The Guest List

The guest list is where we hit a snag.  We’d decided that we could have 50 people fit comfortably in the house and backyard.  I don’t have any family to invite so I thought it would be easy.  The thing I wasn’t considering was that with friends and co-workers, I easily went right over my allotted 25 people.  I guess we had more figuring on that than we initially thought.

It would seem simple.  We each get to invite 25 people.  Only it didn’t work that way.  You see, Melanie is estranged from her brothers due to manipulations of her mother during the divorce. Melanie said that in order to feel comfortable being around her brothers again, she wanted to invite nine people to act as a buffer between her and her brothers.  I was floored by this.

Treun and I had agreed that each of the older children could invite one person.  When Melanie wanted to invite nine, Treun was considering letting her.  I told him it wasn’t fair to the rest of the kids who we told could only invite one person each.  We’d already talked about it and decided that if the kids wanted to invite people over to swim after lunch, we were fine with that but for the ceremony and lunch, we had to stick to one guest per kid.

Treun and I went around and around about this.  He has a huge blind spot where Melanie is concerned.  There is a bunch of divorced dad guilt there that he deals with by giving Melanie whatever she wants.  Only in this instance we just didn’t have the wiggle room to let her take up that much of our guest list.

Our wedding was scheduled for the last day of the month.  The items that I ordered were coming in.  There were plates and cups, personalized napkins, the invitations.  I ordered some decorations.  We planned where we’d put the buffet and the cake.  I bought tablecloths for both tables.

The guest list was growing and growing.  We were well over 50 people and we had to start eliminating people.  I had wanted to invite my boss and the other four women in my department.  I crossed them off the list and struggled with how to tell them.  Treun crossed off work people too.  We crossed off people who wanted to fly in from out of town. Treun had talked to Melanie and told her she couldn’t invite nine people.  She decided on the three most important friends that she felt she needed with her that day.  I’d already told Serenity that she might not be able to invite someone and she understood that, though Melanie was a few months older than her, she was being a little less mature about this.

I don’t know how many tears I cried over the guest list and Treun’s reluctance to put his foot down with Melanie.  This was our wedding.  We got to say who did and didn’t get an invite.  I couldn’t get him to understand that inviting people to someone else’s wedding is rude.  You just don’t do that kind of thing.

To combat the stress, I decided to remodel the powder room.  I told Treun that for one weekend we weren’t going to do anything wedding related.  I didn’t want people coming into the house for our wedding and see peeling wallpaper in the powder room.  He agreed.  We found a gorgeous vanity at Home Depot and ordered it since it was only available online.  It would be in before the next weekend so we’d take a few days to make it beautiful.

We worked well together in the powder room.  I did the bulk of the wall paper removal.  It is something I enjoy because I really hate wall paper.  It felt good to get all my frustrations about the guest list out on ripping down the ugly paper.  Once I figured out a method to get it down, it was a breeze.

The pedestal sink was easy to remove.  There were some holes and dings that I had to spackle.  Once it dried, I sanded the walls.  We were ready to paint.  We’d picked a nice shade of light green.  I bought lavender spray paint to paint the white shelf that had been in there.  It took us the majority of Saturday to do all of that.  I’d been ripping the wallpaper down in the evenings after work so by Saturday afternoon we just needed to wait for the walls and shelf to dry.  The vanity would be installed on Sunday.

I’m amazed at how easily Treun and I worked together.  There was no stress at all during this small project.  We work instinctively together and rarely get in each other’s way.  It’s almost like we’re participating in a well choreographed dance.  We had to cut holes in the back of the vanity for the pipes.  We had to install the new faucet on the sink.  We had to put everything together.  It took quite a few hours to do it but we got it done.

I remembered that a friend of mine had made me a rag rug that I thought might work well in the room.  I brought it over to Treun’s house once the powder room was complete and to our great surprise, a rug that had been made five years previously matched the colors in the room perfectly.  We had a gorgeous new powder room to show off to our guests.

We just had to get back to whittling that list down.

Simple is the Name of the Game

We’ve decided to get married in two months.  It’s going to be an extremely short engagement so we need to get moving on all the planning.  Once we picked our date things started happening quickly.

Treun is so easy to work with.  I found a website where I can custom make our invitations.  We’ve decided to get married at his our house and to only invite 50 people.  Ever the frugal person, I’m finding ways to save money and still have a small, intimate wedding that we’ll be happy with.  The website I found offers all types of personalized items for reasonable prices.

We’d thought about renting a place by the lake to have the wedding and reception but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to keep it simple and do it at home.  Why spend all that extra money when we could just have it at home where we’re comfortable?

We decided to go with Mexican food and found a restaurant that would deliver and set up the buffet.  We didn’t need anything fancy and having a fajita bar  and fruit was just what we wanted.

I finally got to show Treun my secret board on Pinterest.  When he first gave me the engagement ring, I was floored that it was exactly what I wanted.  I asked him if he’d talked to Arcadia about it.  He said no.  I asked if he’d talked to Endellion about it.  Again, he said no.  I asked him how he knew what ring to get for me.  He told me he saw it and it just looked like me.  I told him it was exactly what I wanted and when he looked skeptical, I pulled up the secret board and showed him the collection of rings I’d pinned that had been almost exactly what he bought for me with only slight variations.

I showed him the rest of the things I’d pinned and one had been wedding bands.  I wanted tri-color.  Treun didn’t like the few I’d pinned and had really never seen tri-color rings before.  I told him it meant so much to me to have tri-color because I see the three colors as representing what we were doing.  It would represent my family, his family, and the family we were creating together, all woven together.  He fell in love with the idea so I just had to find rings that we both liked.  That took me a few days.

I finally found a website that had our perfect rings.  They were a bit pricier than I would’ve liked but they were custom made for us.  I emailed the site to ask if they could do what we wanted and if so, how much would it cost and how long would it take.  I heard back from them the next day that it would take 6 weeks and how much it would cost.  After I got over the sticker shock, I told Treun about it.  We’d be cutting it close on the timeline and the cost didn’t even phase him.  He said that was actually a good price and that we should go for it.  We’d gotten our fingers sized a few days before, so I immediately placed the order and told the man I’d been emailing our wedding date.  He said he’d do everything he could to get the rings to me before our wedding.

Months ago, I found the perfect dress and pinned it.  I went to order it and, much to my dismay, found that it was out of stock with no expected in-stock date.  I called the company.  They weren’t able to help.  I had to find a new dress.  I was heart-broken.  Arcadia and I took a day to go shopping at all the bridal shops and department stores.  I didn’t find anything I liked. I started looking on Amazon.  I found a couple of dresses that were similar so I bought them.  I figured I’d try them on and return the one I didn’t like.

Once I picked one, I took it to the store so that I could get a bra to wear with it since I didn’t own any strapless bras and the dress had spaghetti straps.  My bra lady found me a bra and when I put it on with the dress, I told her that was as good as it was going to get because I wasn’t enthused about the dress.  She looked at me and thought for a moment.  Then she exclaimed, “I have an idea!  Don’t move!  I’ll be back in  five minutes!”  She took off before I could say anything.

Five minutes later she was back with two dresses.  I looked at both of them and told her that I didn’t like either of them.  She told me to trust her and just try them on.  The first one fit like a dream but I really didn’t like the style.  I wasn’t hopeful trying on the second one because of the way it was made but I like my bra lady so I decided to humor her.  I put it on and nearly cried.  It was my dress!  It fit like a glove and it was perfect for my wedding.  The best part about it is the bra she brought back to wear with the dress was on sale for 99¢!  It was $50 bra and I just happened to be there when they were getting rid of the last of the last of last year’s styles.

I found my bouquet on Etsy.  I don’t like cut flowers so I was looking for something different to do for a bouquet and for Treun’s boutonneire.  I looked at paper flowers and foam flowers.  Nothing was really striking me.  I decided to once again turn to Pinterest.  There I found examples of button bouquets!  Eureka!  That was what I wanted.  I turned to Etsy and started sifting through all the button bouquets.  I wanted white since I’d be wearing a darkly colored dress.  After going through pages and pages of bouquets, I found one!  It even had a matching boutonneire!  I emailed the crafter and asked how long it would take to have it shipped to me since she was in another country and how much it would be.  Once she answered, I ordered it.  I didn’t tell Treun about it.  I wanted to surprise him.

We were moving along quite nicely.  All we really had left to do was wait until all the packages arrived and work on our guest list.  I didn’t know the amount of drama I was about to enter.

It almost ruined the wedding.

Dinner Plans and a Surprise

Treun asked us out to dinner.  It was a particularly busy week at work and by Thursday, I didn’t want to go home and cook.  We’d been texting during the day and he asked me if the kids and I just wanted to go out to eat.  I really didn’t think anything of it since we’d been having dinner together a couple of times a week.  Usually, I’d have something in the crock pot that I would run home and get along with the kids before heading to his house to eat.  I hadn’t thrown anything in the crock pot that morning and was trying to figure out what to make that night.  I always planned meals ahead so that I could grocery shop just once a week and by Thursday, I was down to my last two choices of the week.  Neither thing I’d planned for that night sounded appealing, so his solution to take us out sounded like a good one.

After work, I ran home and got the kids.  We went over to Treun’s house and the kids decided to wait in the car while I ran in and told Treun we were there.  Shane decided half-way to Treun’s house that he was thirsty so he came in with me.  I walked in and hollered for Treun while Shane ran to the kitchen to get some water.  Treun walked out of his bedroom, gave me a kiss, then took my hand to lead me to the bedroom.

“What on earth are you doing?  The kids are in the car and Shane is in the kitchen.  We can’t go into the bedroom!!!!!”  I was beside myself thinking he was going to try something.  This was totally out of character for Treun.  He stopped in front of his dresser, opened a drawer, and pulled out a box.  He opened the box to reveal a beautiful ring.  It wasn’t a diamond so I was wondering what he was doing.  He took the ring out of the box, took my left hand, put it one my ring finger, hugged me, and started talking on and on about our wedding and our future.  Then he kissed me.

I looked him in the eye and said, “Uh, honey?  Are you ever going to actually ask me?”  He looked at me non-plussed for a moment.  Then he grinned and said, “Will you marry me?”  I laughed and said I would.  Ever practical Treun had just skimmed over the asking and started planning.  Oh, how I love that man!

I told him that I wasn’t going to say anything to the kids until they noticed the ring.  The only jewelry I wear consists of my small hoop earrings and a necklace.  I haven’t worn a ring since I made the decision to divorce Bubba.

We got to our table at the restaurant and sat around talking.  I couldn’t believe the kids hadn’t noticed my ring and after about 15 minutes couldn’t take it anymore and held my hand up and asked them if they noticed anything different.  Serenity announced that she noticed it as soon as I got in the car.  She was just waiting for me to say something.  Serenity and Shane are excited.  Liam just isn’t as excited as the other two.  He did give us his blessing and that meant so much to me.  He still continues to try to avoid us as much as possible and just wants to do his own thing.  I’m not pushing him because I think he’ll come around eventually.

Now to set the date and make all the plans.


And it wasn’t until the next day that I realized that Treun asked me to marry him on the 2nd anniversary of my divorce from Bubba.  That date was a happy date before but it is truly remarkable now.

Making Progress

Today’s conversation:

Treun: So, I’ve told everyone except Melanie about our plans. I’ve told my folks and both of my sons. I haven’t told Melanie yet because she’ll be the most sensitive about it.
Me: Oh which plans? Fixing up the house?
Treun: Our future together plans. We just have to decide whether we’re going to make it official in May before the boys leave or in August when they get back.

Interesting conversation.  He’s back from his business trip.  He spent a lot of time with his folks and apparently he told them all about everything.  He has a close relationship with them and considers his dad one of his closest friends.  He’s told his sons but not his daughter.  I wonder how she’ll react.  I guess he’ll tell her eventually.

We’ve come a long way.  A few months ago I doubted that he’d ever want to marry me and now we’re trying to decide when would be best to make it official.  Only it is very hard to do that when he hasn’t even asked me yet!  I don’t know what he’s waiting for.  I think maybe he wanted to tell his parents before he asked me.  He’s been home for a couple of days and he just told me he’s told everyone except Melanie.

He has a plan.  One thing I’ve learned about Treun is that he is a planner.  He knows exactly when he’s going to ask me and make it official, he just hasn’t let me in on the plan yet.

So while I wait for him to ask me to marry him, we continue on making plans for once we’re married.  The one thing that struck me about this is that most couples make such a hoopla about the wedding and don’t put much thought into the marriage that results from that wedding.  I was guilty of it with Bubba.  Our focus was on the party but we really didn’t discuss how things would run when we were actually married.  I’d like to think that some of his crazy might’ve showed if we’d talked about things before the wedding.

This time around is different.  The wedding itself is almost an afterthought – just something we have to get through.  We’re talking about the future.  He’s shown me his finances, I know what he has coming in and going out.  I know what his financial responsibilities are.  He knows mine.  We’ve discussed parenting and what his role is in regards to my kids.  We talk about things that matter from our views and beliefs to conflict resolution and what to do when we don’t agree.

We’re preparing for the future.  I just wonder when he’s going to make it official and ask me!

A Business Trip…Again

Okay, these business trips are starting to get on my nerves.   Seriously.

I’d been making plans with Treun’s daughter-in-law to throw him a surprise party.  Well, he’ll be gone that day so the party is off.  I’m rather bummed about it but I realize that he doesn’t have any control over these things.  When his boss wants to see him, he goes.

Treun is leaving bright and early Sunday morning for his trip.  I asked him if I could have a playdate at his house later that day.  He pulled me into his arms and said, “Hope, you are welcome to be here and have guests any time you want.  That is why I gave you a key.”

Then we took the kids around the house and outlined all the changes we are going to make when we get married and move in.  Treun and I have discussed a ton of changes we want to make.  We’re preparing for me and the kids to move in, yet we’ve not actually discussed the wedding.  That is a rather nebulous idea at the moment.  We are going to move in.  We just don’t know when.

I think the major complicating factor now holding us back is Bubba.  I’m trying to figure out how to do this without Bubba getting angry and taking it out on the kids.  Our parenting plan states that we need to give the other one 30 days’ notice for a move.  If we get married before the kids leave for the summer, Bubba will have a month to get a good lather going before the boys get there.  If we get married when the kids come home, then I have to notify Bubba while the boys are there.  If we could decide what has the least risk to the kids, we’d know how to proceed.  We’ll figure it out.

While we were showing the kids all the changes we planned to make, I mentioned that I really wanted the wallpaper in the powder room gone and each time I went in there the urge to start pulling it down was overwhelming.  I told him that I might not be able to restrain myself while he was gone.  He just grinned at me and told me that if I wanted to get started, I was welcome to.

He finally left on his trip and I behaved myself all week.  I pilfered a pillow and one of his t-shirts to sleep with while he was gone.  It helps me not miss him as much.  We had our play date at his house and had so much fun.  I went back the next day to clean up.  I did the last load of laundry he left in the hamper when he left.  Then I waited for him to come home to me.

I just hope his boss doesn’t want to see him again for awhile.

Just Chugging Along

Liam had a one month follow-up appointment with his psychiatrist.  She increased the dosage on his anti-depressant because he was still feeling rather miserable.  He’d improved slightly but he still was struggling greatly.

Work is still work.  It is hard and I’m gone from home longer than I’d like to be.  I still feel like I’m splitting myself into so many directions that nothing gets good enough attention from me.  Weekends are full of trying to catch up from last week, prepare for next week, spend time with Treun, and connect with the kids.  The kids don’t always make this easy.

Treun and I try to do one fun activity each week that the older two will like, even if it is just going out to eat for dinner on Saturday.  Serenity will sometimes come along but her plate is so full already that she doesn’t have much time to hang out with her mom.  Liam is still resisting all efforts we’ve made to include him.  He would rather spend time with his girlfriend than his mom.

Shane is the only one who loves to hang out with us.  I think he really enjoys having our undivided attention and I can see how much it is helping him.  He’s being more cooperative with his therapist.  He’s starting to use his coping skills even if he doesn’t recognize that he’s doing it.  He still has a long way to go but I see improvements.

I’m falling more in love with Treun every day.  We are discussing the future so much more now.  We’re dreaming of all the things we can do this summer while the boys are with Bubba.  We talk about the future.  We talk about the past.  I’m amazed at how much easier it is getting to communicate with him.  The best part is that we are discussing ways to make his house into our house.  It only makes sense to move in with him since he already owns it and his mortgage is amazing.

Life is settling into a pattern, even if it is a chaotic pattern.

Crisis Point

Things with Liam are really bad.  Really, really bad.  He is becoming more volatile and angry.  He is becoming more and more verbally and physically abusive.  It all came to a head the other day.

Once again we were fighting about chores.  He has to do the dishes and pick up after himself.  That is basically all I ask of him.  The problem is that while Serenity and Liam are supposed to switch off weeks doing dishes, he bargains with her.  He’ll agree to do her dishes if she lets him play on her gaming system.  He agrees to it, then resents me for it.

Instead of doing the dishes, he chose to rage at me about it.  He was breaking things in his room, screaming obscenities at all of us, then finally puffing himself up to be physically intimidating when I told him he needed to stop.  He went outside and punched a hole in my laundry room wall and kicked my scrub bucket to pieces.  He was heading toward Shane when I called 9-1-1.  Shane and I were both terrified and I knew I needed help.

The police arrived and one talked to Liam while the other talked to me.  Since Liam had damaged property, they wrote him up as an “unruly child.”  This would mean that he would have to go before the judge.  This was complicated by the fact that Liam told the officer he was talking to that he wanted to hurt himself.  The officer didn’t tell me exactly what Liam said but he was concerned that Liam was considering suicide.  He told me that I could either take him to the hospital or they could take him in their car and I could follow.  By this time, Liam had calmed enough that I could talk to him.  He told me himself that he wanted to just be gone and that he wanted help.  He told me that he would prefer to ride in the car with me.

Serenity stayed home with Shane as I had no idea how long this would take.  This is the same hospital I’d taken Shane to twice already when he was threatening to hurt himself and others.  This is the same hospital that admitted Bubba only after I told the ER doctor and the psychiatrist that if they sent him home, I was afraid he’d hurt me.

This is the same hospital that, once they found out the Shane was on state insurance (that they don’t accept for peds psych), said the wasn’t a threat to himself or others and told me to take him home…twice. I walked in there having no hope that this hospital would help Liam as he had the same insurance.

We got there and waited in the ER to speak to a doctor who would determine whether or not to call for a psych consult.  I knew the drill.  Liam’s care rested solely with the resident who walked in the door.  After talking to Liam alone and both of us together, he said that he saw no reason for a psych consult as he didn’t believe Liam was a danger to himself or others.  I was livid.  He talked to Liam for all of three minutes and determined this when I’m telling him exactly what Liam had said and done?  I looked at this very young, inexperienced man and told him to give us our discharge papers immediately as I had to do the work to get my son help since he was absolutely unwilling to do so.  He condescendingly told me that he had to talk to his supervising doctor first then Liam could be discharged.  I told him he had five minutes because I had work to do.

The supervising doctor walked in the door five minutes later and told me that I basically was over exaggerating and the Liam was just a rebellious teen.  I demanded his discharge papers because I was walking out the door.  Oh, and if Liam hurt himself, I’d be letting him know.

The next day, a Friday, I came home from work at lunch and starting calling all the mental health professionals listed on the insurance’s website.  I had seven names to call and only 30 minutes to find my son help.  Call after call resulted in me hearing, “I’m sorry.  We don’t accept that insurance any longer.”  The last call was different.  I was on call #7 and I was in tears.  The woman informed me that the doctor I was trying to reach had left the practice and there was no one else there who took our insurance.  I told her my story as I cried.  She asked for my phone number and said that she thought she knew someone who could help.

I thanked her, hung up, and headed back to work.

About 30 minutes after I got back to work, my cell phone rang.  Thankfully, I wasn’t on a call so I could turn my phone off and step out to answer my cell phone.  It was a doctor.  He said that he couldn’t personally help me but he’d made a call to someone who could.  He said if I didn’t hear from this person by 5:00 pm that I should call him.  He gave me his personal cell phone number and told me that my son was going to get help.  I thanked him profusely and fought back tears.  I had to get back to work.

I was walking across the parking lot at 5:03 pm when my phone rang.  It was a woman telling me that Liam had an emergency intake appointment on Monday and an appointment with a psychiatrist on Tuesday at an agency downtown that serves low-income people who have state health insurance.  I told her we’d be there for both appointments.  I sagged against my car in relief.  I just had to get through the weekend.

I texted my boss and told her what was going on and she told me that we’d work it out so that I could have the time off that I needed to get Liam to his appointments.  One would require that I take an extended lunch and one would require that I leave work early.  Thankfully, I have the most understanding boss in the history of the world.

We got through both appointments and Liam was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety attacks.  He was given two meds, one was an anti-depressant and one was something to help him with the anxiety attacks when they happened.

Finally, Liam was getting the help he so desperately needed and I had hope that things would get better.

Another Business Trip

Ugh.  Treun had to go out of town on business again.  He’ll be gone a full week.  I’m seriously starting to hate these business trips.  Well, it is nice for him because he gets to see his folks because they live in the same town his boss does, but I miss him. <insert pouty face here>

This is a week of playing catch up for me.  Either that or I’ll just keep collapsing into bed at 8 instead of 9 like I’ve done for the past couple of days.  I have good intentions of getting things done but then I get Shane in bed and decide to just go to bed too.  I can barely keep my eyes open.  I’m pretty sure I’ve hit a wall and my body is just demanding rest.

I’m dealing with the fact that my body has become used to having sex on a regular basis.  Those evenings that I sneak away to be with Treun usually end up with us in bed, even if I only go over for an hour.  We can’t seem to keep our hands off of each other when we’re alone.  I didn’t know life could be like this.  I want him all the time.  My body is awake and demanding, even though Treun isn’t here.  The weird thing is that masturbation just doesn’t do it for me anymore.  I just usually end up frustrated and unfulfilled because I want Treun with me, I don’t want to be alone.  So this short separation is hard on me physically as well as emotionally.

He’ll be home in a few days.  He’ll be home in a few days.  He’ll be home in a few days.  Yes, I keep repeating this to myself, hoping that I’ll feel better.  But I don’t.  I feel like part of me is missing.  And once again, I’m left asking myself, “How did this happen?  How did I become so attached to Treun?”

The only answer I can come up with is that he’s my other half.  We belong together.  I just don’t know how much longer I can keep up the pace I’ve set for myself.  How much longer can I continue having a few stolen hours during the week?

We spend our weekends with the kids as much as possible.  We take Shane everywhere with us and always invite Serenity and Liam along.  Serenity is busy with her life and Liam is still resisting doing anything with us.  Shane, however, is really enjoying this time with us.  I love watching this bond form between Shane and Treun.

Shane is asking when Treun will be home.  I think he feels Treun’s absence almost as much as I do.  As soon as he gets home, we’ll hang out and watch a movie and I’ll make dinner at Treun’s house.  We’ll just spend an afternoon relaxing.

All will feel right with my world again.

The Stress Increases

It seems as though, no matter what I do, there are never enough hours in the day.  There is never enough time to get all my work done, never enough time to spend with the kids, never enough time to clean the house, never ever enough time for me.  And I don’t have the endless reserve of energy that I used to have.  I’m tired, I’m worn, I see myself aging every day.

Let’s start with work.  Things are chugging along.  We are having more and more meetings about our new roles.  I was selected to be a part of a special team to move the changes along.  Being on the team involves an entire week of 8-5 meetings.  I will be in a room with people from all three departments plus our bosses and their boss and the person who is helping with merging the departments.  We are to bring the thoughts and concerns of our teammates with us to the table.

We are also tasked with making a list of all of our job responsibilities.  This is not as simple as getting our job descriptions and just listing what we do because we do so much more.  At the end of each of our job descriptions is, “*And other duties as assigned.”  When I started this job, I never dreamed that the majority of my job would fall under that category.  We have to find duties that our departments share and figure out how our processes differ.  We have to decide what duties we can switch over to completely other departments and what duties we will retain.  All of us are overwhelmed just by this and can’t comprehend how this department merger is going to help with work/life balance.

On top of that week-long meeting, I still have to do my job!  This means that all week, I’ll be dropping Shane off at before-school care at 6:30 am when they open.  I have to leave my house with him at 6:20 when he normally doesn’t even wake up until 6:30!  If I get to work by 6:45, I’ll have 75 minutes to do 8 hours worth of work before the meeting begins.  My boss understands that no matter what, I leave at 5 pm.  I do not work late. Shane goes to bed at 7 and I will not miss those precious couple of hours with him in the evenings.

After work I rush home and throw dinner together while prodding Serenity and Liam to get last night’s dishes washed.  Why this is never done when it is supposed to be done is beyond me.  They have few chores in the house and dishes is the most important to me.  I hate having a messy kitchen but I can’t do everything.  Sadly, the kids have never stepped up to the plate to help.  They would rather retreat to their rooms and pretend like nothing needs maintained or cleaned.

The children want me to still be the stay-at-home-mom I always was and to take care of everything.  I feel their pain.  I’d love to be able to do that too!  But I can’t.  I have to make sure we have a roof over our heads, electricity and water, and food!  I have to pay the bills.  My house suffers because I’m just too exhausted to keep on top of Shane’s mess.  I’m too exhausted to mop the floor each week and just spot clean anything that needs wiped up.

I feel like I never see the kids anymore.  Serenity is technically an adult now so she’s off doing her thing.  She’s a senior in high school and has friends.  She has an extracurricular activity that she is heavily involved in and is actually in charge of.  It is a tremendous responsibility for her and she takes it seriously.  Liam is more interested in playing video games and hanging out with his friends than helping around the house (and what teen wouldn’t be?).  Shane is in his own little world of creativity and is constantly building something new.  By the time I get Shane in bed and asleep, I’m ready to collapse myself.

No matter how tired I am, as soon as Shane is asleep twice a week I sneak off to spend an hour or two with Treun, provided one of the older kids is home to be there for Shane.  The amount of time I’m able to spend with Treun depends on how long it takes Shane to fall asleep.  I leave Treun’s house at 9 so that I can get home and collapse into bed by 9:15.  So many times I get a mere hour with him.

It is getting harder and harder to leave Treun’s house.  I feel like I belong with him.  I feel like I should be going to bed with him and staying there, sleeping next to him.  It feels wrong to drag myself out to my car because I’m walking away from him.

Where do I find time for myself?  I don’t.  I made the decision that I’d rather spend my “me time” with Treun.  It’s a delicate balancing act.  I have so many balls in the air that I feel like I’m constantly dropping them and failing someone.  It’s been quite a few months since the surgeries but I’m still not back to myself.  I still lack the energy I had before it happened.  I am tired all the time.  On Fridays when I go over to Treun’s and stay till 11.  I end up falling asleep around 9 anyway and sleeping until Treun wakes me up at 11 and sends me home.  I think that two hour nap is the best sleep I get all week.  I’m all snuggled up with Treun and I can truly rest.

I honestly don’t know how I can keep up this pace.  Something has to give and I don’t know what it will be.  I live in a constant state of stress with never enough rest.

I guess this is just another day in the life of a single mom.

It’s Getting Hot Around Here

Treun and I are getting along so nicely.  There are times that he’ll do something that is so far outside of my realm of experience that I will just tilt my head and look at him rather quizzically.  I’m trying to make sense out of him and his actions.  He’ll ask me why I’m looking at him like I am and I’ll just tell him, “I don’t get it.  What you just did there.  It doesn’t make sense.”  It would’ve been something kind and caring and totally the opposite of what Bubba had done in the past.  Treun will just gather me in his strong arms and tell me that THIS is how someone is supposed to act toward the person they love.  Once again, I am left to assimilate the new information; process what previously was incomprehensible.  My life with Treun is a wealth of new experiences and being treated in a way I’ve never been treated before.

Treun is talking more and more about the future.  He is looking forward to retiring in about 12 years.  He is planning for it by building up his 401K.  He plans to have enough saved to live comfortably and to be able to travel the world.  He includes me in these plans.  When I wistfully mention to him that I want to go to Scotland and stay in a castle he simply says, “We can do that in about 12 years.”  Or he’ll ask me, “Have you ever thought about going out West to see Mt. Rushmore?  We can go out there when we retire.”  And it is never when “he” retires.  He always says, when “we” retire.

I’m going to retire someday.  This boggles my mind.  Just a few months ago I accepted the fact that I would never be able to retire because I would never be able to get caught up and save enough to retire.  How could I with Bubba always being behind in child support and me being responsible for the kids extras?  I know I’m going to be solely responsible for any college costs for the kids because Bubba has made it abundantly clear to the children that once they are 18, they are on their own.  Now here I am, thinking about being able to not only retire but also to travel the world!

Since I work so much, Arcadia and I don’t get to see each other nearly as much as we did before.  The kids and I were going over to Treun’s to hang out for the day so I invited Arcadia and the kids to join us.  The kids had a blast playing together and the adults had a good time chatting too!  Eventually the kids got hungry so we ordered pizza.

As we were sitting around eating, Arcadia’s oldest asked, “Miss Hope.  When you get married, can I be the flower girl?”  I’m pretty sure I got the deer-in-the-headlight look.  Oh my goodness, what is Treun going to think I’ve been talking to Arcadia about that her child is asking me about a wedding that is not being discussed yet.  I said, “Honey, I think it is a bit premature to be talking about that now.”  Treun looked me with this little grin on his face and said, “No.  I don’t think it is.”

WOAH!  What????  It’s not?  This is news to me!  Oh my goodness!  Holy cow!

It’s one thing to be talking about 12 years in the future in an abstract “someday…..” type way but it’s another thing entirely for him to say that it is a good time to be talking about a wedding.  Really?  Woah!

It’s getting hot around here.  The big “W” word is now being discussed.  Wedding. Marriage.  Being married to Treun.  Sharing our lives together.

God, please don’t let me get burned.


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