Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Something is Missing

So I returned back home to New York yesterday, but what I failed to mention in yesterday's post is that I returned alone.  My son is staying with my parents until Friday when they (volunteered) to drive him back home. 

This is actually my first time in New York/home without him.  I have left my son with my parents twice before, but that was when I went to Las Vegas and the Northwest.  Being home though is different than being away without him.  I have to admit, it is weird to not have him here.  I keep catching myself looking for him and even panicking for a second when I feel that he's not there.  I am just so used to having him with me, that I truly do feel like something is missing without him. 

I can't help to admit that I have wondered how different my life would be had I been widowed without a child.  Would I have moved?  Would I have decided to teach abroad?  Would I have taken a leave from teaching or would I have gone back to school to further my career or change it completely?  Would I have had more dates?  Would I have taken more risks?  Would I have kept it together as well as I have?

I can't answer any of those questions because I do have a child.  And he is wonderful!  And I am so very, very thankful that I have him.  I don't care if I would have traveled more or if I would have had more dates or even all of the extra money that I would have had being completely single.  My son brings something to my life that is far more valuable and greater than anything else... anything else.

So while I will very much enjoy the freedom that I will have over the next few days and I will appreciate the opportunity that my son will have to enjoy our family without me, there is still a little piece missing here at home.  But, I know that we both need this separation.  It's good for the both of us.

(And... there is a particular reason that my son is spending this New Year's week with my parents.  That's because I have a date!  This will be date 6.5, lol.  So, yes... tonight I will ring in the New Year with my New Yorker.)

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Christmas Craze

The craziness that is the Christmas Season is officially over for me as I am back home in New York after spending the past week away with my family.  There were many wonderful moments and lots of great times had this past week, but there were also a few tough moments too. 

The best part about this time of year is of course all of the wonder and excitement that you can only find in the eyes of a child.  When my son opened up the one and only gift that he asked Santa for (an excavator) it truly was priceless.  He was so happy and excited, it warmed me to the bone.  He was excited about everything though... Play Doh, army guys, socks, lol. 

I think that my parents love having us home for Christmas.  It must be awesome as a grandparent to have Santa come to your house to deliver presents for you grandchild.  I can't imagine that it will always be this way.  But for the past three years it has been and I think that we are all enjoying this special time together and the memories being made. 

Three years... that is how many Christmas' it has now been without Dale.  My son and I spent last Sunday with Dale's parents to celebrate Christmas together.  My son is always so happy to see them and they always seem to know exactly what to give him to make him happy.  Three years... there is a great amount of healing that can be had in that amount of time.  And I have to admit that this past visit with Dale's family was much easier to handle.  It was easier to drive through his hometown.  It was easier to drive past the memories of our lives together (see last year's post) and what we once hoped for and what we had wanted together.  I was able to make the journey from Dale's hometown to my own with only a few tears shed. 

Life doesn't stop.  Not for any of us.  This was the first Christmas without my grandmother.  Surprisingly, my mother and my grandfather seemed to handle it as well as you could imagine.  My grandfather has taken the loss of my grandmother quite hard.  They were married for nearly 64 years, how could he not?  But he seemed to enjoy himself as he was surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Grandma was still very much missed in all of our hearts though. 

I, once again, managed to find myself sick... again.  It slowed me down, but it didn't stop me from having a great Christmas.  I managed to go out one night with my dad, out to dinner in Buffalo with my brother and sister (and sibling bonding Christmas gift to one another ), out for lunch with my grandma, and I even got to play in the snow with my son! 

All in all it was a great week and I hope that you all had a great holiday as well! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Letter

In 2007, just before we moved to New York, I found a letter in the garage.  It was a letter written by my husband... a goodbye letter.  There was no date and I had no idea when it had been written.  I confronted my husband immediately.  And to be completely honest...  I have no recollection of this conversation.  You would think that would be something that would be impressed into your memory.  For me, I think it was part of all the emotional trauma that has been suppressed within my mind.

The Letter was something that I took and held on to.  I tucked it away in a place that I couldn't remember and I hadn't seen it since.  I had wondered if it had gotten lost in our two big moves.  Or if it was somewhere in one of the many things that I had to let go.  The Letter showed up just before Thanksgiving when I was cleaning out the storage room.  I had stuck it in a book filled with greeting cards.  This letter, The Letter, may well be one of the most important items that I have from Dale.

The Letter is addressed to "Dear Reader."  In this letter there is no mention to or about me.  There is no mention to or about anyone in his family.  There is no mention to or about our son because this letter was written atleast two years before he was ever born.  The words express Dale's exhaustion.  His desire to sleep.  His relationship with God.  As heart wrenching as it is and was to read it now, nearly 7 years later after it was written and nearly 3 years after his death, there is a great deal of comfort in it as well.  He did leave me a video, his last words to me.  However, they are not comforting.  The Letter is.

In The Letter, Dale mentioned only two specific things from his life.  Our dogs.  It seems almost fitting that they both joined him so soon after.  I imagine that they all found one another.   I imagine that with Dale's love for exploration and the border collies' endless energy that they are all happily together and on the move doing things that I cannot even imagine.  <3

My son, belongs with me.  And when the time comes, this is a letter that I will share with him.  And I do hope that it will bring him some peace over what will be a very painful and confusing revelation.  I dread that day.  But, it will be a day that will one day be here.  Sooner than I would like to think.

I wasn't sure if or when I would write about The Letter.  However, after yesterday's post, I felt this belonged next.  The fear that I expressed yesterday is real and it is valid.  What is worse than finding a letter such as this, is that someone actually wrote it and meant every word.  That someone had a name, a son, a wife, a family... a life.  That's the tragedy.  And I want for my son to never have a passing thought such as the ones his father expressed.  But I have to admit that I am thankful now for it and it did bring me some more peace.  I only hope that it will bring that same peace to my son one day when he is old enough to hear the truth about this father's death. 

Monday, December 16, 2013


Saturday night my son woke up crying.  He said that he saw smoke up near the ceiling in his room and he told me we needed to call the firemen. 

I panicked for a second until I checked out the room and thankfully saw that there was no smoke.  My son must of had a dream.  Earlier that day, we had actually been to a fire station for a family and friends Christmas party.  So it made some sense that perhaps that experience seeped into his sleeping mind.  However, he had a hard time calming down and falling back to sleep.  So, I laid down with him in his bed until he fell asleep and he slept through the rest of the night.  Phew!  Or so I thought...

Yesterday was all well and good up to dinner time.  My son knew what was coming next and he was literally in tears on and off for about an hour leading to bedtime.  He didn't want to go to sleep.  He was scared to go to sleep.  He was worried about the smoke.  Even though we checked out his room to make sure there wasn't any smoke, he still cried during his bath.  He cried during story time.  He cried while I was with him in bed.  It broke my heart to see him so distraught. 

Today, same thing.  His emotions got the best of him even before dinner tonight.  He cried on and off and was completely miserable for about two hours.  My son is spooked.

I have never seen him so upset and emotional like this.  The only times that he was woken up at night and has had a difficult time falling back to sleep in recent times is when he is getting sick.  So, I was half expecting for that to happen, but I don't think that is going to happen.  I don't think that's the case.   Today, I got spooked.

The crying began because of the realization that bedtime was soon approaching, but it quickly turned into an emotional breakdown over every little thing... eating dinner, watching tv, going to the bathroom alone, etc.  At one point, he was crying in a sad way about watching tv.  Then all of a sudden he stopped.  It was so sudden it caught my attention because I thought he lost his breath or was going to become sick, but no... in that instant, his mood changed from crying sadly to a pouty mad face.  A scary, angry face actually.  My heart sank. 

There was only one time, when I have seen someone change moods as dramatically and as instantly as that.  It was his father who did it... in the middle of emotional breakdown. 

My greatest fear is for my son to acquire a single trace of his father's disease.  It petrifies me.  My son however is a very happy child.  He is spirited.  He is light.  He seems nothing but balanced and healthy.  I have made a conscious effort to be positive with him.  To encourage him.  To tell him daily how special, brave, and smart he is.  I tell him I am so proud of him.  I want him to know his worth.  I have even signed him up for karate and am so happy that he likes it.  That is a sport that I really wanted for him to take on because of its mental discipline.  I am trying to be proactive and to build such a strong wall from the nurturing standpoint that will kick the ass of any part of the nature aspect of him that may have a predisposition.  And for a while, I felt comfortable and confident in that.  But I have to admit that today, his sudden and drastic change in mood, it took a piece of that away.  It stung.

Before I began writing tonight, I did Google fears, nightmares, and phobias in 4 year olds.  Its perfectly normal.  It just isn't or wasn't normal for him.  And if it does become the new norm for now, I can handle that.  It's not the fear of the dark or fear of going to sleep (I had that too, I can identify!), that bothered me.  It was the look in his eyes when his mood did a 360.  On the positive side, he was tired.  He looked awful tonight.  I am hoping that was the triggering factor.  

Hope... I can do all the right things and all that I can, but I also need a big dose of hope as well.  Maybe this is just a reminder that I can't get overly confident or overly comfortable in my son's emotional and mental development. 

I feel like I just stared my worst fear in the face today.  Yes, it spooked me.  But I didn't loose it.  I fought back by being loving, by listening and understanding, and by being fair and stern.  I wanted him to feel safe and secure, but I wasn't going to back down because of the tears or anger either.  That was what I was never able to do with or for Dale.  But I have learned and I am stronger... and so is my son, strong. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

These Are Days to Remember

There have been times when I have loathed the process.  There have been times when it seemed undoable, unbearable, and uncertain.  The process though... that's life itself.  In all of it's glory and all of it's misery... it's life.

These are days to remember... There is so much beauty and wonder to be had.  I think this is the perfect song to represent what I have learned to embrace, enjoy, and appreciate in these past two years and what better a post than my (2 week late) 2 year blogging anniversary post!

The Process... Always moving on and moving up... Always something new to see and experience.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone

There has been a great deal of growth for me in the past two plus years.  That couldn't have occurred had I never ventured out of my comfort zone.  This blog was probably my first.  I know that I have remained anonymous, however, the words that I share are completely genuine and my truth.  It took awhile to get used to, sharing them with virtual strangers.  Even the friendships that I now have took some stepping outside of my comfort zone in order to develop.  Traveling alone.  Joining a meet up group for single mothers... belly dancing... all outside of my once small, tight box of comfort.  I've pushed limits and I am better for it.  I know that I still need to continue to push myself as I want to continue learning, growing, and living.  However,  these are all examples of pushing the limits in areas outside of an intimate relationship.

Frustrated, yes.  But, I have also become comfortable in my "love" life.  I have yet to be challenged by anyone.  I mean... I have been challenged with my patience.  I have been challenged to trust my gut.  But I haven't been challenged in a deeper sense... in a way in which I need to face all of my insecurities.  In some ways, I did face some of these with Jesse.  However, Jesse was warm.  He was comfortable.  He didn't necessarily take me outside of my comfort zone to push my limits. 

I think my New Yorker will.  I think he is a challenge.  I don't mean that I view him as a conquest... I'm not determined to make him fall in love with me (atleast not yet, lol).  He's already made it clear that he is quite "smitten" with me.  But, there is something about him that makes me a bit uncomfortable.   I don't mean that in a negative or bad way.  He has acted like nothing but a gentleman towards me.  I mean uncomfortable in a sense that I can't stay where I am and have this develop into something.  I need to step out.

Today I met him for date 2.5.  Lol, we met for about an hour or so for coffee.  He's definitely someone who just puts it out there.  He is who he is, no shame at all.  He is a talker.  He is social.  He is full of personality.  FULL!  And although I admire all of those qualities, it is also poses a challenge to me because I am such a mild version of all of that. 

I function very well on my own because when there is no one else around, I know how to step it up.  However, when there is someone else... I take the back seat.  I've done this repeatedly in my life... when I played sports, when I taught with other teachers, in my marriage.  It's not always a bad thing, but it can be.  It was in my marriage and I can't do that again.  NYer's big personality makes it all the more tempting for me to take that back seat.  But I know that I need to push myself and join him with the reigns.  That's going to take a conscious effort on my part as I have already begun to see myself taking a step back.

He is definitely the talker, but I was very quiet today.  This was partly because I was actually self reflecting as this .5 date was going on.  He asked me today if I'd like to spend New Year's with him, if I didn't already have plans.  He likes me :).  But, as I was listening to him talk and smile at me and wink at me,  I couldn't help but to wonder why.  I don't mean that in a self pity, no self esteem kind of way.  I had wondered that because I was disappointed in how I was presenting myself.  I haven't really told him a whole lot about myself.  And what I did tell him, I didn't elaborate well and I have actually been selling myself short by my lack of verbality (that's not a word, but I like it!).  I haven't been owning myself and I think it's because I have seen him as a challenge before I even knew it.  And I have backed down without even realizing it.  :(

The good thing... he likes me.  And I have another chance on our 1.0 date tomorrow night.  I owe it to myself to step out of my comfort zone and really own my thoughts and opinions and to just share myself fully.  I have been completely honest with him in all that I have shared, but what I have shared has been half-assed.  I don't know who this guy is and what he will become to me.  What I do know and what he probably doesn't,  is that if I let him, he's going to take me outside those walls of comfort.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy Birthday... To Me!

Today is my birthday and I hit it... I am 35 and am officially in my mid-thirties.  Like most things, the anticipation of this day was much worse than the actual day itself.  I still feel the same and look the same as I did yesterday when I was still 34.  In fact, the Dr. Oz Real Age Quiz tells me that I am 29!  And you know, I feel it.  I think that's what's hard about reaching this semi-milestone age.  It's hard for me to believe that I am in fact 35.  I know comparatively it is young, but even still, I don't feel that I am even that old.  I guess that's what really matters, isn't it?

For the past two years, I've have family come and visit me for my birthday.  This year, that didn't happen and so this was the first birthday that I spent alone (with the exception of my son, of course!).  I tried to plan and keep busy this weekend and I did and it turned out to be a great! 

On Friday, a group of 10 girlfriends from work went out to dinner.  We do this for each other's birthday and the birthday girl gets treated.  It's a nice, fun little tradition.  I got an extra surprise when everyone had also chipped in to pay my babysitter for my night out.  It was completely unexpected and it brought tears to my eyes.  It was such a thoughtful and sweet gesture and one that I appreciated so much!  It was a great night out to say the least. 

On Saturday, my son and I went to Sesame Place... more on that to come! 

Sunday was a lazy day.  It was very much needed after a busy, busy week.  So I didn't even mind being cooped up all day long.  It was cozy and relaxing! 

Then my birthday strolled along.  At 12:00 on the dot, I got a text.  My New Yorker had that text typed and it was waiting for the stroke of midnight so that he could be "the first one to wish me a happy birthday."  He was.  And it was incredibly sweet.  Wednesday will be our third date and he is making me a special birthday dinner.  Yep... he's cooking! 

Monday has been our night and he did ask if I'd like for him to take me out for my birthday, but I declined.  It's only been 2 dates.  And even though I do like him, I didn't want there to be any added birthday pressure.  And even more so than that, I had already planned an evening with my son and I really didn't want to change that.  So I didn't and that felt good.

So how did I spend my birthday?  I didn't go to one of the best pizzeria's in NYC or to Rockefeller Center to see the tree, or take a horse a carriage ride through Central Park like originally planned.  The weather wasn't so great.  So instead, I got a mani-pedi, picked up my son and had Chinese for dinner.  After that, we went to a neighborhood with a huge display of Christmas lights.  He oohed and ahhed at them.  We sang Christmas songs together as we held hands walking up and down the streets and when we passed by a house that was playing music, we stopped and danced.   I love that little boy.  And I loved spending my birthday with him. 

It was a quite birthday, but it was a special one too.  35 isn't looking so bad after all!  :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bonfire Heart

I love this live version of James Blunt's "Bonfire Heart."  I feel as though the words could be my own.  I want to be loved, but I equally want to love... and, for all the simplicities that we have to offer one another, which in reality is everything.  It seems frightening to risk exposing yourself to such vulnerability.  Letting someone in... that's the only way for that bonfire spark to become light.  Or in my words, the only way to experience true amazement. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Change in Plans

First of all, I can't believe that it has been two weeks since I last posted!  I know I have been slacking lately, but a two week vacation?!?  Really me???

There have been a few things on my mind that I have wanted to post, but tonight, this topic takes the cake because... it's what's on my mind.  Guys... I've met someone!  :)

He is my first born and raised New Yorker.  He's loud, he has an accent, he swears, he hates the subway...yep, a genuine New Yorker, and... he's completely charming. 

We went on our second date last night and it was just... fun!  We started off at a quaint pizza and wine bar.  It was such a nice night out and we were so close to Rockefeller Center and the 5th Ave. window displays, I we just had to walk around!  We held hands, we talked, we took pictures, we acted like tourists, we saw... FAO Schwartz!  We went in and played with hand puppets and had a sword fight, you know, the typical second date things.  After we left we found a little cafe, had hot chocolate and gelato and called it a night.  It was just... simple and fun and I completely appreciated that, so much! 

I think at a different time, he may have been one of the many guys that I had a very nice first date with, but would feel comfortable in letting him go without a second.  What I knew after the first date was that I wanted a second not because sparks were flying, but because of who he was.  He was someone who actually picked up the phone and called me a couple of times before our first date.  He actually said "Wow" when I walked into the bar and complimented me throughout the night.  He ordered a bottle of wine (that I selected), tons of food, and just didn't seem to care about the money spent on a first date.  He seems to lay it all out there, and although I am not turned on by the fact that he owns an adult onesie (yes, you read that correctly and yes, he shared that with me prior to our first date, and yes, I still went) I appreciate the fact that he owns that, as in himself.  I don't feel like there's any game going on and even when we didn't finalize our plans for last night until about 5 pm, I could trust that it was still going to happen.  That goes such a long way. 

He's worn a suit both times (although that can be considered work attire).  He loves Broadway shows, yet he is a very manly man.  I love his voice.  It's low, it's gruff... it's kinda sexy.  I find him to be cute though.  I think he is one of those people who would dote on that someone special.  That sounds nice, doesn't it?

My sister told me today to not think about him being the one.  Sista... I got that covered.  Honestly, I can't think that way... it actually scares me.  It's too much for me to think about, not just with him, but with anyone.  I know I talk about meeting my amazing all the time, but I find it frightening as well.  If anything, I feel that I have been more reserved with him because I feel like I could really like him.   But, that's as far as I can go with it right now.  I've learned from my dating experiences that you can't count on anything more than just the moment you're in.  I also learned to appreciate those good moments when you have them.  So, that's what I am doing.  I am enjoying the moments and I am excited about it.  This is different than with Jesse.  It was too soon for me to be openly excited about him with others and moreso with myself.  But actually, I think I want to take this into its own post, I know, I know... but I still want to. 

Right now... it's the New Yorker.  He was unexpected and found me online in which I was supposed to get off of.  He stepped in and kind of ruined those plans.  Just like I think I may have to give up on my singles board game meetup group for now.  Oh well... I am just happy to have some fun company for now to enjoy some good moments with.