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Blessed by the Mess:

Last year I spent my first Thanksgiving without my threefold. I was so upset and felt empty. I tried keeping myself busy, I tried sleeping as much as I could and begged for ‘E’ {who I was dating} to stay with me, even though I knew he needed to go to pick up his own kiddo to spend turkey day with her. That afternoon was the worst time. I didn’t do anything {except wallow in my own feeling} and due to COVID-19 there were no family gatherings to distract me or give me some semblance of Thanksgiving. Thankfully {no pun intended} I had convinced ‘E’ that we, his midget included, should all go have dinner since his extended family all lived out of state and we both had to work the following day, and the VID had pretty much put a damper on life in general. We did. We laughed, had cheese sticks, brownies with ice cream, chicken tenders and fries and spent our first holiday together at an Applebee’s of all places. Then not wanting to go home to an empty bed we went to Walgreens and made fools of ourselves. It was memorable, and I’m so grateful that they made me feel better about my first holiday without my threefold. The following weekend all four kids {defcon four} ‘E’ and I had our first family outing all together where everyone seemed to get along and I was excited that maybe this could be something good. My threefold commented on ‘how happy I looked’ with ‘E’. A comment that still resonates with me when they say it today. I was happy. I am even happier now.

Last November, I was still on a 50/50 parenting schedule with my ex, navigating a rollercoaster divorce, and easily manipulated by my ex and the situation. I was freshly ‘single’ and trying my hand with someone new and putting my best face forward. I was still fairly new at work, but had recently really found my stride and my benefit to the team. I was parenting, but I wasn’t always present even while in the same room and definitely not near as accessible. I was in therapy beginning to work on resolving my past, but still was using old coping mechanisms that were unhealthy to get me through the hard days. I had panic attacks often and had grown accustomed to numbing out my emotions so I wouldn’t have to feel them. My anxiety was at an 8/10 most days and hadn’t gotten better even with the prescription medication, coping mechanisms and therapy. It wasn’t pretty, but I was still trying to make it appear nice and neat all put together and dressed our lives up for conversations and pictures.

Reality hit hard when, the Monday after Thanksgiving of 2020, #2 of my threefold was admitted to an acute inpatient psychiatric hospital for self harm and suicidal ideation for the first time. {this hospitalization marked the first of five we’ve had over the past 12 months} She was only 12. I didn’t understand. The Earth fell out from under my feet and I went into free fall. ‘E’ didn’t know me ‘like that’ and I tried with everything in me to get him to ‘take the out’ and just ‘walk away. no harm. no foul. no hard feelings’ I gave him every reason to leave. I told him we were too complicated, broken, difficult and too much over and over again. He refused even though I didn’t know why he would choose to stay with us through all of that. He did. He didn’t just stand by, he stepped up in ways I never thought possible and became the person who has helped carry us through this year, all of us. He got a lot of push back, misplaced anger, a lot of hard time, and had to be the ‘perky positivity peddler’ probably even when he didn’t want to be because we didn’t know how to love him the way that he was loving us. We didn’t get it then. I can’t even describe the gratitude and love my threefold and I have for him after this year now that we recognize that he chose us even when we gave him every reason to leave. He stayed. He loved us through the healing and loved us as we learned to love ourselves. He has earned his place in our hearts.

While #2 was still hospitalized I moved into our new home. The day we moved I can vividly recall the meeting with the case worker for abuse allegations against my ex. I covered for my ex that day along with my other two children as we stated ‘he isn’t abusive, that was in the past’. I will always regret allowing myself to be manipulated and intimidated enough to do that and for my other two girls who went against their sister to protect their dad, only following my example. This wouldn’t be the first or the last time I allowed the manipulation and intimidation my ex served us dictate my life decisions or the decisions that I made for my threefold. That week I was moving into my home my ex begged me to meet him and I was terrified to go. I went anyway because he said ‘it’s important’. I gained a large piece of myself and my strength back that night as he read the apology he had written apologizing for all that he had ever done to the girls and I. I stared at him and he stared back with tears in his eyes and told him ‘no, there was too much damage done to turn back now.’ The 15 years prior flashing in front of my eyes as I tried to rationalize my decision. I also had the previous few months of my life with ‘E’ and the hope of what the future could look like with him vs. how I felt that the future would look like with my ex running through my head. I am so thankful that even in the turmoil that I thought through it with rationality {I don’t usually display rational thought when stressed} and chose neither my ex or ‘E’. I chose my threefold and what I wanted for myself and for them. I continued my relationship with ‘E’. However, that day I knew it would always be my threefold before everyone and everything else, regardless what I wanted. It was the first decision that changed the trajectory of our lives.

This Thanksgiving looks so different from that Thanksgiving dinner at Applebee’s, that first ‘family’ outing with Defcon 4, ‘E’ and I, and the two weeks afterwards with #2’s hospitalization. I won’t be sharing the holidays this year. I don’t have to have conversations with my ex about anything other than an update on #3 every now and again. There are no more cover ups and a lot less fear. The manipulation is still attempted but I am quicker to recognize the behavior. Instead, this Thanksgiving we are celebrating all the things we have to be grateful for, together as a blended family. We mark the one year anniversary of moving into this house that we’ve made a home. Multiple college acceptance letters for #1 and good grades, plus lots of self improvement. The recovery of #2 being nearly 6 months free of self harm and successfully discharging from treatment 6 weeks ago. Martial arts, good grades, making friends and behavior improvement with #3. Drama club, honor roll and help with coping with anxiety for BK {bonus kid}. Everyone being back in school {in person NOT virtual}, adjusting and doing well. The many blessings we’ve had along the way from ‘go fund me’, to meals, & help with medical bills. That I have an amazing job where I could work and care for my threefold. I am grateful that I was promoted and received two raises this year and so did ‘E’ with a 3rd coming soon for him! The ability to gather with our family this year. And so much more! There are a lot of things that we do differently these days than we did before, but they are all in an effort of making us better.

I am so proud of us all. I am proud because even as we collectively faced the hardest year we have had to face thus far, both individually and as a family, we have come out on the other side closer, better, stronger and more positive than we ever were before. As I reflect on where we are now, I can’t help but think how different things were last year in comparison. How different I am. How different we all are. I don’t think that I ever could’ve imagined how tumultuous, life-changing, or the difficulties the last year brought to our family. I didn’t see any of it coming as I sat at that Applebee’s a year ago missing my threefold. As much hardship and heartbreak as we endured this year, I still can recognize how much good was inspired from the hard times we’ve experienced. We overcame every obstacle and challenge that came our way and persevered. We will continue to overcome our hurdles, together. We are still working through many things and rebuilding what was broken and finding the pieces from the broken parts of our past, but I am amazed at all the positive actions and steps that were taken despite the challenges we’ve faced. The good we have today definitely outweighs the bad we were up against last year. We found ourselves, we found each other, we grew closer, we learned lessons and found a way towards healing. We love bigger and appreciate more. We look for the message in every mess. I wouldn’t ask for the hardship and the struggle, but I am thankful that we have found the silver linings and found ways for us to grow and heal despite it all. We have been blessed beyond measure and those blessings continue to show up in our lives. Today I will recognize our strength and determination to keep fighting for our future. We have truly been blessed by our mess. Today I challenge you to have an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful! Love big! Show gratitude! There is always something to be grateful no matter the circumstances.

Happy Thanksgiving! ☮️❤️😊~M

5 responses to “Blessed by the Mess:”

  1. I love all of the quotes in your banners, but the next to last one is great advice for any of us. If we cannot escape negative people, we should at least minimize time with them. Happy Thanksgiving. Keith

    1. Thanks! These little ‘snippets’ save my sanity when life & time doesn’t seem to want to comply with my need to write. It allows me to write a little something without the full blog post. So true negativity & positivity are contagious! ❤️

      1. Well said. We often are predictors of how our day is going to go. If we wake up and say let’s make it a great day, there is a better chance it will than if we wake up with the opposite mood. Keith

  2. Beautiful qoutes you had used

    1. Thanks! ❤️

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