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The weariness is overwhelming, but the days are mostly good.  My cleaning business continues to be profitable. Though the average monthly income from it is only $900, if I receive child support we can make it.  My friends were overly generous for my birthday, so I now feel like I dress nice.  On non cleaning days I enjoy mixing up the pieces to create a new look for the day.

Returning to school at almost 50 has been challenging!  Overcoming short term memory issues to learn new material has been hard.  Some days are beyond difficult.  Some days, it feels impossible.  But, I’m carrying A’s in all of my classes, so it can be done.

The kids are all settling into this new life, too.  We home school early in the morning, during the evenings, and over the weekends.  It’s not the structure I feel comfortable with, but all three are learning, and that’s the point, right?  E is researching and producing high school level essays.  He shadows me while I do my homework, so he’s absorbing that information, too.   J is blossoming at the piano and enjoying learning his multiplication tables.  He’s never been a math guy, but he thinks making a chart is fun stuff.  D is learning to read and spell and, being a math person, is nearly done with her first grade math book.  She wants to be an engineer, a police officer, and a barista when she grows up. Right now, she really, really wants ballet lessons. 

R Jr. is loving boot camp.  A just leased a beautiful piece of property in the woods.  S recently returned from a work trip to Asia.  A loves her job but has been cooking like crazy for us all–career woman by day, domestic goddess by night.

They’ll all be here for New Years.  The kids’ partners’ families all love, love, love Christmas, so I told them to just give me the week after.  I’d rather have them all here at the same time than see each one for a little bit at different times on Christmas. It takes stress off the kids, too, if they don’t have to try to please both sides and divide up their time on the holidays.   We’re going to do a bon fire and fireworks, eat, go fishing, turn my house into a slumber party, and eat some more.  I can’t wait!

I love history and the Bible and celebrating the biblical feasts.  Passover has become my favorite holiday, so this year were adding in Hanukkah. It’s crazy how excited and proud the kids are over it.  What’s not to get excited about though?  Lighting candles, playing dreidels for chocolate, presents every night for over a week, and doughnuts for breakfast?

On a down side, I am sick and finals are next week.  It’s in my chest, and A is afraid it will turn into pneumonia. I had it once before, years ago.  I’ll never forget that pain as I left the hospital where I worked, at 1:30 a.m., and stepped out into the cold night air.  The first breath felt like a giant had thrust his fist into my chest and was wringing out my burning lungs.  Then, like now, I was a single mom, working, going to school, and home schooling a first grader.  I dressed nice and had great friends.  The kids and I did fun things, but it all took a toll on my health.  Funny how I’ve ended up right back in the same place.

R has returned to his former life as well.  That was glaringly apparent the morning I wrote my last blog post.  I was wearing a lovely new stylish outfit and brought my soft sided briefcase, a birthday gift from A, so I could write at a local coffee shop while the kids had visitation with their father.  I pulled up to the warehouse in my new little car we affectionately refer to as The Silver Bullet, and my well groomed children got out to be greeted by a skinny, unkempt dad.  His jeans were dirty and hung on his legs. His greasy hair hung down beneath a filthy cap.  He acted hyper, manic, like he was tweaking.  He was carrying our nearly six year old daughter as though she was a toddler and turned to let them wave goodbye to me.  The four of them stood in front of his camp trailer that sits inside the warehouse behind the tall, barbed wire fence.  I left them there to go eat quiche, drink cappuccino, and write in the fall sun at a bistro table outside the coffee shop.  They were left to spend several hours in the filthy trailer without running water, beer bottles scattered everywhere, watching movies that are not appropriate for children.  All the while R proudly tried to get them to agree it’s a great little bachelor pad.

The memory of our first date flooded back in that moment.  I had agreed to meet him at his house and go from there in his car.  I’d been working all day so was late, but I’d carefully curled my hair and chosen a black mini jumper with matching accessories.  I also took the time to wash and vacuum my new car.  When I arrived I first thought he’d decided I wasn’t coming so had changed into his grubbies.  No, these were the clothes he’d chosen to wear for our first date: worn jeans, dirty tennis shoes, and a very dated shirt with a small hole in it.  His car was a disaster with food, toys, and garbage everywhere.  He hadn’t even bothered to clean it, knowing I’d be riding in it.  Making a good first impression didn’t seem to be very high on his priority list. But, he made a dozen apologetic excuses, and I accepted them all, believing this wasn’t really how he normally kept things.

Now, here we are twenty years later, seemingly in the same lives where we met.  I’ve returned to my former life in an effort to rebuild what he stole from me.  And, he is content to live like he is, how he lived before I tried to fix what he claimed was the brokenness of his life that had been caused by others.