Spirituality

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I intended to write this post about the Divine Intervention session I had on Friday but today has been an up and down roller coaster of emotions that I feel needs to be processed properly and takes precedence over that. In short, it was amazing and I can really feel a major shift going on which is probably in part the reason why I feel so emotional today.

Today April 26th is my youngest son Miles’s 15th birthday. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten to see him in almost 4 years. Parent alienation is a real and terrible thing. I have a very close and awesome relationship with my oldest son Tyler, Ty we affectionately call him. Ty lives with his grandparents, my ex-husband’s parents and they are very good to him. Ty moved out when he was 16 because he couldn’t stand living under my ex-husband’s thumb any longer. They always butted heads and he was actually very mean to Ty, like cruel even. I could never understand it being our firstborn why he treated him so poorly. I observed a jealousy he harbored against him early on even. I was a stay at home mother and Ty and I have always been super close.

This post is about Miles however. My boys are almost 4 years apart and I always refer to him as my sunshine🌞 and my snuggle bunny! He came into this world so happy, full of life with dimples highlighting his big smile and a great giggling laugh😂 Lately and because of our separation unfortunately Ty is the only person who gives me updates on his brother’s wellbeing. My ex has refused to speak to me for over 6 years now. It’s so ignorant and petty, trying to erase me because he’s hurt still that I wanted a divorce. He must be because to have moved on and having two new children with his current partner still has him apparently bitter towards me. He still thinks having nothing to do with me is the best option. He is oblivious to the fact he is actively hurting my boys, our boys. Ty has told me he can’t understand why his father had two more children and that they were the exact reason he moved out at 16.

Ty has told me Miles is becoming more and more angry. Especially now with our current lockdown and quarantine situation, he has to participate in long distance schooling and doesn’t see his friends. He is stuck in a house with a two year old and a 10 month old daily. His father hardly pays him any attention because the little ones demand so much of his time and because his mind has been poisoned to believe lies about his mother. Miles hasn’t spoken to me on his own in over three years. He will only talk to me when he’s with Ty at their grandparents house. I write hand written letters to him all the time because I have been blocked from social media and he has asked Ty to not give me his cell number.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t completely see and understand why he is so angry. His father and I divorced when he was only 6. I needed to recreate my life after all the trauma I endured in the state we were living in and I made the hardest decision of my life to move very far away to another region of the country to do it. In the beginning we would talk all the time, video chat and I would make yearly trips back to visit. In the last four years my finances have been terrible and I can’t afford the trip. I get it he feels abandoned. He blames me because that’s what he hears from his father. At 15, he lacks the emotional maturity and life experiences that Ty has at almost 19 and living on his own for almost 3 years. Living with his grandparents just started 7 months ago. Before that his girlfriend’s mother let him live with them. The lack of communication on my ex-husband’s side towards me has had me in the dark and unaware if most of these details until recently.

I should mention too that from 2017 up until Christmas of 2019 I had zero communication with either of my sons. That was a very dark and depressing time for me. I finally reached out to my ex brother in-law and begged him to give me my ex-husband’s phone number. I called but he refused to answer. I asked my sister to reach out and get a message to Ty. As soon as Ty knew I cared and was looking for him, he reached out via social media. It was the best Christmas present I could ever get!

Since Ty and I have reconnected, I have been patiently waiting for Miles to come around but from what Ty tells me poor Miles’s is getting more and more angry. He doesn’t want to interact with Ty even much anymore and they were so incredibly close during and after the divorce. I know it hurts Ty and today everything came to a boiling point .

It was pouring raining there today. Ty rode 6 miles on his bike to his father’s house with the birthday card I sent, a gift card from me, a letter I had written a month ago (I’m not allowed(according to him, not court appointed to have my ex-husband’s address , therefore everything must be mailed to his parents house. Let me state here too that I share 50% custody of my boys as is stated in our divorce decree) and $40 in cash he was giving to his brother for his birthday. Miles refused to come outside and told Ty he didn’t want anything from me. When Ty called he was really upset. He told me, “Mom, I have to move Miles out of Dad’s.” We spoke at length about what I believe Miles is going through at 15, taking into account his current living situation and being shutoff from his mother. I told Ty how proud I am of him for attempting to deliver the gifts. I told him he is being the bigger person, with so much emotional intelligence for a young man and being the man I raised him to always be…. kind, considerate and compassionate towards others, especially family.

I went for a twelve mile run after hearing all of this. The first long distance run I’ve taken since before the shutdown. I love the park near my house because it has a huge lake and a beautiful ten mile path looping around it just south east of Dallas. Running in general clears my head and is how I processed my divorce 10 years ago. Running near water soothes my soul💙

View from a bridge

When I run I usually talk with God. Sometimes out loud depending on if I’m alone on the path but mostly in my head. This afternoon I asked God to touch Miles’s heart and allow him to feel my love for him and his brother’s love too. Ty was really upset and thought for sure he wouldn’t change his mind when I told him I had a feeling he would. I definitely didn’t expect him to do a 180 turn around today, but that’s exactly what happened! Thank you God🙏 Miles agreed to meet him halfway so he could get his gifts.

Here’s a picture from the very last birthday we actually spent together, 9 years ago when he was turning 6🎉

Happy birthday Miles🎉

Here’s a picture Ty took and shared with me from over the summer. This shot showcases Miles’s goofball personality 😂

Miles is the ultimate gamer🎮

To sum up today I will share a painting and a poem I finished yesterday. It’s interesting how both were started on Friday night before any of this happened. I think my mind must have been channeling it and trying to process it beforehand. I am so grateful for my creative outlets that help me make sense of my big giant heart💖

Can’t see the forest for the trees🎨
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I now have 2 books of poetry available on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Musings-Maria-Pratico/dp/1798567504/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=%22emotional+musings%22&qid=1587010926&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087H7D1VS/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Emotional+Musings&qid=1587663034&sr=8-3

Spirituality

Love overflowing

My oldest son is here in Dallas visiting me my dear readers and I couldn’t be happier! Tyler is 18, turns 19 in August, and has grown into such a thoughtful, insightful and mature man. He really blows me away with his point of view on life. I must admit, he has his stuff way more together than I ever did at that age!

We are staying a block away from the hotel I work inside of in downtown. Last night I took him to see where I work and he was able to meet many of the people I see on a daily basis inside The Statler hotel. He was immediately impressed by the ambiance of the hotel with it’s rich history and background of being g one of Mr. Conrad Hilton’s flagship properties. There is something to be said for cultivating meaningful relationships with the people you work with because many of them told Ty how much I brag about him and treated him like a king!

My heart is bursting with pride for how smitten my dear friend and the owner of the boutique I manage took to him❤ He has already asked me when we will get yo see her again because he enjoyed her company so much! I must admit how fulfilling it is to see all of my hardwork pay off as a stay at home for the twelve years I was raising him and my younger son.

Miles may still feel not ready to rejoin our little threesome because of the alienation my ex-husband has caused, yet I know it is only a matter of time. He will understand more once he has some true life expierience under his belt like his brother. Ty has been on his own for over two years now and works a full time job with a good company. He has confided in me that Miles feels angry and perhaps abandoned which is something I completely understand based on how the divorce played out. My decision to move out of state and restart my life must still be confusing for him while he still lives with his Dad. He was so young when we separated, only 5 years old. Miles didn’t get near enough alone time and attention from me. Tyler and I had almost four solid years together before Miles was born.

Being able to embrace my role of Mom is exhilarating and fills me with such joy and peace! I live on a ton of faith and hope because we live so far away from one another. Having Ty around me reminds me of the greatest and most honorable reasons to be alive. We have been through so much together and it is so refreshing to see what a sweet and kind man at 18 can be like. My boys are the two best accomplishments in my life and they make me so proud to hold the title of Mom.

Ty goes back to Rhode Island on Monday so for now we are enjoying every minute together as you dear readers can see in these pictures 🥰

Mother & son
Enjoying a laugh together
At the pool

This is the best gift I could ever have, the pleasure of time off work spent with one of my favorite and most loved people in this world❤

Spirituality

Stuck on memory lane

Ahhhhhh dear reader’s I can tell I’m neck deep in my own “stuff” when I wake up and immediately feel left over anxiety and frustration from the night before. Any little irritation sets me spinning off and yes I have been feeling quite heavy for the past 2 days as I reminisce about the good ol days of my youth. Since my last post I have been stuck on memory lane💭

Sadly, on Sunday my Mom called me to tell me that my step sister Liz’s husband passed away. My parents are both not well enough to travel from Florida to New Jersey for the service. I immediately thought of my nephews and niece who are now without their Dad. He was a great father and he and my sister were married for over thirty years. There are six of us siblings all together and I fall second to the last in age order. Here is a picture of all of us at their wedding sometime in the early 80’s…..

That’s me on the left😊 I was probably 7 or 8 years old.

My parents came into their marriage together with two children each. Back in the late 70s they did the best they could to create a blended family, which was extremely difficult because of our wide age gaps. My step brother Jay is twenty years older than me, my step sister Liz is eighteen, then comes my sister Tami (my Mom’s oldest daughter) who is twelve years older, then my brother Billy is ten years my senior. My parents had me in 1977 and lastly the baby of our family, my sister Gina was born in 1979. Thinking back I remember us all always spending holidays together.

When someone passes it always makes me think of the past and how fast time has gone by.  I remember the little girl I was so wide eyed with wonder, curious about everything and super shy. I really didn’t break out of that phase until I started dancing competitively at around age 10. With all I have unearthed surrounding my sexual abuse at age 5 and 6, I have been slowly going back in my memory bank. That expierience taught me how to dissociate and being numb to my own feelings began there. Eventually I developed Complex PTSD, but that diagnosis took many years to come about.

Little Maria age 3
Silly Maria age 5

For this post however I’m choosing to focus on how my youngest sister Gina and I had the best of everything provided to us. She and I are just twenty-two months apart. I call her G, she was my first best friend, we did absolutely everything together and my Mom dressed us alike for too many years I think🤣 Looking back at these pictures however, I must admit how darn cute the two of us were (are)❤

Sisters in the summertime
We ❤ this hammock

We grew up in a very idyllic neighborhood, nowadays I would compare it to Mr. Rogers’s. Our small town, Wyckoff, NJ is located just 15 minutes from NYC. Everybody knew everyone, all the kids in the neighborhood rode our bikes together, played on each other’s front lawns and swan in each other’s pools in the summer. Our neighbor directly across the street became my first friend outside of family because our mother’s were pregnant with us at the same time and I like to say we were bonded in the womb 😄 Around Christmas time, we would dress up and go caroling. Even my grandparents joined us and the neighbors would invite us in for hot chocolate and cookies. You could run to any neighbor’s house at anytime and feel welcomed. My sister and I went to summer camps, took all kinds of lessons including tennis, swimming, dance, piano, art, and sewing just to name a few, played sports and went on at least one family vacation yearly. We were extremely blessed to have been exposed to so much from an early age.

My sister Gina and I both started dancing soon after we could walk. I know I was around 2 years old. We were always paired in duos once we started dancing in competitions and we were always next to each other in the same line (our director said it made it easier for our Mom to take pictures!) usually front row, in all of our dance numbers. Thinking back, dancing was the highlight of my childhood and into my teenage years, creating my passion for dance and movement today 💃❤

Jazz sisters
“Dreamgirls” opening recital dance

Since G lives in Florida and I live in Texas, we are far away from each other. I can’t just get in my car and meet her to get our nails done or grab some coffee. When I was married and lived in Rhode Island while she was living in New Jersey, we used to meet at a half way point on I95 a lot so our children could see each other. Many times I would take her daughter and son back up with me to RI so the cousins could spend quality time together. I also used to drive down to NJ at least once a month to stay at my parent’s house for the weekend so everybody could visit together. Lately I have been thinking about her and missing those times we spent together a lot! So much time has passed since the sweet days of our youth and early adulthood. I’ve been experiencing a lot of inner child wounds that keep bubbling up to the surface. That’s what happens after you stuff a dark secret away for thirty-five years. It’s like holding a balloon under water, eventually it will find it’s way to the surface.

So I have spent much of the past two days in my head and in my shadow. All of the old beliefs about myself, old thinking patterns, nightmares and memories are back in full force. It feels sticky and honestly very awful. I must console myself by myself because that is the job of reparenting. It’s bittersweet because as much as I love these pictures, I can’t really remember any of the specific details that go along with them. My memories are really hazy and clouded by fear, anxiety, stress and an overwhelming sense of panic. I have often said my body felt like it ran on a motor of all of these fore mentioned feelings. Healing comes in waves. I’m weary and I feel weak. Time to retire this heavy head and ❤ of mine.

I wrote this poem before I fell asleep last night…