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My neice, Maya, comes in from the backyard yelling, “Holden said a naughty word!!”   I ask if it was “shit”.  She says “yes”.  Holden comes in trailing on her heels saying, “NO I DIDN’T SAY THAT!  I said the Eff Word!”

Well, oh.  Der.

Some kids were calling him names and quite honestly, the damn kids had it coming to him.  I kinda wish he’d have cocked his arm back and nailed the vile little creatures in the mouth!  Instead, he calls then Effing Idiots.

Which, okay…don’t say that, okay buddy?  Come get your mom, and I will inihilate them.  With my fury.  And, also, my fists!

Then the other day we were wrastlin’ around and I landed on him.  He grabs his leg, writhing in pain and says, “Holy Shit!”

I looked at him that way, and the writhing stopped immediately.  He knew what was coming.  I told him if he couldn’t control his potty mouth then I was gonna buy a bar of soap.  Cure this the old fashioned Christmas Story way.  That’d teach him.

But the thing is this: he told me.  He said it In Front Of Me.  To my face.  He’s not sneaking off and swearing at school.  He’s keepin’ it in the family.  So while I want this language to stop, and while I make a point of not swearing in front of him at all, I’m very happy that he’s honest and willing to bear the consequences from me because he knows that I lack any kind of punishment skills whatsoever I love him regardless.

This led to a deep discussion with Gabe (formerly Big Hands, currently Ex-Husband Who No Longer Deserves a Kitschy Nick Name) about our new roles as Parents Parenting a Child in Two Different Homes.

This is not gonna be easy.  We have different ways.  Ways that made sense when we were together, as we balanced each other, but now are things that just make you wonder if you are Doing It Right.

We are.  We will.  This will work because we will make it work.  Because it is different now, and because we will have to compensate for each other.  Even when we are only one phone call away.

Holden will swear.  He’ll probably rage sometimes, too.  But, really?  He’d probably do that if we all lived under the same roof.  It’s neither of our faults that he swore.  His potty mouth has little to do with how we are raising him.  I don’t know where it came from, but I doubt its because his parents are divorced and he has a black hole in his heart.

Who knows where these kids come up with stuff…

They have their own fucking little minds, and shit’s just gonna spout out of it some times, right?  Get off their asses!

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I’ll tell you this one thing:  I don’t think I could get through this without you.  You and all my other homegirls who have lifted me out of my self.

I love all my girlies.  In general.  Its so important to have friends.

I worry about BH when I’m not here anymore.  I know that sounds absurd, but I will worry.  He is so sure that he is all alone in this world.  That’s just so very sad.  Because, we aren’t alone if we don’t want to be.  All we have to do is reach out!

I feel so very blessed that I never have to reach out very far.  So THANK YOU for being there.  You know who you are.  You and you and you and you and you.

And, you, especially, Sister Rach.  Even though you may not think so, you are a great source of strength to me all the time.

We sat Holden down this afternoon and we told him that we were going to try something new.   He asked what and I said that Daddy and I are going to try NOT living together.  He looked at me and said, “This is really shocking news!”  He said “shocking”.  I’m not making this up.

He asked why and I told him it was because Daddy is really selfish and has his head up his ass that sometimes even adults have a hard time making decisions and that Mommy and Daddy had some decisions to make about if they wanted to live together anymore.

Because really?  I guess I do have some decisions to make.  BH isn’t the only one in this relationship with options.

Holden looked scared for a minute and I said that don’t worry, we aren’t getting a divorce right now.  He said, “whew!  I thought that where this was going!”  He said he’d heard us talking a little bit.  He’s no dummy.  We know that.

We asked him how he feels and he said Fine.  I asked if he was sad and he said no.  I told him that its okay to be sad if we need to be.  He said, “Sometimes I am sad.  I’m just not sad right now.”

He wanted to know the logistics.  Who would take him to school and on what days.  All that kind of stuff.  We told him that it would be fine, and we’d work that all out.  He wanted to know whose week was first, and if Dharma was coming with him from Home to Home.  (ummm…thats a big N.O. Big Buddy…sorry)(but we ARE getting the aforementioned kittykat)

He seems okay.  Really.  I figured he would be.  He is an Easy Going Kid.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, please.  I don’t expect him to be okay all the time.  He might not be and that will be okay too.  The big thing, I think, is that if WE are okay, he’ll be okay, too.

Now BH is so sad.  I told him that I thought the whole point of this was so that he would find his Happy.  And, I told him pointedly NOT to be sad because I didn’t want to feel sorry for him.  He said okay.

Next weekends the big move.

Not gonna lie…kind of excited to have My Own.  I love living with myself (and Holden, of course.  But, if you’d ever met the two of us, you’d quickly realize he’s like a part of me.  He’s like my arm or my ear or something).

My book shelf is going to be so happy that it doesn’t have to share itself with books about Tiger Woods and Baseball!

Don’t get me wrong, here.  I came undone.  I walked around this house with a puffy face and puffy eyes for two solid weeks.  I had to cry at night and in the bathroom and then get it together so Holden wouldn’t see me.  I had to scream into pillows and go for car rides so that Holden wouldn’t hear me.  I all but begged BH to change his mind.  Ok.  I begged a little in the beginning.

He’s always been prone to a little depression every now and again.  He’d get into these little funks that would last a couple of days.  He’d feel sorry for himself that he wasn’t living this amazing life that he always thought he’d live.  And, I would always just let him work it out, because, wah, okay?  Grow up.  No one is living the life they thought they’d live!  We are living the lives we HAVE.  Make the most of it!  We have a pretty stinkin’ Good Life, too.

But, he couldn’t get himself out of this last little funk.  And, he’s completely convinced himself that we are together out of obligation to Holden.  Which, der, okay?  I will be the first to admit that there is no way in hell I’d still be with this guy if we hadn’t gotten pregnant.  (This is what’s really killing me about BH right now; he thinks he owns the market on Epiphanies…)  I got bored when I was dating.  I’d find someone cuter than you sooner or later.  I was just biding my time til the next one. 

But, then we DID get pregnant.  It was really hard for those first few years.  I don’t think either of us really liked each other.  Then?  We did.  It really felt like we fell in love.  It was better, too, because we really had to work at it. 

Apparently I roll with the punches a little better than BH, though.  Because I guess that’s not where BH was in all of these TEN YEARS we’ve been together.

He really feels that he’s got to “be true to himself” and “be honest with me”. 

Jeepers.  Thanks.  How very big of you to ruin my life and try to take Holden down with you.

But, you know what?  Holden will be fine.  He will be fine because I will be fine.

My sister Rachael, who has been through two divorces, wishes I was a little angrier with BH.  Wishes I’d really get mad and be a total bitch.  That’s not me.  I know BH isn’t doing this to be mean or vindictive.  He’s doing it because he’s a total selfish man (and by man, I mean Prick) who can’t get his head out of his ass.  I knew this about him when I married him though.

SO.  I cannot afford this house without him.  He totally offered to give me money enough to cover the mortgage if I wanted to stay here.  But, there are also other bills.  Like heat and stuff.  And, I work a part time job.  Which, I am not going to give up because I love to be home with Holden.  That’s where I belong.  Especially now.

Here’s what Imma gonna do: Move in with Dad.  But, not really.  My parents and grandparents built a house together (like a duplex) when I was in high school.  When I was getting ready to come home from college, my grandparents built an apartment in the basement.  I’m going to live there.  Holden and I.

And, you know what?  I’m not going to spend any time lamenting moving home.  The Japanese live this way their whole lives.  The whole fam damily lives together.  Right now, I need to be in the bosom of those who love me the most. Plus, they’ll be no rent!

Its going to be a fine little adventure for Holden and I to have.

Finally, I will be able to put the artwork I want to on the walls.  Finally, I’ll be able to listen to The Village on XM radio all I want to.  Finally, I’ll have the kitten I want.  I’ll be able to leave town without worrying about what I’m going to do with the dog!  (Though I will miss her terribly.)

We are going to try to do week on, week off custody.  We’ll see how Holden likes that.  The good thing about that is I get out of work at 3:30 every day, so I’ll still pick him up every single day.  Even on Daddy’s week.  It wouldn’t be fair to put him in aftercare on BH’s weeks.  So, I’ll still get to see him every day.

It sucks.  This whole thing is ridiculous and stupid.  Though, part of me can’t wait to see this dude live on his own.  He hasn’t cooked himself a meal or washed his own clothes in 10 years.  I refuse to be bitter.  I’ve known him for all these years.  I know him better than he knows himself.  I’m not going to stop being his friend.  He’s a moron.  I also knew that when I married him.

Plus, depression doesn’t look good on me.  I just don’t wear it well.  I gotta just pick myself up by my bootstraps because I’ll be damned if I’m going to teach my son that women have to fall to pieces without men.  Nor am I going to teach my son that a marriage has to be loveless.  Our kids learn relationships from their parents.  I’m going to try not to eff that one up.

Every year Esquire magazine does this segment called “What it feels like…” and they ask a bunch of different people to write what it feels like to do or be various things.  Like, whats it feels like to be a guard at Guantanamo Bay.  Or like what it feels like to be schizophrenic.  Its very real people describing very real stuff that happens in life.  Sometimes its funny, sometimes sad.  Sometimes interesting.  Always Real. 

I’ve always wondered if this was the place for me to be Real.  I mean Really Real.  When my mom died, I struggled with writing because I didn’t want to be Debbie Downer (wah-wah) and I’m just one of those people who kind of guard my feelings.  That is not to say I don’t emote.  I’m an emoting fool.  But, the really hard feelings I like to keep for myself.  Because really?  Its none of any body else’s business.

I have a Thing, though.  A thing I’m really being led to write about.  I think it might help me through it a little, and maybe someone will read this (that’s a mighty big maybe!!) and be able to find the silver lining.

You see?  My husband recently told me that he’s not sure if he really loves me.  He’s not sure if he ever did.

Writing that just made me feel like the biggest failure! 

Big Hands said that he wonders if he’s with me because he feels obligated to be because of Holden.  This came as a total shock to me, I have to admit.  Because I always thought we were living the Good Life.  I really did!  I thought we were a well oiled machine!

I’m learning that I was the machine, though.  Mylove was keeping us together.  Though BH loves me very much, he’s not sure its the real deal.  This is not about me or my inadequacies.  This is about him needing to Find Himself.  I do want to take this opportunity to say to him, “Go West Young Man.  It ain’t so easy out there when no one is taking care of you.”

And, while I don’t want to be the bitter one?  He’s kind of being selfish.  He knows it.  Three weeks ago we were fine.  Now?  We are going to separate!

We haven’t told Holden yet.  I don’t even know how to tell him.  I don’t even think we are doing the right thing!  Sorry Buster!  It took him seven years to marry me and all of three weeks to let me go.

Ugh.  I do not want this to be a pity party.  I am fine.  You know?  I was fine before I met him, and I will be fine again.  I put my Big Girl Panties on the other day and decided that I OWN this thing.  Its MINE.  I will regain all of myself that I gave to him for the last ten years.  I can put whatever I want to on the walls!  I can make whatever I like for dinner!  I will watch what I want to on the television!  I will see the movies that interest me!  I will get a kitten!

I’m going to find the humor in this, I will.

I’m going to put it all out there.

I’m going to be free to be me!

Those of you that know me will know that I have a pretty laid back parenting style (that is until that kid pisses me off).  I don’t really make Holden do anything.  Other than piano.  We MAKE him take piano.  But, I know that as a parent you only get so many battles, and I’m saving all of mine up for when he’s a teenager.  Its at that point I think I’ll really shine as a parent.  I look forward to buying him his first car!  So I can take it away from him…bwaaahahahahah!!!

And, don’t try to burst my bubble, here, okay?  I live for 16.

Anyhoodle…Holden, until recently, didn’t really have any “chores”.  Mostly because, really?  How big of a mess can one kid make?  And, I like to pick things up to ensure they go back in the right bin.  And, if I ask him to take care of something, he rarely gives me any resistance.  He’s pretty easy going, too.

One day I just got sick of unloading the dishwasher.  Simply?  I HATE taking the dishes out of that machine.  I’d rather just wash them by hand and take care of them.  Alas, I am too lazy for that, too.  So, I said, “Buddy?  Your new job is to empty the dishwasher.”  He said, “Okay.”  Too easy.

This is how Holden takes care of the dishes.  Wrongly.  And, I know this is my  hang-up, I do.  I am just really particular about which compartment the big spoons and little spoons go in.  That is to say they both have their own compartment, and, gee wouldn’t it be great if they actually ended up there?  Same goes for the forks.  And?  The pots go on that side of the cupboard; the tupperware goes there.

But, he’s only nine.  So I don’t actually SAY these things to him.  Well, I have mentioned the silverware once or twice.  Or thrice.  And then I may have mentioned that I was sick of mentioning it and to get it right, already!  And, he may have told me that he would remember it a little easier if there weren’t SO MANY forks and spoons!  Gosh!

But, at least I’m not doing the work.  I can’t wait til I feel he is old enough to deal with chemicals, and his butt will be totally cleaning the bathrooms!  Yahoo!

I AM so lucky to have a kid like Holden.  He is one funny dude.  Until he is not.  Then he’s a total pain in the butt.  Those days are, luckily, far and few between.  Its so easy to forget how good you’ve got it. 

I try to remember and be grateful for my family every day.  This little nest we three have created for ourselves.  Its easy to take it for granted…Especially when your husband scores ONE ticket to see the Candidate at the University tomorrow, and does not get you a ticket, or try very hard to get you a ticket, at least, because, what? its not like you aren’t so very passionate about this candidate that seeing him in person could very well change your life…Yes, yes.  Its easy to lose sight of the bigger picture which is that everyone is healthy, and for the most part; happy (especially Big Hands).

And most importantly?  The dishwasher is emptied.  Well, that, AND that there are no wire hangers…

I’ve been working out for a couple of days now, so I feel like I’m gonna be pretty buff here in a few months.  Watch out now!  Here’s what gets me though; Big Hands has been getting up at the ass crack of dawn for the last two weeks and either swimming or running.  I say to him the other day, “Babe?  Will you please just make sure I’m up when you leave?”  Hey.  I want to look better than him at all times, and if his ass is tight, then, well so shall be mine.

But you know what?  He did not get me up.  I told him that I was onto his little trickery.  I know that he just wants to be hotter than me so that a) he can look down his nose at my fat behind and b) have an affair on me.  I told him neither was acceptable.  He told me I needed to be a little more self motivated.  I told him, then, to suck it.

Plus.  We both know me, and I am not self motivated.

Except for that I HAVE to be as BH still won’t wake me up!  But, whatever.  I’ll show him.  I’ve gotten up on my own for the past couple days.  And, I’ve devised a little workout that will firm and lift all parts of me that need firming and lifting.  If anyone around here is going to have an affair, its gonna be ME, dammit.

But, I think the adrenaline from working out has gone straight to my head.  Either that or I just think I’m more likable than I actually am.

See?  Here’s my story:  I fell in love with a blogger.  No big deal.  I do it a lot.  Not a lot, lot.  But enough.  I’m pretty sure that I fawned over this one here for quite a long time.  We even had plans to move in together, no?  But even though she didn’t know me, she understood me.  (Erin?  You complete me.)  She got that I was just joking (a little) and that’s just how I make friends (kinda like those Night at the Roxbury guys from SNL).

I recently (and by recently I mean yesterday) found a blog that I love.  I often think that if I love something then it will love me back.  

I think that I’ve scared this woman to death.

I mean I told her that I’ve fallen in love with her, but REALLY.  What blogger haven’t I told that to?  Sheesh.  I just can’t help myself…I love to make friends!

When I first started the job that I used to work at before I got the current job that I work at, I used to make people be friends with me.  I’d go up to the new girls and say, “Hi.  My names Jennifer.  Do you smoke? Lets be friends.” And, that was that.  We were friends.  Still are.  I still do this, to a point.  Anymore, I just don’t ask them if they smoke (though I secretly wish they do, so that I can stand next to them and inhale).

I mean, I’ve had the same best friend since I was 10.  I make ’em and I keep ’em!  Usually.  A couple have slipped through my fingers, and that always makes me sad.  I take it very personally.

But, you know…maybe I’m a little too forward.  Maybe not everyone’s gonna get me.   Thats o.k.  I’m good enough.  I’m smart enough.  And, doggone it, some people like me.

Dear Candidate,

I love you.  Oh, of course I don’t love you!  I don’t even know you…but I sure like you a lot.  I’m sure there are others like me.  Beyond the obvious, what really got me was your chivalry.  And, of course, your eloquence.  I watched your speech, and cried.  My friends will tell you that’s no big deal, I cry about everything. But I tell you what: I was crying because we’re making history, baby!  I think of all the others that went before you, and I know they’d be proud.  I cannot wait to see you as our president.

Don’t eff it up, okay?

Warmly and Excitedly,

Jen

 

Dear Pierce Brosnan,

Please don’t sing anymore.

Grudgingly,

Jen

Dear Other Candidate,

I just want you to know?  Just in case it doesn’t work out with your veep?  I’ve volunteered in my son’s classroom for like four years now, so I think I’m ready for the job.  Just wanted to put that out there.

Patriotically,

Jen

 

Dear You Know Who You Are,

You should be ashamed of yourself.  Not for the predicament your daughter is in, oh no.  Not at all.  Got myself knocked up before I was wed, and I consider myself a most sincere Christian, with morals coming out of my ears.  No, no.  You should be ashamed for feeding your daughter to the press.  Career be damned!  You sure are showing me what’s important to you. (Hint: not your family.)

Hope its worth it,

Disgruntled voter who’s sure as hell not voting for your ticket

 

Dear Kris Radish,

I get it.  We should all be lesbians.  Probably are.  Point taken.  Can we move on now?

Loved your first book more,

Jen

 

Dear what my husband refers to as Nicotine Withdrawl Dreams,

Stop it alright?  Yer freekin’ me out and making me lose sleep.  Don’t make me start smoking again.

Groggily,

Jen

 

Dear Big Hands,

Thank. You. 

No really.  Thank. You.

Wink, wink.

Very Happily,

Wifey

Its been said to me on more than one occasion that my marriage to Mr. Big Hands is non-conventional.  It is, I guess, a little different than some of my friends marriages.  BH and I aren’t up each others butts all the time.  We do a lot of things without each other.  We don’t have a joint checking account.  He pays all the bills, I buy the groceries.  That’s just how we roll.

People don’t always get that.  People don’t always get my husband.  BH is aloof a lot of the time.  I don’t think its a conscious thing…he just IS Aloof.  He’s quiet until you get to know him, but really?  You’ll never know him unless he thinks you are worth knowing.  That’s just how he rolls.

BH said to me the other night that he wished that everything wasn’t always just hunky dory with me.  He wishes that he knew I wanted to be better.  Like a better mother, a better human, a better voter, a better all around Me.  I told him to wish in one hand…I don’t think that way.  I think I am a good mother.  I could firm up a bit, but I’m pretty happy with me.  And, this year, I’m being a better voter.  But, I don’t dwell.  That’s just not how I roll.

We just do things a little differently.  We are different people.  We are polar opposites.  I told him that’s why we work so well together.  That’s what makes us so compatible and our differences will be what Holden appreciates as he gets older.  He is a realist.  I am a wild eyed idealist.  He reigns me in a little.  I let him be a little freer so he can do stuff like  this. ***

And, should you choose to actually listen to it, that is actually my husband.  You should know, he grew up in Detroit, and takes all this controversy to heart. 

That’s just how he rolls.

***Edited to add:  The above music is rated “r”.  Lots of Eff Words.  Its a rap, for cryin’ out loud!

Reasons I will never single handedly save the universe:

I like baggies.  Borders on love.  I like them a lot.  I like them in all sizes.  I would use them on a train and I would use them in the rain.  I do so like them, internets.

I have approximately sixty thousand of them in a drawer.  Rounding up.

Hey, but! we recycle.  We recycle the plastic bottles of water that I buy weekly.  I know, right?  Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Reasons I am thirteen years old:

I can’t wait for Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 to come out.  I picked up the first book a few years ago.  I read the back and thought, “Hey!  Pants that Travel!  Great concept!  Could be the next Great American Novel!  I’m picking this up!!”  And I read it.  And, I didn’t really KNOW it was going to be about a group of teenagers, but whatever, okay?  It was not a bad book. 

And, then the movie came out and I was all like YES!  My  Gilmore Girl was in it.  My Joan of Arcadia was in it.  I really enjoy pith.  I mean, I really really enjoy pith.  So, naturally, I like this movie. 

And, now the second one is coming out and I did not read that book, but I am still partially excited and will probably find someone to go to the movie theater with me.  I mean, really.  Gossip Girl is HOT!

Another reason I am thirteen? October 26th, babies!!!

One more:  I keep watching Secret Life of the American Teenager.  Its not good.  Least, I don’t think its good.  Its a train wreck, but I just keep watching.  Molly Ringwald is in it!  She is a really sucky actress.  Too bad she couldn’t have just quit acting on a high note.

Reasons that I am definitely a better person than my husband is:

This year?  With the election coming up and everything?  I figure either candidate is better than the current mess we have.  So I have made the decision to solely base my vote on the fact that I can change.  I’m switchin’ it up!  And, I’m EXCITED!  BH would never do that.  He thinks he would, but he’s too stubborn.  Basically, I’m voting for who I’m voting for to show BH that I am, in fact, a more flexible and all around better person than he is.

Reasons I will be having a big party at my house this weekend:

BH=Lollapalooza ’08.

Yer all invited.  Just be quiet during my shows.