A summer of learning…

I’ve been on a hiatus from this blog and my apologies for that to my readers.  It’s been an interesting and great summer of learning and growth.  Through decision of myself and Prince Charming, we decided to spend most of the summer together and seeing if our lives “meshed”, so to speak.  He being a teacher had the summer off and therefore had his daughter the majority of the time, I booked off most of the summer months to spend with them.

 

We had a fabulous time together as a family; celebrating birthdays (mine and wee one’s as we’re born in the same month), picnics, swimming, park visits, beach visits, and zoo visits.  We had days of activity, and days of rest watching movies and playing around the house.  I became not the novelty of the woman who’s with little one’s father and around on occasion, but the normal every day facet of the family.  This has promoted a wonderful relationship developed with myself and little one, but has also awoke the toddler attitude with which she no longer discerns me.  This summer I have found out what it’s like to truly be treated like a parent.  I’ve cried tears and felt truly heartbroken when made target of a three year old’s tantrum, I’ve analyzed myself endlessly and wondered daily if I’m doing the right thing to aid the development of a happy and healthy (emotionally and physically) little girl, I’ve provided for and looked after with no thanks (well, her father makes sure to thank me for things), I’ve smiled and laughed when I’ve felt unwell… I’ve been blessed with all of this, and wouldn’t trade any of it.

 

Prince Charming and I also got to take our first vacation, just the two of us.  We spent a few days in Mexico.  We learned what it’s like to travel with eachother, and even how we cope with a few travelling stresses (such as a credit card that wouldn’t work).  We experienced adventure, romance and relaxation in the span of those few days.  I think that solidified things for us; we can do the mundane day to day living but we can enjoy paradise too.  We know we can live with just us, which is important I think, because we were away without work, without kids, and in a foreign country; all we had was eachother and later on in life we will experience that again, so we should be sure that it’s okay that way. 

 

This summer we learned about eachother, how we function as a family unit, and what we want from eachother and for our futures.

 

This summer resulted in a discussion about childcare where Prince Charming said “as a parent, I know you can appreciate that…”….

“Wait… as a parent I can appreciate that?”

“Well yeah, I view you as her step parent”…..

 

This summer resulted in a toddler running into the living room in her pajamas after a bath holding a small box, smiling and presenting it to me, “do you live with me?”, her father following behind saying “she’s supposed to say ‘will you live with me?’”….

 

This summer resulted in living, growing, and loving.   Life is wonderful and fulfilling with this man and his daughter in it.

 

Still learning….

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When there’s a child…Am I doing this right??

I’ve never been in a relationship with anyone that has young children before; most men that I’ve dealt with had children of a teenage or adult age if any at all. So having a young one around alot of the time, I have to say, is an exciting new experience.

Having always wanted children myself, I love having a 2 (soon to be 3) year old around. She’s fun to play with, read stories to, watch movies with, and I can’t even tell you what all “pretending games” we play (I’ve played numerous characters, explored many places, and eaten the most interesting things). Without going through pregnancy myself; I have still gotten to reap the benefits of a squealing child jumping with excitement to see me after having been away on a trip, the mimicking of my movements and mannerisms, the cuddling and falling asleep during movies, and the crawling into my arms only wanting to be comforted by me when hurt or scared. Life is blissful with a child in it, even though not my own.

Then there’s that…. She’s not mine….I treat her like my own, in that I love her, would give her anything she needs and her safety and wellbeing is my number one priority. But she’s not my own, and there’s a boundary that I try to work hard at as to not blur. I am not her father’s wife, I guess I would be just called the “girlfriend”; so I’m not sure that I’m exactly what you would call a “stepmother”, I really don’t know? All I can attest to being is someone else in her life that loves her.

Things like disciplining I hand over (gladly I might add, as she’s developing the wonderfully tyrant personality of a toddler only child) to her father; and also defer to him on most decisions that begin with her asking “can I have…”… Though being a wonderfully bright child, after hearing “no” from her father she most certainly will come to me in hopes of a different answering; which is the same as her father’s ———it’s best to relay this united front/parenting/whatever it is while she’s young, hopefully that sticks with her as she becomes older.

I am also very clear to maintain the not sleeping with me boundary. As a little girl that started off life with alot of attachment parenting values being used in her upbringing, she still co-sleeps at the moment. So at night, if I happen to spending the night at her father’s while she is there, she is in Daddy’s room and me, I’m in a spare room. Which I get, co-sleeping is to be with a parent, I am not her parent. Though it’s heartbreaking to tell a child “no” when they say goodnight to you and pout or cry “but can’t I sleep with you?” To avoid this though, I’m more often not there when there is overnights with the wee one.

I feel as if I’m fumbling through new territory, as I’ve never done (or had to do) any of this before. Each day with her is a new experience, which I absolutely love and adore, but am nervous at the same time! I hope I’m doing this right.

What are some others’ experiences out there? Stepmoms? Girlfriends? Loving and caring adult figures? I’d love to hear thoughts and opinions based on your experiences.

Hoping I’m the best that I can be for this little girl..

Still learning….

I have a little parrot…

It’s becoming a weekly thing to spend time with Prince Charming and his daughter, and after each visit with them, seeing them together, how cute she is, and how wonderful of a father he is; I fall deeper in love…. with them both.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never been with anyone that has small children before. But where she’s known me before (as I’ve been friends with Daddy and Mommy during her lifespan – I met her when she was 3 months old), she has now taken keen interest in me since her father and I have become a couple. She’s become my little parrot in repeating some of my mannerisms and responses to questions; and I’ve affectionately called her so, to which she responds “yes, I am your little parrot!” How cute is that?

If I’m over at the house, I’m usually bopping around to the Blues station if I’m tidying or doing dishes. To which she will come in and want to dance with me, proclaiming she likes my music, after making sure to ask, “do I like this song?”… I think most visits now, I am obligated to “turn on Blues and dance!”

From how I lick my ice cream cone, to what kind of music I listen to, to how I pet the dog; his lovely little child seems to mimic me. Watching and duplicating what I’m doing, smiling all the time as I watch her. I take this as a good sign, that she’s accepted me (or at least I’m hoping that’s what these things mean).

I assume that she accepts me with her Daddy, easily enough. I think she likes seeing her Daddy happy, or at least maybe finds ways to tell us so. Even from early days when I spent time with them, I wanted to ease her into seeing us in a different light; afterall, I’m not Mommy, and that’s who she is used to seeing with Daddy. So I didn’t broadcast affection with her father right away.. One day while watching a movie, while little one was playing on the floor, Prince Charming made move to sit closer to me on the couch and place his hand on my leg.. To which I quietly told him to move over a bit, as to not have her see that yet. Well, his wonderful little Princess is very quick and very smart to realize this was going on, but she seemed okay with her Daddy being affectionate and happy… She came over to the couch, pointed to space between us, and simply stated, “sit here”. To which I made offer to help her up to sit between us on the couch for the movie, and she replied “no, Daddy sit here.. I want Daddy to sit here”.. To which he moved back over, she smiled, and went back to her toys on the floor…Well then… I suppose we could take that as a sign of approval!

It’s become common practice for her to use my name in tandem with Daddy; “I go do (insert some activity) with Daddy and (insert my name)”; or she’ll make sure to ask me or her Daddy if I’m coming too. She often wants to include me in things that she’s doing. My heart swells every time she asks me or takes my hand to go do something with her.

I never want to push my presence on her, and I give her the power to allow my involvement with her. I’m finding it’s something I’m always cognitive of, not wanting to overstep any boundaries in regards to her. I want her to view and be comfortable with the loving relationship that I have with her father, and for her to know I’m not trying to be her parent, but I am another person that loves her…. and would do anything in the world for her and her Daddy…

So, in this wonderful adventure of meeting my Prince Charming, he came with a wonderful wee Princess… and now, I have a little parrot.

~Still learning…

When will it be okay?

When you’re with someone that is currently going through a divorce/separation, when is it okay to just be?

I feel as if I’m tiptoeing around at times, or walking on eggshells, just to make sure I don’t aggravate an already sensitive situation. A situation that really has nothing to do with me, but has been carried out in such a way to be emphasizing an involvement that isn’t mine.

For those, who need a bit of catching up; my best friend and his wife split, and lo and behold him and I discovered romantic feelings were there. Because of an already close friendship beforehand, the ex has assumed that we were carrying on before the marriage ended (but to be clear, this wasn’t the sole reason of the marriage ending). It’s made it quite an emotionally charged situation for everyone. And I empathize from all angles, I really do.. She is convinced in her assumption, which I get, it’s easiest to direct anger and blame at an outside source; so she is feeling betrayed (even if incorrectly so) by her husband and an acquaintance (me, as her and I were friends through her husband)…

Prince Charming, well, he’s trying to get closure on his marriage and amicable arrangement for custody, agreements, etc. all the while trying to cultivate a new relationship; it’s challenging to have to filter part of your new relationship. You want to be excited, but there’s the looming caution of being careful to not upset the ex and to be sensitive to the situation. The poor guy is really getting it from both sides.

And then there’s, me… I feel badly to be used as an excuse [one of] for the breakdown of a relationship; sadly, as in love as I am, I would’ve given anything for Prince Charming to have happiness and love with his family unit intact….And sometimes I feel insecure because of the filtering that is going on; and by nature I’m not an insecure person, so this is a new experience for me. I’ve spent some time now being careful, not to be around for child pick up/drop off as to not upset anything; I have filtered and removed things from social media that are really harmless, and have had no intent of malice (but were pointed out that “could be” upsetting, just because it’s me that posted it).

So I wonder… When will it be okay? When can Prince Charming and I operate freely and openly as a couple, without the fear of what upset it could cause? Enough time must’ve passed by now for it to be “acceptable” for moving on, as the ex now has someone in her life. (Not that I keep tabs on her love life, but not much is secret with a two year old around, lol… plus eventually the new fella was introduced to Prince Charming, so it’s made evident to him and he gets to know whom is around his daughter)..

When will be okay to share on social media the super cute moments I capture on film of Prince Charming and his wee Princess, so friends and family can see and comment? I haven’t even thought to post a photo of him and I, not that we have any, but when will that be okay? When will it be okay to meet his family (though I’ve already met some due to our friendship)? Another point of social media, the relationship status thing, when is that okay to change? Not that it’s a huge point, but I’m happy and proud about who I’m with, and I’d like the world knowing we’re connected.

I understand our situation is sensitive… And I’m reasonable, logical, and empathetic about the whole thing and everyone involved.. But sometimes I just feel like stomping my feet and shouting, in true tantrum, “it’s not fair, when will it be okay?”…I almost feel like we are stunted in growth as a couple by this.. My actions/feelings affect him and I, that’s normal and to be expected.. My actions/feelings affect his child, also to be expected that’s part of him and his life and number one priority… But then my actions/feelings affect the ex-wife too, I have to be considerate there, and I’m not sure that is normal, or at least it hasn’t been for any of my past relationships. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been a bitch to any of my past partner’s exes, not my style as they didn’t do anything to me. But my life feels too involved around her.

I know we will get past this, perhaps it’s just more time (and patience on my part) needed. We talk frequently about feelings surrounding this, and thank goodness Prince Charming can keep patience with me while I’m passionately (at times) discussing things. But my emotions are so up and down with this, another trait I’ve developed that I’m not used to.

But I still wonder… almost daily…

When will it be okay?

Still learning….

Are you watching Dad?

Note: This is a sad post for me. It’s that time of year folks, where you will get some emotional outpour/drivel from me. But bear with me, I write through it.

“Are you watching Dad?” She plays in her magic sand and wants to make sure her Daddy is watching her as she carefully packs sand into the mold that he used moments before to make her sand castle.

“Are you watching Dad?” She’s rolling a ball of play dough after happily announcing that she’s making a dog, just like theirs that is sitting at Daddy’s feet.

“Are you watching Dad?” She wriggles, jumps and runs around in circles while music plays on the television, triumphant that she is dancing with her Daddy.

Prince Charming has an adorable little daughter, who is two and a half years old. I am blessed to be able to spend a bit of time with them each week. It’s an honour that he shares something so precious with me, as he himself is adjusting to not having his daughter living with him full time. Time with his daughter is little/rare by his standards, so I consider this a brilliant gift. I adore watching them grow together, father and daughter, building a great bond. Actually, the more time I spend with them, it makes me reflect more on my own relationship that I had with my father.

Those who know me (and even those who have read this blog) know I am such a Daddy’s Girl. I totally cherish the relationship I had with my father, we were so close. He was (and always will be) my hero and the man I looked up to the most in my life. To the day he died, I knew I had him wrapped around my little finger (and I don’t say this as a spoiled brat kind of thing; I mean he loved me that much, and I knew it!). I hope to help nurture and encourage that type of relationship with Prince Charming and his little one. He adores her, and she is his pride and joy. She’s a toddler at the moment, so she is always asking him “Are you watching Dad?”. A little girl eager to impress her Daddy, and to make him proud. She’s reaffirming with him that she’s accepted, loved, and noticed. I’m not sure we ever grow out of that.

I remember (vaguely) as a young girl asking the same question of my Dad. Whether dancing and twirling around the living room… or carefully placing the needle on the record to make it play a song (yes, I’m dating myself here)…or riding my bike without training wheels…Things that would make Dad proud and happy; I just had to make sure he was watching.

As an adult, I quit asking Dad out loud if he was watching… But I know when I got up to perform in community theatre, my first scan of the audience when I took the stage was for his face…. When I deflected that shot on goal or stole the ball in slide tackle during soccer, he was at that game…..When I went to college and got a certificate, I made sure to show him….When I started rebuilding my life after a divorce, he was there for that and talking me through it…. I always in the back of my mind, wanted to make sure that he was watching, and that I was making him proud.

Tomorrow marks two years since my father passed away. In those two years I still hope, and wish to make him proud. I constantly wonder in the back of my mind……

My promotion got extended, I get a higher rate of pay a little longer. My boss says that I’m an asset to the organization. “Are you watching Dad?”

My employee assistance program at work asked to me speak and teach others to facilitate speaking about domestic abuse. They want to send me on special training to do this, so I can help others. “Are you watching Dad?”

I met a wonderful man and we are having a challenging start. But I’m communicating with him, I’m being honest, and I’m trying to be patient; just like you always told me to. I wish you could’ve known him. “Are you watching Dad?”

I was singing with a friend’s band in a pub, and I really nailed that song. People were cheering, they think that I’m talented and pretty. “Are you watching Dad?”

A two year old awoke abruptly from her nap by a phone ringing, she was upset and crying. I held her and soothed her back to sleep. I cried silently as she slept, as tears rolled down my face I thought, “I’m good at this, I wish you could see”… “Are you watching Dad?”

I know his face will never be in that crowd again… I know that he’ll never sit down and chat with me and Prince Charming… I know that he won’t be the one to answer the phone when I call with news………….. But I hope he’s watching….

Vulnerable and happy

I’ve been through real, intense, heartbreak twice in my thirty years.. The first being the breakdown of my marriage, and the second being the breakdown of a short-lived but intense relationship with a man who promised me everything only to find he himself was not wanting the same type of life… Two times I thought I had found love, and two times I’ve been let down and disappointed.

I’ve never wanted to miss out on that chance though, the chance of finding that love and someone to share life with. While I’ve not had many opportunities for that intense love that I’ve been hoping for, I never have closed myself off to the possibility. Even at one point having decided to continue on with the life I wanted and considering having a child on my own, I thought that maybe later love would happen. There’s a difference between a thinking a relationship won’t ever happen and thinking you don’t need a relationship to happen; I was of the latter idea. But I’ve always tried to be open and vulnerable to the possibility of something wonderful happening.

It’s funny though, when I was younger, and I find many people now (regardless of age) maintain a level of being guarded in a new relationship. We’ve all been hurt and we don’t want to endure the pain and heartbreak again. Sure I’m cautious in getting to know new people of course, but I don’t have that internal struggle anymore (and haven’t for a while) that says “I don’t want to fall in love, it’s going to hurt… so not yet”. I am accepting of what I feel and when, there are no instruction manuals or acceptable timelines; if I’m going to fall in love, so be it! Because if I remain guarded, I could miss out on an opportunity for something wonderful and great…. So that is how I live… I try not to be guarded with my emotions; I’m up front, all cards on the table, this is what you’re dealing with, wearing my heart on my sleeve… Believe it or not, it has helped weed out some ill matched suitors in my past. BUT… This way that I live gives ample opportunity for me to be hurt.. I’ve always said resilience is my best quality, well, there are many reasons for that.

For the relationship I’m currently in, even with outside factors affecting the relationship (somewhat), I’ve maintained this vulnerability. This has allowed me to fall in love with this man.. But something is different about these emotions. I’ve been married, I’ve been with someone I planned to have a family with; but I don’t think I’ve ever felt this. Truth be told, this man has all the power in the world to hurt me and he doesn’t even know it. I have never looked at a relationship that way, someone having “power” over me, and have been hesitant to give that power I guess, as I’ve discussed with a friend in the past.

“When you love someone, truly love them, you lay your heart open to them. You give them a part of yourself that you give to no one else, and you let them inside a part of you that only they can hurt-you literally hand them the razor with a map of where to cut deepest and most painfully on your heart and soul.”
― Sherrilyn Kenyon

Prince Charming makes me feel valued no matter what; we have our struggles and can both be exasperating at times trying to relay our thoughts and feelings on alot of intense subjects. It happens when you’re in the midst of life changing events (such as divorce and custody arrangements), and starting a new relationship. Emotions are going to run high, and they may overlap at times. But we talk, he’s never told me I shouldn’t be upset about something and always validates my thoughts and feelings. Admittedly, once I’m “passionate” (again, his verbiage, I’m “passionate” NOT “a pain in the arse”) about something, I can be pretty exhausting to deal with; but he talks through it with me and hasn’t run the other way.. And well, I haven’t run away either… Life is not easy right now…

Prince Charming also has this way of looking at me. He always looks at me, almost as if he’s studying me, and as if I’m something new to behold each time. I’ve never held any man’s gaze so intently. He doesn’t know that he does this, I don’t think, but it makes me melt every time. I feel so… I don’t know… Adored perhaps is the word I’m looking for?

I look at this man and my heart swells and I smile; thinking how lucky I am… He’s seen me at my highs and lows over the past couple of years, we spend time together easily, and we make eachother laugh; I truly fell in love with my best friend. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t even thought of, but somehow, and luckily, here we are. We just…. Fit.

Prince Charming happens to come with a little sprite of a Princess as well. I have never been in a relationship with anyone with young children before. This is also a new ballgame for me, and a whole new level of vulnerability. I have a love for children and yearn to have my own someday, so I would never ever ever be guarded emotionally around a child. They should be openly nurtured and loved to build confidence, caring and help shape them into kind and happy little human beings. So I have fallen in love with this little girl as well (as she is some of the most wonderful and best parts of her Daddy) and the more time I spend with her, the deeper it goes, but will write more on that experience in another entry.

So, here I am…. Vulnerable….In love, all encompassing….and happier than I’ve ever been despite that it’s not easy….

Still learning….

When you plan to be alone…

I was broaching 30, almost all of my nearest and dearest friends are all loved up/married/with children. Life was moving forward. I had people that were attracted to me, but no real relationship prospects, and this lovely blog that I write in. I was resolved to the fact of being alone; not for lack of wanting, but definitely lack of needing. I was worthy of love, I just hadn’t met someone who appreciated me yet, but I wasn’t about to let that impede on life moving forward, or stopping me from my goals. Even my goal of becoming a mother….

At a family meal; complete with my mother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins… I had a pre-emptive strike of a bottle of red to my credit before announcing I had something important to ask the family… I stated very matter-of-factly, “I want to have a baby, and how would you all feel if I went about that in perhaps a non-conventional manner?”… What would be awkward for most other families, mine was unfazed. I was met with support, and advice that I would be helped and loved with whatever I decided to do.

It’s an idea I have been considering for quite a few years now (since my divorce), only ever once reconsidering that I may have met someone who wanted to share in this with me (see previous blog post – Chameleons). So when I decided with my age, employment stability and family support to make this decision; it became common knowledge amongst close friends and family that I was in fact researching my options to conceive a child on my own.

Oh to be a fly on the wall during some of the discussions that may have/did ensued. A very close and dear friend, who I would liken to a sister and has given me an honourary “Auntie” title to her children, had a relayed one of those very interesting conversations to me…. Her very smart and inquisitive twin girls were discussing how families began; ideally you find someone you love, get married, have a baby. But the very clever 8 year old girls that they were commented that “you didn’t have to have a husband to have a baby, because their Auntie was still going to have a baby and didn’t have a husband… so how was that to happen?”. My friend, whom is very straight forward and tries to be as honest as possible with her children, tried to explain such a process delicately in a way that an eight year old would understand….”well, Auntie would have to go to a doctor…” she began….Oh to be present when she was grasping for ideas on how to explain AI (artificial insemination) to an eight year old. She was soon saved as one of the girls piped up, “of course she has to go to a doctor!”…The shock of what her children may have already learned at school subsided as my friend gathered her composure to ask, “you know why she would have to go to a doctor and what happens?”… With which she was met with a very matter-of-fact, “she would have to go to a doctor to have sex with him to make a baby, silly”……..Kids say the darndest things!

I often thought about the struggle and hardships bringing a little being into the world on my own would entail…. But I know they would be well loved, well provided for and supported beyond their wildest dreams… I have always known if there was one thing I was put on this earth to do, it was to be a Mom. Being around the other children in my life at times makes me yearn for a wee one of my own…There’s always options….

Apparently I just have to find a doctor, silly… lol

Still learning….