I Just Kept Running

 

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During the past month, my running has been inconsistent. No surprise there. I think, looking back over the last year (which is, BTW, my first year) as a runner, one thing stands out: I am consistently inconsistent. I will do a month of three miles, three times a week. The next month is full of barely-squeezed-in two mile runs, maybe once or twice a week. I didn’t run at all last week, thanks to the weird kindergarten schedule (they start part time, to break the kids in to the new routine slowly).

My Tuesday run was more of the same. I did a two mile run. It was okay. Not great, but how bad could it be, at only two miles?

And then there was today.

Today had all the makings of a crappy run. I ate breakfast way too late, which usually leads to cramping before the first mile is finished. I didn’t drink enough water. It was too hot and humid to run outside, so I was stuck with the treadmill. I chose the wrong magazine to cover my time (the Vogue with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian), so I was forced to make the untenable choice between watching time tick slowly by or staring at their smug faces.

Yes, I was pretty sure this run was going to majorly suck, all right.

But…it didn’t.

Somewhere after the first mile I started to get the vague impression that this wasn’t so bad. I bumped up the speed.

After I finished mile three, I still felt good. Really good. I turned to my running partner. “The fuck?” I said, gesturing at the treadmill console.

“Right?!” she exclaimed, grinning back. She was just coming back from a heel injury, so she was as surprised as I was that we were still running.

We kept going.

I kept waiting for the cramp that never came. I kept waiting for that moment of oh God I cannot take one more step, but it never happened. So I just kept running.

At mile four, we stopped. Not because running sucked or because things started to hurt or I felt like vomiting. We stopped because we are not stupid. We are both injury prone, and while this was a great run, we didn’t want it to be our last great run. (Smart decision, because less than an hour later, my hip started feeling stiff.)

The thing about a good run is that it makes everything else good, too. So a great run? Yeah, I’m in a damn good mood.

Also, for the first time in a month, I’m looking forward to my next run. And even if it sucks, I’m just going to keep running. Because now I know I can.

3 Comments + Posted in: Running

Two

Random facts about the birthday girl:

1) Two years ago, I gave birth to a 3 pound baby, two months early.

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2) She spent the next two weeks in the incubator.

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3) She can sleep through anything, but that doesn’t mean she will. (Oh my god, does this girl looooove waking up in the middle of the night.) Here she is sleeping through her first snow storm. I wasn’t going to let a little thing like sleeping stand in the way of a photo op.

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4) She loves hats. She has been wearing this one all summer.

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5) Birthday breakfast donuts is her favorite tradition.

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6) She loves Lily.

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7) She will always be my baby.

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2 Comments + Posted in: About the Kids

September Resolutions

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It’s September. I have always had a love/hate relationship with September. On the one hand, I loathe it for all the things it fails to be. September should be the kick off for Fall, cozy sweaters, tall boots, and Autumn hikes in Rock Creek Park. What it actually is (in Washington, D.C., anyway) is fucking hot and disgustingly muggy. On the other hand, I love September because it is a fresh start. The summer ends and a new school year begins. Even when you’re not in school yourself, the hopeful expectations hang so heavily in the air it’s almost tangible. January, despite being the official start of a new year, never quite feels like a new beginning, not the way September does.

This September is bringing a whirlwind of change. My oldest started kindergarten. My youngest turns two, officially ending babyhood. And at the end of the month, two of my friends are moving away, one across the country, the other across an ocean. This is great for them; both are moving on to exciting, awesome adventures. I’m already planning a visit to one of them, and I can’t wait–aurora borealis, here I come!

But. It also means that I will be left with only one good friend in a twenty mile radius. One. Sure, I have friendish acquaintances, and old, old friends who would still call me if they needed help burying a body. I’m good at that.

The truth is, I have no idea how to make friends as a mid-thirties single mom. But I do know I won’t find them sitting around my house. So here is my September Resolution (which is like a New Year’s Resolution, only better): I will take advantage of having my family nearby and let them babysit twice a month, leaving me free to…I don’t know. Get a life.

Happy September, everyone.

 

2 Comments + Posted in: Divorce, Friendship

The Kindergartener Cometh

So! Lily officially became a kindergartener this week. It’s been…strange. The schedule was completely whacked as they slowly transitioned to school. I guess they do this because not everyone went to pre-k, although I think it’s a safe bet that in D.C., every kid did pre-k and probably at least a year of school before that as well. (Welcome to the world of competitive parenting!)

We made a big freaking deal out of it, of course.

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Two fishtail braids, per her request. There were donuts for breakfast and lots of pictures were taken.

Dan kept saying, “Spin! Spin!” which made her laugh, which meant we actually got a real smile instead of the serial killer grimace that usually appears when we take the camera out.

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She picked out the backpack herself. Pink, of course.

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It was a good day.

2 Comments + Posted in: About the Kids

Not Perfect

It’s really, really nice, the way you guys leave comments and emails telling me what an amazing person I am. I appreciate it. But! I’m not. I try to be a good person, and I think I succeed there, as long as your standards aren’t too high, but amazing? No, I am absolutely fallible. And because I know that, given the obscene divorce rates, there are many women like me, struggling to not make a bad thing worse and feeling like a miserable failure, I want to share this with you.

On Sunday night we went out to dinner to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. Lily had a child sized pizza and oranges. Evelyn had chicken and fruit that wasn’t oranges. I know! It’s like I’m some goddamned rookie! Obviously Evelyn needed what Lily had, and so Lily shared. I told her I would order her some more oranges. (I don’t think Dan heard me.)

At some point Lily asked Dan to ask the waiter for more. Because that’s what she does–she keeps asking, even after we answer, even if we say yes. Anyway. Dan said she had to eat half her pizza first.

And that’s when I did the thing I try so hard not to do.

I could have told him I had already said yes. But I didn’t. Instead I put on my best what the fuck face that I usually reserve for people who like Vera Bradley, and told him that was absolutely ridiculous because pizza isn’t even healthy, and she could have the oranges if she wanted them.

That’s right. I undermined his parenting in front of a) his children and b) his own parents. I honestly can’t thing of a faster way to make someone feel like utter shit.

It seems like such a little thing. But it’s not, it’s really not. It tells our kids I don’t respect their dad. It tells them that their parents are not unified when it comes to parenting, when what they need is stability. It also tells their dad that he doesn’t have a parenting role while I’m around.

Imagine the damage if this became a habit.

My family–the one with my parents and my sisters–is irrevocably broken, in part because of things like this. I want something better for my kids. Even when a marriage is broken, the family doesn’t have to be.

 

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Q&A Monday Vol. XXVII: Getting Along with Your Ex, Part 3

QandAHi Lynn, Your blog is a really nice breath of fresh air. Most divorce/single mom blogs seem to trash the ex, and I like that you don’t (one day, your kids might read this, after all). So I want you advice on this. I know you aren’t dating, but is your ex? And if and when you both start dating other people, will you still spend time with your kids together? How? I’m in that boat right now, and I would really like to keep it from sinking! Thanks.

 

Whelp. Answering this question is like trying to predict the future, and that is surprisingly difficult. Right now, I don’t think he is dating. He could be, I suppose, and I wouldn’t know, but the important thing is that he is not bringing other women around my kids, or around me. That probably makes it easier for us to get along.

So. If he does start seriously dating someone, would I still be willing to spend birthdays, holidays, special occasions, etc together, even with the other woman there? Yep. (As determined right now, before I actually have to go through it, so…) It’s more important to me to spend every Christmas with my kids than it is to not be around Wife #2 or whatever.

But I’ve given this some thought, since you asked, because I don’t want to give you absolutely sucktastic advice. So here’s how I would handle it (again, from the safety of NEVER HAVING BEEN THERE).

1. Have a coffee date with the new SO. Just the two of you. Under no circumstances are either of you to discuss the ex or the kids. Consider this a first date.

2. Follow up with a second date. Dinner? Movie? Hit a museum? I don’t care. Find something to do with the SO, and do it. Again, just the two of you. Do not discuss the ex or the kids. Why? Because you need to see if you can like her, and get along with her, for her own sake.

3. Remember that she is not you. This means that when it comes to the kids, she will have her own ideas and want to do things her way (also known as the “wrong way”). And guess what? You have no say in it. It’s your business, because everything having to do with your kids is your business, but you can’t control what happens at the ex’s house. But that’s okay! Because even though she does things ass backwards, you can live with it, because you know she’s not a bad person. (Although if you discover that she is verbally/physically abusive, or otherwise a bad person, do whatever you have to and keep that bitch away from your kids.)

4. Do not ever discuss the ex with the new SO. At some point, if you are on friendly terms, she might want to talk. She might notice something weird about him, or that he is emotionally stunted, and want to know how you dealt with it, or if this is what caused the divorce. Keep your damn mouth shut. He’s her problem now.

5. If you are the one with a new SO, I probably wouldn’t suggest that your ex and the new SO have coffee dates. I really don’t understand men at all, but I’m pretty sure it would be a disaster. I do suggest the three of you having dinner, sans kids, maybe even a double date. I don’t know. Is that too weird? I really feel like both you and your ex need to be able to spend an hour or two with the new people without anyone dying.

Anyone else have advice?

 

3 Comments + Posted in: Q&A Monday

Taking a Shower, and Other Single Mom Predicaments

The hardest part of being a single mom is undoubtedly the constant demand for attention when you need to get shit done. Shit like cooking dinner. Or vacuuming. Or taking a shower.

Usually I find ways to work around this problem. I make dinner in advance and freeze it. I vacuum on my telework days. I take a shower before they wake up, or after they go to bed. Or I just…you know…don’t shower at all.  Single motherhood: Sometimes it’s gross.

But the other day, not showering was not an option. I had finished a very sweaty run before I picked the kids up from daycare, and even waiting until after they went to bed seemed just too gross to contemplate.

So I took a shower. With the door open, of course. There were a few shrieks, a few tears, but nothing they couldn’t work out themselves. At one point I heard Lily say, “What do you want me to draw for you, Evelyn? A flower?” I smiled to myself. How sweet these two are, I thought. I’m so glad they’re sisters.

And then I realized…OH FUCK. THEY HAVE THE ART SUPPLIES.

Good thing my walls are dark!

Also, this happened.

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But hey. At least my hair smelled good.

3 Comments + Posted in: About the Kids, Single Mom Survival

Parachute Sheets: A Review

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Well, this is awkward. I like reviews. I Google the hell out of everything before I buy. So it’s no surprise that I’m doing a review here. The awkward part is all that disclosure stuff. In this particular case, I’m not sure what to say. Parachute sent me a discount code, after I first mentioned these sheets on the blog, but guess what? I had already ordered the sheets. So I guess what I am disclosing is that yes, I was given a coupon, but no, I did not use it.

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The Item: Parachute Percale Sheet Set in Powder

The Price: $129

The Company: According to their website, Parachute sheets are designed in L.A. and made in Italy. Thread count is not disclosed, but I’m not sure how much I care.

The Good: I. Love. These. Sheets. They are soft but not silky (I ordered percale, not sateen, because I prefer crisp sheets). The packaging is a nice touch. The sheet set comes with a sack to keep it all together. I guess that’s classier than shoving everything into a pillow case, my usual move? A bottle of lavender linen spray was also included. There was also a handwritten note thanking me for the purchase. This attention to detail and little extras matter to me.

The Bad: I had to wait ten weeks for these sheets. TEN WEEKS. That’s ten weeks of sleeping on my old flannel sheets in the middle of the summer. Not cool, pun intended. That’s four weeks longer than the original six-week schedule.

The Verdict: Were these sheets worth the ten week wait? No, of course not. No sheets are. Would I buy from Parachute again? Yes, absolutely. I like the idea of buying from younger, smaller companies that have a commitment to quality that I can get behind. I understand that this means there will be the occasional hiccup.

1 Comment + Posted in: Our Home

Running on Sand

I spent last week in lovely San Diego. Beaches and perfect weather? Yes, there are worse things in life. I went for work but managed to squeeze in a few hours of pleasure here and there. (Speaking of work, and this will be the first and last time I do so, some of ya’ll have figured out who my employer is. For those of you who think you know my politics, morals, and job description based on who I work for, you are 100 percent wrong, and you don’t seem to know much about my agency, either. Moving on!)

You know what is good for the soul? Running. You know what else? The ocean and salty air. Combine those two and damn. That’s some good healing, right there.

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I got in two runs last week, both at Sunset Cliffs. Magnificent is an understatement.

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The people who live in those houses had better be grateful every damn day, or I will find a way to adverse possess that shit. (Side note: When I was in law school and then studying for the bar, my husband used to say this a lot. It still makes me laugh.)

BTW, running on sand is super hard. Most of the sand/dirt was packed down and easy enough, but the parts of the trail that were loose made my calves burn.

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Don’t know why this bit of mosaic was here, but it was pretty.

I also enjoyed a grown-ups only dinner with a co-worker and my sister-in-law, who drove two hours just to visit with me. (I’ve said this before, but I married into the best family anyone could ask for, and it breaks my heart every day.) We went to Draft for dinner, drinks, and the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

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Who goes to a beer restaurant and orders wine? This girl.

And then I came back to my two favorite people.

 

 

1 Comment + Posted in: Running

Q&A Monday Vol. XXVI: When Dad Abandons Ship

QandADear Lynn, My husband of nearly two decades decided he wanted out about three months ago. Out of the marriage, but also out of being a dad. He packed everything up, moved to a new apartment, and then left us a note. (That’s right! He didn’t even do it in person!) Our kids are eight and ten, so they definitely notice his absence. I suspect there’s another woman, because the whole thing was so sudden and before this he was actively involved in being a father. I am drifting and lost and I have no idea what I should be doing. Please point me in the right direction!  should be doing.

Well, holy shit. This is pretty much the worst thing ever, I think we can agree on that. So now what?

Step One: Determine your financial situation. If there is a joint savings account, transfer at least half into a separate one under just your name. Get your own checking account. Get his name off everything you possibly can, and if your name is on any of his accounts, get it off. Now. Look at any credit card debt, mortgage, all that stuff. Figure out how to pay it monthly on just your income. If you were a stay-at-home mom, all of this is harder, obviously, but that leads me to…

Step Two: Find a lawyer. File for legal separation if that is recognized in your state. Request child support, and if necessary, spousal support. Do not flinch on this.

Step Three: If you have family nearby, lean on them. Ask if someone (mom, sister, whoever) can stay with you for a week or two while you take care of step one and two. It’s great if you have someone who doesn’t mind handling the daily grind of cooking and cleaning up for two kids while you straighten out life. If not, take care of step one and two, and then if you can, go visit family for a week or two. Consider it a summer vacation. Try to turn off your brain.

Step Four: And this is a big one. Your kids are old enough to realize dad is not there. They are also old enough to hear everything you say, so make sure you only say good things about him. I know that’s hard. I know he doesn’t deserve it. But your kids do.

Step Five: Go to sleep at night, wake up in the morning. Repeat daily. No one thinks they will survive emotional tragedy like this, and yet at some point, everyone comes out the other side, a bit bruised perhaps, but alive. Go through the basic motions of daily existence. Sometimes it might feel like you’re underwater. Sometimes you might find yourself staring into space for twenty minutes, in shock, wondering how this happened. But eventually, yes, you will come out the other side.

See you there.

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