Monday, September 19, 2011

Who is Jenny?

I've been a part of a whole for the past 16 years.  I wasn't just Jenny, but a part of Jenny AND Andrew.  My identity was wrapped up in the safety of this family I had created.  In this man that I loved.  We became Jenny and Andrew so early in our lives, it was all I knew.  Now, without that AND Andrew after my name, who am I?  Where do I fit and what do I want? 

These are the questions that keep me up at night. 

Here's what I know--each day, I'm learning something about the Jenny now.  The adult I am becoming.  Yes, I'm 33 years old, but I may just now be learning to really be an adult.  One who isn't dependent on someone else but navigating through life on my own.  I'm doing the things that most do in college or in their early twenties.  I'm finding myself.  I'm writing the checks, keeping up with the house and doing the maintenance on the house (not well, mind you, NB made fun of me the other day for saying I didn't know how I to change the lights on my ceiling fan because of how the glass cover is on it.  I caught serious stuff for that one!).  It's not always smooth, but I'm making my way through it. 

Lately, I feel as though I live two lives.  First and foremost is that of mom/teacher.  I am a single working mom who stays up late to get everything done after the girls go to bed and rushes in the morning to get three people to three different schools.  I have gotten the girls and I into a routine and doing activities that are our thing like spending nights playing in the front yard doing chalk art with Brandy running around us or playing in our playroom for hours laughing.  In many ways, I feel like a better parent than I've ever been because when it's just me, I don't have another person to turn to with this.  My girls and I are becoming our own family unit.  My days are just as busy as my nights.  I've reinvented myself in my career with the return of teaching.  I'm Madame Scott again and I love it.

Next comes the life of the single girl.  As I've mentioned before, Andrew gets the children more than a typical standard custody agreement.  So, he has them overnight twice a week and Fri--Sun afternoon on the 1st and 3rd weekends of the month.  Sometimes this changes.  We try to be flexible with each other and our schedules.  I have a lot of free time.  More than I need to be honest.  So, I'm the single girl.

My single girl weekends are fairly planned and packed.  I've made a few new friends and gone out with a few single girlfriends on occasion.  I go out on dates sometimes.  Mainly it's when NB and I have the same off nights which can be rare.  We spent a lot of time this weekend together and it was great.  I keep myself as busy as possible during my nonmommy times.  My single girl time is fun but I always feel that twinge of strangeness, the duplicity of this second life still not yet comfortable.   I am learning to get more used to it. I've adjusted to not having a ring on my left hand and I like flirting when there is the opportunity.  However, by the end of a single girl weekend, I'm anxious to grab my girls and hug them extra tight, but I'm filled with fun times too. 

So who I am now is not yet to be fully answered.  But I'm discovering something new each day. 

I wonder what I'll learn tomorrow?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011


If you are a longtime reader, you know my feelings about September.  You know that my anxiety starts in early August and doesn't subside for weeks as we head towards my least favorite day of the year--September 13th.  September 13, 2004 was the worst day of my life.  Yes, this year has been tough.  2011 will go down in my books as a really tough year that I overcame (see that optimism right there?).  But NOTHING compares to 2004.  Nothing compares to watching my daughter go through chemotherapy, 85 blood transfusions, a stem cell transplant, and so so much more.  Nothing compares to losing my nine month old baby girl to this horrible disease called cancer. 

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  I do what I can to promote this.  My school is sponsoring Heroes for Children and getting involved with the 5K Run/Walk.  I'll be out there on race day with my girls.  I want September to get as much awareness as possible about childhood cancer and what families go through.  However, at times, I just wish September just simply didn't exist. 

I decided to take off Tuesday for Allie Day, as we call it around here.  Frances (Andrew's mom), my mom and I are taking the girls to the zoo to see our favorite animal.  Must see the giraffes on Allie Day!  Hoping we can even feed the giraffes that you can do at the Dallas Zoo.  I try to make it fun for the girls each year and do something as a family.  Our family is a different dynamic this year, but I will still make it as fun as possible for my girls.  Maggie doesn't truly understand what Allie Day is significant for.  She is excited that Allie Day is this week and happy about our plans.  Andrew will get them around 5:15 or so Tuesday night for his normal night with them.  I'm sure he'll try to do something with them too.  This is the first year we haven't had a family dinner.  Luckily, my sweet friend Nikki is taking time away from her own family to have dinner with me.  We'll go to dinner and then I might meet up with a few other people afterwards. 

What I dread is coming home that night to an empty house of just me and Brandy. 

It's been 7 years since I last saw my baby girl.  I miss that cherub blue-eyed giraffe loving girl just as much as I did on September 14, 2004 when I woke up without her on that first day.  The pain is different.  I don't wake up every morning thinking of her right away anymore.  My mind first goes to her pretty and fun sisters.  I don't cry all the time.  It's a dull ache that is always with me.  It just gets magnified around this time. 

I'm doing alright.  I promise, even though this blog post is fairly sad.  The girls and I had an AWESOME and fun weekend all together. It was nonstop fun and Maggie declared the best part of it was "spending time with you, Mama."  Work is insane but terrific and I have some of the greatest people in my life.  I have way more good than bad in my life and I have memories of that beautiful girl that I cherish every day. 

Thank you for your positive comments and support lately.  They mean the world to me.  Keep them coming and WAKE ME UP WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Territory

So much about my life is new to me.  It's a time of discovery and learning.  From learning the new curriculum and methodology of foreign language instruction to figuring out things Andrew typically handled for our home, I'm experiencing something new.  Let's cover some of the big ones, shall we?

  • Adjusting to School Life  I forgot about those fun rushed 25 minute lunches!  When I taught, I would get so excited about the summertime and lunching with friends for an extended period of time.  I used to get so excited about it.  Then I worked in a job that required me to lunch with people as often as possible.  Business lunches were so common place that I got burnt out of being at restaurants.  Come next summer, I'll probably be so excited again.  I love my school so much.  I'm truly happy there and love the school environment again.  The teaching itself has been like riding a bike.  The time in front of the students is just as natural for me as it was back then.  My students are challenging, fun, funny, inquisitive, and eager to learn.  My principal could not be a more incredible man and one who deserves and gets the respect of the faculty, parents, and students.  He is the kind of principal I would like to have leading a school Maggie is attending (she won't go to my school when she goes to middle school).  The workload is tremendous and of course I'm already behind in my grading.  I found out that not only am I the foreign language department head but also the head of the other nonmusic elective classes.  Talk about a bit of a shock on the first day of teachers being back at the school!  Oh, and that I was teaching a 6th grade class that I wasn't expecting on top of the 2 7th grade, 3 8th grade and the Advisory (like homeroom) that most of us has too.   I am the co-sponsor of the National Junior Honor Society (yes, both of these positions come with an additional salary benefit and I need that right now).  It's just a bit busy.  :)  I'm so grateful to be back in education and I know without a shadow of  doubt that I made the absolute best decision for ME in this career change. 

  • Time Without the Girls This could quite possibly be one of the toughest parts of the divorce.  A tradiontional divorce grants the noncustodial parent one night a week.  With Andrew being such an active and loving father, I agreed to two nights, overnight.  I will NOT allow my hurt and pain to affect my decision in the unlimited access he deserves as their father.  Frankly, my daughters don't deserve that.  They have a wonderful father who is active in their lives.  This is important.  So long as I continue to feel that he is providing and loving the girls and this isn't affecting their days at school, I won't change this, no matter how hard it is on me.  It's not about me.  It's about the two loves that need both of their loving parents.  However, that doesn't mean that them being out of my home is easy on me.  It is excruciating at times.  I drop them off Tuesday morning.  Since he picks up and drops off directly at school, I don't see them again until Thursday after school.  I found myself practically running into Katie's school building to get her this week.  I keep myself as busy as possible on my nights off.  I've only been able to be home alone for the entire evening ONCE.  

  • Dating  Nothing serious, but yes, I have been dating.  I am in no way interested in a relationship but I do like the company and well, the attention too.  After years of very little attention, no compliments, and the feeling that I wasn't being even looked at, it does feel good.  Andrew recently said to me "I provided for my family, took care of you and the girls, and made sure you were safe, but I wasn't a very good husband to you.  I know that."  Damn that hindsight.  I see it now and know what I was feeling for a while in the marriage was that of being invisible or worthless at times in his eyes, but I never acknowledged it until now.  For the past few months, I've been casually seeing a guy I met at mutual friend's house.  Both of us are going through VERY similar situations.  For his privacy, I won't give you many details about him.  Let's call him NB (that would be Nonboyfriend as I refer to him as when a friend will say "oh, but he's not your boyfriend").  He's not originally from the US and has a great accent and English words that I've never heard before that he teaches me.  He's funny and charming and I enjoy his company.  He opens the car door for me and compliments me constantly.  God, I forgot how nice that feels.  We talk divorce, our exes and heartbreak, and our children A LOT.  We also go on silly dates like rollerskating, see movies, and laugh over stupid stuff.  I've been out with other guys too, and he always knows (met a hot guy on the airplane coming back from California.  I've met up with Hot Airplane Guy once and may have drinks sometime in the next few weeks).  There is no commitment or jealousy because we're not exclusive and won't be for a long time.  He knows I still love A.  Dating is interesting.  It is both scary and exciting.  I dated last as a CHILD.  Think about it--A and I were 17 when we started seeing each other.  I had some boyfriends in high school before him, but nothing serious.  I never dated in college.  Never dated as an adult.  The first date I went on with NB, I was so nervous.  Getting to know someone new is interesting.  I knew everything about A.  Our history spans across almost half my life.  I didn't need to tell A about my prom night because he was my date.  Now I find myself in that strange still trying to get to know the other and showing your best side stage that I never really experienced before.  The good thing with NB is that with busy lives, kids, and work, we don't see each other that often.  This is good because there doesn't give us that time to become too attached or jump into a real relationship.  I'm light years away from that right now.  This is about as close as I want to get.  We'll see how long it lasts.  

  • Not Relying on Andrew  I'll be honest, I'm not so good at this one yet.  I still find myself wanting to reach for my phone and tell him everything that happened in my day.  I still go to him more than I should.  I know this doesn't really help either of us.  A was my support and rock for so long.  I went to him with everything and relied on him for just about everything.  I took advantage of the way he took care of me and the girls and allowed myself to be blissfully unaware of things he handled.  Now, I'm in charge of the finances, having to do things around the house on my own, and it gets tough.  I trust A completely with our girls and their well being.  We still will text about them daily, but I think we'll hit a point where it will be less of the other stuff too.  We had a long talk Thursday night that I think was really good for us.  I think it helped me turn a corner in how I've been.  Life isn't easy for either of us right now.  I think I finally see and understand how hard this is on Andrew to right now.  I know that he is dealing with his guilt of what this has done to both the girls and me.   I haven't always made it easy on him with holding back biting comments or not throwing the "but this is YOUR fault" slap back in his face.  I'm trying to get better at it because frankly it doesn't help. Our situation is what it is.  My goal this week is to try to only interact with A only about the kids.  To create the distance we both need to help us heal.  

  • Changes in Friendship  I won't go into detail much on this one at all and I ask you not to comment on it please.  It's still very raw, but there have definitely been changes in who my friends are.  Debbie and I no longer speak.  Again, I will not discuss but just know that is why she hasn't been mentioned this summer.  

  •  Being Divorced  Yeah, this is an understatement, but just simply being divorced in it's entirety.  Calling A my EX husband instead of my husband.  I usually say husband still and then find myself stumbling to correct myself and throw that ex in there.  The newness of this is still very fresh.  Until Friday, I have cried every day at some point since the finalization.  Didn't cry Friday or Saturday.  Did today.  That's progress.  Any kind of progress is a step in the right direction. 
So you see, it's all new territory.  It isn't easy but as I've been reminded more than once, this unfortunately isn't the worst life tragedy for me to survive.  This is hard.  Harder than I could have ever imagined, but this is survivable and I will survive it.

I want to take a moment in this blog post to say a huge THANK YOU.  As I've said before, I read every comment I get on this blog.  Your support has meant a lot to me and even though most of the commentors are strangers, I don't feel it anymore.  I recognize your name when it comes to me via email that you commented.  Especially those of you that have been commenting for a long time.  I feel surrounded by so many people, even virtually.  Please know that I appreciate I still have a safe place to journal and write out my feelings.  I'll be honest, I've been very nervous about this blog post and talking about dating.  I am fine with the decisions I'm making for me right now, but I just don't want negative comments or judgment.  However, I realized that most of you who come and read here and nothing but care and support.  So many of you have written that you just want to see me get better and heal.  I think even the dating is a part of that healing process.

So there you have it.  If you survived reading this long long blog post, let me be the first to congratulate and apologize to you.  Guess I had a lot to ramble on about tonight.

Thank you all.