March 24, 2010

Painting Memories

My daily hour commute from work to the house is always a source of peace to me. Yesterday was a different story, I needed more than just an hour to unwind all the stress from work. The next best thing to a glass of wine, which I REALLY wanted, was to sink in art therapy.

I got home and took out the painting easel I had purchased Thing One long ago. He had no interest with it at the time I got it for him. I figured this was a good time to introduce him to the magic of a paint brush, an easel, and your imagination. I prepared the easel with a big piece of paper and made sure there was a large enough old t-shirt to cover up my budding artist. Next I mixed the paint with soap and mixed it in. The day was nice enough to set it all up outside and enjoy all that Southern California offers on beautiful days like this.

Thing One came outside and kept saying "Paint Momma! Paint Momma!" It was great to see his huge eyes become even bigger. Smock on, paint brush in hand and he went to it. Big strokes, little strokes, "No don't paint the floor", "No don't paint your sister!". Every step of the way I had to guide him and let him know that paint was for paper. I know it's for other things, but those options were not available at this time. Are you kidding me??!!! Giving Thing One the knowledge of other options would be like saying "let's try them NOW". Watching him learn and explore with the easel took my to a good place in my memories.

I grew up with a father who graduated from college with a degree in art, which he never used. My father was forced to find other means to support his young family at the time and then just continued with the same line of work. Being a police officer does not offer many outlets for a creative spirit to be unleashed, so he would have several projects he would work on at home. I remember that he wasn't like other dad's who were in the garage "fixing" something or other, he was "creating". He had paint, canvases, sketch paper, colored pencils, charcol, all over the garage. I would often find myself sitting next to him in awe of what he could create from what he would observe. He once made a Santa Clause and a Monster out of recycled items. He would often take out paper and show me some art techniques and I would try to match his ability, but alas it was not a talent I had inherited from him.

I guess that's why I equate art as therapy for me, it takes me to that happy peaceful place in time. Thing One finished his masterpiece. For some it's a big blob of paint, no shape or form. My hope is that this blob of paint becomes a memory for Thing One that he can hold on to someday when he is not having a great day and he wants to be in a happy place.

March 12, 2010

My journey into single parenthood

My entire life I have had that fairy tale in my head. The princess finds her prince, he sets her up in a castle, they have a boy and a girl, and live happily ever after. I'm sueing Disney for my trip into Fantasy Land! Ok, maybe not but it sure does sound good!

Let's start from 1994 I think I find Prince Charming and get married at the ripe old age of 23. I think I have it all figured out, what I want from him, what I am willing to do for him, etc. Everything goes smoothly until about year 3 into our marriage. Communication broke down between the two of us, and frankly I think I was immature and not ready for all that a marriage brought with it. I did try my best to keep it together, we split up for a few months. Once we got back together I was willing to put it all on the line, because frankly I still wanted the dream of a family. So two more years go by, everything is running smoothly and we decide that we want to have kids. We try for our own for about 6 months and NOTHING. I kept trying to convince my then Prince Charming to come to the doctor with me so we could figure out what exactly is it that we were doing wrong. Six more months pass before the Prince decides to go with me. It turns out that not only was it going to be difficult for me to get pregnant, but that the Prince was having difficulty producing the magic beans needed for the little sprout. Cut to 2000, we have lost communication, any type of conversation ends up in crying and silence. The difficulties in conceiving a child get the best of him, even when I try to explain this was "our" problem and not his to bear alone. The Prince alienates me and we end up in divorced.

Devastated by the loss of a marriage, sink myself into a self discovery time. The year 2002, I meet the Frog. The Frog is by all means fun, spontaneous, and just what I needed at that very moment. We go out and travel, have a great time going bar hopping, enjoy going out with friends to many different activities. The Frog had a little tadpole, and I loved the whole package. Again the fairy tale in my head swirled. The year 2004 I found out I had a little tadpole on the way, but The Frog was less than happy. The Frog still wanted to go an venture off and do things with me, but not with another tadpole in tow. My heart sank and I was crushed. Mami (my mother) was less than supportive as well. She did not like the idea of a child out of wedlock and especially since she was less than fond of The Frog. First doctor's appointment, no heartbeat. I was more than crushed, I was in the worst grief in the world. I could only think, this was my last chance at little chips in my future.

The year 2005 The Frog is in my life, as a friend. He would not want it this way but up to this point his focus was not a family it was a life partner. I wanted both, but I was losing hope. I am 34 at this point and not even close to a partner, so why would I even think of a child. In my head logically I had seperated the thought of ever having children and resolved to be the happy aunt everyone loved. It was hard to attend baby showers at this point or to even hold a child. Still I moved forward with my life.

Later that year set on just being me and moving ahead I meet Big Cheese. Big Cheese is someone I had always known about but never quite taken a good hard look at. One night my friends and I are attending the company baseball game and somehow he catches my attention. I mention this to my friend "C", she immediately get's focuse as she always does and makes it known that I am interested in Big Cheese. Embarrassed, but ready to embrace something new I call Big Cheese. We were talking a lot by phone, and never quite were able to mesh schedules at this point. I mention this to "C" at the next company baseball game. This I remembe vividly, "C" says "You and Big Cheese would make cute babies!". What????? I'm just talking to Big Cheese no one mentioned anything about babies!!??? I was not ready for that, at least my heart was not ready to embrace that, not after losing the tadpole and being crushed. I kept saying day by day, hour by hour. I couldn't look ahead I was just thinking of the here and now.

December 2006, UCLA beats USC! WOO HOO! Big Cheese and I celebrate! He had said a few weeks before that "we should have a baby". Again my jaw dropped, what? Seriously?

January 2007, I go to the doctor for what I think is a stomach flu, Big Cheese suspects I am pregnant. I am in denial, I don't want to think about that. I don't want to be happy and then sad two minutes later. Pee in a cup.... POSITIVE. The shock is just running through my whole body again and I feel I have to throw up. The doctor comes in and I tell her about the tadpole, and that I am spotting like I was with the tadpole before I found out there was no heartbeat. I suspect the doctor saw the sheer terror I had in my eyes and said "Let's take a look". Out comes the dreaded sonogram machine. I think any other woman waiting to be pregnant would have been excited. I was terrified. "Look the heart is beating right there" I could feel the warmth of my tears sliding down my face. I'm worried throughout my pregnancy that my dream may not come true of having a child.

August 2007, Thing One, a boy, makes his arrival and I couldn't be happier. The Big Cheese is more than happy and all is well at this point. I start to feel that Fantasy Land is not that far away. The pressures of being new parents, and moving in become a constant battle. Big Cheese and I can barely keep it together. Thing One is such a joy, that it keeps me from thinking the worst of Big Cheese. I don't want Thing One to be an only child, I grew up like that, and it was quite lonely. I tell Big Cheese, I want another baby. Big Cheese is dead set against it. He has two sons from a previous relationship and can never see himself being the Big Cheese to four children. I am sadden, but I continue to try and think of just a family of three.

May 2008, Big Cheese and I think it's time to rekindle the romance and take a vacation for the first time without Thing One. We have a great time and start thinking of what the future hold ahead of us.

June 2008, OH NO, I missed my period! Thing One is 10 months old....WHAT???!!!! Yes, it is true Thing Two is on his/her way. I think Big Cheese and I sat in denial about the whole thing for another 2 months. We find out Thing One is a boy...wait a girl. Yes, the doctor was wrong the first time.

September 2008, my castle crumbles. Big Cheese and I have been having a very difficult time keeping it together. I am an emotional mess with this pregnancy and Big Cheese is less than patient trying to work at things in our relationship. We hit a good spot for a brief moment and we are living in domestic bliss for once. Something was nagging at me though, something in Big Cheese was different. I hate those feelings, they make me doubt myself. So one day I run out of macaroni and send Big Cheese to the market. While Big Cheese is gone I hear his cell phone. He clearly left it by accident. I pick it up, and it's his pal, no big deal, but at that moment I don't know why I looked at his text messages. Message after message from "T". The messages, more than a friendly hello. I became sick to my stomach. He came in the door "Hi, honey, here is the macaroni" . My next statement "Who is T?". Big Cheese had a look of guilt and I knew, I knew he had been speaking to other women. I lost it. I told Big Cheese to get out. It was not a pretty event to say the least. I cried and tried to settle down for Thing One and for Thing Two who was feeling all that I was feeling in my womb.

October 2008, I am alone at work when I get the news. Mami has breast cancer. My world turns upside down. How do I care for her, for Thing One, and for myself and Thing Two in my belly? I called Big Cheese and cried. He moves back in and we try to make a go at it again. I needed the support and I needed some sense of normalcy back into my life.

January 1, 2009. My due date is in 20 days and Big Cheese has been less than gracious. He yells through simple arguements, I cry most of the time. New year, I couldn't go on being treated like somehow I was the one to blame for all this verbal abuse. I told Big Cheese, I could not continue this way, not only for me, but for Thing One and Thing Two. He didn't move out until Thing two was born. Two weeks after to be exact.

Today, I have split time with Big Cheese in regards to Things One and Two. It is not easy, there are still a lot of hurt feelings, and we have tried to mend this relationship. I know that Thing One especially misses Big Cheese. He calls for him at night when he has a bad dream. Thing Two, doesn't know really what it's like to be with Big Cheese full time. It breaks my heart that my family now consists of three and not four. I just make the best of what I can now. I try to hold on to Fantasy Land sometimes, but then reality hits and it seems so far away.

My hopes in this blog is to discover that I will be ok. That even though it is not the ideal situation, Thing One and Thing Two will grow up to be some fine human beings despite their parents messed up relationship.
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