Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bitter Party of One

If you've known me for any period of time..well you might have heard me pretend to be a restaurant hostess....paging you because your table is now available.. It comes in quite handy. You're upset about work? You're upset about life, a friend or a relationship? You need to laugh at yourself? I can always throw it out. "Bitter party of one- your table is now available..."

But personally, I've had a standing reservation for "Bitter Party of One" for over a year. It's quite easy to reside there when you're going through a divorce.

I've gotten so much mileage out of this particular joke that even my therapist has heard it and maybe she now uses it on her other patients (the crazy ones like me)... but in my session this week after being on the receiving end of some particularly painful comments this weekend I proclaimed the following: "I'm done. I just can't be angry anymore. It takes too much energy and I'm ready to move on. " She smiled and said "Ashley- you're ready to pay the tab at your bitter party of one table..." And I am. And I have.

I've resided here for too long and life is too short. The view from my little table has been interesting. I like to picture my table as on of those little cafe tables outside a bistro in Paris. The tables usually face a park or a street. Dogs are welcome in Paris so I've had Tobie's leash tied to my chair and I've been handing him scraps from the table. I've been looking at a park watching Cole play... and well there's a couple of extra chairs at my table and friends and family have come to enjoy a beverage or three... and then have left me alone at the table to think. Behind me is a window so as I've thought and processed I've been able to turn around and look in the window, see myself and not always like what I see...

My marriage failed. But I'm coming to realize that it doesn't make me a failure unless I let it. I was not a perfect wife, but I was a good & faithful wife. I loved my husband more than myself for most of our marriage, though I don't think he'll ever see that. While I'll never blog about the particulars of the demise of our marriage- I took care of him, the house, Tobie, the finances and our life. I gave him a wonderful, beautiful son and I supported his dreams even when it meant sacrificing my own. I'll never be sorry that I made those sacrifices because I've come to realize that no one else has ever loved him like that. I wish only the best for him.

How do you make a decision to walk away from a marriage? It took me a very long time to come to that conclusion. I labored over the decision.. with God, with my husband, in therapy, with my friends and family. For me I had to come to a place where I'd thought of it all. I had to be okay with being alone. I had to figure out how to make it easiest for Cole. I had to ask really tough questions. I had to accept that Cole might be my only child and that I might never be in a relationship again. I worked through it and made the decision. It has been the hardest decision for me thus far in my life because I wasn't just making it for me. I don't know that I'll ever get another chance at being married or have more kids. I only know that I have to focus on my faith, Cole, the present and to be thankful for my life. No, it's not the life I thought I'd have or dreamed I'd have, but have you seen my son? He's amazing. How could I ask for more?

I feel as though God has led me down a path where He ultimately broke me as a person.. only so He could put me back together because I was finally able and willing to listen to Him and to admit that I can't do life on my own. I have to trust in Him.

I'm changed. For the better I think. I've had to examine my flaws. All of them. I've grieved. Grieved for the loss of my marriage and my dreams. Grieved over the guilt and the uncertainty. Grieved for Cole and that he won't have a Dad present daily in his life. But I made this decision for him as well. Time has helped me realize that it was the right decision no matter how difficult it was to make it.

It's time for me to move on from my table. The waitress has brought me the bill. I'm paying it. I'm letting Cole know it's time to go and grabbing Tobie's leash. I'm walking away with my boys. I've left a tip and my guilt on the table.

A very long time ago.. I bought a copy of Life's Little Instruction Book and two of the instructions got ripped out. They've followed me to college, to all of my crappy apartments and finally this house that I call home. They usually reside on a cork board, the fridge or wherever I can see them daily. This one is helping me along right now and if you're reading my random blog maybe someday you can use it too.

"Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to one can tell the difference.." This process isn't completely over for me I realize... but I'm getting there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Missed the Morning

I had to go to Oklahoma City this morning. Good times. Out the door by 6:45am and I didn't get my morning wake up with my C-Monster. Luckily I had one of the bestest babysitters spend the night last night so I didn't have to awaken the sleeping monster before he was ready.

I did get to tiptoe into his room and whisper "bye bye Bubba..mommy loves you..I have to go to work early..." he raised his head with crazy hair and said "no go ma" and then rolled back over like he'd performed some obligatory duty... I laughed... it was too funny.

I love getting Cole out of bed every morning. He's happy and in a good mood 95% of the time. On his bedroom door there's a sign.. it says "you are my sunshine.." because well he is my sunshine.

So Cole has his little gig in the morning. I watch him on the video monitor in the mornings while I'm getting ready.. He'll start rolling around.. and then he'll stand up in the crib and try to see if he can hear any "goings on" in the house.. if not- he'll sit back down and have some rather intense dialog with his posse aka the stuffed animals in the crib. There's Joey- the Togo look alike that he stole from me (Klepto Cole again)... there's Jake - a stuffed dog that was lovingly made for him by Caitlyn (one member of the bestest babysitting duo) and the random member is Mr. Bee. He talks to them..sometimes throws them out of the crib- I'm guessing to see if the landing looks like it hurts.. sometimes I think he's telling them like it is...

And when Cole and the natives start getting restless.. Togo and I crack the door.. stick our heads in and I say "Good Morning Sunshine!!!" and it gets me the biggest grin...every time and he squeals and says "Mommy Hi!" and a "Yay!" and Togo trots over to the crib to raise up on hind legs and be the first to give Cole the cold is Togo's universal greeting.

It's a pretty great way to start the day... and my days just aren't as great without it. I missed my little guy today, but I am lucky. For the most part, even when I travel, I can be home to feed him dinner, give him his bath & put him to bed. I take it for granted sometimes. I struggle with being a working Mom... but thank God the work force is getting on board with flexible schedules, laptops, blackberries, and a more "virtual" work place. It motivates me to log on after Cole is in bed or early in the morning because I get to be home for most every morning wake up, bath time, and bedtime. When I'm old and tired and look back on my life I'll be glad I juggled a lot so I was here to say more good morning sunshine's than not.

I'm tired. I'm off to take a hot bath.. crawl into bed... read..pray.. and watch some TiVo'd stupidness and sleep smack dab in the middle of my bed. It's very liberating moving on into the middle of the bed. Try it sometime. Holla!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I love music. All kinds of music. I write this random blog tonite because my MP3 player died and I had to transfer all my files around and reload...blah blah blah ...My uncanny talent is bursting into song with lyrics that are appropriate at the moment. I'd say that the only kind of music that I can't get on board with is hard core rap, screamo ( which I didn't know what that was until just recently) & really hard core punk rock. Other than these I can find something to appreciate about it...

The Standards
Who can't get on board with the great American Standards. Sometimes when I want to look at the world in an idyllic sort of way- I listen to standards. Sinatra, Buble & Harry Connick Jr. ( covering them for my generation), gotta love it. *sigh*

Sarah McLachlan
In my world she belongs in a class all by herself. I own every album (including every rarities & b sides albums) and have never missed her when she comes to town. I was at every Lilith Fair (a celebration of women in rock..organized by the great Sarah..) I LOVE HER (but not in a freakshow stalker sort of way) "Answer" is probably my favorite. "Vox" is the first track on my gym playlist.... She's my cup of comfort when my soul needs musical soothing

Angry Chicks
Every girl has angry chick music residing somewhere within her. Alanis Morissete (warning: she's heartbroken & angry again) on her latest album and I LOVE IT.
Melissa Etheridge, Brandi Carlisle, A Fine Frenzy, The Dixie Chicks, Tori Amos.. I'd love to have them all for dinner. Have some wine and just listen to the conversation... Good times. What would I cook? Hmmm...

Country & Oldies
My parents' radio had two settings growing up... country and oldies... I KLUV my oldies people!! they both have a special place in my heart. Sometimes I get a hankering for Charlie Daniels, Conway Twitty, Willie Nelson or Don Williams... Elvis, the Supremes, Aretha Franklin...they remind me of my childhood. As for oldies- I can remember there were a few songs I could always remember if you listened really hard you could hear my dad sing "American Pie" & "Leroy Brown" stick in my mind...

Sometimes I just need classical. Pachelbel's Cannon in D Minor *sigh*

Playlists- Just to name some of the songs you might stumble onto on my iPOD
Angry Playlist:
"Not Ready to Make Right" by the Dixie Chicks... "Say" by John Mayer.. "Why" by Annie Lennox "Enough" Melissa Etheridge "Hate Me" Blue October

Sad Playlist
Ain't No Love by David Gray... Answer by Sarah McLachlan... This Year's Love by David Gray.. "Not as We" by Alanis Morissette "Shine On" James Blunt "Full of Grace" Sarah McLachlan

Gym Playlist
"Vox" by Sarah McLachlan.. "Calling You" Blue October... "Faith" George Michael.. "Freedom" George Michael "Remedy" by Black Crowes.."She Talks to Angels" by Black Crowes

Flash Back
When I want to flash back to high school I think of these relics:
"Jeremy" Pearl Jam -November Rain- Guns N Roses (yes I just typed Guns N Roses- I stumbled onto "Patience" the other day on my iPOD and started giggling like a school girl..) "What's Up" 4 Non Blondes.. "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" Sarah McLachlan... any track by the Pretenders.. or Aerosmith or The Cure or the Violent Femmes...

I think this love of music is because I was a band nerd (please spare me the American Pie red head band nerd jokes-) and being a band nerd you learn to read music and well I was a pretty good band nerd/clarinet player and you appreciate the difficulty of making music a little more when you've studied it. I miss playing an instrument.... I'm running out of excuses not to pursue that interest again. No worries- I'm not gonna pick up my clarinet and start rummaging thru old sheet music.

Well it's time for me and my iPod to jam on back to my new bedroom..complete with new paint..and new attitude.. and take a bath.. do a little reading.. a little praying and go to sleep... But what will I listen to? Holla!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Traveling Mercies

So Traveling Mercies is a book I read quite some time accident really. The book found it's way in my stack of reading materials after my Mom and I duplicated a Christmas Gift to Rockin Rachel... And well now it's this battered looking piece of a book. One that I've savored and remains in my nightstand and I re-read certain chapters regularly.

Here's what I like about Anne Lamott. She's not the vision of the church lady. Her walk in Faith is a honest, flawed one that I totally relate to- but at the end of the day she just puts it all there for God and humbly asks for Grace. She's relatable. For me she's real. I get annoyed sometimes with Spiritual books that paint this picture of what we should be or do or say. That's been sort of the focus of the series at church lately..the demise of the Church as we know it. "Christians" have the wrap of being too busy judging you or trying to save you to just embrace you. Pretty deep stuff if you think about it.

Kinda got off track there. Traveling Mercies so I just visited and I'm working on my newest project for the house.. over the door I'm thinking I'll tell folks what Traveling Mercies means when they leave mine & Cole's crib... "Traveling Mercies: love the journey, God is with you, come home safe and sound." When I finally got to know what Traveling Mercies meant on pg 106 of the book it made me think of my Jr. High Speech Teacher. Theressa Patrick. Every Friday she would say: "Don't get in the car with strangers, say No to Drugs and come back to me safe.." It never failed. Funny how you remember those things...

So while I was thumbing through Traveling Mercies for my wallwords project...this passage managed to move me again..and I'm throwing it out there in my random blog tonite because we've got a team leaving for Uganda later this week...

"...our preacher Veronica said recently that this is life's nature: that lives and hearts get broken-those of people we love, those of people we'll never meet. She said that the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the Healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and crackers.."

Or you bring kids in Uganda shoes and socks so they can go to school. Traveling Mercies.

Holla!! I gotta go watch some TiVo'd Bachlorette.. I know that officially classifies me a a LOSER but it's summer TV and when I began this blog I said I would be honest and I'm kind of rooting for the dorky single Dad...