Saturday, April 2, 2011

No. 2

Do I get snaps for not spending my several blog posts complaining about being pregnant or all the fun things that go along with it? It's been a struggle. I know there are lots of women out there that love being pregnant. That find it to be this amazing experience, indulge in all of their cravings, and relish the excuse to not do certain things and taking it easy. Confession: I am not one of those women. I'm not a happy pregnant person. Shocker I know... I love the end result, but I find pregnancy annoying. Just ask my husband. He will confess to my craziness these last 9 months. The rage one minute and the unexplainable crying the next (I'm not a chick who cries over little things..). Hormones: don't try them at home. One day while at the office, I day dreamed for quite sometime about body slamming my New York boss for giving me his unsolicited opinion... not a rational thought. At all. Apparently don't try hormones at work either.

I am fortunate. My pregnancy has progressed without incident..other than the usual. I haven't even really had any strange cravings. My weight gain has been less than with Cole, whom I gained more than 50lbs with...I am eager to meet my son and nervous at the same time.

I know my relationship with this son will be completely different than my relationship with Cole and I find myself perplexed. Cole was a fairly easy baby. Happy most of the time. He has been an easy toddler. I absolutely adore him and he's my pride and joy... (though there are those moments where he makes me want to bang my head on a brick wall..) Cole likes to talk A LOT and while it's endearing, sometimes I just look at him and say "Bubba you don't have to fill every moment with words.." He usually smiles at me and says "Mommy, I just have a wot to say..."

When Cole was born, it was eye opening. I expected more for him than I did for myself...and that led to some life altering changes. So I find myself wondering how will this son change me? There's really nothing left to do but sit back and enjoy the ride...if activity in the womb is any indicator, this kid is going to be wild and I'm in trouble. But I'm so ready to meet him and discover what sort of little personality has been developing within him.


Thursday, March 3, 2011


Sometimes there are things going on in your life that are so deeply personal, that you hesitate to write about them… Those things where you literally pray to God “I do not understand how you could have let this happen” My pastor and friend, when I’ve expressed these feelings, always reassures me by telling me “He can handle it,” and somehow I don’t feel like as bad of a Christian for having these thoughts and/or negotiations with God.

When I found out Jay and I were pregnant, it clearly wasn’t planned. In fact, we were taking measures to prevent pregnancy. So much for 99% effectiveness..I feel like I should wear some sort of name tag that identifies me as the poster child for 1%. Regardless, we struggled with it, prayed about it and as the weeks went on realized what an amazing blessing it was. I think I was still in the process of “accepting” my own pregnancy when my brother called. I was drying Cole off after his bath… “Ash? Guess what…” My brother Chris and his wife Rachel were expecting as well. I screamed with delight.. and immediately told Cole about Uncle Chwis and Aunt Rawchel’s baby before I’d even told him of my own. He was delighted. The weeks went on and I found myself more and more excited that our kids would literally be a month a part in age, with me delivering first.

I received a call from my mother one early Monday morning. Rachel was in the hospital. Her water had broken at 17 weeks. They’d admitted her. Things didn’t look good. The family gathered around them. There was still a strong heartbeat. Our little Drury Baby was hanging on.

After several days, Rachel was sent home and put on bed rest. Weekly appointments with her doctor revealed there was no measurable amniotic fluid, but always a strong steady heart rate. Weeks passed. After the first of the year, at 24 weeks Rachel was admitted to the hospital where she’ll remain until they deliver the baby at 34 weeks at the end of March. There has never been much amniotic fluid, which is crucial for organ development, but most importantly the baby’s lungs. Without amniotic fluid, you can’t really determine the baby’s sex, but the doctors are more and more confident it’s a boy.. A boy to carry on the Drury name as my brother is the last male Drury. No pressure little guy.

Chris and Rachel

My best friend recently helped Chris and Rachel buy their first home by acting as their agent. She immediately dubbed them the “sweetest couple ever” and questioned me about why I wasn’t just as sweet. I affectionately call them the “do gooders” because they have both dedicated their careers to the education/development of children. My brother a junior high English Teacher and Rachel is a Camp Director for the YMCA. They are naturals when it comes to kids and both have looked forward to starting their own family.

I’ve been amazed as I’ve watched them deal with this. Their quiet strength, their Faith, their prayer together for a positive outcome and all of the waiting that comes as the doctors run every imaginable test to determine if your child is going to make it. There’s always been a steady heartbeat and as such Chris and Rachel’s stance has been clear: we won’t give up. My brother’s Faith developed at a much younger age than my own. While I was still questioning, he had already accepted it… But I’m continually humbled at his strength as a husband and father already.

This past Sunday, my Pastor’s sermon hit home. In it he basically said, that often times in a spiritual journey there is a space of non answer and that’s the space in which God creates Faith.. Faith does not mean having answers, it means being willing to live without them…Faith is having the security to be insecure…As my family waits for answers, I found myself comforted.

So to all four of my blog followers: Please pray for Chris, Rachel and their baby. Pray for comfort. Pray for the security to be insecure.

Update: As I wrote this blog on 2/21/11, Samuel was contemplating his arrival. At 2:43am on February 24, 2011 Samuel Jon Drury made his entrance weighing in at 3lbs 15 oz. He remains in the NICU and he’s a fighter…completely worthy of his namesake. He’s doing as well as can be expected and the staff has to keep him sedated. If not, he’s trying to pull the many tubes from his tiny body. God willing, Sam will meet his cousin in the nursery as I’m set to deliver at the same hospital in just a few weeks.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Confessions of A Step Mother

Here’s what I’m going to say about being a step mother after muddling thru almost a year of this complicated "title" and it’s brutally, brutally honest: It isn’t for wimps, and don’t embark on this journey without a licensed professional keeping you in check and lots of Mommy Juice. OK so I’m slightly kidding on the licensed professional thing…slightly.

When Jay and I started dating Hudson was 5 and Abigail was almost 7. We didn’t date in front of the kids… we would occasionally get together for a zoo outing or chuck e cheese or the like with all three kids. We didn’t show affection, or make any declarations of a “relationship” to any of the kids. When things became more serious, I started seeing the kids twice a month or so for a movie date and that was the extent of it. Once we became engaged I usually saw them every Saturday that they were with their Dad and we’d try to plan fun excursions for them.

Someone once told me that if you marry someone with kids, you immediately have to love their children, but I think they are completely wrong and you put all kinds of ridiculous pressure on the kids, yourself, and the relationship to feel this compelling love for someone else’s children. It just doesn’t happen overnight and I’ve learned not to beat myself up over it. Do I love my step children and want the best for them? Absolutely. Do they have a deep rooted bond with me? Absolutely not. Do I think they love me? A little. Will it come? Only time will tell, but if it doesn’t, that can’t define me… and as a woman, a mother, someone genetically predisposed to be able to bond with children, it took me a long time to get there and I still have to remind myself of it every day.

Eb and Flow

If you’re a mother, think of all the disgusting parts of your day to day existence when you have kids. Let’s be real: you change diapers, you exist with spit up on your clothes, you nurse them when they are sick, console them when they are sad, clean up all of their nasty messes, scrub stains from their undies, occasionally you venture to the back seat of your car where there is no telling what sort of science experiment you will find and ask youself: What the Hell??? You deal with their moods, their temperament, and their bad days. You celebrate their small victories and offer up lots of hugs and unconditional love. You bath them, you battle to feed them something nutritious, you tuck them in, pray with them, fall into bed exhausted and get up in the morning just to do it all again. You do this in conjunction with trying to teach them manners, respect, doling out necessary discipline, and trying oh so hard to shape them into functioning adults. You do this in conjunction with working at a job you hate because it pays the bills and provides security. And if you’re a mother, you know exactly why you do all of this: because you can’t imagine loving anyone more than you love your kids. I think God gives us children so we can begin to fathom the unconditional love and grace He shines down on us mere humans. Their happiness becomes your happiness and at the end of the day nothing makes me feel better than my son’s blind adoration. At some point it won’t be there, but for now it is and that in and of itself makes all of the crap you deal with daily and all of the inner demons you battle worth it. When he says “Mommy I love you…” for no reason at all, that gives me the courage to get up and do it all again tomorrow and look for the best possible stain removers on the market.

Now imagine doing it for kids that have no blind adoration for you what so ever… none. In fact, after you’ve done their laundry, packed their lunch, entertained their friends, searched 10+ stores for jeans to fit them, cleaned their room and made them their favorite meal, they will want to call their Mom at the end of the day when it’s time to go to sleep and you have served your purpose. You kept their world turning for the day and while you’ve blindly done it because it’s what you would do for your own kids, you walk away feeling used, unappreciated, and exhausted. Stepmother: it ain’t for wimps.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I never ever, for any reason, will try to take the place of their own mother. It’s not my intent,my place, nor do I want the full time role. There are years there that I wasn’t present for and a biological bond. They most certainly didn’t choose me, and I completely respect that. But it’s terribly hard not to take the act of being a “mother figure” without being a “mother” in stride at times. The thing I hear over and over again, that makes me want to scream: you can’t take it personally. How the heck can you not? Before you start in on telling me that I’m the adult and it’s not the kids’ responsibility to validate me emotionally- I couldn’t agree more.

I'll talk more on this evolving relationship with the new direction of my blog. For those of you reading this thinking I’m whining or complaining. Stick with me. That’s not my intent. My intent is to lay the ground work for talking about what I call the small miracles along the way…and when you’re blending a family you have to look for the small miracles daily. Otherwise you’ll loose your mind..and mommy juice isn't an option for me right now..


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Failure to Launch

As I struggle through parenthood.. hoping oh so hard to get it right and knowing that I am inevitably causing irreparable damage when I, on occasion, I don't know, lose it with my kids..I've come to some fairly deep revelations about differences in parenting style and what might cause such differences... and I've made some correlations.

You parent with one of two objectives (if you're honest): A) Giving your child the life skills they need to go out and make it on their own in this world or B) Encouraging your child to be dependent on you (on some level) for the remainder of his or her life.

With either objective, you clearly love your kids. You want the best for them. Your vision of what's best is just slightly skewed depending on your objective.. the one that is buried deep within you. Don't get me wrong, when I think of an empty nest or taking Cole to college or financially cutting him off in the event he chooses not to go or the worrying that will inevitably come with the "launch" I tear up. But I want my kids to have happy, fulfilled, successful lives and for them not to be dependent upon me. I don't want to raise grandchildren (though I certainly would if I had to). I want to enjoy them. I don't want to be financially supporting four kids after we've kicked their butts all the way through college... and after a while, I don't need any of my adult children living with me. They should go forth and prosper.. and prosperity shouldn't include my pocket book.

On the other end of the spectrum is the parenting style where on some level you always want your kids to need you. You always bail them out. You don't expect them abide by the same rules as other kids... You're the parent at the parent teacher conference who when the teacher says "____ could really use some assistance with_____" that answers that statement with : "well perhaps you could do a better job of teaching" Of course there are times where this is absolutely true, but also times where you as the parent have failed to give your kid some sort of skill and will make excuses for the rest of his or her life rather than looking in the mirror.

I've been told in this life that I have unrealistic expectations of people. And at times, that I am wrong to have expectations of my children.. Frankly, I admit my short comings freely, but if I don't expect my kids to behave, be mannerly, functioning and expect respect- tell me, who will?

Here's the cold, hard, truth in parenting (in my humble opinion). You can't protect your child from every heartbreak.. They'll never learn to move forward. You can't protect them from the sinful nature of this world. You can only talk frankly with them about it and instill a different moral boundary. You can't always fix their problems- they'll never learn to take responsibility. You can't always make excuses for them... Sometimes they need to suffer consequences. You can't always bail them out... They'll expect it the rest of their lives.

I've been pretty frank about becoming a step parent and dealing with that transition. Jay has the opportunity to parent his kids approximately 40% of the time. We have expectations in terms of behavior, manners, respect, & contributions to the family unit.. Our love is not a dependent one and it's a struggle. Frankly, their mother who moved back in with her parents and is re-evaluating the need for a career by returning to school- touts frequently "My Children are my life and my first priority.." And she certainly parents to this extreme. She's their friend, not always a parent and is raising them to be extremely dependent. It's frustrating. Abigail and Hudson are amazing kids and they have to bounce back and forth between the different expectations and I'm not sure who is right?

Hudson is the natural athlete in our family and as such, we try to boost self esteem by playing this skill up. Last year at his soccer game, he was kicked in the shines... Trust me, it was painful.. He decided to sit out. He ran directly to his mother's lap where she coddled, stroked him, babied and re-assured him for the remaining 45 minutes of the game. Jay was pacing saying "Why isn't she sending him back in?" Hudson is one of the team's best players. It's awesome that Hudson is so loved... But there was a lesson here for Hudson to learn: When life knocks you down take a minute, re-group, but get back in the game..that's mine and Jay's expectation, but when your love cripples your children to complete dependence and a an athletically gifted kid is sitting in his mother's lap like he's still a dependent toddler... I wonder, are you failing your child as a parent? How is this example any different than a grown woman, running directly back to her parents to take care of her when the divorce is final?

Time will tell. By no means am I perfect parent and I frequently get it wrong, and while I love my kids more than anything..I also love them enough to be tough on them. To have expectations and to invest the time in teaching them life skills. Because, I honestly couldn't handle a failure to launch and when you sign up to be a parent, you give up the ability to take the easy way out. Holla!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hello 2011!

And she's back. So I realized today at work, it's really 2011. I think it takes me a week of typing dates and communicating it for it to actually sink in...there are still 354 days for life to change in 2011 and trust me it will.

As I reflect on the last several years of life, I think about where I've been and how much I've accomplished and better yet where I want to go. I think I want my blog to take a new path this year but before I talk about that new path I guess I need to cover some of the past. Those of you whom I call friend, already know so much of this, but for those of you just finding my blog let me bring you up to speed: I am crazy (but in a good way hence the title of my blog) and several years ago I wondered through the darkest valley I'd been through this far in life: it's called Divorce. I blogged a lot about starting over and being a single mom and how completely and totally terrifying it was.. I call 2008 the "rip cord" year. I turned my life and my son's upside down on shear faith that once I lept and pulled the rip cord that we'd land in a better place and we did.

When I started 2009 I'd met someone... he was dubbed Marketing Boy for the purposes of this blog and to protect the innocent. I've blogged a lot about our relationship and our story...I got a new job and started finding my way. I call 2009 the Recovery Year...

In 2010, Marketing Boy and I embarked on a whole new kind of journey: we sold both of our houses..we got married... and because we're both divorced we wanted to make sure it stuck, so we got married not once..but twice (just to be on the safe side) We bought a house, and we learned in August that we would add another baby to our brood. I'm dubbing 2010 the Moving On/Building the Foundation Year.

Right now I'm affectionately looking at 2011 as the "Holy Crap" year.. and I'm at peace. Our son (God willing) will be born in April. We are still not at a place where the blending of the proverbial "His" and "Mine" child situation is super easy so adding "ours" seemed like a brilliant idea. Both of our careers (like most of America) are somewhat questionable.. so we have three soon to be four kids, a whole lot of Faith that God never gives us more than we can handle, and each other. "Holy Crap?" you ain't never lying. As in "Holy Crap" I hope the foundation is sturdy enough to hold up the dreams of all of these kids, a new marriage and questionable careers??" My prayer time and Jay's blood pressure have gone up infinitely since August. But we remain happy, still together, and hopeful that all the sacrifices we made financially, emotionally and logistically for our family in 2010 will start to pay off.

New Direction

So when I started this blog during the rip cord year, I did it mostly as a therapeutic outlet for my situation at the time. I never thought people would actually read it.. Many of my posts were also about my son, Cole, so it was sort of a place to keep all the notes I'd written about him. When I started receiving comments, the best ones, were generally letting me know I was doing ok at not being a bitter divorced chick. This made me think maybe there was something to all of this blogging stuff and in hind site, I remain proud of the way I handled it for Cole and myself. I've met bitter divorced chick since that time, and trust me when I say, I'm definitely not that stereotype.

As I think about the Holy Crap year, here's the truth.. Marketing Boy and I are in the midst of blending a family... and it's not easy. I don't suppose family and raising kids is ever easy, but we're getting through it and there are highs and lows. So as I muddle through my Holy Crap year- I will share the story because blended families are everywhere around us and they aren't always painted in the best light. We have remained dedicated to seeking a great deal of coaching to get this right and when a lot of divorced parents resort to bad mouthing the other parent, we've chosen a different path when it would certainly be easier to join in the mudslinging. So if I can share that story (or at least some of it) and it helps get me and my family through, well then I think that's the benefit of the social networking world we live in...maybe it'll give someone a laugh or someone out there will let me know they've been there too... only time will tell.

In the coming weeks, I'll be revamping my blog site, introducing you to some new characters, and Random Ramblings of a Crazy Red Head will be less about me and Cole "the solo mission" and more about my crazy blended family, new baby, and new marriage.

But Holy Crap it's 2011 and I have a feeling great things are going to start to happen.