Friday, November 23, 2012

Don't be perfect

I borrow this from a blog I recently started following (Momastery)
I believe it.
I try to follow it, when I remember to not care what people think:

"Also, I would like to publicly state my secret opinion that it is a BAD PARENT thing to do to try to be a PERFECT PARENT. Because our kids might grow up to be parents. And they will likely compare their parenting to how we parented them. And if they are under the impression that we were “perfect,” their parent guilt will be through the roof and will likely need even more pills and therapy and financially irresponsible trips to Home Goods than we do. And so I think it is a GOOD PARENT strategy to let your imperfect flag fly and make lots of mistakes and relax a little too much, so that our kids have a lot of room for improvement. So that eventually they will feel GOOD about themselves as parents. Don’t steal their future thunder, is all I’m saying. Take a load off, for THEM, and their future credit card bills."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The awesome Red Barn

We live on some land that has a big red barn. Every year we co host with neighbors and our church a Fall Festival. It's such a fun event. The barn is filled with games and prizes for the kids. Always chili and a bake off. And then a trunk or treat at the end.

Last night was the 6th annual Fall Festival; it used to be one of Rods favorite days of the whole year.

It's become a barometer of my emotional well being.

We had a Fall Fest 5 weeks after Rod died. 5 weeks! I walked around holding my brand new puppy Faith. the entire night i was surrounded on both sides by my girls. I think mostly my daughters , but also by my girlfriends. No one left me alone, thankfully. i was still in that tender, sad, shocked stage.

Last year was better, I'd just passed the one year mark. I was feeling better, i was acclimating to the new normal.

Crazy busy as a single Mom. And yet i was proud of my independence in providing for and raising my kids. It wasn't what i wanted, but i was doing my best with what had been handed me.

When the Fall Festival came around again though, I was reminded very poignantly that Rod was not present.

I was present that year at the Fall Festival but I didn't help much. Just showing up was all I wanted to do.

This year's Fall Festival; just over 2 years after Rods death- it felt like the fog had been lifted! I felt joy that one of Rods favorite traditions was going on. Felt joy that his presence and memory was felt and remembered with happiness.

I was Involved. I helped, I cleaned my house, cooked 500! Hot dogs! 19 gallons of hot chocolate.
It felt good.

Rick was so great. Such a good sport. He has a wonderful way of allowing Rods memory and or presence be felt and yet still be there and be part of building new happy memories and traditions for myself and the kids. I love him and the blended life we are building.

Hope I'm doing the same with Anna's memory...
I think he would say I am.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Possible titles for this blog post:

Yours mine and ours
Waiting for the other shoe to drop
A blended family

Most often question since Rick and I have been married;
(usually with a tilt of the head and a sympathetic look) "Hows the blending going?" I guess our society is used to Cinderella, her evil Step Mom (wait that would be me!!) and evil step sisters. (Elyse, Kyria, Nikka:: what have you done ;~))

I thought of this as i was in the kitchen the other night and noticed Joseph (15) and Caleb (13) sitting together on the couch sharing a computer screen.

Me: "I dont want to jinx anything but everybody always thinks this whole blending thing is going to be a problem, I wish they could see this moment"

Caleb: "You better knock on wood"

Joseph: (without being able to keep a straight face, and nudging Caleb):
"Dude get away from me"

Caleb: Tried to respond but laughed instead. A deep happy laugh I had never heard before.

Hearing that true happiness in Calebs voice made me want to go and find Rick and share with him. I even asked the boys to reenact the whole scene for Ricks benefit. They did playfully.

Luke and Caleb came home from a week at scout camp in June as best friends. Truly remarkable as they dont tend to have the same interests. I asked Caleb to please keep an eye on Luke as it was his first year and I just tend to baby Luke. Caleb really did. More then one person told me that Caleb referred to Luke as his 'bro' the entire week.

Our family has chosen not to use the word; 'Step", our kids have easily been able to refer to eachother as sister and brother. When there is an explanation necessary, we say 'bonus sister/brother' or bonus Mom or Dad.

And as Rick and I have tried to blend the family rules, the kids have been very patient. Here's the deal; Rod and I and Rick and Anna have all raised our kids rather traditionally and conservatively. Our definitions have not always been the same though. So there have been things that, for example my kids couldnt do, the Davies family could do, and visa versa.

The kids tend to benefit as we are sensitive to asking them to make too many additional sacrifices. Rick reminds me that Rod and I have successfully raised 4 children who love God and family above all else. i say if it was good enough for Anna Davies its OK with me. (She was and is a remarkable person, and so is Rick! Cant give her all the credit for these two great kids) So we tend to let some rules bend a bit.

The Dial Davies house has been a little crazier, a little dirtier. The Davies have learned if they want their laundry done more often then every couple weeks, they need to do it themselves. The Dial's have learned to slow down a bit

Caleb mentioned its hard to get bored at our house as there is always someone coming or going or something going on. This makes Emma's head spin sometimes as she is a bit of a homebody and doesn't like her schedule too full.

As the Davies have gotten settled; they have won the hearts of everyone around us. One of my bff's said to me the other day: I already love those two kids like they really were yours"

Caleb has been such a good example to my kids of hard work and getting his chores done in a timely manner. I actually felt the need to start paying Caleb for some 'above and beyond' chores. That kid will work and work.

Emma, well anyone who knows her knows she is pretty much the perfect child. Case in point: I told her how excited I was to have a young daughter I could buy new clothes for. Her response: "I dont really need new clothes, I have plenty. But thank you"

OH and all of us, but especially Caleb and Emma have benefitted from Rick working from home. He stays busy and in his office, but they know they can go in and see him whenever they want. This is a perk Rod always had and I think why he had such a special bond with the kids.

Here's our big problem, I will share our family secret - I may actually go crazy with this one... The two extra kids, going from 6 to 8 is a piece of cake. Especially since there were only two left at home. Now having 4 is easy! Plus Nikka is here and has been very helpful getting kids where they need to be and hanging with them while I work.

Its the dogs people! I already had 3, 2 too many!!! Adding a 4th dog, put me over the edge!!! Dobby Davies is a sweet dog and gets along well with others. Its not Dobby, its Dobby, Millie,Jack and Faith combined! Killing me. Havent tried it, but pretty sure there isnt enough Xanax on the planet to make 4 dogs OK. We ordered 3 bark collars, but only one has come. So whoever barks the most gets the shock collar. Dobby wins everyday. The good news is Dobby doesnt bark now with that collar on. The bad news is Emma is pretty sure the cruelty is more then she can handle.
Disclaimer: It is turned all the way down, and sometimes not even on. The whole Pavlov's dog thing...
Anyways Emma doesnt like it! I dont put it on, in order to keep my wonderful bonus Mom reputation, Rick does it. In fact I feel so bad for Emma that sometimes Ill take it off just to earn points.

It occurred to me the other night that this may lead Emma to therapy later in life and the therapist, in listening to this, may become convinced that she suppressed some real abuse by her evil bonus Mom, and that it had nothing to do with Dobby at all.

Because of this paranoia on my part; In the end, Emma and Dobby may win and Rick and I will get ear plugs!

So there you go, I share my long journal entry on blending with my blogger friends. Neither Rick nor I chose this life. Death stinks and causes lots of suffering. We both made the best of it alone. Together is much better though, it's so much better to have someone to share the burdens with. Someone to have your back. Someone to love your kids like you do. I'm seeing why we are taught in the bible: "It's not good for man (or woman) to be alone.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

An Announcement

Wait for it.....

Rods Dad died when he was 7. He often shared with me the frustration he felt that his mom never remarried. "There arent any men as good of a man as your Dad" She would say.

Rod wondered; 'wouldn't a good dad be better then no dad?' Even if he isn't as good as my own Dad'? Luckily Rod was surrounded by wonderful men at church and through scouting that gave him the influence he needed to become a great man. My boys have the same influence and I'm so grateful.

Later in life Rod worried about who his Mom had become; lonely , bitter, selfish. Not a bad selfish; just not used to living with someone else.

Rod would tell me if I died he'd remarry.
NO! That hurt my feelings, wasn't I his one and only ?
And then i dreamed he'd live all his days missing me and waiting for us to be together for eternity?!
His response; "I love being married too much. I'd be miserable single. And I don't want you to change and become lonely and bitter. I'd want you to remarry too."
At this point Id get nasty; 'what if I don't want to?'

At one point I even said to him; "Well atleast wait two years to pretend like you missed me" His reply; "For the record, I give you no such rules, stipulations or timeline.

These were fun conversations to test him to prove his love for me. Never, never, never! did I ever think I would think back on these conversations so much looking for guidance.

Once I hit the year mark of widowhood, Dating opportunites started;


I wasn't ready for that. But they were fun! They combatted the 'friday night funk'; the worst night, the night when usually Rod and I would go on a date. A night just about us. And now that night was lonely and quiet. Except during HS basketball season, then its fun and exciting and keeps the boys and I busy.

Enter Rick Davies; a fellow widower that used to live in our area until they moved away two+ years ago to Mesa for better cancer treatment for Anna his beloved wife and to be closer to her family.

I knew Anna, but not well. I heard her speak once and she was great! Such a positive attitude despite having lost a leg to this awful cancer that would eventually take her life.

Rod knew Anna; they worked together a little at church. I remember speaking to Rod about her after hearing her speak. I wondered aloud why our life was so easy while others had to suffer so. ( a little premature comment)

Sadly Anna passed away last year. Leaving Rick and kids Caleb 13 and Emma 10 alone and going through what my children and I had just gone through.

As I normally do when I hear about this awful thing happening; I send a sympathetic email. I share what has helped my family and myself; specifically a book entitled "The Message' by Lance Richardson and the lds widow and widowers facebook page. A closed private group that truly has been better then any therapy I've attended.

I was SO careful in that email; I wasn't reaching out in any way other then wanting to be of help to another parent having lost their beloved spouse and partner in parenting. (Rick received other email from women who WERE interested. He says you can tell the difference in my very safe email and the others) My intentions were pure, not romantic, no way!

Time passed and Rick emailed me back thanking me for the info. The widows website was proving to be helpful to get him through the lonely nights. An email correspondence began; we grew up in the same stake in San Diego, we attended the same high school. His family lived in the same military housing in San Diego that Rod and his family had lived in.

His wife Anna lived in Spokane at the same time Rod and I did in our early married years.

Then there was the Austin connections; SO many mutual friends.

SO many ways our lives had intersected through the years; is it true that coincidence is Gods way of staying anonymous?

After a while Rick asked if he could come to Texas and take me on a date. Well I said yes and then I hurried and started asking people who knew him, 'Is he a good guy? Is he weird? Please please please tell me, any red flags?'

Nope none, just all good things to say about him. Darn , ok, I'll let him come to Texas and take me out.

In the meantime; we became such good friends over the phone, logging 121 hours before our first date. (Yep, I counted up the hours) Crazy! The whole time I thought, "well he will make some woman really happy. And I've made a lifelong friend" I also thought it was too bad I wasn't ready for a great guy like him.

First weekend went really, really, really well, and so it began. Months of weekends would follow. Then combined family trips, they all went well. And kept getting better and better.

I was pretty sneaky traveling and dating; very few people knew what I was up to. I had my reasons. Most of them proved unfounded.

Mainly I didn't want anyone to feel that I was forgetting Rod, or Rick was forgetting Anna.

Quite the contrary, being with a fellow widow allows you the opportunity to always feel free to talk about your spouse. They get it. They know the love that you've lost and miss.

If I did fall in love and remarry I wanted it to be someone my kids loved.
And he had to be a good Dad.

I found that someone.

I feel like some of my kids fell for Rick before I did, but they'd disagree. They do love him though. You know how the Dial kids feel about you based on whether or not they've nicknamed you.

He has nicknames.
Elyse: RickRoss
Kyria: Santorum
Luke and I: Davies

I love watching my youngest Luke interact with Rick. Luke believes, as do I that Dad brought Rick to us.

There is a favorite quote among my widow and widower brother and sisters:


So here's my simple announcement:

The Dial Family and Davies Family are coming together. Rick and I will be married soon in the San Diego LDS Temple. A small family affair.

The Dial Davies will live in Texas at Martins Cove , in front of the big red barn.

I'm happy. I'm grateful. I think Rod is proud of me. I think Anna is proud of Rick.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Widows view

Welcome to Holland
By Carol Turkngton

You are planning a vacation to Italy. You're all excited. You get a whole bunch of guidebooks, you learn a few phrases so you can get around, and then it comes time to pack your bags and head for the airport.

Only when you land, the flight attendant says, "Welcome to Holland". You look at one another in disbelief and shock, saying, "Holland? What are you talking about? I signed up for Italy." But they explain that there's been a change of plan, that you've landed in Holland and you must stay there.
"But I don't know anything about Holland" you say. "I don't want to stay".

But stay you do. You go out and buys some new guide books, you learn some new phrases and you meet people you never knew existed. The important thing is that you are not in a slum full of pestilence and famine. You are simply in a different place than you had planned. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy, but after you've been here a little while and you've had a chance to catch your breath, you begin to discover that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland has Rembrandts.

But everyone else you know is busy coming and going from Italy. They are all bragging about what a great time they had there, and for the rest of your life, you'll say, "yes, that's what I had planned."

The pain of this loss will never go away because the loss of that plan is a very, very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't go to Italy, you will never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.