To all Good Things…

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”
― Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

Everything you were following has ended since I last wrote almost a year ago. I had planned to write not long after my last post, but life decided that I wouldn’t function for a while. Let me catch you up:

In June of 2018, Jeremy started training to do a new massage modality called “Watsu”. It’s a melding of shiatsu with the weightlessness of water. He was going full boar, the way he does with everything he gets into. If there is one thing Jeremy is always, it’s passionate.

In July, a friend of his listened to his frustrations with finding a therapy pool warm enough for the modality. Even therapy pools are usually 2-5 degrees too cool for the requirement of 96° F. His wonderful friend is an electrician and remembered inspecting the wiring for a house not far away that was for sale. It also included an indoor pool. The house was well priced and well located in the town that most of our clientelle lives in. It seemed a dream of a purchase for us. We were approved by the credit union of our choice and purchased said house.

In August, we moved from our front door into our new front door. We were new home owners. I was excited to have a garden and a home base for everything we did. We listed the extra bedrooms on Airbnb to try to make some extra cash. We set up our massage room and Jeremy started making preparations for a Watsu pool right in our hometown.

In September, we had some hiccups with the pool heater. Thankfully, we were able to go forward with the business in the house and Jeremy started seeing clients. Our home and our relationship seemed to be coming together quite nicely. We each had friends and jobs that we adored.

In October, everything crashed. Jeremy asked me for a divorce on October 11. I happily obliged. He moved in his new girlfriend. With the rollercoaster that we have lived, I couldn’t do it anymore. You see, in June, Jeremy began a manic episode. During these, he has always had a hard time with impulse control. Buying the house and ramping up his watsu practice added to the excitement, which added to the spiral. We weren’t able to contain it before it struck our marriage. And my boundaries were broken in a way that wouldn’t have been fair to either of us to continue and he didn’t want to continue putting in the effort to gain it back.

So, in November, I moved out of the house I spent only 3 months getting used to. I moved closer to work. It cut my drive down from 42 miles to 11. It also gave him the opportunity to keep doing something that will provide for his life and well-being. I am now living with a group of good friends and moving on with my life. For the last 4 months or so, I’ve worked through in my brain how this can be my life now. Less than a year ago, I was ready to stay in the RV for the rest of my life. I was happy to be with my best friend every day and live a life that, although not conventional, worked for us as much as life can with mental illness.

Now, here in March, I am happy and peaceful after our finalization. We still have the boys we share. They will not abandon me as their stepmom. I have a grandbaby to get to know as much as I can and she’s beautiful. I have friends and family who care about and for me. I am in a place to embrace all of me and share it with only those who respect it. I know more about boundaries and expectations than I ever have. I will always expect respect for my boundaries. And I will share myself with the family and friends who do so. I have embraced Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

No matter where you run into me, just know that I will always live a crazy, nomad life, even if I’m tied to a home-base. It might be in RV life, it might be running a 5k, it might be none of the above. Either way, stay safe, stay sane, and I’ll see you on the road.

We have a New Resident

I think middle school and high school teachers are saints. They work very very hard to come up with engaging, thoughtful lesson plans and are often met with eye rolls and inattention. When they try to talk to the parents about it, they’re often met with “Well, maybe you’re just not teaching it well.” Still, there will always be that one kid that gets something out of a lesson; that one kid who participates and loves that class. Every teacher has one kid who inspires them to keep going.

It’s no secret that I’ve never had any plan to have my own children. Something that many don’t know, though, is that I have always taken care of children that were birthed to others. I babysat from the time I was 11 years old. I taught Sunday School and I visited my mother’s kindergarten class regularly. As an adult, I even had a job doing personal care work for 14 years, in which I often ended up having children as clients. I knew I would probably raise kids, but I knew I wouldn’t have biological ones. I don’t even know if I could; I just never felt a leading to be a biological mother. I assumed that I’d probably adopt or be a foster parent. I never dreamed that I would be a stepmom.

I don’t know if ANYONE ever dreams of being a stepmom. Disney movies have made it very impossible for young girls to think of stepmoms in a good light. Between Cinderella, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Rapunzel, and Snow White, why would anyone want to be the villianess? Disney stepmonsters not-withstanding, this woman would have to take on the job of mom in a household without any of the recognition because the biological mother is given that recognition very naturally. Who really wants to clean, cook, and nurture the household of someone else?

Now that I’ve been in this household for 11 years, I’ve learned that it’s not someone else’s household. I have helped raise 2 young men. I met these guys when they were 5 & 10; we married a year later. Now, at 21 and 16 I have moments where I see the lessons I have tried to teach them come through and feel a small amount of parental pride. As they get holder, I have more moments like that and less at the same time because they are not around as much. The 21 year old rarely sees us anymore; he’s a man who’s too busy for his parents. The 16 year old is finding friends and moving toward driving and has a job. Plus, they both have been living elsewhere; the man where he wants, the teen with his biological mother.

That changed this last week. Jason, who’s the 16 year old, has moved into The Girl Next Door with us. Jason, Jeremy and his ex have decided it is in everyone’s best interest for him to be in our household.

You see, Jason’s had a hard year. I mean, all teenage years are rough. Teens brains are growing and changing. My sister says that it’s like road construction: While one part of the brain is developing, it may be closed down and take some detours for different thoughts to get through. This is where the moodiness, “laziness”, inattention, and indecision of teendom come in. “It’s a little like a traumatic brain injury, only the hormones make it happen,” is what my mother said. Her Masters degree is in early childhood development, but she definitely has a unique perspective on the development of teenage brains because of her 35 years in teaching.

Jason’s hard year came after a pretty hard childhood too. Development is something that really gets stung hard in children of divorce and Jason’s parents split when he was only 2. Along with the divorce, his father has a mental illness that greatly effects the ability for relationships and healthy coparenting.

To put some icing on the cake, Jason was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome when he was 9. Tourette’s is an anxiety related disorder that creates tics through shorts in the brain’s wiring. Much like OCD or ADHD, it is led by compulsions, so it can be hidden for a time. Jason hid his all day at school, then had to let it go at home or he would have exploded. At 9, he was diagnosed and began medical treatment. The primary medical treatment is through pharmaceuticals and anxiety control. I’ll try to discuss this soon when I talk about why the last year has been hard for Jason sometime this week.

For now, I’ve run out of time to type. I’ll pick up again sometime this week, but just know that 2 have become 3 and we’re loving having the boy we love sleeping so close. Have a great day and we’ll see you on the road.