I stand and wait for the young mother who has parked next to me to load her toddler son into her car.
We had arrived at our vehicles at almost the same exact time. I motioned for her to go on ahead... I know what it's like to have a squirmy toddler in a parking lot.
I notice a woman standing behind her vehicle, just waiting. I smile politely at her.
The young mother sing-songy tells her son, "Mommy will be just a minute." and closes the door.
She thanks me as she lets me through.
I didn't pay attention to her for the next few minutes because I was busy talking to Sam and getting in my car...
...but the next scene I saw... was a daughter having to say good-bye to her mom. The embrace was like only one a mom can give. The tears were welling in the daughter's eyes as I noticed her license plate was from Virginia - so I knew she had a long road ahead of her.
Seeing that exchange made my eyes swell... I never know what is going to make me miss my mom...If only, I could have one more of those embraces...
I love that my two boys have each other. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing them cuddling next to each other hugging and loving on each other. Sure... a few minutes later, they will instead be wrestling... and possibly even fighting... but for those few seconds, they are SO precious and the love radiates from them. I am so very happy to know that they will forever have each other to turn to, to laugh with, to cry with... even to fight with. But mostly to love!
I have 3 brothers that I love dearly. Each one fills a different void. Michael, my older brother, lives for the day. He has an adventurous lifestyle that I know I couldn't keep up with, but I would love trying. My younger brother, Tim, is the one the most like me and I can tell anything to. Nick, my youngest brother, has shown me that family means more than I ever knew.
I have a few other brothers that I can't officially claim as my own, but in my heart, they are.... R. and Ty both have older brothers. They both tortured their younger brothers in their younger years, but now they are role models that their brothers look up to and love dearly.
For me, they make me feel especially special every time I see them. I can't explain it... But they hug with fervor, they know the right questions to ask and the right things to say, and they make me feel more part of their family sometimes than their younger brothers.
Yes, brothers are something I definitely can't live without and I'm glad my life is filled with them.
You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. - Desmond Tutu
This weekend, Ty (the guy I'm dating) and R. (my ex) both had family weddings. For R., it was his little sister.... who I have known since she was 7. For Ty, it was his dad... who has FULLY embraced me into his family. (For those of you that know me, know I don't have a relationship with my own dad... so dad relationships are important to me.)
I struggled which event I should attend.
I was told by friends that without a doubt, I should be going with Ty. The only problem with that was that I was making the wedding cakes for R.'s sister and had to be there delivering them RIGHT when Ty's dad's wedding started and my boys were in the wedding party. Plus, R.s family is still my family. (The unfortunate part is that it is family that I really don't get to see any more...) So I had decided to just go to R.s.
The night before the weddings, I was supposed to be cake decorating. Both families had rehearsals and rehearsal dinners. I decided to take a break from cake decorating (time I didn't really have to give up) to go to Ty's family's dinner. I got a lot of "Oh! I didn't think you were going to be able to make it! I'm so glad you're here!!" Needless to say, it made me feel good... but at the same time, I regretted not being able to be at the wedding.
Last night, I attended R's sister's wedding. They loved the cakes. I loved being able to see my boys take part in their aunt's wedding. I loved seeing her awesome reactions - because she doesn't hold back how she is feeling... and neither does her new hubby. I loved seeing all of R.'s family - They were my family for 10+ years and I miss them!! Needless to say, I was happy that I was there...
...but at the same time, I felt like a third wheel. R.'s girlfriend was there... and even though her and I get along great... Family picture time was MORE than awkward. I mean, I didn't jump into a picture with just him and the boys... but when they said "Okay, let's get a picture of the whole family." I didn't step up. Then they were like, "Dawn, you too!" Then at dinner, they said, "These tables are reserved for family"... Did that include me?? I honestly didn't know. So I sat at the kid's table with my boys... and sat back and watched the adult conversation at the next table, feeling even more like I didn't belong.
I'm not sure I made the right choice...
I'm not sure I made the wrong choice...
I'm not sure there was a right choice.
But what I am sure of is that I was torn... and I have a feeling this won't be the last time.
I know that relationships are hard.
I know that they are not all sunshine and daisies.
But there are days that I think I could scrap all of it and just be alone.
I mean, it is hard enough to meet your own expectations of how you want your life to go... and then throw in your kids' expectations ... and your ex's expectations of you... and now a boyfriend's too.
I was told last night that I don't meet his expectations of how I should treat his kids.
I looked at him dumbfounded and said, "What??! I don't treat your kids badly!"
He responded with, "You're right, you don't... but you treat them like they are one of your students."
Now, if you know me, you know I am very loving to my students. I care and worry and cry about them and get frustrated for them.
Do I treat them like my own two boys?
... because they aren't mine.
...and his aren't mine either.
I guess knowing expectations is a good thing... but not when you don't think it will change things... then it is just frustrating.
A few years back I wrote a post about a new dad that met in my local grocery store.
While he and I talked about our lives, he mentioned that maybe one day his kids would have me as a teacher. We then talked about where he lived and I told him that was not in the school district I taught at.
That was 3 years ago.
Now, each morning, as I drive to school, I see a dad sitting out waiting for the school bus holding his young son - probably kindergarten age. Sometimes they are playing. Sometimes they are just embracing. Sometimes they are pointing out the cars that go by.
The first time I saw them, without thinking, I waved to them.
Now... I can't pass by them without waving.
Each morning, I see the inquisitive look on the father's face trying to place how he knows me.
I know he doesn't know me... I just can't stop myself... because a huge part of me believes he is that new dad that I met 3 years ago.
My fall-time allergies have arrived with a vengeance.
Two days ago, the right side of my face gave up on allowing any of type air circulation to occur... while at the same time, turning that same nostril into a leaky faucet that will drip at will.
My ears hurt and I feel like a teething toddler as I pull on them and attempt not to whine.
Today, my right eye decided to join in on the fun and turned a lovely shade of up-all-night-blood-shot red.
My voice is scruffy at best and I have a dry cough to accompany it. (But at least all the coughing is adding in strong stomach muscles, right?)
I can't take in a full breath as it feels as if someone is standing on my chest.
... I'm not complaining. I'm just saying that when you see me slack-jawed, being a mouth breather, glassy-eyed, and I ask you to repeat yourself for a third time as I blow my nose... I'm doing the best I can until the ragweed either gets burnt up by the sun or buried under snow... whichever comes first.