Saturday, April 18, 2015

War on the Homefront

Every now and then I'll find that one blog post. That one that seems like it was written directly to or about me. I wonder if the person writing the post is watching us with some kind of secret camera or if she's just some kind of kindred spirit. I experienced that today on the blog Scary Mommy in a post titled "Because Some the Children Will Be Grown." It's about a husband and wife who find themselves putting each other last in a war against each other in raising their young children.

T and I are struggling with this. We have what our doctor describes as a spirited child. She can be the sweetest little thing on the face of the earth, but she can turn that around quicker than anyone. "Oh here go hell come." Seriously, it's bad. She controls the tone of our weekends.It all depends on what her temperament is that morning. We have those days when she ends up screaming because I took her toy away after she chucked it across the room at me at 7:30 a.m. You know it's all going downhill from there. It does not matter how much T and I swear up and down to each other that we will stand strong, be a team and not let her tear us down.

That lasts about a couple hours, if that.

In the winter, we are stuck in the house, and it was awful. Right now it's not much better. Neither of us really looks forward to the weekends. We can't go anywhere because of our spirited kid. You never know how it's going to result. We try. We try going to the museum, going out to eat...hell, even just go to the park. Every now and then it'll go well. Nine times out of ten the shit hits the fan within 15 minutes.

So we take it out on each other. We go to war, and dammit, we are good at it. You take two incredibly stubborn people and's not going to end well. We become each other's worst enemies. Words are said - things we know damn well will cut the person deep. Because we are each other's best friends, we know everything about each other, including the one thing that will break that person down.

We are tired - more mentally and emotionally than physically. It. Never. Ends. And just like the movie Groundhog Day, our weekends pretty much suck.

I see my friends with kids and wonder if they go through the same thing? Or is it just us? I see these people on Facebook going out and doing fun family things, and I hate them. Well, not hate but I resent them. Because if I took a picture it'd be: "Here we are, Aubrey screaming because she can't pet the monkey behind the glass" or "This is T and Aubrey after a knockdown fight with her throwing herself on the ground because I don't have a sucker in my purse."

By the time night comes, we are so tired of all of it and so irritated with each other that we just want to be left alone. Couple time? I don't want to be in the same room as this person. Why would we have a romantic dinner?

Are we the only ones? Apparently not.

I think the thing we need to master is the ending the war part. I think I might be the first to take that step. I don't have to be right, and I don't have to hold the grudge. In the end, none of it is worth it, and all we are doing is hurting each other.

War is hell, right?

But like this blogger said - someday she'll be grown.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Serenity now!

We need a break. Seriously, I love my little girl more than life itself, but we need a break. At least two nights break. I hate saying that because I love being a mother but that's all I feel like I am these days - a mother. Not an individual or a wife. Reconnecting with your spouse and having adult time? What's that? Sorry, you'll need to speak up. I can't hear anything over the Nursery Rhymes my daughter is streaming on my phone at full blast.

I am not going to lie. Facebook has made that desire even more worse. Lately I have found myself wanting to physically harm all of my friends who are on these wonderful vacations with just their spouse. On the beach, in the city, wherever...I hate them all. (No, not really but there is a huge amount of jealousy there.) I so want that - for just a few days. I don't ask for much.

Sure, we get out. We have date nights once in a blue moon, but that involves a ton of planning and money. Sitting is not free. Family does not live close to us. We don't have a go-to free family sitter in the same town or within 15 minutes of our home. Any date like that requires an hour drive north to my parent's house and well...then there's that other thing...

Our kid is a handful. Spirited is what our doctor calls it. I cannot legitimately ask anyone other than people who are related to me and have no choice but to love me and not hate me forever for dropping off my three-year-old who will wreck havoc on their home within two hours of being there. And what, I would pay for someone to watch her for two nights? How much would that even be? As much as the hotel room, I'm sure. 

T and I recently were hoping we could make a five year anniversary trip somewhere fun. We legitimately thought this was a possibility....until we were told no by our one legitimate option. Because our child is a lot. And they want us to wait until she's in grade school. The thing is I don't think my or T's sanity can hold off for five more years. 

It is disheartening, and it's getting to both me and T. Something has to give eventually, right? You know, before it's my sanity?

Friday, April 10, 2015

It does not discriminate

Today I found myself drawn to a story about a brave young lady that I have actually been following for some time through the news as well as her Facebook page. Today, 19-year-old Lauren Hill, died after a long fight with cancer. I am not going to lie when I say I've actually been monitoring the news to know how she was doing, and part of me is happy for her family that she finally found peace but also sad because she is much too young to be taken so soon.

Out of curiosity, I watched her last interview, where she talked about how she wanted people to remember her as a hero who showed cancer who was boss. She didn't want to say she was a quitter, and part of me wonders if she thought by dying she would be thought as a quitter. I sure hope not because that is far from what is actually true. That poor girl went through what no one in this world should ever have to endure. She is every bit the hero she was hoping to be.

I probably should not have watched the interview because watching how painful it was for her to talk and seeing the pictures of what she used to look like before all of the radiation, chemo and steroid treatments she had to endure, it just flashed me back to watching those I love go through that battle. It's just not right. The more I thought about it the more angry I got and then the more sad I felt because this happens all too often. And then, like it was some kind of irony, in scrolling through my Facebook feed I come across a video of a classmate who graduated one year behind me who died two years ago from breast cancer. The slide show was in honor of her birthday, and the pictures showed her in happier days, as a teenager, in college, getting married, having a little girl. It also showed pictures of her going through treatment always with a smile on her face, always brave. The video ended with a picture of her kissing her little girl in one of the last photo sessions she had requested so that her little girl could have those pictures someday as she got older. Heart. Broke.

I do not know Lauren by any means other than what I have seen in the news, and I only know this classmate as an acquaintance if that, but my heart goes out to both of their families. They lost these beautiful women who had so much life and so much to give this world, all to this horrible disease. I remember my mom once venting about cancer taking those she loved, including her own mother in 2000, saying that cancer does not discriminate. It really does not. It is a tragedy if it takes someone's life who his 99 as well as someone who is 19. Because at one point in time, these people were just living their daily lives, thinking everything was fine. They happened to go to the doctor because something was not right and boom, their entire lives change in that one moment. For something that should not even exist.

I am almost 34-years-old. My Aunt Linda passed away from ovarian cancer when she was 36-years-old, and I was 12 at the time. I remember thinking that while, yes, she was young, that age seemed so far away. I am almost that age now. God, I cannot even imagine. I can't imagine the emotions she went through, the pain and the anger, only to come to the realization and acceptance of what is. Watching the interview of Lauren talking about this disease, you could hear all of that in what she was saying. She knew her time was limited, and she was angry, frustrated for her family, sad and scared. You just wanted to reach through the screen and hold her and not let go. Cancer does not discriminate.

I think of all three of these women, and I do have to remind myself of one thing. They are in a better place. They are at peace. And they always live in the hearts of those whose lives they touched. God bless all of them and their families as well.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Moving right along!

It's been more than awhile since I've written on this thing. I was going back and forth on whether I would actually continue the blog with everything going on, but I think I'm pretty set in keeping it going. I miss writing. I miss having time to write, but I am not complaining by any means for the reason why I do not have time to write. Last I wrote, I had just started this journey starting my own law firm. While it has been a little scary with its ups and downs, things have actually shot off a lot quicker than I would have thought. That's a good thing. A very good thing. A blessing, in fact.

I am now in my own office. Originally when I started this I thought for sure that I would be working from home for awhile and meeting people in the community for appointments. That lasted for about a month and maybe four clients tops. The time spent on the road was too much, and well, I needed a home base. So as of February I am in my own little space. It is not much but it is mine. Here I am, just six months out the door, and I am in my own office space. With a sign on the door and everything. (I know, right? So official!)

T has been more than supportive of me through all of this. He is my "silent" partner and while, no, he is not always silent by any means, he has been nothing but my biggest fan and strongest support. He was the one who pushed me to take this step, and he has consistently been the one telling me I could do this and that I was going to succeed. He had more faith in me at times than I had in myself.

While by no means are we smooth sailing or anything along those lines, things are moving along. This dream I had years ago that I happened to decide to turn into reality because of a bad work situation is really going somewhere. It is crazy how things work, isn't it? A year ago I would not have believed you if you had told me that I would be working for myself and running my own business. (I would say - be careful and do not say it too loudly. This break room is bugged!) Just kidding, just kidding...well, no actually part of that is serious, but still....

That leap was so worth it, and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead. And I do promise to actually regularly blog. I may be busy, but I should always take that time for other small things in life that I love. Brian Williams, Guinness and writing, of course.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The past is in the past

Someone asked me just the other day how long I had been practicing law, which took me a minute to calculate because it seems so long ago but yet just like it was yesterday. So it has been over eight years now I have been a lawyer. Where did the time go?

When I graduated I had pictures in my mind of what I wanted to do and where I would be ten years later. I'd still be working for the same firm for several years, building up my experience so that I could strike out on my own. I did not really picture myself with so many varying periods of experience at different places of employment. My resume' is a lot longer than I thought it would be.

Things do not always turn out the way you thought they should. God knows life did not go the way I wanted in the past. I would not say that I necessarily regretted the experience because I do not. Had I not worked as a family law attorney in a small firm, I would not have seen firsthand how to deal with clients, present yourself in court and prepare a case. Had I not worked with the state bar, I would not have the connections I do have now with so many attorneys in the state. Had I not worked for the Department of Child Services, I would have never developed the confidence, ability to think quickly on my feet and stress tolerance in court and out of court. I would not be as passionate about protecting children from abuse and neglect as I am today. I developed my desire to help others from that job, and that desire grew even more through my work at legal aid. Working at legal aid was why I now take modest means cases for clients who do not qualify for free service but yet are not able to afford your average attorneys fees. Had I not had the last work experience I had outside of the law, I would not have had the courage to take that leap and step out on my own.

See, today I am where I wanted to be eight years ago. This is what I was meant to do. However, would I have been prepared to truly take on this challenge? Probably not. All of those experiences brought me to today. Sure, those experiences were challenging and many not ones I want to relive. I could look at the past and go "woe is me, my past was so challenging. It is so unfair." It really does not matter, though, does it? It is in the past. Today is the present, and the decisions I make today will shape my future.

Those days when I felt sorry for myself, thinking I was a failure and comparing my progress to all of the students who graduated with me, do not really matter. I was not a failure then, of course, but there is no point looking at that period of my life and dwelling on the things that did not happen the way they should. Let go of the past and focus only on the present, making the future as amazing as it can be. That is where I am now, and for the first time in my life, I could not feel any more at peace.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

If you never try then you'll never know

I came across this quote the other day in my Facebook news feed and immediately shared it like I've done so many other times with other quotes that catch my eye. I usually don't think about them after I post them, but for some reason, this one has kind of resonated with me. This quote from Einstein embodies exactly what I hope to instill in my daughter as she grows up and into adulthood. Walk to the beat of your own drum. Don't do something just because everyone else wants you to do it, and that includes me as your mother. Even I don't know what's best for everyone, let along myself.

I admit I have been a crowd follower most of my life, and in some respects I suppose I still am. Most girls are as they grow up, going through middle school and high school. You want to fit in. You want to be liked, and you certainly don't want to be different. Honestly I believe that held me back. It kept me in my shell. I was the shy one, certainly not someone who would stand up in front of others. God, never in a million years would I have seen myself as an attorney. I could barely make it through the six minute speech we all had to give in 9th grade. Somehow here I am.

I did the same with my career. Yes, I decided I wanted to go to law school which was so far from what I would have pictured myself doing. I worked as an associate in a law firm. I was timid, scared, and I followed in the shadows of who I thought was so much better than me. Even after that job, I just kind of did the safest thing I could do. I was not about to take a risk. I would do what people wanted of me, or I did what I thought would just keep me floating just below the radar. It seemed to work, but I never really was happy.

That all changed as soon as I decided to say "to hell with all of this," essentially. I had enough of catering to what others wanted, and I took that leap. I am doing something I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to be on my own like this, but I never had that confidence. I owe that confidence now in part to my husband who opened that door for me to walk through.

I hope that I can set that example for my daughter. I already see her colors shining through and her brash and confident personality at the age of three, but I want to do everything I can to let her see that she should keep being that person, being herself. However, I need to walk the walk if I'm going to tell her to do the same, and I simply was not finding myself being that example. I had to change that.

Am I going to succeed? Hopefully. Could I fail? Quite possibly. Could it be an awesome journey? Yes, it certainly will be. But if I never take this chance to pursue what I want for once, I will never know. So here goes nothing.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How do you answer?

Earlier today I found myself reading a story about a man in Florida who was arrested after he threw his five-year-old daughter off of a bridge to her death. The police officers who approached him as he did it said they thought they heard screaming as if the girl was still alive. I read this story, of course, after reading about the massacre in Paris at the hands of Islamic extremists of twelve people at a satirical magazine publication.

Reading about the father killing his child for no reason got me to thinking about the fact that this type of occurrence, while horrific, is becoming more and more commonplace. Maybe not commonplace, but more pervasive. Every day we hear about children dying from needless violence, so many times at the hands of their own parents, the people they are supposed to trust. To love. On top of that we hear about shooting after shooting at schools. Anytime I hear a story about a child dying from a situation similar to this young girl I come back to Newton, Connecticut. All of those children just murdered. Why?

So you can see my mind was going into happy places full of rainbows and ponies, right? But isn't that the point? The world is not all rainbows and ponies, and I am not sure if it is me, but it seems to just be getting worse and worse each year. What we thought was horrific and unthinkable last time pales in comparison to the newest tragedy. We are almost becoming conditioned to it in a way.

I remember when I picked my little one up from daycare the day of Newtown. She was still in the infant room, just happy and jumping in the room's bouncer. So happy and full of innocence. She had no idea of any of the evil that those twenty children faced that day. I wanted to hug her and protect her, tell her I would keep the bad guys away always.  She is too young now to know what is going on in the news but as she gets older and hears these things, knowing my child and her inquisitiveness she will ask "why?" "Why did this happen?"

I won't be able to give her a good explanation. What do I say? There are bad people out there? Do I tell her that none of those things will ever happen to her? I could and likely will tell her that, but I can't promise it. I want to. I want to do everything in my power to keep her in that little bubble she is in now where she think everyone is her friend and is a nice person. She is not yet three, so I still have that time. It just is not that much time.

What I will say is I will do everything in my power to protect you from what I can because I love you and always will. I just hope that is enough.