Proud mama moment.

Graduation day was bittersweet-as they always are.

However there was a lovely surprise.  After a not-optimal year and a teacher that was the worst she’s had yet…my girl got the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence!  For those who don’t know (which I didn’t until after), it’s based on overall grades being 90-100, teacher recommendations and above 85th percentile on our state exams.  More on how ridiculous those state exams are later.  What a proud moment for her!  Her dad’s parents were there and my mom and me.  Lots of pictures and a lovely, happy, confident girl.  And now, we’re off to middle school.  And I profess this adamantly, that little girl you see up there in that adorable dress?  Yes, the one that people mistake for a 14 year old?  She’s 10.  And she’s my baby.  Still.  Always.  Ask her.  She’ll tell you.

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Name change?

I’m going to start regular posting again, as I’ve had some people mention that they are having a hard time finding a blog that deals with blended families.  My question for all of you is…should I change the blog title from “Former Single Mommy”?  If so, any suggestions?  Catchy of course, is always good.

I think we’ve done a good job with our “blending”, now that we are three years into it, I feel like I can discuss it much better and with more detail.  I do have to say that the road isn’t easy or for the meek.  It’s been a very interesting transition, one that I am excited to share with all of you.  And hopefully, it will help those of you who are just entering this new life, to feel less alone and to have a place to vent.

For my single mom friends…I still want to remain part of your chats as well, since that part of my life is very dear to me.  And as those with blended families will assure you, once a single mom, always a single mom.  🙂  I definitely have my own parenting thing going on, in addition to the blended situation.

For those unfamiliar with my dynamic, I married a man who has full-custody of his eight year old son.  The son does go to his mother’s quite often.  Every other weekend and more frequently on school vacations.  More on how this came to be, later.

Roll call…anyone else out there?

Find me at my new home!

Hi girls (and a few guys)!

I’m starting a new blog and want you guys to follow along-it will be a totally different vibe as it’s all about technology and fun gadgetry.  Since you got to know me while I talked about my most enduring and biggest love, my daughter-I’m hoping to stay in touch with you while I talk about my love of all things electronic.  I won’t shut this blog down, as I’d like to come back and update when I have time-but I have one simple request.  Please don’t mention THIS blog on the other one…of course that is always fine in a private message to me.  However, I’m planning on being very public with my Adk*Gadget*Girl blog and I’d rather that all the people who know me IRL don’t come back to this blog.  It’s not that there is anything secret-but it is from a part of my life that is very special to me, and that other people (especially people who haven’t been in the single parent trenches), probably won’t understand.  I think of all of you often-you made some lonely and some challenging times during my single parenthood so much less lonely.  I felt we were a team and bonded indefinitely and I still do.  Those of you whom I chatted with more frequently via this blog, well I’d love to find you on FaceBook too, so please message me.

Please come on over to    *adk*gadget*girl.wordpress.com  and leave feedback, questions and tips.  I plan on posting several times a week, and eventually hope on daily posting.  (Just leave out the asteriks in the blog title…that was just to derail Google-or at least try to).   I can’t wait to talk to all of you again.  *Adk*Gadget*Girl is soon to be a website all it’s own, which will link back to the blog as well.  I’ve missed all of you.  I hope your babies are all well and that you are all blessed and healthy.  And I’ve noticed several of you aren’t “single” parents anymore-congrats to you!  I hope that the love is huge.  But guess what…once a single mama…always a single mama.  🙂  It’s a mentality and a way of life.  See you soon. ❤

To the one who made it all possible…

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

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I’ve spent my entire 35 years trying to please my very intense, Marine father.  However, I have not once felt the need to “try” to make my mother proud.  She just always is proud of me and has always made me feel very secure in her love.

I call her every day, with no particular topic or question at hand-just because I enjoy hearing her voice.  We are very different people.  My daughter is much more like her than I was, am, or ever can aspire to be.  They are both people-pleasers, always concerned about others, always trying to make people happy.  They have a genuine empathy that is instilled in their hearts and could not be faked.  They can both be very affected by things people say or do, albeit unintentional or just an offhand comment.  I am much more nonchalant and things roll off my back much more quickly and I am definitely not all sweetness and goodness as those two are.

My mother has set the bar so high for parenting it is almost impossible to attain.  She worked full time my entire childhood, cooked meals every single day, packed lunches, did all the laundry, sewed, quilted, gardened, painted and built…she is more Martha Stewart than Martha Stewart.  To this day, I ask her to hem pants or fix a pillow or any other chore that to her is routine, but to me a major undertaking.  Just recently, she revamped a too-large tablecloth into the right size, making the excess material into matching napkins and pillows for my sun porch.  Over the past 15 years she has taken care of her two elderly parents, her aging mother-in-law and helped all of them to die with dignity.  She has watched her children have children and has become the role model my daughter so desperately emulates.  She is the “fun” Nana who takes B hiking and playing outside and yes, shopping too!  She is a fitness fanatic and has instilled that love of the outdoors and exercise in both me and my daughter.

We are so different I sometimes have trouble understanding her reasons and her upsets.  When she is stressed out, I have a hard time being compassionate, as that’s not something I “get”.  I often say that I won’t allow stress in my life…I feel it is a choice and drama that I don’t have time to allow in.  She doesn’t understand the bittersweet feelings of remarriage and divorce and single parenting.  She’s been with the same man since she was 19.  (She conceived ME on her wedding night)!

Yet, sometimes, she still surprises me with a bout of open-mindedness.  Recently I told her the Twilight books were incredibly good and since I don’t usually love fiction and especially not popular fiction, she listened.  She’s now on the third book and surprisingly completely addicted!  My daughter and I adore movie nights at her house, where we snuggle up and eat junk food.

She is passionate and strong and hopelessly in love with my father.  She’s curious and loyal and always there.  Getting angry with her can upset me like nothing else can.  She’s ridiculously wrapped around my 9 year-olds finger and it both makes me envious and warm inside, all at the same time.  I can’t begin to imagine a day when she is not there.  I’m not sure I would be able to go on, without her in this world.  It gives me hope that my daughter too, might feel I am necessary, needed…long after she actually needs my physical presence every day.

Thank you Mom…I love you.  You have done the most exceptional job of mothering I have ever seen.  Thank you for giving me everything and then some.  For traveling to stores far away so I could have those Guess jeans back in 10th grade.  For allowing me all the sports and clubs and activites that kept you running for all my teenage years.  For hunting down a Cabbage Patch kid when I was crying each night because I wanted one so badly. For making every Christmas, Easter and even St. Patrick’s Day magical.  For gifting me with the most idyllic childhood imaginable.  For lying in bed with me, spooning behind me and holding me as I cried myself to sleep, the night my first husband left our home and I drove to your house, 7 months pregnant.  For supporting me as I stubbornly held onto my home for three years after leaving my husband.  For helping me when I bought a house in a more convenient location.  For being so happy when I remarried and built a new family.  For….just being.  I love you more than you can ever know.  And I appreciate it.  Every last thing…every day of the last 35 years, and 4 months.  There is no other you.  How lucky am I?

Happy 35th Mother’s Day Mom.

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Break into Spring!

Our neighborhood is fabulous for a growing 9 year old girl!  We stayed home for spring break, since we usually travel during February break, when it’s just dreadful here in NY.  Spring break is sunny and smells good and fun for bike riding and rollerblading and yes…trampolining!  I love that we have little girls B’s age next door, but I hardly see her anymore!  It shows me what its going to be like as she gets older and has this “life of her own”.  I know its the point of parenting to raise independent children who make the right choices on their own, but does anyone else feel a bit sad too?  I don’t feel quite as needed.  I think B feels it too…she pops her head in periodically and yells, “Mom???  I LOVE you!”.  Here we go-the beginning of her taking care of me.

Sweet child of mine.

So I woke up this morning and guess what?  You grew up.  Overnight.  You still snuggle me and give me kisses, but they are the kisses of an older child, who does it more to placate the parent, than for their own comfort.  I go into your room at night and smell your breath, still childlike and sweet and look at the length of you tangled up in the Hello Kitty sheets you still adore.  (Just last weekend, before leaving for your Dad’s, you said, “So Mom, if you wash my sheets, can you just put the same ones back on?  They don’t NEED to be washed, but if you do, can you just make sure you put them back on before I get home?  The same ones?  Ok?  Mom…the Hello Kitty ones you know?”.  Got it princess…got it).

I love how mature you have become and how enjoyable you are.  The things you require from me are no longer any sort of obligation or work, but fun!  We have such a great time together.  I drag you everywhere I have to go, because I so love your company!  Not all your friends are like this-their parents don’t love all their moments with them, but I cherish them.  I know you are the only baby I’ll ever have…and the days are just running right out of your childhood.

You are 9.  When I was 9, I was in 4th grade and had my first boyfriend.  We are still friends to this day.  I cared about what people thought.  I started to develop my own interests and opinions.  I know where you are at and I love how you are growing up.  But how I wish you would stay who you are now.  The girl who still loves when we go to Nana and Poppa’s and we get to sleep in the same bed and wake up together.  I dread the day that our relationship becomes “grown-up”.  Who will keep me young then?

Disciplining you, when I have to do it, albeit rarely, is tough.  I don’t like to see you sad, but I want you to be a good person.  So I do it.  And then I run in and hug you when you are sleeping and whisper in your ear, “I love you.  You are my favorite person EVER.  You are amazing and I adore you”.  then I sneak out, only to check on you several other times in the night (and tuck in that leg that inevitably pops out of the covers two seconds after I leave the room).  But it makes me tear up a little…to know you aren’t a baby anymore.  And you never will be again.  I blinked and it was gone. I won’t have a baby again.  Ok, now I might cry in studyhall…the students would love that right?

You now are a whole shoe size larger than me.  Shopping in stores that teenagers shop in.  Doing your homework because you CARE, not because I force you.  Talking about your dream jobs and what college will be like someday.  College???  Seriously?  Sweetie, make sure it’s someplace warm, because I know I’m going to have to be close by.

Friendship=True Love.

Have any of you seen this movie?  Especially any of you with daughters?  My nine year old daughter has liked this movie for a few years now.  It stars Emma Roberts (Julia Robert’s niece, who plays Addy on Nickolodeon’s Unfabulous) and JoJo (teen pop star) as two young girls whose strengths combine to make each one’s individual weaknesses more bearable.  They stumble upon a young mermaid and give her advice on how to win the affections of a lifeguard that all three admire.  Aquamarine has to find true love in the next few days, or her father will make her remain a mermaid, although she so desperately wants to be human.  The ensuing drama is oddly reminiscent of “Mean Girls”, with a bit of “The Little Mermaid”.  

But the ending, well this is one that you mamas are going to LOVE.  I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say, it’s not your typical Disney-fied movie where you don’t find happiness unless you get the prince.

And one of the lead characters has a strong, powerful single mom, struggling with her willful teenage daughter.  Granted, the other character lost both of her parents previously, but is being raised by BOTH grandparents.  Read this post for a great discussion of how mothers are underrepresented in Disney movies.  

Mamas, watch this with your girls.  It sends the right message.  The one we all talk about all the time.  And definitely a message about how much your friends can mean to you.  (Your virtual support groups too.  😉  ).

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