky about the quality of my sport spectating.  If there’s a competition, a winner and a loser, I’m into it! And if there’s a snack bar selling nachos nearby, I’ve basically died and gone to heaven.

Since my kids are not quite at the team sports age yet, for now all I can do is watch them eagerly to try and discern where their respective talents lie.  K-Man is all about kicking the cats and body-checking his little sister, so maybe soccer is in his future?  Honestly I’d prefer he take up tennis because I really want him to turn pro and take me to Wimbledon every year, but that’s a bit of a pipe dream.  As for Ell-Bell — beautiful, 95th-percentile-in-weight Ell-Bell — she’s got sumo wrestler or shot putter written all over her.

I suppose I do need to prepare myself for the possibility that my kids won’t want to play sports.  Wow, I just broke into a cold sweat writing that.  But seriously, whatever they throw at me (figuratively speaking, in this scenario), I’ll be ok.  Right?

Until next time,

Vee

 

 

 

#NaBloPoMo Day 16: I Keep Up with the Kardashians

It’s November 16th, which means we are officially more than halfway through NaBloPoMo.  Over the hump! And since we’re already heading downhill, today’s theme is Reality TV.  Whatever, you know you watch it.

Alright, this is the one where I lose you.  I’m just going to come out and say it.  I keep up with the Kardashians.

… Is anyone still there? No?

I wish I could help myself, but I can’t.  The whole family is just so fascinating to me.  I need to know what they’re wearing.  I need to know what they’re eating.  I need to know who they’re dating.  And if I have to wait another freaking day to find out if Khloe and Kylie are actually pregnant, I might die.

Am I alone in my obsession? Um, obviously not.  Millie Bobby Brown (of Stranger Things fame) is also into it.  And in case you’re thinking I have the same taste as a 13-year-old-girl, I’ll have you know that J-Law is a crazed fan too.  In fact, rumor has it her Kardashian obsession was the reason Chris Martin dumped her.  If that’s true, I might have to stop listening to Coldplay.

And don’t even come at me with the whole “they’re talent-less fame monsters” deal.  You won’t change my mind.  First, who says you have to be talented to be famous these days? (Have you even seen the Bachelor?)  And second, I actually do think the Kardashians are kind of talented.  They found a way to make millions by branding their personalities.  I wish I was that smart (and had a personality worth branding).

Anyway, in case you’re wondering (and you’re not, because you stopped reading and unfollowed my blog five paragraphs ago), I do enjoy some of the more respectable reality TV out there, too.

Like The Amazing Race.  I’ve watched all 29 seasons, and I could probably watch 29 more.  I fantasize about being a contestant someday, but I know Hubby and I would be that insufferable bickering couple that everybody is rooting against.

The Voice. I love it. Watching gets me all motivated to practice singing into my hand microphone in front of the bathroom mirror.

Before it was canceled, I was totally into the Biggest Loser, too.  No show has ever made me cry more.  I did feel like a bit of a hypocrite, though, as I usually watched with a trusty side of pizza and cupcakes.

And if we’re going way back, I used to be a total ANTM fanatic.  America’s Next Top Model?  But I have yet to perfect my smeyes.

What are your reality tv faves?  Share in the comments so I can get hooked too.  Must. watch. more. TV.

Until next time,

Vee

 

#NaBloPoMo Day 14: Dolla’ Dolla’ Bill Y’all

Happy NaBloPoMo Day 14, where my self-assigned theme is Money.  As Wyclef Jean would say, dolla’ dolla’ bill y’all!  Don’t forget to read yesterday’s post, where I admit I would pay so many big ones to get my daughter to sleep through the night.

Allow me to get a bit inelegant up in here as I crudely discuss my family’s finances.  So Hubby and I, we have an MD and a JD to our respective names.  We must be rolling in it, right? Well, no, not so much.  Not when you consider the fact that I left my high-paying job to be a stay-at-home mom indefinitely.  And not when you consider the fact that Hubby is in his first year of residency, and residents are paid almost zero dollars.  I’m not even joking when I say his salary is 1/6 of what my salary was when I left my biglaw job.

We’re a family of four living on a pretty meager paycheck.  Are we broke or what?  Thankfully, we’re not about to be in the poorhouse.  When I was working and Hubby was in med school, we weren’t the most frugal people you ever met.  But we were careful enough to pay off my loans, cover about half of his education bills, and build a nice little nest egg in a savings account. And now — as we’ve always planned — we’re tapping into that nest egg so we can afford for me to stay at home with the kids for a bit.

That being said, we’d like to have some savings left on the other side of Hubby’s residency.  Our lifestyle still has to change drastically.  Drastically.  When we crunch the numbers, after everything, we’ve really got to be spending about 1/4 as much as we did before I left my job.

So how do you do that? No, seriously, this isn’t a how-to post. I need somebody to tell me how to do that.  Here’s what we’ve figured out so far:

 

  • We did ourselves a big favor by leaving the DC metro area.  Thank you, Upstate NY, for being about half as expensive.
  • We can no longer eat out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Sometimes, I actually have to cook meals.  Which means I’ve had to learn how to cook.  Which means I’ve had to learn that I’m not very good at cooking.  Which is a hard pill to swallow, since I’ve made a bit of a career out of criticizing my mother-in-law’s cooking.
  • We have to stop going to fucking Target.  WE HAVE TO STOP GOING TO FUCKING TARGET.  Sorry, I’m still trying to convince myself of this one.  Because I heart Target so freaking bad.  I know it is a perilous money pit, but it is my true happy place.  Bored? Let’s go to Target. Kids are acting crazy? Let’s go to Target. Need Starbucks? Let’s go to the one in Target.
  • Getting paid to take online surveys will earn you about $1.00 an hour.  That’s 4.5 hours of work for a Starbucks chai latte.
  • Goodbye Starbucks, hello Dunkin’ Donuts.  (But really, goodbye Dunkin’ Donuts too, because see bullet point #2).

It’s a steep learning curve, but we’ll figure it out, right?

Until next time,

Vee

#NaBloPoMo Day 13: Eleven, Twelve, Fourteen

It’s the 13th of the month, so today’s NaBloPoMo theme is Superstition. Peek back at yesterday’s post for a cute photo of Ell-Bell doing some chores.

Are you superstitious? I think my son K-man might be. When he counts to twenty, he almost always skips the number thirteen. It’s probably because his two-year-old brain can’t distinguish between the words thirteen and fourteen, but still, cute.

I’ve never been an overly superstitious person.  One superstition I think all moms subscribe to, though, is that you should never ever EVER vocalize when things are going well with your kid.  It’s a classic rookie mistake. Because the moment you admit that things are going well, the literal moment, they take a turn for the worse. Sometimes it’s a full 180. Ugh. Kids are so spiteful.

And this is true in every facet of parenthood. Behavioral issues. Eating. Potty training. And of course, sleep.  Mother effing sleep. Aka the joy killer. Aka optimism’s kryptonite.  If you’re a masochist, if you really truly hate yourself, go ahead and roll over in bed one night and tell your partner that you think your child is finally sleeping better.  Go ahead, I dare you.  I guarantee you that same child will wake up crying within five minutes. And then again every hour for the rest of the night.  You done messed up.

Honestly, there’s no safe way to acknowledge a trend of sleep improvement. Ell-Bell has had some major sleep issues for the past, oh, five months or so. Multiple night wakings, every night. But lately, it seemed like we were turning over a new leaf. Gosh, a few nights in a row she didn’t even wake up for the first time until about 4 a.m! Pure heaven.

Since I’m talking in the past tense, you already know I messed it up somehow.  But if you think I’m naive enough to have uttered a word about my giddiness to another living soul, you’re not giving me enough credit.  This isn’t my first rodeo! I wouldn’t even meet Hubby’s eyes when he asked me in the mornings how things went the night before. I just gave him the usual old miserable grunt.  So here’s where I went wrong.  I dared to think about it.  How could I have been so stupid?  Obviously the sleep gods can read minds, too!

Guess I need to bone up on my occlumency, just in case my daughter ever starts sleeping through the night.

Until next time,

Vee

 

 

 

#NaBloPoMo Day 12: Life With An Almost-Toddler

Happy November 12th, more popularly known as Day 12 of NaBloPoMo.  Today’s theme is Photograph.  You can go ahead and raise your hand if you just started humming some Ed Sheeran.

When I drafted my NaBloPoMo list, I thought it might be helpful to have a few light days here and there, because blogging every day is no joke!  So after a few days of heavier posts that have nothing to do with #cutekids, I thought today I would share a photograph that is a little more true to the actual title of my blog.

As Ell-Bell narrows in on her first birthday, she is becoming much more toddler-like.  And boy, if I can’t already tell that she’s going to be trouble.  I think most parents know that once babies turn mobile, you can only do anything in 5-second increments.  But I swear, I was only looking in the bathroom mirror long enough to put a SINGLE bobby pin in my hair when I turned around to behold this:

img_5938

Mom fail!

And yes, I probably should have taken the toilet scrubber out of her hand instead of reaching for the camera.

And yes, my bathroom is disgusting and the toilet paper roll needs refilling.  Give me a break, ok? I’m busy trying to churn out a blog a day over here.

Until next time,

Vee

Thank You For Serving (#NaBloPoMo Day 11)

It’s the eleventh day of my NaBloPoMo, friends, and today I’ve decided to write about Veterans.  Sexy topic, much? Don’t miss yesterday’s post, where I took a deep and emotional dive on my relationship with my dad.

Today is Veterans Day in the U.S.

When I was a little kid, Veterans Day was just a day off from school, and I gave it no more thought than that.  And I am ashamed to admit that as a juvenile, I was a bit of a jerk towards veterans, or at least the idea of them.  I was a liberal, hotheaded little teenager when the U.S. first engaged in military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.  And I just couldn’t appreciate the difference between supporting the troops and supporting the war.

I remember one time I was riding a Greyhound bus back up to college after visiting my ex-boyfriend, and I found myself sitting next to a guy who was in the Army.  And I was a bona fide asshole to him, basically telling him that I wasn’t impressed with his being in the Army because I didn’t support the war.  Major props to that guy for not punching me right in my spoiled little face.

I wish I could say that I came to an academic enlightenment about appreciating veterans because it was the right thing to do.  Unfortunately, I’m not that good of a person.  Instead, I only came around when things became personal for me.

You see, when I first introduced Hubby in my inaugural post, and then later dished on his annoying toilet habits, I left out kind of an important detail.  Hubby is a veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

As I’ve mentioned, Hubby and I met in high school, but we weren’t dating at the time.  When we reconnected on AOL (R.I.P.) a few years later, I couldn’t believe my ears when Hubby told me that he was currently in Iraq, at war.  I honestly thought he was joking for several days.  As we chatted day in and day out, things started to get more romantic, and before I knew it I was officially dating a man in uniform.

When Hubby came back from Iraq, he visited me at college and we started dating in the flesh.  Which, I gotta tell you, was way better than dating over Instant Messenger.  But he was only stateside for a bit before he was shipped back out to Afghanistan for another year of deployment.  And my god was it agonizing sitting at home, hoping he was ok, wondering when I would hear from him next.  So shout out to all of those who stayed strong at home while their significant others, children, parents, siblings, and friends volunteered overseas.

It’s embarrassing to admit that it wasn’t until I started dating Hubby that I realized my vitriol for military members was shameful and incredibly misplaced.  That whether we agreed on politics or not (and sometimes we actually did agree), these were people who were doing something that I would never in a million years be brave enough to do.  And that they were volunteering to do it.*  It actually makes me teary-eyed with pride.  How could I ever have disrespected this population, regardless of their motivation for joining?

There is no denying that our veterans have made unbelievable sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice, too many times.  And it is heartbreaking that, after everything they’ve done, so many of them struggle with reintegrating into society after deployment.  Something like 40,000 U.S. veterans are homeless on any given night.  Somewhere between 11-20% of U.S. veterans struggle with PTSD in any given year.  And something like 22 U.S. veterans take their own lives on any given day.  Twenty-two.  That is a staggeringly sad number.

 

In light of all of these sacrifices, both overseas and back at home, I just want to say Thank You to everyone who has served.  And sorry for taking so long to come around.

Until next time,

Vee

 

*To be clear, I have no less respect for those who served in the past without volunteering.

 

#NaBloPoMo Day 10: A Former Daddy’s Girl

I’m still here blogging my way through November, NaBloPoMo style.  We’re in the double digits with Day 10, and today’s theme is Fathers.  Yesterday, I blogged about my experiences at boarding school, which my own father was nice enough to pay for.

Shout out to my dad, who is another member of the November birthday club.  When I think about it, it makes perfect sense that my dad and I would have birthdays so close together.  We’ve always been kind of in sync.

Now if you ask my dad about me, the very first thing he will tell you is that he held me first.  You see, he and my mom kept having all these babies together, and it was starting to annoy him that she always got to hold the babies first thing after they were born.  (I mean, I think she kind of earned that right, but whatever).  Anyway, when I was born, my dad allegedly insisted that he get to hold me before I was passed over to my mom.  And thus a special bond was formed.  You can guess how much my siblings love hearing that story.

My dad was amazing when we were growing up.  He devoted a lot of time and energy to raising us, and he was always around.  He encouraged our imagination, our education, our physical prowess.  He invented fun games that we played for years and years.  He made up characters and told us stories on long car rides.  He was the perfect tutor and the perfect coach.  He was a shoulder to cry on, always.

He was so good at his job as a dad that I didn’t realize how rough things were for him sometimes behind the scenes.  Not only were finances extremely tight in the early years, but he was also suffering from a dangerous depression.  I was oblivious to all of it; he was my hero and I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world.  So I really think that’s a testament to him.

Of course, as most people do, I grew up and realized my parents aren’t perfect.  As I moved away and was able to analyze our relationship with a little more objectivity, I discovered that my dad was just as flawed as everybody else.  He was emotionally manipulative, belligerently opinionated, overly critical of others.  I found myself having to take a step back from the close bond.  It was important to preserve my own independence, and I couldn’t do that if I regarded his opinions above my own.

And in the midst of all those adult realizations, my parents went through a heartbreaking divorce.  Heartbreaking for me, anyway.   It put a huge crack in the foundation of my relationship with my dad because I couldn’t help but feel like it was his fault.  You see, my parents got married really young, after only a few months of dating.  And my whole life, it was uncomfortably obvious that my mom loved my dad more than he loved her.  He was the center of her universe, but you couldn’t help but feel like he was just staying together for the kids.  So my mom walked away from the marriage heartbroken, and my dad walked away relieved.

And as I was healing my heart, trying to accept that this lifelong bedrock was gone, my dad moved to a new country and married another woman.  Someone he only knew for a few months beforehand.  It didn’t help that he married her secretly, without telling us when it happened.  And then a few months later, she was pregnant with his child.  Just in time for him to bring her to my own wedding with a full baby-bump on display.  My poor mom.

I could forgive that my dad moved on with another woman and had another kid, though I would have loved for him to wait a little longer before doing it.  What I can’t forgive, though, is that he made himself miserable all over again.  If he would have paused for a second before marrying this new woman, he would have learned that she is certifiably crazy.  Instead, he just made the same mistakes all over again.  Met a woman, fell passionately in love in a matter of months, got married, had a child, and then was stuck in another relationship he wanted out of.  He is still hurting.  Which makes me hurt.  Which makes me mad.  I know that sounds self-centered, but it’s how I feel.

So here we are in present day, working to mend a relationship that was never explicitly broken, though I think we both know we fell pretty far from the paradigm.  Luckily, our hearts are open and we both want the same thing.  And what’s really helping bring us back together is the common ground we share in my own kids.  One thing I couldn’t appreciate more is that my dad is an excellent Grandpa. Of course, he doesn’t like to be called  Grandpa, he thinks he’s too young for that.  Haha, time to face the music, old man.

Until next time,

Vee