Divorce: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I’ve decided that Divorce is the gift that keeps on giving, instead of the thing that cut me off at the knees, leaving a barrage of scars. But getting here was a long haul.

And, I’m not saying that in a snarky or sarcastic tone, really.

Since my divorce, I have learned so many new things and am energized and excited in ways I never thought possible, especially at the beginning.  I have updated my resume (this seems easy until you consider my college roommate. She found her most recent resume on a floppy disc), interviewed for many jobs and am on job three post-divorce. I have made new friends, met new people, and learned new things. During my eight days at job number one, I found my lip gloss soulmate (it’s a thing) and learned how to use two monitors. During job number two,  I found new restaurants, stores, and deeper appreciation for cultural differences. Job number three led to my illustrious writing career and without it, you wouldn’t be reading this.

I used to want to stay home every night and watch tv. I still like doing that (way more than I should) but, looking back on my marriage (dinner, watch favorite shows, costco on saturday) that now feels like waiting for my turn to die. Now, I am writing, hanging with friends, finding new things to do. I used to want us to agree on all of our kid-related decisions. We didn’t. Still don’t. But, now I know that we won’t always agree and there is nothing I can do about it. So, I do my thing and he can do his. I have peace.

We had a lot of money. A lot of money. Now, I don’t have a lot of money. I learned how to do more with less, building better relationships with my kids in the process. And, teaching them you don’t need money to enjoy things and you don’t have to be in the front row to enjoy the show.  I’m not arguing that money doesn’t make things more fun, but fun can be had without. I am not necessarily materialistic, but I loved my home and my really nice car. Now, I am free as a bird, not defined by what I drive or where I live. Plus, I’ve learned to find joy and calm even when things are tight.

Before, I wanted my friends and their husbands to like us and want to hang out with us. We had some like that. But, now I have found that I can choose (and choose, I do) who I hang out with and what I do. Much easier and no stress. What can suck about only spending time with the people you choose?

What used to be a loss of all of my holidays has given me the permission to do different things, to make or break traditions. I spent one Thanksgiving or Christmas at the movies. Not crowded. Especially the chick flicks. The theater was filled with men and kids. Which only served to remind me; you don’t have to do all that work, spend all that money, while the ingrates go to the movies. And, you don’t have to spend time with his relatives, especially the assholey ones. Traditions are important, but we have made it our tradition to be flexible and try new things. Instead of making all of the decisions, we make decisions together. While that is more “friendy” than “parenty,” we all enjoy doing the things that we choose to do together.

While I was married, I was worried about my future for a variety of reasons. Now I have a plan for my future that excites me so, I cannot wait to retire. This divorce has given me the opportunity to live a second chapter, or start a whole new book. It has given me strength I never knew I had. It has given me new friends. It has given me new traditions and happier holidays. It has taught me I am creative and flexible and smart. It has given me freedom and joy. It has taught me a lot about parenting. I don’t know if I am a better parent, but I am a different one. I have always been open minded, but now I am not just open, I am receptive to new things.

The most surprising thing, though, is how this experience has enriched my children’s relationships with their parents. In my home, we spend almost all of our time together. If we watch television, we do it together. If we go to the movies, shopping, out to eat, we do it together. We take short road trips and go on local “adventures.” I try not to make other plans, waste time online, or talk on the phone when my kids are home and we are together. While divorce may make it easier to “play” us, it also makes it more difficult to have a favorite parent. I am not sure if this better, but I know if we were married, the relationship would be primary.

While all of these things are true, they are not reasons to divorce. I think it is way better for families to stay together. When that isn’t possible, you need to go through it. It sucks a lot of the time, but some moments of joy seep through. Everyday, I find reasons why divorce keeps giving me presents. And, I am thankful. It wasn’t easy and I had to choose happiness – something that is more difficult than it sounds.

The best thing…divorce has turned me into a perfect girlfriend; I don’t ever want to get married again and I don’t care about money.

I am totally free.

Parenting is Fucking Hard

So……I am in this ongoing battle to rid the 13 year old boy of video games and his addiction to glowing boxes.  His dad and I kept him away from game boys and home video systems (except wii – that will probably put him in counseling later) for a long time…..5th Grade…..so, I thought we wouldn’t have any of these issues…after all….the girl likes her phone..but, she is not addicted.  I am going to skip to the good stuff……really.

The boy is supposed to park his phone on the kitchen counter when he goes to bed. When I notice it is not there….I go in search of it…..for a while it was easy to catch my son on his phone in his room.  He usually closed the door. Then he got good at listening for me to come down the hall and better at predicting when I would “surprise” him with an open door.  I let him win very, very occasionally…cuz, the game is a little fun.  Plus…confidence makes kids stupid.  Last night….I was going to win. And I did. Boy, did I “win!” I took the phone away last night and went downstairs. I didn’t actually “win” until the next morning.

Irritated, I decided to not charge it and to take it away for a week or so. But, a few minutes later boy comes down stairs and reminds me how difficult it is to locate him when he doesn’t have a phone. Whatevs. I went to bed.

Next morning, I am racing out to work and realize the girl didn’t have school. I decide to set the alarm on my sons phone and put it in his room so he wasn’t late for school and also so I could locate him at his game later in the day.  As I used his password (it might seem like I hardly parent my children….not so…I have passwords and full access to their electronics.) to unlock the phone….something catches my eyes. They got really big and I immediately turned the phone to dark.

Then I thought….”Wait a minute….I’m an adult….I can look at porn.” —– I know…believe me, the behavior and the irony are not at all lost on me.  So….I open it back up and sure enough….my innocent 13 year old boy is looking at porn on his phone.

Newsbreak:  OF COURSE HE IS!!!!!! So….I decide to investigate a little….15 minute video? WOW!!!!!!  I skipped around through it….and discovered….just normal upper middle class white vanilla stuff…..no tatts.  No fake tits.  Just Girl on top, Girl giving blow job. Normal. Normal Stuff.  

So….While I was not devastated or immediately concerned or freaked out…..It was still a surprise. This is normal stuff. Normal behavior for anyone….especially for a 13 year old boy. I could blog about this morning for hours…but, I’m getting to the next part.  I called a friend…who has boys….for support and advice.  I wanted to ask her about a friend she had recently mentioned whose son was addicted to the internet and what they were doing to help him.  And, she dropped this…….her friend….her son is 13.  He is not just addicted to his phone and the internet…he is addicted to porn. He is depressed, on medication, in counseling and it has really effed his young life up.

And, just like that….sirens go off in my head.  How many of my friends have sons who are/were “addicted to video games.” Okay…before I call all of my friends lying bitches…..I am sure that most of my friends whose sons “were addicted to video games” were.  But, among all the people I know….someone just had to have a kid who was addicted to video porn…not video games.  You know. I get it.  Who wants to admit this stuff about their kid? Who wants to admit that they have failed as a parent?

Well…..news flash scaredy cats……share your stories…we could learn.  Maybe the world would be a more forgiving place. And…maybe you could help another parent avoid some of the pitfalls of parenthood.  Or…maybe, just maybe….you might find out you are not the only one. You might make a friend. Learn a new coping skill.  Hear a new idea. And…by the way……you have not failed. Parenting is a marathon event. Make a mistake. Fix it. Move on.  Love your kid.

I do not think my kid is addicted to porn…..but, I am definitely going to have to put the kibbosh on this.  I cannot wait to hear the “truth” as I share my story with my friends.  I am sure you will be reading about it.  

2 final random thoughts…..I am going to stop bitching about my friends not supporting my passion…..because if they don’t read my blog, they can’t get angry when I write about them. And….it occurs to me….I never have had a problem sharing my story (okay…took me awhile to get comfortable telling people I write erotica….) and that may stem from my habit of seeking people out and finding out what we have in common so we can interact.  Maybe others are more aware of their differences…than the things they have in common.

Teenagers are Assholes #1

Welcome…the the first installation of “Teenagers are Assholes”…….I hope you find humor, strength, vindication or just plain support……

I have a beautiful daughter who loved me and thought I was cool. (And, you know what….I am cool: I have the pic of me and Steven Tyler to prove it; my friend’s son plays Lacrosse with Jacoby Shaddix’s son; and another friend – a band manager – received a personal call from Ron Jeremy asking for tickets to an upcoming show…..friend had to tell Ron, “NO”; I can light a cigarette on the back of a moving motorcycle; and, I can drink 2 shots at one time. Coolness personified….even if I am the only one who thinks so.) We discussed music at length, liked similar shows, and discussed boys.  We were not friends…but, she wanted to talk to me.

Then one dark day…..she coiled up like a rattler and took many bites at me…..the poison made my eyes sting with tears, my heart bruise with pain and my head pop off.   I am still recovering…especially since every other day or so…she strikes again.

From the moment she was born, she has filled my life with light and love and joy (even that day when she was 5 and I was taking her to counseling because of the divorce…she was in her car seat in the back of the car yelling, ”you ruined my perfect life.”  She was 5!!!!  I should have known then what was coming up.)  She was a happy, smiley kid who was well adjusted. She has continued to amaze and impress me with her talent, her wit, her drive, her motivation and her just plain ability to be “Awesome”.

Freshman year…..first 3 months….all good…she loves school and her classes and her friends and me……then……there was a mini (or not so mini) explosion of hormones and ….. No…..teenagers are assholes.

I am not sure if it is funny or sad that she reminds me exactly of me at that age. For years I have sworn and told people that I have not had that “moment” in my life, where I felt the need to apologize to my parents or, my mother in particular.  She was difficult….all of my siblings and family can attest.  And, she has been gone for almost 20 years….I have no anger, frustration or unresolved issues with her.  She did the best she could. I learned a lot. And I love and miss her. I would take her back in a second….but, my life is infinitely easier with her not in it.

A month or so ago, I showed up to a school performance of my daughter’s.  Apparently she told everyone and I’m the only one that thought I should go (please note…..I can walk to her school in less time than it would take to drive and park…..so I walked).  I wasn’t going to do anything…just watch her one short performance and leave.  When I got there she was happy, talking to her friends looked to be enjoying high school.  Until her eyes found mine…she instantly frowned and went into “I hate my mom…she disgusts me face”.  Hmmmm…this was just days after she told me I was lazy and just wanted to suck money from her dad.  Well…..hell.  What is a mom to do? I don’t want to miss anything she does….I already miss so much (divorce). And I don’t want to make life harder for her. I had seen that face before.  Well…..I didn’t actually “see” it…..I wore it.  Everyday for 2.5 years when my mom drove me to and from school….10 miles away.  A private college prep school. That was not cheap.  In a nice car…..so…I wore that face for my tireless mom who drove me in the lap of luxury to another lap….of luxury and privilege.  And for that offense….I made that face for her.  Every day.  And…when I got in the car I was a joy.  I looked out the window, counted the trees and treated her like the ridiculous crazy bitch she was.  You know….tireless…twice a day…uprooting herself twice a day.  That kind of lazy bitch. My friends rode the bus.  The RT bus.  With people that smelled and spoke to themselves.  Life sucked for me. No wonder they bought me a car so I could drive myself.  I am sure it wasn’t because I was a snot…..it was because Mom was too lazy to drive me. What a total little bitch.

So….with Mom gone…I call Dad to ask if I was as mean to him and Mom when I was a teenager.  He said no…..of course, he takes meds for Alzheimer’s because he can’t remember anything……

Aah……I don’t want to be this for my kids…I don’t want to be hated, feared, and treated with the gloves of frustration. I will practice….listening without planning response and not reacting/responding immediately….to be calm and take a step back. Especially when I am ambushed.

The issue for me is…..I don’t want to make her life more difficult.  I don’t want her to be unhappy or freaked out.  But….fuck….she is mean. And, I am still her parent. Please note….this was just a whine. I know she is struggling with a lot.  High school teenagerdom. Parents. Siblings, divorce, moving, etc….tough stuff.

Parenthood reminds me everyday that I do not know what I am doing and that I am failing miserably……..