My life has been super crazy the past few weeks. I have a lot to share and blog about but right now my focus is my birthday. I turn 50 on Saturday. I don’t know why we focus so much on decades but we do. I have been thinking a lot about the last ten years. Ten years ago was one of the most difficult of my life. We had the year of the deaths and it was when my marriage really started falling apart. I got depressed again and really had no motivation to live. I changed jobs thinking it would help my marriage. It didn’t. I started drinking very heavily and was not sure if I wanted to go forward. My children did throw me a great birthday party for my fortieth. It is a great memory. They threw me a massive surprise party. I had friends and family from all over the country surprise me here at my house. We had a band, food, and overall a great time. That was my last good birthday as a married woman. My ex-husband was never much about celebrating birthdays so there were only a few even decent ones while I was married.

I now look back at the past ten years and remember all the heartbreak I had when my marriage dissolved and several more people dying that I cared about. It has been rough in many ways but, in others, it has been great. I now look back at my divorce as one of the best things that ever happened to me. It took me a long time to realize that but I sure have. Since the divorce, I have grown so much. I am now stronger and healthier and happier than I have been in probably fifteen years. I feel better than in years. I look great. I am stronger and in much better shape than I was ten years ago. I no longer feel like I need someone to take care of me. I find my own solutions to my problems. I have a job that a love, a complete new set of friends, and my kids love me. I am lifting weights again. I no longer have breathing issues or chronic pain. I am sleeping better. I have gotten used to being solo most of the time and it doesn’t bother me. I honestly feel that IF I end up with someone, they will be so lucky to have me. I am actually better emotionally than I ever have been in my life. It took fifty years to get to where I really and truly love myself and am confident and happy.

A couple of weeks ago, I was very sad that my birthday was coming up and I was going to spend it alone but now I am not. I had one girlfriend take the bull by the horns and now several of us are meeting at the local steakhouse. I will get 50% off my meal and then we will hit the town. My ex-bf/ bff is coming as well as several others. I am actually excited for my day again. I won’t be alone to ring in my next decade. I will be with people that love ME for me and accept me for ME. FIFTY is going to be a great year and I am like a fine wine, I am going to keep getting better with age.

I live in a small Colorado town where everyone is connected to everyone. If you do not know someone, they know a friend of yours. We have very little crime and most of it is minor stuff. That changed in November 2012. We had a thirteen year old boy disappear. He was a grade below my son. They were not friends but went to school together. So many of the kids hang out at the library after school and both the boys did. Dylan, his brother, and mother had moved away and Dylan was forced to come to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with his dad. He disappeared the day after he got here. He was supposed to hang out with friends and never showed up. Our community went into a stressed state. There were assumptions that Dylan might have run away to try to get back to his mom. We were all hoping that he was okay but we were also concerned about our kids. For a period of time, no one was letting there kids out of their sight alone. We didn’t know if he had been abducted (or worse) or had run away. Quickly fingers started pointing at the dad that he had done something to Dylan. I do not know either of the parents but it just saddened me to think that people were so fast to blame the dad. The parents accused each other. They ended up on Dr Phil. Eventually, this wasn’t mentioned dailly BUT it was in the back of our minds. I had such mixed feelings about it. I wanted it to be the dad because I hated the thought that we had a crazy in our town that took the kid BUT I also  didn’t want it to be the dad. How sad to live with killing your child. How sad to kill your child. The more time that passed, the more the accusations to the dad grew. I kept thinking how terrible it was if he were innocent. His life was ruined no matter what. If innocent, no one would ever believe that. If guilty, well, that is the unthinkable to me.

As time has passed, there have been many searches in the woods and at the dad’s place. Partial remains were found and his death was ruled a homicide. Occasionally, we would hear bits and pieces of the investigation but I never thought an arrest would be made. That changed today. Mark Redwine was arrested for the murder of his son. Maybe we can have some closure here in our small town. Evidence has now been released and it looks bad for the father. I hope they are right.

I wouldn’t want to be on this jury but I could be partial.  The thought of killing my child is so horrific that they would definitely have to prove it to me. My son was actually called in for the grand jury but was dismissed and didn’t know this was the case he was almost on. I just hope that this is the end of the story and the mom and brother can finally move on to their new normal.

#JusticeForDylan

Today has been such a difficult day. My friend R told me that he was on the way to a trauma cleanup for work this morning. I asked if it was a suicide. We don’t have a lot of violent crime around here and have had several suicides this year already. I just had a gut feeling that was the situation this morning. It made me sad when he said yes. We were discussing how it is for him emotionally to clean up these sites and then I saw the article in the paper. Twenty two year old girl that graduated with my daughter shot herself last night. We have lost so many young people on our small community over the past ten years. I know there is a numbness there for many of us. This was the first suicide of one of our young ones though. We have lost a couple to cancer and horrible accidents but not by their own hands.

At first, my reaction was about our losing another young person but within minutes the suicide aspect hit me. My kiddo that graduated with her has struggled with depression for years. I actually live in an area where everyone has a gun. I wanted to get one when my ex moved out. We have bears and mountain lions around here. I live in the country and am not getting younger. I could be vulnerable. She came to me one day and told me  to not get a gun because she couldn’t trust herself with a gun in the house. Currently, she is doing well and is on her meds but she tends to quit taking them and I can tell within days. I also have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts off and on since I was fourteen. 2008 was the most recent for me and I was working on the plan. I never had the courage to go through with it. I am glad now. I am doing well now. I take my medication faithfully and am determined to not go down that path again.

I kept thinking about this poor girl and how lonely she must have felt. I kept thinking about how brave, yes brave, it was for her to pull that trigger. I kept thinking about how she felt before she did it. I kept thinking that it was so sad that she never reached out to anyone or if she did, that they didn’t hear her. I kept thinking about the mess she left behind- all the broken hearts, her friends and family. They will have to live the rest of their lives wondering if they could have stopped her.

I spent most of the day wondering how my kiddo was. I was wondering if she knew what happened to her classmate. How well she knew her. They had so many mutual friends. I couldn’t reach her. I was hoping that she wasn’t here at home an emotional mess or worse.

I thought about my friend whose daughter was also in this class. Her daughter died their freshman year. My friend is a teacher in the school. I wondered how she was going to take this and of course, her Facebook post broke my heart tonight. So many people I love are hurting tonight. Our small town has lost another young life. A vibrant life with so much ahead of her and this time it was her choice. That poor poor girl. I wish she had reached out for help.

I looked at my semi-colon tattoo so many times today. I am determined to not get to that point again. When I got home, my kiddo and I held each other so tightly. I begged her to promise to not to ever to this and to continue to be honest with me about this aspect of her life. I am not sure I could survive her doing this.

I came to a realization tonight that just blew  me away. R and I have been spending a lot of time together again. His ten year old son wants us to be a couple so badly. I have grown to love the kid and he loves me. I could love R, if I let myself. I have talked about him a few times. Most recently and most in detail  Right Person, Wrong Circumstances .

It seems recently that R is wanting to spend more time with me. I have no idea what is going on with him. He is not a big talker. His son has told me that his dad is looking for a new girlfriend and he wishes it were me. I had them over for dinner when my son was home and his kid told him, “Dad, I will love you forever if you make Kylene your girlfriend.” He says things like this all the time. I always feel awkward when it happens and reassured him Sunday at the movie the three of us went to that I do NOT encourage this. R knows this. Today, towards the end of my work day, R asked me if  wanted to come eat  at his house on the way home. They were already eating but he would make me a plate. I decided to take him up on this. I got to see two of my favorite guys and his three dogs that I also love. Once again, his son made some comment about us being perfect together. I whispered to R that it wouldn’t be so terrible if we fell for each other. He snickered at me as I had just posted on FB today: “They are fun to look at, flirt with, and play with but I am glad I do not have one full time.” I told him that minds can change as can feelings.

After I ate, we visited for a few minutes, snuggled, talked, watched the kid play in a box and then I left to come home. I was thinking about things as I was driving and  I realized that a year ago, when R told me that something was missing, I was sad for ME that he couldn’t love me. Now I feel sad for HIM that he doesn’t love me. I realized that I TRULY love me and no longer need a man to love me for me to feel loved. What an amazing feeling!!!! If things change with R, I would give us a chance but I am okay if we don’t or we don’t work out. I am worth it. I am loved by the most important person in my life….ME. If I find a man to share my life with GREAT, if not that is great too and their loss.

Sometimes I have to wonder about the ex-husband. He seriously believes that I have turned the kids against him when he does things like he did this weekend all the time. He lives about one hour from our son, who is a freshman in college. Our eldest lives about four hours from her brother- five from her dad. My son was in an opera at the school this weekend and the eldest decided to go watch her brothers performance. She contacted her dad and asked if he would like to join her. At first, he said that they would try to go the same night. They meaning him and his girlfriend WFB. They decided to go the night before our daughter.  When she tells me this, she says, of course, he chose her over me again. I am sure she didn’t want to see me. For my new readers, my eldest and WFB have had a rocky start and ex-h always insists that our daughter fix things. WFB even told him he had to choose between her and his family.

I know if I had been in his shoes, which I never would be. I would never choose anyone over my kids but hypothetically, if I were, I would tell new partner that my child lives five hours away and if that person didn’t want to join me n the night with my kid, then I would go without them. He rarely sees our kids. The son sees him because he has to. He can’t stand WFB either but ex-h is convinced that only the eldest has a problem with her. The middle kiddo doesn’t even respond too his phone calls or texts anymore. When I asked her why she threw the phone across the room when he called one day, they told me that they always feel bad about themself after talking to him. They are very upset with the WFB for treating the siblings the way she does.

I actually feel sorry for him. When we were married and for a short time after the divorce, I would try to help ease things with the kids. I eventually decided not to do so for the ones that were over eighteen and now all of them are. I no longer remind them to contact their dad for anything. I did remind them to contact his mother for her birthday. She shouldn’t pay for her son being an idiot. What blows my mind about WFB is that she is a mother. I am very curious about her and his relationships with her kids. I do think that he will regret his choices eventually. She is not good for his relationship with his kids. When our son graduated from high school last year, I made sure to let him know she was welcome at the party. She chose not to come. She has no desire to be part of my kids lives. If he wants to, he is either going to have to get rid of her OR go to things without her. Maybe he will see the light before it is too late. In the mean time, I am here to listen to the kids vent about their dad and they adore my ex-boyfriend and contact him for dad things. The love him and he loves them.

When I was pregnant with my son,  I had a very vivid dream telling me he was a boy. I never officially found out with my kids but was right every time. I was so nervous about having a boy. I had no brothers, my mom had no brothers, my grandmother had no brothers. No one to help me. My mother in law and I had very different views so I didn’t go to her for advice for my kids. I already had two girls but everyone assumes you want one of each. I did NOT. I was terrified of boys. My grandmother had told me that they were born nasty. I had all girl things already. Another girl  would have been easier.

Sure enough, fall of 1997, I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. The most difficult difference of him being a boy was diaper changes. Nope, not getting peed on, the girls did that, too, but no one told me to fold it down so he would wet his clothes and not his diaper.

He was a sweet baby and adored by his sisters. They spoiled him rotten and for the most part, I honestly didn’t see any true gender stereotypes with him. If anything,  my second girl was my “boy”. He grew into a very sweet boy. He didn’t have a temper. He was caring, kind, and smart as a whip. He never had much interest in the sports. I am sure that was difficult for my ex-jock ex-husband.  I do wonder how much of it was the boys personality and how much of it was the lack of his dad going out and doing things with him.. He never tried to play catch or other “boy” things when he was young. The boy did play flag football for a few years and then tried football again in seventh grade but decided sports were not his thing. I do admit that it was even a little difficult for me. I love football but now and glad he didn’t play much. I was hoping he might do track or something like that. He is built for it but he had no interest.

He became an avid reader very young and that continues to this day. He developed into a nerd and geek and is very proud of who he is. He is well liked among his peers and the community. He is a hard worker. He has done theater, band, and choir. He did tap and ballet with one of his sisters when he was very young. He started violin when he was four

One day  in seventh grade, he decided that he wanted to wear a suit. He has worn a suit and tie almost every day since. He even carries a briefcase. When I asked him about this, he told me that he does better when he dresses well. . He joined choir  in high school though he hadn’t sung since he was about five. He joined so he could have a teacher he had known all his life. He joined band because the same teacher asked him to. This same teacher told me that he would make sure my boy made it after the divorce. He was a great mentor to him and is a father figure to all three of my kids. Now he is finishing his first year of college as a music education major and is going to be singing in Carnegie Hall in June. He is well groomed and polite. I love watching him when he doesn’t know and I see him holding doors, handing girls his coat if she is cold, carrying things for people.  He is such an amazing young man and I am so lucky to be his  mom. He loves board games and D&D and anything that makes him use his brain. He has a great group of friends that are also very respectful and kind.

I had to laugh last year when I got into his car and he had Pavarotti blaring and he was singing along. He had a solo the year before doing an opera piece with the marching band and this week, he is performing in an opera at CMU.  He is a unique young man.

There have been very few ways he has been a “typical” boy. Even though he was not an athlete, he still had the boy smell. He also does not share details of his life like his sister’s do. So many times I find things out via his friends. He may not share or talk much but he sure shows me how much he loves me and the girls. We are all so lucky and we all admit that he is the favorite. (Not that I really have one). He just left today for the end of spring break. Last night, I thanked him for coming home and he told me that I made him. I responded that I did not do that. He told me that by me being here, I did. I sure love that boy and look back now, wonder how and why I was so scared of a boy.

It is funny how some things will trigger me and remind me of how bad things had been. I was at work, walking up 12th Street and there were three cars at the intersection. The first one was turning left onto Main Ave. The traffic on Main doesn’t have a stop sign so it can be a long wait to turn left. The second vehicle was going straight and the third wanted to turn right. This is a small town with relatively little traffic but it has grown a lot over the years. I admit it has not been fun watching it grow over the thirty years I have been here but it goes with the territory. The guy in the third vehicle started screaming and cursing profanities and honking his horn. He couldn’t see that the first vehicle wanted to go left. He was being very impatient and letting himself get super stressed about such a minor thing. When the first car finally was able to turn (maybe ninety seconds), he squealed up to the second car and turned right very quickly and potentially dangerously while revving his engine. I immediately thought to myself how glad I was to not be with someone like that anymore. The ex-husband used to get such horrible road rage. There were times I was afraid that he might even get us shot or hurt. He would flip people off on the highways in the city, cut people off, tailgate on purpose if someone cut us off. You never know when someone might pull a gun. If I said anything to him, he would then yell at me. I was often very nervous in the car with him. The stress and tension in the car was always so bad from that moment on. It was bad for all of our health. Stress increases inflammation which increases pain, diabetes, and so many other health issues. He was slowly killing us all.

I will never put up with that from someone again. It was one of the many ways I was mentally abused and controlled by him. He had a nasty temper that I was afraid to set off. he never physically hurt me but I was scared of him and so were the kids. I wish I could say that he never laid a hand on them. He never beat them but kids should not be scared of their parents.

About the man in this story, I feel bad for him (and the ex). Life is too short to get so upset over such insignificant things. His blood pressure was up, I am sure. His behavior was bad for his health. Luckily, there was no one else in the car and I am sure I was the only one that heard his language. I was the only other one really affected and it made me feel grateful that I no longer have that kind of stress in my life.