I just burst out in tears, not my proudest moments as a parent but we all have these moments sometimes where we just fall apart. I dare any parent to tell me otherwise. Recently I have entered the wonderful world teenage years. This is the area where your baby starts to define who they are, they test boundaries, they grow, they dont need you, but still need you so much. To me it’s like revisiting the toddler years but with testosterone and lots of eye rolling and back talk and a tiny mustache. This is also the part of your life where as you’re wading in fresh attitude hell, you apologize to the heavens and your parents for being so awful. I put my parents through pure hell and on a few occasions they both lost their patience with me. I get it. Payback is a beyoch and I’m in the throes of it.
My son is gifted academically and this month alone hes been sought out to be in leadership groups, invited to take his SATs in the 7th grade and to participate in a 5 year program for kids which will eventually lead to scholarships (I’m a single mom struggling so this is HUGE) hes had to apply to this program by today and write an essay to get in, get letters of recommendation etc. He puts it off until this morning. I wake him up, I’m sitting here trying to help and in fussing at him because lately he just has an “I don’t care attitude” and honestly I just want to throw in the towel on this whole parenting thing. Im stretched thin. His grades lately have dropped for no other reason than “school is stupid” and well my baby is sullen, ornery, and wants to play basketball or video games all day. This is normal. This is expected. There comes a day where you are no longer the favorite human, the best friend and more of a bother. I’ve prepared for this, but what I didn’t expect was the attitude.
Going back to this essay that he’s writing, I ask him “why he didn’t care ” and he says “cuz I don’t, I’m doing this for you. You want me to do this, you said it was for scholarships”
So I just was crushed, because yes he’s 13 he doesn’t realize the opportunities that he has that I never did and how this will help his future. No 13 year old sees that.
So then I go into a speech about how I wish my parents had helped me in school, not because they wouldn’t, but because they didn’t know of these opportunities or how smart I really was and well in the 90s, I didn’t know how to ask for help either. They instilled a strong work ethic in me, so that’s all I knew. Work hard, make an effort and it will work out. (Great lessons. Mom and Dad don’t feel bad) i explained to him how I wish I didn’t have to work two jobs to pay for college that I had to drop out of because I couldn’t afford it, (I’m still paying for college loans with a high school education and no degree) that if I had a chance at an education I wouldn’t be working at a hotel for 20 years and not following my dreams. That I wanted a different life and if I had the chances hes been given I’d be a success. Then I realize ive said this crying. And maybe I am projecting my failures on him and I’m trying to keep him from growing up to be me.
He looks at me blankly. This is what parenting a teenager is.
This parenting thing is so hard and all i think most of us want is for them to be better than us. To be happy and healthy and good kind people. I know he will be, I have faith that this will all work out. He’s too awesome and I just have to remind myself to be gentle and loving and patient because this won’t last forever.
Hugs to everyone parenting a teenager….. lord knows I ain’t seen nothing yet.
It’s a major award! I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I do. He’s such a good sport, though slightly embarrassed he’s great to put up with my shenanigans and paying homage to my favorite holiday movie A Christmas Story
It’s 3:37 a.m and I’m wide awake because I crashed on the couch last night after a long physically and emotionally draining week . I was president of everything yesterday and then I had to come home and cook dinner. Like many times I contemplated ordering out or picking up pre made food at the grocery store. As I sat at the traffic light i checked my bank account, knowing it would be slim as payday is tomorrow. When i logged in i saw that i was negative again. Fuck. not an unfamiliar site, but i was hoping a few bills would clear tomorrow, not last night merely hours before my direct deposit hit. i had to buy Michael some last-minute stuff for school and he lost his glasses. …..again.
As I walk through the door im greeted by “Hi mommy. I’m starving” a normal thing these days with a growing 12-year-old boy. “Hi baby, I know. I had to work late today so I’m sorry I’ll fix something in a few. let me take off my shoes and change” i drag myself up the stairs and sit on the toilet to just breath.
He has no idea that today was particularly hard. I had a VIP meeting at the hotel where our owners attended and had to make sure it went well. Then the same owners had a cocktail reception an hour and a half after their meeting . Which meant at work , it was an all hands on deck situation. Not only was I the sales person in charge, but I spent the better half of my day in the kitchen preparing trays of food. Our hotel is small and not prepared to handle a tight turn around so we were all wearing different hats. I was running around so much and trying to figure out how we were going to turn a meeting into a reception with food with limited help in less than an hour and a half and still make it look good. It was such a chaotic day, I hadn’t eaten breakfast and had to be reminded to eat a sandwich at lunch. When it was time for me to eat i made myself a grilled cheese and sat down with my friends at work resting my aching feet for the first time all morning. Then the phone rang. It was Michael’s vice principal, she was responding to an email I had hastily sent that morning requesting a meeting with her. Michael had been complaining about a teacher at school who had been telling him and certain children that “They would never amount to anything” or that “They wouldn’t go far in life” and the same teacher had kicked him off the robotics team but didn’t tell him. When I spoke to the teacher the day prior he actually said he “hated teaching this class”. Michael had tried to handle it himself by talking to administrators but it had gotten out of hand so mom had to step in. After missing about half my lunch and talking to her, she explained what was going to be done and would follow-up next week. I walked back to the lunch table to finish up my now cold grilled cheese and my engineer, with his thick Jamaican accent says”Denise, you need to stop stressin’ it’s no good .” I had caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror on my way back to the table and saw that face was red and chest was blotchy. “I wish i could bud” was all I could say.
After lunch it was a go-go go again up until it was time to flip the room for the banquet. I have amazing co workers so it went off without a hitch and finally after a 10 hour day I could go home. My dress was dirty from food prep, my hair in a messy ponytail and my feet throbbing . I couldn’t wait to get home and just sit-except i had to make dinner.
So as I’m sitting in my bathroom peeling off my sweaty clothes I let out a deep sigh . I’m so tired of working so hard to just barely live paycheck to paycheck. I had just gotten to a decent place when i had to take out the loan for surgery and now here i am struggling . As I’m sitting there trying to figure out what i could feed my sweet boy, it dawned on me that I had completely forgotten to refill Michael’s cafeteria account last paycheck and I made a mental note to fill it the next morning when i got paid. I pulled up the app to see if he had money left or if i would need to find change for him to eat. and to my motherly horror i realize that his account was at zero and there werent any lunch purchases for the entire week! i jump up and run downstairs and yell out to my son “buddy did you eat today?!” He replies “no.” My heart sinks. “Oh My God Michael! I’m so sorry i didn’t realize your account was empty ” he says “that’s ok, one of my friends gave me a few chips ”
I die a little inside. I ask him if he ate yesterday and he replies that he hasn’t really eaten all week but that one day the lunch lady leant him a dollar so he could eat and that he had to pay her back.
I exclaim “a week! I had no idea, i didn’t get the notification. why didn’t you tell me that you haven’t been eating?!”
He responded with ” I’ve just been reading books, I know that you didn’t have any money and i didn’t want to worry you”
and guys if you ever want to know what it feels like to utterly fail your kid and him be completely aware, this is that moment. He sweetly says “its ok mommy, I just didn’t want to worry you” I died a thousand deaths.
I walk out of the room and pop out his dinner. Making sure he gets a double helping. I’ll just eat popcorn and I tell him that tonight he can eat in his bedroom watching TV. He happily runs upstairs. I then stare at the negative account and think to myself “shit. maybe my mom can let me borrow $10 for his lunch account and how i need to write a thank you note to the lunch lady for using her own money to feed him that day” I know it’s a long shot but i decide to call his father first. I’m not bashing him today, but in the past it has been like pulling teeth to get financial help from him and I brace myself for the worse. he picks up the phone and I immediately start with “Michael hasn’t been eating this week, i have no money, can you please put money in his lunch account?” let me tell you that this is also a horrible conversation to have, because it is admitting to the other parent that you are not doing as well as you would like them to believe . He asks for my log in information and puts $25 in his lunch account. I do the math in my head and realize that is 62 lunches or 31 breakfast and 31 lunches. that’s a sweet relief for the moment. i tell him thank you, hang up and tell Michael that his daddy put money in his account. Then i scramble in search of a dollar to pay back the lunch lady .
To say I feel like complete and utter shit is an understatement. I call my mom to explain my shit parenting and she says to tell Michael to let her know if that happens again, that if he doesn’t want to worry me that she will put money into his account. I have amazing parents but i still feel like utter shit. I should be able to do this at 37. I had just asked her to buy him some sneakers a couple of weeks back with a hopeful promise that i could pay her in instalments. In my heart of all hearts I will but in small increments. She never reminds me or asks for the money and sometimes it’s months before i can even begin to pay. But I’m grateful to have them. i feel like a failure though as you can imagine.
And so after an emotional and physical day I passed out on the couch. Food still in my hair and now I’m up with insomnia . I’m thinking about how to creatively pay bills. How I’m going to pay my mom back for Christmas because she’s letting me use her as lay away for Michaels gift. How I’m barely above water. How i have a broken tooth that needs to be pulled but i can’t do it now. How i thought the whole time i was fooling Michael into thinking i had it together. He doesn’t know that for weeks I’ve been working with the YMCA for a basketball scholarship or how the amazing Mom’s at OBM helped me out so he could play. he doesn’t know what it takes to run the house and family and this week he peaked behind the curtain and saw that the all-powerful Oz was just a tiny human behind the curtain .
Humility is a hard pill to swallow y’all. and now I have to force myself to sleep because we have to be up for school and work in an hour and a half. please excuse my typos it’s now 4:28 a.m
It was the end of a rather chaotic day. My son and his friends had accidentally broken a neighborhood basketball goal and we had to scramble to replace it. A few friends had come to assess the situation and someone very special to me showed up, tools in hand and ready to put in the hard work. There was no way I could have done this by myself. There was gratitude and love pouring from my heart as i watched my son and this person put together a goal. They laughed and semi bonded as much as you can bond with a twelve-year-old boy and the stress of my day-to-day life was relieved but for a short moment. As the evening progressed we got into rather deep conversations, as we are known for and started talking about the future and things that we wanted. I felt safe and secure and open. I voiced my opinions about a few things and laughed and drank a Margarita. I thanked him and sent him little tiny love hearts from my soul to his. The brief history is he is my Mr Big. A friendship that has spanned more than a decade. A quiet love, an understanding. But like two ship crossing in the night, it never seems to workout. Timing and Life just never seem to allow us to meet where I would want us to. It tortures me sometimes and yet i show up with a smile and an open heart, one that thinks that maybe after kissing all these frogs, eventually i will get my turn. I will find my Prince. Now I’ve walked away from this “love” many times. Were not the type to fight or say mean things. He’s one of the kindest souls Ive ever met. Beautifully tortured and weathered by life. His personality mirroring Tristan from Legends of the Fall, which sounds romantic until i realize that I am Susanna – the one who loves the unconquerable, free roaming spirit that is Tristan. Nothing good will ever come of this, I know how this story ends.The thing about loving an unconquerable soul and it’s not for the weak, is understanding that sometimes the unpredictable happens and i suppose that’s exciting, the other part of that is that often times its accompanied by a bit of torture and when that soul goes deep sometimes things are said that there is no recovering from.
In my case, last night, it came in the form of “I can’t be with someone who has a child from another man…..” followed by reasons and run on sentences. He sat there staring at the ceiling not even realizing what he said. It wasn’t said in malice, just not thought through. I dropped my needle and thread (i was stitching a hole in a bag) and said to him “That was the most unkind thing you have ever said to me.” He immediately opened his mouth, eyes widened and realized in horror what he had said. He tried to explain and I calmly said to him “From the Overflow of the Heart the Mouth Speaks, and your mouth is speaking loudly” He grew silent. I tried to recover, gain my composure, tried to pretend it didn’t feel like a thousand daggers in my heart. But the damage was done. In that moment the tiny light of what was left, my humanity, felt snuffed out. I wasn’t angry. I told him that, one should never apologize for their truth and that although not the answer i would ever want to hear, it was pointless to try to convince him otherwise. I knew at that moment, the story of me and my Mr. Big would have to end. That my “Tristan” would ultimately be my demise.
Which brings me to a restless night and thinking. What is it about some men that are bothered or threatened or put off by a single mother? On dating sites, sometimes we are avoided like the plague. Like we are part of a leper colony. Some men have no issues. I have yet to meet one, but i know they exist because my friends who were in similar situations have met men who love them and their children. I can’t get mad at people who don’t want to be involved with a single mother, it is definitely not for the weak. In my situation, my son is my top priority. I work to provide us a beautiful home, I drive us around in an old Dodge, we have activities, i do homework, i cook, clean, sing, dance and provide single-handed;y for us. In my situation, I’m not looking for a savior. Someone to pay my bills or support my son. He’s 12, there’s not much to do at this point except guidance and reaping the rewards of a decades worth of hard work. So why does this life scare some? Why do some men run from us like we are gearing up to unleash the apocalypse? Maybe its the media portrayal? Maybe its the bad apples spoiling it for some of us. Maybe Ive only met a certain type of men. Maybe its just me. Who knows.
I’ve read several articles and opinions on this to gain a better understanding and my “friend” had his own explanation. These are a few gems that I have run across my deep dark walk through the Internet
From Reddit: let’s say that you weren’t married when you got pregnant, for the sake of this discussion. What does the man already know about you? First, that you make poor, selfish decisions about your kids. You see, having children outside of marriage is bad for the kids – it has been proved over and over again.
From a Blog: Single moms though have obviously already been through their share of relationships along with all the experiences of being a parent too. If I wanted to get seriously involved with a single mom, I’d have to forgo the dream of having a wife where we spend time together before kids, then slowly grow together as parents from the very beginning. Instead, I’d have to hit the ground running and learn how to be a fatherly image to kids that are not mine, despite having absolutely no experience whatsoever of being a dad. Kids, who more likely than not would resent me and my presence for not being their real dad.
And just to add insult to injury, a lot of single moms don’t want to have more children, so I don’t even get the benefit of fathering kids of my own. So I’m tasked with caring and draining my financial resources for a family that I have no blood ties with, with a wife who would likely have no time for me because she has her kids to think about. My whole life would revolve around the fruit of another man’s loins. Errr, no thanks.
Comments on Threads: Single moms are truly the epitome of why other nations hate the West. They create these matriarchal fiefdoms all backed, paid for, and legislated by the government(either through welfare or by child support/alimony). They are greedy, narcissistic, shallow, vapid, manipulative, unafraid to annihilate and ruin you using the law and are a severe blight on any industrialized nation. The kids grow up, being an accessory and a pawn to the mother’s life. She values herself 100x more than her kids. The cycle often repeats, where the daughters engage in the same slutty, poor behavior. And the sons either become thugs or become omegas. Repeat ad nauseum.
Pity be upon those who get ensnared by these leeches
Pretty grim, pretty dark and if I was in a weak state of mind, i would allow this to mold my thoughts about how I am viewed by the world.Who knows. Am I going to sit here and pretend that it is an ideal situation? No. Does it get messy at times? Yep. Is this the most rewarding yet most difficult situation i have been in my entire life yes and yes. But let me tell you what i have learned being a single mother:
There is nothing I can’t face. Juggling work, after school programs, dinner, broken plumbing and a project on the economy and a dog and cat to tend to? I got this shit.
Only $25 left to last two weeks? watch me make some pretty fancy gourmet meals out of this. The skills I possess would put MacGuyver to shame.
I can wiggle my way to the front row of every performance, award ceremony and recital that makes the Flash look like a tortoise. After all, its my face in the crowd he looks for and I need to get pictures and its my voice he hears above everyone else cheering his name.
I’m creative. What you need a Vasco De Gama costume or to be George Washington in 3 hours because you forgot to tell Mom? Sure thing! I live for this. Let me grab the sheets of the bed and some paint and needle and thread and Ive seen enough Project Runway unconventional challenges to make this work!
I give the best cuddles, hugs, kisses and support.
I’m really strong. insanely strong for being 5″4. With no one to help move couches, lift boxes or open pipes I’ve had to do it on my own. I’m like Xena The Princess Warrior over here
I can fix anything. Well almost. Thanks to Google i feel like i can do almost anything.
I’m braver. Nothing intimidates me or scares me anymore. I’ll stand up and talk to a 6 ft man like a chihuahua does to a pit bull lol
And I know that life has handed me a challenging situation but i honestly feel like this experience has helped me grow as a human. To evolve as a woman. And if someone can’t see that awesomeness and how my skill set can clearly enhance their life, than Sayanora Suckers! Me and mine will be just fine and I wouldn’t trade this adventure for all the Prince Charming kisses in the world. And if you have any doubt to how awesome our life is, please enjoy below ❤
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.
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.
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.)
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?
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.
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.
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.
So 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!
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!
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
Packing lunches for the kids who dont have food during the summer
Raven Cliff Falls
A definite #Treatyoself
How could i not buy this shirt! #sirmixalot #babygotback
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.
I 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
I know its 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.
Hey guys. I’ve been debating whether or not to say anything about my surgery today and finally decided to think about it differently than how i was looking at it. This is definitely the ultimate adventure, one that will prolong my life and allow me to continue with the shenanigans currently planned.
So some of my friends know that i struggle with PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) for basic info click here PCOS for Dummies
Basically it has made my life really difficult in regards to my ovaries, my hair has thinned, my face has broken out, I’ve been told my son is a beautiful miracle because it can cause fertility issues, it reeks havoc on my hormones and gives me weight gain that is nearly impossible to lose due to the lovely metabolic disorder that accompanies it. Sexy huh? There is no cure and many doctors do not know how to treat it. I have had to seek out specialists because it has caused me to become morbidly obese and you can imagine all the medications i have to take to prevent diabetes and heart disease on top of keeping an eye on ovarian cancer. I’ve also learned throughout all this that many insurance companies fail to acknowledge obesity as a disease and attach a shameful stigma to it. Many do not cover the medication or the surgeries to prevent diabetes and other co morbities, unless it is coded a certain way and any mention of Obesity and it sends up a red flag. In my situation my employer specifically excludes bariatric surgery or any treatment of obesity. That’s insane! After talking and emailing H.R i learned there are no appeals, no relief. It was suggested i purchase additional insurance from another source, but here’s the kicker, The insurance under the new Healthcare Act allows states to decide whether or not to treat bariatric surgery and Georgia, amongst many others is not required to cover it. When i called around for information i was told it was considered “cosmetic ” which is utter and complete rubbish. I wasn’t fat because i sat around eating copius amounts of twinkies and milkshakes. I am fat because of a metabolic disorder, something beyond my control. So in order to save my life, i had to apply for a $10,000 loan. And I’m sitting here praying i can pay for it and that for the next three years my son won’t get sick, break a leg, the house won’t need repairs- that i have no life emergencies because it will literally put me in a financial hole. But i deserve to live.
Which brings me to why i didn’t want to tell anyone about my surgery. If you have been on the Internet, logged onto social media or even seen the news you will see that there has been a positive shift of body acceptance going on. Plus size models are on covers of Sports Illustrated, in lingerie, in bikinis. Hell, i even bought one. But if you dare click on the comments people post you will read hundreds of people bashing plus size women. Calling us disgusting. That we don’t deserve to be happy with ourselves, we don’t deserve to feel beautiful. That its not ok for us to enjoy a cheeseburger every now and then without snickers from people. The sad part is that people think they are supplying new information, trust me, in our lowest moments we have already told ourselves that we are unworthy, undeserving, stupid, lazy, that we should settle. Then one day we woke up and joined “Team F@#$ that $hit” and shut down the noise. I deserve to be beautiful, to be loved, to have amazing sex, to run races alongside fit people. I earned those medals and finished the mud runs and I deserve what every one else deserves-common decency and respect.
I will admit I was torn when i finally decided to go ahead and have LapBand surgery. I was ashamed. It took my doctors almost 10 years to talk me into it and when it got to the point where it was affecting my life, the choice was made for me. So here i am. Fresh off the O.R table. Recovering from surgery this morning. I dread coming out about this because i feel that now I’ll be under a magnifying glass, that people will watch my every bite, every sip even more and if i don’t lose at the rate that they feel i should, will they whisper that I’m a failure? The sane part in me says “so what!” shut out that noise. I curse the media for telling me that I’m not good enough unless i fit a mold, that I’m only defined by a pre-determined standard of beauty. And truth be told, I’ve never thought i was ugly, I’ve not had any issues where im ashamed of my size, I don’t look in the mirror and put myself down. i dress very well and I’m physically active. I fucking slay on a daily basis and i encourage you to look away and carry on with your life if you can’t handle my awesomeness- But i had to do this to save my life not to please others or to make it more comfortable for them to be around me. I did this so that I could be around for my son and future grandbabies. So i could make it to my 100th birthday which is on Saturday September 22, 2079 – so if you’re not busy, you’re totally invited 😆
My great adventure today was LapBand Surgery. I’m feeling sore, I’m groggy and maybe it’s the meds talking but I’m feeling brave. I offer no apologies and today i reject the social stigma of weight and beauty and i gift myself “treat yo self”, i celebrate life, i celebrate me.