What Do You Do When You Can’t Do It All?

It’s been almost two weeks since Jayden was born. And he’s still in the hospital. The day I got discharged was one of the hardest days of my life. Walking down to NICU I broke down and cried because I knew I would be going home without my baby. That pain was worse then the physical pain I was already in.

Before I went home, one of the nurses sat me down and shared some words of wisdom. “Take care of yourself” she said. “I know no one can stop you from coming up here everyday to see your baby, but do not come and sit for hours and hours. Go home and get some rest and heal. There is a reason why the airlines say to put on your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else”.

I heard her, but I didn’t really. I was told the same thing by my family and girlfriends, but I just couldn’t grasp it. It’s weird but I looked at a c-section as surgery for everyone else, but not for me. It wasn’t supposed to slow me down. As amazing as my husband is and he is perfectly capable of handling everything on his own, I don’t want him to. We are supposed to take care of each other. And we are supposed to take care of our son. Together.

However, I’m currently at home. I’m supposed to be getting some rest and healing, but I’m struggling. Struggling with unnecessary guilt because my baby is not here. And I feel helpless. Everyday I visit him and I feel more guilt because I have to leave him. Over and over again.

So what do you do when you can’t do it all? Or even anything about your circumstances?

In this short time of being a mom, I’ve learned so many lessons. First, I’m not in control. The nature of my son’s birth taught me that. Second, I can’t do it all. No one can. We all need help. We all need rest and time to recharge.

The reality is, Jayden is where he needs to be in order to get better. He’s in great hands and surrounded by people who want him to be healthy enough to get home. I realize that when he’s strong enough, he’ll be discharged and back with his family. Until then, all I can do is continue to visit him daily and prepare for his arrival. As well as take the advice I was given and make sure I am able to give him 100%.

So no, I can’t do it all, but I will do what I can.

8/7/18.

August 7th was a pretty typical Tuesday. First official week back at work with teachers and students. I had a couple of meetings, a bunch of paperwork, and lots of emails to answer, but nothing too stressful. I was anxious to get to my OBGYN appointment that afternoon so I could hear the progress on my pregnancy and the baby.

For the most part, I’ve considered myself lucky. My first pregnancy had turned out to be smooth. No morning sickness, minimal weight gain, and I was able to work all summer with no complications. It wasn’t until the last month that I was starting to get some severe back pain and I was up and down with my blood pressure readings. Still, I figured, it just comes with the territory.

Little did I know, I was a walking time bomb.

When I arrived for my appointment, the nurse took my blood pressure. Usually, we have a little chit chat, but when she got my reading, she was deathly silently. “It’s high?” I asked. She shook her head yes and said, “I’m going to take it again”. She gave it a few minutes and did it again. 185/98. Now, I’m not a doctor and I’ve never been concerned with blood pressure, so I didn’t know how severe it was, but I knew it was not good.

I was immediately sent to lay down and the nurses took my blood pressure two more times. Finally, the doctor let me know that I would have go to the emergency room. My husband was out of town for training, but luckily my mother lived 15 minutes away.

She picked me up and we headed to the hospital. I checked in and the staff began working on getting my blood pressure down. I had an IV here, a pill there, a blood pressure reading every 10 minutes. Still in my mind I was going to go home as soon as they could get it down. The worst case scenario is that I would have to be on bed rest and I could live it with that.

I guess God was laughing at my plans that day.

Doctor comes in and long story short, says the baby has to come out. It’s too dangerous for me and him to let the pregnancy progress any further. On top of that, I would need to have a C-section and be put to sleep, because enducing labor could be fatal. So much for having a normal delivery with my husband by my side telling me to “push”. So much for the short recovery time so I can spend most of my days bonding with my baby.

Instead, I was rushed to a birthing room with no time to think. And in 45 minutes my life would change.

When I woke up, I was a mom. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to embrace baby Palmer because he was rushed to NICU. 3 lbs, 11ozs. We both were still fighting for our lives and couldn’t see each other until the next day. It was the longest day of my life. But when I finally saw him, nothing else mattered.

I think we all have this perfect picture painted for ourselves involving at least one scenario. Whether its planning a dream wedding, landing the perfect job, or outlining plans for a family, we all have a vision. I didn’t know exactly how this pregnancy would go, but believe me, I didn’t come close to thinking it would unfold the way it did. However, the outcome is the same.

Jayden Ronald Palmer is here. 8/7/18. 10:36 pm. And his arrival was anything but boring.

Mom and Dad.

So finally I’m going to be a mommy. After all these years of teaching and taking care of everyone else’s children, I’m finally going to have one of my own. A little boy!

I can’t wait to see the traits he gets from me and his dad. When I think about my own parents, I believe I got the best parts of them.

My mom is a lover of all people. She has strong faith and belief that never waivers. She is one that you can call on at any time of the night and she will throw on her clothes and rush to your aid if she’s needed. And even when she’s not needed.

My dad is a hardworker. He grew up in a household where ‘B’s were unacceptable and boy did it pay off. He’s well educated and successsful. He’s a provider and has secured the future of not only himself, but his family that he loves so deeply.

I am so blessed to have and know them both. All of those traits are instilled in me. That makes me wonder what traits will my own child get from me and his father?

Mom (me) not only has traits that she’s gotten from her parents, but she’s an optimist. She believes everything happens for a reason, good or bad. She is a believer in love and knows that it can conquer all things.

Dad is more practical. There is black and there is white. There are problems and solutions. He’s organized and neat. Despises confusion and conflict. He will do anything for you, within reason of course. He looks before he leaps which keeps the people he loves from jumping off cliffs impulsively (me in particular).

We both balance each other. My hope is that all the things we learned from our grandparents and parents and the experiences that made who we are will be embraced by this child that we created together.

How scary and exciting it is to be a parent.

I am thankful for all those who came before me. Especially my own parents. Now I will know first hand the sacrifices and dedication it takes to raise the little life that you brought into the world.

Love you mom and dad.

Requirements, Preferences, or Roadblocks? (A.K.A. Happy Father’s Day)

Years ago I asked this question.

I was about to turn 30 and was beginning to panic. I had been running into men who already had children. In my mind, I imagined and desired to share the experience of parenthood together with my future husband. However, because I was getting older and so was my age group, a childless man was getting harder to find. I posed this question on Facebook to see if I was over my head. And if anyone else was in the same boat. Then I got a response from someone who would change my life forever. My future husband.

This post led to an inbox. An inbox led to a phone call. A phone call led to a first date. And a first date led to forever (with a whole lot of other stuff in between).

I found myself falling in love with the very person I was trying to avoid, a man with a child. But if I had stuck to that preference, I would have missed out on the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Let’s look at why I (and other women) hestitate to date men with children:

Children Come First: Children are and should be a parent’s first priority. After all, they can’t take care of themselves. As selfish as it sounds, I didn’t like that too much. As a single woman at the time, I didn’t want to have to compete with a child for time and attention.

Baby mamas/ex-wives: There will always be a tie there. The children will always require a man to communicate with his ex. Usually that leaves an open door for things to reconcile. After all, they did share something once and have the proof to show it. It’s convienant to just go back into a ready made home. My ex-husband was an example of that. Although he was married to me at the time, he was still communicating with his previous ex-wife inappropriately and trying to keep that door open so he could continue to have a “relationship” with her and me.

In another relationship, my significant other decided to return to his ex-wife for the sake of his child. Needless to say, I haven’t had the best track record with dads.

Exes can be troublesome in that they may use the children as a source of revenge or leverage. Especially when they find out the man is now in another relationship. It not only causes stress on him, but on the relationship as well.

I could go on and on about the negatives of dating men with children (and this is only based on my experiences), but why when my own husband debunked most, if not all of my concerns.

He showed me that I could be equally as important as his daughter. When we were dating, he made sure he included me in outings with her. Interactions with his ex were always about their child, nothing more, nothing less. And most of those conversations took place around me. Bottomline, he knew my past experiences and made sure that I had nothing to worry about. And those experiences had nothing to do with him as a man or a father.

Moral of the story, if I had stuck to my preferences, I would have missed out on a great husband and a beautiful step-daughter. And now we’re having a child of our own. Sometimes we have to get out of our own way and not let our preferences become requirements that block our blessings.

Happy Father’s Day to not only my husband, but to all the dads that are active in their children’s lives. May you not only be honored on this day, but everyday.

No wedding. No reception. No must. No fuss.

Of course when you get engaged, the first thing people ask is, “Have you set a date”? And when I gave my answer, most were surprised.

There is/was no set date. After my fiance and I finished premartial counseling we woke up one random day, filled out the marriage application at the courthouse, and decided to do something just for us.

That answer had gotten us some mixed reviews. Some were disppointed of course. Some totally understood and said “weddings are a waste of money”. Others wanted me to compromise and at least do a reception.

No.

The thing is, I’m not getting married for a wedding. I’m getting married for a marriage.

I had a ceremony and reception for my first marriage and clearly that did not save it. And honestly, I only had it for my family, not for me. Even with those intentions, it turned out to be a disaster which is another story.

I am not against those who desire a wedding. They can be beautiful! They bring families together and they can be fun! But they are not for everybody.

So on 5-12-18, I looked into the eyes of the love of my life and said “I do”. Just me, him, a minister, and a photographer.

And it was perfect.

February 15th.

This is important day to me. I’m sure you’re thinking, the day after Valentine’s Day? Why?

Well, it’s the day that my fiance didn’t give up on me. On us.

I had broken up with him a few months before. I did it for me. After 3 years, I knew that I wanted our relationship to progress further. Marriage. Kids. The whole nine. After being straight forward at the beginning of our relationship and him sharing that he wanted the same things, I felt that there had been more than enough time.

I know what the men are thinking, “Why do women have to have a timeline”? And this was my fiance’s train of thinking as well. However, yeah we need one. It helps us to protect our hearts. It keeps us from wasting our time. And unfortunately, age plays a large part, especially if we want children.

So, I ended it.

I walked away from him. No contact. No nothing. And his pride returned the favor.

And then all of a sudden, a phone call. And there was just one simple question, “why”?

Again I shared that my vision was to be a wife and a mother and my belief that he wasn’t ready to give it to me.

After spilling my guts, he simply said he understood. He knew why. And his plan was to put in work. Cautiously, I let him.

A year later, we’re living together, engaged, and working on our future marriage and family.

And just to think. What if I hadn’t picked up the phone on side chick day?

I said “Yes”!

Everyone’s love story is not a fairytale, and that’s ok. Mine isn’t, but it’s my story. Our story. It’s a story of heartbreak, but hope and triumph as well. How? Because I fought for it. Not just I alone, but the man that I love too.

I wish I could say we just met, fell in love, and simply got engaged, but that’s not how our story goes.

We did meet (through FB inbox) and fell in love, but we broke up. Then we got back together. Then broke up again. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t because either one of us were bad people, but it was bad timing.

Our first break up was all about him. The struggles of life can throw us for a loop and a relationship can be too much to handle. The second break up was all about me and my unwillingness to continue to wait on something I knew was meant to happen, me being his wife. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a vision and a plan for my life. One that includes being a wife and a mother. At the time, I wasn’t sure if he was ready to give me that, so I made the decision to move forward without him. It was the hardest thing I had to do, walk away from the someone I cared about so deeply, but I knew I had to love myself first. In doing that, most times, if not all, everything else falls in to place.

In loving myself, it allowed him to love me better.

This time, not only did we get back together, we fought to stay together. We made a plan to build a life together, something we both knew we wanted.

I share all this to say, relationships aren’t perfect. You both have to work at it. You can’t go by the models of others or what you see on social media because what you have is unique. You can’t always follow the advice of others, you have to follow your heart. We both said we would never go back to exes. Most times you hear that if it didn’t work out the first time, then why try it again? But if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t be here. Both being divorcees as well, if we thought that way, we wouldn’t be looking at marriage at all. We both may have missed out on our second, wait, our third chance at a love story. Our beautiful, messy, wonderful, complicated love story.

Unmatched.

I have been blessed and cursed with being a Scorpio and an introvert. I say this because the combination of these traits have allowed me to love and hate people simultaneously. I love people enough where I have complete faith and believe in the best of them, all while knowing that people suck. They will hurt you, use you, and abandon you. 
What a conflict right?

These traits have had a tremendous effect on my relationships. I end up falling for the wrong men, but because of my nature and naive faith, I love them harder. Even after I know they aren’t shit. I expect that love will magically make them do right by me. Ha! 

My experiences should have put my faith in the ground a long time ago, but that’s the funny thing about faith….it’s hard to get rid of.

This is why I honestly think that I will never find anyone to match the kind of love that I have. My Scorpio nature will have my heart, soul, and body engulfed in the relationship while my introverted nature will hate everything about you, but will love you despite of. But the overlooker of flaws and lover of all things does not recieve back what she gives. The things I’ve sacrificed for others, I honestly don’t think anyone would do the same for me. 

Even the simpliest acts of love that I have displayed will never be matched. No one is going to fight hard for me. Why? Because I don’t require it. I expect you to do what you say you will do. Why should I create obstacles and tests when you gave me your word? But that’s the kind of thinking that gets me where I am now. 

Feeling unloved. Or maybe not loved enough. Unequaled. Unevenly yolked. Unrivaled. Unparalled.

Unmatched.

Marriage! Marriage. Marriage?

When you’ve wanted something so bad and you think it’s taking too long to get it, you start to question why you want it in the first place. 

That’s where I am with marriage right now.

I don’t really know where the urge came from exactly.  My mother has been married and divorced 3 times. My parents divorced when I was 12 and never remarried. I was too young to remember any good times; all I remember is two households. Every other weekend and swapped holidays with my daddy.

Wherever it came from, the desire was so strong, that I ran out and married someone that I shouldn’t have. And now I’m divorced myself.

I wanted to fulfill my desires of course, but I honestly think I got married to prove that I could be successful at it. My family is filled with broken homes and I was going to be the one who was going to change that. To break the curse. The universe had a good laugh at that attempt I’m sure.

Fast forward to my last relationship and I felt like I had to convince and give an ultimatum as to why he should marry me after 3-4 years. Being a divorcee himself, he had hesitation and now I’m thinking, maybe I should too. 

Why am I so ready to dive in after I’ve almost drowned before? Scratch almost, DID.

What am I really seeking? Stability? Commitment? Loyalty? Can marriage really guarantee those things? If it could, I would still be married. And even asking men, specifically black men on their thoughts of marriage is disheartening.

“Marriage is just a business”.

“Marriage is for women”.

“There are no benefits in marriage”.

Hell, why am I trying to seek something that no one believes in anymore? 

These are now the thoughts that have clouded my brain about marriage. And I wish I could end this post with some hope and faith in what I want like I usually do, but again, do I really want this?

Do a Durant.

I’m a football girl myself, but I follow basketball enough that when I saw this meme, I hollered. Durant made that move and got what he wanted. Some didn’t respect it, but he did what he thought was best for him and there’s a lesson in that.

Since this meme was directed at the women, I will speak from a woman’s point of view (being that I am one).

I think we forget that when we are single, we are free agents. Even when I am in a relationship, I am still considered a single woman. I file single on my taxes, I possess my dad’s last name, my name is solely on all the bills, etc. etc. In a nutshell:

Unmarried = Single.

Don’t get me wrong, I am respectful of my relationships. When I am with someone, I am not actively looking for anything else. I do not entertain others and I remain committed. However, I do realize that I am single until there is a ring on my hand, a marriage certificate, and a last name change. I am free to walk out the door at anytime or end the relationship because I have not stated any vows that require me to stay. There is a certain freedom in this thinking, but don’t get me wrong, I strongly desire marriage and family which leads me back to this meme.

When women like myself desire marriage and children, we are often ridiculed about our timelines. This is only because men are not on the same timeline as us. They do not get the side eye from doctors when you are over 30 and you still haven’t had children yet. They do not have to hear the lecture on the risks of having children after 35. Men can go out, get a younger women, and have children at 50 if they wanted to. Women however, have to think of birth defects and safety risks as soon as we hit the big 3-0.

That’s why we do not have time to waste. After 30, for women who want to be married and have a family can’t sit in these 3-5 year relationships with an additional 1-2 year engagement. And that’s being modest. There are plenty of women who have sat in longer relationships, 6, 7, 8, 10 fucking years. No ring in sight. But really, why do we do that? Hope? Loyalty? Fear? Probably a combination of all. We wait, hoping that we are the one, that this guy we love loves us enough to give us his last name. We assume that the number of years we’ve spent together is an longterm investment. It may be for us, but a lot of these men don’t see it in that way. I’ve heard from the male point of view that marriage is a scam and there is no benefit for them. (Although, research shows that married men live longer, but that’s another topic). 

Despite the negative comments and unproductive debates about marriage that I have been involved in with men, I still believe there are a great number of them who desire it. They want a wife and children. That’s why I refuse to stay in a relationship that does not have that end goal. And just because we talk about it and agree we want the same thing, doesn’t mean we are on the same timeline. A man may very well want to marry you, but it’s going to be when he’s ready. It could be a year, hell it could be 10 years. It is his prerogative, but you are not required to stay and wait. Listen to what he says, but also watch what he does. A man that wants you as a wife will make arrangements and prepare to do just that. His words will align with his actions.

After 30, and this is just me talking, you don’t need years to determine whether you want to spend a lifetime with someone. So don’t feel guilty about the timeline you have in your head (I’m speaking to myself too). Don’t let anyone waste your time and best years of your life.

Go get your ring.

Lebron did it.

Durant did it.

So if you have to….

Just do it.