If you’ve been keeping track the past week or so you may have noticed I’ve been writing/posting more frequently. Which is weird for me, because although I really enjoy writing and my mind is loaded with things to get out, it typically takes weeks or months to convince myself to put it all together and get on it. But something actually quite amazing has happened. Well, honestly, it was anything but amazing at the time. This past month, and maybe a couple weeks before that, I’ve been going through a changing process. See after a horrible situation that occurred not too long ago, I metaphorically pushed myself away with both hands from the table of life and circumstances and decided I had honestly had enough. The craziest realization I am having now, is that blow up situation that was entirely out of my control was the single best thing that has happened to me this entire year. This is how it goes:
For those who know me well, and those who don’t, I was quite hurriedly thrust into a step mother role where I had to figure it out or admit defeat. This adjusting, changing, learning, transforming – whatever the hell you want to call it – process has been going on for (prior to the blow up situation) exactly three years. I’m not married to Carlos, I am not his wife, legally his two amazing boys that I have devotedly bent over backwards to help raise to this point are in no way mine. However, I find so clearly that it genuinely does in fact take a village to raise a child. I am a present adult, role model, mother figure, friend, in their life right now. There is no “perfect time” to be an impact, as long as I am here in their lives, the time is right now. I, by own accord and assuring desire to have a somewhat normal family dynamic (if not for myself, at least for the kids, after all, they are purely victims of adult’s decisions) completely poured every part of myself into their lives. I built relationships with them, learned what they loved, researched ways to better communicate and be an example, so on and so on. I sacrificed my own life in a way that no one asked me to but maybe everyone expected all at once. I say all that to say this, the events on November 15th changed everything. I could have never realized at the time how wonderful something so horrible could have been.
It’s not a secret that Carlos’ ex hates us. The past three years of hell we have had to endure, to include being accused and investigated by DCF for child abuse, are nothing short of a bitter and angry ex wife who just can’t seem to get out of her own way. But this post isn’t about her, it’s about what she did that has set a wonderful thing in motion. The youngest son attends a preschool that the oldest previously attended for two years. During that two year period, Carlos was heavily involved with the PTO and I kind of sprinkled in from time to time to show my support. She never showed for anything, she was never a member, and she never volunteered or helped out with a single event. The same carried over into the third year when the youngest began attending. Except, you see, this year was different. This year, Carlos would be voted in as the PTO president and while I was seen as a “co-president” (a title/position that does not actually exist on this PTO board) I was running everything. Carlos was more or less the face of the operation and as a team we were the brains. That doesn’t matter either. What matters is that Carlos’ ex couldn’t stand the thought that I was involved more than her, that I was being seen as Dex’s mother, that I somehow had a leader role at his school. And maybe I’m putting thoughts into her head that she didn’t think, although actions speak much louder than words. Either way she began to concoct a plan to ruin it all, whatever the cost, for her it doesn’t really matter as long as she feels she won one. During this time frame, there was a meaningless back and forth going on about Carlos and I taking the kids to Missouri, on Carlos’ week, for Halloween. This was for two, no three reasons. 1. So the kids could meet my parents (dad and step mom), 2. So the kids could experience a true trick or treating experience, and 3. Because we wanted to see family. Obviously in true fashion, she wasn’t having it – although it was never her option to begin with. Long story short, Carlos and his ex ended up in court, she lost, we went to Missouri and had a wonderful time.
Shortly upon returning, it seems this court lost had really fueled the fire. Because before we could settle into November, we got notification that his ex had gone to the principal upset that I had anything to do with the PTO given that I wasn’t a “legal” parent. This event set in motion a turn of events that would, in the end, result in Carlos being asked to step down from being PTO president, me being questioned as to why I wouldn’t have been ok with being an “invisible member”, and ultimately bringing me to a point where I lost it. The moment where I cried uncontrollably in anger and rage, had to take the rest of the day off work, and then realized we have a huge problem here. In this moment of rage my chest hurt, I physically hurt! I could not control my emotions, I cried and yelled and screamed. How could someone who claims, at least in the argument we got into (oh yea, I called her out on it immediately), they don’t care who is involved and they had no ill intentions create such a mess and be okay with themselves after. The end results of her actions are still unfolding, not for me, but for every child that attends that school. The annual Christmas shop was cancelled because there was no one to organize it. There was a fundraiser that dropped almost the day all this happened. Now? They are over a grand in the hole from it. And where is she? She has paid half her required membership and showing up to meetings to justify the hell she caused and still doesn’t volunteer for a single thing.
I hurt, I was physically hurting. This was an indication of my health both physical and mental AND emotional being affected. That is the day I pushed myself from the table. That was the day I realized that I had become too involved. I had dedicated my life to the boys for the past three years. Teaching, potty training, bed time training, never missing a swimming lesson or gymnastics lesson, showing up for every school dance, spending my weeks off from them finding my next efforts to connect. I was too involved. I sold myself up the river for someone else’s kids. Now that the PTO involvement had been ripped from us, I had a bunch of time. Time to think, stew, be angry, question myself, ask why, ask why not and so on.
You know how they say everything happens for a reason? Or maybe that there is always one defining moment that happens before greatness. Maybe, like me, you love the Bible and so Genesis 50:20 comes to you, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…” (New International Version). I’ve been reading, and thinking, and without effort maybe, changing. It was while I was reading an amazingly awesome book by Andy Andrews (The Little Things) that a simple realization came to me. Had she not done what she had done, I would have absolutely continued on the path of devoted commitment which was robbing me of my own happiness and self worth. PTO is a full time job, anyone who has ever experienced involvement in one of these organizations would know this all too well. I wrote a post about it! I was busy, I was busier, and I would have stayed too busy to see that there was a problem. I would have been too busy to notice I wasn’t happy, or I knew I wasn’t happy but I was trying to make up for it by being more involved because maybe that would make me more happy. My mind would have been far too busy to realize that I had let myself go – entirely. I compensated with alcohol and hateful jokes about the ex. I had become someone I didn’t like, but didn’t even know it because I was busy.
She did me a favor. Since that whole fiasco I have been able to step back and rethink my life and myself. I’ve been able to ask myself hard questions and answer them. I’ve been feeding my soul with the most amazing books on the planet. And as I sit here now, I am so fired up for my future. I feel more comfortable, although it’s still a work in progress for everyone, in this life than I’ve felt the past three years of total effort I’ve dumped in. I feel in control and inspired. I got caught up in a very small world, and I am much too big for that. Over a month ago I felt completely shut out and defeated….a month later I feel completely set free. My initial perception had to be changed by my perspective.
I really hope whoever reads this, I can push upon you thoughts that no matter what, you choose in everything. Choose to be too big for the little things. ❤
P.S. And thank a bitch every once in awhile – because sometimes they do you favors!