Saturday, April 18, 2015

Who Knows What I'll Face

In 1985 clutching the last degree I'd ever earn, past my Master's Degree, a Specialist's Degree in Instructional Technology, I thought I knew everything.  A dissertation shy of my PhD, so tired of studying and ready to take on the world, I then excitedly dove into learning all that I could about the adoption of older children.

Now, 30 years later, 30 years of 24-7, 365 hands one experience, I feel dumber'n a rock.

I wake up amazed at all I don't know and can't figure out, no matter how tight I staple on my thinking cap.  I'm completely buffaloed.

I don't understand trauma, even though I've now lived it, I don't get self-sabotaging behaviors, and I can't wrap my mind around why folks seemingly make it even harder on themselves with poor choices.

I find myself isolating and retreating within - as it seems my only option, yet I can't really explain it.  Am I surrendering?  Giving in?  Quitting the human race?  I just don't know.

I feel so baffled that all of my efforts seemed so useless.

No, not all of my efforts, maybe not even half of my efforts, but, like the Prodigal Son story, I mourn over those who've crapped up their lives in their unresolved anger.

Yet I've heard from several of my over 18 years old who still live at home, that they've gotten advice from one who crashed and burned, "The stupidest thing I did was not listen to mom, I shouldn't have moved out.  I messed up."

I have one on the precipice right now, unable to make good decisions, so bound up in mental health diagnoses, so afflicted and it's heart breaking to observe so helplessly.  Another called in deep despair, having been accused of violating probation in a big city, how do I help without enabling and still keep my heart from getting smashed with an invisible hammer?

I think about all y'all, the other trauma mamas, I think about the many similarities that you've confided in me about, how we've walked the same path, seen some successes, but how we still grieve over what could've/should've been if only.

If only they've had listened to us, or followed the advice of all the professionals we've called upon to help us as a family.  Maybe only we, the parents, benefited from professional help?  I dunno.  Some of my grown kids have expressed resentment, "None of that crap helped."  Some of them have stated the opposite, "Well, it didn't help then, but it helps me now when I stop and think about it all."

Sometimes I feel as if I've spent my entire day second guessing everything, my only exercise being that of complete and abject frustration.  Sometimes the stress, the weight of it all building up in me makes my head and my heart feel as if it's fixing to explode.

I just keep pushing forward, or trying to do so.

"Man!  I had the best time ever!" Nando'd gone with his big brother Scotty to the high school soccer game last night.  Scotty's JV, but for the Varsity he's a back-up goalie so he spends every waking moment with the team.  Nando was ball boy last night in pouring sheets of rain, I'd allowed him to go after he begged.  I didn't go, knowing there was only a tiny chance Scotty would play at all, he hasn't yet and we're at the end of the season.

Nando's last middle school game had been cancelled, so has today's travel team game.  Our fields are standing water only, so are my gardens, but my soil is so good that it absorbs even excess water easily.

I awoke at five this morning, as I'm prone to do, old folks don't sleep late very well.  I guzzled my coffee, over thinking everything, reading for awhile online, here's my morning brain dump, now I'm ready to face yet another day of who knows what I'll face.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rendering Time

Nice Friday morning Garage Sales in a beautiful nearby neighborhood, yet I'm just not feeling it.  I only have about $5 cash on me and I don't wanna withdraw any from the bank.  There's stuff I do need to be looking for, I own raggedy shoes and worn out clothes, but I just don't care.  Who'm I gonna impress?  Who can a tired old 60 year old impress by dressing better anyway?

In my dreams when I can explore the world, pretty much everything I need to take with me can be stuffed in a backpack, my wish list of things I need, or want, is basically empty.

You can't buy what I want, you know inner peace and all that.

I already created the world I want anyway with the surrounding land here, where I can indulge myself working outside from sunup to sundown.

In our ten day spate of drenching rains, I think my time'd best be rendered today if I run outside between deluges and try to finish planting everything.

Nando has a game tonight in an Atlanta suburb, Isaiah and Nando both have games tomorrow locally, but the rain is still predicted, so who knows if it'll happen at all?

It was Tabby, Nando and Scotty who wanted to go to the Garage Sales anyway, so I'll take 'em both on Saturdays, even though their three respective bedrooms are already stuffed to the gills with stuff.  I did stop at one yesterday, a Thursday one as I did my grocery store errands, and I picked up about 7 pairs of Nike Soccer Socks for Nando for a whopping two bucks total.  They regularly run $9-16 each.  These all looked brand new.

I worked on CW's financial aid yesterday for his second year of college, began working on the financial aid papers for Tony who was accepted into the same college, ordered Alex yet another birth certificate from Texas, worked on our budget, texted back and forth with some other grown kids about stuff going on, and then lolled around a bit.  I'm unbelievably so much less wired than this time even one year ago and I'm liking it a lot.

I could drone on about how much better I feel here begin vegan and sugar-free, but whatever, moving on, there's nothing to see here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Filling An Ocean

I believe I'd once read about these folks in The Mother Earth News magazine that I've long read - since the 1970s when it took ahold of my heart and squeezed it until I understood I'd always be happiest with my hands in the dirt.

They've built five greenhouses on this floating space, sustainable and intriguing.

So then why did I lose that joy for a long spell?  Why did I choose raising angry kids instead?

Truly all I can say is that I was called to do so and if you don't understand God's Call on your heart then no words of mine will express it very well.

This article the other day just made my heart sing, what these folks have accomplished is both amazing and astonishing.  I'd so love to visit them and pick their brains, they offer tours, therefore my list of where I wanna go someday continues to grow.  Grandma'd love this trip too, this I know for sure.

Daniel texted me last night to tell me I'd misspelled a kid's name on a blog post the other day, a typo, as clearly I know how to spell my kids' names.  I told him I don't ever go back and read what I've written, my morning brain dump accomplished, his response, "No regrets, ha ha," defines well my intentions.

For ten years on this blog, I've whined every summer about a complete lack of rainfall, even after enormously wet Springtimes.  Again, we're saturated, my heavy mulches though can only hold onto that moisture for so long...

I'm not about to open up in this Bible Study I'm taking, most of the women are young and we have nothing in common, my opinions unnecessary and immensely unrelate-able, so I sit silent and absorb.  I truly don't wanna talk, I feel like a freak anyway what with my trauma and wild, unusual experiences, but my takeaways from Priscilla Shirer are very important to me.

Her writings on being truly content show me where I need to do some work, a lot of work, here I am obsessed with the future instead of enjoying these last years with a houseful of kids.  Oops.  Nailed me again.  It's a short video here.  "Because when will it ever be?"  she asks us, "There'll always be things that are disturbing or irritating..."

"How rare to find a perfectly content woman," Shirer explains.  Ouch again, it's that perceived lack.  I listened to it again, feeling convicted at first, which isn't her aim, but rather she gives encouragement that I need.

An aside:  Sarah, watch it.  Seriously.  11 minutes that we need to know.

It's also quite sweet to be taught by Jessica and Jessie, their very presence calms me, sitting there with Sarah is priceless - it's as if, hey, we did indeed survive it all.  Thank you Sarah, for not ever being resentful about what I did to your life when I took you along this journey with me.  You could've been an indulged only child, instead you had to learn to share in monumental ways that hardly anyone else on earth would ever have to do.  Really?  With 38 angry siblings that'll lash out at both you and mom.  Who else had that experience?  Who could you go to for understanding?  I love and admire you for your strength and for what you've also taught me.

Jessica and Jessie were both young teens in church with us, younger than that, as Sarah was then only 14 when I began this wild ride.

Our church offered 3 or 4 different Bible studies this month, Lena and Yolie are taking the same one at a different time, but a lady in our class is taking two different ones - an idea that didn't even dawn on me until I heard her say so to the other teacher.

Sometimes, the things that don't occur to me could fill an ocean.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Turtle Crossing

"What's WRONG with you?"  CW asked in astonishment.

I'd driven up the road and found his car on the side of the road, immediate panic set in due to trauma, I'm wide-eyed and wired, scared with my mind scanning all the possible disasters that could've occurred, when I discovered he'd simply been moving a turtle out of the road.

Took me a minute to catch my breath.  "Dude, this is what trauma looks like," I lamely explained while he shook his head in wonder that I could get so worked up so fast.  My nerves are shot to heck.

I got a grip and checked out the turtle, much smaller than the one Jack and Nando had helped the day before.  Maybe my barely paved dirt road needs a Turtle Crossing sign.  Nando'd also recently rustled up a copperhead.  Oh Lord have Mercy.

I don't wanna say I'm broken, but I'm damaged for sure.  Short tempered, rather irritable, tired of the 25 year barrage of negativity, it takes a toll, so I weed and weed and weed.  I cringe when the phone rings, even over a text - and Allen and JoJo best quit texting me from the other side of the house after I've gone to bed.  Seriously?  These questions can't wait?

I've done masses of paperwork while it rains, cleaned out the fridge, spent time on the phone over a 25$ over charge, I'm thrilled to never have to report drama here anymore, just a mundane routine that suits the pea turkey out of me.

But I'm rattled and resentful, still a bit bitter, craving alone time.

Again I urge trauma mamas to 'like' Dr. Brenda McCreight's Hazardous Parenting page on Facebook for the wisdom and comfort you will glean.  Her recent post:

Hazardous Parents know something that other parents don't - we know that there is nothing we can do to keep our children safe from their own poor choices. We know that being good parents isn't enough; that learning all we can about their disorder isn't enough; that prayer may not be enough; that providing positive role models isn't enough; that therapy isn't enough. The same is true for other parents, but they don't have it proven to them day in and day out like we do. I used to think that knowing I couldn't keep my kids safe from their own poor choices was a burden, but over the years and my many children and many more clients, I've come to realize that it's a blessing. Why? Because it means I don't waste time and energy trying to control the uncontrollable; it makes me cherish every day that they are safe; it makes me never, ever take the fact that they are still breathing for granted; it allows me to let go of trying to control their safety beyond normal attempts; it lets me live in the present; it allows me to laugh at the things that are funny and smile at the things that are pretty because I don't put my attention (at least not more than is required) on the things that are scary or worrisome. You don't need the stress of constant worry about those things over which you have no control (Junior's choices) so take a deep breathe, and then another, and move on. Remember, you are entitled to a better day.
Brenda McCreight Ph.D. Hazardous

To normal parents this may seem discouraging, but to us, it borders on encouragement.  Weird, but true.  It isn't us.

I gotta continue to learn to breathe better.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Root Systems

Going over the rest of this month's travel team soccer schedule with Nando this morning, a little swamped with driving it appears, but these experiences are priceless for him.  One more game this week to end the middle school game schedule, gotta drive to an Atlanta suburb.

We're getting tremendous rainfall, as I do all of my nonstop planting, I'm amazed at how sopping wet our ground is under the mulch, hopefully we can get a good root system growing on everything everywhere before the spring showers dry up.  So far so good though.

Peter Pan has started yet another job, his work history has been spotty and unreliable, I'm getting fed up, and he knows it.  Nearly 20, but emotionally still around 3 or 4, barking, "I love you, Mom!" at any perceived notion that I'm ill about it all.

"Honey, I love you too, but you gotta get it together," is my continual response.

As of early May, the ages of my sons still at home is 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 19, 19 and 21.  CW is the only one really on track right now, Chuy at a close second for, at least, holding down a job.

I say it over and over, I'd hate to be young nowadays - too much pressure to be physically perfect due to unrealistic media pressure, social media itself too stressful, a crappy job market, and my generation busted the credit bubble thus crashing the economy as we spent fake money we didn't have on crap we didn't need via credit cards.

I look around me, overwhelmed for my children by what I see.  Even neurotypical kids have it tough, how much more so for traumatized ones?  I try and give them the self- confidence it takes to make it in the world, the 'attaboys' and 'you got this!' affirmations, as I then see myself conversely retreating further into my gardens, chores, and social isolation.

We have to know when we've worked enough, tried enough, gathered enough, purchased enough, said enough, stored enough, kept enough, created enough, produced enough, generated enough, consumed enough, labored enough, expended enough, spent enough,  Somebody has got to say 'ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.'

From Breathe by Priscilla Shirer, the Bible study group I've been able to attend this month, those words have rattled around in my brain all week long.  Basically I've had it.  Had enough.  Taken enough crap from so many for so long, now wanting to holler, or surrender, "Enough."  Let me be.  Go lash out at someone else, or better yet, learn to control yourself.  Find something physical like jogging or gardening in which to release your anger and overwrought emotions.  I'm out.

The same goes for the passive aggressive crud.  Enough.

But still on the plus side of my invisible personal ledger, I haven't been this far ahead in my planting schedule in decades, if it weren't for the rabid advancement of poison ivy, I'd be very caught up, as it is, there are a couple of garden beds that can't be planted at all this Spring due to the proliferation of this nasty vine.  I'd read years ago that global warming had contributed to a heavy influx of it, and I believe it.  This after I'd finally gotten all the rhizomes of quack grass out of here.

I will never ever resort to using any chemical to eradicate it.  I will slowly pull each tangled root by gloved hand, even if it takes me 30 years to do so.

And I just realized I have a voice message from Daniel about his recent lunch with a judge who is also a mentor - this in stark contrast to some of my other kids in front of judges for their behavior choices.  I can't call Daniel back as he's at work, but this illustrates my subconscious motives that make me walk off and leave my phone in the van, upstairs, or on the kitchen table - me trying to unleash myself as I seek inner peace after so much strife for so long.


All of this biting of the hand that feeds you has wiped me out.  Enough, y'all, I've had enough.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Gone Planting

This might make me sound right ignorant but I can't tell Justin Bieber apart from Justin Timberlake, as all those young boys look alike, plus I know nothing about them.  What I do know is that the Braves won their fifth straight game, having it been suggested they'd be the second worse team in baseball this season must've jacked up their fire power.  The thought now of all the political ads and talk on the media is enough to make me tune in only to ESPN for the foreseeable future.

As tired as I was yesterday, I planted another 80 tomato plants, 40 peppers, 6 Basil, a mallow plant, rows of parsley, hills of yellow squash, other lettuce varieties, and way too late radishes.  Scotty hauled wood chips to Grandma while I had Nando and Jack helping me.

Jesse, Daniel and Megan, now close to six months pregnant, all came by yesterday, while Lily's birth father took her home with his family for the evening, leaving me more planting time.

Already been to church, and now facing a very wet week ahead, I best set to planting nonstop all afternoon.

In Georgia it's important to get as much in the ground as is possible as soon as is possible

Wanna lose weight and improve the planet? Penn, the magician of Penn & Teller lost 105 pounds

Since reaching his goal weight on his birthday, March 5, Jillette has stopped restricting the amounts he eats, and instead follows Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutritarian diet – this means he consumes no animal products, no processed grains, and no added sugar or salt.

I eat unbelievable amounts of food but just very, very, very healthy food,” says the magician.

His typical daily diet consists of an “enormous salad” with vinegar as dressing for lunch (he doesn’t usually eat breakfast) and a dinner consisting of 3 lbs. of greens and three servings of black or brown rice with a vegetable stew, along with lots of fruits for dessert (his favorite is “an enormous amount of blueberries with plain cocoa powder”) and vegetables with vinegar or Tabasco sauce as a snack.

I eat a crapload of food every days also.  I, too, eat very healthily.  When I tracked my food for a a couple of weeks with that Fitness Pal App, I was shocked at my high caloric intake, but it was also very high fiber, nutritionally dense food.

And saving the planet?  Even mainstream publications now are reporting that a vegan or a vegetarian diet has a major positive impact upon our beautiful earth.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Opening Day 2015

Soaked to the bone the minute we got out of the car, running to Turner Field in a monsoon.  Who cared?  Opening Day at the Ted, there's no other first so full of magic and promise, all those giddy, happy people who know 162 scheduled games ahead is just too much fun.

The Opening Ceremony included Chipper Jones, Bobby Cox, Hank Aaron, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, and Phil Niekro.  Good golly that was impressive.

The Braves had already swept the Marlins, winning last night to make them 4-0 with a bunch of young bucks, only 6 original team players from last year.  At the last minute Daniel couldn't come so I scrambled, but knowing I had other Braves fans who're kin to me.

I'm gonna do my darndest for the rest of my life to be in attendance at Opening Day for the Braves home openers.

I'd been to court with the second grown kid in two days.  I can't tell you how much it stresses me out just by being there.  I wanna someday have the most mundane boring existence which doesn't involve the judicial system.

And then anyone wonders why I want to be on my feet bellowing and cheering at the game?  Oh my.

Rain delay, it didn't even start until 9, ended around midnight, home at 1:30 in the morning, way too keyed up to sleep, I'm bleary eyed this morning.

But on the good news front - CW's registered for his classes already for his upcoming sophomore year, and my son, Tony, diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, who has struggled for years in a seriously developmentally delayed existence, but has participated in counseling for many years, was accepted to the University of North Georgia for next school year, leaving me busting with pride