How Loving and Patient He Must Be….

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”        Jeremiah 29:11

Being a Mom is not easy.

My kids both had me in tears this morning as I was trying to get them ready for school.   My daughter wanted to use a different back pack (on the last three days of school!!!).   The straps had been tied in a knot and I was unable to get the knots untied.   Crisis!!!    Absolute-Teenage-Breakdown!!

My son, decided he would throw his own fit because his Cargo-shorts were dirty and I was going to make him wear a pair of shorts that didn’t have 7,000 pockets!  Apparently two pockets on a pair of shorts is not sufficient.     Hence, making me the worst mother in all of the entire world!

I did it….I just walked right out of the house.   I finally had enough.    I looked at them and proclaimed, “get ready by yourself!” and drove away.

*Before you think I really am the worst mother in all of the world, let me say that we go to my parents house every morning for breakfast.   Something that has been part of my kids routine since they were in Kindergarten*      So, as I walked out the door, Grandma was making them a healthy breakfast and looking at me with her own bit of desperation as to Why was she being punished?

I got in my car and did what any terrible mother would do.   I drove around the block a few times to cool off and came back, made sure they were ready and drove them to school.

My son was very well aware that I was not happy since just the day before he also proclaimed me The worst Mom ever when I didn’t get him ice cream after I got off work, picked home up from school, took him to get his hair cut, changed two flat tires on my lawn mower and mowed the grass….all while he was sitting in the garage (in the shade) playing on his IPhone 6 whining that I didn’t have any food!!  Grandpa, who was helping me with the mower, took him to their house, where I am sure he was served a bowl of cereal in front of the TV on the recliner!

Did he feel bad?  Sure he did.   Both last night and this morning, he gave me a kiss and told me that he was sorry.   Both times, I graciously accepted his apology, and I always welcome a kiss from the most handsome (entitled, selfish Brat….OMG, I created a monster) fella in the world.

The kids, the back pack, the wrong shorts…You are the worst mother in all the world!!!     I cried.   I cried ugly tears this morning!   I couldn’t stop crying.   The never ending cycle of never being good enough.   Not for my kids, not for my (ex) husband, not for my family, not even for myself.   I strive to be the best.   I exhaust myself so I can be the cool mom, the cool Aunt, the friend to everyone….I do it all because I have this overwhelming sense of needing to show people how much I love them.  To the point of forgetting to love myself, or feeling guilty if I plan a night out to go out to dinner with a friend, or (Heaven forbid) even a date.    As I took my long drive this morning to talk with God, my question to Him was “Why?”  One simple sentence, This isn’t how I imagined my life.    Once again, like most days, He didn’t answer.   It’s ok, I know He’s pretty busy.    Instead, I counted some blessings and went on with my morning.

My life.  Unpredictable.  Chaotic.  Full of Love.  Full of family and friends (even some random adopted strangers).  Lots of laughter and even some tears.

And yes…..Even being voted The worst Mother in all of the world!

There is a song that we used to sing in Sunday School….

He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.   It took him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.

How loving and patient He must be…..

He’s still working on me.

How loving and Patient He must me….

 

 

 

I AM

My girlfriends and I started a private group on Facebook a few months ago, mainly to encourage each other and let each other know that we have each other’s backs.    A very good friend of mine posted this yesterday:

21 day challenge starts tomorrow and here is your goal! I am reading The Power of I am by Joel Osteen and its powerful. I want to challenge all of us to post a status to Facebook and repeat it in the group every morning that says I am… Beautiful, strong, valuable, healthy… You get the idea. I am not going to stop there, I am going to write the sentiment on my hand so I look down and I remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Who is with me? They say it takes 21 days to start a new habit. Lets start a new journey! If you write it on your hand it’s a great way to start a conversation and encourage others!

The beautiful posts and pictures started pouring in……

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I read their stories.  As tears started filling my eyes, my mind drifted back to 4 years ago.

This is what I wrote:

I am up for the 21 Day Challenge……But man, did it get me thinking.
I AM Crystal Adams Faulkiner. You are probably thinking, ok? Yes, that is your name. Well, to me, it is more than that. Let me explain.
Yesterday someone introduced me (twice) as Dr. Faulkiners ex wife. Unfortunately, this is a common theme for me.

4 years ago next month, the man I vowed to love For Better or Worse left me.  It was the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me in my life. I remember thinking, “What am I going to do?” “How will I ever survive ALONE?” This fear of NOT being Dr. Faulkiner’s wife anymore terrified me so much that I agreed to go to therapy. I was ready to go in and tell the Therapist all the things I was willing to do to get my family back.
I walked in (tissue box in hand) and sat down. The first thing she asked me was, “Who are you?”
My response, “I am Caty and Adam’s mom….Kelby’s wife……….”
“NO, I didn’t ask that!” She quickly cut me off. “I said WHO ARE YOU?
“I am a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter……”
“Crystal, WHO ARE YOU?” This time she raised her voice.
No matter how hard I tried, I could not understand what she was trying to get me to say. I never wanted to be anyone else since the day I met him, I knew that I wanted to be Caty and Adam’s Mom and I was so proud to be Dr. Faulkiner’s wife. She made me so incredibly angry, I vowed to never see her again. Yet that question, WHO ARE YOU? still haunts me 4 years later.
So this morning, I get on Facebook and all of you lovely ladies are all beginning this challenge together….thank you for allowing me to be a part of it….but as I was looking at all of your “I AM’s”, I found myself in the same predicament again 4 years later.
I am still trying to be a Mom, Aunt, Sister, Daughter, and sometimes I even try to be a Girlfriend. (which is nauseating to me!! haha)
Somewhere along the way I lost myself.

So today, I have decided that……

I am ready to find who I am to let go of who I used to be.

I AM Crystal Adams Faulkiner!!

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no ordinary life

To be continued……..

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It is Well….

It’s beginning to look a lot like “I am not really into Christmas”….or am I?

I am the most uptight person alive when it comes to decorating for Christmas.   Lugging out the 5 Christmas trees, 3 Christmas Villages, 3 nativity scenes and the random knick knack and stuffed Santa Claus was always the highlight of my entire year.    Christmas was always work.  I made it a chore.   A chore that no one else in my family wanted to participate in.   Mainly because it wasn’t fun, I made it my life’s goal to pour my heart and soul into making the house look like a Winter Wonderland, but didn’t want the family to be involved for fear they may put an ornament in the wrong place on the tree.      I did enjoy the help that was given to me when it came to pulling out the 20 boxes of ornaments, lights and garland….not to mention the villages and nativities.      Climbing into the trees to hang lights wasn’t my forte either, so I gladly kept my feet planted firmly on the ground as I barked out orders from below.

I spent 12 years of our marriage putting the Christmas decorations up on my own.   As he prepared for hunting season, I prepared for Christmas.    He dreaded the mundane task of dragging everything out of the attic, and all I could think about was surprising him with a museum of glitter and garland when he returned from hunting.   It was always my intention to make him proud of me.   For him to walk in and stand in awe at the hard work and hours (Blood Sweat and Tears!!) I had poured in to make it the best Christmas ever!

Every year, he came home….gave a half hearted “looks nice” and plopped his clothes down for me to wash.   The house that once smelled like Cinnamon had a strong odor of camp fire and deer urine.

The first year that he left us, I was so distraught, but I knew I had to decorate for the kids.   I trudged in the attic as I sobbed hysterically, lowering the trees down by myself.  Then calling my Daddy to help me because I quickly realized that I couldn’t do it on my own.    I watched my little boy try so hard (as he still does every year) to be the man of the house as he would go outside with his little shovel and snow suit and shovel the driveway,  taking a break every now and then to eat the snow!  (which I find disgusting!!)     He and my Dad would surprise me with decorating the outside.  I stayed inside, instead of barking out orders as I was just truly grateful that they were so kind to help me.

While decorating the tree, I cried uncontrollably as I put up the “First Christmas Together” ornaments, the family ornaments that displayed our names as Snowmen on a sled, the Baby’s First Christmas….I quickly realized that our Christmases would never be the same, yet I was not ready to give up the ornaments that I so proudly displayed every year on our “Memory Tree”.

It wasn’t until last Christmas that I stopped crying, I stopped romanticizing the bittersweet memories that no longer existed.   Although, I always want my kids to remember Christmas as a family, I felt no need to keep the “First Christmas Together” ornament.   Who would want that as a family heirloom when I am gone?   I realized that part of my life did not exist anymore, so alone one night as I was decorating the tree,  I broke the ornament and I threw it in the trash.    At that moment, I felt as though I was Kathy Bates in  Fried Green Tomatoes….I almost shouted Towanda!!!  (yet my heart still felt just as broken as the ornament)

December 7th, 2015.   I am sitting in my living room watching my kids decorate the Christmas trees by themselves.   My son, who isn’t tall enough to decorate the top of the tree, yet determined that is where he wanted to decorate, stood on the coffee table.  My daughter sat on the floor and wanted to hear the story behind each ornament.  My Exchange Student eagerly took over the task of the heavy lifting and took the top of the tree (because I am vertically challenged) as I spread out the branches on the bottom.    We opted not to put up the Christmas villages and the Nativity scenes this year for the sake of time.   (the first time in 16 years)

I took pictures…actual pictures of them decorating!!   Not the normal pictures of me handing them an ornament to put on the tree, so I could brag on social media that we decorated as a family.  All lies!!!

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The outside lights don’t match….the giant blow ups are not what I would consider “classy or elegant” but the kids picked them out.    The teens decorated the outside while I sat in the yard as we laughed at them climbing the big tree in the front yard and my nice climbing on the shoulders of the Exchange Student as he yelled, “My Gosh, you are so heavy!!” and almost dropped her.

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My little guy just fell asleep next to me while watching A Christmas Story.  I am sitting here looking for the missing garland,  the villages, and the massive amounts of fake snow that used to don the house.   He’s 10, and this is the first year I let him and his sister take over.   For some reason, that makes me sad as I hold him in my arms tonight.  To think that this is the first year I completely let go of being the Christmas Nazi and let them just be little kids.  Making Memories with their Mom.

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As I sit here tonight taking in my surroundings, I finally feel at peace.  Happy.  Satisfied.  It finally feels like HOME.

It is well with my soul……12308572_10208555102618518_2275357296802741425_n

 

 

 

Confessions from my Cubicle

I try to stay away from “sad” posts.   I want to be known as the single mom who has her stuff together.     Today, may not be one of those posts.

A friend of mine asked me recently to write about my dating experiences as a single mom in her (now) 40’s.    We had dinner one day and I can’t remember ever laughing so hard at myself before.   The tears of laughter that was shed that day prompted me to write this.   Keep an open mind while reading this and don’t be afraid to laugh at my expense.

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So as I sit at my desk and polish off a box of Crunch and Munch, a container of raspberries, 4 cherry tomatoes, beef jerky and un-sweet tea, I am evaluating my life and exactly how I have gotten here…..Not here, as in “on this earth”  but here, as in this cozy little Cubicle.

I have recently come to the realization that I am ready to date.   I just threw up in my mouth a little…could be from the excessive amount of food I have eaten in the past 2 hours…but nevertheless, the thought of being in an actual relationship gives me mixed emotions of excitement, nervousness and indigestion.

I have dated in the past three years, unsuccessfully.

There was the Doctor who  brought me a bottle of his very own wine and proposed to me on the FIRST date.     He ended up talking to me like a baby…I am not kidding…he literally used a baby voice and said things like I WUV YOU and he sent me pictures of flowers and wrote me poetry.   He lasted a week.

Then there was the guy who had to move in with his parents a month after we started talking because he lost his job due to him getting drunk at the office Christmas party.   Once he finally got his life together, he left me for a women he met in his apartment complex.

A friend fixed me up on a blind date.    I met him at his house and our plans were to go out to dinner.     I pulled in his driveway and he met me at the door with his 3 year old son.   (He forgot to tell me that he was bringing him along.)  No worries!!   I adore kids.      But wait, he also forgot to tell me that we were going to his son’s Karate demonstration at the preschool where his parents and ex wife were also going to be there.      It gets better, he then asks me if his parents can go to dinner with us….that way they will pay for dinner!!!     His parents declined. Before I bolted out the door, he made one last request….”Would you like to lay in bed with me and my son and watch TV until he falls asleep?”      Um No, Goodbye.       I never saw him again.

The man I recently dated slept all the time and barely spoke.

There have been a few first dates that never turned into second dates.

There is even one that I would consider “the one that got away”.

Through it all, I learned a little more about myself.   What I want and don’t want.  What I am missing and what I don’t want to ever experience again.  Dating in your late 30’s and now 40’s isn’t as easy as you would think.    I could have married the first man I spoke about, who knows it may have been a nice life.    I could have gotten discouraged when my dates became disasters.    I could easily dwell on the one that got away.

I was messaging back and forth with my best friend today and I told him my fears about being alone.  It was prompted by another friends Mother who recently passed away…she had been a divorced single mom for as long as I can remember and as I was thinking about her this morning the thought crossed my mind that she must have felt so alone as she was exiting this earth.  I have to admit, it made me very sad.     As one of my biggest fears is being buried alone when I die.

It took me almost three years to finally get over the shock of my husband leaving me for another woman and his confession to five affairs while we were married.    The one question I ask myself is “why did he marry me”?  there was no obligation, there was no pressure.   One day he just got on his knee and promised to love me forever.    Forever lasted almost a year before he had his first affair, 13 years later he tells me that he doesn’t love me anymore.  Just like that, it was all over.

It has taken me three years to say this…

I don’t know what real love feels like.   The kind of loves that makes you feel safe, cared for, comfortable and not afraid.     The kind of love that you know that you are the “only one”.   That you don’t have to fight or defend yourself.  You don’t have to prove your worth.   The kind of love that makes you walk with confidence instead of cowering in a corner for fear you are going to be hit or made fun of. 

 Ladies, there is nothing dramatic about an abusive relationship!!  I don’t think he realizes what he did to me that day and the weeks after that.   He stole my self esteem.  He made me feel like I was unworthy….now I know who is unworthy.

So, thank you men that I have dated…thank you for the proposals, the wine, the dinners, and even a few good laughs.    You have given me the confidence to face my fears and start dating again.   Although, unsuccessful to say the least, I haven’t quite given up on finding “Prince Charming”!

**A letter to the man that may be actively searching for ME!**

Dear Mr. Charming:

Dating has been quite a learning experience for me.  Marriage EVEN MORE!    But it is time to get serious as my last birthday was a reminder that I am not getting any younger!

I am going to make things easy for you as I have officially made a list of things you must have or be to qualify for a chance at my heart.

  • You must love Jesus
  • You must love children
  • You must love to laugh
  • Don’t be boring!!
  • Taking long drives is a necessity
  • I want you to love sunrises and sunsets to the point of being unbelievably dramatic when seeing one!!
  • Love me when I am having a bad day
  • Love me when I am having a good day
  • Just love me everyday will be sufficient
  • Compliment me
  • Hug me….you know the kind of hug when my face is buried in your chest and I can’t breath, yet I don’t want to leave your arms for fear I may never feel that way again.
  • Make me smile
  • Make me laugh
  • Play with my hair
  • Kiss my forehead
  • Talk to me!!
  • Must have ridiculously amazing parents!!!!

Now Mr. Charming, in return I shall promise to:

  • First and foremost, Love Jesus!!
  • Love my kids (and yours if you have some)
  • ……the rest, let’s just see what happens

**FYI…the above lists are meant for kicks and giggle except the “Must love Jesus!!”**

There you go. A rare glimpse into my life….the single (not mom) life.

There you go Lori, I wrote it!!   Now everyone laugh and cry if you must.   But remember, there are far more better days ahead than what I am leaving behind!!

sldf

I am Just tired 

  
I try to keep it together most days.  I’m really good at the smile and maybe no one will see how completely overwhelmed I actually am.   I have been practicing it for three long years now and most of the time can even convince myself. 

Today, like most days, my daughter had a slight meltdown.  I say slight, because I have seen worse, but today was one of those days that hit me….is she ever going to get better?   She’s getting bigger. Taller. More beautiful every day.    She’s sweet and kind.  She loves everyone.   But then she snaps. I don’t know what triggers it, I don’t know how to control it.   I don’t know what to do!!

She is just a kid.  A kid who tries so desperately to fit in. She tries so hard, but when she does something awkward or gets upset, she gets so angry at herself for screwing up that she just goes into a rage that no one, not even herself can control. 

You don’t love me!  No one loves me!!   She yells and screams….no one understands her. I don’t even think she knows what is wrong, as I have asked her time and time again since she is getting older to please just tell me how you feel?  What is happening in your head?    She doesn’t know as she just gets more frustrated. 

Well tonight, in the midst of her small meltdown over our new puppy that she let sail across the hardwood floor, I just couldn’t take it.   I got in the car and took the pup for a drive with me and I found myself calling her father in complete desperation as I hyperventilated the words…I’m completely overwhelmed!  I don’t know what to do anymore.  I am so tired.  

Not expecting any sympathy from my ex husband of course, I had my own small meltdown as he listened intently to my half talking/half panic attack.  Probably assuming that I have finally snapped and expecting me to start blaming him for everything he had ever done to me over the course of 16 years…..I simply said as honestly and truthfully as I could it’s not your fault, I am just really tired.     That was the simple truth.  I am just really tired. 

I drive home.  Knowing that she was already apologetic.  She greeted me with a hug and told me she was sorry. We baked some cookies together, one thing we share is our love for cooking as it is therapy for both of us.   All was well the rest of the evening. She returned back to the beautiful sweet lovely little lady who made some killer pumpkin Chai spiced cookies! 

She then left to go to her Great Aunt’s house with her cousin who recently got her drivers license for their weekly Tuesday night dinner and we all met up at my exchange student’s high school soccer game around 7.  

I found a convenient parking space near the front and watched the game from my car….too tired to join actual civilization for fear I may actually have to have a conversation with someone.    She sat with some of her cousin’s high school friends and enjoyed the soccer game like a big girl.  While I sat in the car and prepared a Bible lesson for class tomorrow.  I may have even allowed myself to take a 15 minute break and enjoy the perfect silence. 

Caty went to grandma’s as she does most nights.  She let me hug her and kiss her repeatedly on the head before she went inside to go to bed.  

I went home with the boys, of course to find a pup who had an accident in the kennel so I took the little cutie and gave him a quick bath in the bathroom sink.   The boys must have picked up on my exhaustion as they both came in the bathroom to offer their assistance.    We oohed and awwwed over the cuteness of a wet puppy and then all took turned holding him in the oversized towel as he shivered.  

I sat on the floor and started folding some towels I had just taken out of the dryer as the pup chewed on my pants.  

Both boys sat in the floor with me and started folding towels with me.   They asked me to teach them how to fold towels. I must admit, I got a little teary as I told them to fold it half then half again,now fold it twice…I am very particular about folding! I come from a long line of insane laundry women!!   Any other time,I would tell them that I would take care of it.  But tonight, I was just really tired.     It ended up being an awesome experience for all of us.   Bonding with my son and my exchange Son.  

As my son was going to bed with the pup wrapped in a fluffy purple blanket I overheard him telling the pup, now listen to me, Mommy is not feeling well and is tired tonight. You are going to sleep with me and give Mommy a break.   

Pup listened as they are both sound asleep in my bed.  

All is well once again in my house.

I’m doing ok with this single Mom thing…I guess we get a little tired sometimes. I just needed a little time to breathe.     

The Toothache and the Itchy Butt

timeoutThere have been times in my life when I really just need to take a time-out.   Literally, go to my bedroom and hide from my family.  

Last week, there was no hiding!    Oh the conversations at our house….Enjoy!

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Looking in the mirror in the car on the way to the ER

“Mom, I have a toothache!”

Both kids  had toothaches less than two weeks apart.   First toothache brought my daughter home early from Dad’s house. (sometimes you just need your Mommy)

Second toothache sends my son screaming he’s dying and needed to go to the Emergency Room to see his Dad! (he’s a man….so in his defense he felt that death was certainly imminent, and the ER was his only solution.)     I reluctantly take him to see his Dad because, to be honest, he was driving me insane.   So, around midnight I call his father and tell him we are headed to the ER, meet me in the ambulance bay and I will wait in the car.   Dad graciously met me outside with our son now dramatically writhing in pain, swoops him up and takes him inside.  I park next to dad’s truck still wearing my pajamas, because as a mom you know what is actually and Emergency situation and what isn’t…..I knew there would be no reason to actually enter the Peyton Place…Oh, I mean ER…This particular night.

I think I fell asleep for a brief moment.  The Door opened and this kid jumps in the car with a giant piece of dental floss tied around his tooth.   Toothache gone!!  Hmmmmm, not sure how a piece of dental floss miraculously healed him but it worked!!    Doctor Daddy’s advice….wiggle it and it will fall out!

Home….and Bed.

Then there was last night.   The famous “ithchy butt” returned.   I thought we had gotten over the “itchy butt’ when he stopped wrestling.

Adam:  “Mom, my butt is itching!”  (I am asleep…Zzzzzz)   “Mom, I am not kidding my butt is really itching!  Do you have any medicine?

Me:  “I don’t have medicine, go put some Vaseline on it.”

Adam:  (Get’s out of bed and goes into the bathroom and in typical male fashion…) “Where is it Mom?”

Me:  “It is sitting next to the sink!”

Adam: (2 seconds later….because he is a man!!!!) “Mom, I don’t see it!”

Me: “IT IS THERE….LOOK FOR IT!!!”  (my voice a little more irritated hence the CAPS!)

Adam:  “Mom….(at this point if he says MOM one more time I’m going to lose my mind!!!!)  I don’t see it!”

Me: (Jumping out of bed preparing my alibi for when he come up missing)…..go to the bathroom, immediately pick up the Vaseline, hand it to him after giving him the “you are just like your father, he could never find anything” speech.     Then I leave the room to give him and his butt some privacy.

Adam:  (Crawls back in bed)  5 minutes later…”Mom, my butt still itches!”

Me:  “Maybe you have worms!”

Adam:  “How could I have worms?  I have never eaten a worm!!”

Me:  “Please Adam, for the love of all that is Holy just go to sleep!!!”

Adam:  “Mom, this is really starting to irritate me!”

Me:  “Must you say MOM every time you talk to me?”

Adam:  “Mom….Oh, I mean Crystal….Is that better MOM?”

Me: (laughing)

Finally sleeeeeeep…….Zzzzzzzzz

(Don’t know what time this happened)

Adam:  “Mom, er um Crystal….My Butt is really really itching!”

Me:  (half awake)  Go take a shower!

Adam:  “I already did!”

Me:  “Go take another one!”

(I think I heard the shower running.)

Asleeeeeep again……Zzzzzzzz

Adam:  “Hey MOM!   My butt doesn’t itch anymore!!”

(Not sure if I responded)

…….and then this happens.

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No more “Itchy Butt”