Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Finds: Mother's Day Deals

I've been a mother now for 13 years, and nothing gives me understanding and compassion for my own mother like looking into the eyes of my children. Growing up, I often felt motherless - my mother suffered from PTSD long before the world knew that PTSD wasn't just reserved for soldiers.

My mother was a soldier in her own right, a warrior. When her first marriage collapsed and she found herself largely alone with two children to raise, she picked herself up and moved on. She coped in the best ways that she could, and she tried to pull herself together for my brother and I. She worked her ass off, but she made a life. She met a man when I was little, a man who was beautiful and charming, who was kind and sweet. He was the caretaker for his handicapped younger brother, and he loved my mother, my brother, and me.

His name was Greg, and he wanted us. He wanted to marry my mother.

She turned him down - she didn't want him tied to a ready-made family; he had just entered her 30s and he was in his early 20s. Now, as a single mother for the second time, raising children suffering under the pain of the loss of their dad's presence in their lives, I understand her.

Perhaps she was afraid he would leave too. Perhaps she saw that my brother and I loved him already, perhaps she was trying to protect us. She broke his heart, preventing him from breaking ours. And I understand that in a way I couldn't before, when I resented her for sending him away.

She believed again though eventually, and met a man who made her think he was perfect. He was charming and wild and fun. I imagine by that time in her life, exhausted and lonesome and tired of carrying everything herself, she saw what she wanted to see in him, because she needed a break and wanted a partner to share her life with. For so many years, I resented her for bringing him in to ruin our lives - I resented her for believing in the man he wasn't, for allowing him access to wreak havoc in our family. I despised her weakness and hated the lasting effects of her mistake in trusting him.

But I'm a mother now, single and carrying so many burdens on my own. I'm tired and I'm worn down and honestly, some days I don't think I can handle it all on my own. I want someone to stand next to me reassuringly. I want someone watching my back, a shoulder side-by-side with me in the battle of life. I want pillow talk and a man to fix the sink and a ring on my finger. I understand my mother, and the depth of emotional longing that once made her weak.

She's been single ever since that second marriage. She hasn't been on one date that I know of, hasn't been courted one time, hasn't given out her number, hasn't dressed up to go to a bar. She hasn't opened herself up.

And I understand what makes her strong now, what makes her ready and able and willing to stand alone - because I am all those things too now. I have felt trapped, and battered, and betrayed. I have felt cornered, and beaten, and broken. But like my mother, I have survived.

Scarred, yes. Changed? Yes.

But for the better, I think. Less naive, less dependent, less ... porous. And where once there were horribly shattered places, missing pieces, and ugly brokenness, there is now something new, something artfully beautiful, something stronger in the gold that binds it all together.

With more understanding, there is less resentment, less anger. I'm sorry for the time I've wasted with my mother, and with the tension that still lies between us due to our history and the jagged edges left behind by the past.

One of my biggest goals in writing is to reach financial success before she dies - to give her the satisfaction of knowing her daughter "became" something, and to give myself the certainty of two things:
  1. that she will go in peace, knowing that her children are alright; and
  2. that I will be able to care for and honor her in death the way I could never afford to in her life.

But there's still time yet, and she's still here - she'll be 59 years old next month. just under a week after Mother's Day. So, as I look forward to celebrating my mother, I thought this would be a great time to help you find a way to honor yours.

My mom's a total sucker for fancy-looking flower arrangements, and over the years she's filled her house with dozen of arrangements she's created with dried and realistic artificial flowers. In one corner of her living room, there's a giant vase so full it can no longer be lifted, with over a hundred bits and pieces of flowers and greenery arranged in it. So I know the last thing she needs is MORE flowers, but she so loves them that I thought a fruit bouquet would be a great substitute gift for her on Mother's Day! (promo code FBFREE expires May 31, 2017)

I really love these three shown in the banner below - aren't they cute? The photos are from the site's product pages on - I can't decide if I like the one in the middle or the one on the right more. (promo code FRUITNOW expires May 30, 2017)

Enjoy 20% Off sitewide on fresh fruits arrangements from Fruit Bouquets by! Use code FRUITNOW

And if your mom is a little crazy and doesn't love beautifully arranged chocolate covered fruit, why not send her a care package of beautiful things from DressLily? DressLily is great for the fashion-conscious gift-giver who likes their mom to look nice without going broke - their clearance section is always full of gorgeous things to wear, beautiful accessories, and fun little novelties that impress without breaking the bank, and actually, I've shopped from them before with great results.

Bonus: You can have a package delivered right to your mom's door, you can get 12% off sitewide, AND you can do it with free shipping - just use coupon code:2017DL  (promo code 2017DL expires July 31, 2017)

But what do you do for a mom who has everything? The mom who has her life together and literally needs nothing? When you know you're too old to get away with a handmade card and a rock you found beside the driveway? When you've become a parent yourself and now you understand all those times she used to say how tired she was? Or when you've REALLY messed up and you need to make things better with the woman who birthed you and raised you and loved you enough to not drown you in the bathtub?

Well, then you go for something like this:

or this:

or this:

Here's to a Happy Mother's Day for your mom in the next few weeks - and for you if, like me, you have a MUCH better understanding of your mom these days.

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click the links and choose to purchase the products promoted here, I will earn a small commission at no cost to you. However, all opinions expressed herein are 100% honest and 100% my own. Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday Wish #1

I go through these weird phases in my life where I just want stuff, and even if I can buy it (which I often can't, #singlemomlife), I don't. I'll make a wish list and I'll wish and wish for that list of things until I'm not wishing for fervently anymore - and then I'll let it go.

But sometimes I wish for something in a way that's lasting, something that's such a deep desire in my heart that I just know it's there to stay. So today, I thought I'd start off a new segment and share with you a list of some things I've been wishing for.

The thing I've been wanting the most fervently lately ... is an RV. I've always had a desire to travel, and what better place to begin than in my own country? There's so much to see in America, so many places to fall in love with - and the idea of being able to see it all without having to constantly pack and unpack just seems utterly perfect to me. I also love the idea of taking Chance and the girls on the road with me, boondocking our way from city to city as we travel, finding campgrounds on lakesides, in mountains, national parks. I could even imagine myself homeschooling them on the road - although the idea of homeschooling two super-hyped ADHD'ers in an RV is more than a little horrifying for introverted me.

I've been looking at RV types and styles, floor plans, decor ideas organizational ideas and suggestions - you name it, I've been looking at it. And the RV dream has actually become so solid recently that I've even mentioned it several times in my Patreon goals. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure there would be outright mutiny with the girls if I attempted the RV life with them in tow - they're pretty social and seriously attached to the idea of staying in their schools where they've got friendships and routines they can count on.

I don't have the heart to take that from them, so even if I had the money to purchase and move into an RV right this second (I wish!), I wouldn't do it just yet. But in the future? Well, let's just say the RV is a solid top item on my bucket list now. Lately, I've been seriously drooling over the Jayco Jay Feather 23RBM, but if I were able to talk the girls into the life (and also win the lottery), then I think I'd switch and go for the 23BHM.

But hey, the RV is pretty far in the future, so let's go with something a bit more possible, shall we? What do you think of these things I've been wishing for?

I don't know why, but I feel like this is one of the coolest candles ever created. You for real wind it up because it's this long string of beeswax, and it burns for SO LONG. There are even refill spools of it. So cool!

And then there are these puzzles, which are so gorgeous and I love that they're shaped like butterflies! I can totally imagine putting them together and mounting them to something so they can be hung together on the wall. But where to start?

Then there are these charms. I love my charm bracelet - when I was a kid, I wanted a charm bracelet with all my heart, and it took me forever to finally get myself one! But now that I have one (I got it a couple years ago), I've had lots of fun choosing charms for it. I've even gotten some great ones as gifts! These two charms would be so perfect to add to my bracelet, too - the penguin because penguins mate for life and I'm still looking for mine, and the genie lamp because Robin Williams' death broke my heart - I can't even listen to the Genie now without hating the idea that he's not out there in the world anymore. I know there were LOTS of unclear circumstances around his death, but just the suggestion that he fell victim to suicide pains me. To know the way his death hurts my heart even though I never met him ... that has held me back so many times, kept me alive for my daughters, for my family and the people who love me. It never matters how much I might be hurting - so long as I keep having the courage not to pass it on in that way. So the Genie's lamp has become sort of my semi-colon.

And that's it - just a few things I've been wishing for lately. What are you wishing for?

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*Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click the links and choose to purchase the products promoted here, I will earn a small commission at no cost to you. However, all opinions expressed herein are 100% honest and 100% my own. Thanks for your support!