Monday, May 31, 2010
"What's the problem here?" the burly hospital security guard asked, getting up from his post, no doubt thinking a brawl was fixing to commence.
Seeing a raggedy-butt white woman appearing to struggle with two larger Hispanic guys, while two other teenagers were also trying to support, or restrain, the two who looked so banged up, his Hinky Alarm must've been blaring from within. One was barefoot, the other wearing socks without shoes, but fortunately still with swimming trunks.
I knew when I drove my van back home, after our seven hour ordeal taking Paloma back to OTP, accompanied by several surly acting-out strugglers, I knew I was jinxing my ownself. Always in the back of my mind is the thought involving what ifs?
I did make it to church, glad I did, a wonderful baptism service, some incredible testimonies, and I'd run back home to find Sarah and her dad visiting with Grandpa, while my brother Jimbo watched in alarm. Grandpa's not looking real good lately. He's almost completely stopped eating, looking skeletal and frail.
By nightfall I'd found myself back home, waiting for CW to come back with some folks from church, listening to thunder on the porch, hanging out with Jimbo and Yolie.
The story I finally got out of the participants, Martin and Chuy, who'd been playfully wrestling on the living room floor, when Chuy'd lost his balance and couldn't break his fall properly, managing to somehow slam Martin's neck in a precarious lean-to position, while landing on the side of his own face hard in an unprotected manner.
"Want me to go get Mom?" Sabrina unhelpfully asked, and both boys predictably told her no.
Well, do you all really think I'm not gonna walk through my own living room at some point?
I found them both lying motionless on the floor, 15 minutes later, Chuy still crying in anguish. Chuy NEVER cries. Ever. I was trying to determine where they'd hurt themselves, both protesting when I wanted to call an EMT. The dad who brought CW home, now an attorney, used to be a paramedic back in college. He checked out the boys and tentatively decided they were OK.
Another 40 minutes involved in trying to get Chuy up, still sobbing, he simply couldn't walk, couldn't support his weight, and I pitched a hissy, getting CW and Allen to help drag him to the van, ordering Martin to come also. I was very concerned about the stiff and unnatural tilt to his neck, as he couldn't straighten it up.
"Anyone else injured in the melee?" an unhelpful administrative hospital clerk snapped at me.
Hey this was a first for me too.
It took four long hours in the ER to determine they'd eventually both be OK, Martin needing muscle relaxers, and Chuy's face is gonna be bruised today. I crawled into my bed close to three in the morning, knowing my internal body clock would awaken me within just a few short hours.
Lord have mercy, this ole bat needs her sleep.
Turns out I also accidentally must've put JoJo's Depakote (meds for aggression) in Paloma's sack, Kroger pharmacy worked out a generic replacement, sweet Rhonda calling me back with a solution, but I gotta come up with cash, this after a $1000 outlay to the dentist and orthodontist this month alone, ouch I'm hurting.
Jimbo returned to Florida this morning, and Sarah's dad is flying back to Virginia, other than weddings or funerals, Jimbo and JB haven't spent this much time together in years.
My kids have the usual post party syndrome letdown and it's a drizzly day in which I predict I'm gonna be fairly shiftless, likely plopped bleary eyed in a heap, reading, growling and fussing over my own lack of sleep.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Paloma's been a little iffy, not too much, just her major control issues simmering, she's a bit disgruntled that we've moved on as we have done. Did she expect time to freeze and nothing to change? I suppose it makes her feel a bit left out of the family process, but I don't know that we could do anything about it. It's been normal turn of events overall.
We're debating about church this morning, knowing I have a long drive with antsy children, I'm not sure I won't be restless and fidgety in church.
"Just bring her straight back if she won't take her meds," I'd been firmly advised by one of the camp counselors. "They were prescribed for a reason."
Apparently Paloma had tried the refusal route there once too often. Neither that, nor stealing, are her issues, more so the bullying around here, and she's finding herself intimidated by bigger bullies where she is now. Now there's a natural consequence for ya, right?
Jimbo brought pool toys for the kids. I'd let the Bubbas swim past dark and they'd enjoyed the float as much as the little children would do. Now that they're all in high school, except JoJo and Tony for another year, I find the dynamics of our family are shifting in my favor, so much less for me to do, in that they're more capable now of tending to more. It wasn't too long ago that I'd line them all up and have to supervise bath time, as little boys don't give a whit about getting clean.
Regardless if I take it one day at a time, or in massive chunks, time is still flying relentlessly. Tony and Jonathan had joined me in the garden, it felt and looked terribly neglected, yet with a push mower and hand clippers, we worked all morning, transforming its existence, if only my lawn tractor were fixed, I'd be amazed at what all I can accomplish, but as it is, a very large salad of gorgeous leaf lettuces, one is a speckle variety, almost too pretty to consume, but with to-die-for onions and white icicle radishes, I'm in hog heaven.
Comparing notes with Cristy late last night, she too grew these radish varieties, not being red is startling enough, but its high time to expand my horizons.
I get frustrated at the amounts I must grow, if we're going to have any left to freeze and to can. I feel it is a hit or miss project, I need to be more in charge out there, maybe go easier on myself, and just enjoy the fresh produce. Feast or famine, no middle ground. Can't I ever just relax and allow myself to enjoy what I do get done each day?
I'm having a major passport battle due to Chuy once entering the country without a green card many years ago, not sure I can get this done in time for him to get to Mexico with our church's mission team in July. There's nothing I hate worse than battling bureaucrats on the phone.
Now the kids are slowly getting up, asking our Sunday questions, "How long until we leave?" I've been trying to sidestep getting to church, but it's resulting in some unhappy campers overall. Me changing horses mid-stream has never gone over well here at all.
But I'll end here on a high note, give my hero, Dave Ramsey, all the credit. Taking zero excuses from folks, explaining over and over that debt-free can be done, it's a more than desirable position to be in, we've long been sold a bill of lies by the credit card companies and by major ad campaigns that we all suck unless we buy more stuff. Finally we, as a society, are beginning to wake up and smell the recession we caused by relying on imaginary money.
The average amount owed on credit cards is $3,900, the poll said. Still, that's down from $5,600 in the fall and $4,900 last spring That encourages me, my belief in human nature is restored a tad.
Another hero of mine, Larry Burkett, warned us all of this nearly two decades ago. 19 years after its publication, folks are nodding their heads in agreement. But individuals, families, businesses, churches, and other organizations that put an emphasis during 2008 on reducing their debt rather than extending it will be wonderfully stronger for the effort. That bigger house, that snazzier car, that more exotic vacation—if it has to be put on a credit card or a second mortgage—then Larry Burkett's counsel is as timely as if you heard him say it again on the radio this morning
Another natural consequence illustrated?
Thank God I was raised by a Depression Era mother, thank God that I'm so unmaterialistic as to wear the same pair of black Sunday pants each week. I do have several blouses though.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I sure hope it's OK to use these photos here that'd been emailed to me. You know, Lena, I can't resist a Jesse and Isaiah picture. On this Memorial Day Weekend, it's only fitting to put up a man's photo who served our country in the Navy for so long.
I'd loaded up several emotionally challenging kids for our 280 mile round trip yesterday, Tony pitched a serious fit, Scotty upped his overall hysterical anxiety level, while Jonathan briefly threatened to return to The Darkness, from which he's been extricating himself all school year. Lily wanted to bring the Yorkies, to which I agreed, Tabby got that wide-eyed frightened look about her, and only Sabrina seemed pumped for the ride.
I blasted an oldies station and transported my mind back several decades, years in which I was very footloose and fancy free, kicking guys to the curb on a whim, and finally contemplating the end result. I was then very arrogant and fearless, but thinking over the past decade, I gotta believe that no man could've stood up under what I've endured for so long. I'm still working on the arrogance level.
Life is not to be endured, but to be enjoyed, and while I've loudly and emotionally waffled at times, my eyes have always been fixed on where I was going, what I should be doing, and it's that inner conviction that's kept me aboard this floundering ship.
We had the requisite therapy session, a very nice lady that I immediately liked, and while my eyes glazed over a bit, due to the simplicity of what she was saying, knowing that I, too, am lumped in her mind with the other parents who are partiers and irresponsible, not supervising their children who are simply doing what the parents have done, thus the required 'parenting classes,'making me wanna scream about the differences, finally I am old enough, or jaded enough, to just go along for the ride. Whatever. I can deal with it today. Proving my point would seem fruitless, I prefer to conserve my energies for the bigger battles I'll face.
The therapist pointed out that it takes six months to change a behavior, if Paloma will decide to get on the program this particular month, then she's well on her way. She's not yet demonstrated some of the more violent behaviors, she told me she feels threatened there by older, meaner kids, quite intimidated, and even a bit frightened by the level of potential violence from others. I was very impressed overall with the program.
I long, for future adoptive parents, for programs that focus specifically on adopted children's issues - so much more complex than the average bear.
Traveling makes me restless, all that sitting is irksome, my gardens need so much work, but thankfully we were blessed last night with a brief thunderstorm. It was good to see Paloma, she hurled herself into my arms, "I didn't think I'd miss you so much," she back handedly told me. She does like it at OTP, that's a good thing, maybe soon she'll open up and begin to respond to treatment.
I have to barrel out of church tomorrow and make the long return drive again, hoping my brother will join me, but knowing he's already driven from Tallahassee, and now needs to be looking after Grandpa, that's not a likely scenario.
Oh well, the drive is an infinitesimally tiny price to pay for the benefit of having her there in a therapeutic environment. I know that next week, after all our company is gone and Paloma has returned to OTP, we'll have some unsettled feelings here at home. Predictable, yet gradually lessening over the years, as we continue forward.
It's so much quieter nowadays with only 14 children still at home, so much easier, but the main reason is because time passing represents time healing overall.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Isn't it alays the case, when one has a big thing the next day, how one just can't sleep? Gotta drive to Paloma's OTP program today, hovering on the Georgia-Alabama state line, south and west of here, no major highways, so I'll traverse back roads, which is what I prefer, but not necessarily with a van full of children. Should take me some 3 hours each way, maybe less if we don't have to stop too much.
Easier to take 'em with me than to find a babysitter. I can leave some older boys here though with Grandma and Grandpa, who are both sad to have Kevin and Lauren gone. Perking up however at the thought of my baby brother, Jimbo, who's on his way for a visit, up from Florida, plus Sarah's dad has long been on good terms with them. All are Virginia connections, seems like such a very long time ago that I lived in Virginia, some 33 years since I've been back in Georgia.
Sarah's dad and I've taken nearly 40 years to work out our friendship, but we've easily done so, and we can be grandparents together for Ray and Hazel without any bickering or strife, there's just no point in any disagreements. He's arriving today from Virginia.
Paloma, however is a different story. Some of my kids do miss her, heck I miss her, just not the constant hassles of maintaining and attempting to regulate her negative, damaging behaviors.
There goes Sunday School again, but that said, after so many years of working with Paloma, I'm attempting to finally return to Wednesday night church services, I miss Pastor Tony's teachings in such a casual setting.
I, too, would've been dragging a bit after yesterday's goodbyes, but I had little time to dwell on any sadness. Jack woke up with a blazing fever and a terrible sore throat, the Pediatrician ruled out tonsillitis or strep, just a virus, reminding myself to be thankful that overall we're an incredibly healthy family. I almost never get sick, the kids rarely do.
Yolie's kids will stay up at the pool for 5-6 hours each day, a side benefit for me is that Yolie's now often here, she babysat while I drug in groceries, and later finally got a few minutes to weed my garden, surprised that there's already raspberries to eat.
Several comments here lately have struck me, roiling about in my mind while I go about my daily business. Lisa's reminding me to simply breathe. A big duh, except I realized I was truly not doing so, fighting an anxiety haze over so much lately, now mindful breathing is becoming part of my one day at a time outlook.
A surprise to find the sister of Cindy Adams also commenting, I was struck by the similarities of our existence now, both of us are left-behind sisters to cancer victims, a position that's emotionally difficult to come to terms with, for me even after many, many years. Being with my sister's daughter, Lauren, all this week always reminds me of the loss, how the children are so devastated when their mother has passed away. I have my own mother right here with me, 55 blessed years of having her in my life.
You'd think I'd realize that every single day of my life, as most of my children have literally lost their birth mothers forever. Society would retort, "No great loss," when one considers the damage done by those particular parents, but my children loved their birth parents, as well they should, but it only compounds their eventual loss because then there's the repressed anger, the stricken sense of abandonment and rejection combined with severely conflicting emotions, which results in the cauldron of behaviors that we, as a family, now experience.
I pray each day, "Lord please open my eyes to the real issues here," as the smokescreens are densely heavy, and the underlying root causes are invisible to the naked eye, hard to see it coming. But I knew particularly Tabby would melt down over Lauren leaving. I expected tears, not when she left, but for the remainder of the day, and that's what I observed. Interestingly Nando immediately brightened when he heard Jimbo was on his way.
Grief and loss is magnified here tremendously, it's hard for my repressed children to say goodbye to Lauren, for example, knowing she lives 600 miles away, slowly learning that her father, Kevin, has been superb about getting her down here to see us several times a year. That's been a major plus in our life, knowing that Kevin has worked so hard to continue a relationship with our difficult side of the family. My parents, Grandma and Grandpa, would've dissolved in puddles of grief after losing my sister, had they also been deprived a relationship with her daughter, Lauren.
Kevin will never know, on this side of Heaven. ho much his diligence has meant to us all.
Now on to OTP to fetch Paloma...
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Our local CPS has a great deal of furloughs going on, DJJ has had their share of days as well. Since the economy has tanked, it's obvious that services for children have suffered. I'm extremely fortunate to have Paloma where she is, at the Outdoor Therapeutic Program. She's not being allowed to come home today for her scheduled homestay visit, but rather tomorrow, and I'll need to get her back by Sunday, rather than Tuesday.
They're beginning to see some of her behaviors, not the violent aggression yet, but rather the very stubborn non-compliance. They've had to restrain her once, and they were quick to reassure me of the safety of their holding technique, but I'm a parent who understands the necessity.
Paloma'd often screamed at me, "Why can't you be like the other parents and take my side when I get into trouble?" She'd wanted me to tear down to the school and raise Cain on her behalf, as if she were simply misunderstood and constantly persecuted by the teachers. In her mind, that's exactly what had been the case.
I explained about enabling behaviors, accountability, and all the other theories that immediately evaporated from her thoughts when she was in a full-blown rage. "Why don't you just tell her she can't do this or that activity, if she doesn't behave?" I'd be asked, as if the carrot in front of a donkey trick hadn't occurred to me.
Seriously? If only, folks.
Five hours spent poolside yesterday, Daniel came by after work and dove into the pool fully dressed, shoes, socks and all. On his way to Baltimore, Philadelphia and DC, he'd taken a few moments to come see Kevin and Lauren before they have to leave. Marcela's baby, Marissa, called us all JoJo, at 20 months that's the syllables that rolled off her tongue, reminding me how my 21 year old niece, Lauren, once called us all Deysi for a week at the beach house back then.
My one day at a time philosophy is seeing me through quite well, I'm fretting much less, but also aware that each day gets easier. Watching the grandchildren yesterday, I'm so glad to be finished with baby and toddler demands, well I still have toddler emotions in some of my teenagers, but that's part of the process.
My gardens are supplying us with salads, with lettuce, onions and radishes, and my other plants look good, but the weeds look better. So much to do, so little time in which to get it all done.
Tomorrow I'll go fetch Paloma for a 48 hour period, participate in family counseling there, and her next homestay will not occur until the fourth of July.
In the meantime, the passport folks called with a paperwork complication for Chuy, today I'll have to be on the phone with INS about it, oh brother, give me some patience for this ordeal. Dear Lord, please open the necessary doors for us.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Sherry, one of the sweetest soccer moms that I know, home schools her five children, and is a photographer extraordinaire, had sent me action shots of my kids playing in the tournament last week. I'm pretty sure that CW, mid-air here, had kicked the ball backwards over his head.
I often look to others for inspiration and for guidance, living in my own head too much, over-thinking situations, re-acting, rather than contemplating, and it has all cumulatively combined to make me kinda touchy sometimes.
I desperately need some chilling powers, to not explode in my mind, and to shake off resentment. I'd told my FBIL, Kevin, that if raising older children from the foster care system was easy, then, duh, everyone'd be doing it.
That I know so few others doing so, locally at least, is a pretty good indicator that this isn't on the top of other folk's Bucket Lists, is it?
Kevin's daughter, Lauren, is easily one the the best kids I know. Now 21, having survived her mother's death at age 7, Lauren is a very bright, level-headed and beautiful woman. I was there, and I remember that Lauren was terribly traumatized when my sister, Ellen, died, she'd spent several of her early childhood years, watching Ellen fight cancer. How, where, and why does such resiliency spring from? How can it be bottled and distributed?
Yes, Lauren has a very strong, loving father who has since guided her wonderfully, and likely it was that complete and unyielding security, and utter stability, that kept her emotionally together through the many years she has missed her mother.
Allen and JoJo have been living here with me for some ten years now, but those very early childhood years in which they endured every level of trauma, the multiple moves, and many critical breaks from caretakers, sure took a toll upon them. For a child to not have had therapy during those severe losses, for there have to have been zero emotional security at the time, other than what their siblings provided for them, for very young children not to have known where they'd ever end up, having been separated and moved place to place, well it can only result in night terrors, unhealthy thoughts and fears, and an eventual inability to not trust anyone - all battles I later would find myself having to fight on their behalf.
Ten years ago, I held very frightened, completely rattled, shocked and stunned pre-schoolers, Allen and JoJo, literally shaking in their shoes, unsure who in the heck this white lady was, and why on earth were they now living with her? Looking to Edgar and Miriam for answers, but their siblings were just as overall confused at the time. It's been a tough ten years, as the middle siblings of that bunch - Fabian, Vanessa and Mayra - also have struggled. That any of us are still standing is remarkable, I think.
Grandma and Jack came home last night after their Seattle trip, we'd spent hours in the pool yesterday, Big Joe and Fabian came by, we've had a fairly quiet time of it, the noise in my own mind, as I think and plan, as I push away any thoughts of my own trauma and dread, concentrating solely on each day, and very slowly realizing and remembering that not adopting any more kids in many years has resulted in much more stability here at home. Each passing moment cements their security, and I can get through each day with immense concentration on the one simple fact that it is just this one day in which I need to fret, worry, function, and continue on through easily.
Emmet Fox emphasized the idea that thoughts are real things, and that one cannot have one kind of mind and another kind of life. According to Fox, if we want to change our lives, then we must change our thoughts first.
I've been too embattled overall, I'm working on improving this in my own thought processes.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The Adoption Counselor blogs, "I’ve grown used to being attacked by other professionals who decide this means I don’t have any expecatations or, worse yet, hope for the child. Well, I do have expectations, albeit low ones, and I have great hope – what I also have is practicality, experience, and realism."
Parenting children who've been abused, neglected, traumatized, abandoned, or in any other way, non-nurtured, is a constant, uphill challenge.
We have to explore, and learn, totally different methods of parenting.
I'm blessed to have an adoption worker who adopted older children, having a therapist who's done so, like Brenda, would be amazing. Our family therapist, Dr. Mandy, is very well versed in trauma issues, thankfully, as my children are neurologically different.
It's taken me some twenty plus years to begin to understand what I'm dealing with in my family.
I'm liking this one day at a time mentality. When something irks me, bores me, aggravates me, or stresses me out, I'm simply reminding my ownself that I can do this for a day. I might still have to think about three days ahead in menu planning, grocery shopping, and the logistics of a big family life, but emotionally, the area in which I find myself most drained, has certainly become relegated to the one day at a time file.
My favorite brother-in-law is here, along with Lauren and Patrick, for a few days. Jack and Grandma come home tonight from their big adventures in Seattle, and the gardenias are blooming, reminding myself that I need to slow down and smell the roses literally.
Every lawnmower on earth is conspiring against me, but I'll get it all done at some point, the laundry is stifling me, and the kids are constantly hungry, and we have only finished one day of summer vacation. Ten weeks more of this, but it's so much easier than it's been in years past. Sabrina has daily cheerleading practice at the high school, but getting her there is no big deal.
The other sullen teenagers can lurk and shuffle around the house, with their too cool for me attitudes all they wanna do, drama on Facebook, but the younger kids, my grandkids and I will enjoy pool time.
Matter of fact, I don't even feel like blogging at the moment, gonna go enjoy my non-drama moments and delightful company.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Another umbrella bites the dust...
It's high time for me to absorb the 'one day at a time' philosophy because I make my own self nutso, and I'm very close to doing so.
I stress too much over everything that I'm not getting done, even though I remain in motion.
To think about four and a half more years with an oppositional, emotionally demanding, incredibly lazy, terribly destructive and highly disruptive, JoJo, is unbearable. But I can do it for today.
His less than zero impulse control issues are evolving into more of a conduct disorder, he truly cannot learn from his mistakes, the reasoning abilities are not intact, and again, this isn't necessarily his fault, or even his choice. This is what miswirings in the brain resemble.
I worked my raggedy self to pieces yesterday after church, knowing we have company coming, and because I've been in high gear lately, wanting a better life, or at least one that appears better to me superficially.
JoJo, predictably and, of course, melted down and did nothing. Eventually after a series of toddler tantrums, he managed to get his own dirty clothes out of the bathroom, and into the vicinity of the laundry room, while loudly squalling at me, I'm NOT going to do anything, you called me lazy."
"Son, you ARE lazy," I replied, sweating like a pig, huffing and puffing to get it all done, he'll sit and watch me lug out the trash, mow the lawn, haul wood chips, whatever. There's nothing in his conscience regarding empathy for an ole bat, nothing that makes him understand that work is necessary for success in life, no comprehension that his future will suck if he continues these behaviors. In his mind, his future will be infinitely better without my bossiness.
"I'd rather live with anyone else, but you," he'll scream at me, as if there were tons of other potential mothers from which to choose, that'd accept a sib group of seven aggressive children into one's home and love, feed, nurture and take great care of them. I was the only homestudy submitted.
Tony, Sabrina, Jonathan, Lily, and I worked without ceasing, while Scotty carried on, and Allen had a singular lapse in abilities.
I truly wish we had nothing in the house, but hardwood floors, no stuff to pick up, no stuff to strow.
But I'll be able to handle this today, because today is all I'll force myself to consider. I'll erase the thought cramming into my mind, that I still have 1400 more days of JoJo's annoyances.
I can do this today.
I'd read, "Worrying about today is just as pointless as worrying about the future. Remember, either take action or let it go.
Get into the habit of dealing with one day at a time. You will be less stressed, a better problem solver, and more productive. Each day is a new beginning with unlimited possibilities."
Jack's been calling me from Seattle, having a blast, went to the Space Needle and today to Boeing, tomorrow night to return home, while I remind Grandpa to eat. "I will," he responds, but he won't.
6'2" and about 130 pounds, this is ridiculous, but the Pulmonary Fibrosis has taken out both his taste buds and his appetite apparently. "If you don't eat, you'll die," I insensitively fussed at him last night, knowing Jack would have a cow over losing his best friend, Grandpa.
Yeah, Dad, I know you're reading this now, so go eat. Just eat for one day.
And I'm gonna take the recycling, haul broke down furniture to the dump, mow the front yard, and keep on doing everything just for today. My gardens are suffering from neglect, but I won't fret today, I have enough to do.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
TV has become an easier mind-numbing activity for me nowadays than reading, odd to admit that, as Sarah and I once went years and years without a TV, depending on libraries for stacks of books to devour. I still pick me up quite a few books at yard sales, my 25 years spent as media specialist in the Georgia Public Schools was mainly facilitated by my deep love of reading.
I know I only paid a quarter for this paperback book. For some reason I remember prices. A memoir by Cupcake Brown, once a drug-abusing victim of the foster care system, improbably launched, no propelled into college, and on to law school, after rehab. Nearly 500 pages of an engrossing read.
I think the end of the school year got to me yesterday, my arms and legs felt leaden, I was emotionally wiped out, but duh, with the life-sucking demands on me, how can that be surprising?
Nando'a last soccer game and then a U12 soccer party, I was driving Scotty and Jonathan, when a former student of mine, Rukethia, sprang into my mind, and I wondered what she ended up doing with her life, figuring it'd been 10-15 years since I'd last seen her. As a media specialist, I knew most of the kids in each school, but particularly the readers, the ones most likely to succeed, as they needed books in order to do so. Readers are leaders, that big ole room with walls of books had been my domain.
We came home from the soccer party and overwhelming waves of utter emotional exhaustion rolled over me. Jack and Grandma went to the Atlanta Airport to fly with Grandma's friend to Seattle for a couple of days, Jack dearly wants to tour the Boeing place, calling me later from Milwaukee, all excited over his first jet plane ride. Jack's my shadow, I'm a little lonely without him tagging after me, as he usually does. Daniel's in Florida, Jesse's in New York, and here I sit.
I plopped down and read my book, kids checking on me, to see if I was still breathing, as I sat in the living room all afternoon and into the evening, surprised to find me so still, as I generally stay in motion.
I'd finally messed with my Blackberry enough to find out why it wasn't ringing as it should, something about a radio connection, and I had kept it on 'loud' so I could hear from Jack. It beeped a Facebook notification, and I kid you not, it was a friend request from Rukethia. Are you kidding me? I was shocked, but then again, stuff like that happens to me a lot, and I attribute it to God, but honestly I 'bout fell out of my chair to be hearing from her. I excitedly responded, tossing my book aside, to see her FB page.
But honey, I'm telling you, this book was some kind of good. If this woman can do all that she has accomplished, I can sure continue down my own easy path. Yep, I need to be motivated and inspired over and over again, as sometimes, I'm dragging.
Fascinating and compelling, I just couldn't put it down. We'd been given several hundred ears of corn and I'd been shucking corn, cooking while reading, and dragging the empty pile of ears out to the hens, living this woman's life vicariously and perilously. The way in which she thinks, or thought, during her teenage years, spoke to me as the mother of adolescent children who've endured tremendous losses.
Too end-of-the-month broke, even for yard sales, glad I have little desire to go anywhere, I finished up my 25 cent book, looking at the pile I still have awaiting my attention, as books are usually what I seek out at yard sales. Rarely reading fiction, preferring the real stuff, memoirs and biographies, still struggling through Eat, Pray Love...maybe it's the L word tripping me up here, whatever, it's about a privileged life that's a tad hard for me to relate to overall, yet it's still a very good read.
Like Cupcake Brown's learning in rehab, the day to day, one day at a time theory, maybe I should lighten up and stop fretting so much. I'm already dreading Thursday of next week, when I'll have to drive a couple of hours to pick Paloma up for her homestay long weekend. Why don't I put that out of my churning mind and just concentrate on today? Stop beating myself up for what I didn't get done yesterday. Ease up, not be such a Type A hard-driven personality. All that work isn't going anywhere, but just sitting there waiting one me to get it all done. Then to do it again.
My favorite brother-in-law is arriving tomorrow with my niece, Lauren, and her boyfriend, Patrick, house guests for a few days. I'm so excited to have them coming here, Jack and Grandma will be back Tuesday, I best go check on Grandpa, he simply won't eat anymore, too difficult, I suppose, to concentrate on eating and breathing, that stupid Pulmonary Fibrosis is a battle that I hate to watch him have to fight. He'd have loved to go see Jack's awestruck glee at Boeing, if possible, but it just isn't anymore.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
School and soccer has kicked my kids butts. Tired, worn out, exhausted and falling apart. The last day of school ended up with screams, rages, arguments, and meltdowns. All their abandonment issues simmering, plus transitions fearfully faced, equals squalling. Three more entering high school now, three who've been here for many years, can we please just all get along? Calm down?
I know they'll settle back down, but in the meantime, it's getting on my last squiggling nerve.
Claudia talked about the contagiousness of PTSD. I totally agree. I've not been able to unwind and totally relax in years and years, always a sense of either dread or worry hovering about me, loud noises freak me out substantially, and my mind races with potential disaster scenarios, my body tensed in sad anticipation of each impending blow. That ain't right.
Sharon's frustration with the system evokes my sympathy as well. My negative opinion is simply, there is NO help for mentally ill children or adults. How can there be? It's not like we just haven't discovered a cure for brain miswirings. Medications can help, but not fix what is ailing them. It's terribly sad overall, but even more so for the parents who feel totally helpless and blamed.
It's not that I'm literally agoraphobic, but staying here comforts me, in that I don't have to explain anyone's outbursts or ridiculous behavior, I don't feel invisible fingers pointing at me, while folks whisper, "I don't know what she was thinking to have even tried with those children," or, worse, "I'm glad I'm not her." Am I paranoid? Nope, just burned.
Like Sharon, the census bureau called me too this week, as if I'm a moron and can't count the number of folks at the dinner table, and repeatedly questioned me about the numbers, and their races individually, until I thought I'd never be able to preserve any semblance of Southern gentility, what I wanted to scream in frustration would've come out sounding like an ignorant big-city street person.
We have one more soccer game today, Nando'a last one at nine this morning. My U17 team, high on their successful season, are nursing their injuries pridefully, while I debate the next ten weeks of their summer vacation.
Like Claudia, and like my children, I'm a little bit afraid of being happy, so accustomed to the embattled life I've led for so long. That's just not right, that's surely not being a child of God, but its been a very long, hard struggle, and it's not over yet for me, although it's way easier than it's been for years.
Kimberly came by with a very, very cute newborn. I'm not a woman who goes gaga over babies, but her son instantly brought a smile to my face with his expressiveness. Knowing she and her husband will raise an untramautized, totally nurtured child, because that's what you're supposed to do, makes me notice that most folks don't even have the word trauma on their radar. That's a good thing, but it points out to me the effect of living like this, how it's emotionally damaged me quite a bit.
And I'm in a right good mood this morning overall...I just remain baffled about a lot of stuff.
Friday, May 21, 2010
"Cindy, I think Nando might've broken a rib," Claire, the school nurse began. I hardly could hear the rest of her words over the roaring in my ears. I hate medical emergencies, I'm so not a nurse, I can't stand to see my children hurt, and I feel so helpless and useless. They look at me to fix everything, as if I could do so.
CW was sitting in the orthodontist chair, mouth open, wires being added and brackets glued to his braces. My mind raced, I was already five minutes late for the Fifth Grade Graduation Ceremony, and needed to get CW finished up and back to the middle school first.
Hit squarely in the chest by a hard kicked soccer ball, laid out on the playground, crying, which Nando never does, the nurse was summoned and more than alarmed, "You know how he doesn't cry, we can't get him to stop crying." That sure didn't relieve my worries.
I got him to the local and fastest doc-in-a box, only to happily be told, "He'll be fine, no broken bones, chest's gonna be sore for awhile."
I went back to the elementary school to check on my fifth graders who must've been certain they'd been abandoned, as I never not show up. Spinning into the parking lot, I was startled to see a deputy's car. Uh-oh. Always afraid it's because of us.
Heck, y'all. My son, Joey, just got arrested this week while in jail. Interference with Government Property. Really? Imagine living with him when they're weren't guards with guns? A 200 pound bipolar rager, jacked out of an OTP Program, five years in San Antonio State Mental Hospital. That boy destroyed my house, broken door jambs, beds, light fixtures, and everything else he encountered.
The deputy at school was there for CHAMPS, we chatted out front, she's so tiny, I towered over her and I'm just regular sized.
In response to my crack yesterday about my next husband. Applicants may apply at www.whowantsameansassyolebatwithtoomanychildren.com You must have a job, an education, and a very weird sense of humor. Tolerance is a necessity.
I downplayed last night's championship game. Win or lose guys, you've played well all season. I didn't want them stressing or choking in a clutch,
Grandma and Grandpa came, Miriam, Big Joe, Fabian, Chuck and Yolie and Chuy's friend, Davidson, and I hollered like there was no tomorrow. Allen somehow got kicked under his shin guard, the park staff wrapped it, and I tried to get him to swallow an advil, but he won't take pills. A goose egg was swelling on his leg and we were only ten minutes into the game. Fortunately Yolie had Children's Liquid Motrin for my 14 year old.
CW was tripped, slammed and thrown to the ground, bruised and bleeding by the time the game ended, but again it was Chuy who took a kick to his balls, went down hard on the ground, the staff arrived on the go-cart first aid, he already had seen the school nurse about a pulled groin muscle, plus his foot was bandaged from some ten weeks of painful-with-a-knife, plantar wart treatment. Dern, he's tough as nails.
They played through their pain and injuries, this is an area in which they excel, these guys aren't going to be Rhodes Scholars, but by golly they can fiercely play soccer. I really didn't know if they could pull it off last night, but they sure did so.
They were just as rough as the other team, kids hitting the ground as often as the younger U6 teams, as if gravity were their enemy. Three solid months of every single night at the soccer fields paid off with a victory.
I excitedly called Daniel who was headed to Tallahassee, Florida for a friend's wedding, and Sarah, who was working, which is what she can do, squashing minutes in between raising two kids and homeschooling Ray, forcing her to do her accounting work late into the nights. The babies of the U17 League won!
I'd gotten there in time to watch Paloma's team lose by one goal. "We sure needed her," the coach's wife told me, making me feel bad, as I too knew she'd have scored, but Lord knows, she needs to be where she is right now.
Miriam took the boys to Dairy Queen to celebrate last night. "We're going to Disneyland!" a team member had goofily blurted as the team celebrated, I'd wished I'd had a decent camera, I hadn't even thought to bring one, as if that'd jinx my sons.
Willis'd told me, "They're not gonna let the Bodie boys all be on one team if this keeps up." My stock response is any other parent is free to adopt older, troubled siblings and make soccer players out of them. It's an equal opportunity moment. Let us be good at something please.
I just drove to the elementary school for my very last drop-off. Scotty and Jonathan are moving on to middle school, and next year Yolie's son, CJ, will go to kindergarten. I'll only have Jack, Nando and Tabby left, who'll then ride with Yolie.
Look at me, moving on.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
A girl can dream, right? My next husband's gonna be a handyman.
Really? Who gets up at 4 in the morning? That's hardly past three, The most ridiculous dog in the world, Shadow AKA Shatter, jumped on my bed, waking me up, as if I'd indicated a moronic need to play fetch. The only rule she generally follows is that she's not allowed upstairs, but she must have forgotten, since apparently Scotty failed to take her in his room for the night.
Well crap, I'm up now. Past middle aged women can't exactly just fall back to sleep.
Between the professional home security system and the inner door alarms, don't call me untraumatized, the dogs generally go into specific kid's rooms at night. If someone's in my house at night, I wanna know about it. Don't know what I'd do, other than call 911, and then wonder how the deputies are gonna get in a locked gate up on the dirt road. This justified paranoia is shocking in an overall once-fearless woman.
I worked all day in the gardens, only to later wander up to Grandma's gardens, and be totally amazed at how much better hers looks overall. Yes, she doesn't have the countless distractions and ridiculous demands, like I do, but heck she's 80 years old and taking care of Grandpa.
The Youth Group had a Pump It Up celebration last night, Jonathan went to a swim party, and I felt as if I lived in the van, getting folks to where they needed to be. Nothing feels like more of a waste of my time than driving anywhere, but to a beach. To reward myself, I stopped at Krispy Kreme for two chocolate covered custard filled donuts. Don't call me unconflicted.
The sugar rush and fat globules must've entered my bloodstream at the exact same time, because I immediately felt woozy and vaguely nauseated. One donut might've been enough for me. It ain't like I hadn't just eaten four tostadoes piled high with frijoles for supper.
Tomorrow is the last day of school, today is the fifth grade graduation that always goes on a little too long for my liking, or maybe it's just that I've sat through it about a thousand times already. After two years of trying, it appears as if Jonathan can move on now to the sixth grade.
First I gotta get CW to an 8:15 orthodontist appointment, and I'm gonna pitch a royal hissy fit at my obstinate lawnmower that I finally got the proper bolts to hold the motor mount for, only to have the stupid belt keep flying off. Does everything I touch have to be so difficult? Is it me?
Grouchy, aren't I. Nope, merely frustrated. I'd like more time in each day, or at least more free time.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Even though I inexplicably have, "If I only had a Brain," from the Wizard of Oz movie, chomping through my addled brain, literally my first thought upon awakening each morning involves a drowsy, "What do I gotta do today?"
Shuffling down to get coffee, I go over my plans in my as yet, but soon to be remedied, non-caffeinated brain that's crying out for the boost that I get from even my first sip of coffee, not stopping until I've drained the entire pot. I'm not hungry until then either, usually capping the morning off with a large bowl of oats or granola.
This morning I grinned like a fool all the way.
Last night was phenomenal.
Daniel brought two of his friends with him, and Big Joe and a new girlfriend, plus Alyssa and Fabian, joined Yolie and I to holler CW, Allen, Chuy and Martin to victory in their first round of playoffs. They played their brains out, winning by just one goal. CW'd kicked another amazing one from quite some distance, landing neatly in the goal. I hollered with joy and bear-hugged Daniel in my excitement.
I was so proud.
Proud also that Fabian has completed his GED classes and will have a graduation ceremony in June. The GED material is right difficult, I've wondered, at times, how on earth a kid can pass it, particularly when regular school has been such a struggle. Daniel'd shook Fabian's hand, hugging and congratulating him while Fabian beamed with pride.
That's good to see, especially since I'd just dogged him about a rather thuggish haircut design on the back of his head.
Fighting my own inner trauma, surprised at good things happening, so used to bracing myself for shock and disappointment, I relished in last night's triumphs.
Tonight the youth group is gonna go have a rollicking time at Pump It Up to celebrate the end of the school year, we'll worry about tomorrow night's grand finale soccer game later, my sons know they're going up against an excellent and very challenging team.
I have today all to myself it looks, JoJo here of course, but I believe I should be able to just dive into housework and garden chores, with no appointments or other distractions, an Ipod day, which is good as I have a backlog of David Cooper's sermons to listen to and build myself back up, it's been some 19 years since he's not been my pastor, and I still miss him constantly, but am very, very happy with our Pastor Tony now.
The word 'happy' jumping out at me here several times. It feels really good, and I'm not so traumatized that I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can revel in my happiness of the moment, truly enjoy it, and if the boys don't win tomorrow night, I'll still be fine as they've been the youngest kids on the league and have played superbly. That's all I wanted for them. Just do your best, win or lose.
"Do you remember me? It's been a long time." A Facebook friend request from a lady I sure do remember, as she was a hoot, the kind of woman that cracks me up constantly, I've not seen her in quite some time, making me continue to love Facebook with all its possibilities for renewing friendships.
Too bad I don't have time this morning to spend time there, gotta run outside, and make hay while the sun shines, as my mama used to say.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
An opportunity came up in church for Chuy to go this summer on a mission trip to Mexico. Someone had pulled out, leaving part of their hefty nonrefundable deposit, and I can make monthly payments until I've paid it all up for him. This trip had come to both our minds at the same time, and the one opening felt like a confirmation.
Chuy's dear friend, Davidson is going, as are his parents, and Chuy quoted Davidson, "If God make a way, then He can also pay," which we, as a family, are living proof of each day.
A long story about Chuy's illegal status seemed miraculously fixed yesterday, after a day long effort to get it all done, during the passport application ordeal. Born in Mexico, yet adopted from Texas, made for an odd paper trail.
My own passport had expired and when both Sergi and Jesse were serving on two different ships during the beginning of our conflict with Iraq, a worry worm burned throughout my brain. What if I were called over there, or to a base in Germany, if either of them got hurt, God Forbid. Then I felt, gut-wise, that I'd jinx their chances somehow if I were prepared to go. Doesn't make sense, does it, but a Mama's worried mind can be fairly irrational.
Now I'm facing the fact that Daniel may have to go to Afghanistan in the next year or so. I'd Facebooked my passport notice, which he'd picked up on, pointing out my children's separation anxieties. I called him up, "I'm gonna come see YOU in Afghanistan," I began, "I can't go an entire year without seeing you." I really can't.
Like there's a delicious Mexican wayside restaurant, in which we can chow down on tortillas, and catch up on each other's activities, as if he can just leave his troops and gab an afternoon away with his clingy mama?
"Mom," patient as ever with my demands, "If I get a break, I'm coming home."
Well, nevertheless, my old passport says Cindy Bodie Brown, I never updated when remarried, now I need a correct one anyway, right? I got my picture made when Chuy did, paperwork in the mail, I ain't kidding, y'all.
My sweet dentist, surprised that the enamel is literally wearing away on my teeth, can we all say stress out loud? He prescribed me a Valium, hoping to calm my inner and outer wiggle worm tendencies, put that gas mask on me too to settle me down, I plugged in my Ipod, nervous as a cat, inhaled and tried to nap while listening to piano music, knowing I couldn't concentrate on a Dave Ramsey podcast while he was working.
This morning both Tabby and Nando have appointments, thank God for Medicaid, as children who've been so neglected during their infancy and early childhood years are often in dire need of dental work.
My U14 sons lost a tournament game last night by one goal, tonight is the high-intensity U17 first tournament game at 7:45 this evening. I'd called Daniel to come with me, need to let a couple of others know, it's do or die this evening, even my own stomach is clenching up, knowing how bad my kids want it, knowing too that they're the babies of this league, gotta play hard against kids who are several years older than they, having lost two players so far to injuries.
Yeah, guys, no pressure at all, right?
Jane had sent me this link, I'd tsk tsked already over it. It just irks the peaturkey out of me that anyone could even think pesticides aren't killing us all. I'd read Silent Spring some 40 years ago and been scarred for life. It makes me wanna cuss, why don't folks get it???
Monday, May 17, 2010
Over the years, no more than a ton of women have confided in me, "If it were not for my Mike, Leroy or whoever, this is what I'd do with my life," and they launch into their plans and dreams, confiding in me because I'm not gonna run back to their husbands and tell of their frustrations. Most dreams usually involve adopting children, which still surprises me to this day. I wanna say, "Oh honey, just enjoy being spoiled by your husband." This life I've chosen isn't as easy as it looks.
But, at my age, I do understand the feelings of unfulfillment shared with me by many middle-aged women.
This article, about convincing a husband to use cloth diapers, flew up my craw. What is it with men that makes it so hard for them to sacrifice convenience for the good of the planet? I'm slowly, via yard sales and at the advice of my very intelligent, eco-conscious daughter Sarah, switching us over to cloth napkins, as my children just grab stacks of paper napkins for any dumb reason, throwing the excess wherever.
On average, a family will spend $70 to $150 per month on disposable diapers. For cloth, it's a lot of money up front, but it's cheaper over the entire time you're diapering. It's about $375 to get your full cloth diaper setup, but you've paid yourself back in the fourth month.
Well duh folks, do the math.
I just wanna someday appear before the throne of God with as clear of a conscience as is possible, especially regarding the fact that I've respected his Glorious Earth. I know I'll need to apologize for a few temper-tantrum slung dinner plates and a sassy-ass bad attitude at times, but overall Lord knows I've tried. God's not looking for perfection, only for a willing and contrite heart.
I'm frustrated with the entire world that blithely over consumes and craps up our environment, there's no conscious thought processed, everyone hurrying thoughtlessly in order to plop their butts in front of the TV that tries to idiotically tell us we need more stuff that's immediately obsolete.
Kiss my butt.
If I have time to make a halfway decent effort, then how much more so for the two parent family of 2.5 kids? Consider it a form of exercise, it eliminates me needing to go to a gym and spend even more money, plus have to buy cute outfits that look stupid on 55 year old farts.
I've really been reading Dr. Joseph Mercola's blogs, so many of them speak my language, assuage my thoughts, reinforce my gut feelings.
My chickens, roosters and I came to an acceptable impasse yesterday, a win-win situation, and it only took about an hour or so. My June retirement check is gonna be spent on another 250' feet of fencing to further their moat run, to make us both happier, and I'm gonna continue to enjoy, not only the peace lately, but the genuine love and respect I've seen around here as we muddle through.
Jonathan, pictured here, is a changed 12 year old, thanks to Abilify and 500 mgs of Depakote twice a day. This is what the 'bring the kids home' initiative intended, no need to RTC a manageable kid like him, it's the dangerous ones like Paloma that need residential.
Although last week or so, when he was waving a knife threateningly around the kitchen, I though to myself that I didn't care if he stabbed me, I could go to Heaven and avoid this living Hell, but logic immediately kicked in and reminded me how many folks I'd miss here on earth, so I wrestled the knife away from him. Not much of a fight, he wanted me to stop him, that was obvious in his eyes. He's almost my height, outweighs me by 25 or so pounds, but these recalcitrants best factor in my abilty to go up against them, if necessary. I'm might be a lightweight, but I'm fast and furious when need be.
I'm back in my wonderful Ladies Sunday School class after over a year's absence of maintaining Paloma's rages, outbursts and irrationalities. I have my brother, my favorite brother in law, and my first ex-husband (Sarah's Dad,) headed down here for visits, all men who I enjoy spending time with, and then a promised Braves Game with my darling and very fun Daniel, before he goes off to Fort Gordon in August. I'm looking forward to a great summer.
The kids have a few church camps and other activities coming up, and somehow I'm trying to find us a rugged beach house on Tybee Island, as we've not been there before. A bunch of stuff to look forward to, happiness becomes me, it's my preferred state of being.
And speaking of Sarah, she's posted this on Facebook, so I'm pointing it out here, she's journaling on Faith, in an inspiring and challenging manner.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Lily's gonna turn 13 this summer, we've never had a cross word between us, I'm happy with her grades and her sweet personality. An artist who's deeply in love with our three Yorkies, I was able to find her an in the original Aurum box, a gorgeous necklace that's she's wearing to church today. I spent a big ole $2 on it.
I'm 55 , nearly 56, and I've never owned an Aurum design, Lily who appreciates it so much more than I ever could, or would, wears it beautifully.
Her earrings were given to her by Cristy.
"I TOLD you there was a turtle in the pool," Jonathan had insisted, finally finding it and carrying it around for the rest of the evening. "Can I run it over to Ray's pond?" Like Sarah needed my silly kids all running over there and stirring everyone up.
Back to playing Sharks and Minnows in the pool, they'd even sucked Mayra's boyfriend into the game while I trimmed and pruned roses by the pool pump.
I saw a lady I knew from church at the hardware store. Well I thought it was her, had to look twice, as she had on paint overalls and no makeup, her hair twisted up in a clip, reading glasses perched on her nose, and I thought, "Dang, That's me!"
Well not literally me, but a duplicate, as us past middle-aged women now have the luxury of being invisible, our minds off on another planet, as we're lost in our own thoughts, thinking 'bout how to get it all done, usually excited over many projects, and clearly and absolutely unburdened anymore by the pressure of having to put on an appearance. We've earned the right, through pure trial and error, to be who we were in the first place, and I'm so happily loving it.
A phone call before five this morning had me awakening Mayra to sit on the sofa and babysit sleeping children while I went out to prevent Fabian from further mayhem. God's grace, His theory of unmerited favor, propels me into places I don't really wanna go at times.
"JoJo, go with me to BlahBlah (a nasty trailer park), I gotta get Fabian," I shook a sleeping kid halfway awake.
"Yeah, right," he responded, unable or unwilling to believe I was really going to that hellhole.
I'm back now and he's still snoring, never having known I was gone before sunrise.
Driving and thinking 'bout where my life has taken me, I blogged in my head a really long post about my own personal grief and losses, chances not taken, opportunities turned down...only to end up like this, but I feel as if I've already covered it in my mind this morning, turning everything over to God, as I usually do, therefore no point in belaboring it here.
It is what it is, and I am where I am, solely due to all my own decisions and choices.
But I thought about Betty White again, at age 88, having the time of her life. You think that won't be me also?
I remembered a time when Yolie and Chuck had taken a grown kid to the E.R., not awakening me, but telling me about it early the next morning when the stitched up scar on the back of his head was glaringly obvious, and I looked at their darkened house as I sped by this morning, knowing I'd surely have to call and explain my early departure if they'd seen me zip by. I do run every single detail by Yolie and Sarah, my confidants and trusted advisers, but there was no need to awaken them early this morning.
Miss Kim at DJJ had given JoJo a sanction, as he's on probation, and he'd been suspended from school. She called it 'home confinement' and I didn't give it all that much thought until now. Stuck with me? Tough toenails JoJo. Good luck keeping up, he doesn't posess a twentieth of the energy level God gave me.
The kids had bought laser tag paraphernalia at yard sales yesterday, and only my very goofy JoJo has no inhibitions over his picture on my blog. The arm next to him belongs to Chuy who'd never allow me to post evidence of him playing laser tag like a child. Living isolated like we do allows for more childish behavior, no chance of judgemental peer pressure oriented teens seeing them acting the fool.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
If I don't blog first thing in the morning, the time in which I so prefer, alone with my thoughts and my coffee buzz, it just might not get done until who knows when. I have a songbird who chirps so loudly I immediately assume he's on my pillow, a benefit of sleeping with the windows open, the fragrant night air billowing about my room, laden with tea olive blossoms, jasmine, honeysuckle and roses right now, gardenias soon to appear and thrill me.
I'd bounded up at 6:30 this morning, grabbing coffee, and hollering at all my young'uns to get dressed and hit some yard sales, knowing we had a soccer game at 9. Finding a cast iron black skillet for a quarter, more CDs for my Ipod, and stuff the kids wanted and needed, we then had three long games in the blazing sun.
Trying to get my dang riding mower fixed yet again, sweet Chuck bush-hogged the meadow, while I illogically fussed at the clerk at Lowe's for not having the triangular screw I needed for the motor mount casing. "Look honey, we don't repair 'em, we just sell 'em," trying to get shut of me.
I didn't even have supper on the table til nearly 8 tonight, since we chose to swim first, now I'm rounding folks up, getting them showered for church tomorrow. Not my job anymore, I just direct the traffic.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Jesse and Lena's son, Isaiah, makes me smile. I'm searching out happiness wherever I can encounter it. I sat quietly yesterday with delicious Brie, multi-grain crackers and fresh home-grown strawberries. Now that's living, listening to Ivan Parker on my Ipod.
Last night was my first Thursday night, since February, that allowed me to stay home, no soccer games, no soccer practices, so I ran out back to attack the crab grass in a garden bed, while Tabby scampered around, picking me a large bowl of strawberries, and catching bugs to feed to the hens.
We're having serious end-of-the school year meltdowns and crying fits. This morning Nando's balking, complaining his stomach hurts, when, in reality, the Field Day events signal a negative transition in his mind. He adores his teacher, saying good-bye next week will be emotionally challenging. This is his sixth year of living with me, yet replacing his trauma-induced thought processes, his sad and tragic loss issues, with positive experiences will take a much longer time.
Paloma called me yesterday, she's doing quite well at OTP, excitedly telling me about everything. Surprisingly she's battling homesickness, she told me she'd cried one night til she barfed, she told me she loved me, as we hung up the phone, not something she's ever taken the initiative on before.
Before we had blogs, many of us Big Mamas were in an email group together, that's how we came to know each other so well, sharing our problems and tribulations, we feel as if we know each other through our shared experiences. It's been such a long time, looking back, we didn't even have cell phones then with which to communicate. Now with blogs and Facebook, pictures are available, and it's just so much better for us all, as we live so emotionally isolated, in that it's hard to feel we have much in common with other women we encounter.
I've long followed Sharon's Ebony, watched from afar as Sharon has done all that is humanly possible, to help her daughter. Sharon writes lovingly, but through her grief, over Ebony's choices, choices Ebony can't help but make, as mental health help is so elusive, and never a guarantee.
I've walked in Theresa's shoes as well, from a married mama of many to a single mama of even more. I've battled her series of emotions, lived that roller coaster, and I can relate to Claudia's glee over her beautiful granddaughter. All what we live through, like so many of you, is on such a very different planet, when one builds one's family via the adoption of older children. Yet our commonalities are strikingly similar, surprisingly so.
I knew my chipper attitude yesterday was just asking for trouble. Now my own trauma invites retaliation? Huh? Nope, not gonna let it.
I'm following Gretchen Rubin, reading other's searches for happiness, knowing overall I get it. It lies within me, not amongst my circumstances. I know life is hard, but I'm strong enough to fight the crud, and hopefully emerge intact out the other side. I'm a big fan of Seligman's Learned Optimism. It's a choice dingbat, as I've often reminded myself. Other times I address myself as 'honey' or 'darling.' It just depends on my mood.
I don't mind fasting, but to give up coffee for a morning? Can't do it. I called the doctor's office, cancelled a fasting lab appointment, they called me back, and grudgingly allowed for two cups of black coffee. Well, OK, but they're gonna be mongo cups I warned.
I've worked right hard building myself physically back up, weighing more than I've weighed for years, but healthy as a horse, taking supplements, and eating very well, working out my stress and frustrations, it's important to me to survive all this, to live to a ripe old age, enjoying my grandchildren, looking forward to a sassy prime time.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
A change of attitude, on my part, seems to be very necessary in order to survive the next several years. There's no doubt that I'm parenting some incredibly challenging children, that aspect I do understand. But they need to be parented as much as the easy kids need it, maybe even more so.
Do I believe in God's plan for my life, or not?
Yeah, I do.
There's nowhere in the Bible the promises a fire insurance plan for believers. If anything, I've found that serving God truly can take one into the pits of Hell. I'm bored to tears with all my complaining, it's getting me nowhere fast, so it's time for an apparently slow learner, like me, to get a grip and change lanes here.
Walking off isn't an option for me.
Buckling down seems to be more appropriate. These are the children that God clearly chose for me to parent, this is exactly where I should be doing this, and the sooner I get my head out of the clouds, the better.
My sniveling and carrying on isn't getting the job done.
My efforts will never be appreciated, nor rewarded. That's crystal clear to me, and jeepers Cindy, you never really expected anything anyway, so screw your head on tighter and keep on plugging away.
Not a martyr, but a doer...my choice.
It truly came to me yesterday as I muddled through my day, listening to JoJo blame everyone in the world, including me, of being racist and unfair, if only we were different, then he wouldn't have been suspended, everything is everyone's fault, in his muddled up thinking.
I cooked a big supper for a mean group of children, dropped most of them off at church, and went to a cheerleader meeting with Sabrina, writing checks for her camps and equipment, all the while thinking how lame it all is in the grand scheme of things.
"Do I look like a cheerleader's mom?" I growled at the sponsor who snarled back happily at me, shutting me up quickly, "Do I look like a cheerleader sponsor?"
OH sweetheart, I thought, you're so much younger and enthusiastic, I'm glad Sabrina will have you as an influence in her life.
I sat on the over-stuffed sofa with a deputy's wife and another young girl who has two sets of grandparents that I've known for decades, I clearly remember when she was born, she'd been in the church nursery with CW then, now they're both gonna start high school. Time does quickly fly and I should know that better than anyone, still shocked to find myself not far from 60 years old. If I round the numbers up, I find that I like the entire aspect of aging better.
So what if I chose, with God's spurring, an unfair life? My kids didn't choose what happened to them before foster care, it is what it is, and I need to model how to hold one's head above water, in spite of worldly circumstances.
I can do this. I can endure, and enjoy, the remaining years of parenting, I can work my butt off, absolutely unappreciated by anyone, because I'm not doing this for humans, but for God, because I was called to do so. Period, that's all she wrote. Duh, Cindy.
I have an iron will, a rock-strong discipline, and a clear plan of action. I know where I'm going.
Before I know it, these years'll zip by, and I'll be walking the sweet sandy beaches of Florida, inhaling salt air, watching the seagulls, and wondering what in the world I'm doing out in public, at my age, wearing a two piece bathing suit, hoping I remembered to put on both pieces. Is it acceptable to wear Depends out in public?
But that's the beauty of being my age, the freedom I've earned to wear Pjs to the grocery store. The pressure to even look halfway decent is off.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
As Claudia was chewing on, "Why are we all working so hard to parent our children and it seems no matter what, here's the end result..." my own paraphrase, I was wondering the same thing too. The pointlessness of our efforts seems overwhelming at times.
I've blah blah blahed here over and over til even I wanna puke, my repetitiousness is boring me, all my own frustrations and head-banging, barking at the moon, whining and carrying on, every now and then I can just buck up and plow forward, but really, no more so than after being armed yesterday by a particular sermon.
A local reporter, one I run into every time I go to the courthouse, it seems, one who's been quietly supportive to my challenging family, sent me an email with a link that I sat down and watched, Fathering the Fatherless, and how we are called, as Christians, to do what I'm trying to do. How it isn't always pretty. How's that for a serious understatement?
Maybe I've just had a misdirected notion, maybe I thought everyone else had an easier path than I? Nah, I know 'bout troubles that others encounter, and truly, I'll take my own.
Likely I never thought it'd be this totally difficult, that kids would so self-sabotage, but still, even with that, this sermon strengthened me. Hearing from all y'all, especially my friend, Marie, from up north, so many of us have felt the flames of Hell brushing up against our bodies as we plod, scamper, skip and struggle forward, seemingly to no avail at times.
We've ruined our own lives and that of our family as well, a take no prisoners mentality that seems so uber-destructive as we step back and consider the fallout of our once noble decision to adopt older, troubled children. We had no clue.
I still stand by my decision however. How insufferably smug I'd have been without the humility (humiliations?) dosed out upon me by my kids.
I had an hour or so in my garden yesterday, before the demands on my time consumed me, today looks to be a time battle also- a dentist appointment and an awards days for 8th graders.
I'd called OTP on Monday, checking on Paloma, they told me she'd had a good weekend, which I was happy to hear. I still have two dogs here seriously grieving over her, dogs (Amelia and Princess) that she loved dearly as opposed to us messily emotional humans that irritated her daily. The kids are loving on the dogs, treating them like dear babies, while learning how to not constantly look over their shoulders for unwarranted attacks by Paloma, all of us feel a great deal of relief overall.
A fantastic late night soccer game where my 14 and 16 year old sons shone brightly, they all played very, very well, maintaining the lead, until near the end when it was a tied game. I'm proud of how hard they played, I could barely get everyone settled down for sleep last night and this morning they're dragging.
As am I, frustrated and tired, trying to step back and remember the end of the school year is a transition that none of them like, it's a difficult time for everyone.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
My most ridiculous segue yet into the kookily intricate workings of my mind that seemingly bop from Point A to wherever on a whim, as if my circuits were electrified each morning by caffeine.
An ad for a show yesterday promising stories on both Betty White (88) and Barbara Walters (80) got me to thinking 'bout how much fun I plan to have, in just a few more years, when all these demandos in my house are grown.
Because I've absorbed so much resentment (for not being the birth mom), destruction, damage, negativity, and even downright hatred, I've become a little bit attachment disordered my ownself now. I'm very attached to JoJo and Allen, yet knowing they disdain laws, rules and policies, I fear how much it's gonna hurt me when they get their consequences. It's pathetic to think that way, but that's where the years have led me.
An excellent soccer game last night capped off a busy day, a surprising amount of rain fell, drenching Nando's game that I had to miss while I attended Lily's Chorus Concert. Mayra manned the game for me, texting me the goals as they came, and I got back to the park in time for the U17 Game that is always fun.
Chuy took a hard kicked ball to his privates and went flat, face down on the field hollering in agony, only to have CW and two other guys pick him up, still face down, and tote him to the sidelines, where they dumped him, to the surprise of every parent there, including me. Whatever happened to 'take a knee' kids?
Chuy sat for a minute, watching birdies and stars spin around his head, before he asked the coach to put him back in, Lord knows I admire tough guys. They won their game.
I'd had a heartbreaking court date as well that morning. Too painful to write about, suffice it to say it feels as if no one won, all sides are emotionally entangled, yet one side is too dangerous to live with any longer, an event that'd been building for years. I walked away sad, both grieving and relieved, getting across the county to the middle school, my cell phone ringing that minute from the middle school.
Turns out JoJo's kicked off the bus for the rest of the year.
No wonder my phone battery is out each night.
I've hardly had a second to step foot in my gardens for over a week, sending Tabby out as she loves to pick strawberries, and we love to eat 'em.
That big ole long black snake that the kids had recently disentangled has taken up residency under the New Dawn (1930) rose bush which is next to some pampas grass. We've hauled him off twice, but the ornery thing insists upon guarding the entrance to the Big Back Garden. Snakes unnerve me, but this one seems harmless. I've lived with worse...Heck, I married worse the second time. The snake is a step up.
Laundry again piled up waiting my attention, more soccer tonight, and Chuck's gonna fix both lawn tractors, our grass is knee high, my homestead is beginning to look like an abandoned farm. I just can't get it all done what with the meltdowns, issues, challenges, demands, and places I gotta be each day and night.
I keep pumping myself up, just a few more years of this...I can do it.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Not many pictures of my daughter, Alex, pictured here, and with Vanessa. Alex had been severely troubled in her teenage years, so much so that she'd lived in psychiatric residential settings, had been in serious trouble with the law, assaulting three different police officers, and full of a cauldron of diagnoses that warred with each other and nearly destroyed her.
Still she has a sweet and loving side, our relationship has continued to improve over the years, and I hear from her almost every day. Working on her GED now, living in Atlanta, slowly learning about real life, the years have ripened her. Maturity has helped her, yet we all know she'll always struggle. Odd thing is, now she realizes it as well, and has been seeking out help on her own.
Vanessa and Alex are fairly close in age, both are furious young ladies, or were so, now both of them are kinda emotionally needy towards me, which is fine in that they've toned down most of their explosive behaviors. Both still are stunned by what was done to them before foster care.
Although I mentioned I wouldn't appreciate anyone wishing me a Happy Mother's Day, the first person to do so at church was my dear Pastor Tony. Not gonna slug my pastor. I'd slung myself in a seat next to my next door neighbors, a stretch out here in the country, Yolie's in-laws joined us in church, I snapped at a few people, and I finally got to return to the ladies Sunday School class after an absence of over a year in which I worked uphill to maintain Paloma's challenging behaviors.
I was texted several Happy Mother's Day messages from unknown phone numbers, I'd left my phone on 'off' or vibrate, I dunno, I didn't carry it around, after church, just not wanting the burden that others would impose upon me on an emotionally difficult day.
Sweet, dependable Daniel came by and enlisted Bubba help in putting up a Purple Martin Barn for me, Chuck and Yolie brought by Krispy Kremes, and we kept the celebration to a very bare minimum, knowing any sort of examples of me having fun would amp up retaliatory behaviors here at home. Sarah'd gone on a short vacation with her family, which eased my mind, me wanting her to have a delightful Mother's Day.
I washed mountains of dishes, took Vanessa to the bus station, Grandma helped Jack finish a project, and I fried up corn tortillas for the beans, and we just sailed along fairly quietly. Gina calling Yolie, "Why isn't Mom answering the phone?" not knowing my land line didn't work. I called Gina later, letting her know all was ok here.
Sad isn't it? Same with my own birthday, I know from experience how many issues multiply over both days, so I just put on my placid face and crawl on through, building a concrete bunker over my smashed up heart. Sometimes my tears leak out, but usually I maintain. Showing any sort of weakness just asks for trouble.
Several children here are mad at me. One because I'd corrected his behavior, another because I wouldn't let her boyfriend come over the other night, another because I'd refused to allow her to go somewhere - all dumb reasons in their minds - but reasons enough to be "mad at me" therefore justifying their rude behavior on Mother's Day. Predictable and boring. Do you really think I didn't see that coming?
To have Sarah's dad give a shout-out on his FB status to both Sarah and I cracked me up, an 'I wish I could spoil you on Mother's Day,' was hilarious (and comforting) on every level, knowing not only would I not be spoiled here, but rather everyone would conspire to spoil it for me. Thanks JB, I kinda needed that.
In church, God brought the children of Cindy Adams to my mind, several of them are on FB with me, thinking how sad this Mother's Day must be for them, their first one without her. I think about how much I miss running to her online for advice, commiseration and logic. How much more so for her children?
Daniel'd also, while at the tractor store, found me some Chicken Poop Lip Junk, which totally cracked me up. On the box Grandpa says, "If you have dry lips, put chicken poop on 'em so you won't lick 'em.
I have a dreadful ordeal ahead of me this morning, Dear Lord. please give me the strength I need in which to endure it all.
Will I ever find normal again? I am so beat up on the inside.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Armed with my beloved, nerdy Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet budget with some 60 lines of categories, Quicken, and on-line banking, I track every penny we spend, usually once a day or so. I dutifully write it all down, looking to see what I can eliminate or tighten. I've done this for nearly 30 years, before computers I had index cards and a black bound ledger, I've taken the Biblical money courses, nowadays it's called Crown Financial, and I've read, but barely comprehended, dozens of personal finance books. Dave Ramsey is my hero and I listen to his podcasts.
I say all this in response to many questions from you all, especially us single mothers, everything falls on us, and we need to keep our heads above water. I believe kids should be raised in a two-parent household, I believe that's God's best, but I also understand that various reasons conspire to make this not possible in many cases.
I'm fortunate in that I'm simply unmaterialistic, and I thank my mother for that, her Depression-era upbringing made it mandatory in her own early life.
I'd read this article this morning, an NYC woman going all day without spending a cent, a challenge much easier for me, as I avoid going to town, but hey I could still spend a fortune online. I find it all intriguing and fascinating. Dorky to the bone, but it makes me happy.
I desultorily clicked from Claudia to Kari to two others last night, following links, coming across this mom's ditty (I Don't Want You To Be My Mother's Day), and I cracked up laughing, which caused several children to run to see if I'd violated our non-You-Tube philosophy, since JoJo pushes the boundaries of decency slap over into porn.
"Is it OVER yet?" this mom had asked with a smirk. She's the first one I thought about upon awakening this morning. Is it OVER yet? Oh cwap, it's just begun.
Linda has a quote on her sidebar that got me through last night, "Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful."- Rev. Keith C Griffith, MBE "
I kept thinking to myself, "I deserve a better life than this," which reminded me of Yolie's Texas caseworker who'd told me that she'd once heard Yolie holler, "I deserve better than this!" when she'd been split away from her brothers, Daniel and Joe.
Ours has been building all weekend. Mother's Day Hell in which I end up aggravated with everyone. They up the ante, see who can be the most hateful, and they're dern good at it.
Yolie pointed out that only Sarah has the ability to enjoy a decent Mother's Day, the rest of them are tainted by the trauma, which I truly understand. Sarah, however, has learned to dread the holiday deeply, knowing her own mom will have to endure Hell that day. Sarah'd sent me an hilarious message last night that made me alternately guffaw and grieve, silly, yet stabbingly painful, she expressed 36 1/2 years of gratitude over what any mother would've done for their child, but this line, "Thank you for listening to God and adopting everyone. Surely He has a plan," knowing the Hell that she too has endured, the bitterness from others amassed with their abject envy over her position in the family, that she's still never lashed out at me, over what I've done to her once nearly perfect existence, speaks volumes here.
Let's have a Birth Child Day and reward her for not exploding bitterly and angrily.
Usually I don't wear my Ipod on Saturdays when the kids are home, but yesterday as they amped it up, I felt it was necessary for my own sanity. Pouring a new/old CD of Southern Gospel in my mind, so that I wouldn't burst out cussing from my own massive resentment at the mistreatment I've endured for decades, I felt blessed to have found so many CDs yesterday at yard sales.
I finally got all the eggplant planted, we're moving furniture, cleaning out and starting over after we've unearthed mass piles of filth hoarded by Paloma in her control battles.
Vanessa has been fun, simply fun and helpful. I hate that she has to leave today, her presence has calmed JoJo a bit, certainly she's evened Mayra's issues out
I don't know if we'll make it to church today or not. I'm afraid I might punch out anyone who says, "Happy Mother's Day!" to me, all chipper and unknowing. That just wouldn't be very Christian of me. The kids will use my desire to go to church against me, this I already know, so Plan B is I'll work outside and exhaust myself.
JoJo's been amping up for days and days, Vanessa leaving today will likely send him careening. Lately though, so sick of his constant badgering and oppositional attitude, I don't feel like arguing, I've simply been responding, "OK, I suck," when he complains about me to me. I'm tired of defending myself against him and others. I'll just agree with them all.
He screams back, "I didn't say that," but I just walk away, so sick of the posturing.
OK, I suck.
Happy now? The last word I wanna say isn't pretty, but I have self-control, so I'll squash it.
But to you dear mamas, I'd say, every day is Mother's Day, and today I pray you all will have a smidgen of peace somehow. Your understanding, compassion and support has so carried me through it all and I'm grateful.