Auntie Mutant

When I got home on Friday, my boyfriend came back from his follow up with the doctor. He had some news– he’s pre-diabetic. So we went out to eat a healthy dinner despite the fact he really wanted one last junky one. When we got home, we settled into the couch for cuddles and TV and my phone rang. It was my aunt and when I answered she said, “Mutant what happened?” “What do you mean?” “Your brother sent a text– Baby is coming. Don’t text please.” “WHAT!? I didn’t get it! Let me find out bye.”

My niece was born at 10:32 PM Friday, February 27. She weighed 1 lb, 7 ounces. There was an emergency c-section. All hell broke loose in other words.

My niece is tiny. She is fighting. Every day is a new day. She has had a bad day and an ok day and a great day. Her mother and father are reeling and trying their best. We are trying to figure out what the hell to do for them. We are trying to give them distance without making them feel alone. We are worrying for them and trying to not let them know we are worried for them.

I worked with neonatologists for four and a half years. And now my brother and my sister in law are in there with my niece dealing with all of the things I had heard of during my time there. Now I am just trying to figure out what we can do for them that actually helps not annoys.

We have gotten ideas like doing their laundry, providing them with meals (one family mentioned they left a cooler on the front porch for this purpose), offering to drive her wherever, doing light groceries, running errands, giving them gift cards for things like gas, giving them magazines and baby books, etc. Any other ideas would be great. We are a MASSIVE family and we are usually very close so we know very well how easily that can veer into overwhelming. I bought her a journal and I took my brother a camera. I bought them a board book and I bought a set of muslin swaddling cloths that are pretty versatile. I have made a personal resolution to not bring up anything medical and to not offer advice or anything like that. I caught myself doing it and I decided that’s freaking annoying so I need to shush.

So yay I’m an Auntie! Now we just need lots of patience and good thoughts for my niece and her mommy and daddy.

The thing on my brain

Yesterday morning, my sister in law went to the hospital with contractions. She’s only 24 weeks pregnant. They found that she was 4cm dilated and put her on magnesium to stop the contractions. The magnesium worked and the contractions eased up big time. When I left yesterday, they were happening once every half hour or so and they weren’t very big. Today, the doctors made the decision to transfer her to the public hospital. They feel that she is likely to go into labor soon regardless what the medicine did. They say the baby is low in the birth canal and with her being at 4cm, I get the impression they feel a preemie is inevitable.

So the question is what kind of preemie are we talking about and the private hospital she was at is simply not equipped to handle a micropreemie or a very premature baby. The public hospital is. And the NICU at the public hospital is run by the group I just left. So, my former co-workers will be taking care of my niece it seems.

We are really really really really wishing and hoping she hangs in there for another 4 weeks so she gets to the really really great 28 week mark. But we know that realistically speaking, she can go at any time.

This leaves me feeling sort of crazy.

On the one hand, I’m very happy that she will be treated by my former co-workers. They are the best at what they do here, no doubt about it. And the fact that she is related to me will mean they will easily keep me posted and they will all be interested in her progress so those are good things. They are very reassuring.

On the other hand, I feel tremendous anxiety. I am not sleeping well and I’m sort of going crazy when I’m not in the hospital with them. Mostly, I am thinking about my sister in law in this case. She’s a PA. She KNOWS that this is risky. She knows better than most people do. And I think that’s not really a good thing. I want to be there for her. She was really happy, or so she said, with my presence yesterday. I know she and I are not super close and that she has closer friends, but I think what it comes down to is that I am actually an excellent caregiver. I am patient, I am calm, I listen, I am empathetic.

I also worry about my brother. I have a difficult time reading him. I want to be there for him and help him but I honestly don’t know how. This makes me feel sad. His wife is a lot like him too so I am never really sure if I am annoying her or helping her.

Emotionally, I fluctuate. I kind of freak out because she’s just 24 weeks. And then I try and calm down because she’s in the best place to be and because she’s not actually in labor right now.

So, anyhow, that’s the thing that is on my brain right now eating up my energy. What’s on yours?

A question of faith

One of the things I struggle with as a former Catholic turned agnostic is finding strength or comfort when things go crazy. The older I get, the more I understand why people practice religion, why they “find” God, why they cling to belief systems. Life gets hard as you get older. The more time you spend on this blue planet, the more you’re exposed to and there is a lot of not nice out there to be exposed too.

For the first 14, 15 years of my life I was raised as a Catholic. I received a Catholic education, attended Catholic Mass, went through Catholic ceremonies, read Catholic scriptures, sang Catholic hymns, said Catholic prayers, etc. Then I got older…

Have you ever watched the movie Dogma? There is a scene with Bethany and Liz and they talk about faith. It goes like this:

Liz: He said that faith is like a glass of water. When you’re young, the glass is small, and it’s easy to fill up. But the older you get, the bigger the glass gets, and the same amount of liquid doesn’t fill it anymore. Periodically, the glass has to be refilled.

Bethany: You’re suggesting I need to get filled?

Liz: In more ways than one. You need to get laid, Bethany Sloane. You need a man, if only for ten minutes.

Bethany: It’s been my experience that the average male is never a man. Not even for ten minutes in his entire lifespan.

Liz: That’a a bit militant. You thinking of joining the other side?

Bethany: Couldn’t do it. Women are insane.

Liz: Then YOU need to go back to church and ask God for a third option.

Bethany: I think God is dead.

Liz: The sign of a true Catholic.

Bethany and Liz

I remember watching that movie and that scene was exactly everything I was thinking. It stuck with through all of these years and lately I’ve been thinking about it more because when things get hectic, I flounder.

When I was a Catholic, I knew what to do. I knew that I could trust in God’s plan. I knew that I could pray about it. I knew that God knew what he was doing and for me to presume that I knew better was silly. So, you know, comfort was easy to find.

But then… all of the stuff became confusing. My glass got really, really, really big and there’s been nothing adequate to fill it. And for the most part, I’m fine with it. I don’t fear death. I am grateful we’re on this planet. I am grateful for the people who inhabit it with me. But I still struggle and when I struggle I don’t know what to do with myself.

The way I see it, there’s not really a plan. My life, your life, all of our lives, they aren’t designed for us to get the most out of it. They’re just our lives that we have and it’s up to us to shape them. Which is why so many people latch onto one belief system or another (sometimes many). And I am totally ok and understanding of that. It’s just not something that I can do at this point in my life.

A friend of mine tells me that we all need to believe in something. I agree with that but I don’t know what to believe in. A lot of people believe in themselves and that’s enough but that’s hard for me to swallow given my background. Religious systems do not appeal to me.

The things that I do believe in give me comfort but they don’t give me the reassurance I look for when things go bad. So I guess that’s my question for the week– where do you get your reassurance from when things go bad if you’re not religious? Do you simply have the confidence in yourself and your abilities to make the most out of a situation? Do you believe in a universe so vast that whatever problems we may face are just too insignificant to give attention to?

 

Kid Magnet

Here is a story of a strange thing that happened to me today. I stopped in at the neighborhood diner after my doctor’s appointment (upper respiratory infection FTW). The owner of the diner was at the door cleaning up something and so was his little girl– a cutie of about 2 or 3 years old that I had never seen before. I open the door and before I set foot in the door, the little girl looks up into my eyes and throws herself at me begging me to carry her. So I do, a little disturbed as to what the hell was going on and also trying to communicate to her father “Your daughter is safe! I am not a predator!”. She hugs me and I walk to the counter and when I try and put her down she is not happy and immediately begins to climb my chair. Her dad, somehow receiving the mentally transmitted message “Your daughter is safe!” gets me some coffee and water and watches his daughter settle into my lap.

While she sits in my lap, she plays (and pulls- ow) my hair, swats at my glasses (not cool), and babbles at me pointing out all of the cool things in the diner– especially the Minnie Mouse that’s sitting on the shelf in front of us. Her dad takes my order and the little girl and I just hang out. Her aunt comes and tries to have her sit in her lap next to me because they were a little weirded out I guess by the whole thing. The little girl is having NONE of it. And the aunt tells the dad, “Well, she kinda looks like Heather.” I took that to be the girl’s mother but I thought I had seen the girl’s mother in the diner before and I recalled she looked very unlike me. She had short pixie-like hair and lots of tattoos and had no glasses. But maybe that wasn’t the mother. I don’t know. The Dad mentioned if I didn’t have kids, I totally should. Later, the aunt brings my food and has to take away the little girl who immediately throws a major tantrum to the point the aunt had to take her outside. They tried to bring her back while I was still eating but she didn’t want to sit anywhere other than right on my lap so she went outside with her Aunt again.

Anyhow, later when I was done eating she came back over to me and climbed into my lap again. This time she leaned back against my chest and just sat there very calmly looking into space. Her Dad shook his head and told me, “She is seriously comfortable. She has never done anything like this with anyone.” When I left, she tried to leave with me. I told her goodbye and she started another tantrum again. I saw them later at the CVS (but she didn’t see me) and she had moved on.

So, yeah. That’s my weird story. Kids, especially really young ones like babies and kids her age, tend to be strongly attracted to me. Babies tend to be calm when I hold them and kids like to come over to me and hang out. Has anything ever happened like this to you?

Keeping it Mellow

Things have been pretty mellow here. We all got struck with varying degrees of sickness. I’m still shaking mine off and will be heading to the doctor tomorrow morning to see if it’s turned itself into another infection. I’m also going to see what I can do to bulk up against illnesses. I mean what I can REALLY do not what all of the personal stories say.

I had a really lovely Valentine’s Day weekend. He gave me roses on Friday. I know that I should be too cool for roses but I’m not. I love roses. And tulips. And sunflowers. And daisies. And mums. And hydrangeas. And all the flowers. So that was really sweet of him and the note he wrote me made me all mushy inside.

On Saturday he made us breakfast with heart shaped eggs in a basket. It was adorable. We just hung out at home and then we went out to eat at our favorite fritanga. After that he took me shoe shopping and we found a pair of Michael Kors shoes priced at $25 from $200 so that was a major score. From there we picked up his sister in law who is wonderful. The three of us went to the Wynwood Art Walk and had a great time. We saw someone painting a mural and ducked into a couple of galleries but once we found the tent with the music we pretty much found our place for the night. We headed to Panther Coffee a couple of times but were just frustrated by the insane line. Instead we had gelato pops that were delicious. And then we went for more dancing.

On Sunday he had to work and I did some major cleaning up in the play/craft room. I spent the ENTIRE day in there. His sister in law came over again, we had dinner at home, and then we went to watch Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo which was absolutely hilarious.

I got him a nifty bowtie, an Iron Giant Funko Pop, and a box of Red Velvet Oreo cookies that are delicious FYI. He was happy. We like to keep Valentine’s Day on the low key side of things.

This month has been interesting. I have been pretty vigilant with the money and the budget and it’s been paying off so far. I’ve kept frivolous spending down and intentional spending up. That’s how we got to see the Trocks for instance and also how I was able to score us tickets for Wicked next month.

Things are starting to make sense financially. Credit cards are done. Now all that’s left is the Lending Club and the student loans and I’m done with debt. The really encouraging part is that the amount of my debt is basically 10% of my retirement portfolio. I think that’s pretty good. It also means that I have a net worth and that makes me smile. The only other major thing would be the housing situation. I rent very cheaply and it’s hard for me to picture investing in a home here. Pros and cons to every situation, that’s for sure.

So that’s most of life over here. What’s life over there like?

Finishing up the second week

So today is my second Friday on the new job and all is well. In the mornings, I love the part where I drive through the toll plaza and behold the beauty of the Key. In the afternoons, I love crossing over the bridge. I always have my windows down while driving around here. Last Friday my mom came by with the kids and they saw one of the labs and then we went to the beach for a little while. They liked it so much we came back on Sunday for a late afternoon picnic.

I figured out my chair in the first week which is great because I never did figure out either one of my chairs in the old office. Or maybe they were just really crappy chairs. This one goes up and down and back and forth and reclines and doesn’t recline and has armrests that move. It’s pretty swell and I was really proud of myself for figuring it out because it’s the little things.

Some departments move as slow here as they did at the Medical school which I find surprising. HR is really slow. From what I understand, they still haven’t finalized my paperwork making me officially an employee at the Marine school. This is mostly not a problem except there’s one kind of expense reimbursement I have to do that lists my old supervisor as an approver and he’s giving me a hard time about approving something my current supervisor DID approve.

Some things I am still working on are how to climb the stairs to my boss’ office without panting by the time I get there and also how to put the toilet seat liner on without it slipping into the bowl before I sit on it. Also, there’s a total lack of hooks in the restrooms and I find that odd. It drives me crazy that I can’t hang my purse while I go pee. My mother is excited that I will surely lose weight because of all the up and down stairs I have to do. My mother is silly that way. I am trying to work on stretching out my calves because they really hurt from all of the up and down.

I worked from home yesterday without a problem because once again I got sick. Today I’m feeling better than yesterday. Yesterday I felt like I couldn’t move. Everything hurt, even my hair. Today I’m just irritated with my coughing and congestion but seriously I have work to do and I don’t want to spend another day in bed.

Overall, I have to say the transition has been smooth and I have been able to hit the ground running at a pretty decent pace. The one big difference is that in this position I am working under a grant-funded account and in my old position that wasn’t the case. So in this position, things are a little tighter and trickier as far as purchasing goes. This is further complicated by the fact that the grant is new and big so the people in finance are being very protective about it.

I like it here. It’s quiet and mellow. It feels much more independent than my previous job and I feel much more trusted here than I did before. I also like that I will be more connected to the science than before. I won’t be doing experiments but I’ll be managing data and I’ll be ordering the equipment and supplies. I already saw two of the labs. I like labs.

Of course the view is lovely too. My particular view isn’t amazing as I am next door the back lot of the Seaquarium next door. But there are lots of palm trees and many types of birds swoop around here in wide lazy circles. One day I saw a bunch of pelicans descend on a pickup truck and eat their hearts out. I don’t have to walk very far to see the ocean at all and our cafeteria has the most gorgeous view ever. They supposedly host happy hours every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday but I haven’t been over there yet.

My boss is nice. And it’s really nice that I only have one. He’s pretty young but also very accomplished from what I can tell. I like that. I also like his managing style which is to get everyone together so we all know what’s going on and what’s coming up. He’s really really busy. I think I can be a lot more helpful and useful than he originally counted on and that makes me feel good.

I hear from my old co-workers every now and then. The one girl that primarily took over my duties told me I’d be proud of her because she has been handling everything. I told her I never once doubted her.

So yeah, I’m happy. It’s been a good transition and I’m glad I did it.

Suggestions for Savings

Last week I asked for input on how to manage the rest of my tax refund. I got some really great suggestions and do feel that in the end what I will do is some sort of three way split– a portion to debt, a portion to the camp, and another portion to creating an emergency fund.That decision has led me to the next question for you smart souls– Where do I put it?

My main checking account is with Capital One 360 (formerly known as ING Direct). I like it a lot for my checking and have had it for ages. However, it’s not a great Savings opportunity for me because the Savings accounts are too easily linked to the Checking accounts for my personal taste. Logging into my checking accound and seeing a substantial sum in my Savings account makes me a little twitchy. I would much rather not see it on a constant basis and pretty much forget it exists until it’s needed.

Once upon a time I had an HSBC account but it had such an intense level of security to log into that I eventually withdrew everything and abandoned it. I want my account to be a little difficult to get to but not that level since I do want to have the ability to easily transfer funds into it.

I have heard a lot of good things about both SmartyPig and Ally. Any thoughts from you guys on those? Should I use one of them for one thing and the other for another so that the accounts are even more separate? SmartyPig looks to be especially good for saving up for a purchase as it offers lots of incentives for retailer gift cards. That doesn’t really do much for me in the case of the camp.

Do you have any other suggestions for great places to set up a Savings account for the things I have in mind?

Help Me Budget What’s Left of My Tax Return

Ok you smart money nerds, help me out here. I got my tax return and used a portion of it to finish paying off the lawyer. Now, I have $2,000.00 left and am not really sure the best way to use it.

Here is the debt situation in order of interest:

Store card: $171

Lending Club: $4800

Student Loan: $1800

In Savings, I have $0.

Big expense coming is Summer Camp in June and July. Last year this was a huge headache because I had nothing saved for it. I basically said I just couldn’t afford it but it ended up being a bit of a hassle. My parents were overwhelmed and the kids were often bored and fidgety. This year I set aside $1000 in an FSA to help me with the cost of Summer Camp.

For those who don’t know, the way an FSA works is they take a piece out of your check pre-tax and then when you make a claim, they pay from what’s been saved up. By the end of June, I’ll have $500 in there.

Summer Camp down here is expensive. About $500 a week for all three kids is not out there at all. I don’t want them in Summer Camp all Summer but I do want them to have a few weeks’ worth.

At the same time, I hate having debt.

So, what do you say?

Do I pay off the Store card and move the rest into a SmartyPig account or other Savings account I don’t normally see until it’s time for Summer?

Do I send $1000 to debt and save the other $1000 for Summer? $1500 to debt and $500 for Summer?

Punish my kids and parents again with no Summer Camp savings and send the $2k entirely to debt?

Do I not send anything to debt and instead set up a $500 emergency fund and the rest for Summer?

Do I do a three way split and send $666 to debt, $666 to savings, and $666 to Summer?

I’m so confused!

Thoughts on employee appreciation

As I wind things down with my soon to be former job, I keep hearing the word “appreciation” tossed around in its various forms. “You don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.” “They didn’t appreciate you.” “Maybe now they’ll appreciate everything that you did.”

Here’s the thing, I have never said I was looking for work because I didn’t feel appreciated. I was looking for work because I need significantly more income and I need a much better career path. Administrative work is a dead end job, management is much better. So the appreciation thing didn’t come from me. However people have pointed out to me the fact that I am leaving for the reasons that I am leaving is indeed a sign of a lack of employee appreciation.

In a recent meeting, I felt as if for the first time in four and a half years my two directors were really beginning to grasp just how much I know and just how much I do. I think they always thought I did a lot of the conference work– it was, after all, my job, but I don’t think they understood I pretty much did every single aspect of the conference. It was never done like that before. The conference was a shared responsibility.

Younger generations in the workforce get a lot of crap from older generations. They say we want gold stars for everything we do. We want to be acknowledged and appreciated for the smallest thing.

Obviously, I disagree.

What we want is to be appreciated and what I am starting to understand is that maybe the generational gap is sometimes large enough between management and employee that they simply can’t appreciate the work because they don’t understand it.

At least, in this case and in prior situations that’s what I ran into. I make a lot of things really easy for people. I have really fast turnarounds. I make complex things look easy to do and because my bosses simply don’t know or care to know how to do the things that I do, they don’t fully understand what an asset it is to have someone on their team like me.

My co-workers did. My co-workers did because they knew they simply lacked the skillset I had. My co-workers knew that what would take them hours to do on Microsoft Word I could accomplish in a few minutes. My co-workers would watch me work and constantly say “Wait, how did you do that? What was that? What did you just do there?”.

My bosses simply didn’t get that invested. They asked for things and I’d give it to them. Asking me for a demographics report on the most recent conference was the same as asking their secretary to get someone on the line for them. Sometimes I’d be faster with the report than the secretary with the phone call.

I am not a computer whiz. I can’t hack anything and my coding knowledge is super basic and super rusty because I just don’t practice it. But at the end of the day, I have been in front of a computer for most of my life. And for many years I have worked on Office software. I have used the internet for so long, I remember there was a time where you would go to the Yahoo! search engine and look something up and NOT find an answer. It just wasn’t there. So I am really good at searching the internet when I’m stuck. I couldn’t afford fancy computer classes so I just taught myself to do whatever it was I needed, or wanted, to do. And because I come from an era that understands computers are meant to make life easy and fast, I always strive to learn the faster and better way to do something on it.

My co-workers aren’t like me. They are more comfortable with typewriters than with computers. One co-worker is pretty much scared of computers and hates having to learn anything on them. And because they had been doing the responsibilities I took on the old-fashioned way, they were able to really appreciate what I was bringing to the table.

Unfortunately, my co-workers don’t make decisions on things like compensation, performance reviews, or any other form of employee appreciation. That job falls to our bosses and they just don’t get it. More importantly though, the general feeling is they don’t want to get it and that’s where you sow the seeds of discontent.

A couple of years ago, things hit rock bottom in the school and my co-workers saw their friends, their fellow loyal co-workers of 20+, 30+ years pack their things and leave. If ever there was a demonstration of how little their loyalty was appeciated, that was it. It’s gone downhill since and it saddens me.

Here’s my thought– if you’re in a position where you are truly responsible for employees, make sure that you understand their function in your organization and I don’t mean what’s on paper in a job description. You should be able to review every employee you make major decisions about and consider what impact there would be on your organization if that employee was struck by a car on their lunch break. Morbid? You bet, but it works. Good luck getting anything from an unconscious employee to help you transition their responsibilities to someone else, you know?

Oh sure you hired that sophomore in college to answer the phones, no biggie, but it turns out her helpful personality and her comfort with personal computers has made her everyone’s go to person for help when they’re stuck with a computer problem. She’s the one everyone begs to help fix the copier. She’s the one people call in a panic when they accidentally deleted something important. She’s the one that knows how to install the printer on a new computer. She even knows some cool tricks with Excel and there was that one time she made the really cute PowerPoint presenation for the Holiday Party.

Maybe it’s the Patriarchy, maybe it’s ego, maybe it’s just being really busy but there’s something about a receptionist or an administrative assistant that is hard to be taken seriously by upper management and in a lot of cases, what a mistake that is! In an organization, anyone can be the one who goes above and beyond the call of duty. Sure it can be the hotshot Sales Manager but it can also be the file clerk. The lower down the totem pole, the higher the risk for upper management to lose touch. When you lose touch, you simply can’t understand a person’s true role in a company. And when you can’t understand that, you are ill-equipped to make the important decisions you are tasked to make regarding promotions, transfers, annual increases, bonues, etc.

You know, I don’t think I’m alone when I say I don’t like changing jobs all the time. I would love to be able to work with the same people for years. But to do that, I need to grow. I can’t stay stagnant. I have a family to support and I have a brain that likes to run constantly. I like challenges. I like problems. I like finding solutions. I like helping.

For a while, I’ll do it anyways. I’ll help around with extra work and I’ll do things for other people. I’ll fix people’s computers and teach people tricks on the program they’re using. I will walk the office manager through the process of reserving a room on the new software every single time she needs to because I care for her and understand her frustration with a technology she just doesn’t feel comfortable with.

But, I have responsibilities. Maybe because I’m a lowly admin that doesn’t really occur to the people “up there” but it’s true. I have a young family that needs me. When the annual increases are less than the rate of inflation, you’re punishing me financially for working with you.

I sat in meetings where big decisions were made. I was there as an admin to take notes and to manage the spreadsheet. I saw in black, white, red, and green the numbers game unfold. That experience forever changed me. I saw what most people feel– at the end of the day, we are all just numbers on a big spreadsheet. There are no names. There are no stories. There are numbers. And so I have learned to look at my jobs the same way– it’s a numbers game. I am losing money staying in a position or in a department because someone who can, won’t fight for me to get the compensation I deserve most likely because they don’t really feel it’s deserved because they just don’t understand. And it’s not just me, it’s everyone.

You’ve seen the headlines about stagnant wages. This isn’t a problem I have with my bosses in this division. It’s a problem the American people have with each other. I hope that it will change. I hope that as my generation keeps ascending the corporate ladders, we will remember the sting of being reduced to a number on a spreadsheet. I hope we will re-insert humanity into significant processes and decision-making meetings. I hope we will make an effort to really understand our employees and their actual roles and contributions in our organizations that often go way beyond their job title. I really hope we take back the idea that hard work pays off and that loyalty should be rewarded so that as our children and our grandchildren enter the workforce, we know we have created something worth working hard for.

A thing I saw coming

The phone rang on Sunday and it was the kid’s father’s number which I found odd. He hardly ever has them call me, I have to ask they call me. Delighted by the surprise, I picked up the phone and found a very excited Daughter on the line bursting to share some news with you. Before she rushed into it, I knew what was coming. Call it woman’s intuition, I call it common sense and knowing someone you were with for 7 years.

“Daddy. Asked. ——–. To Marry Him!”

She was clearly excited so I said that was awesome and congrats. She told me they had spent the night at their grandmother’s house and her father and the girl came this morning for brunch and made the announcement. Then she said they were yelling at her to come eat so she had to go. She never did call me back.

It dawned on me later the night they slept at their grandmother’s house, the night he proposed, was our former wedding anniversary.

Let me go back a bit.

My marriage was stupid. It was a stupid thing to do. I felt a lot of pressure to get married because I was pregnant and felt I had to show that I dunno, I wasn’t really an irresponsible slut (I wasn’t, I just felt that way). I imagine he was under a lot of pressure to make right of the situation too so we did the thing and got married.

We were really young and really immature. Understanding forever just wasn’t possible. I remember I couldn’t actually visualize us getting old together. We treated each other badly because when you’re immature, that’s what happens. When we split, it was ok for a few months and then it stopped being ok. Right before the split, a girl he had known when he was younger started appearing regularly on his Facebook. They both started flirting with each other online, publicly. Meanwhile, my guy friend and I were getting really close as we both watched our immature marriages fall apart. The girl moved in with him pretty quickly. Our divorce was finalized two years later and my boyfriend moved in about eight months later.

Anyhow, one of the things that I knew for sure was that he would remarry. He is that kind of guy. Image is everything in his world. He has to look like he is living the life and the life includes a wife and children and a flashy car and nice clothes. As the years passed and the girl stayed by his side, I knew it’d be her. Last year after he won the motion to have child support reduced from $2200 to $400, he started  showing up at more school functions especially when his mother is in town. When he filed the motion late last year for more time I told more than one person he is trying to show he is a family man because he’s probably planning on marrying this girl and having a family with her. He has to win over her parents to do that and this is part of it.

So there you go, he finally did the thing that I knew he’d do. And I am totally ok with it. My kids need stability. At least if they’ve gotten engaged there’s a pretty good chance that they will stay together for at least two to three years more and that’s important. Hopefully, they’ll stay together forever and the girl will let go of her crazy resentment towards me so that we can start actually co-parenting.

You see, I think everyone that gets divorced wonders if their ex will remarry and they wonder how they’ll take it. And I’m here to tell you that it’s actually something that can feel good. The less connections between the two of you the better and him remarrying feels like one less link. One less weight. I imagine the same will happen when they have children. My children will no longer be his only children and so I think that will also ease things.

For me, it’s easy to not get jealous. I know with complete certainty he and I were doomed. His values, his priorities, his dreams look very different from mine. It’s impossible to forge a life together when you can’t agree on what life should be like. Or you agree on the surface so the other person shuts up and leave you alone but you never really commit to that life.

I don’t know much about the girl. She’s been… difficult to really get to know and what I have known of her has been really unpleasant unfortunately. But I do get the sense that their values, priorities, and dreams match up more than ours did. So they have a better chance together. You see, my opinion of their idea of a life doesn’t matter– theirs does. So even if I don’t agree with the way they choose to live their life, the fact is they seem to agree with it and that’s good for them and good for my kids in that at least they will have stability.

My kids adore me. I adore my kids. I work hard to raise them with a good head on their shoulders and a loving heart in their rib cage. Will my children turn out the way I want them to? Maybe and maybe not. That’s part of raising kids and it’s an especially larger risk when you divorce the other parent.

Remember, this is my year. No matter what happens, I am determined to grow and learn and succeed this year. In the past, I have written about life sending me backwards. That is done. So we are just going to keep going forward. Life is good and it’s getting better.