A Picture Worth A Thousand Words

Dear Diary,

This is a significant picture. I represents peace, forgiveness, second chances and so much more. The woman in the picture with me and the kids is Claudia. She is the kids' step-mom. She has been for the last 13 years. Claudia and my ex have been together since I left rehab. They have two kids together. When my ex told me they were having a baby, I was fresh out of rehab and the news just about destroyed me. I was heartbroken. For the last dozen or so years, I have had a hard spot in my heart for her. We would avoid each other when we happened to be at the same school function or baseball game. I used to dread seeing her. She felt the same towards me.

I won't go into details, I will just say this...if this picture can happen after what we've both been thru, then anything can happen. Seriously. It makes me smile knowing that I no longer have an "enemy" in this world. I no longer harbor any ill-will toward anyone. It feels so good. It took a long, long time for us to get to this place but here we are.

I appreciate Claudia for taking such good care of my kids. She treats Charlie and Evan as if she birthed them herself. They turn to her for their worries and troubles as much as they turn to me. It used to hurt my feelings when the kids would turn to her with their problems. So many emotions creep up when another woman has the role of "mother" in your kids' lives....jealousy, insecurity, anger, confusion, sadness. I realize that the love she has for my kids can only help them grow into the beautiful people they are becoming. We are not in competition. We serve different roles in our kids' lives, each one is important. Why I didn't see this years ago, I don't know. It would've helped the kids a lot, but I'm only human.

We have bonded as of late because of some family issues we all share. If you know of someone who is struggling with mental health, you know the heart-break and chaos it can cause in a family. We are currently going thru something that has brought us together as a team. I never ever thought that would be a possibility. God works in strange, but glorious ways. I pray that when our family member is well again we will remain friends and team-mates. Claudia is a hard-working, no-nonsense, strict mother who loves greatly. I am in awe of how she handles all she has to handle with grace and dignity. I seriously cannot even believe I am writing these words. It feels great. If you know me, you know this is a big deal.

Anyway, this picture is major. And, it was taken the day Charlie left to go back to Oregon. That was Saturday. He was here for a week. When he comes home next, he will be celebrating his 21st birthday! January 17th. What an amazing day that is for me. He'll be bringing his girlfriend when he comes, too. That's going to be so fun. I am so very proud of this guy, my son, Claudia's step-son. He has grown leaps and bounds and I'm not referring to his height. Yes, he is very tall, 6'4 and a half. My dad was tall and my brother is 6'5" so that's where it comes from.

When Charlie was here, I begged the kids to sit down and take a decent picture we can use for Christmas cards this year. Which one do you like better?

I also was able to nab this photo to add to my collection.

These are the other two I have hanging on my wall.

I love these pics so much!

So, Claudia had the kids for Thanksgiving. She does it up good for Turkey Day. I, on the other hand, have never cooked a turkey in my whole life. The kids were guaranteed a good meal plus time with their siblings. Antonio and I were invited to Erik and Adrian's house for the holiday. We had Mexican food and it was glorious.

No,those are not my natural lashes. They are not extensions either. I had to give that up due to the cost of keeping them up. I've been wearing old-school lash strips. I just received 50 pair of lashes from Amazon for $13! Look! They are a little long but I like to fiddle with them.

Charlie fell in love with Elvis and Elvis LOVED Charlie. Elvis pretty much likes everyone he meets. I hope his friendly little personality stays like this. It's so cute. This is where he sits when I am at my desk.

My friend, Joan, sent me this dolled up photo of him. So cute!

So, that's about it, Diary. It's noon and I'm still in my pjs. Not feeling too great about that, but oh well. I'll make the last half of the day worthwhile. haha. See you next week.

Oh, if you want to hear about my story of sobriety, please listen to our latest podcast. I included the link below.

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