Read this book this weekend by @kristinakuzmic. Was very easy to read, made me chuckle, had me taking notes on a few things she does as a parent I would like to incorporate into my family, and gave me some encouragement.
“I know hoe lonely being a single parent can get. I know you feel like you’re carrying a load thats too heavy for just one person to bear. I know that having someone in your life to help you get through each exhaustinf day might sound like the best thing ever. But it won’t be the best thing ever if you don’t choose a true partner…..to be fooled into thinking that any partner is better than no partner”.
“Getting married doesnt mean that the search for love is over. The search for the person to love is over; the search for how to love thar person is just beginning”.
“When I hit my lowest point, I thought I had to wait for this or that to happen before I could be happy…..when all I needed to do was start using the tools I already had. I falsely believed that if my circumstances would just change, my attitude toward everything would change too. But it actually works the other way around. I had to stop pinning for what I had imagined, and make the best of what already existed. I had to stop chasing the fairy tale and start embracing the adventure”.
“Atrocious behavior is like a twisted trophy that parents recieve for doing a good job at letting their kids know they’re loved unconditionally. Parenting is not for wusses”.
“And I also want to live in a world where people don’t use words to hurt people, don’t use words as a weapon in general. A world in which parents realize how important it is to teach acceptance and kindness – more important than making sure our children wear matching socks or that they finish that last bite of asparagus or get perfect grades. And it starts with us. It starts in our home. Are we modeling for our children how we should treat people, both in person and on the internet? Do they hear us gossip and mock people? Are we teaching our children that being different isn’t a bad thing? Are we showing our children that disagreeing with someone doesn’t give us the right to be unkind? Do our children know that they are really, really loved even when they mess up? Are we providing a peaceful home so that our children feel they have a safe place to fall?”
This last one, could you imagine having ex in laws with this much grace?! Ex in laws that didn’t tell your children horrible things about their mom and that she was the cause and problem to everything!? That they actually just cared about the kids and did what was best for the children???
“My ex in laws were incredibly gracious, more gracious than I might have been in their situation. I was in awe of their ability to set their own disappointments aside and treat me with such kindness. There was a lot of sadness and they reiterated their stance that I should stay with their son and try to make the marriage work. But they did so respectfully and promised that no matter what, they would do all they could to keep things amicable between all of us for their grandchildren. Our conversation ended with a sentiment that meant even more to me than the welcome they extended to me as a girlfriend years back. As we said goodbye they told me ‘well, if you’re no longer our daughter in law, then from now on, you are our daughter'”.
I have to admit, I was excited on Tuesday when I was told to make sure I was ready at 6pm Friday because reservations had been made. But then my youngest decided again to stay with me, where he felt happiest, so I sent a text saying we would have to reschedule some other time. (I don’t have babysitters, when I’m in a jam I hope my sister or dad can help me out, and since I work three jobs I try to save my ‘help me tokens’ for necessity over wants). I got a text back saying, ‘I’ve changed the reservations for three’.
Yes, date nights are important, but spending time with a child that is in need of some extra love comes first. My kids needs will always come first.
I’d also like to think he picked up some pointers. He listened as I was complimented and told I looked beautiful. He watched two people fully engaged with no phones while they ate and talked about their day. Actually I felt like the odd one out since the two of them talked with each other none stop while I mostly listened and tried to throw in my thoughts when I could! And then he saw how a simple stroll on the boardwalk allows for even more quality time. That simple things can mean the most.
Get them while they are young and impressionable. 😉
These are my people. These four are the reason I push as hard as I do, and love as hard as I do. They are what keeps me going when I’m exhausted and struggling and not knowing how I’m going to fit all the pieces together. Their smiles and laughter makes every hard day worth it. Everything I do is with them in mind. Its been extremely hard during covid to keep life sane and everyone happy. There have been plenty of days I couldn’t wait for them to be over. If you’re struggling as a parent too, be gentle with yourself. These are really trying times. Just remember, the kids just want your love, everything else can wait.
I apologize for the length of this post, but sometimes the only way to heal, is to release it from your hold and to tell the story one last time before you can put your face to the sun again. I’m going to tell you about someone I know, because there was a lesson that she learned, that took her longer then she wished but that changed everything. Maybe her journey will help you through yours, as it’s helping me.
We were talking one day, and she looked at me exhausted with life, but smiling because of a conversation she had just had with somebody that showed her a different path. She had been through so much in her life, and then had left a toxic marriage and endured a very nasty divorce, so it was wonderful to see her smiling. I asked her what had changed, and this was her story…
It had taken her a long time to get the nerve up to leave her husband. She had small children, and had quit school to raise them, so did not have financial backing, especially since her husband held all of the finances and did not allow her part of them. They had been in therapy for five years, which began because of how horrible his family treated her. This family had started out amazing, surrounding her in love and praise and treated her like one of their own. But that ended up changing after awhile, when they realized she wasn’t like them. His parents excluded her and the children from any family functions for years, they talked poorly about her amongst the family and others in the community. This “Christian” family was anything but that behind closed doors. They would smile to your face, and say horrible things behind your back. And this wasn’t just with outsiders, they did it to their own family. Watching their conduct for seventeen years made her question what it meant to be a Christian. And eventually she stopped caring about being part of that family, especially since her husband would not stand up to his parents, as he depended on them too much. So they focused on their own issues in therapy. He was abusive, he drank too much, and he was never really around or involved with the children (she had to find a ride home from the hospital with their newborn son; she had to find a ride to the hospital for heart surgery because he choose a week of hunting, amongst many other things). He then had to go to a sex therapist for his porn addiction, and because she was the victim of marital rape. This went on for a very long time, with his excuse that she was a “sexual sleeper”, which made him think it was ok for him to do the horrible things he did. Eventually she kicked him out of the bedroom and installed a lock on her door. It took her a very long time to sleep through the night, and to this day still has re-occurring sleep trauma.
The fairy tale that everyone saw, was not the truth. When the door closed, the mood was always tense, the voices were always loud and the abuse was present one way or another. There was so much anger, there was so much drama with the family, there were so many tears. He became more and more distant, allowing alcohol to be a big part of his evenings. He was short with the kids, he had a temper that caused him to hit and scream and scare. Then he would buy gifts to make up and life would go on. Rings, cameras, cruises, wads of cash, flowers. He always thought throwing money at them meant he could do whatever he wanted.
Then, on top of that, she caught him cheating with the neighbor. They had just built a new home, which she poured her heart and soul into, thinking she would live there until she was old and grey. It began with her staying home with the kids while he would spend late nights drinking and complaining about her with these new friends. Then one night she caught him doing things he should not have been doing with another woman, in her own kitchen. When he was confronted, he blamed the neighbor and took no responsibility, even though it had been going on for months. He then blamed her for not being attentive enough to him. And like always, he told her she just needed to choose to be happy and appreciate everything he had given her and everything would be fine. He always used the things he bought as an excuse to be able to do whatever he wanted. He hid behind his money like always. At this point, he had broken all of his vows to her, his words were meaningless, and she was done.
So she did choose happy. She chose to leave and start her life again. She didn’t want her children to think that this was a healthy way to live, or a relationship to copy. She stupidly thought they could be amicable and deal with things properly, but he had other plans. He hid his money (which his parents helped with) and he began his web of lies. They quickly told everyone she had cheated, that he had provided so well and wanted things to work. The church she attended for 17 years sent her a letter revoking her membership. Friends that they shared (some of the women she had confided in about the rape) stayed and supported him, and he began his threats and bullying. He kicked down her door (and was charged with domestic mischief) when she tried to stop him from ransacking the house of all of the furniture that she had bought. He threatened her about court and how they couldn’t go because of the things he had done with his business and all of the money would be gone if he was caught. He was hostile and she needed him out of the house. She did not realize agreeing to 50/50 custody to make him leave would mean she wouldn’t be able to change that later on. He would say horrible things infront of the kids, telling them their mom was a whore and they were getting a divorce because she “fu@ked all these men”. He lied in all of the paperwork. He lied and he lied and he lied. And then he had the audacity to tell her he was in the best Christian walk that he had ever been in. She watched this monster unfold infront of her, and she started to ask herself how she never saw what he truly was. Why she had ignored all of the red flags that were there from the beginning. He bullied her to the point she gave up, and he walked away with the better deal. Yet, he tells everyone lies of inflated child support, her getting everything, she cheated, she was crazy…and the list goes on.
When she left, she was positive, and happy to be free of him and his family. She didn’t know what she was going to do exactly, but she knew that she and her kids were going to be a lot happier. But life was hard, and she struggled with work, with the kids adjusting and her ex trying to cause her as much pain as possible. Her children were her heart, and every week they went to him, he used it as a way to hurt her. She watched as he bought a brand new skiidoo, two properties (one that he is building their old house she designed), brand new truck, yet somehow wasn’t working. She watched as her children were devastated when he proposed a few months after starting to date their daughters teacher. She watched as her children would come home and take days to destress and relax, because of how he was treating them. She listened as they told her of the abuse they were going through, while his partner watched and loosely threatened that she wouldn’t stay with him if he kept hitting the kids. She listened as they told her that their dad would just buy her things when she said this, and she would look the other way, telling them that ‘hands on wasn’t ok and that if he ever hit their kids she would freak’. She watched, she listened, and she became angry. Mainly because her children were collateral damage. He was so consumed in the material things and rebuilding his life quickly (and creepily very much the same as his old life) that he was not considering how the kids were feeling. That they needed time to adjust. They wanted time with just him as a little family, but instead he was too busy buying himself a nanny.
So she let her anger build and she began to wish that karma would get him. That people would see him for what he was. That the truth would come out. That he would suffer the way that he had made her suffer. And he knew how to push her buttons, and that every time he did, she would react. And when she reacted she was never level headed, and he knew this and he used it to his advantage. She was angry that she was stressed about trying to find a house, while he had a wealthy grandfather sending him cheques to be able to do the things he was doing. That while she struggled to provide a house to fit everyone properly, he had others making it possible for him to own two properties and build two houses. She watched as he tried to do everything the same as their old life together; same dog, same house plan, her furniture and decorations had been used to decorate the house he and his partner lived in, he used his family to surround her just like he had with her, as his lack of social skill and conversation is not as obvious when his family is around. The pattern was the same, he was trying to make his life just like his last. She watched as her children were upset that he was having a wedding not even a year after his divorce, and that they were told there would be new siblings for them to babysit. She listened as her children would tell her the ridiculous things his partner confided in them, all because she was very insecure and needed attention. She watched as his new partners insecurities were so high, that her children no longer got to have any alone time with their dad, and that at every drop off she found the need to come and dress up and parade herself outside of the truck while the kids got in. Actually, she found this waste of time and energy quite amusing. But the rest of it, she let it anger her and she wanted him to get his karma he deserved.
Then one day, she was talking to someone very wise, and he told her:
You don’t want his destruction. You don’t want karma to get him. You actually want him to heal. You want him to become a better man, so that in turn he can become a better father to your children. Because hurt people, hurt people. When you point a finger at him hoping for chaos and pain, there are three pointing at you causing you more chaos and pain. You know what he did to you, and one day he will have to answer to that. He probably knows deep down, how shitty of a person he is. So wish for his healing. Because if he is a better person, then your children will not be hurt, he will be kinder to you, and the woman he is with will not have to suffer as you did. Let him go. Let it all go. You left, so leave.
The same day, she saw this quote:
These two things completely changed her and what she felt. She no longer felt desperate for her side to be heard, for people to know what really happened. Because she knew one of two things would happen:
ONE: He heals, he takes responsibility for all that he has done, he finds help with his anger, drinking and sexual issues and he becomes a descent human being. He realizes you can’t buy love and puts the proper effort into his relationships. Then nothing matters because the kids are happy, she doesn’t have to worry so much about them anymore, and the two can live their lives happily with other people and finally co parent for the sake of their kids.
TWO: He doesn’t heal. He continues to be determined to rebuild his life the exact same, he puts all of his energy into the material things and keeping his new partner happy and his relationship with his kids deteriorates. (They already ask why he hides his money, acts like he doesn’t work, never spends time with them, and why he puts her before them. They are already refusing visits and when there, spending more time with their aunts and friends then him). That his family will continue to support and encourage this behavior, which will never help him to heal, all because they only care about the family image. Instead of working on the important things, he will eventually neglect his partner and under appreciate her the way he did in his past relationship. Because as soon as a ring is put on her finger, he owns her. She will no longer be able to stomp her feet like a toddler or cry in her room for hours to get her own way and have things bought for her. And one day, if she is a woman with any depth and pride to her, she will realize that there is more to a relationship then things. She won’t want to just be a ‘kept woman’. He won’t be able to buy her with big fake rings, motorcycles, botox and lip injections, flower arrangements, trips, new cars, new houses, new iphones, and wads of cash. She will want more than a sugar daddy. She will want more then the broken person in front of her that chose not to heal.
She realized that while she’s focusing on the important things, time will allow his life to repeat. He will end up the same way he did with her, back at his parents house playing victim. He has already started the exact same way as his last life, and shows no signs of changing. (But others were starting to see this, some even mentioning that he has ‘no moral compass’ and that his character was glaring through). And she knew that right now, this was the path he was going down. His partner happily following, collecting her goodies along the way. Thinking that all of these things he had to buy her to keep her happy, was actually making her happy, instead of seeing how superficial it really was. Rushing into a marriage because of pressure and the fact two people can’t manage to live on their own is a train wreck waiting to happen.
So, she could either grab her popcorn and watch it all happen, or she could find grace and wish for his healing. As much as she liked popcorn, she is reaching for grace, in hopes that her children will come out less damaged then the path they are headed right now. Because his life choices were going to cost him more then just money.
If you don’t heal the things that are wrong, you will attract the same broken people into your life, and no amount of material possessions will make you happy. No matter how much you try to convince yourself and those around you that you are happy, you just won’t be. It will all be an illusion. Time will allow your story to repeat.
If you have stuck it through and read to this point, and this story reminds you of how you feel in your own situation, then please try to find the strength to let go. Realize what she did: that you are worthy of so much more and he/she were never capable to give you what you deserved. So close the book. It is done, your last chapter was written. Wish them well, wish them healing, and then put that book on a top shelf out of the way. Because it is time to open a new, fresh clean book. Where the pages are waiting for a new adventure. Where your healing can only come when you are ready to write a new story that is different from the last. Don’t worry about opening that old one up anymore, you don’t need it. And don’t read what the critics say about it, their opinion doesn’t matter. It was your story, and now it is done. Trust me, there are so many things in your life right now to be happy for. And if one of those things is getting out of a toxic relationship, congratulations!
What will be the first sentence in your new beautiful book?
Shout out to the dad that’s been there for the last 36 years. That treated me like his tomboy and had me learn a stick shift way before I was 16, had me cutting the grass (and running into trees) before I hit double digits, fenced the entire property so I could have horses, and has been there while I start this new chapter of my life. I don’t know of another person that can MacGyver like you do. You always figure out how to fix something, amd have taught me the joys of finding things for a bargain. I love you dad! Xo
Now to the guy that has come into our lives. Thankyou for understanding my decision to not have more children, for the sake of the ones I already have. Thankyou for being so calm and patient and ok to take things slow and not rush. For putting these four first, all of the time. From day one, your concern was taking it slow for them, after all they had been through. And now they get disappointed if you are not around every day, call you to ask you to come, suggest “you should just move in” and are constantly laughing when you are around. Thankyou for helping me show them what a healthy relationship is, and how love and laughter is all that matters. Thankyou for taking the time to learn each one, to figure out best ways to help them, and to still allow me enough alone time with them that they desperately crave. You have made this so easy, and my kids adore you. I know this was not an easy role to take on, but you’ve done it in such a loving and mature way. You are so patient and calm with them, and care so much about their wellbeing it is so wonderful to watch. And the way you make them laugh with your jokes, funny accents and dance moves fills my heart with so much joy. Thankyou for not being scared to take on four children that were hurting, and helping me heal them. Happy Dadalorian day!
Twenty years ago, I met someone that was the sweetest and most loving soul. She opened her heart and arms to me and became grandma. We bonded when I would visit grandpa in the hospital and wash and lotion his feet because they were always itchy. I didn’t realize how a simple act like that had meant so much to her, but she even mentioned it a couple months ago, when I was visiting before covid hit.
This was a women that lived up to her name, Grace. She made sure to tell me that I would always be her granddaughter. That she loved me and I was the mother of her great grandchildren and that meant something to her. She loved me when she didn’t have to. When someone loves like this, unconditionally and whole heartedly, it shows what kind of person they are. She was a great example of a Christian, and will be greatly missed.
She was surrounded by family, so many grandchildren and great grandchildren. She lived a full, long life, and now is at peace.
Grandma, thank you for the love you gave my children and I. Thankyou for the warmth and grace and joy you always shared with us. You were one of a kind. We will miss you. Xo
Life has felt pretty out of sorts lately. I am an introvert by nature, so staying home has not had too much affect on me, but the social media, and constant arguing amongst groups has taken its toll. I have stopped reading peoples posts, I have stopped engaging in the back and forth arguments, and I am keeping news to the minimum. I am trying to focus day to day, on the important things. My kids, my partner, my livelihood and my mental health. I know what I believe is happening in the world right now, and I sure don’t have to argue it with anyone.
As much as I’ve been going through this “new” way of life, so have my children. They are affected by missing their friends, missing their school routine, missing a regular childhood right now. I find I have to over compensate for my children, as there are things that are lacking when they are not with me. Therefore, when they come back home, my time and attention is put on them, and my work and life comes second. My youngest is attached to me like glue now, my oldest is constantly wanting hugs and snuggles, and my girls are very emotional. It is a lot to deal with. My kids hold their stress in their bodies just like I do, and weekly chiropractor appointments are needed to help them with this, as well as nightly massages given by me.
I am trying, but sometimes I feel like there is more that can be done. So I am always looking at ways to create memories with them. Things that they will bring fondly into their adult lives, remember with smiles, and maybe recreate with their own family.
Paddleboarding is one of those things. I’ve had one for a few years, but decided to purchase another so that it could be a joint adventure. The boys have not showed a lot of interest, but the girls love it. Listening to their giggles and laughs the entire time has been worth every penny. They fall into the water plenty, they scream thinking fish and sharks will bite them, and they laugh, a lot. We race, we float and talk, they try yoga moves to see if they can balance. It is wonderful.
Sometimes I get worried that I am not able to afford all of the material things for them, but then I realize that I give them the best thing I can. My time, my attention and my love. I build memories and traditions with them that will surpass anything that could be bought or built. I am there for them when they need me, I am their constant, their safe place as they like to tell me. I know them inside and out, I am their soft place to land, always. They were always my priority when they were young, everything came second to them. So we have a relationship that not everyone is able to have, and for that I am grateful.
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves, in this age where technology is everywhere, we think we need to have the biggest and best house or vehicle, and time seems to always be occupied, that our children just want our love and attention. It costs nothing, but is the best investment you could over make. Your kids just want you, nothing else. So remember that, especially right now when many of you have been awarded some extra time to spend with them while the world sorts itself out.
The universe knew I needed some encouragement yesterday, and I got it. The universe never fails. If you are out there and feeling like you’re taking two steps back, you aren’t. Everything is happening as it should. And if you are scared to take the next step, do what you need to do to find the courage to take it. Because eventually that one step turns into a new life, no matter what the path is in front of you, no matter what decision you are trying to make. Don’t stay still. Claim your life. Xo
Today you would have been 60, and you would have hated it. You would have wanted to be celebrated, but the number would not have been spoken of. Actually, I think you would have stopped counting a few birthdays back.
I try and picture what you would look like now, the things you would say. I try to remember your laugh and how you lit up when your grandchildren came to see you. It is bittersweet how some memories fade. How you can forget the sound of a voice, the embrace of your arms.
The kids still talk about you. I sing to them every night the song you sang to me. The girls still shed tears for you, saying they wished you were still here. They remember you fondly. You would have had your hands full with them, I think you would have met your match. You and Kaleb would have been snuggle bugs, the girls would have had you paint their nails constantly, and Elijah would have enjoyed the candy and chips you would have filled him with.
The years keep passing, but the hurt never leaves. You know who, made today as difficult as possible, but I’ve come to realize that that is just the way this is going to go, some people just aren’t wholesome. Thankfully you taught me to have a voice, to be strong and not back down when somebody tries to wrong you. I might have got my stubborn streak from dad, but I got my voice from you.
The kids and I find your dimes everywhere. Thankyou. They are always excited, especially when they are found in the strangest places.
I wish you could be here today, eating your cake, enjoying your grandchildren and planting your flowers you always got on your birthday. I wish this life had not been so hard for you. If I could make a thousand birthday wishes, it would be that you were here with us. Your light burned out too soon.
I should have known you would have skipped your 60th.
I was working ten years ago, photographing a newborn and I went into labor with you. I have to say, it was an uncomfortable two hours as I finished up my session, crawling around on the floor. You were scheduled for a c-section the following week, so I was kind of hoping it was a false alarm. But when I went to the hospital to get checked, the Dr said I would be holding you in less then an hour. I was surprised when you came out, as you did not look like your brother. I was expecting a mini Elijah, but you decided to come out looking like a Dankmeyer, all 8 pounds 4 ounces of you. And I have to say, you have turned into a mini Dankmeyer through and through!
As I tell you, you will always be my baby. Your siblings often say you get away with the most, and they are probably right. I tell them that it is the right of passage as the baby of the family. They don’t like this answer.
These past ten years you have challenged me to really connect with you and figure you out. Because of that, we have a very strong bond. I thought I was a pro, after having three, but you did everything different. You had to have a particular soother, a particular blanket, your clothes have to fit you in a particular way. You love routine and schedule, and enjoy following a to do list. Separating you from the family as discipline ALWAYS works better than anything else. I can remember countless times sitting with you on the stairs or in your room while you cried and screamed. Then when you were tired enough, you would climb onto my lap and settle down. You are still like this. Learning you has been a challenge, but also a joy. There is something very special about you. You have such a calm and level energy.
You have taught me patience with people, even though I lack it with everything else. You have taught me the importance of a bond a boy shares with an animal. You have taught me the struggles of loving a perfectionist! You have taught me that there is another out there as stubborn as I am, and how frustrated others may get at times dealing with me. You have taught me that everything else can wait while a snuggle is needed.
I love that you still sit on my lap grab my arms and wrap them around you in a big hug, that you still expect me to pick you up (although I’m just about at my limits with this) and that you still climb into bed and hold my hand all night. I love that you hug me countless times a day, and make me laugh with your silly antics and jokes. I love how you always take my face in your hands and squeeze with your eyes big. I love how you won’t take no for an answer, ignore what I say, and argue your point. I love how you will miss out on something for yourself to be able to give it to someone else you love (although I’m still trying to teach you not to give all your allowance to your siblings if they ask you for it). I love your thoughtfulness as you are always bringing me little tokens or candy you think I will like. I love how you dance around and are gentle and kind to others (well, except your brother). I love how you watch how Darryl treats me, and then you try to do the same things. Although we need to practice how you brush another persons hair, as most girls would like to still have some when you are done brushing it.
I love how you love. Your love fills a room. You are such a bright and beautiful soul.
I don’t know how ten years has passed by since I first held you. The light and love you have brought to my life has been endless. I know that one day I’m going to get to collect on the bet you and I have made, and that makes me smile. I can not wait to see who you choose to become. Because who you are now, is pretty remarkable.
Happy Life Day my beautiful boy. May you always find the light.