2015: The Gloriously Weird Year of Finding Myself, Divorcing, and Turning 40

2015: The Gloriously Weird Year of Finding Myself, Divorcing, and Turning 40

What a weird year this has been.

I mean, I knew it was weird, but then looking back through my photos and calendar… wow. It’s been a doozy.

I’ve been rather quiet here over the course of 2015, my words few and far between. Much has gone on that hasn’t been for public consumption. My (now) ex-husband and I have never made our private matters public, especially in this space, so starting now would have been odd. When we decided very early this year to separate, that things weren’t ok, my words left me. My mind was on overdrive and well, elsewhere.

The year started very restlessly. I was restless and unsettled. I was unhappy. He was unhappy. And in somewhat of short order, all things considered, we remedied it with separation and then divorce. Not that it’s anybody’s business, but none of this life-changing event was a spur of the moment decision. There was talk and therapy and energy sessions and crying and rethinking and in the end, our guts and hearts won out. We knew what we had to do.

Jason and I are better friends now than we have been in years, probably. He’s still my cheerleader and I’m still his. We spend holidays together and do things as a family, because let’s be honest, we always will be one. We share children and memories and grief and joys that only the two of us can ever share. We want the best for each other. We are so much better for Henry this way and our only goals are for him and for each of us to be happy. That’s all anybody wants, right?

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I want to take you on a journey through 2015, though.

Let’s talk while we walk through the year, shall we?

January 2015

January 2015

January was kicked off with a Resolution Run with Sharon that I believe we both resolved to never EVER again run. It’s miraculous we survived. Henry won “Cubmaster’s Choice” at the Pinewood Derby for best looking car. Yes, it’s sushi. No, it’s not edible. Yes, it’s badass.

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February 2015

Oh, February. Jason and I decided over Valentine’s Dinner that we should separate. We’d been back and forth on it, but Valentine’s dinner, while everybody was oohing and aahing over each other at the two-top tables around us, we decided we had to do it. And then we toasted each other. Weird.

Miranda and I held auditions for the Listen To Your Mother Show and I finished my 4th half marathon. Barely. Let’s not discuss the race, but instead let me say how much fun I had with Rachel, Sharon, and Melissa that weekend (and #TeamRMHC)!

The Toomer’s Oaks were replanted in Auburn and we headed over for that big occasion. And then it snowed. And the city of Atlanta shut down.

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March 2015

March saw us figuring out the logistics and details of our separation. We were still living together because of those logistics. That may have been the strangest period of the whole deal. Knowing that you’re apart, but you’re still in the same house. We had distractions, though. Scout things, the boys camping, my niece and I going to NYC to celebrate her birthday. Jasmine and I had the best time! Columbia, Serendipity, Shopping, Broadway!

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April 2015

And then there was April. I don’t think I was even at home during April. Ten days after being in NYC with Jasmine, I was back for the Listen To Your Mother book launch. How much fun was THIS? It was such an amazing 24 hours, I don’t even know where to start! So I won’t bother. But it was amazing to hang out with Neil and Alexandra, Ann, Taya, Melisa… the list goes on. It was a 24 hour trip but so much good was squeezed in!

Then we had our second Listen To Your Mother Show in Atlanta. Which was so beautiful. We had a fantastic cast of 13 women who delivered some of the most heartfelt stories I’ve ever heard. So thrilled to bring it back this next April.

Then there was drinking (much) bourbon with Vikki (and others) at Mom2.0 and visiting with my friend Andrea in Phoenix. Such a busy month!

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May 2015

Basically, in May, I had superpowers that would make me lazy and we celebrated what would have been Charlie’s 12th birthday. May was apparently the opposite of April!

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June 2015

June saw a new family of ducks in our pond out back, a weekend with the girls, and a trip to my sister’s. So clearly “family” was the theme!

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July 2015

July is Peach Month. That’s when the best peaches are available. So we ate them almost right off the tree. I don’t think I’ve eaten as many peaches before as I did this past summer. Henry went to Camp Winnataska again and loved it.

I spent a weekend in NYC again, this time with Neil. I guess you could say this was about when our long time friendship was turning into more than just friendship. (Again, not really anybody’s business, but Jason and I agreed that we could date people while we were separated. So we both did.)

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August 2015

Back to School, with a saxaphone, in August. Plus another trip to NYC and just doing life, one day at a time. We decided to file for divorce.

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September 2015

September was obviously full of fun because the only picture worth posting was of flowers I bought myself at Whole Foods. Which means I paid way too much for them, but whatever, they’re gorgeous and made me feel good. Jason and I, still married technically, celebrated our 17th anniversary with a high five and a PBR because we’re classy like that.

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October 2015

Football game with my mom and Henry. Type A Conference in Atlanta. Henry got a job walking the dog next door after school. Neil came to Atlanta for a long weekend. And I donned a blue wig for Halloween. Oh, October!

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November 2015

November started off with Henry’s 11th birthday party. Another Game Truck party which is God’s gift to moms across the country or wherever Game Trucks are. Seriously. They back in and open the doors and PARTY!

In November, I watched one of my dearest friends say “I do” to the man she loves. I taught my niece how to properly watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And while at my sister’s house for Thanksgiving, my family celebrated my 40th birthday (a little early).

November 18, our final divorce decree was signed and stamped and official. Again, we celebrated with a high five.

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December 2015

Oh, December. Henry and I found and loved and decorated our own tree. We did it all by ourselves and were so super proud! We made a few new traditions in the process.

I celebrated my FORTIETH birthday on December 9. (I know, I don’t look a day over 27) I was in New York with Neil and we celebrated at dinner with some friends we both know through blogging and Listen To Your Mother. It was such a fun night and weekend.

Christmas came, on schedule. Santa came. Jason joined us and we Christmassed together and it was nice. We had clearly been good this year. I guess Santa liked how well we’ve handled ourselves throughout the year.

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This past year has taught me some things. Mostly that my gut and my heart are always right. I’m grateful to my energy healer and the therapist I briefly saw, for helping me realize the difference between what my heart was telling me and what my head was telling me. Often, your head tells you the easy thing, not the thing that will make you the happiest and take the most courage.

At the end of the day, 2015 was absolutely glorious, and taught me that I’m far more brave and far more resilient than I ever dreamed. I’m not scared of being a single mom. I’m not scared of not being able to live the life I’ve lived for the last 17 years. I’m certainly not scared of the future. I’m excited. Super. Freaking. Excited. Do I know what it holds? Hell no. Do you? If so, I’d like for you to read my palm and tell me some lottery numbers!

I’m ushering in 2016 knowing that anything — ANYthing — can happen. It may be amazing or it may be mundane, but it will be done my way. It will be full of so many things and I plan to do them all with passion and mindfulness and the realization that THIS moment IS life. I only get one and I plan to make it good.

So cheers to a fresh slate, a new decade of life, a blank page in a new notebook, and a new pen.

Let’s do this, 2016.

Sweet & Salty with Uncommon Goods

Sweet & Salty with Uncommon Goods

One of my favorite places to shop online has been Uncommon Goods. For years, I’ve gotten giddy-excited when a catalog showed up in my mailbox and have spent way too much time perusing their various gift guides on their website. I’ve teamed up with Uncommon Goods to share some fun gift ideas for upcoming occasions.

When they sent me the most amazing necklace set – The Sweet & Salty Necklace Set for Friends – I knew exactly who one of the necklaces was going to. (note: I was given the necklace, but opinions and thoughts are my own)

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They’re the most charming pieces by designer Elizabeth Suda, made from “Vietnam War–era plane parts and bombs, metal that was fairly traded and honed into delicate jewelry, clearing Laos farmland of war debris and serving as a sweet reminder of friendship in the process.”

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Yesterday, I met Karen and her family at The Varsity. I’d been pondering which of us would get “Sweet” and which would get “Salty” since we’re both a little bit, well, sweet AND salty! So without looking at them, I placed them on the table (where I had just devoured a cheese Dog, onion rings, a frosted orange, and a peach pie.) (what? it’s the holidays.) and on 3, we each touched the one we felt was supposed to be ours.

Luckily, we chose different ones!

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So now, officially, I’m “Sweet” and Karen is “Salty.” As it should be, I believe!

I can honestly say, as a jeweler’s daughter who has seen a lot of friendship jewelry come and go over the years, this is the most fun one yet!

J&K_Sweet&Salty

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Uncommon Goods, on top of offering the most hilarious, perfect, and perfectly ridiculous gifts, is actually a company committed to Good. They believe that sustainability starts with integrity in everything they do, both inside the company and outside. Their work with artists and small manufacturers allows them to know their products are thoughtful and made in responsible manners. In fact, everything about their mission makes me want to work for them!

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Christmas may be over, but you know what? There are occasions coming up, y’all. And Uncommon Goods has something for every. single. one. of them. One stop shop and all that!

I popped over to a few of the gift guides they have set up and found some favorites.

Valentine’s Day is soon. I mean, let’s get real, they’ve had Valentine’s candy out in the grocery store for two weeks now. It’s time to think about what you’ll be getting that special someone.

I do have a special someone I’ll be buying for this year, so looking through the Valentine’s Day list, I found a few things that caught my eye.

The Travel Stub Diary

The Travel Stub Diary for remembering our fun little visits to museums, shows, and other fun places!

I popped over to the “Gifts For Boyfriends and Guys” guide and found some other fun things!

Eye Glasses Holder

Eye Glasses Holder – For the Four Eyes in your life who always loses his (or her) glasses.

Driftwood iPhone Charging Dock

Driftwood iPhone Charging Dock – Who doesn’t need a charging dock that is made of driftwood?

And then there’s my favorite collection ever… the Jewelry!

As a jeweler’s daughter, I’m a little funny about my jewelry. Everything I own, means something to me. That’s why I love Uncommon Goods and their selection so much. Everything has a story.

Here are some favorites (in case anyone is wondering what to get me).

Sterling Silver Wings Bangle  "She took the leap and built her wings on the way down"

Sterling Silver Wings Bangle
“She took the leap and built her wings on the way down”

I can’t wait to regroup and get my mind focused on the next occasions and shop myself silly!

What would YOU buy from Uncommon Goods for someone on your list (or yourself)?

Overwhelmed With Love

I’m overwhelmed.

Yes, I’m like everybody else and I’m overwhelmed with work and home and school and pets and all the things that need to be done around the house. I’m overwhelmed with laundry and groceries and would rather eat a bowl of cereal than cook dinner.

But I’m also overwhelmed with love.

My goodness, I’m in love with life right now!

I’d be lying if I said things weren’t going well. No, things aren’t perfect, but really, will they ever be? Yes, I get mad at the kid and wish we didn’t have a dog and cat (especially when one pees on the floor, the other throws up and then the first one eats my shoelaces). And I may yell and cuss (way) too much, but life is good. It’s really, really good.

What are you all ooey gooey mushy about now, Jana?

So many things. Too many to count, thought I can come up with some…

  • Jason sprung Valentine’s Day on me a day early, and it included a blue box from Tiffany & Co. and a beautiful note that made me weepy.
  • Over 100 of you have helped me raise over $4000 for the Ronald McDonald House in Macon. Your support has made me realize so much about myself and has made me remember that there is so much good in the world. Sometimes it’s hard to see through the negativity, but it’s there. It’s in all of you!
  • I have some of the most amazing teammates anybody could ask for. I’ve found something I love (er, hate) doing… Running. And I’ve had Karen and Amy by my side, along with dozens of others pushing me to keep on.
  • Henry, even in his crazy, wild, teenager-acting self, is an amazing little bundle of love. I mean, his middle name is even Love! He fills me with so much joy (and frustration) sometimes I feel like I will surely burst!
  • I’m in love with me. Whaaaaat? I’m so proud of myself for doing something outside my comfort zone, setting a giant goal, and being a week away from doing what now seems like a pretty easy little run. I love that when I say things like, “I signed up for a race, but it’s just a 10k,” I get full of pride. I love that Jason is proud and Henry is proud. I love that I have chosen to do something that will help me both physically and mentally for years to come. I love the rush of finishing a race and looking to the next one.
  • There are other changes going on that I can reveal later, but for now I can just say that there are amazing things in store. (Vague much?) (sorry)
  • In a nutshell, right now I’m just a big ole blob of love. I’m overwhelmed with love I’m being shown and love that I feel towards others.

    I’ve gotta ask… Will you all be my Valentines?

    Friends From Cradle To Grave

    Friends From Cradle To Grave

    Forever Friends.

    Friends Forever.

    I would venture to say not a whole lot of people can say they have been friends – true friends – with a group of girls since they were born. I’m so blessed to be able to say that I have.

    From little girls.

    Our friend’s first birthday party, 1976.

    To grown up girls.

    September 2012

    Through thick and thin.

    Through love and loss.

    Through boyfriends and church bus trips and high school and college.

    Through wedding showers and baby showers.

    Through births and deaths.

    We are seven strong women, all perfect in our own ways.

    This past weekend we gathered for our annual (why isn’t it more often than that?) girl’s weekend filled with food, drink, gossip and cupcakes. Those are in no particular order!

    My oldest friend in the world did a much better job capturing our weekend and our love for each other. If you want to read about friendships that have spanned almost 4 decades, read her words.

    Until (hopefully not that long) next year, girls… I love you more than my luggage! We’re gonna be so badass at 40!

     

    The Big Reunions

    So sorry it’s taken me this long to post about the Auburn meetup and seeing Liz for the first time in 11 years. It’s been crazy with Henry out of school for his fall break (3 weeks). It gets really wild around the house.

    A few weeks ago, a bunch of old sorority sisters got together in Auburn for the AU/LSU game. Unfortunately the game wasn’t as exciting as seeing everyone for the first time in like a decade. It was great. Thanks to Leslie and the AU locals for hosting brunch. It was really really great seeing everyone again. Most of us have kiddos the same basic age. That’s fun. The kids weren’t there (thank goodness) but they were pretty much the topic of conversation.
    I had picked up my roommate from college at the Atlanta airport and we drove to Auburn and stayed with a friend of hers. We had tickets to the game which was great and tailgated most of the time with our neighbors from college, Jonathan & Christian. That was a blast catching up with them!
    Here are a few pics of the day.
    Girls at the brunch.

    Old Neighbors, Jonathan & Christian

    Laura, Magee, Me & LaVon

    Self portrait (after a few drinks) of Magee & myself.

    This past Monday, Henry and I drove to Commerce to see my first roommate from Auburn Liz. She & her husband live in Maryland and I haven’t seen her in literally 11 years. Why? We really don’t know. It’s terrible, but that’s life I guess…
    It was so much fun. She looks exactly the same. Her daughter Blakely and Henry are 2 months apart and after a rocky start to their meeting, they were fast friends…we actually caught them holding hands! How cute is that? She has a new baby, Mackenzie, who is absolutely precious. I just can’t believe that it’s been so long since we’ve seen each other.
    Here are a few pics from our visit with Liz:
    Once they finally decided they kinda liked each other!

    I swear, this is NOT POSED. They did this on their own.

    This was their way of getting away from us, trying to bide time before we left. They didn’t want to part from each other.

    I really feel like 2008 has been a year for reuniting for me. It’s been amazing and I can’t wait to reunite with lots more in 2009!
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