Saying Goodbye

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SELF REFLECTION

DAY 21

For those of you who don’t know, I have joint custody of my oldest daughter, Josie. She lives in Maryland with her father, step mother, and new little brother. I live in Rhode Island with my husband and three other daughters. Please read the entire story here. We have just returned home after spending eight days with her, and it has been quite an emotional roller coaster for me. Our visit was wonderful yet bittersweet. The time we were able to share with Josie went by entirely too fast, as it always does. I am still recovering from having to say goodbye.

My heart is hurting. There is no other way to put it. Saying goodbye to Josie after the summer and after each holiday is always hard. However, saying goodbye after our 8 days together was even harder. We had an amazing time, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the word, but this visit for me was one of the most difficult we have ever shared. I have this sinking feeling that from here on out my visits with her are going to get more difficult for me. I say for “me” because Josie is well adjusted. She is happy, she does great in school, and she has many friends. As she gets older, she seems more and more unphased by our custody arrangement. Joint-custody is all that she has ever known. I have had so many doubts about our situation over the years. So many times I have questioned my decisions, and so many nights I have cried myself to sleep. I feel beyond blessed to be able to say that even though her living situation has not been normal, Josie IS a normal child, and she is happy. I am happy that she is happy, but my heart is still breaking.

My daughter is growing up. She is no longer the four year old little girl that she was when we first had to move. I can not believe she is ten years old. I feel like all I did was blink and six years went by. For those 8 days that we were in Maryland, I was able to be active in a NEW part of Josie’s life, a part that I usually don’t get to experience because I only have her summers and holidays. Our visit was a brutal reminder of all the moments I have missed out on. The little things are the things that hurt the most. Things other parents probably take for granted. Taking her to and from school everyday. Getting up with her in the mornings. Brushing and braiding her hair. Making sure she is completely ready for her school day. Helping her with her homework everyday after school. (except math, “common core” and I are not friends) I was able to meet her friends from school, and let me say, I am so happy with the kind of ladies she has chosen to surround herself with.

On Friday, she was in the talent show. She preformed a dance with two of her friends. I was able to take her shopping to pick out her dance outfit, and I got the pleasure of doing her hair and  getting her ready for the show. You have no idea how much all of this meant to me. Not only being there to support her, but also taking part in preparing her for it. I was an emotional wreck sitting in the audience, but I never let it show. Honestly, I was a wreck before we even left the house. I was so nervous, the talent show was the first school event that I have ever gotten to attend. It was the very first time many parents and teachers got to see “Josies’ mom.” I was so worried of what they would think, and I was scared they would judge me. I spent all day trying to find the perfect thing to wear. Looking back now, getting as worked up as I did seems a little silly. I just wanted to be the best me I could be that night, for her. Does any of this make sense? Please believe me when I say, I was the proudest parent in th crowd that evening. My eyes filled with tears many times, but I did not let them fall. I never wanted that moment to end. I wish I could have stayed there in that moment a little longer, and I wish our week with Josie had gone by a little bit slower. Do you know how much it hurts to have a taste of this wonderful part of her life, then have to walk away? For one week I was finally the mother to her that I have been longing to be. I feel empty now, but I am trying to stay strong because I have to. I don’t have a choice.

 

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I’m Back and I Need Your Help!

Hello my friends! I am finally back and I have so much to share with all of you! It feels like I was gone for months! Let me tell you, it was extremely difficult to not blog while I was in Maryland! I was going through a bit of withdrawal! We had a great visit with Josie, but it really flew by. Time with her always goes so fast, and time without her always goes so slow. We will talk later but right now I need some help!

I finally got a computer! That’s right, no more blogging from an Ipad. (thank goodness) I can’t wait to get back to blogging regularly, and on a laptop at that! Now I have to get my site set up and I literally have no idea where to start. I really would like to get my page looking a little better for everyone. I feel like right now it is hard to navigate. Does anyone have any feedback they could give me on the look of my page right now? I need to make some changes, and I would love your input! After all, you my good people are the ones who read my ramblings! Any layout ideas? Anything I need that I don’t have? I don’t have any “plug-ins.” Do any of you use “plug-ins?” Which ones do you like? Do any of you use “grammarly?” I know what you are thinking! I am clueless! Please help!

When You Realize Bloggers Are Amazing People

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 20

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On my last day of self-reflection, I wrote a little bit about having joint custody of my oldest daughter and what that has meant for my family. I opened up about living in a different state than her and some of the effects it has had on me. I would love if you read about it here. It was not an easy story for me to share. I found it very difficult to write.

I suppose self-reflection is not meant to be easy, it involves opening certain doors. Doors that I have kept closed for a long time. The responses I have received from all of you have changed my life. I need you to know that your kindness has made a difference, and in this moment I want to thank each and every one of you. I can not believe how much support and love you have all shown me. I feel so blessed that I am able to take this journey with you by my side. Thanks to you, I do not feel alone. Having this blog has already made a huge difference in my life. I am more confident than I have ever been. I am actually growing and changing as a person, for the better. This “self-acceptance” would not have happened without you. Every kind comment you have left me has made me a happier person. Every piece of honest advice you have given me has helped me better my life. Your words of encouragement have given me strength. You have never been judgmental. You have only been genuine and understanding. You are all such amazing human beings. I know I still have quite a ways to go on this journey of mine, but as long as I have you wonderful people here, I know I will somehow come out on top. I wish I could hug all of you.

Please know, I truly mean every word I have typed here. You have had an enormously positive impact on my life. I feel like I can finally face the world, and I have you to thank. Thank you all.

Valentine’s Day and HUFF Post News!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY MY FRIENDS!! I HOPE ALL OF YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY! WE ARE IN MARYLAND FOR THE WEEK VISITING OUR JOSIE. I APOLOGIZE FOR MY LACK OF POSTS. I WILL DO MY BEST TO KEEP IN TOUCH. I HOPE YOU ALL WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW MY JOURNEY! 

PLEASE CHECK OUT MY ARTICLE THAT WAS PUBLISHED ON HUFFINGTON POST FRIDAY. I KNOW IT WAS ALREADY SHOWN HERE, SO YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY READ IT. IT WOULD BE GREAT IF YOU WOULD TAKE THE TIME TO CHECK IT OUT, LIKE IT, SHARE IT OR COMMENT! SO FAR ALL OF MY COMMENTS ARE FROM FAMILY LOL. HERE IS THE LINK : 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-malcom/what-i-have-learned-my-fi_b_9214172.html

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I Miss My Daughter

SELF REFLECTION

DAY 19

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This is a very difficult post to write. It leaves me feeling vulnerable. I am sure some of you will read this and disagree with my decisions. That is ok. I am reflecting on my own life. This is my story. These are my memories. I owe myself acceptance and closure.

I do not have full custody of my oldest daughter Josie. Her father and I have joint-custody. We have always shared our time with her. If you are interested, you can read part of that story here. When Josie was little, we split the days of the week evenly, so she would have equal time with both of us. We would alternate weekends, and that worked for us. For a while anyway. When she was three, love found me when I least expected it, and it turned my world upside down.

My husband and I have an amazing love story. I’ll try to keep it short and only explain how we met. My brother introduced us in 2009. I had just reached a point in my life where I thought I would never fall in love again, and I would quite possibly die  alone. At first I was not interested in him at all. I knew he had to move around for work, and having a long distance relationship was not something I wanted. Also, I had a daughter. I was in no position to be traveling any time soon. Four days was all it took. We fell in love immediately. We were crazy about each other, head over heels, inseparable. ( by the way, we still are) We were married three months later, and eight months after that, our daughter Lily was born. Soon after, we got the news that would change everything. Our family was going to have to move from Maryland to Texas. We had three months to prepare and get our things in order.

The news crushed me. In my heart I had always known this day would come, I just didn’t expect it to be so soon. I had Josie. What was I going to do? I was so angry, and I took my anger out on Josie’s father. I yelled at him. I wanted her to stay with us. I threatened lawyers and court, the whole nine yards. I was in an endless amount of pain, and in no way was I prepared to handle the inevitable. We were going to Texas. We had no choice. I remember praying harder than ever. I remember asking for peace and guidance. I knew I needed to take a step back and assess the situation. I needed to look at the entire picture. I needed to think of Josie and not just myself.

Josie’s entire life was in Maryland. Her father and I had been raising her together since the day she was born. Both of us and our families loved her more than anything.  Everything and everyone she knew reside in Maryland. Including her school, her friends, and her family. Her father was in Maryland, and he really was a great father. Although he was not always my favorite person in the world, there is no denying that he has always been a wonderful father to Josie, and he loves her more than anything. Knowing all of this, what kind of person would I be if I took all of that away from her. My heart was breaking, but I never felt that taking her away from her dad and the only life she knew was the right thing to do. I soon came to the conclusion that I would have to leave my four year old in Md. while I moved to Texas with my husband and newborn. We both decided I would get Josie summers and holidays. My parents would be able to get her on the weekends.

I  cried the entire drive to Texas. The next couple of years were the hardest in my life. I fell into a deep depression. I was riddled with guilt and I felt like a terrible mother for leaving. I blamed my husband, and our marriage suffered. So many days I wanted to run away. I thought of taking Lily and moving back. What was I thinking!? I loved my husband more than anything. He needed us, and we needed him. I was just hurting so bad. It was so hard to function without having Josie. I thought of her every second of everyday. I cried all of the time. I was physically ill. Anxiety took over my life. We skyped a lot, and we saw each other summers and holidays. Eventually, with time, things started to get better. Josie was doing great. She had adjusted so well. She was happy. I told myself that as long as she was happy, I could be happy too.

We moved to Rhode Island a little over a year ago. We are a lot closer now, and we are able to visit MD a lot more. We all miss Josie everyday. I still cry. Being away from her is one of the hardest things I have ever done, or will ever do. I struggle daily. When I look back on things, I know that I made the right decision. I would make it again if I had to. As hard as it was, I believe in my heart that as her mother, I made the right decision. My decision was selfless, and I did what I thought was best for her, not what  was best for me. We are leaving for Maryland this weekend, and seeing Josie will be the best Valentines gift ever.

I feel like whenever I share this story with others, they judge me. Hell, you may be judging me right now. Us relocating was out of our hands. Even though I am her mother, it was not my place to take her away from her father. I believed that then, and I believe it now. It has been six years. We have made it work. It has not been easy at all, but I stand by the sacrifices I have made.

Do True Friends Even Exist Anymore?

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 18

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I envy my mother. She is beautiful and successful. She has an amazing career that she loves.  Those things are great, but do you want to know what I envy the most? My mother is still friends with the same group of women she surrounded herself with in high school. They are the best of friends. My mom knows the meaning of “life long friends,” and that is a true gift. I often wonder what her secret is. How do you form those special bonds? Why is it so hard for me? What am I doing wrong? I really don’t want to sound pathetic here, but I want a genuine friend more than anything. One thing I am starting to realize as I reflect on my own life is, I NEED a friend. image

I am starting to see things a lot clearer than I ever have. For so long I have used all the wrong reasons as excuses for why I have little to no friends. Here is the deal : I am a great friend. Maybe one of the issues I am having is, I want whoever I am friends with to be a great friend to me in return. Is this asking too much? Am I expecting too much? It seems like every time I let someone new into my life, it only leads to disappointment. I feel as though so many of my friendships have been one-sided. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have experienced “true” friendship, and even those relationships were lost.

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I have lost so many friendships and I have been let down so many times, it has changed me as a person. I have built a wall around my heart in order to keep others out. I rarely ever allow myself the opportunity to meet new people. When I do meet someone new, I never let them in. I keep them close enough to talk to, but far away enough that I won’t get hurt. I know this is not healthy. I just don’t want to be let down anymore. I want friends and I need friends, but I am afraid.

I want to be a different person, a better person. I feel like we all need friends. We need those special people that we can count on. We need people to laugh with, cry with, and make memories with. I know in my heart that I would be a happier person if I had a real friend. As I continue down this path of self-discovery, I will not only be searching for myself, I will also be searching for a friend. A true friend. A best friend. I will also start trying to break down this wall that I have held up for so long. Does anyone have any advice for me?

What Do You Do

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 17

What do you do

When you don’t know what to do

When you don’t know what to say

And you don’t know what to think

What do you do

When there is nothing left to do

Nothing left to say

Nothing left to think

What do you do

When there is nothing you can do

Nothing you can say

To stop the pain

Or make it go away

What do you do

When you know exactly what to do

Exactly what to think

Yet you can’t do any of it

Something holds you back

You can see everything happening around you

You watch as it all falls to pieces

And you do nothing

What do you do

An Open Letter to My Past Self

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 16

One thing about this life, it NEVER goes according to plan. There are so many unexpected turns, and it is all around one bumpy ride! My life was so bumpy, I wish there was a way for me to go back in time just so I could tell myself to wear a helmet! There are actually a lot of things that I would tell my past self. Since I happen to be self-reflecting, why not do just that? Perhaps it is time to open up some and really begin cleaning out my closet. I am on a journey and healing is a part of it. This letter is meant to help heal. An open letter to the person I once was seems rather fitting. When my 30 days of self-reflection comes to a close, I will be sure to include a letter to my future self as well. How exciting. Let the healing begin….

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Dear Rachel,

           I thought this letter would be easy to write. Turns out, I was wrong about that. I am finding myself at a loss for words, and my emotions are quite displaced. Still, my mind is full of words. Words that I know you need to hear, so I will say them to you as best I can.

Lets start with High School. I know that can be a difficult time for many. Remember to be yourself. Love who you are. Your individuality sets you apart from the rest. Own that. Understand that it is ok to have dreams, and start doing the things that you love. Let the artist inside of you break free. Stop being afraid of failure and rejection. When you fall,(because you will) pick yourself up and continue to move forward. We all fall. Trust your instincts when it comes to friendships, and stay out of drama. It is better to have a couple of friends who love you, than to have twenty friends who would deceive you. Don’t sweat the small things, and hold on to your yearbooks. Your kids will want to see them one day.

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Do not be so hard on your parents. Trust me, they are learning as they go. There is no instruction booklet when it comes to raising children. Please believe, they are doing the best that they know how. They do love you. I promise. Your father has caused you the most pain. There is no denying that. Start forgiving him now. Allow forgiveness to be a part of your life, no matter how hard it may be. You are broken. The key to putting yourself back together is forgiving the ones who broke you. Start with your father.

Face your problems. If you continue to be bound by fear, you will forget what it means to live. Do not run and hide. Do not brush your issues under the rug. If you push them down deep, they will always resurface. ALWAYS.

This next bit of advice is important. Heed my words. Enjoy as much time with your family as you possibly can. Family vacations, dinners, beach days and game nights are numbered. Time goes by a lot faster than you realize. Stay a home a few extra times instead of going to that boyfriends’ house. Stick around a little more and spend some time with your brother and sisters. You may feel grown, but they are young, and they miss having you around. You will miss these memories one day. Your family will not always be together. Your siblings will grow, and your parents will go their separate ways. Not everything can last forever.

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Pay extra attention to your youngest sister. Shower her with love, and continually show her that you care. She is so much like you. She carries the weight of the world on her shoulders, and she wears her heart on her sleeve. She will need you. Cherish every moment with your Pop Pop. His time on this Earth is short. Show him your love and make him proud. He may seem like a hard man, and I know he is a bit intimidating, but I assure you his love runs deeper than most. Give him that letter sitting in your “special box” before it is too late. He will leave this life quickly, and once he is gone, your world will never be the same. Hold the ones you love tightly, and show them your heart while you can.

Dont be so hard on yourself. Being a single mother is O.K. It is alright that you didn’t finish college. It is alright that you are a waitress. Be proud of who you are. You had your heart broken into a million pieces, and you prevailed. You are much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Stop pushing everyone away. Not everyone will hurt you. Don’t give up on love. True love is real, and it will find you. Stop searching so hard for it. I know you yearn for a “complete” family, but don’t rush it. You are a great mother and you can make it on your own. Do not settle for the first man that comes along and offers you happiness. Your happiness lies within yourself. Don’t every rely on a companion to make you happy. Stay away from the men who lie and belittle you. They are not worth your time or your love. Do not confuse lust for love. True love is much deeper rooted than you could ever imagine.

Finally, stop standing in front of that mirror. Stop criticizing every part of you. Society’s version of beauty is twisted and a bit deranged. Learn to love your body. Embrace every ounce of beauty that lies within you. Wear that little black dress and go out on the town, Learn to live a little, and have some fun. Go on that road trip! Take that cruise! Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. This life passes by us fast enough. LIVE!

                                                 See you soon,

                                                          Me

Update on Goals and Special News

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 15

Well I am halfway through my 30 days of self-reflection. I figured now would be a great time to give everyone a little update on how my goals are going. If you would like to read my original goal posts click here, and over here

First let me share my special news! Something amazing has happened! I can not wait to tell all of you!! The Huffington Post wants me to blog on their page! I am not even kidding, this is really happening. Ok…enough of that.. But SERIOUSLY!!!!

BACK TO GOALS…..

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GOAL #1- Lose 20 pounds in 6 months and exercise everyday!

I feel like I have been doing so well at achieving this goal! I have been exercising mostly everyday without having fainting! The Wii Fit I bought online has certainly been put to good use. I have been eating healthier and so far I have lost 8 pounds. I am confident I will lose 20 pounds in 6 months. Easy! Not to toot my own horn or anything but…. Beep Beep!

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GOAL #2- Get in touch with the local art community and continue to explore my artistic abilities!

I probably have been slacking a bit with this goal…I have shared a couple of my paintings here, and also on Pinterest. Doing that was actually a huge step for me. I have not yet gathered the courage to visit that coffee shop on the corner. You know, the one that hangs local artwork. Maybe that will happen one day. I’ll work on it. In the meantime I will continue to paint!

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Trying to write a little everyday has definitely been a great outlet for me. I would like to focus on my blog a little more. I want to make it look more professional. Unfortunately, I will not be able to do that until I buy a computer. Yes my friends, I have been doing all of my blogging on an IPAD ONLY! (GASP) I know it is ridiculous. So it is now time to add GOAL #3.

GOAL #3- Buy a laptop or a computer. Try to improve the look of my blog. Learn what a PLUG IN is and how to use them.

I am sure I will need to hire someone to help me with this goal. It is no secret that I have no idea what I am doing. Say a prayer for me!