who i was meant to be with

17.

Seventeen years ago I met a man that I agreed to marry.

I can honestly say that I was too young to get married at age 24…maybe I should say I was too immature. But who’s to say who’s mature and who’s immature at that age because from the outside looking in, I had it all going for me in the ‘maturity department’. I had a dream, full-time job that I loved and that paid for our lives (his income was extra). I owned my own home. I had a car almost paid off. I had little debt. BUT looking back, I never should have been given the ‘license to get married’.

My parents marriage looked easy…but only because I focused on the marriage that I remembered from about age 13 and on…and by that age they had been married for 18 years and at that point married couples tend to have an ‘ebb and flow’. I thought my marriage would be easy, or at least easier than what I went through.

But then you add in-laws (that aren’t easy – really tortuous) and then add in disease within your own family, throw in a dose of kids and a spouse that didn’t add physically what he didn’t add financially and then you have a whole lot of resentment.

And I had no idea how to deal with it. And to be honest, I can clear my conscience by saying that because of the disease, there is nothing that I could have done (and we tried a lot of things) that could have saved my first marriage.

A New(ish) Love.

Then a rekindling of a romance that was older than my first marriage started after I filed for divorce from my first husband and it was on! The butterflies, the sweet-talk, the hours of conversation, the romantic texts, the first time that anyone said ‘I love you’, the late night calls, the calls just to say ‘I love you’, the excitement before you see them the weekend that you don’t have the kids, the giddiness in choosing the perfect outfit…the excitement of a new love.

I had never felt it like I did with Erik. We would text all night…he would call me in the middle of the night when a rough night as an EMT happened, I would call to get his advice about how to fix something on my car, we would make each other laugh about the stupid things his brothers had done or why my boys would decide to stay up talking about Power Rangers for an hour after I told them to go to sleep.

Erik got me, understood me, we made each other laugh, we were there for each other when we needed to cry. When his dad decided to haunt me (he passed away in 2008), he would tell me how to stop the ‘haunting’; when I needed to give him another perspective other than the “I’m going to throw my gloves down and fight” perspective, he would call me. When I had a late flight home, I knew I could call him and he’d pick up, because he was working late too. He had faith in my skills and gave me the leeway to grow his business and I did it to great heights. We both love country music, we both understand that it’s fun to sit on the patio, around the fire pit and do nothing else…just sit. I didn’t have to fill empty air with him – he understood me. We were great.

Then…no new(ish) love.

Until we weren’t. Until he thought that the grass was greener on the other side.

Now his ‘perfect’ life is defined as living with his felon-brother and complaining non-stop about how much he has to work. Poor guy – he left a great life with a capable wife to live with his brother and be under his mother’s control because she has the money (or at least used to). Can you hear the sarcasm in my words?? 🙂

With all of that said, I still honestly believe that I was meant to be with this man. Maybe I feel that way because I am still so close to the situation, but if his family weren’t influencing him, I truly believe that we would still have a chance.

But then reality sets in. He doesn’t deserve what he threw away. He doesn’t deserve a marriage worth working for because he doesn’t have the guts and strength to fight for love or for someone that gave her all. He doesn’t deserve kids that loved him so much that it’s now painful for them to see him, that he has scarred them. He doesn’t deserve a life with me. He doesn’t deserve me.

For heaven’s sake, he didn’t even offer any help during the prep for Hurricane Irma or the cleanup after Hurricane Irma. I had to ask him for help to move the piece of junk Jeep that I bought and he was ‘improving’ so that I could get my car in the garage. Stand-up guy, right?!?

But that’s not who I was with for years before his family moved to town. I was with a man that was suited to be an EMT, a man that cared so much about people and how they were feeling, how they were doing, that it scarred him to see people in such distress one night after a car accident that he responded to, that he wasn’t sure he could continue in this field. I even pushed him to go back to school to become a nurse because he was that perfectly suited to be in that field. He was just that caring and had such a huge heart for others.

Within one or two months after his mom and brothers moved to town, he forgot who he was without them. He changed his whole persona to please them and meet the view that they had of him…to make his mommy happy, not his wife. He threw me to the wayside.

Stinks that he chose his mom and his adulterous life over his own wife and kids.

My New Love Life…whenever that happens…

It’s going to be hard to start dating again, because right now, I still believe he is the man I was supposed to be with for the rest of my life. Twelve months from now I may tell you something different but until then it still hurts to not walk hand in hand down the sidewalk of life with him. It’s still painful to plan for the future without him. But I have to and I have to keep moving.

Thankfully, God has given me so many wonderful things to focus on. I can’t even begin to tell you the strength he has given me through amazing people in my life. From my family, to my extended blood-related family, to my hockey family, to my work friends, to my oldest friends, to my best friends, to my neighbors and to my new friends that I’ve found during this tough time, God has shown me that my life is truly rich, no matter what the balance in my bank account is.

My ‘Staci 3.0’ has truly shown me who I was meant to be with, God and Me. And that’s it. If others want to join me on my journey, then join but this is my journey to own and enjoy. Jump on when you want and jump off when you want – that’s your choice. All I know is that I’m on this roller coaster ride whether I like it or not so I’ve decided to enjoy the dips, the climbs, the fast downs, the spins, the upside down loops…all because I know I’m on it for the thrill and that my God will keep me safely in my seat. When he’s ready for it to come to a stop and he wants to show me what’s at the end of the ride, I’ll be there but until then, I’ll just sit back and relax (or at least try to).

And until then, I’ll just enjoy being with me – the person I was meant to be with for the rest of my life.

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mid-week motivation

Life can be challenging even in good times so when the bad times happen it can be tough to keep your chin up and remain positive. I mention Pinterest a lot but Pinterest has been a life-line for me often. Including helping me to find recipes to feed to my family so that mac-and-cheese isn’t the only option.

Another reason I love Pinterest is that I can type ‘life quotes’ in the search bar and 10 quotes will appear that speak to me right when I need to be reminded of a particular life lesson.

The two quotes that really spoke to me this week reminded me of how to maintain my composure and strength and where to find it…the will to do better at ____________ (fill in the blank) than I did the day before. And I think we could all fill in the blank in that sentence with 50 different things.

I’ve made the “Breathe” quote my wallpaper on my laptop and cell phone and printed it to tape to my mirror and my fridge. I need this reminder every day, probably 10 times each day, especially because the kids are still on summer break!

The quote from Gandhi couldn’t be a better reminder to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks. Somewhere down deep, deep enough that I think I had forgotten that I had it, I found my ‘Indomitable Will’. The will to make a bad situation tolerable each day; the will to financially provide for my kids; the will to protect them from hurt; the will to take steps to mentally focus on the great parts and people in my life; the will to find my work-place groove again; the will to not let a cheating husband bring me down.

I’m hoping that someone reading this blog right now is encouraged by one or both of these quotes. If you’re in a tough spot, take a deep breath, close your eyes and focus on the solution instead of the problem. Don’t give up on the yourself and keep pushing forward with that indomitable will that you have deep inside. Some of us have to dig deeper to find it, for others it’s right on the surface, but we all have it – we just have to focus on it and use that determination to our advantage.

We all need a little mid-week motivation and this was just what the doctor prescribed for me!

i’m most proud that i…

I’ve spent a lot of time recently reflecting on my life and my dreams of where I see myself in six months, 12 months, 24 months and so on. My thoughts have been so scattered because my brain works in ‘multi-task’ mode only, so while I’m thinking about my career, for example, I’m also thinking about the load of laundry that I forgot to move to the dryer as well as the three friends that I still need to text or call back and the grocery list and the garbage that I need to put out before they get down the street.

So once again, I’ve leaned on Pinterest to provide me with a few journal prompts that force me to reflect on me…not the kids, not my struggles, not my ex’s, not anything but what I want out of life and I thought I’d share one with you.

Too many times (and I’m guilty of this big time), moms and wives put everyone else’s needs first and we forget to take care of ourselves. We forget that if we show the kids that we are of sound body and mind that we will be better equipped to take care of them and their needs, that they will learn that their future spouse should be taken care of and that they, themselves need to take care of their mental and physical minds and bodies.

Sometimes we (as a human race), and probably even more so women, are so hard on ourselves and we doubt and second guess our decisions so much more than we should. I was talking with a close friend today and she reminded me that I am great at what I do, even though I could tell you 15 reasons why I’m not good enough. Her words though meant so much because I consider her a mentor and second mom. She values me…why don’t I value me as much? Shame on me for not doing that!

Coincidentally, tonight my journal entry prompt was, “I’m most proud that I…”. Without coming across as a boastful person, I want to share with you what my journal entry was…not because I want accolades but because if I don’t do this then I will likely go back and edit my entry so that I don’t feel like I was bragging too much, even to myself. Sometimes you need to brag about accomplishments…no one will be a bigger supporter of you than you.

I’m Most Proud That I…

…am independent and self-sufficient. I really could have completed this statement in sooo many other ways including things about my kids or the fact that I can now kill massive spiders on my own or that I survived finding a frog in my toilet, TWICE, when I was trying to use it (the screams were really loud!) but I need this to be about me because I need to force myself to focus on serious self-reflection about ME and no one else.

My independence could sometimes be described as stubbornness, but I find it endearing. I make a decision and I do it. It may not always be the best decision but it’s MINE and no one else’s.

When I was 19 I decided to move out of my parents home, that I loved and didn’t have to pay a dime for. Why would I do this while I was still in college?? Because I felt the need to take care of myself and live independently, under my own rules. I never have regretted it one bit. It may have put me back a few years in my savings account but I loved being able to be an adult; set my own rules; define my life.

And guess what…my independence has lead to some amazing accomplishments in itself…

* I worked for an amazing company for 17 years and was at the top of my game before I chose to become a stay at home mom.
* I became the youngest Marketing Director and Assistant Vice President they had.
* I supported my family on my income alone for years.
* I experienced life with my family because I made a decision to just do it…to just love what was in front of me, regardless of what consequences may have befallen me later. I lived in the now.
* I didn’t NEED anyone. I got to enjoy everyone. I was able to take care of myself and my responsibilities on my own because of my perseverance and hard work so I was able to appreciate others lives because I didn’t NEED anything from them but to learn from them and what their lives demonstrated.
* Heartbreak…but I know something positive will come out of it because I am determined to show the world and my kids how to end up on top even when faced with a grim reality at the surface.
* Respect. Nothing is more self-esteem boosting than to hear your own sister say that she recognizes your independence (acknowledging what I find to be my biggest strength).

My independence has also become a weakness though. When I’ve really needed the help recently, it’s been harder than hard to accept the help. But I did it and guess what?? It didn’t change the independent feeling I’ve always kept inside because I know that the help will be paid back 10 fold in some way to those that have helped me. I feel more secure in myself now more than ever before because I know that those that have helped are standing with me and standing behind me because they know that I’ve got this!

I’m so lucky. I’m so loved. I have so much to be thankful for. But most of all, I’m proud of myself for being able to stand on my own two feet emotionally, financially and spiritually.

I challenge each of you to ask yourself the same question, and really put it to words either out loud or on paper. Commit to being proud of your accomplishments because YOU reached these goals…no one else. And if you are brave enough, leave your accomplishment(s) in the comments so that we can get excited for you!

the art of an apology, in 2017.

Screw up. Say sorry. Don’t do it again.

How hard is that?

I started to research this very tough subject and came across quite a few quotes that ran through about 5 steps each to help people say sorry and ask for forgiveness. And then it dawned on me, why in heaven’s name is it so hard to say sorry and mean it?

Stubbornness. Lack of caring about someone else. Self-centeredness and selfishness. Ego-centric personalities. All pathetic.

When I was little, I was taught, “If I don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” I was also taught, “If you hurt someone’s feelings or make someone upset, mess up, or say something mean, you say S.O.R.R.Y.” And mean it. and NEVER do it again. It’s as simple as that.

Why is it so hard?

In my humble opinion…

Because our generation (Gen X)got so used to hearing the sound of our own voices resonating over and over that “we are the best, ever, in the world” that we actually began to believe it.

And we’re a generation raising children under this same philosophy. It’s a little scary when you think about it because we’re also the generation that likes to reshare the quote “if you were spanked and survived, share this pic”.

And yet again, we are also the same generation that has parents that were some of the first generation that graduated from college, did better financially than their parents, thus we (my generation) had more financially stable (excessive) lives than our parents and grandparents, and yet we want to claim that we are down-to-earth.

If you call down-to-earth, having a maid visit your house daily to clean it and make dinner while your mom talks on the phone or goes to play golf (just fyi – this was not me – this was both of my ex-husbands), then yes, this is a decent portion of our generation.

Forgive me, because I love politics and am not meaning this to be political, but reality is reality…our parents flourished under Clinton (Bill). The economy did well, our parents did well, our parents bosses’ did well…everyone did well. And the argument will always be “which President did this come off of the heels of??”, yet the reality is simply…they did well, we did well, we had nice lives.

Yet, what are we teaching our kids? That excess is normal? That this is what should be expected and if you can’t provide it then you aren’t normal. That if you can’t provide this to your family, if you can’t minimalize or downsize or live under your means that you aren’t normal, that you aren’t enough…it’s tough and sad and has led to my second divorce.

My husband wanted an easy life ‘handed’ to him and I’m not easy. Not because I live an excessive lifestyle but because I wanted a partner, a guide, a leader, a “repairer”, not an easy-life-finder. I wanted someone that is tough. Someone that can handle life when it is amazing and when it isn’t amazing. Someone that could persevere to see the future and put family first instead of themselves.

And I guess I picked the wrong person.

Marriage isn’t easy. And his parents did a disservice to me and my daughter and my boys by teaching their son that if it isn’t easy to fix, then you run. That you find Mom to fix it for you (because that’s what she’s always done). Then you cut out early and find something else that’s easy.

And my husband did that in the way of finding “an easy” girl with no morals.

Because life was easy…he could demand what he wanted from her, make me feel less than enough and still feel good about himself.

And yet, when faced with the facts that he has screwed up royally, he still can’t say sorry. When I think about it, my soon-to-be-ex-husband has yet to say sorry either for everything he did to screw up our marriage and my life, the boys lives and the little redheads’ life.

I guess I’ve moved on from my ex-husband easier because I was the one to say “enough was enough” and it’s going to be harder because I don’t want to move on from Erik, but I have to face facts sooner than later. He won’t be the grown up and will always be a “peter pan”. Whether the Peter Pan syndrome is from nurture or nature, he’s a grown adult at this point and has to make his decisions on his own and face the consequences on his own.

My relationship with E is contentious right now and it’s purely because he has yet to say sorry for what he has done to ruin our marriage and relationship.

I have no idea what life would be like if he would just ‘own’ what he has done and say sorry. I think I could move on easier.

The one thing I know for sure is that my boys values will be different than their generations’ and even my generations’ values because they will own their mistakes and know how to say sorry…and mean it.