Celebrating Father’s Day with my Ex-Husband

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Yep! You read that right! I celebrated Father’s Day with my ex-husband. Well, the kids were there too. Not all divorced parents can get along. I am lucky that my ex and I do get along. More than that though, we have managed to become friends once again after our split. It took hard work and communication on both sides but we did it.

Father’s Day is also a day to appreciate the dad in your kids’ lives who is more than just a sperm donor. He takes his role seriously and he makes sure to be there for them, even when it’s hard. For example, lately Conner has been showing his tween side all too often. He is argumentative more than usual, moody, and back talking a bit too much.

His dad doesn’t run away when he gets like that. He also doesn’t go to the other extreme. He sticks it out, buckles down for the ride right along with me and I will say that as co-parents, we have each other’s backs during these small crisis’.

So I celebrate Father’s Day with my ex-husband to show him appreciation. I appreciate that he is there for our children. I appreciate that we get along. Most of all though, I appreciate that he loves our children just as much as I do and will do anything for them.

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Let’s Switch Gears for a minute…

I did not have a father growing up. When I did meet my father, I wished I hadn’t. He was abusive and manipulative and an all around bad person. When he wasn’t being those things, he spent most of my childhood and teenage years denying my brother and me. I spent a good chunk of my life hating my father because he never loved me and never wanted me.

Father’s Day was never celebrated in my house because of this. There was only one man I ever called dad and he was actually my sister’s father. He was the first father I knew but unfortunately he didn’t stay in the picture for very long.

However….

My boys do! At some point in my teenage years I made a promise to my future children that I would make damn sure they would have a good father. They would have a dad who loved them beyond measure and would always be there for them.

Of course, by the time I met the father of my future kids, partying was more on both of our minds than kids. Being in our early twenties kind of does that. Yet somehow, I was able to keep that promise to them. Was it a promise kept or was it just fate? I don’t know, to tell you the truth but what I do know is my boys have an awesome dad!

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Yet…

Not every kid is lucky enough to have a loving and devoted father though and I want to take a minute to recognize that. Perhaps because of this, my ex and I made it a point to get along even when we didn’t for the sake of our kids. All too often I see parents who can’t even be in the same room together let alone get along but they too, at least make an effort for their kids.

Then there are dads out there who have to fight to see their kids because the moms are so hateful towards them that they use the kids against those dads. This is something I have seen a lot of and it really angers me. It angers me because at the end of the day, the only people really getting hurt are the kids.

Then there are kids whose fathers have passed away. Those dads are sorely missed. There are also children whose fathers choose not to be in their lives for whatever reason. My heart breaks for these kids because I know how that feels. But my heart also swells at the thought of my own children having a great dad.

Celebrating Father’s Day…

This year the boys wanted to do something really special for their dad but they didn’t know what. He has been wanting a model car Delorean from Back to the Future. He had it on his list for his birthday. Except that his birthday isn’t until September so I thought, why not get it for him for Father’s Day?

We also got him a Samurai Sword. Not a real one mind you. Those are way out of my price range. On Saturday Adam and I went to the Renaissance Festival and they were selling Samurai Swords. It was a decent price and very well made (with a dull blade) so I picked it up for him. Just in time for Father’s Day.

The kids couldn’t wait to give him the presents and he was really happy to get them. He loves both gifts. This was my way though of showing appreciation to the man who my kids call Dad! So thank you Tom, for being such a great father to our beautiful boys!

Happy Father’s Day!

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And Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there!

Thanks so much for reading!

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What Christmas Means to Me

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Christmas is a wonderful time of year! Next to Halloween, it’s my favorite holiday but it isn’t just the holiday. It’s every thing the holiday represents. Good Cheer, Christmas decorations, hot chocolate, snowmen, and being with family. We celebrate several different holidays this time of year as well. We have Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, among many others.

However, for the past – oh I don’t know – five or six years, I haven’t been in the mood to celebrate. I’ve gone through the motions but I haven’t felt much in the way of the Christmas Spirit for quite some time. I even wrote a post about not being in the spirit a couple years back HERE

In the past I have suffered from depression this time of year and it played a major role in my lack of Christmas cheer. Last year was probably the worst year due to the unhealthy relationship I was in at the time. You can read more about that HERE and HERE However, I think in hindsight it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

I know what you’re thinking. How can an unhealthy relationship be the best thing? Remember when I said I was just going through the motions with every holiday? Last year I couldn’t even think straight. Last year was just different. After the break up, the blinders came off and not just with the relationship but with my life. I went down the rabbit hole of deep sadness then when it was over, I came out so much happier.

It set me up for a better year, a better Christmas!

For the first time since I was a teenager I was in the Christmas spirit in November! Thanksgiving came and I was so excited to watch the parade with my oldest and ready to watch Christmas movies right after. I couldn’t wait to decorate my home or get the tree. I don’t actually have my tree yet but I’m so excited to get it this week and play Christmas music while decorating it with my kids!

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It’s like the magic came back for me. It is flowing through me and the spirit of this wonderful season is working its magic in my soul! I have been baking cookies every week since Thanksgiving and not begrudgingly. I am enjoying the baking again!

I do have to give credit to my new gamer friends!

I struggled for a while after my break up to find other gamers that I really enjoy playing with and talking to. I joined a Destiny clan and met some really great women with whom I share a lot in common. Four of us are parents and the others are just a pure joy to talk to and play with. I can enjoy gaming again but more than that, I have finally found some like minded people who have lifted me up and helped me through a tough time.

I also have to give credit to my new advocacy position at Safe Passage!

I have written about this recently. HERE is the post if you want to read it. I have met some really great people through this organization. Safe Passage is a non-profit that advocates for those who have suffered from Domestic Violence. We provide resources, shelter and legal advocacy as well as a crisis hotline and education in the community. I love working  here because of the people I work with.

They are such a supportive and compassionate group of people. I look forward to my work every day because of the supportive environment they provide. Through this work I have gotten my confidence back. My last work experience was pretty bad and I lost my confidence in my skills but now its back. I feel better than ever!

So what does this have to do with the Christmas Spirit?

Everything! When you have good, positive people in your life, it’s contagious. Next thing you know, you’re positive and you’re happy. When you have a great group of supportive people who are willing to listen to you and offer you positive feedback, that affects your outlook on life.

I have great people in my life and I have gotten rid of the negativity that has surrounded me for the past few years. Because of this I am now feeling the same way I used to feel as a kid. Christmas was always my favorite time of year. I lost that for awhile. I’m so fortunate to have found my way back to it again!

So Merry Christmas to all of you! I wish you much happiness with whatever holiday you celebrate this season and best wishes for all of your holiday dreams!

I am leaving you with one of my favorite Christmas songs by one of my Favorite all time actresses: The late great Judy Garland!

 

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Thanks so much for reading!

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Rockin’ Quote #34: Dracula, Children of the Night

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This quote is from the first movie version of Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. It’s a classic and one of my favorite vampire movies. Dracula, Children of the Night. As anyone who knows me knows that I love all things vampire. It all started with a little movie called The Lost Boys. There is no Dracula but they were just as scary.

That started my whole obsession with vampires. I always knew who Dracula was. Dracula was everywhere during Halloween. I used to watch The Munsters. Sesame Street also had a hand in my introduction to vampires. The count was my favorite character. However, it wasn’t until years later when my mom introduced me to the 1930’s version – and the best version.

While studying literature in College I also read the book in my Gothic Lit class. I loved that class! So here is my ode to my favorite vampire of all time

 

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There are other great actors who portrayed my favorite vampire:

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Christopher Lee was the scariest Dracula! A superb actor!

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We can’t forget the 90’s version, starring Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, and Winona Ryder

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Even Buffy took on the famous vampire

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Of course Mel Brooks turned the most fearsome vampire to ever live into one of the funniest I’ve seen

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Then there is two of the sexiest Draculas, played by Luke Evans in the feature film, Dracula: The Untold Story

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The other sexy actor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, played Dracula on a short lived TV drama titled, Dracula

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Ironically, he played another one of my favorite historical figures, King Henry VIII

I can’t write a post on Dracula without naming the real historical person who inspired the undead icon, Vlad Tepes, a.k.a., Vlad the Impaler. Honestly, he was a real person. Just look him up. Warning though, no undead version holds a candle to the evil of the real person!

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And last but not least, the fun loving Disney Dracula my kids love: Hotel Transylvania 

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Before Bela Lugosi though there was this guy:

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Nosferatu

But for me, Bela Lugosi is my favorite Dracula. The movie may be old and the filming sucks compared to today’s films but the movie scared the hell out of people back then and that’s why I love it

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Which Dracula is your favorite?

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40 and Single and Happy About it!

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I am 40 and single and yes! I am happy about it. Some people who read this might not understand why I’m happy about being single. We live in a society where being coupled up is normal and the notion of even wanting to be alone scares us. It’s not considered the norm to want to be alone. After all, we are social beings and wanting to be eternally loved by another person is only natural.

In my early twenties I looked at love and relationships much like most people. I wanted to find “the one”. For me, I wanted to find someone who would rescue me from my shitty life and I’d live happily ever after. Those are the dreams of a young woman who doesn’t know where she fits in this world.

I had very little confidence in myself, though I hid it well. Being young, confused, and without rules set me up for much heart break. It also made me cold and bitter. With no solid boundaries I didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like. When I was at my worst, I met my ex-husband. Looking back, I had gone into that relationship not knowing who I was or what I truly wanted.

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He is a good one but again, neither of us really knew what we wanted. Neither of us understood. We clashed. We had kids. I got diagnosed with PTSD. Our oldest has Autism. All of this was draining on two young people from broken homes and issues we didn’t know we had. Now that I’m 40 and single I am looking back on this and realizing an important life lesson.

That I need to find happiness within myself first before I can be with anyone else.

After my separation from my ex, I dated a little. I thought that I could just date around and figure things out. Turns out that’s not me. It never was. Casual dating doesn’t make me happy. I’m just not built that way. That was another thing that I learned about myself.

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So I took a few years to work on myself. Then last year I met someone and for a time, I was really happy. He met a longing in me that I didn’t know I had. We had a soul connection. It was profound and beautiful! As time went on and as I’m fast approaching 40, I started to really think about what I want from a romantic relationship.

My therapist says I want a male version of me. Haha! I sat down and made a short list the other day of the qualities I would look for and I am beginning to think she may be right. My top three qualities: self-sufficient, independent, and motivated. Then the list got longer as I was writing. Most of it is what I assume most people want. Great sense of humor, laid back, and intelligent. I love a deep thinker who I can have great conversation with. But I also love someone I can go on an adventure with who also loves to veg out on the couch. There is a lot more to it than that but you get the idea.

Then another Epiphany happened and I discovered yet another new thing about myself…

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I’m not sure when this happened but there it is. I’m afraid of commitment. It’s not just with relationships though. Apparently, this is why I haven’t finished any of my books. Nor why I can’t commit to a career path. Friendships, family, even my blog have suffered because of my commitment issues.

Then I had another epiphany. I’m happiest when I’m alone. Now most people tell me that this is only because I haven’t met the right person yet. Maybe that’s true. What I do know for sure is that I’m on my own path of self-discovery and I am constantly evolving my thinking and my perspective. If someone comes along that is on the same path as me – Great! If not, I’m okay with that too.

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I spent the bulk of my youth dating some real jerks. I let the wrong ones into my life. The deep seeded trust issues I already had didn’t help. I didn’t know myself. I wasn’t the self-assured and confidant woman I am today. Twenty years ago I settled because I was a “go with the flow” kind of person.

Today, I know what I want – and what I don’t want. I am 40 and single because I won’t settle for less than I deserve. When I was 20 I didn’t think I deserved a whole lot. Now that I’m 40 and single, I know better. My standards are higher and I’m not afraid to set boundaries or walk away from something that doesn’t make me happy.

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Remembering 9/11 What I Teach My Son

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Today, September 11, 2016, marks the 15 year anniversary of the most tragic day in American History during my lifetime. Remembering 9/11 means more to me than just another tragic day though. Just like our grandparents and great-grandparents, who remember exactly where they were and what they were doing on December 7, 1941 I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing September 11, 2001. Here is my account of that day.

Where I was…

I was living in my hometown of Baltimore, MD. Only 45 minutes away from D.C. About an hour from Pennsylvania. I was living with my ex and mother-in-law in a nice 2 bedroom apartment. I had a black cat name Sage and I was 7 months pregnant with my first child. Adam was still growing in my belly that day. In fact, the very next day, September 12th, marked my 7 month mark. That’s where I was that day, 15 years ago. This is me remembering 9/11.

What I was doing…

I was working in a daycare center during my pregnancy and I was helping out in the baby room that day. I was rocking a baby to sleep and looking out the window, enjoying the rays of the sun that were shining through. It was a beautiful morning and we teachers had decided that we would take the babies for a walk in the strollers. It was such a beautiful morning.

We were listening to a CD of baby music. I had to go to the bathroom so I put the baby in a bouncy chair. When I got back from the bathroom, I walked into a dark room with only a few lamps for light. The whole vibe in the room had completely changed. I heard a voice on the radio saying something about the towers but I thought I was listening to a movie preview. I honestly thought that. Looking back, when I play those moments in my head, they play out in slow motion. As if it was something that I should have known. As if it was something we all should have known. That’s how I am remembering 9/11.

Within the hour, most of the children in the daycare center had gone home. Most of the parents of these children worked in D.C. It’s not uncommon for residents of Baltimore to work in D.C. As these parents came to pick up their little ones, I saw them hug their babies tighter than I had ever seen. I saw the fear on their faces. The worry they had for their children.  Slowly it started to hit me but it didn’t really hit me until…

Watching it on TV made it real…

Most of us went home that day. We contacted our families and friends. My ex, my mother-in-law and myself sat in front of the TV and watched the footage. The three of us watched the planes hit each tower. We watched the towers fall. We watched as the people of New York ran from the buildings, covered in soot and trying to make their way through the debris.

remembering911_rockinrandommom I remember seeing a photo of a young woman my age who had died. She was also seven months pregnant with her first child. She was expecting a boy and had named him Connor. I remember feeling a sense of survivor’s guilt because I was alive. My baby was going to be born while hers didn’t even have a chance. I grieved for her and her baby. five years later when my Conner was born, I thought of her and her baby. Even though his dad and I settled on the name from a TV show, I thought of her.

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And what of my son?

I have seen a number of Facebook memes on the incoming freshman this year not being alive that fateful day in 2001 and how they will learn about it history class but will never really know how it felt to live through that day. They will never truly understand the fear, the heartbreak, and the anger we all felt that day and every day since. Our children will not understand how that day changed us as a nation. Do you know what they know? They know our anger. Young boys and girls know how divided we are. The youngest of the millennials don’t remember a time when we came together as a country. They don’t understand what United means when we say United States of America.

But my son will. He has. Every year, from the time he was about 4 years old, I told him of that day. His brother knows too. My boys may not fully understand the emotions behind that day. Maybe they won’t understand the significance of that tragedy and how it changed our country but they know that I remember. They have seen my tears. They felt my sadness. Remembering 9/11 is a part of their lives because it is a part of mine.

Where were you that day?

I don’t often listen to country but this song by Alan Jackson is for this day and I’m dedicating to Remembering 9/11

 

Thanks so much for reading!

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