You Are My Sunshine

Natures Botanical Gardens, Spring Hill, Florida. Photo courtesy of Jen Carter Photography.

My Only Sunshine

Natures Botanical Gardens, Spring Hill, Florida. Photo courtesy of Jen Carter Photography.

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21 August, 2012

Stuff Grace Says: "Ohana Means Family"

So, tonight the hubby and I ran to Publix to pick up dinner. I swear Publix makes the BEST Mardi Gras chicken wings ever! They are a little spicy, but I love spicy, so it's all good. I was also able to pick up some good coupons and a few more flyers and coupon books so it was a WIN WIN for the shopping trip!

As luck would have it, my car wouldn't start. Grace and I were involved in an accident in February of this year, and my car has been one frustrating downhill mess after another. My poor hubby finally went and called his mother to ask her if she would take Grace and I home and Todd would follow as soon as we figured out the car's most recent issue.

Todd returned to the car and told us his plan to get us home and take care of the car. Grace immediately pops up and says "I'm not leaving you Toddy". Todd assured her that he would be home just as soon as he could, but Grace wasn't having it. "Todd, Ohana means family, and that means nobody gets left behind, so I'm not leaving you".

I gotta give it to my kid. Apparently I suck at pounding those math skills into her little brain, but I have successfully taught her what it means to be a family, and that family doesn't just mean blood - and she takes it seriously. I couldn't be happier, or more proud of her, that she has taken this to heart. My immediate family is extremely close - and I'm happy that she is carrying on this family tradition.

On that note, I shall finish Teen Mom and hit the bed. It's going to be a long week this week with work and preparing to move! YAY!

Goodnight all!

Xoxo,
Red

13 August, 2012

We are glass.... Another installment of "Stuff Gracie Says"

Tonight the hubby whipped up this fabulous "Lime Cilantro Crockpot Chicken". It's totally awesome. If you follow me on Pinterest, you can find it on my "Yummy Stuff" board. Anyways..... While we were eating I turned on the music channels on our tv. We dined while we listened to some great country music (much to my hubby's dismay, though he smiled politely all through dinner).

They were playing some great music that's now considered "classic". It's really friekin' hard to believe that I am now old enough that anything I listened to in highschool is now considered "classic". However, it was neat to be able to tell her "Oh I remember this song. I was in highschool, and Aunt Nikki and I used to listen to this on our way to the county fair and we'd hang out at the cattle barn with all the cute redneck boys!" (Nikki, if you're reading this, you know you just let out a big sigh full of all sorts of memories!)

So, at the end of dinner a song by Thompson Square called "Glass" comes on. Grace plugs her ears and says "I can't listen to this". Of course, being the mom, I ask her why. She says "Because it reminds me of you". Now, I've heard the song, bits and pieces of it anyways, this time was no exception, so I'm going off what little knowledge I have of the song. Since Grace tends to hold on to the memories she has of her dad and I together, most especially the ugly and sad ones, I'm thinking that she's reminded of her DAD and I. So I say "Does this remind you of ME, or your DAD AND I when we were still together". She says, no, it reminds me of YOU AND ME."

My limited memory of the song tells me that it's about two people who are in a relationship and have lots of differences but are trying to work through them. Now I'm perplexed.

Well of course now I have to wait until after dinner finishes to hop on the computer and do some more research to figure out how this might apply to us. I search for the lyrics and find them. I'm nearly in tears by the time you read them. As my mother always says "Out of the mouths of babes...." At least this time she only pointed me to the song.

Yeah, we both carry baggage
We picked up on our way
So if you love me, do it gently
And I will do the same

We may shine, we may shatter
We may be pickin' up the pieces here on after
We are fragile, we are human
We are shaped by the light we let through us
But we break fast 'cause we are glass
'Cause we are glass

It's so true. Grace and I both carry some wounds and baggage from the last three years. We express it differently. It reminds me of after my dad died and my mom told me that we both grieved, but we both did it differently. She grieved as a wife, and I grieved as a daughter. In some therapy I went to after Grace's dad and I split up, the therapist told me that I had to grieve the end of our relationship as a death. I don't think I've ever actually GRIEVED it per say, but I've grieved it in little spurts over the last three years.

Grace grieved it hard. I remember her crying fits and screaming. She was five, and could in no way understand how and why we had to leave. She couldn't see how leaving that environment was the best thing for her father and I, and the best thing for her also. Don't get me wrong, I didn't imagine this would be our life (or her life) when I had her, but this is the way it turned out.

I'll let you look inside me
Through the stains and through the cracks
And in the darkness of this moment
You see the good in that

But try not to judge me
'Cause we've walked down different paths
But it brought us here together
So I won't take that back

We might be all in water
This could be a big mistake
We might burn like gasoline and fire
It's a chance we'll have to take

We may shine, we may shatter
We may be pickin' up the pieces here on after
We are fragile, we are human
And we are shaped by the light we let through us
But we break fast 'cause we are glass
We are glass

Out of all tragedy comes some pretty amazing things. I moved on, got married, got to work at my dream job,  moved to a new place... I can't complain. Grace moved on to start school, meet new people, got brand new family members that she loves, she has some good things in her life too. However, we both carry hurt, anger, frustration, and disappointment.

As a mother it's hard to know you are 50% responsible for ruining your kids biggest dream - having her parents under the same roof, and loving each other until we pass on. Even more disappointing is that her father and I BOTH came from families where our parents were married until the deaths of our fathers. But, you know, my job is make her life as painless as I can. I still stand by my decision to. I don't regret it. Nor will I ever, and given the same proposition, I'd do it again - and still never look back.

I'm sure that Grace may not have been thinking all of these things through when she said the song reminded her of me, but knowing my kid, it wouldn't surprise me if she was. Like me, she has more inner strength than she knows at this point. In this family we get knocked down, but we get up stronger and keep moving. It's all we know to do.

I hope she finds peace with the actions of her father and I. Three years later and at 8 years old I already have to field the questions of "why didn't you..." and "remember when....". They suck. They hurt. They scream "YOU SUCK". But I'm glad she asks, and I'm glad she verbalizes what's in her head. I've seen a couple dozen kids who couldn't get those things out, and their parents had no idea, until they were in rehab with emotional issues and a drug habit. God willing, that won't be my daughter.

Grace and I both grew up some throughout this process. It's made us realize how much alike we are, and how very different we are. This is only the beginning of the differences we will have, and the tragedies we will face together. The love we have for each other will see us through every storm, and we will most definitely weather them all together in a united front - trying to do the one thing I always wanted my parents to do - recognize and respect each other's individualities and love each other anyway. That's not a slam on my parents, but I'm a product of probably the last generation that our parents expected us to conform to a certain set of beliefs and values and not deviate from them.

If I could give anyone any advice who is in the same situation, I'd say protect your kids. You'll feel guilty,  but if you know you did the right thing, then just reinforce the good memories if there are any (and if there aren't, DON'T tell the kids that - at least until they are old enough to understand!), and always try to reassure your kids that it's going to be okay, and it's already okay. They aren't stupid though, and they know when you hurt. It's okay for them to know you hurt - but don't have a nervous breakdown in front of them. Kids need to know that life isn't always rainbows and butterflies. They also need to know that sometimes shit happens, and that you can move beyond it and above it. DON'T TRASH THE OTHER SIDE. Remember, you were the one who made the kid with them. They were obviously good enough for about 10 minutes or so, or in my case 7 and a half years.

You always have to remember that your kids remember what you put in front of them - good, bad, or ugly. There are things that I will kick myself over for probably the rest of my life, but that's all over now. I take all those ugly memories and I try to use them to improve where I'm at now. All that negative shit that went on in my relationship, I try not to repeat them in my marriage. THAT may be the greatest gift I can give Grace at this point.

Love,
Red xoxoxoxo