Fun with the Elf on the Shelf, Pop Culture Version..

Some of you have the Elf on the Shelf.  I don't get it.  I thought he was supposed to wait for me to pose him and do stuff with him starting in November some time after Thanksgiving as a way to keep my kids in line before December 25th. 

All I did was put the girl and the boy elf in the playroom near the dollhouse I keep there for when my three nieces come over (since all I have are Superheroes, Ninjago guys, and Star Wars to offer them).  I thought they'd just sit there and wait for Thanksgiving to come and go and then I'd get them out and start using them as Santa's informants.

I went upstairs to check on the boys, and I found some photos and other things that these naughty Elves left for me to see.  A scrapbook of pop-culture memes and pics, etc to let me know they are not going to just sit on a shelf and wait for something to happen. I was wondering why my ipad kept ending up in the playroom.  I kept blaming it on the boys when really, it was these naughty guys. Anyways, I thought I'd share my findings with you...

Carly Rae Elfsen??

That's so elfed up.

Harry Potter and Elf-Blood Prince?  What the Hell?

I had NO idea he knew Brad Pitt from the movie 'Inglourious Elfterds'...this elf gets around!

Watching the Real Housewives of Elverly Hills...

Elfward Loves Belfa Forelfer.  Elfclipse...awesome.

Ahhh, and a little elfshaming I see!  Shopping elftoriously on ebay...with my credit card no less.

More Elfshaming..tsk tsk.  Been reading while I'm at work, have you?

Then he got into making memes when I was at work...

Futurama Fry...

Lord of the Rings Meme..

Condescending Wonka of course..

The most interesting elf in the world..and yes, actually, he does always wear a Santa hat!

Finally, you know how I've been really hard on myself thinking I've been polishing off all of the m&m's in the bowl?  Elfie here was using it as a hot tub after hours with the dolls.

For more Elf on the Shelf laughs, be sure to check out the following funny blogs!

Kim at Let me Start by Saying has dedicated a lot of time and effort into Elfshaming! Check out the Elfshaming FB page too.

Thanks for laughing with me!  Happy Elf Season! (Special thanks to,, and for giving me the tools to bring the elves to life!)  ~DG

He even weasled his way in to the Thanksgiving Family photo..


What's in your (Costanza) wallet?

I've got so many reward cards that my wallet now looks like a Costanza Wallet.
My youngest is in preschool from 9 am to 1:00 pm on MWF.  I'm now back to work on Mondays and Wednesdays. That leaves me with approximately four hours, one day a week,  to complete all of the tasks I need to get done without children.  The grocery store, dry cleaners, picking up quick gifts here and there, a workout & shower if I'm lucky, mundane errand running.  I am on a timer.  I don't have time to lose so when what should take 2 minutes at the checkout takes me 10, I start to get prickly.

In the beginning, I was just too nice to say no to a rewards card.  Everytime a cashier asked me if I wanted to sign up, I said sure why not.  I know they are required to ask every customer - it's not their fault.  I'm certain they hate having to ask everyone that comes through their line so they don't need people to be bitchy on top of it.  The problem is, I now have so many rewards cards that every time I go somewhere, I spend another two minutes looking for it in my purse, not for an additional discount but to some day receive a piddly little 2% off of my entire next purchase with a window of about 9 hours before it expires.  I don't want any more rewards cards..and oh how I wish they would stop asking me if I did.  I LOVE saving money and accumulating points but why does it have to be so stressful every time I go to use my card for a discount or cash in a reward that came in the mail -  it's  "ohh this one doesn't start for another 2 days.." or "yeahhh this one isn't available on sale items.." etc. etc. 

Most places, when it is finally my turn to checkout (I swear I get behind all of the slowest people, probably because I am in a rush), I think I am almost done and have the receipt in my fingers, only to be in a tug of war with the cashier..."one more thing! please be sure to call to take a brief survey about your experience with us today.." as she starts yanking the receipt back to circle miscellaneous numbers and codes on the receipt. "Do this, and you can be entered to win a $50 shopping spree to our store! chances of winning are less than getting attacked by aliens from Mars! Thanks and have a great day!"  I almost always leave aggravated, I can't help it.  I am holding on by a thread at this point, watching the minutes tick off of my timer.  Incidentally, I have done a few surveys - I've suffered through the prompts, the questions, the "I'm sorry, we could not understand your response" and all that jazz.  I have YET to win anything.  Maybe you've won - if you have, that is awesome.  As for me, I think I'm going to spend my time elsewhere.
Let's talk about Kohl's for a moment shall we?  I get a $10 Kohl's cash card in the mail about once a month.  I always think to myself  hmm..I could go in, get a multi-pack of socks or StarWarsLego undies for the boys and LEAVE.  It's like a fun little freebie.  But we all know once you get IN  Kohl's you're not leaving with just $10 worth of socks or undies.  No - you get lured in to the other things like the cutest Batman or StarWars caped-pajama Sets for boys that would somehow make bedtime less of a struggle - and the big surprise of "why do we have to put our jammies on and brush our teeth" nightly conflict will somehow be just a little bit easier.  Oh but the Jammies are full price at $49.00 - and they have them "on sale" for 50% off today.  WHAAAT??  Who are they kidding? I'm a seasoned shopper!  I know those are still going to be more expensive at 50% off than any other store like Target or Walmart.  I may be terrible at math, but sale math, I understand - and I know this is a raw deal.  So you get to checkout with a whole bunch of stuff, all of it with some crazy markdowns, percentages off of the astrnomic original price and your total comes to $100.  They rip the receipt off and show you the circled amount - YOU SAVED $6,000 TODAY ON YOUR PURCHASE.  Who is falling for this crazy shit? Look, I know there are tons of savvy shoppers out there that really can manipulate the sales and the coupons - and their 80% off racks to save lots of money at Kohl's.  But when you're on a time limit, sometimes it's hard to scavenge through the rubble left on the racks.

Bath and Body is the worst.  They are slow as molasses checking you out because they keep trying to add on to your sale.  I inevitably buy the wrong combination of their buy two get one  free hand soaps and they start asking me if I want another one to get $2 off  four or some nonsense and totally confuse me with retail-sales-gimmick mathematics.  Once I have added 6 more things I did not need to my purchase, I finally think I am done and reach for the receipt when they start the Inquisition.

Salesgirl: "Are you on our email list to receive coupons and sale alerts?"

Me(gently):  "Yes."

Salesgirl:  "Can I have your phone number, not to call you but for research purposes?"

Me(politely):  "No thanks."

(They always get pissy and start the eyeroll at this point).
Salesgirl:  "This is just to track purchases so you can get better coupons in the mail and email."

Me(smiling through gritted teeth):  "Got it, but no thanks. "

Salesgirl:  "Would you like to open a credit card today and save 10% on your purchase?"

Me, looking at my watch and realizing I'm almost out of time:  "No, I'm so sorry, but I'm kind of in a hurry, can we just skip all of that?"

Rips off receipt, hands it to me in an 'now you've annoyed me' kind of way. Eeeeek, I've pissed her off!  I'm sorry, I know you HAVE to ask me all of these things but PLEEEEASE stop! I've said no nicely 3 times!!! ENOUGH!

What?  All I wanted to do was check out quickly and easily.  Nevermind that I didn't even get what I came in for because you discontinued it after what, two weeks?  Now I am on the fecal roster (shitlist) for not wanting a credit card or giving my phone number out.  Brilliant sales tactic!
Like a fragrance at Bath and Body Works? Better buy 50 of them or you'll end up on Ebay scavenging and paying 20x as much!

I have just a few hours to myself, one day a week - and sometimes not even.  I just want to get my shit done in peace.  I don't want a fight, I don't want a battle of wills; I get enough of that with three children. I come in peace, I swear, I do; so please can I enjoy my time in your store, share a laugh or two with you during checkout, and be on my merry way?

No more reward cards!


The Fork in the Road on Baker Street..

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my previous marriage and the decision I made to leave.  I cannot believe the response I got in my email inbox.  So many of you with different stories, questions, gratitude.  Thank you for the outpouring of support and for trusting me with your stories.

Throughout my 'previous' life (the time of my other marriage), I worked for cell phone companies back when only the elite had them.  Over time, as things changed, more and more people were getting cell phones and I had worked as everything from the *611 operator, to billing, to customer service and I loved every aspect of that job.  We had moved several times after buying different restaurants in New England, and when we finally settled on the Seacoast of New Hampshire, I was able to transfer with the cell phone company to their southern office.

Going back to the Baker Street story, when I decided to finally leave my marriage, it was January (12 years ago).  Word had trickled through the company that we had been bought out by a bigger cell phone company and that one day that week, the CEO of the new company would be making his way through the offices to decide who to lay off, who to keep, and what changes needed made.

I was worried, but I felt like in my office, I was the go-to girl for everything, so how could they let me go?  I wore many hats, and always worked really hard and made the customers feel like they were a top priority (remember those customer service days??)  When it was my turn to have the new boss come in and shut the door, it had been two weeks since I'd left my ex-husband for the two room efficiency I would call my temporary home with my little guy.  My self-esteem had been dragged through the mud, I was feeling the shame of getting divorced, a failed marriage, a sham of a life.  The one thing I did have left was hope.  I knew that I made the choice for a better day, for a happier existence, and that was what I was going on.  There was no way I was going to let this suit- wearing big wig deliver another punch to me that I was going to be out with yesterday's garbage with the new regime taking over the company.

He sat down.

I could feel the sweat pooling under my arms.

"Tell me a little about what you do."

I didn't spare him any boring details.  It was my one shot to prove to him I was worth keeping.  I couldn't afford to lose my job at this juncture.  I painted a picture of my daily routine with as many vibrant colors as I could find in my bag of tricks.

He stopped me.

"You leave at 5:00 every day, but the office is open until 6:00pm?"

"Yes,"  I said defensively.  I could feel the bitter tears lodged in the back of my throat.  I just knew this was going to be an unfair trial since I had to leave at 5 every day to get my little guy from the daycare.  Every ten minutes after 5:00 was an 'extra charge' of $5.   I couldn't afford to be late.

"Why don't you work until 6pm?"

I explained to him that I was new at being a single mom, currently going through a divorce, needing to pick up my baby at daycare and I remember my eyes looking down at his expensive shoes as I ended my explanation.

"You don't need to put your head down, there's nothing to be ashamed of.  I admire that you are working so hard to take care of yourself and I have heard what a hard worker you are."

I looked up at him at his kind expression. Maybe this guy isn't a douche bag after all?

"I only have one question for you...WHY are you sitting behind a desk?"

I looked at him, baffled.  "I'm sorry?"

"Who put you behind a desk?  Why aren't you selling the phones? Why are you behind the scenes?  You should be out there selling."

I shuddered visibly for him to see.  As I recoiled into my seat, I shook my head, "Oh no, I can't sell.  I couldn't sell anything if my life depended on it."  And then I heard myself and how ridiculous that sounded.  My life did kind of depend on it, otherwise I would've spent God knows how long, living in an efficiency, fixing people's cell phone bills and trying to reset their voicemail passwords over and over again.

"You don't know your worth do you?  You have all of the knowledge and experience of cell phones that none of these other sales people have.  You already have the tools because you fix customer complaints all day long, and you turn unhappy customers into happy customers, and I have your employee file to prove it.  This company knows your worth, now you just have to realize it."

I sat there, dumbfounded.  Technically, he was right.  I poured myself into my job for years because I loved it.  I loved the industry, the people I worked for and with - the customers that came in confused and left happy.  I was just doing my job.  But I was doing it really well.  It was the one aspect of my life that I had some sort of control over.  I hadn't realized it had been noticed by others.  I mean, I had really good reviews all through my cell company career, but somehow, details like that got lost in the shuffle of personal strife at home - and that personal struggle robbed me of my self-worth.

"Here's what I propose, " he said with confidence.  "You try being an Outside Sales Account Executive for two weeks, and if you don't find you are unbelievably successful and en-route to a really big commission this month, I will give you back your Customer Service Position with pleasure."

The sweat was now pouring off of me.  My nerves were shot.  I wasn't going to lose my job, which was a huge relief, and now I have this stranger, this kind man, this man of authority sitting in front of me, believing in me when I didn't believe in myself.

"You have what it takes to be a very successful Salesperson.  You just have to give it a shot.  You have nothing to lose.  We have a great product, and you already know the territory, the coverage, the ins and outs, the problems, the solutions.  Just say yes."

And then I said it...without really thinking.


"Yes.  Ok, I'll try."

What the hell did I just get myself into?  I am not a salesperson. 

That was a Friday when all of that happened.  I had the weekend to get myself to TJ Maxx and get a few nice suits, some shoes, a briefcase, and a new attitude.

On Monday morning, when I got to my office, there was a folder waiting for me on my desk with three account names, and a note from the CEO.

Go see these three people today.  They will be expecting a call from you.

I did.  I went.  I didn't have to be a Salesperson, I just had to be me.  I exhaled before I went in to each appointment, and told myself to pretend that they were customers in my office and I was doing nothing different than before, only this time, I was going to get paid commission for my efforts.  I could've blown it...this gift that was handed to me.  But I didn't.  I pulled myself together, and if I didn't have an ounce of  self-confidence, I pretended that I did.  It was all acting skills.  I feigned my way through all three meetings and I didn't waste the chance I was given.  I can do this...I can act my way through until I am confident enough to not have to act anymore.  I did it.  And I did it well.

By the end of week one, I had sold 25 phones.

By the end of the second week, I had found my confidence.

By the end of the third week, I took my sales territory by storm.

By the end of month one, I had sold over 100.

By the end of the first quarter, at the sales meeting, I looked at the CEO right in the eye and said THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart, and he laughed hard from his belly and patted me on the back with an attagirl that only my dad could top.

In three months, I had a beautiful apartment with my little guy.

In one year, I had a little yellow cape with a picket fence and a swing set in the backyard.

In two years, I had the gift of abundant love for myself and the confidence within to love someone else.  I met the love of my life.  It was then that I realized, only when you truly love yourself, can you unconditionally give love to someone else.

There was so much hard work, drive and dedication in between, but when you have confidence, you can push through anything.  There were successful months, unsuccessful months, ups and downs.  The one thing about sales, if you have an amazing product, and you actually give a shit about the customer, sooner or later, it will pay off.  Were cold calls fun?  Not necessarily.  But I will tell you this - every person I sold to was someone. Someone's dad, someone's mom, someone's sister, someone's brother.  I connected with them however I could - whether through a photo on their desk, a degree on their wall, the shoes they wore, the frames of their glasses.  Once I learned people are people.  They want to be heard, they want to be appreciated, acknowledged, problems solved, a better way found, a simpler method.  I may not have been a salesperson, but I was a people person.  In the end, it's all about relationships, if you ask me.

Someone gave me confidence when I didn't have any.

Someone believed in me when I didn't believe in myself.

Someone led me to the water and gave me the will to drink again.

Someone was waiting for me at the fork in the winding road that I was lost on.  He gave me a map, and I found myself.

After I got married and moved away, I made a promise to myself to pay it forward as often, and to as many people as I possibly could.  I have made it a priority to put the wind in others' sails when they lose direction, when they lose confidence, when they need a boost.  It is no skin off my nose to promote someone else.  It takes no time at all to give a compliment, a smile, a hug, anything like that to someone in need could do wonders in their day.

The purpose of this blog, is to make you stop and think.  Did someone make a difference in your life?  Large or small - doesn't matter.  Who would you thank if you could?   I owe that CEO a letter, and though I have tried to find him several times, I have been unsuccessful.  I can only hope that he is on his boat, sailing through the waters off Portland, Maine, belly laughing with his big smile, and looking back on his life with pride.  What a good man.  Amazing. Kind.  Wonderful.   I will never forget what he did for me.

My challenge to you is to write a letter, email, or even call someone who made a difference in your life.  Thank them.  Tell them what they did for you.  Was it a teacher?  An aunt?  A grandparent? A friend?  Who?

You are welcome to post it under my comments.  I would LOVE to hear your story.  And thank you for reading mine.

In hope and gratitude we trust...

PS - Ironicaly, I received this treasured email today from my dear friend 'T' from The Zookeeper's Wife
I wanted to say thanks for inspiring me.  I still hesitate to make a real fb page for tzkw for several reasons, but you motivating me to do what I love (writing) as a way to be heard?  It was huge.  I have lately developed a belief, and a need, to let the people who have made a difference in my life know that they have, because you never know when you may get another chance.  So, you made a difference, you inspired, you...did something. 


The Glue that Holds Everything Together...

I'm so sorry I haven't been around much.

My days of being a full-time SAHM are up.

I've finally gone back to work, albeit part-time, and it's shaken up my world quite a bit.  No more staying in pj's until 10 am, no more "I'll get to it, when I get to it.."  The jig is up.  I had to get my act together and get organized or I was going to drown in my own sea of disarray.

My dad used to tell me while growing up, "your mom is the glue that holds this family together."  And at the time, though I had an idea of what he was talking about, I never fully understood until I became an actual mother of three and wife to an incredibly hard working husband, much like my dad.

Being the glue comes with so much many much pressure.  My mom did it so graciously - and gracefully  for so many years, that she made it look too easy.  I mean how hard could it be to stay home with the kids, cook, clean, and put a meal on the table, right?  Pfft.

The problem with being everyone's everything, is that somewhere along the line, you lose yourself along the way if you aren't really careful. 

You're busy trying to not just survive, but thrive...not just feed your family, but feed your family well..not just grow, but flourish.  Sometimes, I joke about being an Underachiever -  but the truth is, it is so much effort to do more than just get by.  You know how they say 'there's no traffic on the extra mile?'  It's because we're all walking around so exhausted all of the time, that the things we do choose the extra effort for, leave us drained for something else.  We want to do more than the bare minimum, we want to do a little less than the neurotic OCD of perfection - we're stuck in the middle.  But is the middle enough?  The other thing I joke about is that ecard I made some time ago - I'll post it below.  It's like if I'm really successful in one area of my life, something else is lacking. 

Look on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, whatever social media you wish - and you'll constantly see messages of Simplicity, don't sweat the small stuff, remember what matters, stop and smell the roses.  I get it.  I want to do all of those things - but it has to be while I'm en-route to dropping off one of the kids at football, balancing the checkbook, picking up groceries, trying not to forget my grandmother's birthday card, reading the teacher's notes in the kids' bookbags, etc. etc. etc.  I want to remember that Friday is red day at pre-school, that Tuesday is the day I signed up for snacks, that every 3rd Wednesday is my non-profit volunteers meeting, and what day did I sign up to read to Middler's kindergarten class?  I know I wrote it on a piece of tiny scrap paper somewhere.  I want to believe in Simplicity.  I do.  It's not like I'm trying to reach the unreachable - I'm just looking for balance (I'd like to kick that word in the junk).  Everything in moderation...must find a balance...must make time for yourself...must read to your children...must take a walk with your spouse...must call your loved ones...must must must must must.  In the meantime, while you're trying to do all of these things, the phone is ringing with Voter Poll Surveys or Rachel from Credit Card Services scaring the hell out of you with news about your credit card that you DON'T have with their company.  While cooking dinner, you think you'll catch up on the evening news so you're not totally lost in what's going on in the world, and by doing that, you hear all of the horror stories out there, and your psyche takes a blow and knocks you down two notches.  God forbid you get depressed from the news, you'll get in a 3 day funk that is probably PMS related (or not) and can set you back days.  You don't have time for those kinds of setbacks or you'll be lost in a jungle of laundry, dishes, and clutter.  Positive affirmations - I am strong, I am confident, I am a workhorse.  I can do this. Kerplunk - exhausted and half asleep on the couch by 9:00 pm....but I haven't packed the kids' lunches yet...ZZZZZZZZZZZ asleep. (that is, until about 2 am when you are either jolted awake by something you forgot all about - or even worse, a child crying because they are sick..)

My gosh I'm rambling.  I barely recall the point of this blog. Maybe the point is that now that I am back to work I am realizing how much pressure we put on ourselves to keep it all together. When I didn't work, I had the luxury of being a little less organized because I could stay in my yoga pants and yesterday's makeup and hair and no one would be any wiser - but now that I actually have to put myself together for the workplace, I can't fake it anymore.  Regardless, though, whether you work or are a SAHM it is hard being the glue. And like glue, it gets very sticky and sometimes incredibly annoying.

Like Jo Dee Messina says in her song "I'm alright," the line I'm above the below and below the upper
I'm stuck in the middle where money gets tight...But I guess I'm doin' alright....
we're just kind of lingering in the Middle somewhere, and as long as everyone is healthy and happy - it'll have to do.

Will my family have meals from scratch every night? Probably not, but sometimes they will.  Will their clothes be perfectly ironed every day for school - no - but they will have clean clothes on their back, and when those don't fit, they'll go to someone who needs them.  Will my home be ready for an Architectural Digest shoot? No.  Will it ever be mistaken for a Pottery Barn advertisement? No.  But will my kids look back at this house as their 'home' with incredibly happy memories and a solid sense of security - yes they absolutely will.  Will we ever pay off this mortgage?  Maybe someday.  But for now, we can afford the payments, we can handle the taxes, and we can look out our windows and see the beauty of the place where the lakes meet the mountains, and the mountains kiss the sky, and the sky holds the clouds.  It's our little piece of heaven - and if I have to work - and get my ass out of bed an hour earlier a day to get it all done, then I will.  It may not get done perfectly, or with flying colors, but everyone's ok.  We will never be rich when it comes to wealth - but if love were measured in monetary form, we'd give Warren Buffet a run for his money.

Sometimes it'll have to do.  You think you're the only PTO/PTA mom that didn't bake for the bakesale?  What's that? Your child just told you at bedtime the night before that he signed you up for 2 dozen cookies?  That's why the grocery store opens at 6:00 am.   (wink, wink)  Thank you

I'm getting used to this new gig.  As with everything, it gets easier with time.  We're resilient creatures aren't we?  By taking the energy we could spend complaining or struggling over it and putting it into just doing it, we eventually figure it all out. Don't we? (please say yes..)

Thanks for being here..I'm getting my funny bone checked at the doctor and hopefully it will be back in order again soon.


Windin' my way down Baker Street...

I don't write much about my previous life- aka my first marriage.  That time of my life, basically most of my precious twenties, is a time I have blocked off for survival purposes.  I read a lot of heartache on blogs and facebook posts and news stories and those often trigger memories of what I went through in a very unhappy marriage.  I push back, repress, shake out of the forefront of my head so as not to remember, and if I don't remember, then it didn't happen.  If it didn't happen then my twenties weren't lost on someone who didn't love me.  They weren't wasted on trying to fix someone who didn't want fixed.  They weren't thrown away like they were worthless.  Though I choose to say that I gained  the rest of my life when I left him, it's hard not to be sad that I can't get  those years back.  Though I lost that precious time, I gained wisdom, life lessons, and a certain peace that I don't think I would've had until much later in life. I'm grateful for that.

People often tell me that they are amazed at my kindness or my outlook, or my wisdom beyond my years.  Without going into painful details of why I am like this, I smile and acknowledge these compliments, knowing that of course, I paid a price to get here.  Though I will never relive those moments in my blog, I am ready to write about one particular day that changed so much for me.  By writing about it, I hope to give something positive to someone else who might be going through something similar. 

I'd like to add that honestly and truly, I have forgiven myself and my ex-husband for those years of misery.  Myself first - for not calling off the wedding when I knew deep down I was settling for someone not worthy of me, and for thinking I could save someone whose definition of happy was very different from mine.  I forgive him as well, for not stopping the cycle of abuse that he lived through as a child, for not being strong enough to find better ways to communicate his feelings, for all the times I found his wedding ring in his pocket, for destroying my self-esteem out of jealousy for my beautiful childhood/upbringing, and for making me think I wasn't lovable.  Forgiving him was the greatest gift I ever gave myself....but that is a blog for another day.  I will say this.  You cannot expect God (and no, this is not a religious post or ploy, just a statement) or anyone else to forgive you, when you have not forgiven others.  Forgiveness is tricky - and it is a two way street.  You must learn to forgive - no matter what someone has done - even the 'unforgiveable' whatever your definition of that is - for your own sake - for your own healing - let it go.  Resentment of any kind is like a cancer that spreads through you and takes your life, leaving nothing but a shell of emptiness and sorrow.  Forgiveness, however, can be liberating, exhilarating, and even rewarding if you can learn to do it.  I didn't say forget.  I don't know that we ever truly forget the pain we've been through, but we make peace with the pain, and we learn from it.  That's just me though.

Moving along with Baker Street.

I was in what would turn out to be the last painful year of this mistake of a marriage.  I was a walking shell of a woman.  Put together on the outside, though just barely, but empty and lost on the inside.  Questions swirled constantly in my head, Why doesn't he love me?  What is wrong with me? Why aren't I enough? Why is nothing good enough?  I remember friends around me who didn't know me well always saying how lucky I was to have it "all" - a husband, a beautiful home, a healthy baby, a successful restaurant.  I would smile and nod, thinking I must be doing a pretty good job of fooling people.  But then there were my true friends who watched in fear, worry, horror as their vibrant, outgoing, funny childhood friend withered like a dying plant before their eyes.  They knew.  But the states between us kept a safe distance from my real pain, and the nightmare I was living.

One day, the three of us went to the mall, most likely to look for new things to falsely fill up our emptiness we felt with each other.  Not even this perfect baby boy could fill the void in our marriage.  Although for me, this little baby filled me up with a strength and courage I was never able to find before...and eventually would be the reason for me leaving.  He was like the Miracle Grow on my wilting plant life.  I was infused with hope  and love and a desire for a life full of love and promise again.  I was pushing the stroller through a store, my ex off wandering somewhere else, when something profound struck me.

It was the song Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty .   I had heard the song a million times before, but that day it was like it was being sung for me, to me, about me.  It was so eerie - so deliberate - so enlightening.  

You used to think that it was so easy
You used to say that it was so easy
But you're tryin', you're tryin' now
Another year and then you'd be happy
Just one more year and then you'd be happy
But you're cryin', you're cryin' now
That was me.  All of my life everything was easy.  My childhood, my friends, my family, my everything.  I never knew pain.  I never knew how incredibly lucky I was that my parents loved each other and did everything they could to provide a happy childhood for us.  I spent my years cackling with friends, giggling at every turn, dreaming of an endless supply of opportunity for me, for my life - and yet here I was, living the nightmare instead of the dream.

And I kept saying - - maybe if, maybe when, maybe soon - I'll be happy. . . but I was crying.  I was crying now.

So I thought to myself in the middle of that store as tears welled up in my eyes "just one more year and then I'll be happy?"   No effing way.  This song was shaking me telling me to wake up.  And call it Divine Intervention - a fluke - a twist of fate - I woke the hell up.

And when you wake up it's a new mornin'
The sun is shining it's a new mornin'
And you're going, you're going home
And that was the beginning of my plan.  I knew there was a better life for me.  A better life for my little guy.  And what the hell, a better life for my ex, too.  He wasn't a bad guy - he deserved to be happy with someone who was right for him.  I deserved and was worthy of someone to love me for me, and this baby was worthy of a happy childhood like I had.  I didn't think he should pay the bill for our mistakes.  Everyone has the right to be happy - and sometimes - just because they aren't the right one for you doesn't mean they aren't the right one for someone.

It was painful for both of us when I left - but we pushed through it - knowing that we both deserved a better day.  He is happy with someone that is right for him - and I am married to the love of my life as well.  I look at each day that I have as a second chance that I will not blow.  I will not waste.  I will not look back.

Sometimes the universe sends us a little help in our darkest hours, you just have to be listening, looking, and open to the hints.  What you do with them is up to you...we all wind our way down Baker Street at some point in our lives don't we?

Cheers and Love,