Single’s Awareness Day (February 14)

Love

Love

Single’s Awareness Day is upon us. And if you don’t know what that means – Valentine’s Day. Courtesy of a fellow people-rescuer therapist (thanks Jae!!!), I’ve learned a new way to look at an old holiday. As a single working mom, I’ve found it very difficult to go out and date. Not only do I have kiddo, I also work full-time as a child & family therapist and write on the side. So, my time is somewhat limited.
Since last September, I’ve been aware and appreciative of my singleness. Don’t get me wrong, I do feel lonely once in a while, but I’ve been extremely happy being single for the last five months. Though it’s going on three years since I’ve officially been flying solo.

In seeing how many people around me (family, friends, etc) have dating and relationship issues and the drama that goes along with that, I’ve also noticed my relief that I don’t have to worry about someone else’s feelings, thoughts, wants or needs. I am happy that I don’t need to go all out for Valentine’s Day for a partner. Kiddo, of course, but that’s the usual.

All I can say is that I am very aware of my singleness and am so glad to have it. Happy Valentine’s Day all. May you receive all the love your hearts can stand. Cheers!

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

Losing My Virginity at 35?

My massage

My massage

Yes, you read that right. Losing my virginity at 35. How is this possible??? You’re a single mom, Heiddi! WTF??? It was amazing!

The mood was quiet and romantic with small candles and soft instrumentals in the background. I was SO nervous! I mean, it was my very first time. I had no idea what to expect, what to do or what to say. But, then he came in.

Softly, he whispered to me, “Heiddi?” “Yes?”, I reply. “You want it firm?”, he asks. “Yes, please be gentle with me, it’s my first time.” “Ok, just relax.” Lying face down on the massage table, I held my breath for awhile and then let it out as he began working on my stressed out shoulders.

As a belated Christmas present, my fabulous cousin (thanks V!) took me to my first massage ever. She knew that I wouldn’t go out and get one myself. So she made the decision for me and got me an appointment at the Perfect Spa.

I drank green tea as I filled out an information form giving my contact information, medical history (yup, they wanted to know all of that) and my preference in massages (soft, firm or deep tissue). I asked my cousin if they also wanted my bank account number, fingerprints and credit report. She laughed, but seriously they wanted a lot of info. I didn’t even fill out that much the first time at a new doctor.

After filling out the booklet information sheet, I was led to a small room with candles and music playing in the background. I began hyperventilating worrying the minute I asked if I was getting a female masseuse and told that no, it would be a man. I thought I needed a brown paper bag after further learning that I’d have to strip down to my skivvies and get under a thin, white sheet.

Though it was unnerving in the beginning, I relaxed after two words “Just relax” from the masseuse. My mind raced as he went from body part to body part, getting the tension out from my stress-filled muscles. Btw, my stress spot is my left shoulder just below my neck.

Going from my neck down to my legs and then asking me to flip over (I freaked out again), he continued massaging my arms and legs avoiding my lady parts (thank goodness!) and ending with a pat on both shoulders. “You’re done. You can get dressed now.” I thanked him and smiled as he left the room. I stretched out like a lazy lion. So content and blissfully peaceful. Then it was time to go back to the real world. Sigh. At least I got myself a gift card for a future massage. It won’t ever be like my first time, but I will keep this amazing memory with me always!

Be sure to check out Perfect Spa at their website and Facebook page. Let them know Heiddi Zalamar sent you.

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photo credit: dMap Travel Guide via photopin cc

Stepping Into Independence

Independence. Everyone has to go through it sometime or another. Now, it’s kiddo’s turn. And I’m petrified! Kiddo’s a pre-teen who will be 12 in a couple of months. He’s been asking for more independence – to walk to school alone, a cell phone and an alarm clock.

So far, I think I’ve done pretty well with the adjustment. Err, maybe not. We’ve been working on this since last May. Kiddo’s still not walking to school alone, though we’ve got it to 60% alone. At first, it meant dropping him off at the corner closest to the school and watching him cross. Then it was the corner before that (which was a straight shot to the school so I could still watch him). Slowly, we ended up around the corner.

The school sits at an intersection and from our house, it is a zig-zag pattern. And we live in the South Bronx. Don’t get me wrong – it has improved a great deal and there’s a bigger police presence than ever. But, I’m realistic. I know where I live.

With guidelines on how to walk on his own, plus using it as a way to modify his behavior positively (ie if he screws up, I walk him all the way to school; devastating to a pre-teen), I’ve been a big girl mature mom and let him go. Independence is a PITA, but it’s a part of growing up. Only I’m the one feeling the growing pains. Sigh. On to the alarm clock.

Parenting: Credit Where Credit is Due

Parenting is a very tough job. Parenting while in a relationship and feeling alone as a parent is even tougher. Everyone knows that, right? Nope. There are people out there who have no idea what it is like. There are some men out there who don’t acknowledge everything a mother does for her child. One man who used to be that way is Austin Blood.

In his post about the chaos of fatherhood, Austin had the courage to admit that he used to be one of those men (like my son’s father) who left parenting to the mom (more like ran away screaming) and continued on his merry way. Austin scored bigger points with me by acknowledging how amazing his ex-wife was (and is) as a mother. His words had a profound affect on me as I read his post during my lunch yesterday.

As I sit here writing while kiddo sleeps, my eyes tearing, I feel Austin’s appreciation. For roughly 10 years, I felt alone as a parent – running around doing everything to make sure kiddo had everything he needed. Sure, kiddo’s father pitched in sometimes, but I held the reins (had to or things wouldn’t get done). After 10 years of feeling like a single mom, I made myself one by breaking up with kiddo’s father.

For the last 3 years, kiddo’s father has been like Austin – having to figure things out on his own without “the blissful days of yore” of having me around to do everything. When he’s on kiddo time, my ex has to figure out pick-ups (we’re affected by the school bus strike here), meals, homework…EVERYTHING. And after 3 years, kiddo’s father isn’t willing to say how amazing I am as a mother to his son. I hear it from my family, friends and co-workers. But, not from kiddo’s father. In fact, I had to tell him a few weeks ago (via text because sometimes we just don’t talk ) that he should be thankful for the mother kiddo has because I’m a damned good mom! But, Austin said it for him.

Thank you Austin, for being man enough, adult enough to give us moms the thanks we deserve. I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Raising a Book Critic: Advice to Writers

Happy first Tuesday in January readers!  Today’s bit of advice to writers comes from kiddo. Kiddo’s full of surprises this morning. One was his critique of a kid’s book. As I’m sitting at my home computer desk, trying to keep my eyes open (yes, I know it’s 8:30am), I’m reflecting on his critique without naming the book here out of respect for the writer.

Add raising a book critic to my resume. I’ve been encouraging kiddo to read more (indeed, my tweeps know all about that). And since he was up and dressed early this morning, I egged him on to read before school. Except, I chose a book that he didn’t like after 20 pages. I asked him what he thought was going on with the book. Here is his advice to writers.

Get to the point. With a great cover that had me interested in reading the book, I thought kiddo would go for it. I was wrong. He told me it was the 7th book in a series. Kiddo was bored with the recap of the previous books. He was waiting for the book to get interesting. He kept trying to read it and now he won’t look at it.

Keep it simple. Kiddo didn’t understand the point of the story because he was too busy being annoyed by the backstory. He didn’t like all the previous history. Yes, it might important for the writer’s vision for the book, but without writing for the readers, especially kids, it’s very hard to reel them into the story.

Improve your writing or else. The writing didn’t work for him. Kiddo said he wouldn’t finish the book. And he’s not. It doesn’t matter how much I sweet talk him, cajole him or threaten to Gangnam Style at his school – he’s not having it. And I’m pretty sure that if he saw another book by the author, he wouldn’t think twice about rejecting it.

Writing is a tough gig. Being critiqued is even harder. You spend so much of your time making it perfect only to have a pipsqueak (like kiddo) tell you it’s not good enough. And it will sting. But, it will also help you become a better writer. I’m not saying that bending over backwards is necessary, but knowing who your target reader is important when you’re writing for that reader. If you follow the steps above, you’ll have a dedicated reader sharing his favorite books with his pals. Have a great Tuesday!

 

 

 

Christmas Day 2012

Christmas Day 2012 was a good one. It can be put into the books as a mellow and enjoyable holiday. Kiddo’s happy with his goodies and I’m just happy being in my new purple jammies (thanks to my dad’s gal pal) writing this post. And not only am I enjoying this quiet time, I’m also ecstatic that I’m on a staycation.  A full week off from the dayjob just to be home with kiddo and take time to rest. This is sweet.

I didn’t have a long list for Christmas. All I wanted was to get kiddo his gifts, time off from the dayjob (after six months of probation – I sorely needed the break) and time with family. I got all of those things plus a few more with the two new writing jobs I have now.

I’m tired right now, but so excited. Deep, deep down. lol I’m excited about the blessing of Christmas, excited about the possibilities of the future and excited about 2013. I’ve come a long way this year and am ready for my next adventure. I plan on taking that adventure after resting on my staycation.

Merry Belated Christmas!

Christmas Day 2012 008

Brave: A Movie Review

Kiddo and I had the chance to watch “Brave” last night. Yet another Disney hit (at least in our house). I’ve always been a Disney movie fan – my favorite movie is STILL “Beauty & The Beast”.

Brave is the amazing story of Merida, a Scottish princess who routinely challenges the norm of royal life (according to her mother Queen Eleanor). Merida has the issues of any teenage girl – learning responsibility, a mom who talks at her about her royal duties (mine was washing dishes, which I still hate!) and generally annoyed at not having a say in her future goals.

With great graphics and color, Disney took kiddo and I to Scotland. I loved Merida’s character right away; someone wanting to make her own decisions rather than having them made for her as Queen Eleanor (played by Emma Thompson) would do. Throw in a legend into the mix and here’s yet another movie I’d like to add into my dvd collection.

Even better? Kiddo began repeating lines from the movie copying the Scottish accent. We give “Brave” five stars!

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