Archive for ‘October, 2013’

Lori_Shadow

Sometimes, people have a difficult time when someone changes. They especially don’t like it when they change their way of being. During this journey of finding myself, I’ve discovered who I really am and what I stand for. Yes it was a divorce that started the journey, but the journey was grown through a need for self-definition, not from post-divorce trauma. Who I was throughout my childhood and my first marriage is very different than the person who I am now. There are parts that are the same, of course, but for the most part, I’m different. My family, and the family I was married into at 23, didn’t talk about the “bad stuff” nor did we show our vulnerable sides. Everything was very surface at best. It was what I knew, so I lived that way, too. As Maya Angelou says, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

Yes, my family doesn’t appreciate the “new” Lori sometimes. My ex husband definitely does not appreciate her. I’m bucking the system. I’m changing my role in how the world goes round. In the past, my role in my family was that of the pleaser: the quiet and don’t rock-the-boat kind of person. When my grandmother would put me down or my mother shared her opinions which I didn’t agree with, or my ex husband would pout until he got his way, I never spoke from my true self. I would either ignore the remarks or my response was sugar coated and came from a place of trying to please them. “What can I say that won’t hurt their feelings, because I don’t want to be rude?” was a thought I had often.

I used to be the “yes girl,” you know, the one who made everything smooth and happy. If I had my own individual thoughts, I didn’t share them. I was just happy to see others happy. If I had my own needs, I didn’t bring them up for fear that it would seem too selfish. I now know that I don’t have to be a “yes girl” at all.

I’m a woman who speaks from my heart and always tries to be honest and truthful. If there’s a misunderstanding, I want to clear the air. My bringing it up doesn’t mean I’m mad. It just means that we need to talk about the issues. That’s a healthy way of dealing with things. So many people brush those types of discussions under the rug. Now when I see an issue, or I’m scared of something, or something affects me or my family, I speak up about it. It doesn’t come from a mean-spirited place. (Although sometimes, if I’ve let it fester too long, I may not speak it as eloquently as I could) I’m just trying have a healthy relationship with people and open up the lines of communication. If I’ve ever offended anyone with my openness and honesty as I evolve into myself, I’m truly sorry. I’m not the girl who purposely sets out to hurt people.

It’s a scary thing–to speak your true feelings. Most times, I’m still terrified to speak my needs or be vulnerable. I’m scared people won’t like me. I’m afraid if I tell someone “no” that they’ll judge me and hate me forever. This is the me I revert to sometimes–that 6 year-old little girl with the curls in her hair. Changing your thinking and learning to stop that feeling of shame is like walking from the dark into the light. It’s warm, it’s rewarding, it’s a bit unnerving taking that step because you’re used to the dark, desolate feeling of keeping quiet, which in a way seems safe. It’s not. I promise, if your heart is pure and your intentions are good, speaking your truth is worth every step.

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Yep, I did it. I got one!

I think it would be funny to wear a shirt like this around town or to a local singles volleyball night (ahhh, memories of my early-single days). Being single and over 40 and landing yourself a great guy who really is husband-material is a HUGE accomplishment, if I do say so myself! (Perhaps you men feel the same way and think that all of us crazy women are just the kind of psycho you’d like to avoid!) My husband is kind, loving, funny, sexy, a great father, a hard worker, dedicated, honest, and one hell of a ball player! All the great things that make up a good match for me. I’m thankful we found each other in the sea of divorcees!

Now, I didn’t date a ton, but I did give dating the good ol’ college try. As I told Brandon when we were first going out, “There were many first dates and only a handful that made it to date two or three.” What is it about people who are single and over-forty, anyways? My girlfriends and I would always ponder this and say, “We’re a great catch (not as a collective group, but on our own)! Why is it that there aren’t any men out there that are worth being with?” In my few years of dating, I’ve seen my share of cra cra. Really.

Let me illustrate.

Let’s start with the “semi-pro” football player I met online who told me he was on some league here in Utah that I’d never even heard of (Yeah…semi-pro. In Utah. Uh huh.) He said he was a bag thrower (luggage handler) for an airline in his “spare time.” It was his “real job.” We chatted by email, then over the phone. One day, he insisted he’d love to meet and I explained to him I was headed to a park to play football with my kids. He seemed harmless enough, so I told him to stop by. My kids had met a ton of my friends whom I played volleyball and softball with, so I figured it was no big deal. He arrived at the park and we said hello and chit-chatted for a moment. He told me I was more beautiful in person than in the photos on my online profile. I thanked him and soon we started throwing the football.

The entire time he’d make comments like:

“See, even ugly guys are funny.” or “Just because I look funny doesn’t mean I’m not a good catch, right?!” And then he’d laugh at his own jokes. It was not a comfy situation for me. The self-loathing became apparent (and annoying)! We quickly wrapped up our game of catch and I told him, “Thanks for coming by.”

Later that day he texted me and said:

WELL, WHAT DO U THINK?

ABOUT WHAT?

ABOUT ME. ARE YOU ATTRACTED TO ME?

WELL, OBVIOUSLY YOU’RE ATTRACTIVE OR I NEVER WOULD HAVE MET YOU IN PERSON

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? SO DO YOU THINK THIS COULD WORK OUT?

(note that we’d only spent 1 hour throwing the football around with children at the park…not exactly a lot of time to create a great foundation for an everlasting relationship) I’m a firm believer in being honest and truthful, so I tried to tell him politely that it was a “no” for me.

IF YOU’RE ASKING ME IF THERE’S A SPARK THERE, I’D HAVE TO SAY NO.

HOW COME? IT’S CAUSE OF THE WAY I LOOK, ISN’T IT!

NO, NOT AT ALL. I JUST DON’T SEE THIS GOING ANY FURTHER

WHY NOT? JUST TELL ME.

I WANNA KNOW. JUST TELL ME SO I KNOW.

WELL, TO BE HONEST, YOU WERE PUTTING YOURSELF DOWN ALL DAY WHICH MADE ME UNCOMFORTABLE. YOU DON’T SEEM LIKE YOU’RE THAT CONFIDENT

OH, SO THIS IS MY FAULT?!

Okay, now I was trying not to get pissed. Really, I just wanted him to leave me alone and I wanted to go to sleep. In order to end the conversation quickly, I took the blame…

NO, IT’S REALLY MY FAULT. I’M KINDA PICKY AND JUST NOT ATTRACTED TO PEOPLE WHO AREN’T CONFIDENT

YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT IT’S YOUR FAULT! I’M A GREAT CATCH! YOU’RE THROWING THE BEST THING THAT EVER CAME YOUR WAY!

YOU’RE SO DAMN PICKY! YOU’RE THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEMS! NO WONDER YOUR EX HUSBAND CHEATED ON YOU!

That was when I politely replied and told him that his comment was rude and uncalled for and to please never contact me again. The next day I opened my match.com email and saw a note from him saying: AND YOU’RE NOT THAT BEAUTIFUL EITHER!

Two months later, that man tried to friend me on Facebook.

Um. Hello. Crazy much?

Note: That, my dear online daters, is why you DON’T have dates pick you up at your home. Can you imagine if he’d had known where I lived? Seriously, no wonder he’s been single for 27 years and hasn’t ever been married!

Stay tuned to find out why I recommend you ALWAYS ask online potential-dates for their last name before meeting them. Seriously people, I can’t make these stories up!

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Shoes

Today I wanna run.

Some days, there’s just too much going on and it feels like you can’t handle everything. This past month has been one of those days. I’m finding this to be a common feeling of divorced moms (and perhaps it’s this way for divorced dads as well, but they don’t mention it in the blog-o-sphere like the women do).

Don’t get me wrong: I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud of who I’ve become. I count my blessings every day! But I’m also tired. Tired of holding it all together. Tired of cleaning up messes that I didn’t make (figuratively and literally). Tired of trying to keep everyone happy, giving and giving and feeling like I’m everyone’s mother 24/7. Some days, I want someone to take care of me. Is that bad to say? I feel like a diva even typing that.

The balancing act of working mother is a difficult one…especially when you have a handful of children. You run all morning, getting everyone out to the door and to their destinations (usually nagging, and threatening multiple times), rush through traffic to get to work, rush through a work day and try to be as productive as possible, leave to take a child to an appointment or pick up another one who’s sick, then you rush home, throw dinner on the table (or grab food on your way out of town), grab a few kids and run or pick them up from an activity, or their dad’s house, run back to pick up and run home for clean-up and sleep (usually nagging, and threatening multiple times) when everyone usually quiets down. Then it all starts again.

This weekend, I had only five of our kids with me, and on Saturday we only had 2 soccer games to get to. It was somewhat strange to only have two activities on the calendar. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the slower pace! And on Sunday, my daughter made us pancakes (which was so nice!!!) then me and my girls and I ran away to watch the University of Utah women’s soccer game in the warm blanket of the afternoon sunshine. I even snuck in a nap after (shhhh…)!

I realized I need more days like that. I realized that I give and give until I’m a crumpled ball of nothing on the floor and I turn into a woman I don’t like. And when you add to that the stresses of money: paying for a divorce (still making payments on that baby), an ex who’s late on child support, etc. on top of the said crumpled ball of a woman, I become a very ugly, stressed-out woman I don’t like.

When you’re in this boat, it’s easy to accuse and point blame their dad should put in more of an effort or if the kids would listen and pick up more it wouldn’t be so hard on me but I need to realize where the blame should be put: on myself. I haven’t shown people that I deserve to be healthy, loved, waited on, paid on time, put on a pedestal just like I put them on one. When I was newly separated (and didn’t work full-time), I did a great job of putting myself on the calendar. I worked out, I met up with friends, I laughed, I did a lot of reading. It’s like I forgot how to do that again. I relax when I’m in my husband’s arms, but other than that, I don’t do much for myself. Why do I always slide back into that routine? Is that how we’re internally coded? I want to change that, immediately!

So today I just may run away. And as I’m running, I plan to evaluate what I need and want. Of course, I’ve got to clean the house to get ready for a real estate showing, make dinner, get the laundry done, and rake ten-million leaves…but I’ll run away somewhere in there…when I can fit it in. Oh, wait a second, now I see the problem…

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I’m not sure if anyone else out there has the balls to ask the type of questions that I do when it comes to in-person discussions. I’m all about getting to know people and understanding who they are and where their decisions come from. I’m serious! (stop rolling your eyes!) I’m not big on judging.

Take my ex husband for example. When I discovered his hidden “friendship” with the neighbor, I told him, “If you love her, go to her! Just let me go!” (This was early on in their relationship, friendship, whatever-ship.) He insisted he didn’t. To this day I’ve never had a conversation with him about his eff’d up midlife crisis that caused him to jump into the deep-end. I did, however, ask him near the end of the end how he could have left our family in the dust for another woman. His reply: “I didn’t leave you for another woman. I simply had a friend who made me realize our marriage was toxic.”

Hmmmm…really. You mean the kind of friend you have when you’re over at her house at 1:00 am and you accidentally butt-dial your wife and your wife hears your “friend’s” muffled voice moaning ‘Oh my God!’ into the phone? That kind of friend?

For all of those out there who have tried to figure out how someone could live a double-life (or a triple/quadruple/please-not-more-than-that-life), sometimes aren’t you just trying to seek answers so your brain can understand it?! Most of the time we won’t get those answers. That type of behavior isn’t in everyone’s blood, so you wouldn’t ever be able to understand it. But if you could get those answers, and you ran into a cheater on the street, what would you ask? The Barbara Wawa (Walters for you younger peeps) in me just might ask him/her this:

1. How did you go home to your wife/husband/kids every day and act like you belonged in that house after just being with another man/woman?

2. When you were kissing the other woman/man (or taking her to your local theater, or to Park City, or to the University of Utah game, or meeting her in random parking lots) did you ever worry you’d run into your friends or family?

3. What on earth possessed you to leave your church-going life and your family for a stripper? (this is not my story, but someone else I know)

4. Was it a huge ego boost telling your friends about your extracirrcular dating? Because that’s how your husband found out about your slutty affairs and he showed up and surprised you while you were on a date. SURPRISE! (again, not my story)

5. Did you never give your kids credit that they’d figure out your cheesy lies and your cheating ways and that you’re the reason your family broke up?

6. Did you ever think you’d catch a disease from the slut/man-whore and your vagina/penis might catch on fire and implode/fall off? (admit it, we all wonder if the cheater ever thought this)

7. How the hell did you keep all of those lies/names/details straight and hide everything behind a smile? (perhaps you should use that to your advantage and make some good money being an actor!)

8. Do you think asking your ex wife if her friends were available (and asking them out via email after you got your answer) or asking out the realtor your wife selected to sell your house (the one that your marriage built) is the new way to network? Cause believe me, it ain’t. Stop being a cheap bastard and open up a match.com account! (yep, this one is my story)

9. How can you look your parents and friends and children in the face and lie about your secret life while making-up lies about the spouse who didn’t cheat?

10. Aren’t you exhausted by all of the hiding of texts, photos, phone calls, dates, perfume/cologne on your clothes, parking 5 houses down from his/her house just so the neighbors wouldn’t catch you? Tiger Woods had a team and multiple phones to hide his affairs. Just how did you do it?

There was a time when I was trying to understand my ex’s ways. I’ve now accepted I won’t. And that’s just fine. I realized this after I had a friend tell me, “Ya know, you’d think being in a marriage your spouse would be common sense. Like the ‘All I Really Know I Learned in Kindergarten’ poster. I don’t think your ex husband ever learned those things.” Sadly, I think that friend was absolutely right!

What would you ask the cheater/liar in your life?

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WeddingRing_Web

Part of daring to love again has so much to do with inner-reflecting. Seriously, you can spend all your days stomping the earth to find that “perfect” someone and drag him or her home by the hair and call them your spouse (isn’t that how the cavemen did it?), but when it all comes down to it what you really should be doing is looking in the mirror. After a failed relationship, we are all too quick to point out the “other person’s” faults. ‘He was controlling’ or ‘She never wanted to have sex’ become part of the story weaving we create as we tell people our reasons we’re back on the market again. While some of this may be true (*clearing throat*), what most of us fail to do is take a good look in the mirror–and not the foggy, toothpaste-splattered mirror. The perfectly clean, just-windexed mirror–and if you’re over 40, put your glasses on so you can examine it with 20/20 vision.

After my divorce, I took a few years to really look at what I wanted my next relationship to look like. How I failed in my last one, how he failed me, and how we failed each other.

The good part about this exercise is that your potential to grow is astronomical. The bad part about this exercise is that you can be so laser-focused on the bad things in that relationship that you bring them in your already overly-stuffed baggage to a new relationship. Ouch. That’s what I notice myself doing in my new marriage…far too often!

Am I enough?

Is he enough?

Can we trust again?

Are we having sex enough?

Are we having sex too much? (Nah, no such thing!)

Can we support 8 kids?

Will we be able to blend families with minimal issues?

Will the Niners go to the playoffs again?…oh wait, not a relationship question.

As you can tell, I tend to over-analyze and over-think, which can exhaust even the best of new spouses. Luckily, knowing that this is part of the growing process gets me through. The trick is communicating with each other about your fears and your weaknesses.

Take a moment and look at what you could have done differently in your past marriage. I’m not saying take all the blame. What I am saying is take that pile of crap that is your divorce and dissect it. Look at the good, bad, and ugly and turn it into fertilizer for the next relationship and watch it grow!

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Three years ago, almost to the day, I made the biggest decision of my life. The weight of this decision would not only impact me and my marriage, but it would also affect my children, their lives, their marriages and their children’s lives. It would alter my family, and my spouse’s family, our friends and our relationships at work. This decision would change things forever. I decided to divorce my husband of seventeen years. The photo above was our first photo together as a new family.

After kicking my then-husband out of my home in July of 2010 for carrying on a relationship with a neighbor (to this day, I’m not sure exactly what the relationship entailed, but I know I found photos of the two of them on dates during our marriage and caught him with her multiple times), it was decided we would continue to “date” and try to regain the footing of our marriage. Little did I know, he was dating her at the same time…but I digress…

It was mid-October, and we spent the weekend in Salt Lake City on a weekend date. We had a nice room, went out for Mexican food, and did a bit of shopping. It was a pattern we had fallen into: staying busy and having fun together so we didn’t have to discuss the deep, ugly stuff.

I was pretty good at tolerating, shutting down and going through the motions in our relationship by then. I was the girl who, when given a task, gave it her all. And by damn, I was gonna make this work. With so much riding on our family succeeding, I felt it was my duty (pullin out all the drama here)!

We were good friends–partners, even. But as of late, it wasn’t feeling much like a marriage. There had been situations before where I’d caught him texting another woman in New York, saw Facebook posts between he and his high school girlfriend where he asked for her number multiple times (but the sweet girl avoided giving it), hell, I even got a phone call from a husband asking why our number appeared on his wife’s cell bill. He talked his way out of every “you’re crazy!” moment. The crumbling of a marriage had begun quite a few years back. And with each knick that hit the armor of our marriage, I’d get busy adding more bricks to the wall. A perfect coping mechanism, eh?!

At 2:00 am on October 18th, 2010, I realized I’d had enough. I deserved better. The fake, going through the motions and the cheating was never going to stop.

We lay there in bed and he asked, “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t think you wanna know.” I answered, with tears in my eyes.

He said, “What is it?”

I turned to him and said, “I love you enough to let go. I want a divorce.”

I got out of bed after an exhausting discussion, I drove to my parents house, and climbed into bed with my daughter. It was time for the healing to begin.

Asking for the divorce was sad, but it also felt great. Great cause the 3 month process was over. Great cause damn it I was better than the way he treated me. Great because I didn’t have to put up his shit anymore.

I look back at that night like it was a lifetime ago. It’s crazy where the twists, turns, ups and downs of life take us. Is my life easier? No. Am I happier? Yes.

I share this very personal story in hopes that someone can find strength through seeing the road I’ve traveled. My children and I have good days and not-so-good days. Divorce is never easy, and I’m not an advocate of divorce. But it takes two to work on a broken relationship. And there was only one person who showed up to that party.

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First: I need to start this post by saying that no, that is not my husband! Thank you.

Why is it that we as moms, whether we’re single or married, feel guilty about spending money on ourselves? Is there some sort of unwritten rule that states YOU MUST SACRIFICE YOURSELF AND YOUR NEEDS FOR THE WELL-BEING OF YOUR CHILDREN? Nope, nowhere that I’ve seen, anyway. It’s a sort of strange role we slip into while we’re trying to be the best mommy possible. I’ve mentioned before how I put my needs aside in the past, and I ignored the things I wanted to do for me. What I was telling myself was “You don’t matter!” Duh! What a dumb idea that was! If one of my kids or my husband came to me and asked for something, I’d try my very best to get them what they needed. So why didn’t I do that for myself? It’s a question that has no answer…just like why do socks get eaten by the washing machine? Really, no freakin answer!

One thing I’ve loved since I was a child was going on vacation. We’d pack up for a week and head to our timeshare in St. George or Bear Lake and I’d be the first one out of the car. The excitement raced through me as if I’d just won the lottery! I’d rush to my room, unpack my things (stacked perfectly in the dresser drawers) and imagine that I had my own place and this was my life. That’s how vacations make me feel now! This picture of the quite possibly intoxicated dude shown above is how I feel each-and-every-time I leave town (even if it’s only for the weekend). I wanna rip my shirt off and lay on the shoreline…well, not really. I do, however, want to lay in the sunshine and breathe in freedom. It’s pure, sexy, intoxicating BLISS!

For all of you single parents, married parents, soon-to-be parents: If there is anything you must do for yourselves, it’s plan getaways! There are plenty of low-cost options out there that you can afford! Groupon, Orbitz, and Living Social are a few of the online sources I scour when I’m planning a getaway for our family or for me and the man. In my “past life” (or the time in my life I refer to as the “19-years I spent locked in a closet”–not literally), time away was never made a priority. Bad Lori, bad! I have since learned how to live and enjoy, and damn it, it feels good!

This past September, Brandon and I went to Jamaica on our honeymoon. It was amazing! We met so many people from all around the world. Most had told us they booked their stay through Cheapcarribean.com (which I haven’t used), and their pricing was much cheaper than ours!

The water was an indulgent emerald color, the skies were perfectly blue, and the sand was soft and luscious between my toes. In Jamaica we were able to relax, play, eat, drink, escape and let our hair down (well, I let my hair down…Brandon doesn’t have any hair to let down, but he did his best). If you’re reading this and thinking “Lori, I don’t have an extra $500 bucks to leave the state, let alone fly to Jamaica.” let me tell you again, you must make this a priority if this is important to you. When I was a single mom with not much to spare, I found a Groupon deal for $59 a night in Park City. I took my girls up on a Friday night. Did they care it was only 45 minutes away? Heavens no! We stopped at Walmart and bought girlie pajamas, ate room service in our room (we ordered 2 appetizers to share), woke up late and enjoyed the day shopping for school shoes in the outlet malls. It was an inexpensive weekend and one they talk about often. I’m so glad I made time to escape our everyday life of sports, chores and schoolwork! Remember, living and experiencing your life is what it’s all about. Make you a priority!

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  1. Money will always be an issue. – No, this isn’t funny at all. But I figured I’d just get this out the way as soon as I could, because all of the rumors you’ve heard are true. Your ex and you are now supporting two households. There’s not enough cashola to go ’round for that kind of living situation. Unless you were married to Donald Trump or a doctor, or you are Donald Trump or a doctor, the money will always be an issue. You now have to get crafty with your spending and budgeting. It’ll always be hard, but I don’t want you to make life about money anyways, so you better start coupon-clipping now
  2. There will be days where you don’t care if you wear granny panties, a mis-matched bra and panties, or Snoopy-printed panties. – You’re just happy you got out of bed, showered and that you actually put on panties! But I promise you…one day, one day(!), that will change and you’ll love shopping for beautiful things for yourself again
  3. Shaving your legs and underarms are the first forgotten personal hygiene routine. – You may as well go ahead and purchase that Garden Groom Hedge Trimmer you saw on that late night infomercial (because you’re not sleeping, and you’ll be needing the 3 different trim speeds in a few weeks)! Bonus: Your fall hedge trimming will be done in half the time
  4. You’ll start noticing cute, younger guys…and you’ll feel like a perv about it. – I was with my ex for 19 years. That was HALF of my life! A few months after I had gotten divorced, there was this point in time when I’d notice a super-attractive guy and think to myself How YOU doin?! I’d notice their toned arms and their nice clothes and quickly have to reevaluate the situation. Girlfriend, you’re FORTY. That boy over there has got to be 28 at best. The reason his body is so hot is because he’s never been married, has no life, no kids, and spends all day sweaty, pumping iron with other college dudes. And those clothes?! They may look good, but that means that guy doesn’t have a mortgage, doesn’t save his cash, and his parents probably pay for his cell phone! (Yes, I’m generalizing here, so please don’t send me hate mail. But you get the point! And as a side note, I married a younger man, so I really have no problems with age differences!
  5. You’ll quickly create a love-affair with shoes! – Just go and open up a Nordstrom Visa card RIGHT NOW. Trust me. You’ll thank me later! $20 Notes in the mail for points acquired is a big payoff! (I have a brown pair of boots that I get compliments on whenever I wear them. Because I paid for my divorce on my Nordstrom Visa, when someone says, “Great boots!” I reply, “Thanks, my divorce paid for these!”
  6. Seeing your ex in ugly clothes, with ugly women, or trying a new ugly hairstyle will make you giggle for days. No need to expand here
  7. You’ll get to where you almost forget what sex is, and suddenly, as if on cue, you’re now craving it more than when you were married. (In that case, remember my note in number 2 and be glad you followed my note in number 3!
  8. The thought of going out on a first date will make you want to puke. What to wear? Should I drive and meet him there or have him pick me up at my house? Should I tell my kids I’m starting to date? The over-analyzing over your hairstyle alone may kill you
  9. Someone will ask you, “Do you think you’ll ever get re-married again?” To which you’ll laugh hysterically (because, no lie, these comments start coming within the first 6 months of the divorce – at least in Utah they do!)
  10. You will fall in love again. Perhaps a few times. Laugh, giggle, act like you’re sixteen again. It’s funny because you are either in the phase where you can’t imagine it, or in the phase where you’re looking for love and twitter pated about it. Either way, it’s funny!

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“Who is he? What’s he like?” Those are questions I’ve been asked a bunch since I announced my engagement in April of this year. He is Brandon. And he and I were made for each other.

I kept him to myself for a very long time. I didn’t make a big deal about him to friends or family, I didn’t post 8-million photos of us on Facebook detailing every date or cute thing he said, and during the few times I got cold-feet and broke things off, I didn’t splash drama and crap all around the internet sphere.

He is my now-husband. My forever-husband. And he is amazing. I’ve known him for just over 2 years now. We met playing softball–my team beat his team for the championship (love you, babe!). Our first time really interacting with other involved me rounding 2nd base and tearing my calf, and he was the nice shortstop who watched me crawl to third-base and didn’t throw me out (his team was NOT pleased with him).

Last summer he asked me to play fall ball on his co-ed team, and I said yes. I was happy to play on a night when my kids went to their dad’s and he needed a girl in the outfield. We were friends on Facebook where we commented on each other’s jokes or photos. I thought he was funny, and little did I know, he was paying attention to all I had to say about whatever struck me fancy.

It was a post about how I enjoyed sleeping alone at night, because I didn’t have to worry about loud snoring or foul smells that got him to text me directly calling my bullshit. “Being alone in bed sucks!” He jabbed. I told him I agreed. (Post-divorce, nighttime was the most difficult for me. The chats about the day, dreams or plans to be made, those chats were what I missed the most!) We began an honest, open friendship. No BS, no games, just two people being very real about their pasts, their presents, and their hopeful futures.

He asked me one night, “Would you consider dating a younger guy?” I won’t lie: I panicked. I didn’t want to mix my dating world with my softball world. That could get messy. Also, it wasn’t the age difference that had me concerned, it was the fact that he was nearly 4 inches shorter than me! I was the girl who was always the tallest in class–the one they called “amazon”–I didn’t even look at dudes shorter than 6 feet tall! Hesitantly, I agreed to go out with him.

I’m so happy I said yes. Who I found is a man I adore and deserves my love. A man who loves me, who makes me a better person, who encourages me every day, who loves my kids and who wants to give everything he has to make it for the long haul. In today’s age, those are difficult things to find! Wow, are they difficult! (Stay tuned for my super-awesome dating-is-a-joke-after-your-forties stories. You’ll see what I mean!)

We laugh together (oh my hell do we laugh!) we love together, we sacrifice together, and we play together. (Our honeymoon consisted of beach volleyball 4 hours a day–this guy’s for me!)

Over the course of the last year, it’s been quite a ride. We’ve had ups-n-downs, happy and hard times and we manage to communicate through it all. I’m so thrilled that I married someone who wants to talk through hard times and work as a team! (We have 8 children between us (yes I said 8), so I’m well aware that we’ll have many adventures ahead of us)

Transitioning into a new life hasn’t been easy, I won’t lie. There’s lots of compromise and you’ve gotta work hard, but that’s like any marriage. And if you’re one of those people that think marriage shouldn’t be work…if you have to work then it’s not a good marriage, I say your so full of crap that your eyes are blazin brown!

For all of you who can’t see a glimmer of light (or hope) beyond the darkness of divorce and pain, I open my heart to you and share this: Live each day. LIVE IT! Don’t just go through the motions! You are worth love. And you are strong enough to create the life you’ve always wanted. Especially in the dark times, remember that.

I’m so grateful for my husband. I’m grateful he’s such a good man. But most of all, I’m grateful he introduced me to the Lori I knew I was deep down inside and he loves me every day for who I am!

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Hi, my name is Lori, and I’m a recovering perfectionist. Not in the OCD wash your hands 100 times and check to make sure the stove is turned off kind of way. It was more like the I have to be the best and not make mistakes kind of way. In fact, there were many things I never even tried because I didn’t want to be bad or “less-than-perfect” at them. Sad!

I’ve tried pinpointing the exact time in my life when I developed this need to be flawless. I’m not really sure I can. What I do know is that from a young age I was competitive. My parents played sports and so did my older brothers. I was the first girl in the family, and I remember priding myself on being tough and being able to hang with the boys.

At age six, my mom registered me for gymnastics. She says I jumped on the furniture a lot and she figured at the gym I’d be less of a danger to myself (and to her furniture). Now, as most of you know, gymnastics is all about being perfect. Toes pointed, legs together. You know the drill. And if you’re not perfect, your score’s deducted for each mistake you make. Everyone aims for that perfect ten.

At six, I was learning the basics: cartwheels, split-leaps, somersaults. But by the age of seven, I was excelling at the sport. I was competing in local competitions and was preparing for the state 8-and-under meet.

The photo above is a picture of me with my first trophy. Although I don’t remember the details of the meet (or even which event I took first-place in that day), I sure do remember that trophy. Blue was my favorite color, and it just so happens that blue is the color for first-place ribbons. And bonus: the trophy was blue, too. I carried that trophy around my childhood-home like it was made of precious gold. A worn washcloth from the bathroom cupboard was always close by so I could rub off any finger prints that may damage the sheen of the award. It was perfect!

The feeling I had when I carried that trophy was that of sheer exuberance. Now, if you were to ask my brothers or family about this trophy, I’m sure they couldn’t even remember the day I won it. I don’t, so why would they?

It was around that same age when I remember being very competitive in school. There was a boy in school who was quick to get his work turned, as was I. Our teacher made a big ta-do about getting your work done quickly (and free time followed), so I pushed myself to be the first one done each day. I liked the atta-girls I got when my papers were the first in her basket.

By the end of fifth grade, I was at the gym 4 nights a week, a few hours each night, and preparing to skip to the 7th grade. I was proud of my hard work and I continued to push myself to do well.

Fast-forward a few decades, and I was content being a busy as wife and mother (notice I didn’t say happy) and making sure I got everything right. Failure really wasn’t in my vocabulary, so it’s not something I was used to seeing (let alone experiencing). As my marriage began to crumble, I tried with all my might to “fix” the problems. I became the “perfect wife” and tried to support my then-husband through a perfection-crisis of his own. But he was too far gone.

Here it was. Failure. Staring me right in the face. I thought to myself I didn’t screw up. I could do anything. Why couldn’t I make this marriage work? In a simple answer I can now articulate: because it was time to move on.

In my prayers at night I used to pray to God to help me see when I’d tried hard enough to save the marriage. To help me see what was really the end if that’s what my path was. I wouldn’t walk away until I knew for certain I’d given every last ounce of myself. That day came, and I let go.

I can now look back and see that it is through failure or mistakes when we grow the most. Those experiences allow us to become richer people with more depth. Today, my heart is more full, my capacity to love is deeper. So is my ability to forgive.

One thing I’d like to quickly share: I can honestly say that after a time, after the pain and confusion in the air cleared, I was able to forgive my ex-husband. I will always love him as the father of my four wonderful children. He hurt me, yes. But I wish him well. I only hope that one day he can forgive himself and let his pain go.

This perfectionism thing is a common disease. I see bits of it in my children and I am quick to remind them that they don’t have to be perfect. That I love them no matter what.

Let me illustrate: the other day, my sixteen year old son asked me how long to cook a quesadilla in the microwave.

“How long should I microwave it?” He asked.

“Try 30 seconds. If it’s not done, try 30 more.” I replied.

“But I don’t wanna burn it. Just tell me!” He rebuffed.

I then walked over to him and pointed to the package of 12 tortillas and the 5 pound bag of cheese.

“So what if you burn it?! There’s plenty of food here. Screw it up! That’s how you’ll learn for next time.”

I still struggle with my “I never screw up” mentality. It’s a battle I fight often. But I know I need to let my kids see that side of me to show them that it’s part of being human. It’s an important lesson we all need to learn.

I see friends, both men and women, who don’t dare to try marriage again unless everything is perfect (I won’t lie, I struggled with this–who wants to screw that up again?) I’m here to tell them Don’t look for perfect! And don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Live now. Love now. Don’t miss out on something amazing because you’re too busy looking for something perfect.

Life is for living. Experience it. Living perfectly robs you of so many things. If there’s one thing I’ve learned while losing one life and rebuilding another, it’s that when you really live, out loud and true to yourself, you are truly living the depth of your life.

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