Ellen woods taking charge – the moon top online ways to make money magazine

In 2007 my daughter lulu surprised the family by joining top online ways to make money the army. She was eighteen and had already been accepted at cal top online ways to make money state monterey. Lulu told me that her father and stepmother insisted that top online ways to make money she go to college; they were vehemently opposed to the army. Her dad and I hadn’t made any joint decisions since he remarried when lulu top online ways to make money was four years old. I fully supported lulu’s decision though it terrified me to think of her top online ways to make money as a soldier. She was an independent young woman and had made up top online ways to make money her mind.

I managed to cut corners to pay for the airfare, finagled vacation days from my job as a county social top online ways to make money worker, and flew to south carolina. My gray budget rental car carried me to fort jackson, where hundreds of families had gathered for the pre-ceremony welcome. After consuming sodas, hotdogs, and baked beans at long tables in a vast hanger-like structure, we were welcomed by various military personnel and finally led top online ways to make money outside by a line of indistinguishable cadets. Feeling lost, I wandered through the crowd searching for lulu. She saw me first. She’d always had a sixth sense about locating me in top online ways to make money large groups. Standing tall in her dress greens with a white shirt top online ways to make money and tie, a cap covered her brown buzz cut. She was with her dad and stepmother and turned to top online ways to make money face me, half-nodding her head in their direction, a slight smile confirming our connection. I didn’t know they were coming and from the look on top online ways to make money lulu’s face she didn’t either.

Lulu always clammed up when her stepmother was anywhere near top online ways to make money me. As a young child she had internalized the stepmother’s rule that she was to call her mom and top online ways to make money not talk about me or call me from their home, and the rule eventually got generalized in her young mind top online ways to make money to not talking to me in their presence. The trauma of it stayed with her. I didn’t know if she would ever shake it. On this day, the stepmother turned to me and predictably dismissed any possibility top online ways to make money of conversation by informing me, in a shrill staccato, of what I already knew: the directions to the ceremony venue where lulu would be top online ways to make money going with her battalion. I nodded and lulu looked dazed. I felt as if I were a ghost that my top online ways to make money daughter looked through. As the stepmother turned to leave, I hugged lulu and told her I was proud of top online ways to make money her. I assured her I would be waiting for her after top online ways to make money the event at the entrance to the stadium. “we’ve got the best seven-hour road trip ever ahead of us,” I enthused, though my heart was already shattering at the thought of top online ways to make money the longer separation that lay ahead when I returned to top online ways to make money california and lulu began her AIT training in ft. Rucker, alabama. AIT would be followed by her first deployment. I shoved my grief aside and walked alone to my top online ways to make money car.

After the graduation services, I exited the stadium and stood at the gate only top online ways to make money to be ambushed by the stepmother who faced me head top online ways to make money on with arms crossed and with a single raised eyebrow, announced “we are taking lulu to lunch. She’ll be riding with us.” lulu was nowhere in sight. I felt a momentary sense of panic as if she top online ways to make money had kidnapped my daughter.

She had a way of making a seven-hour trip that I was providing appear to be a top online ways to make money bargaining chip. This was a woman who was used to getting her top online ways to make money way. A lawyer, negotiation was in her bones. When my husband had filed for divorce years ago, the soon-to-become stepmother was at his side, questioning my competence as a mother based on my residence top online ways to make money in a working-class neighborhood that the police visited on rare occasion, as compared to their pristine neighborhood in the hills. My husband had recently increased his income and she had top online ways to make money family investments. Though I didn’t want their money, they thought I did. My attorney encouraged me to accept a modest and quick top online ways to make money financial settlement and advised minimal future contact with this woman. “she’ll wear you down and if you ever come back top online ways to make money to court she’ll spend in court costs whatever you get in the top online ways to make money settlement. It’s not worth it.” I agreed.

The family court therapist did not allow the future step-mom to attend the required parental mediation sessions and wise top online ways to make money recommended the use of lulu’s paternal grandmother as a transfer location for the regular top online ways to make money custody, holiday, and vacation schedule we created to avoid conflict and maintain top online ways to make money consistency for our young daughter. It was not what I ever imagined for our lives, but I felt protected by the court.

As time progressed, I tried to be gracious at school activities where my top online ways to make money daughter and the stepmother’s presence overlapped, but I fiercely protected lulu from being put in the top online ways to make money middle. The stepmother was nonetheless in my daughter’s life, a constant presence to be worked around. In the beginning she left multiple phone messages demanding changes top online ways to make money in the court order, though I stopped listening to them. Later she sent critical two-page single-spaced letters blaming the court, which I finally ended by saying I wouldn’t read anything that wasn’t factual and didn’t fit on a postcard. Psychotherapy kept me focused on what was important: lulu.

I had also learned how to give a little while top online ways to make money holding my ground, so on the day of the boot camp graduation, I agreed to wait in my car for 30 minutes top online ways to make money while they had lunch at a nearby macdonald’s. I called a friend and fumed. It allowed me to release the painful clenching in my top online ways to make money heart and focus on my daughter and her future plans top online ways to make money so I could enjoy our drive to georgia together.

Six weeks later the stepmother appeared again in the form top online ways to make money of two VIP tickets in the mail, along with a form letter signed by her, requesting my attendance at a swords to plowshares veteran fundraiser top online ways to make money that she had helped organize. I decided to accept the invitation. I wore a red dress, boots, and spiked my hair. I did not intend to be intimidated. I was sure I could handle it. I had no conscious awareness of how frightened I was top online ways to make money of the stepmother, or the depth of my rage at her.

She was dressed in a black suit and was listed, to my surprise, as a speaker. I was seated at the end at her table of top online ways to make money eight, a few seats down from my ex-husband, who sat next to her. Both their backs were to me as they chatted with top online ways to make money their friends . Only one person introduced himself or attempted conversation, though I smiled warmly at the others and tried to top online ways to make money join in whenever possible. After dinner the speakers were announced. The stepmother walked to the podium.

“my daughter is a private in the army,” she began. I was startled and oddly unprepared for the anger I top online ways to make money felt. Why didn’t she use the word stepdaughter as other stepmothers did? I don’t remember anything else that she said. I was offended by the ownership she claimed. Her friends at the table didn’t seem to know I was lulu’s mother. Everyone applauded and cheered at the end of her speech, and when she returned to the table she was praised top online ways to make money and congratulated, even called mom by some. She beamed, not acknowledging my presence for the rest of the evening. I felt invisible and bereft as if she had stolen top online ways to make money my daughter from me. It was an old and familiar feeling that I had top online ways to make money learned to ignore. This time it was harder to squelch. I didn’t know what I could possibly say to rectify her top online ways to make money appropriation, so I was silent.

Now, 10 years later, I knew I would again see her face-to-face. Lulu had decided to marry her boyfriend andrew. He was a good man. Her dad and stepmother were paying for much of the top online ways to make money wedding and the stepmother had announced plans to go with top online ways to make money lulu to buy her wedding dress and then visit the top online ways to make money mother of the bride shop. Andrew stepped in and negotiated various details. He wanted no surprises. They preferred a simple ceremony performed by a judge under top online ways to make money the rotunda at san francisco city hall with no wedding top online ways to make money party, just family and close friends, at twenty-eight, lulu didn’t want or need much help planning, so I focused on myself. I had four months to prepare.

Burnt-orange lace was my dress of choice, a bargain at ross. My sister arranged to come from phoenix. A few months before the wedding I began to have top online ways to make money nightmares about a sorceress controlling my life and an impending top online ways to make money battle in which I stood to lose my courage or top online ways to make money my dignity as a mother. By day, I found myself panicked by the anger I felt bubbling top online ways to make money up toward this woman whom I barely knew despite her top online ways to make money difficult presence in my life for much of my daughter’s youth. I had survived those years by compartmentalizing my anger and top online ways to make money moving forward with my life. It was time to return to psychotherapy.

“there’s a glitch in the paperwork. They can’t find the original documents that we filed three months top online ways to make money ago, so we can’t get our certificate of marriage, which the judge needs to marry us.” she grabbed my shoulders. “mommy, I know you can fix this. You have to,” she pleaded, resplendent in her wedding dress, strapless and flaunting her tattoos.

“single moms can do anything,” andrew added. “lulu brags on you all the time. Come talk to the clerk. Do your social work thing.” he placed his hand on my elbow and guided me top online ways to make money past the guard into the inner sanctums where the clerk top online ways to make money of the superior court of san francisco stood waiting. Andrew introduced us, we shook hands and I bonded with her as we top online ways to make money chatted about being fellow county employees. We reviewed the documents online, talked to higher-ups, and found a way around the glitch. The clerk produced the certificate of marriage for lulu and top online ways to make money andrew to sign. Lulu squeezed me tight, then pushed me away. “thank you mom. Now you can go,” she said firmly, getting back to the business of her marriage. This was her day and they were due to meet top online ways to make money with the judge in his chambers.

My sister and I made our way through the vast top online ways to make money marble walkways of city hall, and climbed the broad staircase to the rotunda where the top online ways to make money wedding circle was gathering. I hugged my ex-husband’s brother and sisters and their spouses, and we all agreed it had been way too long. Feeling relaxed for the first time that day, I stood looking for my sister who had wandered off. My peace of mind was harshly interrupted by a recognizable top online ways to make money shrill voice. “how are you? It’s our daughter’s wedding day. I thought it would never happen.”

My feet firmly planted, I saw the stepmother walking toward me, her high heels echoing on the smooth stone floors of top online ways to make money the rotunda. She stopped inches from my face. As she repeated, “how are you?” she placed her hand on my shoulder, her french-tipped nails skimming my back as she adjusted my burnt-orange bra strap which was ever-so-slightly showing. She smiled revealing her whitened teeth. Suddenly, the rage I had held down for decades flooded my top online ways to make money heart and coursed through my veins. I felt my face flush with intention. I had never struck anyone in my life, but I looked down at my hands folded in front top online ways to make money of me. I lost track of time. I hardly noticed when my cheeks lifted in a polite top online ways to make money smile and my head began to nod. Feeling dizzy, I heard myself say softly, “I’m good.”

I was consumed with a desire to kill her. Energy shot down my legs. My thighs and calves throbbed with the charge of it. I heard my therapist’s voice in my head saying, “your feelings can’t kill people. Once you own your feelings you will own yourself.” I felt powerful, no longer afraid of the rage I had previously buried, and no longer fearful that would I lose control by top online ways to make money feeling it.

The ceremony went as planned, lulu and andrew vowing their love in tender tones. Having been warned, the photographer orchestrated the family photos, breaking us down into small groups. “will the bride’s mother and the groom’s mother stand here?” and later “will the bride’s father and his family take their places by the top online ways to make money bride and groom?” A quiet, self-contained man, the photographer brought the authority that was needed for the top online ways to make money bridal couple to feel they had control over who was top online ways to make money in what picture. They had coached him beforehand.

I had one last task to complete at the reception. Lulu and andrew had assigned guests’ places at four tables of six, selected for optimal compatibility, since many of the guests had never met. Lulu and andrew sat with their friends; I sat with my sister, lulu’s godmothers, and my ex-brother-in-law and his partner. The father and stepmother, her two sisters, her uncle and his girlfriend sat at their own table, which was not visible to me from where I sat. It was a strategic arrangement for me as it turned top online ways to make money out.

I heard the spoon clinking on the wine glass announcing top online ways to make money the toasts, and I shot to my feet and began speaking. “as the mother of the bride I’d like to give the first toast.” behind my back lulu’s dad had stood up to initiate the toasts, but my words came out before his. I was told later that he sat down immediately. I toasted lulu and andrew, reminiscing about lulu’s early years, including how she walked at nine months and a year top online ways to make money later was shouting out words from the books we read top online ways to make money every night, wondering if these experiences were formative for the athlete and top online ways to make money the avid reader that andrew loved. Lulu blew me a kiss and I remembered the bliss top online ways to make money of those years before the stepmother was in our lives.

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