Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Holidays are Coming!

The holidays are just around the corner. As soon as October starts to wind down every year I start anticipating the holiday season. I am expecting this year's holiday season to be very different for our family. For one, we will be living 3,000 miles away. We will be getting to know new friends, and it will be the first holiday season without my mom. The funny thing is I remember last year at Christmas my mom said "well this is probably my last Christmas" and I remember thinking 'hmm, she says this every year but I think she might be right this year'. Well unfortunately she was right and the last 5 1/2 months without her have been really difficult but I have a feeling that the holidays will be even more difficult.
For many years I have always been big on entertaining, especially around this time of year. Nothing made me happier than hosting a house full of people. I loved the planning, cooking, and preparing. It made me feel like my Grandma. She was always the one who cooked all day and she did it because she truly enjoyed it. My mom did it too but it was different, she did it because she had to. She was married into this family and it was expected of her when it was her turn. It stressed her out, and she didn't have the same relaxed, easy feeling that my Grandma did.
Nobody has ever expected me to do it. I just did it because it made me happy. Now that is not to say that I haven't had my share of stressful breakdowns in the middle of planning, preparing and cooking, but for the most part I always have enjoyed it. I did it because it gave me such pleasure to feed people and make them happy. I loved to make the old family recipes and I loved finding the new recipes and mixing them in too.
A few years ago things started changing. I had pulled back socially from so many. Our big Christmas Eve dinners had dwindled down to just a few friends. The way we had done things before had become so costly and I had just become a different person. I was sad, angry and depressed. I hated that things had changed, I just didn't know how to make things better.
We are moving to Virginia in 19 days. It will be 9 days before Thanksgiving. I am so looking forward to this fresh start and this opportunity to make things good again for our holiday season. I have already promised my girlfriend Debi that I will cook Thanksgiving dinner. I am hoping that her family and at least one other family will join us for Christmas Eve (it's by far my favorite holiday and a huge Italian tradition to celebrate on Christmas Eve). It is so strange to think that we will not be here this year. To think that my mom won't be here. To imagine what it is going to be like to shop, plan and prepare in a completely new state, on the other side of the country, without a chance of us spending the holiday season with our friends and family here in California. It makes me a little sad for sure. I am sure there will be moments that will be difficult. I am also sure that we will be starting new traditions and that soon we will get used to our new surroundings and we will be fine. I haven't sent out Christmas cards for the last 2 years because I just felt that I didn't have much to say and I just wasn't in the right frame of mind. This year I can't wait to take a family picture of us in our new home state. I am already picturing what it will look like and planning what we will wear. I can't wait!

I just said to Chris yesterday, "if someone would have said to me a year ago, 'one year from now you will be getting ready to move to Virginia' I would have thought they were crazy, what we are about to do is so far from anything I ever pictured. It is so far from my comfort zone. The funny thing is at the same time it feels so right... Those 19 days better hurry up because I am so ready!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thank God that the time is flying by!

What a great week we had here at the Britton house. Time seemed to just fly. I am so glad it did because I am missing my husband something awful. I texted him yesterday and said that I thought this time apart might have been a good thing for us because now we will never question our love for each other since being apart is really hard and we miss each other so much. He said "uh.. I wasn't questioning it before.. is there something you want to tell me?" Which of course I knew would be his answer. I never was questioning it but I will be honest, I didn't know it would be this hard. I think I was just caught up in the logistics of everything and worried about keeping up with my schedule that I wasn't thinking about how difficult it would be to be away from my husband for 7 weeks. Well let me just say it really stinks. Today is the first day that I haven't cried at some point, I don't mean that I am walking around sobbing or anything but at different times during the day I have for sure teared up... and maybe sobbed a few times too.
Yesterday we had good news.. twice and I think because of that it made today so much more tolerable and enjoyable. Oh and maybe the fact that I had a pedicure didn't hurt either! First we found out that the house we are leasing is going to be ready much sooner than we had thought, the current tenants are moving out this weekend which means we can move in as soon as we want. That takes a huge weight off our shoulders because as it was before we were going to have to spend the 11 days until the house was ready in the basement that Chris is renting, we would have made it work but the idea of actually being able to move into the house we will be living in is so much better. The other piece of good news was that we are going to leave 3 days sooner than we had planned. Which of course doesn't sound like a big deal but 3 days is a big deal when you are missing your guy and your kids are missing their daddy.
Since the day that Chris left my girls and I have been having the never ending slumber party. We all 3 sleep in my room. We dragged in the mattress from the trundle in Gianna's room and put it on the floor in front of my bed so that one of them could sleep with me and the other one could sleep in the trundle. It's been a lot of fun and has helped us all kind of cope with the whole situation. We spend the last hour or so of our evening chatting, laughing, and sometimes crying together. It's been a really good bonding time for us and a time that I hope we will all remember.
This whole experience is still a little surreal to me. In the middle of the night I have to get up to let the dogs out and every single night as I walk back up the stairs in the dark house I look around at all the boxes and think 'oh my God this is really happening, we are seriously moving across the country'.
This weekend my goal is to pack up the rest of my office, my bedroom and the laundry room. We will see if I get it all accomplished... As of today we have 25 days until we get on that plane, 25 days to get everything we own into boxes and to say our goodbyes. Twenty five days left in California... isn't that just crazy?!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I have written about being lonely before. I have felt lonely often. I have created a very lonely world for myself and I really, truly have no one to blame but myself. I know this and yet here I sit thinking 'holy crap this sucks, I hate being so lonely'.
When our family began going through the financial crisis that we have been enduring over the last three years I pushed many people away. I isolated myself because I felt that our situation made friends and some family members uncomfortable. I felt that they didn't know what to say, that they might think we were going to ask them for money (which for the record we have not asked anyone for money or any kind of help, so nobody needs to be worried about being hit up). I made these decisions for our family and they weren't easy, they weren't taken lightly. When my mom died 5 months ago I started to REALLY feel the consequences of what I had done, really understanding how serious my decision was. I realized that my phone still wasn't ringing, that nobody was really here to help me through it. I was the one to blame, not them. I knew I had done it. I had hurt people's feelings by pushing them away, by turning down their offers of dinner or being in their bunco group. But I just didn't want to do it, I didn't want to be a part of their world. I wanted to be alone with my family.
So here we are 3 years into it, things are starting to turn around for us finally. Chris has an awesome new job and he loves it. The money is so much better, the situation is wonderful and he sounds happier than I have heard him in years. But here I am. So flippin lonely I want to scream. Chris's job is 3,000 miles away. My husband now lives in Virginia and here I sit in California. I know it's only temporary and I know the time will fly but I will tell you that right now, in this minute the time is crawling by and it feels as if November 19th will never, ever get here.
The good thing is I have two amazing daughters who are getting me through this every day. Two girls that miss their daddy so much that they cry right along with me almost every day. We are trying our hardest to not be sad and to not miss him but it seems impossible.
Before anybody says anything like "well it could be worse" Let me just say, I know it could be worse. I am well aware of how lucky we are to have such a strong family and a strong marriage. I have been thinking about other women I know tonight who have been through so much worse and they survived. I was thinking of my lifelong friend Deanna who lost her husband 7 years ago and has been raising her 4 kids by herself. I think of how amazing she is for doing such an incredible job. I think about my mom losing my dad at 56 years old, how she must have felt like she had so much time ahead of her to be alone. I remember how lonely she was and how hard it was for her. I remember that I didn't do much to make it better either. I have a friend on facebook whose husband travels for a living and she has 3 kids and works full time and she does it by herself all the time, I know she must be lonely and I know it has to be hard, but by God she does it and her kids seem to be doing just fine. It's these women that are getting me through this. It's knowing that if they can do it I can too.
Tonight both of my girls are gone and I have been sitting here by myself throwing a pity party. I keep thinking about how much better it is going to be when we get to Virginia and we are all together. I keep envisioning how we are all going to be living in a different house, the girls are going to new schools, making new friends. It all makes me smile and helps to make me feel a little less lonely. I hope that tonight when I go to bed that I dream about our new life. I am so ready for it to begin.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kudos to the working single mom.

It's been 8 days since Chris left for our new life. Eight days of missing him terribly and wishing we could be there with him. Eight days of being a full time working, single mother of two. Holy cow it's hard. Chris is not a lay on the couch, let the wife do everything kind of a guy. He's a I will do my share of the work kind of guy. He has worked from home for the last year so he really has done so much around here, all the driving of the kids to and from school, taking care of the girls schedule, running errands that I need done during the day, like the post office, bank etc... While I was the full time, out of the home for 8 to 10 hours a day mom. I did all the cooking and cleaning and he pretty much took care of the rest. It was working really well for me I do have to say. Now, this new schedule? Just sucks. Let me give you a little window into my world the last week-
6:30 am, wake up, take a shower, get dressed and then take Allison to school at 7.
7:00 am come back to the house finish getting ready, make the bed, do a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher, whichever one has been waiting longer.
8:00 am leave to take Gianna to school to have her there by 8:20, even though school doesn't start til 8:45 my kid likes to hang out, just like her mom did (oh wait I NEVER wanted to be to school early)
8:30 stop at Starbucks, see my fave barista's fill them in on the latest, grap my jcfl (that's a java chip frap light)
8:50 arrive at school early so I can make sure I am all prepped for the day.
9:00 to 2:30 work my butt off with my 18 kindergartners who are for sure out to get me.
2:30 to 3:00 take my lunch break so that I can go pick up Gianna from school.
3:00 to 5:30 finish working, close the school. Then go pick up Allison from school who has been out of cheer practice since 5:00 and is waiting patiently for me
5:30 to 7:00 still trying to figure out what exactly it is that I do during this time, but every single night I have been trying to get home but every night there is something to do!
7:00 to 10:00 make dinner, clean, do laundry, try to pack a box or two or do something productive before I pass out.
So there it is, my daily life in a nutshell. It's dumb. I hate it. I have so much I need to be getting done and I feel like I am accomplishing nothing yet I do not have a spare minute in my day to do so.
My situation is only temporary and there is a beautiful bright light at the end of the tunnel so I will survive, I will do it and try hard not to complain too much. I have a new found respect for the moms (or dads) that do this for years. It is hard work and it's lonely.
Speaking of lonely, my poor husband is so lonely all the way out in Virginia by himself. He sent me the sweetest text the other night saying how he missed us so much and how we need to go get webcams so that he can see us when we talk. The only problem with talking with him is the time difference, by the time the girls and I are home and ready to chat he is sound asleep!
Last week was especially hard for Chris because we had kind of a big weekend around here. Allison was presented with her varsity letter for cheer. They usually do not give letters out til the end of the year but because we are moving they did a special presentation to her at the homecoming pep rally assembly at her school. It was very cool. She was also voted Sophomore homecoming Princess. Chris had to miss both of these things and it was hard, it was hard for Allison not to have her dad here and it was hard for Chris not to be able to celebrate with us.
Well I am going to do my best to keep being productive and keep my mind off of all the stress. I just want the next 5 weeks to fly by!
Oh and in an attempt to be more productive I have temporarily deleted my facebook account, as I spend entirely too much time on there. The only problem is most of my readers are from facebook and they read my blog when I link it to my facebook wall. This will be a good test to see if they will still read even if I don't remind them to!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Teenage love story.

This is a long one so be prepared...
Chris and I have always been fairly liberal parents. Although we are not the kind of parents who party in front of their kids, for one Chris doesn't drink. Ever. When I do it's not very often and it's only a cocktail or two. We have never ever had even one drink and gotten behind the wheel of a car. I just don't believe in it. My parents liked to drink socially when I was a kid and I have pretty vivid memories of worrying about them leaving places drunk and driving, it scared me to death and I would never do that to my kids. We don't smoke, I have never in my life done any drug, I haven't even ever smoked pot. Again this has so much to do with how I was raised and what I was exposed to. I was raised in the 70's and 80's with 3 older siblings and lets just say they liked to have fun. I watched it and didn't like what I saw and just made different choices than they did.
Anyway, at this point you are wondering where does the liberal parenting come in? Well while I try very hard to set a good example for my kids in some ways in other ways I am way laid back and so is Chris. We both use bad language... often. We probably (not probably, definitely) are way too liberal with what our kids watch on t.v, with the conversations that we let them overhear. We are not at all the parents that shelter their kids from what is going on in our lives. We sometimes give them way too much information. Our kids had cell phones and access to the Internet well before many of their friends and they both have always had t.v's in their rooms. These aren't always popular decisions and some people think it's crazy but it has worked for us. We trust our kids and so far they have yet to make us change our minds.
So all of that leads up to the reason I am writing this post. Last year Allison came to us and asked us if she could have a boyfriend. It was the very beginning of her freshman year and she and this boy had been texting and talking all summer. She had liked him since the 7th grade and he had just asked her to be his girlfriend. I knew there would be backlash. I knew that friends and probably some family members would be appalled but Chris and I talked about it, set some ground rules and said yes.
Here were the rules- We had to meet him right away. We had to meet his parents. There would be NO unsupervised dates, which meant we would not be dropping them off to go to the movies or anywhere else without a chaperon.
Allison then explained all the rules to this boy and he said "my parents will say the same thing". Perfect.
So the relationship began. We met his family before their first date. It was their New Coming dance (homecoming for a new school). They were both super nervous and super cute. We all met at our house to take pictures. It went really well. We instantly liked his family, we liked him and it was all good.
Allison and Blake, first date.
So here we are 11 months later. This boy has become part of our family. We have spent almost every holiday in the last year with his whole family. His parents have become such good friends of ours that we often hang out without the kids.
Allison and Blake will once again go to that dance this weekend. They won't be nearly as nervous but they are still very smitten with each other.

So I love these two together. I know that I probably shouldn't promote my teenage daughter having a long term relationship, I know that so many of my friends have said that we should have said no boyfriend until you are 16 or 17. But this has worked, It has worked for all of us, we have wonderful new friends and it has actually brought me and Allison closer together.
The hardest part is knowing that soon they will have to say goodbye. They are going to have a hard time and so are we adults. Blake's step mom cried of and on all day on Sunday watching them together. Knowing what lies ahead and knowing that they are both going to be sad. I told them that they don't have to break up, that with technology the way it is today they could just text/skype/facebook/aim/call each other every day. I know in my heart it's not practical and that it will be difficult at best but I have told them from the beginning that I support their relationship and I will continue to support it, even if it's from 2800 miles away.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oh so bittersweet...

It's all happening. For real, our move is no longer just something we are talking about and planning, it's happening. It became a reality when my husband left Monday morning. He no longer lives here. He is on his way, driving cross country solo to our new lives in Virginia. It was difficult to say goodbye, we all bawled like babies. I know it's only 6 weeks and I know we will all survive and people probably think I am being dramatic by being so sad. But I am sad. I am scared, I am lonely and I am happy all at the same time. This is something I have been waiting for for so long. Something I have wanted and talked about and now it's happening. The sad part is that the girls and I have to wait to move until November 19th (that is just the tentative date, nothing is set in stone yet). We have to wait until we have saved enough money to make the move. So for the next 6 weeks we have to live without a daddy here in our home. It's a bummer. Especially when there is still so much to do before we go. There is so much packing and preparing. So many people that we love so much that we are going to be leaving. So many good bye's to say. Chris got to say goodbye to a few friends on Sunday. We didn't have a party, we didn't make a big deal about him leaving because quite honestly I didn't want it to be sad. It was also Allison's birthday on Sunday and I wanted it to be a happy day for her sake.
There is so much good that awaits us in Virginia. I just know it, I can feel it in my bones. I know that once we get settled and used to the idea of being on the east coast and so far away from our loved ones that we will be good. We will be able to breathe again. Friday afternoon we will find out if we got the house we really want to rent. It is in a great neighborhood, it's a beautiful home and it's close to "downtown" Warrenton. Who knows how much of a "downtown" there really is, but we will be within walking distance of it!
Well I am going to call my husband now and tell him goodnight, he's in Tennesee tonight and he is exhausted! He drove 800 miles today! Tomorrow he will head to North Carolina to see his 2 uncles and his cousin. I so wish we were with him. Soon enough I guess, soon enough.