Tag Archives: transition

Calling Dr. Van Dunk…

There is a picture of me with a pen to my lips smiling. I was about three. I remember Mommy reading to me at night and being drawn in by the words more than the pictures. When people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say a best selling children’s book author and Shelia E.  It is quite obvious I haven’t quite reached either goal–yet.

When I reached high school, I decided being Shelia E was a long shot, but becoming an Editor-in-Chief of a major magazine, living in an NY loft apartment with a closet full of amazing clothes and a revolving bed full of Adonises was achievable. I could graduate early, go to college early, BS/Masters/PhD in one six year fell swoop, retire by 35, dedicate 10 years or so to writing books, maybe get married, perhaps have one kid and by the time I was 45 settle down at a university and teach English to uninterested 18 year olds. I was a woman with a plan.

I understand the journey I have been lucky enough to take is just that–a journey. Journeys are not meant to wrap up nice and neat. They are continuous excursions with moving parts. They are never point A/point B simple. That’s what trips are for. This journey is ever changing and nothing is set in stone, and after some growth it finally clicked: My travels are not done until I am taken outta here.

I have 5 years until my nest is completely empty and what happens after that? I want to go back to school. Yes, I have attempted it before–quite a few times actually–and yes, I have said I was going back before only to get derailed. The plan (EIC, Adonises, NY loft, etc) was skewed a bit. It got a little clouded, but why can’t I pick up where the dream left off? I am 35 now. Not retired, but I am 35. I can still dedicate 10 years to writing. I can still maneuver through BS/Masters/PhD landing in a classroom at 45 with uninterested 18 year old students calling me Dr. Van Dunk. That is possible…all of it…and for once I am not afraid of any possibility.

~SM

Young Gun: The Kiddie Mix & Mingle

Young Gun came in knowing I had children. He understood the dynamic of my family life. He knew my rules about coming to the house, and meeting the children. He was patient and kind with it all. Still is actually.  The children understood I would date. They understood there would be phone conversations and dates on kid-free weekends. The children knew I would not bring anyone into their lives or their home with out careful consideration. Everyone understood that separation, for me, was paramount. Soooo why now does it seem like everyone is moving ahead and I am standing still?

When I left The He, I had a long list of rules. I would not date anyone right away. I would not sleep with anyone right away. No one was allowed in my home. No one was allowed to meet the children. (There are more, but I won’t dare bore you with the rest) I have stuck to every rule, except now, things are moving faster and they are changing.

One of the many bullet points in the parental job description is to protect. As a parent, my job is to shield the kids from as much harm as I can. Logically, I know I can’t protect them from life itself, but I can protect them from the mistakes I make. What if it doesn’t work? What if we end up hating each other? What if it’s too soon? What if the kids love him but he doesn’t like them? What if he gets too attached? What if we all get too attached? There is an intricate web being weaved here and I am desperately trying not to get the kids caught.

I suppose it is a mute point, right now anyway. No one is hanging out with anybody just yet. I still have to wrap my head around a few things as it is. When the time is right, when I am comfortable with it enough to consider letting both parties mingle, it will happen. Until then, I just need for the outside to slow down….just a little.

~SM

Hairy Pits & Naughty Bits

Sitting on the side of the tub slathered in Veet from head to toe (practically), patiently waiting for the 5-10 minutes to pass, it hit me: this is why dating is better than marriage.  From November  to April, it would be lumber jack season under my clothes. Since being single, I have been keeping the standard two week appointment with the smelly hair remover and her gal pal. But why? What is the difference between hairy married me and smooth single me? Simple. Comfort (ok and lack of caring or attraction and perhaps spousal baggage but I digress).

When I became a mother, I quickly learned kids could care less about hairy pits and wo-stache. They only care (and have only ever cared) about being fed, warm/cool, and dry.  Once your attention is being split between life, wifely crap and motherly junk, shaving your legs past the knee or your pits in the dead of winter is far less a priority. Eventually, The He stops worrying about it (even though he’d probably like to say something about your wooly mammoth status) and you do too.

I can honestly admit that while I was a pretty good wife, I also got comfortable. When you live with someone for well over a decade and you have seen sickness, health, bad moments, good moments, and everything else in between, you lose sight of a lot. Comfort ensues.  And comfort leads fairly easily into laziness which then leads into just not caring at all.

I can say I care more now than before. Part of that is due to being single and the other part is due to me actually seeing my worth through the weeds (and the hair). I am spending time, no matter how much or how little, to take care of me. From the working out to the eating right to the self-dates to the shaving/waxing/tweezing/hair removal creaming, it is all a part of taking care of someone very near and dear: Me. Comfort is fine–we all get there and I am sure I will find myself comfortable again. Laziness (perhaps on a football Sunday) can be a necessary evil. Not caring, too, can become a necessary evil, depending on the situation. But to allow those things to cloud your judgement when it comes to valuing yourself–well–that’s just simply unacceptable. Thank God I learned that lesson and I am pretty sure my pits and naughty bits are thanking me too 🙂

~SM

Being Temporary

Everything for me is temporary. The fairytales–the Cinderella stories–stop being a way of life after a while. It is generally when something changes…a death, the end of a marriage, the loss of a child, the detour of a career….the rearranging of a life due to cataclysmic events causes one to look at life through the looking glass of temporary. Most everything is only meant for a specific time, thus creating space for tables to turn and growth to appear. It never really occurred to me, until recently, how much of life is temporary. It was……….freeing.

We are all held captive by the prospect of forever. When we are young, we think we will be young forever. When we are heart broken, we think it will last forever. When the storm comes, it feels like forever. Yet, when we reach that infamous forever marker, there’s the appearance of another path or another birthday or another growth spurt….and our faces get long. We never expected there not to be a forever. Realistically speaking, nothing….not one single solitary thing lasts always. God’s love aside, everything we encounter, from birth to death, is but a passing encounter.

I stood in the bathroom mirror washing my face and I noticed lines. Albeit they are probably undetectable to most, but to me they were glaring. I began pulling and repositioning my skin just to see what a small nip or tuck would do and I stopped as suddenly as I started. This, I thought, fades. It is only temporary.

At that moment, I realized the choice presented: I could tap into every 35-year-old-didn’t-quite-take-care-of-herself-to-the-best-of-her-ability flaw or I could be okay with the knowledge that nothing is permanent. I chose the latter.

I finished my routine, nodded in satisfaction, and shut off the light. I said my prayers and crawled into bed not thinking of my age or the state of a 36, 40 or 50 year old Sommer. I drifted off to sleep resting in the peace of the temporary. When you know that you know nothing lasts forever, peace abounds and you are able to drop the load of the expectations, rules and material things being dragged kicking and screaming into the future and just….be. What difference will I make? What risks will I take? What love can I give? Who can I hold or help? Where can I see? Those are the questions I drifted to sleep to….that’s the kind of temporary I want to be.

~SM

Changing Status

There. I said it. I have been keeping it close to the chest for a few days now, unsure of the reaction it would elicit (unsure of my own reaction).

It feels strange. Not that anything has changed per say, but just the fact that there is now another layer being added to our–uhh–The Us is an odd fit (saying the word ‘relationship’ when speaking of the romantic variety is hard to actually say…it gets stuck in my throat…it’s a work in progress).

For the past 5 months or so, Young Gun and I have been conversing on a friendly (but a little more than friendly) level. Butterflies, stolen flirty glances, and swift middle school kisses have floated in and out of our pretend relationship for a while. I made sure to keep all options open (as did he) and just simply enjoy the pretend. Funny thing about pretending–if you do it long enough, you are bound to start the real thing.

Quite honestly (despite the apparent inability to say the word ‘relationship’), I am happier. He does not expect me or want me to be anything other than myself. He totally digs my fro, prefers jeans, sneeks, and a naked face over 5″ heels and short skirts, and believes I can do whatever I put my mind to. When I told him about The Marathon, he didn’t double over in laughter for 10 minutes (yes…that actually happened to me before). When my hair is huge & ridiculously fro-ish, he gives me a high five and smiles. When he sees me in jeans and a tee shirt, it is like metal to a magnet. I can say weird stuff or laugh at terrible jokes or drag him to see awful chick flicks and he accepts it all. He constantly reminds me to not open the door for myself or carry things when he is around.  He knows which weekends are my free weekends without me ever saying a word. He is respectful of my children and the space I require for them. I. Am. Happier.

I am still riding this ride one day at a time. I am still just having fun. I am still just keeping pace. I am still putting focus where it is needed. There is no pressure to be anything other than myself; no pressure to do anything other than what I do; no pressure to go where I don’t normally go. He is simple. This is simple. We are simple. And after the long journey I had before, simple (and slow) is just fine by me. Now…about those wedding dresses….(NOT!)  😛

~SM

Accepting The Unaccepted

Never in my life have I felt accepted. Throughout school I always felt like an outsider. During my marriage I always felt like The He was looking for something else. Even among my friends, today, I do not feel completely comfortable with being exactly who I am. No, they have never asked me to be anything different and to be quite honest (outside of a few relationships/circumstances) no one has actually come right out and said there was something wrong with me. The feeling is there, none-the-less.

Very recently I figured out the only way to get over the feeling of exclusion was to accept the unaccepted: Me. Sure, I have said it before, but I never fully felt it until now. I do not expect to feel secure in self 24/7 (i.e. Forever Never The Dancer), but I do expect to feel comfortable in my own skin.

Perhaps it comes from getting older, or perhaps it comes from the people I surround myself with, or better yet–perhaps it comes from understanding that God loves me just as I am. He understands every flaw and shines His light on every nook and cranny. Yet…He loves me anyway. He cares for me anyway. He blesses me anyway. He gives me great responsibility anyway.

Looking at myself through His eyes helps me to be okay with who I am. It can be messy and it can be a struggle but it is worth it. Living life never accepting yourself is a waste. Thank God I am no longer feeling wasteful. Thank God I am able to accept the unaccepted.

~SM

What’s Next?

Gathered in the living room with old friends and tiny new ones (one of which was sky diving off a Huggies box; the other chasing the Boy), I posed the question: What’s next? With the end of the year looming it was a very viable question. We have seen one another through relationships, marriages, kids, twenty-something antics, job changes, and geographical changes. Most of us are close to 40–some of us just a sneeze away–and at this stage in life, doesn’t one wonder what’s next?

Columbo said what’s next for him is retirement. Having spent about 20 years in law enforcement, he is looking forward to slowing down and spending time with the Huggies box dare-devil and Speedy. Ralph (the newly wed) said he wanted to enjoy life outside of working. He wanted to travel, enjoy his new bride, and explore speaking and teaching.  The Boy would be off to college shortly. The Girl would be close behind. Watching the kids play, the Boy 14, the Girl 12, Huggies 2, Speedy 4, it was clear to see what was next for them: growing.

It had me thinking what was next for me. These first 15 – 20 years have whirled passed. One moment I was graduating high school and the next I was getting a divorce. One moment I was pregnant for the first time and the next I was buying bras and explaining menstrual cycles. The time flew by–flashed by really–and, at the end of it all, I do not feel as if I have accomplished much.

So…what is next? It is sad to say I have no clue. The thought of teaching (not kids…I don’t like kids) has been tugging at my mind. Everyone keeps bringing up the Magazine and to be honest, I have been missing it too. Writing (of course) an NY Best Selling novel (well, several NY Best Selling novels) is floating around as well. But all of those are unicorns. Mystical creatures only captured on black velvet canvas and sold in flea markets. What is next?

Normally, I would end a post like this with some up beat Matthew McConaughey ‘just livin’ conclusion, but this time I am baffled–thus unable to render such a positive wrap up. I am not feeling very positive about this at all. I feel confused, clouded, and slightly annoyed. Have you ever walked into a room, previously knowing why you were going in there to begin with, only to get there and go blank?Your brain grasps for the thing you were searching for only to come back foggy? Well, as of today, that is what feels like is next: unicorns and fog.

~SM

Getting My Shit Together

I have got to get my shit together. I finally snapped out of the cloud of ambiguity and now I am slapping myself for not planning accordingly. There are several items on the List of To Do’s for 2015. Normally, I do not engage in the whole new year’s resolution thing, but I am afraid I will have to give it the ol’ college try (only better than I actually did in college…sigh).

I do not plan on revealing everything on the List of To Do’s here because I am still working on the whole transparency/vulnerability thing (ok…there’s one for the List), but I will reveal two of the most important for (mostly) selfish reasons: accountability.

Numero Uno: I gotta get this fat off of my body. I have been complaining about this forever and the older I get the more I want it gone. Young Gun challenged me to a weight loss duel. I probably should not have taken the challenge, however, I am a sucker for competition. Dude is 11 years younger than me with strength and reflexes like Superman. I, on the other hand, have the strength and reflexes of an old fat cat. Never the less, I took him up on his challenge and now I am adding another ticking clock to my already crowded shelf of ticking time bombs (Half Iron Man 2015, Marathon 2015…should I bother naming more craziness???). The goal: Reach 175lbs by June 30th. Doable, right? You’d think so considering I should know how to do this shit already but, err, uh…my brain/body is revolting.

Numero Dos: I gotta get my finances under control. Luckily, I do not have much debt–hardly any really–but the little I do have, I want it gone. I want to be able to sign on the dotted line in 2020 for the Beach House and pay cash. I want to be able to support the kids financially while they are in college so they don’t pick up the bad habit of being 18 with credit cards. I want to be able to start the Business and the Foundation. Shoot, I want to use my passport before it expires naked! I don’t make much but living takes everything I have. I need to operate on a budget and stick with it, no matter what.

Those are some grown up, important goals, right? I think so, too. Life is what it is, we all know that, but we have to strive to live our best lives or else it will be wasted. My best life is being fit, both physically and financially. Guess I’d better get to workin’ on that. I can’t keep letting life pass me by and I can’t keep living in this fog of numb. I gotta get my ish together–it’s about time. ;P

~SM

I Growed: Best Laid Plans

We have established previously that I am a planner…err…was a planner. I use to have three back up plans for every one. God laughed at about 90% of them. You know what they say: make plans and God laughs. It used to be upsetting when He laughed and I was scrambling—but now….

Our holiday plans were all buttoned up. Go to spot one for Christmas, ship out to spot two for the New Year. Spend days in spot two roaming around, shopping, site seeing, and catching the electric vibe of the City. The kids were excited (more so for the shopping). I was excited (more so for the vibe of the City). And then….God laughed.

Usually, the disappointment would lend to pouting and perhaps a small touch of can’t-get-my-way-depression and (depending on the level of excitement and size of plan) perhaps even a Marlon Brando ‘Stellllllaaaaa’ drop to the knees. However, living this past year with the mantra of not making plans I have come to realize when our plans don’t come through it is because God has something different (and usually better) in mind.

It would have been nice to do and see and go the way it was planned, but this morning when I woke up I made a cup of coffee, swiped a piece of cake and acknowledged God’s hand. He can laugh at all of the plans I make–that’s just fine by me. I will just keep thanking Him for the detour. Now the kids on the other hand…..well…that’s another story for another day 🙂

~SM

Sweats, Cake & A Little Bahumbug Never Hurt Anyone

I used to love Christmas time. The hustle and bustle. The shopping. The whole warm fuzzy feeling floating in the air. *sigh* This year, however, it is looking more and more like just another day.

The weekend after Thanksgiving putting up the Christmas tree was tradition. We would order pizza, I would put on Christmas music and we (and I use that term loosely–the boys would often sneak off and play video games) would decorate the tree/house. This year I didn’t even bother. There is not one light, one piece of garland, one wreath or one bulb hanging anywhere in our home. Oh, and the tree? Fuhgettabotit.

I am not entirely sure if I am doing a disservice to the children or not. They haven’t expressed interest in decorations or Christmas music. They have mostly been worried about what they are receiving (note to self: make them do more service work in 2015). Am I turning into the Grinch? Am I bahumbugging the whole Christmas experience? Will my changed attitude toward it all scar them for the rest of their lives?

I suppose it really isn’t that serious. I am just completely over the whole gift giving thing. There is more to life than stuff, and aren’t we suppose to be celebrating Jesus anyway? People have run out to the stores, spent money, and purchased crap. When the lights of the World finally go out that 55″ flat screen won’t really make a difference. I suppose (instead of being a Grinch) I could focus on creating new traditions. Travel, service work, experiencing something new–those could be worthy Christmas traditions. I will be sure to work on that for next year–this year, however, I think I will take my chances with sweat pants, cake, the couch and a little ba-hum-bug.

~SM