Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy 41st!

Something took me out last night at the knees.  We'd had leftovers and I wasn't hungry which should've been my first clue. I never get sick, but I ran a fever and fell asleep sitting straight up on my bed with my coat on, sending CW to pick up Nando from soccer practice.  So freaking weird.  I literally slept feverishly from 6-6, waking up at 2 in the morning momentarily, wondering what day it was?

A cup of coffee this morning and some saltine crackers and I reckon I'm gonna survive.  I seriously don't get sick so that bout took me by surprise.

Tony'd been super sick, leaving school early one day, likely dumping some germs on me, nothing a dose of Fire Hot Pepper Sauce can't cure.

I feel astonished as each one of Sarah's birthdays comes up, she's 41 today.  How can that be?  It's been the fastest 41 years of my life.  And if, or when, everything else turns to crap, whenever I get blamed for nonsense by others who'd lash out at me for what was done to them before I ever met them, I do have the stability and the security of knowing I raised this one correctly.

I know I raised them all correctly, some of them just went way out of their way to thwart every good intention.

Tony received an award yesterday from his British Literature class at the EPOCHS ceremony yesterday after school, making me super proud of him, he's fought against some long, hard odds, and continues to make huge progress.

I just don't feel old enough to have a 41 year old daughter, nor an almost 20 year old granddaughter.  I don't feel 60 at all, I hauled heavy wheelbarrow loads of wood chips all yesterday afternoon, knowing a big ole rain event is predicted for Sunday, up to two inches, and nothing fills my head with happy dreams more'n knowing the wood chips will slow down the evaporation, will slowly rot and improving the tilth of the soil.

It had warmed up to 61 degrees, me feeling sorry for those folks in Buffalo, NY, with snow over their heads.

Tabby will be 12 tomorrow, but she wants me to check her out of school after lunch to have Birthday Mama-Daughter time.  My pleasure.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Using People Up

Scotty and Tony, a Sam's employee, helped me fill the cart with stuff I don't normally buy last Saturday for the soccer tournament.

Oh my, the stuff I don't blog as if some of my children, whose names you heard for years, are no longer mentioned.

But they're just as emotionally needy, and this Energizer bunny is still ticking, still tending to them, going to the wrong courthouse yesterday, needing to speak to their lawyer even if they are in their mid-20s, the thinking skills are still not up to par.

There's no free pass for damaged children and that thought alone disturbs me but I don't know what to do about it.

I've lost my intractability regarding criminals, now knowing so many back stories, which doesn't give them an excuse to commit crimes, but rather an explanation as to why their misfired brains do not comprehend consequences.  Or the ones so afflicted with a need for adrenaline rushes that a 9-5 minimum wage job just won't do.

I still want everyone to force themselves to do what's right, but that's not likely to happen.

Again this is another reason why we parents need therapy, or else we'd lose our cotton picking' minds.

This bitter cold weather here is fixing to ease up for several days, allowing me back outside to work which helps me process information better.  This being cooped up makes me impossibly difficult to endure. turning me into an irritable turd.

I used to give my older kids money for their birthdays to help them out, but after decades of doling it out, I'm flat broke, needing money that I don't have for major house repairs caused by raging kids.  If I bought gifts, they'd return them for cash or exchange them for other appalling items I'd not have purchased.  Besides, my grown kids would misspend it, buying alcohol and then saying they needed this or that, so many lies and manipulations that I had to withdraw or just sit heartbroken and shocked all the time at the way they use others.

I see societal exposes on TV, news articles uncovering deceit and I remain staggered.  All of this law breaking for what?  For money?  To buy luxury items that bring no peace of mind nor any real satisfaction?  Then folks trust authorities, or those in power, even less, a vicious circle that also tempts others to do wrong.

When I quote the Bible I'm seen as someone from the last century, but it keeps me out of trouble, right?  Those words soothe my soul, give me peace of mind, a gut feeling that it'll all be alright in the end. Can I not be an example for others?

What do I think about the Bill Cosby allegations?  I just don't know, I don't wanna believe it, but with so many accusers?  However I also know that folks have no defense against lies.  Basically the entire issue makes me very, very sad.  Sick if these are lies, sicker still if this is the truth.

I wanna live in Candyland.  I wanna live where folks abide by The Golden Rule and mind their own business, emitting nothing but peace and love.  Seriously, this isn't my inner hippie crying out, but rather it's my deep desire for a better life for everyone.

To sit and learn of dumb, dumb, dumb choices some of my grown kids make, to know how they manipulate others to scam people just breaks my heart.  It's as if I had no influence over them at all, they just seemingly wanna revert to negative lifestyles that aren't sustainable at all as they leave angry, used people in their wake.  Then they move on to their next mark.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Mustache

Yes, my 13 year old is growing a mustache of sorts, my youngest son who has learned some amazing soccer plays from having 20 older brothers.  "Y'all taught him well!" a dad boomed to CW, Martin, Allen, Chuy and Scotty, when Nando'd turned up the heat and scored the only two goals in that tournament game.

My older sons were beaming proudly, hollering praises to Nando who exploded in his trademark grin and constant smiles.

Today's weird brag:  The Sexiest Man Alive was announced and I don't even recognize his name, never heard of him, didn't see his shows nor his movies, zip, nada, but seriously Cindy, you're 60.  He is clearly not in your peer group.  Or more to the point, your peer group isn't sexy.

This article on stress stressed me out, especially after last week.  Explaining how stress changes the brain.  Ouch, ouch and ouch.  I know stress is damaging, but I don't know what to do about it.  If I didn't love them, then their issues, challenges and poor decisions wouldn't stress me out.

Over time, elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can chip away at our physical, mental and emotional health. The link between chronic stress and the potential for mental health conditions -- such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders -- is well-established. But what kind of changes -- both fleeting and lasting -- are actually taking place in the brain when we experience a stressful event?

Many of us know that we're not pleasant to be around when we're stressed out -- we may get irritable and grumpy. Under pressure, many people get distracted and forgetful and this could be a sign of the destructive effects of stress in the brain.

French researchers discovered an enzyme, when triggered by stress, that attacks a molecule in the hippocampus which is responsible for regulating synapses. When the synapses are modified, fewer neural connections are able to be made in the area.

"These effects lead subjects to lose their sociability, avoid interactions with their peers and have impaired memory or understanding," a university press release explained.

Then I step back and try to imagine the level of stress my children lived under being shuttled from caretaker to caretakers for many years.  Imagine what their brains have suffered?

I saw a text this morning that completely pissed me off from one who initially rejected us, finding a family of sorts who'd enable poor decisions, thinking that over 18 meant freedom from all rules, responsibilities, laws, policies and procedures.  It hasn't turned out well at all on any level.

This is when I withdraw, knowing that the enticing and easy charm of others who would help you break the law, or crap up your life, seems oh so much easier than doing the right thing.

At this point in their life, I truly believe I won't be heard, nor heeded.  Partying seems to be more appealing. Well, good luck with that.

It's challenging to convince severely traumatized, issue-ridden folks that hard work pays off.  Sometimes it takes many more years, and hopefully they finally will learn a little from their many mistakes.

Yolie went to teach an adoption class, PATH, last night, while I kept Mae and CJ through our rowdy dinner time.  We'd not had black bean and rice burritos in a month or so, soccer practice cancelled since it was so dang cold, remember our normal high for this time of year is 68 degrees, so I patiently browned both corn and flour tortillas on the big black cast iron skillet, enjoying the warmth from the stove.

My bones ache in cold weather,

I hide money from myself, an automatic transfer from my checking account to an ING Direct Savings account each month, so that the annual property tax bill plus the annual property insurance bill doesn't surprise me and find me penniless.  I transferred it back on the due date, the only thing putting a smile on my face was the interest earned as it sat and awaited its turn to be spent.  But Thank God I had it hidden there or I'd be sobbing in my oatmeal this morning.

At the grocery store I needed kitchen trash bags - a violation of my self-imposed No Spend November - but not buying them would've created yet another problem.  I took a deep breath, felt like a hypocrite, and bought the store brand box.  Seriously I exhaust myself sometimes with ridiculous conundrums such as this one.

I have a busy day, three different appointments that'll make me leave the emotional security of my home.  Deep breath, I got this.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Really, Braves?

Took this pic the other day as they were watching whoever was on our pseudo zip line.  I think it was either Scotty or CW, by process of elimination here.  Yep, that's Chuy with a ponytail, self-expression is the norm around here.

Trying to shake off my inner negativity, y'all all know that an entire sea can't sink a ship unless the water gets inside it, I can remain optimistic if I don't let the negativity in, right?

Thank you, CBS news, for injecting me with more dread this morning.  Maybe I shouldn't even read the news, who cares what's going on in the world?  It sure doesn't help my faltering mood.

Why the Great Recession May Be With Us For Years blares CBS.  Well, yeah, as long as we use imaginary money and do not curb our greed, we've set up a fake scenario, a house of cards that's bound to shudder and collapse.

I'm not talking to those who can afford to spend, but my viewership consists mainly of penny pinching moms of kids they didn't birth, all of us struggling to provide for these kids that we happily adopted.

I've been rather hard on myself this No Spend November that I chose to participate in, food, gas and our utility bills all I'm spending on basically.  So far so good.

Very cold here, abnormally so, the high will only reach the mid 30s which is so crappily unusual.

Well maybe it'll kill the fire ants, certainly the mosquitoes.

Really good article about the dangers of sugar found here.  I've not completely eliminated sugar, but I only basically allow it when I'm around, and tempted by,  the rare homemade cake.

Today Chuy turns 19, but now being grown, one still has to go to work.  I drive him both ways as he's saving up for a car.  Tomorrow Mayra turns 21.

I nutted up yesterday upon learning the Braves had traded Jason Heyward, the most popular player.  I try and never text Daniel at work, but yesterday was an exception.  I knew he and I both received the same ESPN Braves alerts, while the Marlins are spending $325 million on a player, apparently Braves management wouldn't budge, nor splurge.  I know that baseball generates revenue, but I still recoil inwardly that police, social workers, nurses, firemen, teachers, and others who serve us so selflessly receive so little financial compensation.

I was horrified to hear about this social worker being attacked, again maybe I best lay off the news feed.  But the mental illness aspect of this attack just set me off.  Is someone gonna ignorantly asked that gravely injured worker what she did to 'trigger' this temper dysregulation?  Hello?  I can only pray that the woman survives.

The Chief of Police in Camden, Scott Thomson, says the suspect has a history of mental illness and violence.

Ya think?  We parents, of diagnosed mentally ill children and teenagers,  live with this risk and this emotionally jarring, frightening experience of violent outbursts 24-7, while trying to protect our younger children.  You wonder why I'm jittery still?  Angry? Sad?  Afraid?  You wonder why I cringe and strive to remain alone as much as is possible?

Now I'm gonna go shake this off, get Chuy to work, and go buy groceries.  I'm tired of my own cooking, I think I'll search out a new recipe before I bore myself to pieces with the few I do routinely use.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cindy Is Ill Tempered Today

It's not just the parents of large families that are wondering if their broken hearts can possibly last another day.  I hear from moms who only adopted one, or two children, and the resulting bad choices and unresolved feelings in the now older kids are shattering that fragile muscle within, the one we think our feelings stem from apparently.

It's hard to not dwell on everything, difficult to keep hoping when we see huge mistakes being made, or even the pitying looks from others who know the challenges we face so often.

I tried to shut off my mind all this weekend, knowing I had to not deal with that which needed tending to, as I'd agreed to work two long days in the concession stand to chip away at Nando's travel league soccer bill.  It wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, nonstop mindless work, and they kept letting me leave to watch each of his four games in two days.

His team lost the first game, tied the second, won the third, and then also won the tournament by winning the final championship game, playing beautifully, Nando excelling, and all of his older brothers showed up to watch each game which made him puff his chest with pride.  In that third game, Nando had scored the only two winning goals.

I was very proud as well.

I watched folks spend so much money on snacks as if they had money to burn, Hot chocolate, sodas and candy flew out the door there.  I kept all of my opinions to myself, but Tabby was there helping and her eyes bugged out at the number of people, who when handed a cup of already sickeningly sweet hot chocolate, would take the canister of sugar and pour streams of it in there.  I quieted her and tried not to barf.  Her job was mainly to hand the medals to the soccer director to give out all afternoon for the various winning teams.

We've gone to this soccer park for the past ten years of two seasons a year soccer and we've not ever spent one cent at the concession stand.  I felt like I was contributing to the nation's epidemic of money problems, obesity and diabetes, yet I truly did keep my big mouth shut the entire time.

But I've been gone from home an unprecedented four days straight, the dishes are piled in the sink, no laundry done, no grocery shopping accomplished, so I'm facing a mess today.  Fortunately it's raining, I'll stay indoors and churn through the chores.

The one who's broken my heart with all of these newly realized diagnoses, the ugly ones that show up in late adolescence, continues to do so, my heart is also infinitely heavy over last week's crapola as well.  Too bad I care so much, it's not helping me, but hopefully it's helping them somehow, all appearances at the moment to the contrary.

On the good side though, Daniel and Megan were here all weekend even though I barely got to see them.

I glanced at the news this morning, appalling headlines 1 in 30 kids reported homeless at any given time.  It was numbers and examples like that that initially drove me into my calling of trying to help children, and I sit here jaded now in many ways, overwhelmed by the number of factors that seemingly drive these statistics.  An endless circle of wrong thinking and despair.

An inner lack of everything basically.  A sense of entitlement.  Parents who do not put their children's needs first, or the demons of addictions.  People who think they're too good for minimum wage or are seduced by easy money that is criminally sourced.  Short term thinking or impulsiveness, an inability or lack of motivation to work, preferring to watch cartoons and to party, rather than get up and work for a living.

Looking out my window at the world, I'm thinking every young adult must think they deserve to have an unlimited credit card with which to buy fast food and expensive clothes to party away their lives?  Nah, it doesn't work that way folks.

The article cited a lack of affordable housing which is, of course, true, but also somehow we think we all need granite countertops, expensive bling, and concert tickets to everything - there's an overall lack of reality.

My generation came from the Depression Era generation, and somehow the availability of easy credit and a lack of comprehension that it was merely an illusion of money combines with an Oh My Goodness abject fear, can this sinking ship be turned around in our society?

I'm glad that at least here in my house, with me as the driving factor, we've reduced out wants and needs greatly to fit within our tight budget, but I'm appalled at a few who think that living under Mom's roof when grown equates into Mom continuing to pay personal bills.  No, you must get a job.  And KEEP THAT JOB.

Women: get educated, stop the Baby Mama mentality, we are dooming children this way to poverty, homelessness and lack.  Call me conservative, I am, but if we keep on this way, with no regard for consequences, then we're on an inevitable slide into an apocalypse.  If personal choices with known negative consequences continue to be made, then what the heck?

I built this huge home here to help as many children as I was called to help.  That so many chose to rebel against all logic, then ridiculously expect me to fix it, just blows my mind.

Kids:  You must have a job, you must properly manage your money just as you've always seen me do.  That means you must make personal sacrifices, you must comprehend aspects of budgeting and doing without - it's called life.

Clearly I'm curmudgeonly grouchy this morning (and redundant), facing so many chores, but I'd rather do chores and get to stay home then just about anything else.  At least it feels productive.

One of my kids that lives in town was ranting against the 1% as if The Man was holding him down.  Dude, you are holding yourself back.  The vast majority of that 1%, of which you are jealous, worked their butts off, you can, and should, do the same.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Whiplash Again and Again

Even for me and my weirdo life, this week has been off the charts.

In many ways, when dad died, both mom and I stuffed down our feelings.  Me especially, just like when my sister passed, there was no time to just grieve considering how many kids needed me to keep on functioning in the highest gear possible.  My mother just doesn't wallow, her explanation along the lines of crying won't bring him back.

Yesterday's Body Donor Ceremony was a bit unsettling, not what we expected at all.  There were some 130 different families represented there for the 90 minute service, much larger than I'd expected it to be.  So many people that we'd had to park far away and ride a shuttle bus to the auditorium.

Afterwards, and I gotta say it felt somewhat cold and too businesslike, but the families that wished to take home their loved one's ashes went to a line to sign for them.  It was a small line considering all the people present there.

"Mom," I stated, "Let me get this," as she signed the papers and was clearly becoming upset.  Carrying my father's remains out of the building was emotionally rough.  Then we had to snag a bus and find the correct parking lot in a maze of buildings.  I hate hospital settings.  This complex was massive.

"Your loved ones gave the gift of knowledge," different medical personnel spoke, a true fact, and exactly what my dad most intended to do with his life.  Dying of Pulmonary Fibrosis when no one knows either the cause nor the cure, leaving his body to medical science seemed like a very good idea.  Interestingly enough, it was an idea Dad long had held, telling each of us that it would be his final wish.

Ironically there in Augusta, it was also his birthplace, as Red Hill, SC didn't have a hospital in 1930, nor does it now.

As I drove us the 110 miles I received a text from Fabian needing me to meet him at the hospital back at home.  Sandra was leaking amniotic fluid several weeks before her due date, and he had her three year old there with him also, the doctor admitted Sandra and was starting to induce labor.

Oh my.  Only in my world do we run such a gamut of daily emotions.

Other grown kids texting me other concerns such as a lost birth certificate, one needing their social security number right that minute, and a host of other issues that daily befall me.

It was suppertime when I returned home, I gobbled a bowl of granola, wanting to get to the hospital.  Two of my older sons had gotten there already to help Fabian out, and I took Tabby to help play with Sandra's daughter.  I didn't rush, I honestly expected a long labor.  I'd texted Fabian, "Be there in 30 minutes."

I walked into the hospital room and my eyes immediately bugged out like a cartoon character.  Jayleene had already arrived, all 6 pounds, 12 ounces, just a few minutes previously.

"What the heck?" I'd hollered in complete astonishment.  "That's surprising!"

"No kidding," responded the nurse, cleaning up, and telling me how very suddenly the baby made her appearance.

They'd barely gotten my other sons out of the room, much to their visible relief, before the baby literally jumped out.  Fabian was pretty surprised his own self, grinning and happy.  Sandra's mom arriving afterwards as well.  I'd really thought that the labor would have gone on all night.

It's a wonder I don't get whiplash from my own life.

Now I've got to spend all day nearly as a slightly above minimum wage employee, working that concession stand to earn the $$ for Nando's place in the soccer travel team that he loves, plus he has two games there today. Not certain how this will play out, as my phone rattles constantly with 39 kids needing me or just touching base.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thank You, Brenda

You get blamed for a lot of things by a lot of people. Neighbors blame you for the foul language they hear Junior yelling. Extended family blame you for *letting* Junior disrupt family get togethers. The school blames you for not making sure Junior gets her homework done every day. The police blame you for letting Junior run amok in the community. I bet that many of you also blame yourself for not being able to change/help your chronic conflict kid. Well, how about spending some time actually considering what you really are or aren't guilty of (wow, I am really guilty of mangling the English language there, eh).Most Hazardous Parents have done more to try to help their child and help their family than other people have ever had to do. Most have read every book, paid for years of counselling, talked to every expert they can access, used every support they can find, and changed every aspect of their lives. So, if you've done all of that - Is it really your fault that your child can't manage life like other kids? I don't think so. There are enough other people who blame you because they can't possible understand your life, don't do that to yourself. Be gentle and be kind - to yourself. Hey, you are entitled to a better day.
Brenda McCreight Ph.D. Hazardous

Y'all know I think Brenda hung the moon, right?  Her words a healing balm for me in a very trying week that I know many of y'all endure on a regular basis too.  Go 'Like' her Hazardous Parenting Facebook page to receive encouraging words.

Because I do love my kids so much, when they mess up, it nearly does me in.  My grief is intense on their behalf, I absorb their pain and it's clearly and rapidly aging me.  I feel so emotionally devastated at times, unable to get a grip, crying my eyeballs out, and then eventually getting it together and trying to figure out what to do.

Grandma and I ran to Atlanta yesterday, taking Alex, now 25 years old, out to eat in a wonderful hole-in-the-wall Mexican Restaurant yesterday on Buford Highway.  Goodness gracious, that was some good eating.

I met her new boyfriend Polo, short for Leopolo, an incredibly nice Guatemalan man who charmed Grandma and I immediately, he was so sweet and shy, eager and polite.

I'd had to get back home, driving kids everywhere, trying to get to Yolie's house eventually as Daniel was in town to be a guest lecturer at a ROTC class on the UGA campus from which he'd graduated several years ago.  It was also my son-in-law, Chuck's, 35th birthday.  I've known him since he was Tabby's age.  I broke my sugar fast for some homemade red velvet cake.  On purpose.

She's hitting age 12 next week, Sarah will be 41 years old the day before Tabby's birthday.

Our normal high should be 68 degrees, it's been in the 70s lately, so this cold snap is like being smacked icily in the face.  As always, I marvel at those who are able to endure this type weather for months on end.

My dad who passed away four years ago at age 80 donated his own body to science, to pre-med students, something both of my parents had spoke of all of my life.  Here it is now, a ceremony in Augusta at the Medical College of Georgia, families invited, and then we will receive Dad's ashes to scatter out here on my land.

I'll be very close to where JoJo is at YCA, but even talking about Dad brings JoJo to tears still, so I've not told him about this service at the MCG.  He will be here on Thanksgiving though and we've planned to plant a tree in Dad's memory and place his ashes there.

Property taxes due this week, check in the mail, fortunately I put away X number of dollars each month in an ING Direct account for the taxes and the insurance, not wanting to get strapped there in the end.  It's not like I don't know it's due on 11-15 every year.