This morning on her way to school Jill told me that she wants to go live with her father. I think that this has been building for a long time. I'm actually surprised it hasn't been an issue sooner. I drove away from school and started sobbing. I sent him a text when I got home and waited for him to reply. I thought the conversation was going well, but it didn't finish on a high note. It was very emotionally charged. He feels like he's being screwed and the same is true of me. We weren't exactly fighting, at least I didn't view it that way. I didn't handle it the way I wished I would have, but I can't take back what has been said and done. Another life lesson learned the very hard way. Sometimes I think I'm calmer than I actually am, and sometimes I'm nice to the point where it hurts me because I'm trying to preserve a relationship that has hurt me in the past. As usual my friends were absolutely amazing, and I'm grateful for them.

When I picked her up we had a chance to talk about the subject, why she wanted to go live with dad; she has a lot more freedom there, she has more in common with him, she prefers living there. He has more money, it's probably a lot more fun for her over there. She gets along with her father's girlfriend, and I told her that I can very vividly remember being her age and hating my parents, especially my mom with all the contempt and loathing that teens excel at. I still wouldn't want to live with my mother and I'm 43. I get it. But hearing that all of a sudden all of the income that I depend on to live my life and pay my bills was going to vanish without warning was understandably upsetting. After a crazy emotional morning I finally just couldn't take it anymore and I went to lie down for a while. I don't know if I actually slept, I think I may have drifted off for a couple minutes, but it's hard to say.

One of the reasons I love my friends is because we can have deep conversations. I have superficial friends as well. They tend to be the types who tell me that things will work out and this too shall pass. It's comforting, but it's not really a solution. Obviously I need to get some sort of a game plan together. I need a job, I need to find a different place to live. On the way back from Target I was thinking to myself, it would be so much fun to just pack up my car, sell everything except the basics, and just drive around visiting my friends for a while. I will do this at some point in time, God willing, but it's probably not the time even though it's very tempting. I pictured myself being homeless and wondered how I would manage if I was. I highly doubt it will come to that, but I let my mind go there for a while just because avoiding fear isn't really my style. The good news is she doesn't hate me or anything like that. We're different people and others have told me that I'm a hard person to get along with, sharing living space often causes conflict.

Today's conversations are going to stick with me for a long time. Regardless of what happens I love my daughters and want only what is best for them. I wouldn't want to pay my ex child support either. I brought up the car accident, and maybe that wasn't the wisest thing to do. It added an element of drama and resentment to the mix, I've been thinking about this for a long time. I lost my vehicle, I'm paying for someone else's, and I'm paying an outrageous amount for car insurance when I should have had coverage. I'll own my part in it, this has added a lot of stress and strain to my life. Not being assertive has really cost me. He asked how much he felt his portion of the bill was and I very honestly told him that I was afraid to ask for too much, and scared that I would further harm myself by asking for too little. Sometimes I am honest to a fault. I'm never really sure if I should work on this or not. But I know that God is with me and protecting me. I do need to become more independent. This is forcing me to do that.

Things could always be worse and I tried to remind myself that my daughter isn't pregnant, she's not on drugs, and she's the type of person who can sit at Target drinking Starbucks and just chatting. She bought the new Justin Timberlake album and we drove around listening to that for a while. I wasn't going to get anything at Starbucks, she had offered to buy me something because she had money left on a gift card. I said no partially because I'm not a fan of almost anything they serve, and it was a pride issue as well. When you don't have anything coming in, even a beverage at Starbucks it out of the question. I decided to go ahead because one of the conversations I had with a friend this morning was about taking care of yourself because nobody else will. I told her I could pay her back, but she said it was okay. That brought my bill down a bit. Then the cashier told me she had some money left over and it would just go to the store if it didn't get used. My tea was $.41 and I got a dime back which really surprised me.

The last time I was over at my sister's I left my sunglasses on the back of her TV cabinet. When Jill and I were at Starbucks/Target we sat down to get a game plan together for the rest of the evening. Spending time with her was a high priority. It made me realize that life is short and the time I have with my children is so precious. I have neglected my children, things have not been good around here, and I did apologize to her for several things. We ended up driving in to pick up my mom from work. She drove past the store where I used to work, that was another tough thing I faced today. I felt like it was an alien life form that had landed on planet earth and marveled that I had spent so much time there. Seeing my mom was rough. My sister was kind, I had told her what was going on, tomorrow my niece will be 2, seeing her open her presents was heart warming. I needed time with her and her sister as well as my mom, my sister, and Jill.

As we drove away I thought to myself, I just want to go to bed early tonight. But I know that I need social connections so I went to game night with my neighbors. They were very empathetic. It helps to hear the different perspectives and to know that people are on my side. It sounds like this won't happen right away, maybe this summer, that also helped. One thing I did that was fun today was send that guy I like a card. I took a picture of the brown paper bag with his name on it, the next image had the outside of the card and the envelope on top of the bag, the third scene has the inside and my signature. When I was laying down I was thinking about him. This could be my imagination, but it felt like I knew when he received it. Call me crazy, that's what I felt and I can't really say how I knew. It was just that sensation. But like I said, perhaps that is just me being fanciful. It was the highlight of an extremely rough day. Maybe it didn't mean anything to him, it was something that brightened my day so I thank him for allowing that.

I think that God used this event to show me that things aren't always as bad as they may first seem, not dealing with things makes them worse rather than better, that my relationships with my children are to be cherished and maintained at a level that I haven't been consistently providing, and to trust him even when the path seems dim, rocky, thorny, and bleak. During a conversation with a friend I asked how he was doing. He said he was bored with his job, but grateful to have it. I asked if he had thought about writing a book and he said he had contemplated it in the past, but was rather vague about it. I asked if he had ever thought about writing something more personal. He's an attorney who quit to write about baseball. He works for NBC and he realizes that he's fortunate to still be employed given the layoffs at places like ESPN

At the end of our conversation I sent him a picture of my book Leading on the Creative Edge. I told him that I believed in him and he thanked me for that. I've been trying to do the visualization process on my own without my therapist. Sometimes it's cool and it works, other times it doesn't. It didn't really work when I tried thinking about him, but it really worked when I did it for another friend of mine. I told him that even though he wants a World Series ring, and I hope he gets one, even if the team plays worse than the '62 Mets he was still far more valuable to the organization than all the rings the New York Yankees have in their collection. I told my other friend that faith believes when there's no reason to, it doesn't make sense to believe in a God who allowed this to happen to me, but I told him that the '62 Mets became the '69 Mets, and you can't have one team without the other. Tough times are the building blocks of a stronger faith and proof that God cares enough to lead me back to the straighter, narrower path.

When I was doing my visualization process I pictured God pulling a very soft blanket up over me. I smiled to myself through my tears, and told myself to let go, and just relax. It was a moment of peace I carved into my day, and I'm glad that I took that time for myself. An article I read on time management said that most of us can work for an hour, and then we need a short break. I've been trying to do this with my day, and this is a statistically small sample size, but it helps. You have to take the break before you need it which has been my downfall in the past. My boss at work was miraculous when it came to knowing when I needed a break. I still love and miss her. Today I laid there and tried to receive the love that people were sending me. I don't always know who is sending it, or where it's coming from, but it's still so nice to feel that deep love. Despite the grim outlook, I'm optimistic. If nothing else my daughter and I bonded and had the tough conversations. That alone was a priceless and valuable gift.

I feel like an egg that was dropped from a high height. The thin layer of protection I thought I had is gone and now I've been splattered against a cold and unfeeling slab of concrete. People walk past and think, ew, what is that on the ground. But it's me and my life, and I know that at some point in time, they too will have their innermost fears realized. I tried to breathe through the anxiety. I tried to see the future, the past is behind me. I can only move forward. I can learn, I can grow, I can be thankful that this isn't worse even though it seems bad now. My book is almost done, I'm going to finish it regardless of what it takes. This is my life and I want that time. I wish I would have brought the paperwork to do my taxes along, but I hadn't planned on us going to see my sister or my mom so that's another trip I'll have to make which is fine. I need to be getting out and seeing people anyways. Heading to bed and praying for a restorative night's sleep. I have to take great care of myself going foward. Thankfully, I'm learning how.



P.S. Today I wrote about a character who goes to visit her sister and is greeted at the door by a man with a gun. Jill and I had a short, but good conversation about domestic violence and abuse. Sometimes I think she's more real than some of the adults I know. I have incredible children, that's a gift, and regardless of where they live or how hurtful things they do are to me personally, I will always love them and sacrifice for their wellbeing. Who knows, this could end up being a seriously remarkable blessing in disguise. I think that it is, I just haven't gotten to that realization yet. I want to post some of the conversations, but those will have to wait because I am completely exhausted.

Much love, grace, comfort, peace, and joy,