Final Ties

Divorce takes a long time. There is no set time frame, but it’s long. I’ve seen some people finish the process in about 6 months (not including the 90 day waiting period).  And I have a friend who, after almost 3 years, is still waiting for her day in court. I fall somewhere in between these two. After just about 15 months I am finally divorced.

Armed with all the paperwork I thought I needed to cut the final ties between my ex- husband and me I went to AAA to change my name on my driver’s license. Much to my surprise I had to provide them with the official copy of the final divorce decree. I hadn’t brought that with me. I had to go home and get it. 35 minutes each way, and they were closing in an hour and 20 minutes. I almost burst into tears at AAA. The kind woman at AAA sensed my frustration and tried to see if she could proceed without it but alas we could not.

Driving home to get it and hoping I would get back in time to get it done that day I did burst into tears. I cried at the frustrating hoops I had to jump through to change my name back to my maiden name. I cried because I hadn’t realized just how important it was for me to cut this final tie between my ex- husband and me. I didn’t want his name. I didn’t want that connection to him. I had never wanted to use my maiden so badly in all my life.

I’m not sure why cutting this final tie was so important to me but it was. I don’t want to have his last name anymore. I want my own. I don’t want any more connections to him. I want to be able to move forward with my own life.

Maybe cutting this tie will help me take back just a little bit of the control that he still has over me. Maybe cutting this tie will make me stronger. Maybe cutting this tie will let me move on. Maybe, just maybe…

 

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The Radio

Today’s blog post idea from The Daily Post was to start a post from the first lines of the last song you heard on the radio. For the most part I listen to Boston sports talk radio so while I would enjoy writing a post about the outstanding performance of Tom Brady and Jimmy Garapalo in last nights pre-season game between the New England patriots and the Carolina panthers I don’t think that was the intention of the post. So I decided that I would intentionally put on some music when I got in the car today. I don’t really like a lot of the music on the radio, which is one of the reasons I listen to sports talk radio, and of course because I love football.

I plug my iPhone into the receiver in my car and let it shuffle and pick a song. The first song that comes up is “Show you how to love” performed by Penatonix and amazing acapella group I love. I sigh. Why are all songs on the radio about love? But the idea behind the title “show you how to love” has me intrigued in several different ways.

Having spent the last year of my life struggling through a horrific divorce (is there really such a thing as a good divorce?) I think about needing someone to show me how to love again. I’m jaded right now. I’m hurt. I’m struggling. And I’m in that place where I don’t even want to think about love again. But that’s because what I thought was love wasn’t. So I need someone to show me how to love.

I’m also thinking about the idea of the song being about showing someone how to love me. Showing someone what I need and how to love and take care of me.

It has made me think about love again and what it means to me. Or what I want it to be this time around. At the football game last night I saw on older couple walking out of the stadium holding hands, wearing matching Brady jerseys. I love the idea of companionship and enjoying doing something together. At church I see the older couples helping each other out of the pew at the end of service.

 

For some reason old couples are who I’m looking at now. They are so sweet. Maybe that’s because I think about what it’s going to be like when I’m older and alone. Or maybe it’s because I still can’t think about being in a relationship now because I’m still so hurt and raw.

But I also have friends my age who have been married for over 17 years and are as in love today as they were when they met. I often tell them that they are my hope that there is goodness and love in the world. They ride with each other to a meeting just to spend the time together. They have special things they do for each other just because. They truly love being together. I guess that’s what I want. Someone who loves me enough to want to spend time with me and yet trusts me enough to let me spend time away from him.

I guess I need someone to show me how to love again. And maybe in the process I will be able to teach them how to love me.

Eat to run

This a great post from my cousin that reminds me think about how we think bout our bodies and the messages that we receive about food and our bodies.

seanacooks

Sometime in high school my friends and I started saying that we ran/worked out so much so that we could eat as much as we wanted. It was our play on the old “there are people who eat to live and those who live to eat.” I knew then that I am a person who lives to eat. I had also found my eating buddy — my bestie — the person who has a similar intense love of food and cooking to my own. When you find that person, I believe you should keep them close. Close for us meant eating together and running together.
While on my run today I thought about that quip that we had. It followed us through high school and college and into adult hood. In my early 20s, meeting someone for lunch, hoping off my bike I would say “no salad for me, I’ll…

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What I really deserve

He told me I was lucky he put up with me.

He told me he was going to kill himself.

He told me it was my fault.

He told me I deserved to be hit.

 

And I believed him.

 

No one should feel scared or intimidated by their spouse.

No one should use threats to control others.

No one is responsible for someone else’s actions.

No one deserves to be hit.

 

I don’t want to believe him any more.

 

I tell myself these things over and over again.

I tell myself to believe them.

I tell myself that I am a good person.

I tell myself that I deserve better.

 

I don’t know what that looks like.

 

I want respect and trust.

I want caring and kindness.

I want understanding and forgiveness.

I want safety and security.

 

I deserve better.

The importance of the words we speak

Over the past few weeks, in several different ways, the importance of what we say to others has been a recurrent theme. I’m sure if you thought about it for a few minutes, you would remember something that someone said to you that made a difference for you. Sometimes it is the compliment that someone gives you that sticks with you, but just as often, the insult or cruel comment is the one you remember most.

Last week when I was at a principal’s conference, one of the speakers talked about the way in which we, as education professionals, talk to students and how it impacts their belief about what they can do. Children are full of hopes and dreams, and sometimes the comments we make can either spark those dreams or squash them. We need to think about how we can help them to grow simply with the words we use.

 Again this week, another administrator and I were having a conversation about optimism and being positive around students. Not the kind of Pollyanna positivity that is fake, because kids can see through that. But it is also important to not be a negative Nancy where everything is a downer. It is important for us as the adults to stay positive and try our best to help support the students we work with.

Even closer to home I had a conversation with my son the other night about hurtful words that a family member said. It wasn’t so much a direct comment made to him, but it was more of a feeling he got that he disappointed them. It was a side comment that was made that was hurtful. I know and understand that feeling. We tend to be a very sarcastic family and there is a fine line between humorous and hurtful. Sometimes it is a snarky comment that goes too far.

Or sometimes it is what is left unsaid that can be hurtful. By not telling people how you really feel and what you really think, you run the risk of them not knowing. As a parent I try to tell my boys every day how much I love them. To the point where my younger son says “I know mom, you tell me all the time.” I would rather him know and be sick of hearing me say it, then him not know, or have to guess. I try to tell them when I am proud of them and when they have done something great. I also try to tell them when I am upset or hurt by something they do. I try to do that in private so as not to hurt or embarrass them.

So today I challenge you to tell your friends, family members, spouse, or someone important to you how you feel. Tell them they are important to you. Tell them you are proud of them. Tell them they are special. Tell them what they mean to you. And know that the words you speak are important to them.

Sharing the load

The Daily Prompt: Second Opinion

One of the hardest things about being divorced is being the one responsible to make all the decisions all the time. I would love to have the opportunity to have someone in my life who will share their opinion with me. 

I’m sure some of you married people out there might be thinking “I get to make all the decisions by myself? All the time?” and you might be thinking that it would be pretty great to make all the decisions.  But it isn’t just about making the decision and getting to do what you want, it is bigger than that.

I make decisions all day long at work. Some decisions I have the opportunity to think about for a while and get other people’s opinion on, and other times I have to make decisions on the spot. I try to be thoughtful about all of the decisions I make. But in the end, the decision and the responsibility for that decision, falls to me.

Being a single mother, I make most of the decisions at home too. I try to let my sons decide some of the smaller stuff, but for the big stuff, the decision ultimately rests with me. This summer I had to make some pretty big decisions about cars. I had to get a new car for me, and I had to replace my son’s car. I don’t know a lot about cars and I would have loved to have someone else helping me make those decisions. I would have loved to have a second opinion. But in the end, the decision and the responsibility for the decision was up to me.

Making the decision isn’t really the issue, it’s the idea of having someone else to talk to about it. It’s about discussing the pros and cons and getting someone else’s opinion. It’s about having thinking it through and having someone else there to share the load with.

 

 

I hate Saturdays

I hate Saturdays. I know, that sounds crazy, awful and probably very strange to most people, but it’s true, I hate Saturdays. It’s because that is that day that I have to share my son with his dad. It sounds selfish, but I don’t like sharing. And I don’t like having to deal with my ex. So, therefore, I don’t like Saturdays.

 

I had to go back to court (again) the other day to finalize our “sharing” agreement. It was horrible. Parceling out which day I will get to have him with me this year, and which day he will be with his dad. Of course we both want him for all of the holidays, which I guess is a good thing, but then one of us misses out for each holiday we don’t have him with us.

 

It felt so petty. Chopping up the days: you get him Christmas morning, I get him Christmas night; you have him 4th of July in even years, I get him 4th of July for odd years. It feels like he becomes a non-entity in this. When does he get to make decisions about where he wants to be for the holidays? When does he get to decide where he wants to sleep at night? When did my life become about parceling out my son, and dreading Saturdays?

 

The good and the bad news of the final (I hope) court date is that we now have everything “set”. Bad news is he sleeps away from me every other weekend. Good news is he stays with me on alternate weekends. Bad news is I have to share holidays. (Have I mentioned I don’t like sharing?) Good news is he has a dad who cares about him and wants to be in his life. Bad news is, now instead of hating Saturdays, I hate every other weekend…

Shaking my core

I am a strong confident woman. No one intimidates me. That might sound like a cocky thing to say, but it’s true. Not doctors. Not lawyers. Not professors. Not my supervisors. And not even those whom I supervise (and some of them can be fairly intimidating). I’m a vey intelligent, confident woman and very little intimidates me.

But one thing terrifies me: my ex- husband. I know that intellectually I can out wit him. I know that emotionally I’m a very strong person. I know that my life is better now than it was when we were together. But I also know that just the thought of having to see him or deal with him for anything shakes me to my core like nothing else.  I can’t quite explain it or justify it or even rationalize it. But he terrifies me.

All it takes is for me to see his name pop up on my phone.  Or see him when I drop off my son with him. Or see him in court. Just the thought of having to deal with him for anything, and I feel like I’m about to have an anxiety attack. My hands start shaking. My heart starts to pound. I can’t catch my breath. My stomach churns. Suddenly all of that confidence that I have most days is gone and I feel tiny and fragile and scared.

It disturbs me how much his name, his face, his presence can just shake me so badly. It is terrifying how this one person has so much control over me. I can’t make sense of it, but each day I am trying to move forward and figure out how to deal with this and how to regain my sense of self.

 

Creating Depth of Knowledge

 

Photo borrowed from: http://theologyforum.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/scripture-where-elephants-and-lambs-swim/

 

This summer at church we have been focusing on the many parables that Jesus tells and how we can apply them to our lives. Our pastor often tells us that parables are shallow enough for children to wade in and deep enough for an elephant to swim in. I have found this description beautifully simple and profoundly insightful.

Parables were used to help make sense of some very complicated ideas. The idea is that even for a small child, they can hear, understand and enjoy the parables at their own level.  Yet as we revisit those parables throughout our lives, there is still enough depth to them that we can continue to get greater meaning and insight from them.

As an educator I think about this concept all the time. How do you make an idea both simple enough for the child, beginning learner, to grasp and yet deep enough for the elephant, the advanced learner, to immerse their whole selves in the learning? It is about creating depth of knowledge for all learners. It is the struggling of trying to take all students from where they are at and make each lesson important and relevant to them.

I am no longer in the classroom, but now I am an administrator and I find this challenge even more daunting with my staff. I am constantly pushing myself to find a way to help all of my teachers improve their craft, or at the bare minimum, get something out of my meetings.

With every concept that I present or discuss, I have teachers who are only beginning to wade in the ideas, others who are ready to dive in deep and explore and still others who are already swimming around.  This dichotomy is even more pronounced with the integration of technology. We are beginning a 1:1 technology program at my school and my biggest challenge is going to be supporting all of my teachers from where they are at to where they need to go.

So this summer, while I prepare for the start of school, I will continue to seek the ways in which I can provide my teachers with the different levels of support they need. For some I will offer them the opportunity and encouragement to get their feet wet and to begin to wade into the vast world of technology. And for others, I will help them to navigate the deep waters and help them to take on the challenges of swimming further away from shore.

Hopefully, through the course of this year they will all gain the confidence to take the plunge.