So I had a really cool conversation with my 17 year old son JD. As the summer was coming to a close, I think he was taking some kind of internal inventory. He is entering his senior year in high school so I think he's right on time to do that. Our conversation was kind of a check list of the things he'd like to do and accomplish this year. At some point we started to talk about how to actually implement one of his goals and I said, "Ask THEM for help. Ask THEM (your spirit committee on the other side and of course your higher power) to present stepping stones and all you have to do is to make sure that whatever work is presented with each 'stone,' you do." I thought about it and it really is how I operate especially in difficult situations. In December of 2007, I made the decision to leave my then wife. The marriage was not working at all and I knew in my spirit it was the best thing for all of us (myself, my son and her) to dissolve the marriage. The decision was extra hard because we were newly married- a year and a half prior - and I had uprooted JD from Brooklyn, NY, ,where he grew up, to move about 2 and a half hours upstate to a very suburban neighborhood. We bought a brand new house, had brand new cars, she was retired and I was working from home and we made friends. Most importantly though, JD was super successful with the whole transition. He made lots of friends, was quarterback of his HS team and was thriving. I didn't mind uprooting him so much though because anyone who knows the NYC public HS experience will attest that it's a nightmare. Over crowding. Kids not getting into even their zoned schools. So it was a seemingly fool-proof plan that after she and I married in Canada (one day maybe I won't have to seek equality via another country - oh my bad... soap box tangent,) it seemed perfect to buy a home in a nice little suburban neighborhood where my kid could go to a decent school that just happened to be right up the block from our house. Sounds like utopia eh? Would coulda shoulda been... but it wasn't. So hyper-flash forward to my decision.
At first we didn't tell JD. He was doing so well that we didn't want to mess that up. The plan was, we would live together as if, until he successfully graduated HS and then we would go our separate ways. It was a noble idea... we made as good an attempt as ex's can and by June when his school year was ending, it was apparent that it would be a hot mess to drag this on any further. Now at this point I was unemployed because the company I worked for went under so I was really at a loss. How do I just up and leave with no job, no apartment waiting for me, and no guarantee that i wouldn't destroy (how tela-novella) my sons life with my decision?
"I need help!" I told (ok maybe demanded) THEM. "Something... show me something...lay out the next step...please...whatever work comes along with it I will do...just show me my next step!" I cried myself to sleep that night.
That night I had a dream... (Blue is a dreamy color so I wrote my dream in blue)
I was telling JD's dad that I was moving back to Brooklyn by the fall. I told him that I'd found a job back in Brooklyn on Craig's List and I just needed the summer to get my shit together to move myself and JD back to Brooklyn by the fall. He readily agreed.
I woke up. There was this feeling of ok... for the first time in a long time I felt like I was going to be ok. I thought about the dream and about what I'd asked for the night before. At first, I didn't put the two together, because I didn't ask for a dream, I asked for a stepping stone and that's not how I pictured it coming to me, so I almost just ignored it. BIG MESSAGE HERE PEEPS... I've seen this a thousand times, we shoot ourselves in the foot. We ask for something and then when it doesn't show up in the way we envisioned it, we over look the gift.
I recounted the dream to my bestie, Tracy who said, "Um hello... do you not think the dream told you your next step?" Wow... seemed so obvi once she said it. So I called JD's dad who readily agreed to take him for the summer and then I went on Craigs List and sent out my resume to about a dozen places in Brooklyn where I ultimately wanted to move back to. I received only one response to my resume and they asked to meet with me. Hmmmm... seemed like the next stepping stone presented. Now LISTEN UP AGAIN (I don't mean to yell but I have to,) here's the NUGGET (the little gem (Ha...pun totally intended) the prize if u will, the key or trick to something) - When the stepping stone presents itself, it usually comes with an assignment(s) for you to complete. DO THE WORK THAT PRESENTS WITH THE STONE!!. For instance when the first stone presented, the dream, the work that came along with it was to contact JD's dad and send out my resume. Now the awesome thing is that it's ALL you need to do, nothing more. You don't have to WORRY about stepping stone number 6 (or the work that will accompany it) if you are only on number 1, all you have to FOCUS on is the stone you are on and any work that came along with it and eventually you will get to your destination one step at a time.
So, the interview presented first (the next stone.) It was for a Friday which I found odd but I went with it anyway figuring there was a reason for it. Of course there was, they needed me to come back for a second one on Monday and being that it was Friday, I would now get a much needed weekend in Brooklyn with my G.I.P's. I went back on Monday and sealed the deal. I was to start in the middle of June only 2 weeks before JD finished school. This was the next stepping stone.
It was hard to leave JD upstate for 2 weeks with my ex to finish school but I knew he was totally safe with her so I sucked it up and dealt. That was the work that came along with this stepping stone... swallowing my pride and ego to leave him upstate for 2 weeks with her which meant admitting without words that I trusted she'd take care of him. I did it and I started my job and at the end of the 2 weeks, I drove up, picked him and a bunch of my stuff up and dropped him off ( work from previous stone.)
I slept on Tracy's living room floor on an air mattress for the entire summer and converted a corner rack into my closet. It was the happiest I'd been in years. Peace is priceless. Upstate I had "the dream;" Owned a big house with land and a two car garage, each of us with an SUV, low mortgage, the whole 9, ya know the "power lesbian american dream." The only thing missing was peace and happiness. My heart never felt safe up there (which is in my opinion one of the most important aspects of a relationship.) But here in my little corner, I did.
The next stone was simply re-acclimating back to Brooklyn which took a NY minute for me. This stone would last longer than the others - they aren't all the same size you know - it would last the whole summer and the work was actually just to live and enjoy my summer. I did just that. I even had a hot summer romance - go me!
At the end of July when JD and I were on the phone, a little stone presented in that he started to talk about his next school year upstate. I knew in my heart that I had to tell him right then and there that we would not be returning. I did and he took it like a champ. Again I think that things present at the perfect time. Had I tried to force this earlier I think it would never have gone so well. I told him that at the end of the summer, he would return to Brooklyn and that right now we may be staying at Tracy's for a minute. "Where will I go to school," He asked, "I'm not sure," I replied but I have no doubt it will be exactly where you need to be." I assured him. "Trust and believe that the stepping stones will present," I finished. He agreed.
JD returned the last week of August. I slept on Tracy's sofa and he slept on the air mattress. We would immediately go look for schools as he needed to be with me to do that, I'd waited until then to look. Many people suggested one school to be a very good school. I knew someone in that zone so I did what any loving parent would do, I asked if I could use their address to get my child into a good school. She agreed. Simple enough I thought and I went to the Dept of Ed building in that zone. I filled everything out and when the woman interviewed us she said, "Oh no there is no room in that school for incoming 11th graders, you have to choose between these 3 other schools." Let me just say, it was slim pickins. I didn't like the idea of ANY of the 3 so I looked at JD and said, "What does your gut say." He chose one. I said, "Ok then that's the one." It was weird because we were so pressured to choose that I felt like whatever... it will work out. Somewhere (and here's where faith comes in people) I knew that if it was the wrong choice, I'd be led to the right one.
"I wanna go by the school Mom and talk to the football coach," JD said to me one morning. So (and here's another key to stepping stones, your gut knows) just for shits and giggles, I drove him by the school. Honestly I wasn't sure we'd find the team practicing but I figured what could it hurt. Anything to make him feel solid about starting a new school. Sure enough there they were practicing. JD made me so proud as he marched across the field and shook the coaches hand and introduced himself. A few minutes later, he came over to me with the coach who was handing me papers and basically telling me what I needed to do in order for JD to be on a bus two days later to go away with them to football camp. Next stone... the work... to let my baby go away with a group of people I didn't know - I find this work to be the hardest. I got him a physical, signed consent and came up with a quick 600 bucks and kissed him goodbye 2 mornings later. I appreciated the limited time I had to think and reconsider cause I've found that I have in the past talked myself out of things when I spend too much time on second guessing.
"You got shot with a BB gun!" I went from 0 to 10,000 in 2.2 seconds when JD came home and showed me his hazing scar. Apparantly some knucklehead on the team thought it would be funny to shoot all the newbies with a BB gun. Mother bear kicked in and in a minute it was all clear. He's going to private school! There is one right by my day job and I will call my father right now and tell him his grandson needs tuition and that's it. New stone here... sometimes stones present as thoughts, just simple thoughts. Work - call dad and get money, go to school and enroll him. It was all taken care of by 2pm the next day... he was officially enrolled in a place that i felt my heart at rest about. Now let me address something here. Some of you may say, "Well how is it a stepping stone that your kid got shot with a BB gun? My answer...Because I would never have approached my dad for the money or actually considered putting my kid in Catholic School ( like I went to growing up,) until his safety was jeopardized and I threw my pride in the garbage. The beauty of the gun shot is that it was in his butt and for those of you who know us, neither JD nor I are not remotely lacking in that area so the benevolence of the higher power to have it be in probably the least painful and least scarring place is a beautiful thing (always try to see the positive.)
The final stepping stone to my story is an apartment... After 2 weeks of JD and I co-habitating in the same room again ( as a single mom, he was raised for the first 12 years of his life in a studio apartment until a fire forced us into a 2 bedroom duplex,) it was time to get a place. I had no money saved and no idea where to even begin. I very firmly told THEM (OK maybe I raised my voice just a tad,) I need a place that I don't need to put security on where JD would have his own room and that doesn't cost alot...1200 max. That afternoon I learned of a sublet that would be available the following week ( a friend of a friend) asking 1150/month with no down payment...almost perfect... I forgot to specify the neighborhood but for now it would work. We moved in the next week and lived there for the following 5 months. I won't tell you what happened next because it will be the opening paragraph to my next posting about the law of attraction but I will say this...
Trust and Believe that if you ask for your life to be presented to you in stepping stones, I promise you it will. Make sure you do the assignments that come with each stone and DON'T expect the stones to look a certain way, they come in all sizes and shapes so be open to anything being a stone. Give it a try with simple stuff first so you don't feel like you are risking anything. Hey and don't forget to holla at me, I'd love to hear how it goes. Oh and most importantly, for God sake (and your own) have fun. See it as a treasure hunt as opposed to a chore. Life can be magical if you just believe it is!
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