The Single Life

Remember the post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the fact that I am getting divorced?  Yeah, of course you do.

Well the flip side of that is I’m single.  Sort of.  Not legally able to get married at this point (thank god), but able to date.  Something I am just a tiny bit out of practice on…which makes me over think it.

And while doing so, it dawns on me, that my life isn’t exactly private.

Clearly I do not have a ‘public’ life on camera, but once you know my name….well….you can Google me.  And that gives you access to A LOT.  Not every single part of my life, but LOTS of it.  40 pages of entries with my name on them.  My writing.  Video.  Comments. 

And that makes me nervous.  Why?

Because, there is no way to avoid the “I have three children” conversation, let alone “I have three special needs children”, and worse yet, there is NO way to minimize the chaos that is my life.  I cannot even attempt to sugar coat it. And last time I checked, you are supposed to put your proverbial ‘best foot forward’ on a date… Leading with my boys’ acronyms isn’t the way I would choose to start.

Which makes me slightly more than nervous.

So let’s assume if my hypothetical date wanted to know about me, he may have Googled me.  That means that when I walk into meet him - whether that is the first or second (or more?) time I've seen him, he has a big head start on the getting to know you part.  AND he may be scared.  Overwhelmed.  Something, right?  I mean have you read my blog?!

Um.  Yeah.

My point is that it never dawned on me I would be single and have my whole life – out there. 

But I do.

So, for any potential suitors out there that have stumbled onto this post after Googling me before a date, please be kind.  My boys are my life.  And they are AWESOME.

Also, thank you.  Because my husband hasn’t read my blog or anything else I’ve written in years, so in a way it is flattering that you are interested enough in what I do that you would read my blog.

Flattering and terrifying.

And for all of the HLW3B readers out there who are reading this, leave a comment for my potential new boyfriend so that he knows I am NOT crazy, and that having special kiddos - with quirks and special interests - does have an upside!


The Respite Requirement

I have been a special needs mom now for nearly 10 years. That sounds much more impressive than it is mostly because when my oldest was young, I didn’t believe I was a special needs mom, let alone have the guts to say it. The only thing I really would admit to was that parenting my son was challenging.
Ok not just challenging, but demanding, and unusually exhausting. Which made me feel like an utter failure. I remember having conversations with my husband where I was in tears saying I needed help with everything from the kids to the housework, where I tried to explain how I could be so overwhelmed after a day at home ‘just’ taking care of the kids and running errands. He never understood why I wasn’t giving Mary Poppins a run for her money and reminded me often that it was ME who wanted to be a stay at home mom. He was right  -  I did want to be a SAHM  -  but I never expected it to be so unbelievably hard, and I sure didn’t expect to be so bad at it.
I watched friends and neighbors parent their kids and it seemed like it was effortless for them. Packing up their toddlers and babies and heading to grab lunch with their friends at a restaurant, or heading over to watch the city parade on a whim, or strapping their little ones into a double stroller and hitting the mall to do some shoe shopping. How did they manage that?! Back then I didn’t really understand how incredibly different my life was from theirs. I hadn’t adopted the term ’special needs’ for my boys, or me and I sure didn’t think about respite. Perhaps I was even opposed to it. That somehow my need for a break only confirmed how much I sucked at parenting.
Fast forward a few years, add two more boys to the mix and a handful of diagnostic acronyms, and the picture was a tad clearer: I am a special needs mom.


I got this amazing card the other day from a good friend of mine who has been there for me through most everything these last few years and I thought that many of you would like it - so here's to Hallmark and to the amazing Linda Barnes who came up with these words...

They say 
what doesn't kill you
makes you stronger.
Well, what if 
you didn't sign up
for extra-strength training?
What if you'd rather 
catch a few breaks
once in awhile?
Is that so much to ask?
At some point, you'd think
you'd be entitled
to a free pass or two:
Skip this challenge.
Avoid that crisis.
Delete those problems.
It's not that you're not strong
or that you don't have what it takes 
to get through this.
You are, you do, and you will.
But you've built enough character
already, and it's time 
for things to lighten up a little!
I know it is not really my call,
but if I were in charge
of life's wheel of fortune,
you'd get a free spin.
And I'd be right there,
cheering you on!

And if I were in charge, I would give each and EVERYONE of you a free spin too.  You all deserve it!

With a special dedication to Alysia at Try Defying Gravity.

Also sending a big THANK YOU to everyone who has not just commented here and on Facebook with messages of support, but also for each of you who emailed me personally with your stories of understanding, I truly appreciate it all. 


Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I’ll be honest, this is probably the first thing in my life I have written and didn’t know where to start - or end. So, I figure, go with what you know – be honest, straightforward, and do your best to find the humor. Here goes.

I’m getting divorced.

Yeah, not a real shock if you think about it. Three kids – two with special needs – one with perhaps more significant special needs, and the third? Arguably special needs – what with attention and sensory issues plus giftedness. Yeah. That’s easy on a marriage.

I know what you are thinking: But Hartley, you seemed so happy!

Ok, but it wasn't like I was going to write about all of the bad things going on.  Not the focus I want my blog - nor my life - to have.  Now this is where you ask, Why are you getting divorced?

The simple answer is: We want different things.

What those things are *exactly* is probably a gray area, but sufficed to say, we are no longer living together. And won’t be again. Unless fate is evil and cruel. Then, perhaps it will happen. But my money is on NO.  Yours should be too.  And if you don't believe me, Nick has read the kid's "My Family is Changing" book I bought enough times that he can recite the passage on "Divorce is usually forever" to you if that helps.

I don’t want any of you to worry about me. I know some of you will, and support is always appreciated (I am clear on my need for that!), but I also want you to know that I am a veteran at going through the grieving process. VET-RAN.  "Been there, done that", is an extreme understatement.

I’ll do this. And do it well.

So for the time being, consider HLW3B open for business! I’ll need the outlet, and you’ll need the laughs (and it won’t be bitter crazy-divorced girl ramblings all of the time).

So hang tight friends – we are in for a bumpy ride!

Oh, and in the mean time if you’d like to donate to my legal fees or set me up with a hot-man-who-loves-special-needs-kids-and-doing-laundry then send me an email! :)

Two steps forward, one step back. Right?