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Don't be a prisoner.

"If you can't do anything about it then let it go. Don't be a prisoner to things you can't change." Tony Gaskins

Happy to be home after a 9 day separation.

Wow, this quote has a place in so many facets of my life, concerning many individuals and situations, but the one which is fresh in mind is the last nine days. The last nine days marked the longest time I have spent without my boys in six years and I felt like my heart was sort of "outside" of my body instead of where it belongs and I didn't feel like myself for a few of those days. I am not "the mom" who needs to have her boys with her on holidays or "all of the time" to feel complete, that is not what this was about; I was thinking that maybe it was that last year I had them with me so most places I went I thought about what they would be doing or what we did last year. I go to Cozumel every year for a week and of course, I miss them, but this missing them was something new. Again, I just had to spend some time trying to figure out why my heart felt so different this

time as I was surrounded by excellent company, palm trees, and warmth, had plenty of laughs, was wearing flip flops, and truly was in the vicinity I hope to call home someday. Next year, they will be with me/us over the holidays again, but it's more than that, it's the memories we make at a place we all love.

On our way home yesterday, my stomach felt nervous, I had butterflies, a few tears, at one point my stomach hurt and the clock could not move to 4:45 fast enough so I could get in the vehicle to pick them up. Again, I questioned myself on why I felt this way. It took seconds my friends for every single odd feeling I had during that day to go away when I had them in my presence. To be honest, I feel like I fail them at times, but then I look at them, talk to them and realize they do not feel that way; it's my worry. I want to protect them, love them, guide them, but also want to do what is right by them and I know that I am doing just that. "Mom, we missed you and home so much." They both said that, but they also said that while still smiling, so I know that the missing isn't an "awful" thing. They had all sorts of questions about what I did, if I went to this place, jumped into that pool; so they remembered all of the things they enjoyed on their Florida trip too.

I can't change the fact that I miss out on essentially half of their life. I can't change the fact that they have two homes. I can't change the fact that every other year they won't be with me for one or two holidays. I can't change how I am treated as a co parent. I can't change what is or isn't done when are not with me. Every year, sometimes every day, I do a better job of not being a prisoner to things I can't change. No matter what situation arises I will continue to be a positive, strong role model for my boys whether they are under my roof or not and will advocate for what is best for them at all times.

I can and will learn from the last nine days. I will do a better job of reminding myself that I am a great mom, whether Riley and Logan are with me or not because my heart speaks to that and so do their smiles, their hearts and their love of their life. I don't think I went backwards the past nine days, I believe I experienced something new and have an entire new set of coping skills, as I am sure another nine days without them will be on my horizon soon. Maybe I am just going to be be prepped earlier for their departure to college and can be a support system to all of my friends going through the same life change. The power of positive, proactive thinking.

No matter where you find yourself today; with your family intact, in a situation like mine, without kids at all, honestly we can all learn from new experiences, but only if we take time to figure out how those situations can make us grow, learn and become better people.

Today and always, remember:

"If you can't do anything about it then let it go. Don't be a prisoner to things you can't change." Tony Gaskins

But, embrace those things you can change......ALWAYS.

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