PLEASE NOTE:
These are NOT my photos.  I could never take photos this good.
These are from one of the parents, at the school, who is an amazing artist.  And I am so grateful for his talents.

She's got spirit, yes she does. She's got spirit, how about you?

She’s got spirit, yes she does. She’s got spirit, how about you?

My beautiful baby girl.

My beautiful baby girl.

2015 - 2016 Cheer Team.

2015 – 2016 Cheer Team.

Doing what she loves to do.

Doing what she loves to do.

Getting to do this with one of her oldest and closest friends. Icing.

Getting to do this with one of her oldest and closest friends. Icing.

Being part of this group, she's found her niche.

Being part of this group, she’s found her niche.

When I was growing up there were no actual cheerleaders in my schools. Ever. We just didn’t have them. Not when I was in Jr. High, in Saudi because of the skimpiness of the outfits. Never would have been appropriate. Then at Willy we didn’t have them either, because every student was required to be on an actual sports team. Or find a suitable alternative, like volunteering at a local horse ranch; which was equally physically demanding. Ask me how I know. LoL

Thus for me all cheerleader-related knowledge was learned from TV and the movies. Not very realistic, to say the least. I held a notion that cheerleading was a cop-out for doing actual sports. That the girls who choose to do cheerleading were doing so, because they were not capable of the physical work of athletics. I was lead to believe that cheerleaders were ditzy. That was until Bronwyn came into my life – and as she grew up, desired to be a cheerleader.

I did all that I could to redirect her desires into more socially acceptable, actual sporting, real activities. I was fighting a force of nature. Needless to say, I did not win.

My youngest daughter was going to be a cheerleader. Period.

I thought that she would grow out of this along the way. Grow bored with it. Realize that it was just a fluffy alternative.

Nope.

Here we are and my baby girl is on the high school cheer-leading squad.

And here I am being taught that every believe I held about cheer-leading and the girls who choose this, was wrong. Dead wrong.

Cheer-leading is an actual sport. A very physically demanding sport. These girls are as much athletes as the boys and girls that they cheer for, out on the football team. I watch as my daughter limps into a warm shower each night after practice, to ease her sore muscles. She uses all of them. I witness her deftly apply an ace bandage to her left ankle, each day before a game-night, because of the extra strain it takes, when she lifts her childhood playmate, up and over her head.

Did I say that these girls were ditsy? Oh I apologize now. Watching my the expression on Bronwyn’s face, I know that her brain is working over-time, when she is holding Abby up in the air. Concentrating and adjusting her body, to accommodate her teammate’s body, so as not to allow any harm to come to her. Also, these girls are required to maintain a 3.0 or better, to even participate. That’s above the 2.5 for other athletes. Their coach’s rules, not the school’s. These are the smartest girls you’ll meet in the school.

She has found her niche, my Baby Girl. And I’m so proud to watch her jumping, yelling, and encouraging her schoolmates, in their endeavors. On and Off, of the field. She is blossoming into a very out-going young lady, and it is because of her love for cheer-leading.

She’s come a long way from the little girl, who just stood on the sidelines, during the game.

She's come a long way from the little girl, who just stood on the sidelines, during the game.

She’s come a long way from the little girl, who just stood on the sidelines, during the game.

My pretty foot.

My pretty foot.

All the way around to my ankle.

All the way around to my ankle.

These were done by Daphne.

Yep. They were among her first attempts at even doing any sort of henna tattooing.

This all came about because of my sweet sister.

At the beginning of our Sisters Retreat Weekend, we are asked to stand up and announce to the Circle who we are, and what we bring to the community. Some women respond with, I’m a massage therapist. Others say, I’m really good at listening. I spoke of my own truths and talents. Daphne’s response was: I’m Daphne, and I’m not good at anything. I don’t have any talents.
😦

My sisters strove to change her mind on that. And Saturday morning one sister asked Daphne to put a mandala on her belly. She, like many of us, know about Daphne’s talent for free-handed drawings of mandalas. She brought some henna and told Daphne to decorate. So she did. After all, even Daphne knows not to speak back to one of her aunts. LoL

Beautiful henna - made even more so by the little boy inside.

Beautiful henna – made even more so by the little boy inside.

I am so grateful to her, and the others, who encouraged my child. To the ones who complimented her talents. To her for decorating my own foot and ankle. I feel so ubber pretty with my decorations. The only direction I gave her was to start at my big toe, and end around my ankle area. I think that she did an amazing job. I am looking forward to more of her talents being displayed upon my body.

At the end of the weekend, we are asked to give our thoughts on our experiences. Daphne said, “I’m grateful that I now know what my talent is.”

((*BIG MOMMA SIGH*))

//

This parenting clip is brilliant…must watch to the end!!

Posted by Boys Germs on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bingo!
I’ve been doing the “Mommy” thing for 18 years.
I can say that I have been Every Single One (*with exception of disposable diapers*) EVERY Single one of these types of moms. Even with my Ex being a SAHD.
There’s no 1 Perfect way to be a Mom.

You take a lot from her. I don’t know if I could.

Yes I do.

I freely admit that I take a lot from my daughter. I am the brunt of most of her outbursts. I am the one person that she blames for every thing wrong in the world. I am the one person that simply cannot do anything right, nor help her in any way, at all. I am the one person that she truly hates in this world. Heck, I’m worse than every boy who’s ever broken her heart. Yes, to my daughter, I am the Antichrist.

For me, being a parent means that I have to be there for my kids… No. Matter. What.

Even, being there for them, when they are at their lowest points, and are so angry, hurt, and upset with Every Thing that they Know; they lash it out at anyone within arm’s length. As the saying goes… “Hurt People… Hurt. People.” Generally themselves, the most. Most people run and hide. After all this is the sensible thing to do when confronted with someone who is bound and determined to hurt someone, something, anyone, anything – to make it feel better. ((not that this actually makes anyone feel better, as we all know))

Me. I stand right there next to her. Doing my best to make sure that in her fury; she doesn’t harm herself. Sometimes… Well, sometimes, I get a bit battered and bruised, in the process.

Yet, I don’t know that I like the alternative.

I found this on FaceBook. A dear friend of mine, who only has sons, was commenting about coaches who use the phrase, “Like a girl.”. Which she felt was insulting to her sons. She is an amazing person, yet this is one thing that we see differently. Unlike her, I am raising both genders of humans. I have to see it from both sides. So while the feminist in me, the one who was for a great many years, only raising one gender, Girls… is thrilled that there is this empowering video of girls and women talking about the phrase.

I stop.

I stop being thrilled when I realize that my son is also hearing these same messages. He is effected as well. Differently. Yet, still effected. He is hearing a message that girls are better in some fashion. Which is exactly what we have been doing to girls for so long, that it has brought about this problem to begin with.

So I say: Take gender out of it. Just erase “like a girl”, or “like a boy”.

Let’s rephrase it to be, “Like You.”

You. A person walking, running, throwing, hitting, playing, talking, thinking, being…. You…. on the planet.

Let You be perfect…. regardless of gender.

I am so grateful for my friends. I’m telling you there is nothing, that a good long talk with my besties, can’t be solved in my world. Thank you to Elise and Tim for loving me so well.

So I gotta admit that allowing my children to go and live with their father for a week was hard. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I did NOT have a good night on Thursday night. I wallowed in my shit for hours and hours.

As I sat on the plane to Sac on Friday night I tried to figure out, Why. Yes, I was in a total over-thinking mood, all weekend. Poor Tim and Elise. They do put up with a lot from me, and how I am. I can be real mood-killer.

So, Why would it bother me so much to have the children with Barry this past weekend? When in factual light he and I had already agreed that, he would keep the children not only during his weekend, but also on Sunday, and Monday nights, while I was in CA visiting with Elise and Tim. This was only adding 2 nights on, 1 onto each end. Which again, shouldn’t have bothered me; and normally wouldn’t.

So WHY did it bother me so much?

Context.

Before Barry pulled his “Hyde-personality” and “let’s-pick-a-fight”, routine on Thursday morning, I was fine with the kids over at his home for 4 days. Had he asked me to keep them an extra day, as something nice for him; like when he wanted to take them to the beach for 4 days over the summer… I would have said: “Sure. Why not. That would be great. Easier on the kids. I wouldn’t worry about them being home for a few hours on Tuesday night when I arrived home late from the airport.”

But that is not how it went down.

Instead, it was “I’m going to take you to court and sue you for joint-custody of the kids. 50 / 50 so I don’t have to pay any child support. You’re keeping the kids away from me.”

Other than him taking me to court, nothing is further from the truth. Which I pointed out to him, in a conversation about how I don’t enforce our current agreement to the letter. Ever. AND HE AGREED WITH ME.

So why the drama?

Context.

When its me just being nice to him, he doesn’t like it. Why doesn’t he?
I am not him. I won’t speak for him.
I have my theories. Elise has her’s. Tim has his. I have mine. The gal in the check-out line at the Publix has her’s. Every one has their opinion.
Opinions are like assholes, every one has one. And they all stink.

When it comes down to it, I like to be in control. When Barry pushes my buttons this way, bullies me into doing something; I don’t like it. Even if it was something that I was going to do anyways. Its the fact that he bullied me into it. That I felt threatened, and scared of him, once again. Like I was backed into a corner; and did whatever I could, to keep him from hurting me worse, than he was already doing. I followed the ‘fear’ line of thinking. And I let it drag me right down the rabbit-hole on Thursday night.

Hook – Line – and Sinker.

So after talking to J, the girls’ therapist, I’m going to give Daphne what she wants. I’m going to let her move-in with her dad.

After all, I will be out of town this weekend, till Tuesday. I can add on tonight, and make it nearly a week long thing for them all.

Oh yes. Them all!

A few things about this that came up in talking with J.

1) Baggage goes with you.
Is that Daphne (and her dad) have got to learn that her baggage is going to follow her, wherever she goes. Life doesn’t get easier just because you move away from home. You still have to find ways to cope with your life. You still have to learn how to express your emotions. You still have to do your homework. No matter where you live.

Sure its going to be easier when there is nobody around to hold you accountable, right up front. Yet, it will catch up to you all the same. Usually though by not dealing with it, in the beginning, you end up having to deal with a much worse situation. Call it Karmic Interest.

2) Your siblings get to move out too.
Oh yes. Rebecca, Bronwyn, and Russell all get to come along. Its not fair to them, if Daphne gets to go live a live of luxury over at Dad’s place, and they still have to eat green beans for dinner. I’m not going to sit here and defend the idea that somehow she gets to have special privileges of no Study Hall, no curfew, fast-food take-out, no laundry duty, no chores, and no accountability for where you’re at, or who you’re with; if the others don’t.

The EX complained that he doesn’t get to spend time enough with the kids, well here you go. Which is a complete falsehood, because it is rare, to non-existent that I ever deny him, or them, time together. He even admitted this to me during our “conversation” this morning. AND again, when I brought it up, while we were having an additional “conversation” about this Trial Week.
Me: At any point do I force the current child-time-share agreement?
Ex: No.
Me: Have I ever told you that you were late in bringing the kids home on a Sunday?
Ex: No.
Me: Have I ever told you, No you can’t have the kids, and take to the beach; because that is on a weekday?
Ex: No.

3) Living at Dad’s means Living AT Dad’s.
No coming home 9 times in a day because you forgot something. No coming back to the house to sleep on school nights. Yes, Rebecca and Daphne do this. They pick and choose where / when they will sleep at home, vs sleeping at Dad’s. They don’t like having to walk the extra 7 blocks to the school bus in the mornings. But sleeping here at home, when I’m not here; is basically not living with either parent. Its living alone. They don’t get to do that during this Trial Week.

Living there means following all of Dad’s rules. If that means going to bed at midnight, or sleeping on the floor, or having to throw out the trash. So be it. I will not be driving by your Dad’s with fast food, because you didn’t like what he was serving. Oh, he does this to me, all the time. He will simply come by the house with a bag from Taco Bell, as I’m serving dinner.

So this will be a very interesting 6 nights. I know, I know, I know – a week is 7. Be grateful for the 6 days, I’m not sure I can handle more than that. I’m trying.