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Cooking Dinner September 21, 2007

Posted by phoenixhopes in cooking, food, Uncategorized.

Maybe if I did my grocery shopping Fridays on the way home from work, the week between paydays I would be more realistic. Those nights find me exhausted, mentally spent, brain dead, and cash poor. Timing shopping then might mean that I’d bring something home that would actually get cooked and eaten during the week instead of food that languishes in my fridge longing for attention.

Instead I tend to shop Saturday morning the day after payday. I’m feeling, well, not rich exactly, but maybe a little spendy. Creative. Ambitious. Hungry. I buy things that actually need cooking rather than heating up. I imagine that I’ll make muffins or banana bread or maybe even an apple pie. I picture real meals with a vegetable, starch and meat and a dessert even. I imagine that we’ll sit around the table, enjoying good food and great conversation. Of course the children will love everything I cook even if it includes mushrooms.

Then the week happens. Up too early and out the door for a too long day. Home 12 hours later and I try to remember what I had planned to do what that lovely food. Meatloaf? Marinated chicken breasts? Cauliflour? I can’t fathom any of it.

I make pancakes (a mix, just add water), eggs and toast, ramen (if I’m creative, maybe add a chicken breast), mac and cheese (I’m not sure there’s a way to make that adult friendly but I keep trying), tuna sandwiches, tacos. The only requirement seems to be how quickly I can get it on the table with the least amount of effort on my part.

I’d like to think that a day will come when I have the time and energy to remember how to cook. In the meantime, I hope the kids can taste the love.


another beginning September 21, 2007

Posted by phoenixhopes in Uncategorized.
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So a girl with a track record of writing once every few months starts a blog. I suppose it’s proof that some people never give up. In my lifetime I’ve started dozens of journals that generally fizzle out after a few entries. Will this be any different? Maybe, maybe not. Does it really matter?

I added a few things I’ve written in the past and maybe I’ll dig up some more. Maybe someday I’ll even point the way here or someone will stumble along on their own. And someday I’ll have the time and the energy to purty up the place a bit.

 For today, it is what it is.

Saturday reflections September 21, 2007

Posted by phoenixhopes in motherhood, singleness, Uncategorized.
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I’m a single mom. To say it more accurately, I’m a mom who happens to be single. I don’t have the freedom to be single first. It is impossible to have quality time with teenagers without lots and lots of quantity time. If I don’t spend the time with my boys, I cannot be the mother they need. I know not everyone sees things this way but I don’t care too much about ‘everyone’. I care about what my family needs. People have told me that I need more “me time”. I ask them what I’m supposed to cut out of my life to get that time. Accepting the challenge of parenting means accepting the sacrifice that may come along.

I don’t mean to say that my life is only about my children or that I’m obsessed with them. But right now I could do everything else in my life ‘right’ and totally fail my kids. I only have one shot at raising them, influencing them.

As much as I am committed to being who my kids need first, it does get lonely. I am not outgoing by nature, never been a party person, not one to strike up conversations with strangers. I’m comfortable being a homebody. My idea of a good weekend is one spent curled up reading. A great weekend would also include someone to curl up next to and meaningful discussion about what we’re reading.

I long for a man who wants to be a friend, who sees into my heart, recognizes the gold, isn’t afraid of the chaff and helps me get rid of it. A man who is willing to be transparent to me in the same way. I’m cautious about romance, about giving my heart away. Romance is the easy part but it doesn’t last without the foundation of friendship built first.

For now I’m a mom who happens to be single. My life is not on hold until the kids are independent. Some days the road seems lonely but I don’t think I’ll look back and regret the choices I’ve made.


Teenagers September 21, 2007

Posted by phoenixhopes in motherhood, teens.
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It’s like this, you spend the first 10 or 12 or whatever amount of years building a go-cart with your kids, then somewhere in the teens, you both hop on and start careening down a hill. Unfortunately, there are no brakes and the steering doesn’t work so well. In order to make your way around trees and big rocks, you’ll need to lean your body hard to the side. And hope that your passenger is also leaning in the same direction. The rocks don’t necessarily mean you’re doing anything wrong and you can learn to maneuver around them. No matter what you do, you’re going to get hit in the face with a few branches. And sometimes, you’ll hit a nice smooth, grassy spot that isn’t so steep. That part of the ride is quite enjoyable and eventually you’ll have more grass than rocks. Somehow, while you are hurtling down the hill, you need to transition the parent out of the driver’s seat and watch the emerging adult start to navigate. The goal is for both of you to make it to the bottom of the hill in one piece.

Growing up September 21, 2007

Posted by phoenixhopes in thoughts, Uncategorized.
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When I was young life seemed so sure. I’d grow up, get married, have babies, be a wife and mommy. That worked for awhile, or rather, it appeared to work. Below the surface, life wasn’t that great, but that’s a whole ‘nother story for ‘nother day. Now, the babies don’t require as much attention and I can even start to dream about when they’ll have babies of their own. I stopped being a wife years ago.

Someone once said that a man defines himself by the work he does. Ask a man to introduce himself and he’s likely to say “I’m Mike, and I’m a fireman”. A woman defines herself by the relationships around her. When she introduces herself she may say “I’m Sara and the mother of 3 children”. A generalization, I know. I know men that are very relationship oriented, and women that are very job focused, but overall, I think this is true.

There was a day when every relationship around me changed drastically. No longer a wife. A single, working mother instead of the stay at home variety. Friendships were broken, most beyond repair. Working full time I learned to navigate office politics for the first time. Moving meant I left my house and familiar neighbors and faced new ones. Every relationship that had helped to define who I was had been changed in some way, great or small. I looked in the mirror and didn’t know the person staring back.

Ever so slowly relationships have grown again. Again, they help to define me but they are no longer my only measure of who I am. Who do I want to be when I grow up? The calendar tells me I’m here, I’m an adult for keeps. I always thought that meant being sure of yourself, knowing where you want to go and how to get there. Most days I don’t even know what I want to eat for dinner, much less what I want my life to look like in five years.

Who will I become and why is it taking so long?


Weakness September 21, 2007

Posted by phoenixhopes in thoughts, Uncategorized.
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Who aspires to weakness? There is so much implied —  Failure. Wimp. Inadequate. Debilitated. Delicate. Exhausted. Fragile. Spent. Uncertain. Who wants to wear those adjectives? I would much rather be Strong, Independent. Resourceful. Triumphant. Capable.

I don’t want to be needy, but I have to admit that I can’t do it on my own. I do need others. I need community. Friendship. Trust. Hope. Love. Somewhere there must be a balance between fiercely independent and ‘what a leech!’ I want to stand on my own two feet, learn to take care of myself, do what needs to be done. And I want someone alongside me, a friend to encourage me when I’m down, share my joy on the good days, help me figure out how to fix the toilet.

“It’s not good for man to be alone” relates to a lot more than romance. I’m weak without relationship. When I’m in relationship with others it’s safe to share that weakness. I do aspire to weakness. I aspire to living in that safe place where I can honestly be who I am and be loved because of/ in spite of that fact.