Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

Being On Guard

I let my kids play on my cell phone.  The worst that could happen is they might ignore a call or text and when they are all with me, the rest of the world matters much less anyway. I'm not setting up dates or sexting with anyone and anything that might upset them gets deleted.  They don't need to see angry texts from their Dad any more than I do. Last night Kid3 swiped left from my home screen and my top Siri Suggestion was the picture of a man I had been texting.  It was nothing too serious, and special enough that while it was what we were making it, I wanted it private and only mine.  He was beautiful and masculine and smart but now he's just a random contact with a great contact picture linked to his Facebook profile.

Immediately Kid3 wanted to know who he was because he could see what I did when I saw that man's face. He wanted to know who was talking to his Mom because the reality of another man taking his Dad's place is something he wants to face with his eyes open. His curiosity was piqued and teased with the sense of intuition that I felt when I knew there was another woman in my ex's life before he decided he was leaving. I knew as much as my son knew in seeing this chiseled face and the smirk of a juicy secret that there was something worth looking at and questioning. I assured him that I'm not dating anyone and the one person that makes me laugh and giggle on a regular basis throughout the day is only a friend. Right now, it's the truth. Honestly it was the truth when we were still texting and I was obsessively analyzing each word he sent. As far into the future as I can see, it will remain the truth until I meet a man worth changing my relationship status.

Yesterday I had 3 kids at the pediatrician.  We were running late and skipped breakfast so when I'm awarded Mom of the Year, I will skip the vending machine breakfast and the fast food lunch on the way to school in my acceptance speech. I forgot to make sure my order was wheat free, and I spent the night in pain. Dharmic balance, right?  I had a small chili from Wendy's and my milder discomfort was chest and back pain that woke me up throughout the night.  Envy me, I dare you. (There is a point, keep reading.)

Lately my dreams each night tend to lose focus by morning and I'm left with vague impressions and generally a good mood. Last night was different and I realized it was in letting my guard down. Usually before bed I rehash what I've done and what my next day will accomplish.  I enjoy flooding my mind with what I want to do and focus on.  My dreams then take on an adventurous flair where I am my own hero.  Sometimes I will have lucid dreams where I'm fully aware that I am dreaming, and I will visit people or have conversations where I am my own tour guide because I know I'm dreaming. In pain last night, the only focus was finding a comfortable position.  My dreams defaulted to the last two men I have wanted to think about lately. I actively redirect my thoughts when they cross my mind, in fact. They were pleasant dreams, but dreams I hadn't entertained in a while with intention.

When you are so driven to protect yourself, the hard shell that covers you makes it hard to see the sunlight and harder to breathe in the beauty around you.  Your vigilance searches for an attack and that search will usually find something, even if it is only in your head.

In my awareness of redirecting my thoughts each night, I lose out on the specifics of happy dreams.  I miss the joy that comes from letting my mind wander into the places where there was happiness, even if that joy is now a series of melancholy memories.

For my sons, one day I will meet someone amazing and I will decide he will be able to meet my kids.  My sons will be hyper aware and looking at this person in comparison to their Dad.  He'll treat me in a way that is better than their Dad treated me toward the end.  They'll see how happy I am and feel guilt because that's how this will play out.  They'll be angry because they can't control these changes in their lives. They won't see that there's someone so great with kids I will trust that he will be gentle with mine.  They will only see the consequences of choices they have no decisions in. They will always be on guard and it will take an amazing man and lots of patience to help them see otherwise.

Today I will not allow skepticism and doubt to rob me of the beauty I might miss.  I will let my guard down and there will be joy and pleasant surprises.

The Day I Knew I Wasn't a Teacher.

Love at the Start of Things