Category Archives: friendship

Shatter the Glass Ceiling

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suff 1.jpgThis isn’t another political post. This is a love letter to all the amazing women out here who are doing their part to make the world a better place everyday. To the women who raise their babies at home, i salute you. The the women who work to support their families, I salute you. To the women who wake up everyday and go into an office full of men and kill it on a daily basis, this is for you. To the future daughters and dreamers and leaders you are stronger than you know.

Our time is now. I remember being in the 4th grade. I was an Air Force Brat living in Clovis, New Mexico and we had to stand up in the front of the class and tell each other what we wanted to be when I grew up. I remember at the time i wanted to be two things, an actress or the first female president of the United States. I had told my mother this and she would tell me that I indeed was going to be the president. When Mrs. Norfolk called my name i stood up, proud and held my head high and proclaimed that I, Denise was going to be the first Puerto Rican president of the United States. After all, this was the land of hopes and dreams and anything was possible. It was only a few seconds after i declared this, that I heard Mrs. Norfolk say “You can’t be president if your from Puerto Rico or a woman” And i instantly deflated. I had never heard before that my dream was impossible. I had never heard that because of where i was born or because I was a woman, something was out of reach. I couldn’t understand that. My parents told me I could be anything I wanted to be and here a teacher, a smart person just told me that my possible dream was IMPOSSIBLE.

jenny.jpg I remember going home and telling my mother. She was 26 years old and a mother of 3 children. She was born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico. A woman who didn’t have the best education but was hands over fist smarter than most. A true survivor. A woman who didn’t understand taking “No” for an answer, who would make small miracles out of a sewing needle, thread and a vision. This woman who didn’t speak English very well, would sit next to me as I learned and would learn the language with me watching Sesame Street. She also enhanced it with Police Academy, Coming To America movies and her favorite show The Price is Right. Her vocabulary was very interesting! I saw this woman, raise 3 kids on her own when my father was out serving our country. She learned how to drive a stick shift in one night while we sat in a pizza parlor so she could get a job. She operated an in-home daycare. She handmade our costumes, she made curtains and decorated our home. She worked outside the home. She learned and everyday she got better. She went to community college, she worked for herself, everyday this woman pushes herself towards greatness so you have to understand, to be told I couldn’t do something was foreign because I was raised to know that i could do the impossible and i had a living, breathing person living in my home, walking the walk and talking the talk. When i told my mother what Mrs. Norfolk said, she was enraged. Shes a fiery soul and I know that she went to the school. I don’t know what she said, but I know when she came back she was pissed and cursed and said that I wasnt going to listen to her and that i could still be President.

However that mustard seed of doubt had been planted and little did I know that from time to time I would hear Mrs. Norfolk’s voice and the self-doubt would creep in. All it took was that one moment to alter my beliefs and thinking. I’m sure she wasnt malicious and maybe she was a product of that small-minded thinking. Who knows.

suff2.jpgWhat I have become is a champion for women. I am the girl who fights for women’s rights. Who befriends the drunk girl in the bathroom and tells her shes beautiful. I’m the one who will let a stranger borrow my phone and wait with her until her friends show up. Im the one who will come over and talk to a woman if she looks scared or is being harassed by men at a party. I am the one who will be your designated driver and make sure you are safe if you want to let loose. I am a believe of the Sister code. I am the one who will train you to take my job someday. I am the one to support you in whatever dream you have because i believe in the sisterhood and it is something i do not take lightly.

votemeSo you have to understand that today, for me is an emotional day. Regardless of your political views, this is monumental. This is HISTORY, or rather HERSTORY. The fact that in my 37 years I got to vote for the first black president and now for the hopeful future Madame President is beyond words. This is the impossible becoming possible. Today when i woke up, i put on a white dress with a purple cardigan and gold jewelry. It was my nod to the Suffragettes who fought for my right to vote, who catapulted us to this very moment. A moment, just 30 years ago i thought would never come.

So now, sisters, its our turn. We get to shatter this glass ceiling. We do not have to offer apologies for existing or simply being born this gender. We are mighty and strong and an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. This is our time.

To the sisterhood, I salute you. ❤

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Cats In The Cradle

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catsThis is a hard one to write. Today was my son’s well check up at his pediatrician. We’ve been with her since he was born 12 years ago and the visit seemed normal enough. He’s grown 5 inches since she last saw him and we just have to keep an eye on his snacking habits. Usual stuff. Now that he’s older they do have a moment where they ask Mom to leave the room so the doctor can ask him some private questions and get honest answers. Things like, are you doing drugs,drinking, having sex etc. I know the drill so I walked outside and leaned on the wall smiling as newborn babies were being carried by new mama’s in the hallway. I looked at them and thought that it was not long ago my boy was in my arms and now hes 12 and 5”2. By the end of the year he may be taller than me.

After a few minutes the doctor called me back in and said, “Everything is great Mom, you know that the answers he gave me are confidential but you can talk to him about that. However, I wanted to talk to you about how he’s feeling. He said he was sad and feeling depressed daily, and that he tried to reach out to the guidance counselor at school. He feels sad about the situation with his father and that he feels like he has no friends at school” I remember putting my arm around his shoulder and rubbing his back, i know exactly how he was feeling and I remember thinking that he was brave for mentioning it to the doctor. She gave me a few suggestions for a plan to help him and left the room to get someone to draw is blood for his routine bloodwork.

As she closed the door I reached over to him and gave him a big hug. I asked him if he felt like it was getting worse?- his sadness. He said yes. I then asked if he had a pie chart, could he tell me based on the slices what his biggest concerns are. (For those that do not know my son, he is a mathematical thinker so we often speak on percentages and sliding scales) he thought for a second and said its an “80/20  split”.

And i said ok so just 2 problems that make you said daily?”

Yes, he said.

“So tell me what is the 80/20?”. He replied with “80% my dad not calling me back or answering my calls and 20% are the kids at school being mean.”

And i sat there silent, seething, rage boiling in my stomach. After all what could i do about either situation? My instinct was to protect and my visceral reaction was to go for blood. He noticed the color in my face and asked if i was angry and I told him that No, not at him, just at the situation. He made a joke in his usual fashion and we laughed for a brief moment. The doc came back in and gave us an action plan and we left.

As we got into the car. I said to him “Buddy, I’m really proud of you. It’s hard for a 40-year-old to be honest and you are doing it at 12. How else can I help you?” He mentioned talking to the counselor and then in a very grown up way said “There’s nothing you can do, this is not your fault and Im used to it by now, I didn’t want you to worry”

I will admit it was at this moment that i felt a pang in my heart. A pain that I imagine is reserved for parents in  way that is indescribable. A hopeless feeling. A moment of overwhelming stress. We are his parents we are here to protect him, to nurture him, and I can do nothing about this pain. It is something neither of us asked for, deserved or anticipated. I cannot force his father to show up. I cannot force him to answer his phone. I cannot force him to be consistent. All i could say to my child, who was hurting was that “Im sorry. And I know your father loves you, but right now he just cant be his best and its ok to be mad” We were at a stoplight and the car was silent, when i looked at him and said “I’ll tell you what. How about for the car ride home you can pretend im your dad and you can say anything you want to say. Ill even give you permission to cuss, yell, scream and get angry. You can cry, you can say nice things. And i wont say anything at all. And you wont get grounded because this is a safe place. And when you are done and want Mommy back. Just tap me on my hand.”

He hesitated and said something then tapped me on my hand. I said, well that was quick, do you feel better? do you have anymore to say? And he did. Boy did he ever. He finished by saying that he didn’t want to cuss (he didnt) but that if he could say these things to his face he would.

I ended up pulling over to take him to dinner at a restaurant. The kid deserved it. I took him to the grocery store and bought him a slice of lemon cake. We can work on the snacking part tomorrow. Today calls for comfort. We walked in the house and i turned on the NBA game for him and he’s smiling. Before he got settled in i said to him “Buddy, I know i cant make it stop hurting but I will make you a promise. I will be there for you and love you until my last breath. I will always be here and to if you need more, just tell me. Let me know if im not living up to it. Because you need a constant in your life and if i have to do the job of 2 people I will. Now im gonna fail sometimes, just so you know, im human. But i promise this” and i held out my pinky and we pinky promised. And i don’t know what tomorrow will bring but i know we will do this together. He and I.

And his father may never see this but this is all I have to say:

……I’ve long since retired, and my son’s moved away

I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you.”
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then, dad
We’re gonna have a good time then.”

 

Fresh Hell : The Pre-Teen Years

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freshhellI’m not even a full month into this hellish, hormonal, angst part of parenting. My sweet, precious baby lamb only just turned 12 last month, and almost as if a light switch magically turned on (or off) I was thrust into no mans land overnight. I had heard stories from friends with daughters that it was hard, I understood and could relate to that I was an emotional 12-year-old once and I’m sure I was a thorn in my mother’s side. Honestly, having a boy i didn’t think it would be so bad, plus he’s always been a fairly easy, obedient child so I figured it may be a few outbursts here and there, nothing too crazy. I mentally prepared (or so i thought) I’ve been doing my stretches and workouts in case he gets a bout of “testosterone” and tries to one up me i can remind him that even at 5’4 I’m still Mama.   But no one can really prepare you for this. This piping hot steamy pile of shit that just gets handed to you one day and you have to figure out how to navigate it with your own pile of hormones as you approach 40. Life’s cruel this way. Life’s a sordid, twisted little bugger.

danger  Already, in the 28 days of 12 (yes, I’ve counted) he has developed and practically mastered the art of eye rolling, the smacking of the lips, the smart ass tone, the whatever attitude. It’s as if he went to the science lab in school and accidentally got into the toxic goo and instead of developing super human powers I got Super Melodramatic Angst Man-Boy. I though I was the queen of sarcasm and acerbic wit but i have to bow down to the development speed here. Either the student has been studying the Master or were dealing with a whole new level of fresh hell here folks!

And y’all, between us this is totally above my pay grade! I’m not trained in this. Do you know that this past weekend we went on a Halloween Tour and I was so excited to have a great time and before we had even gotten there he had brought out, Cranky, Sullen, Sleepy, Hungry and Indifferent. That was just on the 30 minute ride. When we got there he hung out with Tired, Whatever, Kinda Stupid. When the tour started he invoked the spirits of I Don’t Get It, Why are We Here?, Kinda Cool, This Is Fun and Can We Go Home Yet? By the time we took all the pictures he noticed a raunchy Donald Trump sticker and then it was Gross Joke time and Silliness for 15 solid minutes. Then when we got home he snuggled up on the couch and we watched scary movies and he decided to let Sweetness and Tenderness hang out for the rest of the evening. It was a maniacal roller coaster and the bad thing guys…is when I bring it up to him I get the universal blank stare, your crazy mom look.

help-himMy sweet, talented gifted boy is currently sitting across from me as I type this. I just received an email from his teacher that he is not participating in class or turning in his work. Guys he’s a straight A student for the most part but this last report card he brought home some B’s. His response, I can pass the tests, the homework is dumb. Uh…..dude unless your ass got invited to join MENSA and forgot to tell me, i suggest you get with the program. Now he’s doing his homework that his teacher so graciously has allowed him to make up, which i told him was the only time i would allow it as a first offense. The next time he will suffer the consequences of a zero or an F. I refuse to celebrate mediocrity. He is banned from TV, video games and the phone. A punishment I’m sure will hurt me in the long run. And so what is he doing to show his disapproval of my discipline? Sniffing his nose loudly, breathing with a heavy sigh, writing hard and crumbling papers….

Help him Tom Cruse, help him Oprah, may he gather protection from his Abuelitas prayers. I also need help at this point I’m invoking all the power of Castle Greyskull, all the Care Bear stares and a Sam’s Club size pitcher of pre mixed Margarita mix to get me through these pre teen years. I also will start to forage and hoard the tears of a thousand angels for strength to guide me through what is yet to come…..Teenager. da da duummm. Solidarity y’all. So much effing solidarity!

There’s no such thing as Superman

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Today started out seemingly normal.  Dropped kiddo off at school for early basketball practice and i drove off to work.  Then i get a call a little later from my son who is in the nurses office and is having trouble breathing.  He tripped and fell and another child accidentally fell on him.  So i rushed out of work early to go get him. I call the pediatrician because we had a “Well visit” scheduled for that afternoon and wanted to see if she could see him earlier.  The nice lady on the phone tells me that she can get us in but that the well visit becomes a sick visit and i have to pay $40 to be seen.  I say fine and as I’m waiting at the red light i check my bank account this is what i see

A slight panic comes over me and payday is a couple of days away and i figure i can ask his pediatrician if she can combine his well visit with this so that i won’t have to pay, we’ve been visiting her for 12 years maybe she will understand.  As I’m waiting at the light, i guess life feels like i haven’t been kicked enough i hear a ding come from the dashboard…i have less than a 1/4 tank of gas and 24 miles to drive to see his doctor.  The light turns green and i had towards the school i hear a second “ding” and look at the tire light come on.  I let out a frustrated scream and hit my fists on the steering wheel.

I promise you i couldn’t make this up if i tried.  I pick up my son and we head towards the pediatricians office. I plead my case to the accounting office and they say no, that it is now a sick visit and they will just bill me. I hold back tears as I’m explaining to them that they will have to do a payment arrangement for me and i walk back to the waiting room defeated. I’ve texted a few friends and family members for emotional support and I’ll tell you that i am surrounded by pure love.  There is so much solidarity in the crap storm I’m surrounded by.

After examination by the doctor she decides that he probably would be better served at the Emergency Room and that he might need X Rays and a scope.  I hold back the tears and i hope this doesn’t sound callous but start to count the bill in my head.  We had out to the ER.I look at my gas tank and remember i have $6 in my purse that can buy us a couple of gallons to get home if needed.

Once I’m here we go through all the same things, the questions etc and they assign us to a room.  The nurses poke around and tell us a doctor will see us soon.  Then the humbling begins.  The financial people wheel their little carts around and take your info.  All in front of your children.  The person sees that i still owe money from our last ER visit that I’m trying to pay down and says to me that my co-pay is $250. I tell him that i don’t have it right now and he then asks if i can pay anything towards it.  I forgot for a second my son was there and i say to him “my bank account is negative $71, I’m so sorry i can’t” I’m holding back tears from embarrassment and shame.  I realize I’m holding a school issued iPad and wonder if he thinks I’m one of those people who spend money on expensive things and can’t pay my bills. I want to go and explain that my purse is a gift and that my cell phone is from work and that i really can’t afford it but i don’t.  And the silent judgement whether real or imagined hurts my heart.  When he leaves my son says to me “I’m sorry, i shouldn’t have said anything because now you’re worried about money” i feel an inch tall.  I feel like I’ve let him down, like the one thing I’m supposed to be doing in failing at miserably. I calm him down and give him a blanket and explain that it’s not his fault and that we’ll be OK.

But here’s the thing, i don’t know what OK is.  I know that when i leave here with him and he’s healthy that is all that will matter.  I will breath a quick sigh of relief until i remember that i just added another medical bill to my bills.  That this will sit on top of my $10,000 loan in paying back for my surgery that insurance wouldn’t cover.  That i live paycheck to paycheck and like many of us out there get creative will bills and dinner and food and just when you think you have a quick breath life comes in with a sucker punch.

I was telling my friend that i didn’t know how i could call this living.  That it feels like all we do is fight to breathe and to climb out of this hole that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. That I’ve put steps into action so my son hopefully will never have to do this.  That my plan is when it is time to go to college i will sell my house and give him any proceeds so that he won’t start life out with debt.  I only have one child so once he leaves there’s no need for a big house.  I just don’t want him to feel what I’m feeling right now.  Which is hopeless and helpless and drowning in life.

I find myself praying less and less over the years because I’ve come to the realization that life is just what it is. Science is science.  Things happen.  Good things happen to bad people and bad things sometimes happen to good people.  Life isn’t the movies, there’s no superman waiting in the wings, no long lost rich relative who’s bazillion dollars so i can help me and my entire family out. There’s no winning lottery ticket with a lucky number there’s no lost painting in the attic worth thousands.  So we do what we can.  We make the best of what we have we celebrate the little things in life and find gratitude in these  breaths even though the relief is brief.

Right now they are doing X-rays and an EKG on my guy.  He’s being such a trooper and I’m trying not to be the worst mom in the world by worrying about money.

I hope he’s OK.  He needs to be OK because he’s my baby.  I will find a way, there will always be a way and i share this, not for the woe is me aspect, shit we all have problems, mine are no bigger than yours, but i share it so maybe someone out there won’t feel alone, because even though i am surrounded by love this is the loneliest place to be.

UPDATE: kid has bruised ribs and injury to his chest wall.  He’s to stay home today and tomorrow.  So i tell my boss and guess what? I still need to come in tomorrow because we are short staffed and sold out….so that means I’m Skype parenting from work for a few hours.  This is the very real and un-glamorous life of single parents – having to choose to work or care for a sick kid.  Somethings gotta give.

Why I Seem Bitter – A misunderstanding and the art of how Ive mastered RBF

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     vivien_leigh_gone_wind_restaured  Since becoming a single mother and leaving behind the days of my youth I have lost that youthful joyful smile that used to stay plastered on my face. Fast forward to the future and due to life and a general disposition of “F@#$ that s#!t” I have developed what some may call RBF or Resting B!@#$ Face. I feel like its an unfair description though because it makes me feel that women have to have a cheery disposition and that our resting face causes people to react so negatively. Men don’t have a term for their normal face and we certainly are not here to entertain you or are obligated to “look more pleasant” for your comfort. My face is my face -eff that noise!

  Which brings me to my next point, I’m bitter. No, I’m not really bitter but it has been a word tossed my way lately by people who have been on the receiving end of my truth. Now I’m usually really good at taking a long hard look at myself and tweaking things if needed. You can at anytime tell me that Ive been cranky or hangry and need to tone it down and its usually followed with a  positive reaction. “I’m so sorry, it was the hunger talking, lets get tacos!”  or “Man, yeah your right i didn’t get any sleep and Ive been on edge, thanks! Ill go take a nap” Sometimes i don’t agree and i use the “Well lets agree to disagree and i still want to go get tacos” line and all is restored to its normal order. But I can honestly say is that I don’t feel bitter is a word used to describe me. What I am is tired. Tired of everything and the older i get the shorter my attention span for B.S gets. Like Ive developed this super-human power of spotting B.S before it hits me.  So i ninja kick it in the face before the full sentence leaves someone mouth. In other words I aint got time for that.

   Ive also grown to appreciate peoples honesty with me. If my breath smells like 3 day old hot garbage dipped in piping shit- please tell me so i can go fix it. Did i say something that hurt your feelings? oh my gawd please tell me so i can make it right. Did my kid say something crappy and you think it should be address? By all means let me know- cuz Mama is not trying to raise a serial killer! These are things that I am willing and able to fix- but my apparent RBF I will not and let me tell you why.

wednesdayMy face permanently sits like this on any given day. What you see is that I act slightly dead inside that I’m itching for a fight. But in fact my RBF means I am weary. I am worn out. I am tired. I’m am stretched thin. I am exhausted. So exhausted that the effort to smile hurts my body. That I work in hospitality and I’m “on” all day giving and giving to people at the hotel. That I have a child who needs a healthy mother so i put on a show for him as well- because he doesn’t deserve the sad, tired face. That I’m always on. Whether its at work, for my child, for my friends etc. Everyday I’m tasked with fixing, helping, comforting, cooking, cleaning, managing and leading. I’m not any more special than all of you, i know you too may wear these hats. But understand, that If something breaks i fix it. There is no one at my home or knocking at my door asking me if i need help. Or if I’m hungry. No one rubs my feet or my back and tells me that even though today was hard tomorrow will be better. No one holds my hand and squeezes it to let me know that its OK to be nervous. When my kid is sick- i get to agonize over whether to call off work or leave him at home with a phone and soup. I get to decide by myself if we can afford normal groceries or if he eats the last piece of chicken and I eat yogurt for the 3rd time this week.  When i have days that feel like a fresh hell springing up from the claws of Hades himself- i alone have to deal with it. Now please i do not write this so i can play the victim. Far from it. I write this so that those who mistakenly call me “bitter” understand that I just have too much going on to stop and smile all the time. That when I get upset that my sons father hasn’t called for weeks or refuses to help financially – its not that I’m one of “those baby mamas” that society likes to vilify. Its that I’m tired of choosing which bill to pay so he has lunch money and that Ive creatively figured out a way to pay for basketball or band or robotics that is not immoral or illegal. That when i genuinely get upset about not being helped with our son- I’m not stating that “all men are deadbeats” or that “Men aint shit” or “That i wish i had child support so i could  buy a Fendi bag” that’s so far from the truth its not even funny. What bothers me is that if a single mother complains, people assume – based on the FB posts Ive seen or the memes that she isn’t taking care of her kids. That she has an ulterior motive, that shes money hungry. And that’s an unfair generalization. Its as unfair as assuming that all single fathers don’t take care of their kids. We have it hard enough without the side eye and judgment from so called keyboard warriors. Trust me, i get it at school because we have different last names, i get it when people look down and don’t see a ring on my finger. I get it when we don’t get invited to dinners and peoples houses because it seems like a complicated situation. People avoid single mothers like the plague in general.

So given all that information, its understandable that when people come to me with fresh “fuckery” i shut it down. I have no time for pleasantries if you do not bring joy to my life. If you are not here to enhance- then please you and the horse you rode in on can go away. Guess what? I ran out of f@#*s to give around 2004 and I’m not in the market to purchase more. landscape-1448340963-rihannasideeye.jpg

So let me explain. Describing me as Bitter is not a good go to word. All it tells me is that you do not posses a thesaurus to think of a more creative way to describe me. So let me help you. Badass, Badass extraordinaire, Amazing, Awesome, Intelligent, Bright, Smart, Creative, Resourceful, Inventive, Innovative,  Truth Teller, Boss Lady, Strong, Resilient, Powerful and i reject any other negative word that you feel the need to reduce me to. So here’s a shout out to anyone else with this “affliction” You are perfect the way you are- keep on keepin on! ❤

It’s my Blogiversary!

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It’s my Blogiversary!

1st-blogiversary-cupcake-happy-birthday-to-my-blog-a-single-candle1Happy 1st Year of my Blog! I guess it’s my blogiversary – if that’s a thing- if not it is now! I just wanted to say thank you all for sticking with me this first year as is bared my soul, shared my shenanigans and just took one step closer to my dream of writing. It means so much that i have had over 3,000+ visitors/readers to the blog and I hope i can do better this year!

I have decided that instead of limiting myself to a certain number of adventures per year i was just going to keep on going. Its been crazy and fun but most of all enlightening. I attended a great training class this week and it was a real eye opener, as far as what i am doing with my life and what i would like to be doing and this is a real big step!

bdayOn top of the Blogiverary I also finished celebrating birthday month. Yes, you read that right- birthday month! My son and I both have birthdays in September, I turned…ahem excuse me- leveled up to 37 and he turned 12. There are so many new things and challenges happening in our lives right now and i cant wait to tell you all about it. I wanted to make sure to drop you a quick post to thank you though and to send you all the love i have. If you want to celebrate with me, drop me a comment, let me know how you plan on being adventurous, what new things you are doing or hope to do and how you are just waking up on the right side of awesome everyday it would mean the world! ❤

With so much love,

Denise

The date from a sub basement of Hell

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How i feel the Universe is looking at me

So remember how in my last post I said I hadn’t got to cross  a date from my adventure list before my birthday? Well be careful what you put out to the Universe guys- she has a funny sense of humor and a swift kick to the nuts coming when I get to meet her. I will pepper this post with gifs of Liz Lemon to drive it home- because its needed.

So as Universal humor would have it- i decided to give the POF app one more go around and lo and behold- someone who didn’t start off their intro with “Hey Gorgeous or some lewd comment- happened to catch my interest. This guy is funny and seemed smart and his intro to me led into some pretty cool conversations. So after a few days as it goes, it progressed to hey can i get your number and then texts follows. Now looking back maybe the fact that he wouldn’t call was a red flag- but at the time i figured it added to the anticipation of it all. So eventually he asked me to a date. My son – who is supportive and awesome said “Mom give him a  chance! Go on a date! You need a life outside of me!” Thanks soon to be 12 year old with the wisdom of Morgan Freeman’s version of God, i will go with your blessing. So of course the planning takes place- “what kind of food do you like? ” he asks. I say Nachos- because that day that was what i wanted and well i figure you might as well let people know your not a salad girl up front. And then he goes to say that there are lots of events going on around the city and mentions, music, festivals, plays etc. I quickly jump on the play idea – because two of my friends had just told me of Lin Manuels play In the Heights playing downtown Atlanta. We agree to a that idea, a lunch date and the matinee showing of the play.

Fast forward to Saturday, the crew has been notified of the date, my son is hanging out with his father and I am at the mall trying on outfits to find the perfect first date dress- one that says i didn’t try too hard but i care and was still pretty and ready for a lunch date on a Sunday afternoon. After texting 5 girlfriends (because this is what you do) an outfit was selected and home i went. Excited for a new adventure and hopefully meeting a nice person.

Cue Sunday morning- the sky has opened up and the rain is monsoon level. Mind you, it hasn’t rained this hard in Atlanta in months. I should have taken it as a subtle not so subtle foreshadowing of the literal shit storm that was about to happen. I had spent Saturday night straightening my hair and due to the storm i knew it would frizz so i had to wash it out to wear it curly. I really wanted to make a good impression and frizzy hair was the least of my worries. I brushed my teeth twice, put on my nice dress, painted my nails, shaved my legs, texted all the girls to let them know my status and then got ready to leave. Now pay attention because this goes to shit real fast from this point on. Go ahead and stop here, grab a snack, a drink go potty and return after this commercial break. Ill wait………

Good and comfy? Strap yourself in here we go. So i look outside and it is torrential down pour. I check the GPS and see that it will take me 35 minutes to get to Little 5 Points (a artsy part of Atlanta where they have cool shops and restaurants) We had agreed to meet a Junkmans daughter which is a cool landmark and walk around before the play which is just 3 miles away from Little 5. I send him a  quick text to let him know I’m on the way to the meeting spot and he texts back that he “should have figured out the timing on the train before the rain” Hmmm. The train? as in MARTA? now i have no issue with public transportation and i have my own car so I just shrug it off as maybe traffic sucks and he decided to train it. (Red flag #2) I drive over to the ATM and get some cash in case i need it – because I’m polite and figure its OK to pitch in on something for the first date since he taking me to a play and that’s expensive. Then i have a moment where i go “Waaaaaait a minute, the train doesn’t go to Little 5 points. and its raining- maybe hes gonna Uber it” I text him to ask. He responds with Im taking the train to Five Points- and we can walk from there – i say well i thought we were meeting in Little 5 ? He says “Aren’t they the same thing? and i respond with “Ummmmm no. One is an artsy part of Atlanta with murals and stuff the other one is where you go to buy bootleg purses and get robbed” (red flag #3) So my mistake, I assumed we were meeting at Little 5 not the latter – when in fact we were meeting at the place where people go to get shanked.

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Traffic is bad so i decide- eff it- since I’m headed that way ill even the playing field and hop on the train myself and we can walk to the theater. I’m down for this adventure. This may turn out fun. I hope on the train and get to the Five points station and he calls and tells me that he sees me and to stay put. He comes around the corner and the first thing i hear out of his mouth is “oh you dressed fancy” (RF #4) I turn around to a handsome young man with a nice smile who decided to wear  beat up shoes, faded jeans with the pockets ripped (not ironically) a stretched out polo, a handful of chest hair peeking out, a cap and scruff on the face.Not exactly what I would consider first date dressing to a theater date. But fuck it. I say YOLO in my head and greet him with a smile and a hug. He says thank you for meeting him and that he was happy to see me. I smile and say the same and thank him for inviting me out on the date. He mentions how dressed up i am and i start to feel insecure- because I’m overdressed or hes under dressed either way i feel funny. He immediately asks me what i want to eat (RF #5) and I say i don’t know because i had a few ideas when i thought we were meeting at Little 5 and i don’t know whats around here. He suggests we walk in the direction of the theater and see whats en route. I look at my suede wedges and say OK sure. We walk up the street, now i need to remind you that this is a seedy part of Atlanta. Before we hit the first corner we have been offered the opportunity to buy kush and had a few guys size me up. I’m a tough girl so i just kind of keep walking. We walk up near a few restaurants and he says “Well, how about Arby’s or Moes” and I’m kinda like ummmm well no, lets keep walking. And then i think to myself- well maybe he spent a lot of money on the tickets – I’m cool with cheap lunch. So we walk 0ver to this tiny hole in the wall pizza place and I order a slice of pizza and a water. I’m trying to be mindful. We sit down and he immediately starts to talk. like A LOT. I chalk it up to nerves and smile, every now and then i try to ask a question, but he keeps talking. He mentions his time in the Coast Guard and i interject “Oh cool my Dad was in the Air Force…” and before i could finish my sentence  he says “Oh you mean the CHAIR FORCE”   (RF #6 OH.NO.YOU.DIDN’T.)

Shut-It-Down-That-Is-a-Dealbreaker-For-Liz-Lemon-On-30-Rock.gif Anyone who knows m knows i come from a strong military family and my dad served 26 years making fun of his branch is not cool. I mention my history he awkwardly laughs repeats the joke and I move on. I notice that the area has a lot of homeless people and i say to him that they have plans to redo the neighborhood and because of gentrification they will most likely push them out of the area. And i go into how my son and I volunteer with the homeless etc. He goes into making a joke about the homeless (Not cool and at this point I’m just going to stop counting red flags because it gets worse) I tell him that “We are all just one really bad day from being homeless and it could turn on the dime” he scoffs.  So we finish our meal and decide to walk towards the theater. I get excited because its closing day and i really want to see this play. We walk up and hes turned around and doesn’t know where to go, so i suggest the box office. I’m assuming he has the tickets at will call. We walk up and he hangs back behind me. So by then i kinda figured out that he didn’t get the tickets. No biggie. I can buy my own. I walk up to the table and find out they are sold out. I immediately deflate. He looks at me and says “Oh they are sold out? oh i didn’t think people would want to come see a play” Now in my head I’m like “Duuuuuude WTF? like i could have bought my ticket last week when we planned this, its closing night- of course they are sold out. So i give a gracious smile and walk out of the theater. (Also i need to let you know that in all instances i waited by the door for him to open it for me – because I’m all about chivalry but this is something hes not used to doing so it was awkward but more on manners in a sec.

We get outside and he says “Well what do you want to do?” and I stare blankly and then say “well we can still have a nice time, I’m always indoors, lets stroll through the city and chat” trying to hide my disappointment.  He makes a half hearted joke about hating to walk around and suggests we go to Starbucks. We literally ate like 15 minutes prior. I am too full to drink coffee- because of my surgery) I smile and say “No thank you that I’m full” hes hell bent on getting coffee so i say OK.

As we are leaving, two very enthusiastic college kids come up to us and ask if we are registered to vote. I get a little excited because I love when younger people are involved. i smile and say Yes and then go to ask them how they got involved – because i love meeting new people. He interrupts and says “So you guys are helping elect two geriatrics?!” and some other shit the kids walk off and he yells out after them “So are you guys voting for Trump?!” the girl turns around and says “We cant disclose who we are voting for we are just trying to get people registered” and he yells out the geriatrics thing again. He then laughs and says “I don’t even know if I’m registered to vote” I look at him and say “You were in the coast guard and you don’t know if your registered to vote?” he replies with “Ive never voted” a big hmmmm crosses my lips. I mean fine, vote don’t vote, but how can you enlist in the military and not care who your boss is? Liz-Lemon-Bites-Her-Tongue-In-Restraint-On-30-Rock.gif

So i keep walking – now one of the things that i have become accustomed to because Mama’s and Papas have raised nice men is that when you are walking in the company of a lady- Men usually walk on the outside and the women walk on the inside- away from the street. This guy kept walking on the inside and when i would try to move to the inside- he would somehow find his way there. I even manged to graciously think- well maybe he just was never taught basic manners. My son even knows this. As we are walking a homeless man walks up to us and says excuse me. I smile and say hello and he asks for 25 cents. I don’t have any change, but my date reaches into his pocket for a quarter and just as i think maybe hes about to redeem himself he decides to toss the quarter to the man rather than hand it to him. The quarter falls on the ground the homeless guy looks at him like “WTF really dude? its bad enough i have to ask for a quarter but now i have to crawl on the ground to get it” My mouth drops open and i say “I’m so sorry sir” I’m about to die from shame and I didn’t even do it. My date laughs and says “That made me look like an asshole huh?” i respond with “Total Asshole behavior” he then says “But if he would have caught it it would have been cool” and i respond dryly with “So its his fault he totally ruined your Pespi moment?” We keep walking- towards the train because at this point Ive decided I need to go home- i just haven’t said it. He suggests we walk into the Underground Shopping center in search of coffee.  I respond with “Fine, because god forbid you don’t get into air conditioning and get coffee since you have been complaining about walking for the last 1/4 mile” meanwhile Ive not complained and I’m in heels. So we go to the damn mall no coffee we leave. I decide to sit for a second because my feet are starting to hurt and there is a woman playing the piano outside. I think, wow this sounds beautiful and i take in the air and listen to her play. He decides to make fun of the piano player. Sigh. A girl who looks lost walks up to us and asks if she could use our phone to call because she lost her group. He looks at her like she has 3 heads.I reach into my purse and hand the girl my phone. Really, this isn’t the neighborhood to be lost or walking around as a female by yourself. She makes her call and I ask her if she found them and if shes going to be OK. She nervously smiles and says yes and walks away. My date looks at me and says why don’t we get on the train and go north towards where you are and see whats going on over there. I’m all like “Whatever gets me to this fucking train- in my head” I smile and say sure. Now about two stops in he decides we should get off the train and go get coffee. Yes again with the fucking coffee. We get off in an even seedier neighborhood and hes walking around with his face buried in the GPS and i realize all kinds of people are looking at us. We look out of place and I’m overdressed. I start to walk away as this man is yelling at us and approaching us very quickly. He says “So your just walking off?” and i say very discreetly- do yo not see that man approaching us yelling angrily? I’m not trying to get robbed and you look like a mark. Like everything about you says- go ahead and rob my ass” So he realizes the coffee shop isn’t around the corner and is in fact an 11 minute walk away. There are so many fucking nopes at this time and a text S.O.S goes out to my homegirl Annie- who quickly calls to make sure I’m OK. I then turn to the date and said “I’m not walking 11 minutes in these shoes for coffee” he then makes fun of my shoes – like i knew they were going to hurt. And i say, well i wasn’t prepared for all this trapeezing up and down Atlanta i thought we were going to lunch and play” so i start to head down the stairs to the train station- because I’m over this fucking MARTA date. He follows me down. We sit and i see that the train in 20 minutes away and i say nicely that i appreciate lunch but i need to head back now. He starts talking about the differences between Ju-Jitsu and Judo. I plaster my face with a beauty queen smile and my brain shuts down. On occasion i say Oh, or Ah or really- because I don’t want to be completely rude. Someone elses lack of  manners should not make me lose mine. The train pulls up and he rides  with me my stop. I say OK and thank you.

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Thanks for the save call Annie!

Now the train is at capacity because of festivals and we sit down beside this woman who is laughing and talking to herself and anyone that will look at her and shes eating candy. Like she has a giant purse full of all kinds of candy. This is public transportation- so you never know who you will run into and its kinda fun under the right situation. Now this man gets on the train and his hands are full and the only seat available is next to the candy lady, hes dressed in a nice suit, has a nice watch. Candy lady is wearing scrubs and looks like she just got off of work. He decides to stand even though his hands are full. The candy lady yells out to the man “Sweetheart or something, come sit next to me ” and she pats the seat, she says his hands are full and he should sit. The man smiles says thank you and he sits down. She rubs his back and asks him if he would like some candy.He says yes and they have a warm moment. It was like one of those FB videos that make you feel warm inside because no matter where we’ve been in life- a little kindness goes a long way. If i could i would have “liked” that moment all over the place. I look over at my date and he starts to make fun of the candy lady and i say “Did you miss what happened? That was so kind and sweet” and he makes another joke about “situational” comedy. My ride comes to an end and I say “thank you for lunch and for meeting me” he stands up. Goes in for a hug and i say “fuck it Ive gone this far- and hug him back. I wave goodbye and high tail it down the stairs out of the train station. But before I’m at the bottom of the stairs my phone buzzes and i look and he has texted me the smiley face emoji with the heart eyes. I’m sorry- what? was he on the same fucking date? I haul ass out to the car and send the mass text to the girls that I am alive and the date is over. He also send me a Hey smiley face emoji late last night.Liz-Lemon-Cries-All-Alone-As-Usual.gif

Guys, i wish i could say this is just a creative writing experience. That this was inspired by the Emmy’s last night. But alas it was not. My first official “date” since 2003 and my first “official date” since i left my ex. i don’t count Mr. Big as date because he never really took me anywhere- it was situationship. And with that I am taking a break. I don’t want to do this for a while. My son asked as soon as i walked into the door and the look of astonishment on his face was priceless. We had a good laugh- and even though i may not be lucky in love- please know that i have trained my son to be chivalrous and his wife will appreciate it.

Here’s to the rest of birthday week. Salud!

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Summer Hiatus- Fall is upon us

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pinkSo I suck. I haven’t posted on here in a couple of months because, well, life happens. It happens at full force or at warped speeds and then you get caught up in the whirlwind of it all. I had some highs and lows and honestly like all people just didn’t feel like chatting it up.

So whats happened? Ended a friendship that was near and dear to my heart. No drama, that’s not who I am but it was just time to realize that it wasn’t helping me grow, in fact when i assessed it i realized i had been sitting in stagnate water for quite some time. So I wished it well and set it off in the wind. Then my amazing sweet wonderful boy started 6th grade! A stressful time for both mom and kid as we ventured into uncharted territory. I’m happy to say that this year so far has been very positive. Last year we were dealing with racial issues at the school and bus bullies. This year hes rating it a solid 8 out of 10. Hes playing chess, playing basketball, started to learn the Tuba and trying to get into the robotics club as we speak. Oh and he’s embraced his heritage finally- and is learning to speak Spanish at school. Kid for the win!

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One of our hikes. Happy Kid

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He hated this hike- as you can tell by his face. This was the one where he may or may not have found the formula for teleportation

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Mom forces a smile out of him

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I am the lucky mom who gets to hear tuba practice

I think in life we get so caught up n the day to day activities and stress and before you know it another month has gone by, I’m sitting here 1 week away from my 37th birthday. Or as i am now going to refer to it Leveling up. It makes it sound like Ive accomplished something rather than turning a year older. I finished level 36! I’m leveling up to 37! BAM! Denise for the win- Cue the Mario music with the flagpole! life

For a moment though i was a little discouraged. i had initially started this blog as an adventure to myself and the gift was to complete 36 new things. I gave it a good try and at first i thought i failed because -i maybe got to 15 at best. When i challenged myself to this i didn’t take into account money or life emergencies or motivation into consideration. In this year alone i have had things break in the house a few times, a surgery, a few kid and pet emergencies and just the realization that I am a single mom with a limited expendable income and a wild imagination. But when i really started to look at it- i will consider this a success. I went in with an open heart. I learned that sometimes it just takes a tiny push to do something new. Even though i still didn’t make it to have a date – i did learn that I’m OK with being by myself and getting my life in order and that there are so many adventures to be had that do not include a mate. I learned how to make new friends and start conversations with strangers.  I learned that i really do like hiking – my son does not. In fact as we were on our most recent hike he said he was trying to figure out how to develop teleportation so we could see the waterfall and be done with it.Oh kids. lol

 

I learned that in a crisis I’m pretty great at handling things with finesse. I learned that i have the most beautiful support system. Friends from all over the world who genuinely cheer for me and Michael and will offer help to see us succeed. i learned that sometimes you have to just ask for help and people will help. I learned i don’t have to carry my burdens alone.  In this year of self discovery- that i was focusing on the outside- meaning what can i do to make myself more interesting- i realized the real adventure was making the inside more interesting. I decided to no longer apologize for my existence or space or how i think. I decided that when i feel bad that if i serve others or volunteer i feel better and i like helping. I learned that my kid thinks i can handle anything and that hes rarely stressed because Mama has it covered – which honestly is a good feeling when your a single mom. I often wonder if the kid is giving me side-eye because i have no idea what I’m doing but learned that hes OK and that’s more than i can ask for.

So what I’m going to do in my last week of 36 is just be still. Just be quiet and take it all in. Listen to the breeze, smile at the sun and just enjoy being. I have another year to keep growing and that’s going to be the best adventure of them all.

Go out and be awesome ❤

killin-it

 

Black Lives Matter, United we stand.

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blmI keep seeing “ALL LIVES MATTER” on my feed and i wanted to just explain something- because i don’t think people truly are wanting to understand. When people say “Black Lives Matter” it does not mean that other lives do not matter. It does not mean that police lives do not matter or LGBT lives do not matter or that white lives do not matter. What it is is a cry for help, a reminder of a people that have been denied rights and freedom and have been oppressed since the inception of our country. It is a reminder to people that “Hey were here too and we need help” To say “All lives matter” is dismissive of the problem that is being brought to our collective attention. Its saying – hey yeah i get that your people are being incarcerated by the thousands and this year alone 153 unarmed black men/women were killed by police brutality—but what about my feelings? This movement, this statement is so much more than saying “I don’t see race or color” Some may offer a rebuttal and say “Blah, blah blah, Black on black crime” That is not an argument to be had at this moment. That is not the current issue. To use B.O.B Crime as an argument standpoint is dismissive, it is as if ISIS would be justified in bombing us because of American on American Crime- that just doesn’t make sense. Or saying that the people in Orlando deserved it because of Gay on Gay crime- is that even a thing??? You see, we/some never had to grow up like this, your children may not have to experience what black people have. My own son at the age of 4 learned what it was like to be called a Nigger. He has been called one ever since by kids at school and on the bus. He has been accused of doing something and when the truth came out it turned out he was singled out because of his race Its an eye opener and its heartbreaking and we should all care about this because in a blink of an eye they can come after us. I don’t say this to minimize the horrific tragedies that have happened as of late, we are all brothers and sisters, be it brown, black, white, yellow, LGBT, cis, disabled, religious, atheist etc. We need to find compassion and love and understand that an injustice towards one is an injustice towards all and we just cant be dismissive anymore. ‪#‎standunited‬

The reality of it all

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I know ittired-womans been about a month since Ive last posted and the last time you all heard from me I was out of surgery. It has been an interesting month. I’ll cut to the chase and answer what I’m sure many of you want to know.As of today I have lost 22 lbs. It wasn’t easy and it downright sucked. To take years of bad habits and turn them around literally overnight and detox from sodas and sugars is straight up torture. Add to that the fact that you are also recovering from surgery and having your stomach look like dead Jon Snows chest- it all equals a recipe for F-U-N.

There have been times when I have attempted to communicate with the dog and the cat to have them go fetch me a steak, alas a Lassie I do not have. I just have the type of pets who sit on your chest while your recovering and try to smother you while you gasp for air. My mother has been a tremendous help and my son has stepped up to help with household stuff when needed.

The rough part really came when I had to return to work a week after surgery. My doctor had recommended 2-3 weeks. But in the real world, I had used up my sick and vacation days to take care of my son when he was sick so there weren’t that many left. I showed up to work with a bag full of prescribed drugs, a heating pad and a prayer. Now i work in a hotel and for those of you that know hospitality it is rare that you just get to sit there and not do anything. My amazing co-workers helped when they could when it came to lifting or anything I couldn’t handle. Id have good days and bad days and then really bad days where I had to go home early and just sleep. And as the pain got better- i got hit with a new pain. Somehow i developed a pinched nerve in my butt. It showed up a week ago and I’m literally sitting here in searing pain because it now has traveled to my hips and my thighs. Dr. Google says it may be my sciatica. Which means I need to go see the doctor. But here’s the reality of it all. I had to take out a loan for my surgery because my insurance doesn’t cover it, which added an extra $470 bill to my already stretched budget. Whenever I go see this doctor I have a $200 co-pay so I’m trying to budget that in, then as Murphy’s Law would have it, my car battery died and I had to borrow $154 from my Mom to pay for it. Now add in this new pain and I’m looking at needing to go to the Chiropractor which is going to be another bill that I frankly do not have the money for. So I’m taking Tylenol and researching stretches all In hopes something fixes it- but we all know that in reality I need to go to the doctor. Last night I was in tears on the couch because the nerve pain was so bad and my mother and son had to help me up the stairs and into bed. I didn’t sleep and then had to hold onto walls this morning to make it into the shower to get ready for work. The last place I want to be. My sweet son asked why I couldn’t call off of work and I had to tell him that I didn’t have any sick days or vacation days. The truth is (and it was not conveyed to him) that if I don’t work we don’t eat. Its as simple as that. So he gets on the bus and I wave him off and start the car to get to work, at the same time I’m crying my eyes out. One for the pain and two because the burden of this all is just too hard.

One thing that people don’t understand and I hate to be on this Single Mom soapbox. But it is really hard. Really really hard. I don’t say this to minimize any ones journey. I’m not up here saying that it is THE hardest or that others cant relate but from my perspective it is the hardest thing I have ever done. To be perfectly frank – on paper I make a decent living, I do not currently receive any child support and asking my son’s father for help is like getting blood from a rock. I literally have to beg and then be put through a waiting period before I get any scraps thrown our way. There have been times I have had to ask my parents for money for groceries. I do not qualify for any government assistance because on paper I look good. Over 3/4 of my income go to my mortgage and health insurance and house bills. I do not drive a fancy car, get my nails done, go out to fancy restaurants or have new clothes or even a savings account. I work paycheck to paycheck. I work for us to survive. And honestly the weight of that sits on my shoulders everyday. This morning I cried because I do not have relief from this even for a day. I do not have someone to share this load with and Its getting heavier and heavier by the day and so i cry. I cry because I cant just come home and say “Help me, I’m tired” I cling onto my mother who has been with me for over a month because she will leave next week and then who will help me when I cant get off the couch or I’m too exhausted to cook or even exist. The fact that I have her is a luxury and I would be lying if I said next week when she leaves I will have a giant void to fill and then its back to my normal life of doing it alone.

My son asked me this morning why I couldn’t just find a husband to help me. As if it were that easy. As if me being exhausted to do basic stuff could afford me the energy to go out and date. Let alone to convince someone that I am amazing and fully capable of adulting even though inside I’m falling apart.

And that my friends is the ugly, unglamorous truth. This is what I deal with and this is what you will probably in normal conversation never hear me say. I don’t like to be a burden to others and I don’t want people to think I cant do this because I can and I will. So today I’m back on the saddle so to speak, I will wipe away the tears cried this morning, put on fresh lipstick, smile and when I see my son this afternoon I will hug him with the heartiest hug ever mustered. I will make sure he feels safe and is fed and he is ready for school tomorrow. He will be none the wiser and I will feel better to have Mommed up. Nothing has changed and I don’t expect it to. I’m a realist that way. After he goes to be I will be up trying to think of how to squeeze in a second job without leaving my kid alone – which wont happen. I will think of things I can sell- which isn’t much since we don’t have expensive jewelry or anything worth value. I will get upset because I filed for child support over a year ago and have yet to receive a court date and I know that if i ever do it still wont be enough to help. I will consider getting a roommate, I will consider renting out a room on Air BnB. I will cut back on the A/C and things like that to make it another month. I will make it work and none will be the wiser. And I wont get a badge or a job well done after all this is a thankless job. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but again I would be lying if I said it wasn’t the most exhausting thing. I like to think that I will emerge a warrior of sorts or that my son will grow up to be a well adjusted, kind and magnificent man and then this will all have been worth it. I just want him to be happy- he deserves that.