Dominoes

I’ve made a realization today.

A big one.

In the past 6 months alone, I’ve made some really big decisions.

In the last 24 weeks, I’ve had to think ahead, consider options, ask questions and research for a number of really tough, very big decisions.

This realization made me both proud, awestruck and close to tears in the same breath.

I am but one person and I’ve had to make more big, weighty decisions for two in the past 6 weeks than I have in the past 6 years of becoming a single parent.

In July of 2005 I learned of my pregnancy, unplanned and uncertain. I chose to become a mom because, after considering my other options, I knew I wanted to meet my first born. So I did.

Since then I’ve been the main decision maker in our little family. The decision of when to start solid foods was mine. I researched the daycare options and my job options when the time came to change. And it was me that kicked around the idea of private pre-school over public pre-school.

Each decision, researched and made with care and concern for the impact they would have on our little family, didn’t seem that big of a deal at the time. They were necessary and simple, a yes or a no.

Times have changed.

Sitting today wondering why I was feeling so sensitive and why I was feeling so low and drained of my emotional and mental energy, not to mention the physical exhaustion I was combating, I started to catalog all of the decisions and their weight on our lives for the past 6 months.

First there is the decision of housing. Should we stay and sign for another year? Or is it worth the stress to move to another location? Could I find another place that would be worth moving to? Signing another lease for? Or could I afford to buy? I really didn’t want to move unless I was to become an owner because the idea of uprooting us again just to rent was not ideal.

Then the decision of school. Can I do another year like this? Do I have the ability to commute back and forth, paying the price both physically and financially to continue at this academy? Is the relief for me worth the risk of putting my son into a public school? If I change where will his before and after care come from? Can I afford that change? Will the move to a school closer to home in the end pay off in stress relief for me without risking my son’s well being?

Money decisions are always tough because in this economy, income is so fleeting. Having a steady paying job is hard to find and even in our industry, we’ve seen a change over the years. So I questioned what to do with the money I had? Did I have enough to make these big drastic changes or would there be some negative financial impact that I couldn’t foresee? If I left it where it was, was I doing the best with what I had? Could there be another option that we could benefit from with little risk?

Then smaller things came into the equation like making the jump for a bigger car, whether used or new. Could I manage a new car payment? I haven’t had one for years and it’s spoiled me. But my son’s long lean soccer legs and all the goodies at he comes with have begun to crowd our little backseat. With the age of my current set of wheels, I’m risking extra costs to maintain it. Might as well put that money towards a bigger space, right?

And the always present questions about relationships and friendships. My social life in general has big decisions littered in between all the small ones. Who can I speak to when things get rough? Am I ready to begin something so important and something so big? Can I trust again? Are these friends in my life real and honest with me?

Looking back, I see the last 6 months have been a game of dominoes. Lining up my research and the choices and the outcomes and the impact of it all, I pick my path ready to push the blocks. Down they’ll fall cascading into each other, bumping and pushing each other into the ground to mark a road to take. If there is a hitch, then the pieces don’t line up and the path is broken. Something goes wrong. A hole opens up in my plan.

So here I sit, rows and rows of dominoes waiting to be touched, waiting to be picked. Waiting to be selected. But I’m hesitant. I’m worried that I’ve missed something, somewhere. That a block is out of place, that a domino isn’t in the right spot.

There is no real way to tell if all your dominoes are lined up perfectly. If all your Ts are crossed and if all of your Is are dotted.

You can only close your eyes and pray.

Hoping to all your dominoes are in a row as you reach out and put them into motion.

Where do we go from here?

Advertisements

I Saw The Signs

I believe that everything happens for a reason.

Nothing happens just because and everything has a purpose.

I believe that we humans are given signs regularly to guide our choices and our path if we choose to see them. Whether by God, The Universe, Allah, or Yahweh, everyone has guidance if we open our hearts and inner eye to see them.

Now, I must note that if we were to see every sign given to us, we might go insane so I believe that most of us were blessed to be an average human without the ability to use our third eye. That eye most often is closed and only able to see when we search within ourselves and allow our hearts to be open and free to whatever The Universe is offering us.

But, when we are open and able to accept that we are not alone and that our purpose on this planet is beyond our understanding, that the reason for living is not something we are meant to know while we walk the earth, signs are everywhere.

Recently, I was given some signs. And, at that moment in my life I had been praying and opening my heart to The Universe in the hopes of understanding my current path a little better.

Remember I don’t believe in coincidences. So I firmly believe that what I was asking was given to me and because I was aware and my heart was open, I was able to see and connect the signs.

The First Sign

It was a warm Saturday morning and we were headed to donate our outgrown clothes and toys. Our favorite donation site was open, music streaming out to dance with the Spring air and the high clouds. It was a beautiful day and the two of us were singing together as we pulled in.

As I unloaded our gently loved items to be passed on to another, I saw a sign outside a building across the way offering a membership to a newly opened dojo. Karate was a sport I tried as a young girl and found myself very good at it. The warm memories of counting and practicing, of learning katas and learning how to respect others and ourselves flooded over me. I gained so much from my years as a student that I couldn’t help but remember fondly my time in the dojo. As I glanced into my car, my son was waiting for me, patiently wearing his ninja costume.

My neurons fired and my system connected the dots. My son was in a karate gi, I had fond memories of my time in karate class and we were facing a small dojo that had just opened to the public. So, we crossed the street and went inside.

The dojo was closed to the public that day due to a wedding of one of the senseis but outside were a few parents letting their young ones practice on the dojo floor. The kids were laughing and sharing an warm day together, running in and out of the dojo as friends. The parents noticed me approaching and graciously smiled, welcoming us and explaining the dojo closure.

So caring were these parents and so friendly, I felt at once that this was a place we were meant to be. I would have signed up that moment had their office been open but we waited till Tuesday where we were able to watch a class, my son on the side line copying the students’ moves, anxious to join them.

By Thursday we were signed up and Jake was participating like he was meant to be there.

The Second Sign

I grew up with soccer. I played as a child, coached as a young adult and even found myself an adult soccer team to occupy my time between my hours as a nanny and my long class schedule during college.

Though I was born without much talent, I had a passion for the sport. I found it beautiful when skill and raw ability met on the field. And though I was not a runner and was barely able to get through a game without an injury or a mistake, I played with all my heart.

So, you can imagine my elation when I discovered my son was the right age for Spring soccer this year. I happened to be searching and found that he met the age requirement and instantly signed up.

Well, I was not impressed from the get-go with the league we were getting involved with and that should have been my first sign that this was not where we were meant to be. Between questions about my registration that came up to the email I sent requesting information that went unanswered, those were my first inklings that things were not going to go smoothly.

But I like to think the best and believe that my first instincts aren’t always right…well, sometimes they aren’t right while most of the time that gut reaction is my most accurate one.

It wasn’t until the first game when we were standing on the field, coach-less, lost and with no idea where to be or who was on our team that my gut instinct kicked in and told me to run, run away and to leave this league. But I don’t believe in quitting or in teaching my son to quit. So we stuck it out.

And it wasn’t until the last game after a highly disappointing season when I ended up volunteering to coach due to our absent parent volunteer that the deal was sealed. During the game, a game in which I wanted to enjoy on the sideline as the mother of a team member, I ended up in a verbal brawl with an opposing parent. The moment in which I had to raise my voice and remind this parent why we were all there gave me the last sign to confirm that, though I love soccer and would like to see my son play the same sport, I just don’t think we are interested in being involved in this environment for now.

My Conclusion

Having had such a warm welcome at the dojo and seeing Jake smile and giggle and enjoy his time on the mat was such a contrast to being yelled at on the soccer field for volunteering our time in a poorly organized and run soccer league. I left that soccer game in tears, fearing for a larger confrontation in the parking lot all because I stepped up to be the coach for one hour.

This is not where I want to be. This is not where I want my son to be. And this is not an environment I want him to grow up in. In a place where winning and losing is the only definition of the game. Where learning and friendship are put aside and natural talent is scorned. Where parents find it acceptable to cheat and verbally reprimand another parent acting as a volunteer coach in a casual game with no score, no referees, and no guidelines is not where we want to be.

The signs are there.

And I choose to see them with an open heart.

Everyday

 Everyday is a battle.

From the moment the alarm blares to the second my eyes close,

I fight.

I fight to keep my thoughts straight.

I fight to make things work.

To keep it together.

To make sure we live up to all we can be.

I fight to be a better person. A better mom.

I fight to mold my son into a great human with strong values.

To give him a foundation of trust, respect and love.

 I fight for his future.

I fight to accomplish something worthwhile in between

duty and responsibilty.

I fight to stay above water.

To survive the day-to-day.

Everyday is a battle,

and I fight to win the war.

Playing A Game

Lately, I’ve been playing at a very dangerous game. I’m caught in a serious game of chicken. A game to see who falters first.

Currently, I’m winning.

You see, there are many things in my day I’d like to accomplish. From work to parenting to cleaning to crafts and chores and organizing my home and exercising, these are all things that I both want and need to do. Since the hours we currently have in a day (24 of them if you weren’t counting) aren’t enough, I’ve had to make some arrangements to lengthen my day.

Otherwise, I’m not getting a lot of sleep. Well, not as much as I need. I could sleep 10 hours and also have a nap just to feel rested.

It seems to me that I’m playing a game to see who wins: Me or my body. And I know how dangerous this can get. I’m at risk of running on empty and will suffer the consequences but…it feels so good to be able to pick up Jake from school, take him to karate/soccer/swimming then home for a home-cooked meal and homework. Then some family time playing games and reading stories.

And after his bed time? That’s when the battle really begins. My bed will call and I’ll lay down for a second, a split second and start to feel the draw of slumber. My energy will slowly begin to funnel down, through the springs and stuffing, through the wooden box strings and onto the floor, puddling beneath me. I become a motionless lake pooling between my sheets.

Comfortable…silent. Still…

Out of nowhere, I feel a tug behind my belly button. The slightest feeling of motion as I slowly start to give in to the call of slumber. It begins to tug harder, pulling at me, reminding me of all the things I have yet to accomplish. The quilting and the laundry and the dishes and the trash that needs to be dumped.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember the game. This game of chicken and seeing who will give in first. And I don’t like to lose. So I push my lifeless body up from the comfort of my pillow top mattress and stumble to the sewing machine.

Click, the light turns on and I plug in my iron. While it all warms up, I start my movie and skip down to the dryer in the garage while the opening credits roll.

Hours pass and my movie is done, the clothes are folded, I have accomplished some creative work in my sewing area and now I’m exhausted.

But I’m won another round. While my body could have taken me down and lulled me to sleep, I stood my ground and stayed awake to work, to create and to complete a task or two.

The question remains, how long can I trudge on like this? How long can my body withstand the insane need for more sleep while my mind drags me up from the edge of dreamland to get more done? To fit more in?

As I sit here yawning, I begin to wonder if I need to concede and let my body win one round.

But only this one.