Watching TV has never been an important part of my life. Except for certain shows I’ve gotten hooked on through the years. You know, the classics (for my generation), like Friends & ER. And then later LOST & Grey’s Anatomy.
I remember being so excited when I bought my first new TV when I graduated from college. A 25 inch Panasonic “box” TV that I saved up to pay for. My dear friend Jim Heaslip (who has since passed away) wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing and went with me to buy it. And he carried that heavy TV by himself up 3 flights of stairs at my apartment building. What a great guy. What a great memory.
My paycheck barely covered the cost of rent and my student loans. So I made the wise decision not to get cable TV. I lived just fine with my “rabbit ears” antenna and the local channels for many years. When I got married and eventually moved into a house, the TV came with me. I still didn’t find a need to get cable, even when I had kids and could benefit from some of those 24 hour cartoon stations. Instead, I bought DVDs for my kids to watch. You know, smart ones like Signing Time and Baby Einstein. That is until they were old enough to watch annoying shows, like Spongebob Squarepants. (sigh)
We’ve had some incredibly long, hard winters in Minnesota the last couple of years. They are so, so long… and summer seems so very short in comparison. Two friends have picked up and moved their families to California recently because they’ve had enough of Minnesota. Ironically, they are leaving during the best part of the year. The time where we all make peace with the pain of the past several months and move full speed ahead into summer and all of its glory.
I’ve been thinking of California a lot lately. I used to think Minnesota was the place for me to be, forever, because this is where I grew up and all my family and friends are here. But now, at this time in my life, and the amazing way smart phones and social media keep us all connected… it doesn’t seem that strange (or scary) to move away. Of course I have a very strong (and legally bound) reason to stay here = keeping my kids in the same State as their father. But if it weren’t for that… honestly? I’m thinking I’d be looking for some new digs on the left coast.
When my marriage ended, nearly five years ago, I didn’t know anyone my age who had been through the same thing, especially not anyone with small children. I longed for someone to talk to who would understand first hand what I was going through.
Now, sadly, more and more of my friends are also getting divorced. Nearly every month or so I get a call or email from a friend, acquaintance or blog reader looking for advice and comfort – hoping to talk to someone who understands. And while I’m always sad to hear about anyone struggling in their relationship, I’m grateful I’m able to lend an ear and offer a few tidbits of experience that may help.
I’m certainly no expert on divorce, nor do I want to be. I’m not an attorney or counselor or a minister and I’m certainly not a relationship expert. But as someone who has been through a divorce, I know some of my personal experiences can help others when they find themselves in this very difficult situation. Here are some of the things I share with friends looking for help:
Last month we traveled to Florida by airplane. It was the first time my children have flown, and it was a very big deal for us, especially since my daughter has severe food allergies. She is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts (all other nuts), shellfish, eggs and melons. I had many concerns getting ready for the trip – I was worried about peanut residue on the plane and if people would be eating peanuts around us.
I’m happy to report everything went well. Here are some of things we did to prepare:
Last night each of my kids had a friend stay over. And my house is super clean. What just happened?!
We don’t have friends spend the night very often. My kids spend every other weekend with their Dad, for starters, and on the weekends they’re with me, we usually have plans that would make it impossible to host sleepovers.
But this weekend, it finally worked out for both kids to invite a friend over (after weeks of trying to coordinate with other parents). I wondered if having four kids instead of two would be challenging, but it was a breeze. Everyone got along well and had a great time. And me? I’m over the moon happy that I spent a quiet weekend at home and was able to catch up on some things. And my house is cleaner than it was before.