Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Perfect Marriage..

"Doesn't exist.." is what I have heard my whole adult life. Maybe even in my childhood. Let me tell you though, for me that is most definitely a lie.
 Sean and I have been together 8 years this month.. somewhere in the middle, I don't ever remember the exact date and sometimes we fight about it. I shouldn't say "fight" but we definitely bicker.
 I don't think that our marriage is perfect by the standards of anyone else but what I can tell you is that my marriage is perfect, for me.
 Oh man, do we fight? Rarely. Do we bicker? Daily. Do I bitch and complain about the most minor things? Yup. Do I fly off the handle about things that I think are a big deal and he just doesn't seem to notice them? Abso-fucking-lutely.
 Can I imagine this life with anyone else? Not a chance.
 Everyone knows this is a second marriage for both of us. I used to wonder, "Why couldn't I have found Sean the first time around?" and in that moment one or all of the various children we own come toddling into a room. It isn't just those three constant reasons though.. I know in my heart that if I would have had Sean in the first "go around", my trial marriage if you will.. I wouldn't be able to appreciate him the way I do now.
 My marriage to Sean is so much of the little things. These days, he's asleep long before me. He works hard for our family and he is in bed early. Some day's pass and it feels like we hardly see each other at all. With his work schedule and mine, kids and their various activities, play dates and school we tend to miss each other a lot. These are the things I cherish the most though..
 When he's waking up in the morning, he's a slow riser. I know he's going to wake up when he rolls onto his back. Long before he opens his eyes he reaches out for me. I'm usually on my side looking at my phone and he puts his hand on my hip or side. He leaves it there until he opens his eyes. He looks at me and says, "Good morning" with the sweetest smile on his face. He looks at me like I don't have the most fucked up hair you've ever seen and like I was just the sight his blurry eyes are looking for.. every morning.
 On the days he's up before anyone else, he's quiet and compassionate for our sleeping household. I am neither of those things. ever. Without fail though, before he leaves for work he makes sure to wrap his arms around me in my awkward sleeping huddle and tell me he loves me. Sometimes I remember this and others I text him and accuse him of not saying goodbye, even though I know he did.
 Perfection is coming home from a long day and knowing that in my whole work day I never once had to worry that our kids weren't taken care of.
 Perfection falls into those rare fights we have too. Without those fights we wouldn't work on improving for each other and our marriage. They are mostly really stupid but they happen. We recently had a big fight about how he doesn't wipe off the top of the stove every time he uses it and how this drives me absolutely MAD.. but you know what? After further explanation of my crazy, he really tries his best.
 Perfection in marriage isn't what the fairy tales tell you, it's what you make it. It's knowing that everyday their will be compromise. Like right now.. I want to make breakfast but I also want to write this blog, so he has to wait. (insert laughing emoji here).
 Luckily, as an adult I choose to live my life by what makes ME happy and I have found the happiest way to a successful marriage has never been comparing mine to someone else, comparing our life to what we don't have and having a sincere and gratifying appreciation for my husband, our marriage and the life we are doing everyday, together.
 Happy Fourth of July friends, I hope you have a great day!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Sucking and Adulting..

Get your mind out of the gutter, this isn't that kind of sucking.
 Sometimes when life is crazy chaotic and my plate can't seem to hold much more, when I feel like I might break.. my kids have this crazy natural instinct and they have this innate way of bringing me back down, they help me find some form of center and they REALLY, on the daily, remind me to count my blessings.
 Today was crazy guys. I woke up with a migraine, rushed out to chaperone Riley's field trip and my allergies fueled the unnecessary fire in my left nostril cavity for the REST OF MY DAY.
 I left the field trip a tad early to be home in time to grab my three littles from school, rushed off to fix an iPhone, spent a good portion of my evening on the phone with Apple for a different, overpriced and unnecessary product all while shuffling kids to and from volleyball and prepping that damned snack drawer.
Today, like most Monday's I failed to properly plan for dinner because there aren't ever enough hours in a Monday. (insert sarcastic emoji face here.) $10.01 on a Del Taco Fiesta pack is quickly finding it's way into my Monday budget.
 Like every mom with a fourth grader at Sitting Bull, I spent my evening focusing on Riley's mission project which is due on Wednesday. Have no fear, we've known about it for at least a month.
 Some how in all this madness, Aubrey and I had the chance to have such a wonderful but prolific conversation about Jason, I feel the need to share it with you.
 Aubrey and I were discussing that horrible year and all that we went through. She told me that in that time she really felt lost in the shuffle of our life and shadowed by Riley's loss. She didn't say this with malice or ill intent, she said it in a way that expressed how she ALSO felt the loss of Jason but didn't know how to talk about it. She said, "Riley wasn't the only one who loved him and missed him when he died, we ALL lost Jason."
 Whoa, right? Like, here we all were, killing it at this parent business and he went and died.. leaving this hole in each one of my family member's lives.
 I went on to tell Aubrey that as adults, we sometimes REALLY suck and that whole year after he died, I REALLY, REALLY sucked.
 I missed Jason for all the years we would no longer have, I ached for all the milestones Riley accomplished, I resented him for leaving me here to do this child raising alone. Even though I knew Sean was by my side every step of the way my heart was really mad.
 In all my own grief, that was by far the worst year I have had in a such a long time. I was so void of being a parent, being a wife, working, being a friend.. I was on auto pilot. I think back now and I don't even know how we made it through that time. I do however remember crying, a lot. I remember lots of mornings when Sean would lovingly say, "You HAVE to get out of bed babe, you have to be an adult today."
 What an amazing husband I have. Seriously, for a good year I mourned the loss of my ex husband, Riley's dad and not once did he show anger or resentment. He supported me, he pushed me through most days and he showed me grace when I was a raging cunt. He's that way in every part of our life by the way, taking my frustrations, my disappointment's and my irrational rants in stride.
 Back to Aubrey and me. So, were having this crazy good conversation and all of a sudden were both crying and I'm apologizing for super sucking that year. For all the things I can't remember, for all the times I failed to show up emotionally and for how selfish I was in that moment.
 I really am sorry for that time. I am sorry for wallowing in my own grief a little longer than I should have, for not being a better rock for my children and husband.
 Here is what I took away from our conversation the most though.. as a parent, we're sometimes arrogant. We forget the importance of slowing down and taking it all in. We forget to say, "I'm sorry" and almost always, we don't admit when we suck. We also almost always expect our children to "just understand".
 I expressed to her that at that time, when I was sucking at life, I was giving them each my best and  that I knew it wasn't great. As crappy as that sounds, what effort I had left to exhaust WAS going to them. Each of them in different amounts but I was operating at a smooth 40%.
 I told her that even now, lots of days I suck but what I have learned over the last three years is that beating myself up over and over after they have all gone to bed doesn't help any of us. I told her that I measure myself now against what I had growing up. If on this Monday I sucked and maybe didn't have the ultimate crock pot meal going while juggling everything else, at least I kept them alive, transported and loved. The most important in that sentence is Loved. No matter how bad I am sucking or killing it, I hope all four of my children always know how incredibly loved they are and that each and every day they are the blessings that I count. <3

Friday, November 3, 2017

Mental Health Day's for the Win..

 A lot has been happening in the Ehart house. Nothing of which I'd like to publicly air. Yesterday my husband treated me to a much needed "mental health day." A day to just enjoy the life we have, enjoy the boys and forget all the stress at home.
 My husband, took us to Disneyland. I was so excited to get the hell out of here, put some tickets we had socked away to good use and enjoy the smells, the color and of course the holiday magic that happens around this time of year.
 What I got was so much more. They say that when you have kids you get to experience magic through their eyes. I have encountered this on a few occasions but it's been awhile. Some would say my kids are "spoiled". They have had the luxury of Disneyland passes in the past, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studio's, San Diego Zoo even Sea World. The point to this is that they are no stranger to theme parks or a life of fun.
 Yesterday though, it was like my boy's were going to Disneyland for the first time! That sounds crazy but we did the math and it's been almost 4 years since we've been in that park. The boys were 5 and 2 the last time we were there! I got to watch them explore and take in all the sights and sounds. They rode ride's they have been on at least a dozen times but couldn't remember or were to small to ride before. The day had no stress, no strife and the boys were of course none the wiser to our "need" for a break.
 I had the pleasure of holding onto Cooper as we took large turns on Big Thunder Mountain, his belly laughs as the wind whipped through his hair and his arms were up and waving. I got to hold my Riley boy's hand on the Haunted Mansion as we took in all the Nightmare Before Christmas decorations. We all rode Indiana Jones together and neither of them were scared of the effects. My favorite part though, was at the end of the night when we ended our park visit with the Finding Nemo Sub ride. My husband put his arms around me and we both watched the boys deep in the windows of the sub, listening to the narrator and taking in the characters. Riley even went on to nudge Cooper and tell him, "Look Coopie! Those Jelly Fish are real!!" (They aren't real but neither of them need to know that truth.)
 Yesterday, I forgot to worry about the things that are out of my control and I got to enjoy watching this life, the one we have built and are building through our boys.
 I got to really enjoy the day, not being pulled in any one direction and I got to experience a new kind of magic and wonder through my kids. I got to see that no matter how serious life can be you should always make a little room to be silly, play harder than you work and take time to just breathe. Yesterday, we didn't worry about finances (though, we really should.. fuck it, it will work itself out.) we didn't worry about personal drama, dirty floors or taking out the trash. (for real.. forgot to put them down to the street.. oops?)
 I don't publicly say it as often as I should but I am so thankful for my ginger and all four of my children. They make the bad weeks better, the shit days bearable and the fun moments worth enjoying to the fullest. They keep me grounded and I couldn't imagine doing this very life without them. <3

Friday, August 25, 2017

You Were My Best Friend..

 It's no secret, that my "best" friend and I had a falling out nearly a year ago.
 It's no secret, it's taken me a long time to move past it. Some day's it feels like I haven't moved forward at all.
 You see, she was my ride or die, my ace, my number one. She was my alter ego. She was everything I am not. She was my "go to" for everything.. until she wasn't anymore.
 To her I say:
 I get mad at myself for missing you. I don't want to hold onto these things anymore but there were  so many times you compromised my integrity. Who I am as a person, the direction my moral compass points.
 So many times I didn't see anything wrong with what you were doing because I was not doing those things with you. For so many reason's I did as you asked, I didn't lecture you or say to much because you were, in my eyes, an adult.
 We were fire and ice, not a likely match. At first, I didn't want to be your friend. Your stylist, sure.. but your friend, no. This wasn't a secret. We often joked about how you were the puppy on my front porch that eventually needed food and water. Finally I let you into a place not many people have been. I let you into my heart, my home and into every part of my life. My kids called you "Aunt"..
 My husband despised our relationship but he soon realized it was one that was untouchable and with boundaries he let you have a piece of me.
 You see, I say these things because a friendship like ours was rare, once in a life time. It was one I wasn't looking for but in the end it was everything I was hoping to escape at any given turn.
 Your reckless nature was something I once admired and in the end of our friendship it was something I loathed about you.
 I really try my best not to be the friend who "keeps score" but towards the end of our friendship, I needed you. I was terrified, I was having a real life scare and you weren't there. In the two days it took you to finally call me back I went back and I recalled all the times I dropped life for you. All the times I put my own shit aside to pick you up and build you up as a person. In those two days I became someone I didn't want to be.
 I picked a fight with you about that two day span when I was really upset about everything that happened months prior.
 I didn't have the time or knowledge to tell you why I was really so upset with you and for that I apologize. I was childish.
 I was mad at you because you were not the person I had built you up to be. I had expectations that were false and you let me down. I was mad at your actions, which had absolutely nothing to do with me but I bore the weight of it all.
 I was just plain mad and looking back, I had every right to be. I was your best friend and in those moments, you were not mine.
 You have just as many snakes in your grass as I do mine. I don't ask about you and I rarely talk about you anymore but I have no doubt you won't see this. You see, though I don't ask, people still share your life events with me. Each time, I am thankful I pulled away when I did.
 When you asked DeeDee to tell me that you loved me, it sparked an anger in me thats been low for some time.
 If you really loved me, you would have reached out to me long ago.
 I have seen you in public, we have been in the same vicinity many times and I can quickly dismiss your presence, I can delete and block and never look back. Even though i've always been this way, I never imagined I could be this way with you but here we are..
  Today I am thankful, you cast a shadow on so many great people who were able to step forward in your absence. Today and everyday I give thanks for my amazing circle. The people who genuinely love, listen and reciprocate.
 I have a lot of friends who are the best but I no longer have a best friend. I am ok with that. You left damage in my heart that isn't for anyone else to repair or replace. You changed the way I view life, friendships and love. You were a passerby in my life and I learned a lot from you. I am thankful for the lessons you taught me.
 I have written this out so many times I can almost recite it, word for word. I delete and don't post because I didn't want you to have that satisfaction. Today is different though because even though this is raw and real, the satisfaction is for me.
 I wish you well, I really do. I hope that whatever is ailing you works itself out, I hope that you excel in your life and that your babies are doing well. I miss you all but not enough to go back.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Choosing This Life Over Any Other..

 Tonight, as I was having a nosey conversation about one of my girlfriend's life.. the subject of kids always being our number 1 came up.
 I have lots of dreams and goals to move away from this desert. (Don't freak, it isn't now..) but the truth is, I would love to explore places outside of California. I'd love to one day sell our beautiful home and relocate, however, the reality of that is that we have two beautiful, funny, intelligent little girls who still willingly spend half of their time in our home. Some days when I hear about all the shit happening in our town, I dream of picking up and going and then our reality quickly brings me back and I find peace in our situation.
 These little girls are not biologically mine but they hold so much of my heart, they are mine in many different ways. They are not an obligation but a serious blessing. They love us just as much as we love them and though I'd love to leave this town, I am not sad that staying here for them is our option because they are worth it all.
 To watch Madison play with Cooper, to listen to Aubrey and Riley converse about common interests.. to see the four of them come together every other week as though no time at all has passed in the week they were with their mom makes every part of our world feel complete and worth the work we put in now.
 To have real conversations with them, to talk about their lives, their interests and to see who they are becoming, is an amazing experience and I couldn't imagine experiencing these things from any other place then where we are, right now.
 We aren't perfect, our situation is pretty unique but it works for us. The girls certainly aren't the only thing holding us here. My clients, our jobs and this amazing home we are constantly working on are also grounding factors but the girls are the peace that makes being here that much better.
 To know how much the boys love their sisters, to know that they enjoy spending time with them on our off weeks with "Aunt Nette and Uncle Brandon" make my heart so happy.
 I don't know exactly why the universe thought I needed four kids but I am so glad it did. I am also glad that my bonus kids are so amazing and make this "step parenting" job easier then I could have ever imagined. It isn't always sunshine and roses but its the best reality I could imagine for myself and as our four children are tucked in, sleeping and resting for school I am thankful they all love each other as much as they do, that they enjoy being here when they are and that the dynamics of our life are aligned and as ideal as possible. <3
 Our life isn't for everyone, what works for us definitely doesn't work for everyone but the beauty of that statement is that we are us, perfectly imperfect. Functioning dysfunction. One large, crazy blended family that is ever evolving. As much as I would love to leave and try new things I would choose this life a million times over, I would choose Sean and the girls every time to be where I am, right now. I would go through all the good, bad and ugly to choose this life over any other, a thousand times. I joke and sometimes I am serious when I saw my kids are ass holes but at the end of every day We are the E<3 family of 6 and for that I am thankful.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Co-Parenting Like a Mother..

No, but for real. I co-parent, with my bonus children's biological Mom.. like a Mom.
 People often ask me the same basic questions:
  1.) How do you do it?
  2.) Why do you do it?
  3.) Isn't it so weird?
 It's easy. I learned early on and not even from my own experience that if I was going to pursue a relationship with Sean, it would be important for me to have a relationship with his children. What I also considered very early on is that I would also need a relationship of some form with their mother. Why? Because she is and always will be their Mom.
 I do it because I love them, I do it because their opinion of me and feelings toward me have always been and will continue to be important to me. Who other then their father will help influence those feelings? One way or the other, their Mom.
 It isn't weird at all. We are like any regular friends. Sometimes we annoy the shit out of each other and other days we talk on the phone all day about regular life, kids, husbands and work. 
 When I am sick, she worries. When I need a listening ear she is almost always the first person to answer. When I am in a bind, she is usually my "go-to". Sometimes, people even confuse us for a lesbian couple.. thats about the only time it's "weird". We have spent holidays as one big happy family and other's doing our very own thing with the kids. Every year it changes for their needs and every year it is something we work on, together.
 We don't always agree, we don't even parent the same. What is always consistent though is our love for "our" children.
 Here is what I can share with you about being a step parent. 
 It is SO hard. It is even harder then being a biological parent. My bio children HAVE to love me. Forever I will remind them of the growing pains I endured to get them here, forever they will be half of me. They HAVE to love me,  at least until they pay their own bills. 
 Being a "bonus" mom means I have to work hard, every other week to have a relationship with my bonus daughters. I try to find common interests, I try to share in their passions, struggles and every day goals. I do my best to build them up, to motivate them and to be the best asset to their life I can be. 
 I also have to do this with an invisible line between them and me, I have to not cross to far over but never stay far on one side away from them either.
 I do this because I have an unspoken respect for who their mom is, always. I ask her permission for trivial things, I consult her when I feel that their struggles or triumphs need her more then me.. always, I walk the step mom line. I even side with her over my husband in certain parenting situations. GASP! RIGHT?!
 I do these things because I love them. I love them unending, I love them without condition, I love them as though they are mine. I never want them to have to "choose" between her and me.. and if they ever feel that way, I pray they choose her every time. I pray this because she is and always will be their Mom.
 This does not mean I don't parent like a "mother" though. For sure.. I parent teacher conference, I doctor appoint, chaperone, play date, shop till I drop and chat like a mom. Sometime's with their mom and sometimes completely alone. I take them to amusement parks, to movies, to friends houses.. just like I do my very own children. I consider their presence and lack there of in every decision made for and in our home.
 You know what the most amazing part about co-parenting with their mom is? It's fun. 
 Though I strive to be an asset in our daughters lives, Jeanette continues to be one in mine. 
 The most important lesson I have learned about co-parenting with Jeanette, Brandon, Sean and myself is that it isn't about any of us. Ever. 
 It's always about the greater good for our children. Raising healthy human beings who love and respect all their parents. It isn't about being wrong or right, being the better parent or one up'ing each other. It's about fulfilling our children's needs.
 I am no expert on step parenting, co-parenting or even parenting. I am sure we are doing lots of things wrong but some days, like this one.. things just seem right. Things seem to be working and working well. 
 It's never easy but it's always worth it.

Friday, April 28, 2017

It's "OK" to Deal With the "Things"..

Sean: Babe..
Me: Yes?
Sean: You know I love you..
Me: I'm sorry I've been so neurotic the last few days..
Sean: It's ok. You have a lot on your mind, you're ok..
Me: Just a little, maybe a few things.
Sean: You know it's ok to "deal" with "things", right?

 So, what some of you may know and what some are just finding out is that I have been having some less then desirable heath issues the last year. I try my best to down play it and to not freak myself out. I also try really hard not to freak ya'll out.. but the last few weeks have been a little harder then others.
 You see, nearly a year ago I was diagnosed with a condition called Interstitial Cystitis. Basically, my bladder is a real moody bitch and doesn't always like to be a team player. This condition sounds scary and is really hard to properly say, pronounce or even explain but mostly it's just really inconvenient. It's painful but lucky for me, I can function at almost full capacity almost all the time.
 IC is mostly (for me) controlled with a mild blood thinner that causes me to have some pretty wicked side effects. 
 None of this is really crazy important for you to know because this is not the "specific thing" occupying most of my brain space.
 Three weeks ago I saw my urologist for a follow up and after ruling out some stuff and things he decided our next course of action is for another cystoscopy with a high chance of biopsy. Medical jargon because I am watching Grey's Anatomy as I type this.
 I have done a decent job of not stressing, not letting this course of action change my moods but as my surgery date approaches I am allowing some pretty dark thoughts to occupy those positive spaces.
 I keep pep talking myself, telling myself that whatever it is, I will get through it. 
 I will.. but to be honest I am scared. I am really freaked out and I am insanely stressed. 
 I know people who have cancer, who have beat cancer and I have mourned those who tried but lost. I selfishly don't want to be any of those things. I don't want to have cancer (I know, does anyone?), I don't want to have to fight to beat or lose to cancer. I don't ever want someone to mourn me because of cancer.
 I've done what every medical professional I know has told every patient in the world not to do. I have googled, webMd the shit out of my symptoms and even struggled to explain away so many of them. I even for a day, one solid day, considered canceling this rapidly approaching surgery. (Don't worry, I didn't.)
 I have downplayed my feelings about all the new things going on because, well, I don't want to "deal" with these things. Or so I thought until my husband said to me, "You know it's ok to "deal" with "things", right?" What I am sort of starting to realize now is that I don't know how to deal with my own things. I can advocate for my children, scream from a rooftop about my job, confront an irrational client, pep talk the spirit back into just about anyone and discuss all aspects of my life but when it comes to dealing with my own personal struggles.. I don't really know how.
 I don't know how to be rationally concerned for my own well being without falling apart. The last two nights that Sean and I have tried to talk about my health all I can do is cry.
 I know I come off as a hard ass and I soldier through a lot of physical pain.. this is no secret. I am often referred to as crazy, so strong, to stubborn or my least favorite, "super woman." All said mostly as a term of endearment but the truth is this whole week I have been nervous, anxiety ridden, stressed, angry and mostly scared.
 Scared that if this is just a bad IC flare up that this will be a reoccurring hindrance in my life. Scared that if it is more then just an IC flare up that I will have to fight. Scared that my children will inevitably be affected by my fears. I am aware that my fears are premature and are definitely isolating me but I mostly prefer to be a silent sufferer. 
 I don't know how to say these things out loud but last night as I read the book called "Love You Forever" to Cooper and Riley, a book we have read hundreds of times since before they were born I got choked up and I let myself wonder if I were gone from this world, who would read to my babies?
 Who would call them my names of endearment or share their "I LOVE PENIS" stories with the world? Who could fill my shoes and be everything that I am for my adorable ehart clan.
 I don't want to wonder those things. I don't want to think of my husband and children navigating our beautiful life without me.. so I just don't "deal" with this "thing."
 I truthfully send out silent vibes every night that three weeks from now I'll be writing a blog post about how healthy I am, how stupid this blog post was and how I was worked up for absolutely nothing.
 So, in a not so short peek into my life.. if I seem testy, irrational or just plain distant don't take it personal. I am trying to deal with things and I am not as good at it as I pretend. I am trying to stay positive and I am trying to be attentive to all the normal aspects of my life but this week is a little harder then I would like to admit. <3