Friday, November 4, 2011

From Ms. to Mrs.

At this time next week, I will be having a manicure and pedicure somewhere, trying to soothe my nerves before I say "I Do".

I tried the marriage thing before. As the judge was stamping the divorce decree I told myself that , "lesson learned, let's not do this again." And yet.... Here we are.

The differences between this time and last, are vast. I can't imagine not being with J. Even when we have healthy debates *read arguments*, which is rare, I still cannot stop thinking about tomorrow and next year with him. He makes me want to shine all of my tarnished greatness just so that I can reflect a bit of his goodness. It never seems t matter if we are doing nothing, or something crazy, I am always so happy with him.

I don't expect our marriage to always be peaches and cream. I expect to put in work in order to maintain its good working order. We may not like each other 24/7 but I will love J for the rest of my life.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Girls, girls, girls!

All of my girls are coming into town for my upcoming wedding. Some of them I haven't seen in months and others I haven't seen in years. Some are sisters, some are like sisters, and some are only friends. I am so excited that they are coming to share my wedding day with me. It's going to be a few days of crowded craziness but I am so stoked about it.

We are having a semi tamed Bachelorette Party. No Strippers! Just family, friends, and free drinks.

All of these different personalities under one roof.... I'll call you when it's over.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A full plate

My plate is so incredibly full right now.

I am still waiting for the dreaded email from He Who Must Not Be Named to let me know, in not so nice words, that he has been served by the Sheriff with my paperwork. It was sent out on Friday. I decided to overnight it so I don't know why it is taking them almost an entire week to serve him. I've been holding my breath and I kinda need oxygen!!

I am still dancing around the "I'm pregnant, i'm not pregnant" circle. Although, I guess, after 3 months with no aunt flow and a faint positive pregnancy test, I already know. My body has really been hating me for the past year though so I don't want to get my hopes up again just to be let down.

I decided to sign up for a medical sonography course because if I am pregnant, obviously I can't leave for the Army until 6 months after I have given birth. Yes, I said it. 6 months after I give birth. If I am going to leave for 5 months, i'd rather it be sooner as opposed to later. My first semester starts in less than a week and I am nowhere close to prepared. It's a mess.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How did I get here?

I have gone back and forth this morning, from feeling too much to feeling numb. I signed a contract retaining legal counsel. I am petitioning for sole custody of my daughter. I never thought I would be here. I keep looking back on the past almost 5 years of her life, trying to see if I can pinpoint the exact moment when I took a turn that led me to the worst.

I was not blameless in our marriage. I did a lot of things I shouldn't have done. I said a lot of things that had no business being said. He was my husband and I didn't trust him. I didn't like him. I didn't love him. I was 17 years old married to and pregnant by a man 30 years older than me. I had stepchildren that were older than me by as much as 10 years and younger than my by as little as 2 years and as much as 9 years. I was not equipped at that age to be a wife or mother. I am not playing the victim but the situation was inappropriate and I certainly wasn't the only one responsible.

The likelihood of our marriage surviving was probably 0.01%. If I am being completely honest with myself, the chance of our marriage surviving was at about 0%. Most of my marriage, I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop and for us to go our separate ways. In my mind, I held on to the belief that when it came time to do that, we would do so amicably. I told myself over and over again that we would not be that couple. We would get along for the sake of our daughter and his children. We wouldn't become bitter and hardened. I honestly thought that the two families would be able to be friends. When I knew that Belle would be spending significant amounts of time with J, I tried to do the right thing. I wanted the two of them to be meet.

J and I were both in the state where He Who Must Not Be Named lives. I was there for school and J was there for work/vacation. I was missing J terribly and crying myself to sleep at night because I was hating being away from him so we decided that I would stay with him at his hotel for a few days. Knowing that I was going to be with him for a few days, I called He Who Must Not Be Named and asked him if he would like to meet J. He agreed.

When he got to the hotel I assumed that we would all go out to the aquarium and then maybe grab a bite to eat. He said that he couldn't stay for that long so I suggested we eat at the hotel just so that everyone could exchange pleasantries and see each others face. Instead, what ended up happening was something else entirely.

He Who Must Not Be Named refused to come into the hotel. He stepped out of the car, shook J's hand, let J say hello to Belle and her brother, and that was that. He informed me that his mother wanted him to come home. Are we 4?! Because he still lives with his mother, she pretty much dictates his life. In fact, I believe that she is a huge factor, in our inability to settle this outside of court. I have asked many times since then and somehow, our getting together has never happened. Maybe it's because he thinks I will respond negatively towards his gf, fiancee, wife, whatever she is. Her being an ex stripper is her business. We each do what we feel we have to in order to take care of our children. If that's what she needed to do to feed her child, that's her business. I don't care about her at all except when it comes to her relationship with MY child. I want to meet her. I want to know that she has Belle's best interest in mind. Whatever his true reasons, I accept the he didn't want to meet J. I would like for him to understand why I want to meet the woman who will be his partner.

Very little good came of our marriage. The only good actually, is our daughter. I look at her and I see the world's potential. I want him to know who I allow into our daughters life. I want to know who he is bringing around our daughter. I want us to be able to attend school functions together and to just work in tandem to make sure that we are being the parents that she needs us to be.

I always assumed that we would be able to do that. It saddens me that countless texts, phone calls, emails, and thousands of dollars later, I see that we can't. We had a child together and no matter what we may think of each other at this point in our lives, we have an obligation to her and I don't think this is fulfilling it.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Maybe i'm selfish

I know that I appear incredibly friendly. I am like everyone's younger sister, older sister, best friend, therapist... whatever. The truth is that I am incredibly antisocial. Since I AM antisocial, when things go wrong, I immediately flip myself inside out so that the only person who can see my problem, hear my problem, or deal with my problem is me. By internalizing, I can keep the panic, upset, and anger at a minimum. I find myself in one of those moods again.

I have been dreading this moment for about 6 months. 6 months is the length of time that my daughter had to be in this state for her to be a resident. 6 months is how long I have had to wait to file for custody. We've reached the close. In a few days, she will have been here for 6 months. It is time for me to saddle up and ride the custody pony. Except, in my mind, it's not a pony at all. It's like the biggest, blackest, meanest wild mustang around and that's the one that coach fingered for me.

I absolutely believe that I am doing the right thing. She needs to be here with me and my Fiance. Not just because I am her mother. I don't believe that having a uterus and breasts automatically makes a mother the best parent for her child. She needs the stability that is provided for her here. Sure, she has it there but it is not provided by her father. Instead, it is provided by ailing grandparents. Cancer is a terrible thing and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. The fact is, both grandparents have it. He Who Must Not Be Named has it as well, though it is just a small area of skin cancer. She needs to be here where she has her own room to retreat to and not one that is shared with 3 (soon to be 4, excluding her) other people.

She needs to be here where she isn't stuck at a daycare center all day. She needs to be here, where financially, she is able to be in dance classes, go to the amusement parks with friends. She needs to be here where she is the sole priority.

Even knowing that, evening knowing that my intention is good, I am scared. I was with him for 4 years. I know the kind of venom he is capable of spewing during a court case for custody. I know how manipulative he is. He makes everyone believe that he is just a good ol country boy, trying to make good. I am petrified that this will be just another hearing where he has the mediator eating out of his hand and a judge indignant on his behalf. I'm scared of losing my daughter.

He Who Must Not Be Named doesn't live a few towns over. He lives in a completely different state. Somebody is going to get just a few weeks a year. Somebody is going to miss her first day of school, her dance recitals, tball practice, doctors appointments, scraped knees, nightmares. Somebody is going to miss much of her life. When she turns 18, one of us, with our few weeks a year, will have seen her for less than a year out of 13 years of life. Selfishly, I don't want it to be me. I don't want to miss her growing up.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Women put on a uniform just so a soldier can take it off

I am watching Army Wives and literally bawling my eyes.

I miss my battles. I miss the feeling of knowing that I am doing something good and worthwhile. I miss my uniform. I miss my weapon. I miss my Army. I have to go back. At the start of my relationship, way back when it was new and unseasoned, J didn't want me in the Army. He didn't want me in the military. The idea of defending his country was noble. His parents were/are vets. The idea of his woman sweating, humping rucks, getting blistered feet, and if I am being completely honest, being surrounded day in and day out buy 100s of men just didn't agree with him.

So many people question why a woman would want to join the military. They assume she is after 1 of 3 things.




J at least, had the decency not to say what he was thinking. I knew though. Every woman ho has every worn a uniform knows what men are thinking when the tilt their head to the side and their mouth takes on that sneaky, *I know what you did last summer* type smirk.

Not everyone has J's decorum though.

I was speaking to a drunk friend one day and you know the saying, "A drunk mouth speaks the words of a sober mind" it rang true when he told me, "You are just like every other girl that joins the military." "You are going for the men." "You are going to have sex with so many soldiers and eventually you will find one that you like well enough to marry." Obviously he said some other things that don't need repeating.

The point is, this isn't just his view. A lot of people feel the same way. Before I go defending the fairer sex, I will defend my own position, though I really don't need to. I was having sex with with military members long before I thought about joining the military myself. I certainly didn't need to sign a contract with the Army to get into the ACU's of some hot stud GI. I'm a woman. I don't need to put much effort into getting laid. Joining the Army, going through basic training/AIT,deployment.... for the sake of a tumble in the sand box???????????

My reasons for joining the military are always questioned, dissected. I joined the Army because I was tired of school. It was no longer enjoyable to me so completing it was no longer a viable option. I joined the Army because I was lost,and it gave me purpose and a sense of direction. I joined the Army because men and women whoa re far better human beings than I will ever be, laid down their life for this country. I joined the Army because after taking, and taking, and taking from America's basket of plenty, I realized that if everyone continues taking but never gives back, America will wither away into nothingness. We will be nothing. If everyone assumes that someone else will do it. it will never get done. So, if not me, who is going to step forward and take responsibility for protecting and defending this nation? I joined the Army because no matter the outcome, I want to be able to say that I fulfilled my duty and served my country. Our freedom and our way of life is important enough for me to fight for. I did it because the discipline that the military teaches can't be bought. I did it because I wanted to and nobody has the right to judge me harshly or question my intentions.

If in fact, I had joined the Army for the money, the soldiers, the uniform, the potential for membership into the secret society whose initiation includes secret greek orgies in the barracks, as long as I was capable of doing my duty in a military manner.... it would be nobody's business but my own.

That is not to say that some women don't join the military to be around military men but that is no different from the men who join the military to acquire the uniform that gets them women.

I will fight and die for this country. The only other thing that those words ring true for is family. I will fight and die for my family. If I don't fight for this country, what legacy will I be leaving them?

J isn't happy about it. He pretends. He pretends like he understands. He doesn't and that's ok because he accepts it. He accepts it and he encourages me to do what I need to do to be at peace with myself.

So I watch Army Wives and cry, knowing that one day, that will be me, the spouse leaving behind a husband and children to march off to fight America's war, take her stance, and defend her honor

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fhoto Friday

I don't care for the beach all that much. I watched the Titanic. The ocean swallowed the ship whole! Though I continue telling myself that I am going to diet, I am much smaller than a ship. So not going into the water. J and the kiddo seem to love going. I don't want to ruin their good time so I put on my cute red bikini and I pretend like I am excited about going to the beach.

While I am pretending to be the dragon come to destroy their sand castle, in my head I am cringing about the entire experience. I hate the way that sand feels in between my toes... or in my bathing suit bottoms! Bell somehow gets it in her hair every time. I haven't posted any pictures of her yet but she has really thick, curly hair. It isn't fun to wash, especially since she is so concerned about the water getting into her eye. Don't lay in the sand!!!!

J is... ya know, there really is no other word for it so I am just going to say it, pasty. He is pasty! His arms may have been kissed by the sun but that's it. And he sweats so much. The only person I have ever seen sweat as much as he does is my mother and she doesn't like to venture outside if it is above 62.5 degrees. I lather him up with sunscreen but because he sweats so much, he always gets burned.

I will be glad when summer is over and the beach is no longer considered an option.
J's 14 year old niece took these pictures. My sandmanship sucks so I was incredibly impressed with hers.


Long time no see!

I just started this blog and already I am getting a little slack. I have tons going on in my off the net life right now. The child custody thing that I mentioned earlier is about to start. I am incredibly stressed out about it. I know that He Who Must Not Be Named is going to turn into this person that I don't know and say really horrible things about me. It is going to be ugly and so many people are going to be left wounded. Most importantly, Belle. I spend a lot of time stressing about it and worrying if I am doing the right thing. I have seen how it sometimes leaves the child a shell of who they were before the battle started. I don't want that for her. She is my baby and I want her happy.

J has been absolutely amazing, as always. He keeps telling me that even though it will be hard, there is nothing to stress out about. This HAS to happen. I know that. That knowledge doesn't make it any easier though.

When you have a child together, you are expecting to live out your life with that person, raise your baby, TOGETHER, with that person. I am absolutely an advocate of marriage before babies and divorce not an option. Even in the face of that, I knew that my ex husband was not my forever. No matter how I tried, I could not force myself to imagine growing old with him, taking care of him if he got sick, devoting my life to his happiness and wholeness. The simple fact of the matter, with no juicy details, is this: we were wrong for each other. We both knew it. Still, we chose to proceed with our faux relationship.

The only thing worth having that came from the relationship was our baby. She is so beautiful. Even with her newfound attitude, thinking she is always right, rolling her eyes, my baby is perfect.

She has started to ask me some very difficult questions. "Why aren't you still married to Daddy?" "Why do I have two homes?" "But I just have one really big family, right?" I put her in the position to have to ask those questions and so, with a lot of guilt, I answer them for her. I told her that some people will say that she comes from a broken family. That's not true. What they can't see is that we just picked our family pieces, so that they would fit together perfectly.

I hope that in the future, when she finds herself struggling, she thinks of her family as many pieces that were sutured together to make a whole part. Not broken.

Monday, July 18, 2011

An apple is an apple... no matter how you slice it.

I am on an amazing social site for mommies. The women are as diverse as their children and parenting styles. It's quite funny, to watch relationships amongst these women develop and fall apart in a single post. They love each other and hate each and never meet. A lot of times it is evidence of why we needn't spend so much time with technology. Other times, when there is no one else to answer your question or allay your fears but a mommy you've never met, who lives 687 miles away, it is a blessing.

The other wonderful thing I love about cafemom is all of the constructive conversations it sparks. Today there was a conversation in one of my groups about mothers who are assumed to be the babysitter based on nothing other than skin tone. I chose not to comment. I usually don't. Mostly, I read and then talk to my Fiance about the craziness later. I feel like I should contribute to this post though because I remember being there.

My daughter is mixed race. She is a bit darker now than she was when she was born but still, she is nowhere near my coco puffs breakfast cereal skin color. When she asks me, with a child's sense of wonder, why we are not the same color, it is easy for me to make her smile simply by telling her that she is the best part of mommy and the best part of daddy all mixed up and wrapped in a puffy haired bow! It is not as easy to explain to her what people mean when they tell her that she has expensive skin, or that there is no way her mommy can be her mommy. How do I explain to a 4 year old why she is smiled at when she is walking in a store holding my white Fiances hand but the persons smile changes to a tight lipped grin, when they see me round the corner and kiss either of them?

When I was pregnant I believed that somehow we were immune. I was convinced that a face that was to be showered with my kisses, would not be the protective covering of a mind touched by racism. I knew that I would have to bandage skinned knees but did not realize that I would also have to provide the verbal balm to soothe feelings hurt by a thing called racism or prejudice or bias or whatever the PC word is now, that she couldn't possibly understand.

I ended up using her food preferences to explain it to her. She likes red apples but does not like green. If I cut the skin off, she doesn't care which one she eats. A green apple is just as much apple as the red. The taste similar. They sound similar. Sometimes, people just like one better than the other. People are just like apples. At the end of the day, people are people and apples are apples. The outside is just a covering. It's what's on the inside that counts. And she understands. For now...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fhoto Friday

Every Friday from here on out, I will post a picture that is relevant to my life. They wont always be pictures of me or my family but they will be things that have interested me somehow. The first photo for Fhoto Friday is from a birthday get together we had.

Earlier this week J's grandmother turned 89. 89! That is almost a freaking century! When J told Belle how old she was, Belle said, "OH MY GOSH, she's about to die!" It wasn't funny but her shock that somebody could still be alive at 89 was a bit funny.

8 of us got together and had lunch at Olive Garden before everyone had to run off to work, school, play. We had a really wonderful time. His grandmother and I don't talk much but that is simply because I don't see her often and we don't have much to talk about. We exchange pleasantries though, and I love listening to her stories. His mother though, is a barrel of laughs. She, I don't even know how to describe her. She is just so much fun to be around. The kids had fun.

J's sister asked me if I experienced a lot of racism being with J. I was the only black person with 8 white people. As we were walking to our seats, we got a few funny looks from other white patrons but most of the really dirty looks came from other black people. She seemed shocked by this. J just kind of smiled and looked away.

Being with me, he has had to face, in a more realistic way, that racism is still alive and kicking.