Wednesday, November 30, 2011
"How do I not continue feeling like a failure?" I was asked by an adoptive mom.
As if I knew the answer. I, too, have failed to overcome genetic predisposition to violence, or criminal propensities. I can't change IQ levels, nor heal mental illnesses. We're neither God nor magicians. Maybe the best we can do, in some areas, is to just hold the fort. To just feed and clothe everyone, get them to school, obtain medical and psychiatric care, to keep their room fairly clean.
I'm a former educator, yet I've had some teenagers drop out of school. What good is my early childhood education degree? Yet teachers have their clientele drop out of school, these are free will choices by those who reject good sense. Psychiatrists have their clients progress to murder. Is this their fault for failing to delve deep enough into the brain? Of course not. Patients die, do we automatically blame the health care providers?
The Adoption Counselor once used the phrase chronically unemployed regarding one of her sons. I, too, have grown kids who are as such. I have couch surfers and mouse potatoes.
I have kids I took to church for a dozen years who are habitual thieves. I failed to change that behavior. Or did I fail? Maybe they failed to change it. Let's delve into personal responsibility.
It is my fault when I'm bitter. Yes, maybe I do have reasons, but isn't it still a poor choice on my part to remain so uncomfortable? To not move on, to not try and heal from my emotional wounds and injuries? Isn't it my responsibility to do so?
I went to see Paloma yesterday, I totally enjoy what I take away from her therapist. Weird to use the word enjoy, but when one is desperate for such knowledge, enjoyment comes to mind.
This lockdown facility allows me to take Paloma out for lunch, which we both appreciate after each session. Paloma is wistful at times, but overall she's kind of happy where she is, the family expectations, which were always so minimal as to simply contain the request, "Don't hurt anyone," isn't there anymore.
She misses our dogs clearly, but us? Not so much. Pepe is starting to miss us a bit, I've had a constant stream of phone calls from him. "Thanks for including me last weekend," he told me. Years ago it would've been, "Hell no, I don't want to be with you stupid effing idiots."
But for my pared down family to live now, with very little threat of either theft or violence? It's amazing.
Lily's blossoming into a happy high schooler, now that Paloma's main mission of making Lily, and everyone else in the county, miserable...well that's not a factor here anymore. I feel blessed that I was able to stand up for family safety, while this same mother talks about her community turning their back on her.
Well, the world at large has absolutely no clue what we endure. In their intact or blended families, there's little, if any, mental illnesses or violence. The world mistakenly thinks, as I once did, that gratitude for a roof over one's head would lead to a Walton family like existence.
Therapists are nowadays coming around to an understanding of trauma, caseworkers who've managed to not be driven away from their field by incessant craziness also are becoming more understanding overall.
The resentment at what these children previously endured, the trauma, the issues, the massive damage has all conspired into a cauldron within their angry minds, that explode into lashing out at the adoptive parents. "It's transference," Paloma's therapist explained to me. All of the children's blind anger is then transferred to us, blaming us for everything.
"You stole me from my real mother!" Paloma more than once screamed at me, viciously and physically lashing out at normal children who just happened to walk by, eventually everyone learned to retreat behind locked bedroom doors. Who lives like that?
But the children are righteously angry. I understand. I really do. The trauma alone has destroyed wiring and synapses.
Nowadays, Paloma is slowly connecting the dots, benefiting from residential psychiatric placements. But even there, with a staff to maintain her rages, she still explodes at times. She does understand that she's on the cusp of adulthood, now almost 15, where she's knows somehow she best learn to get it together to avoid a life of jail and crime.
Can she do so? I can only hope so.
My grown children all agree that I was correct on a least one aspect. Life is hard. Even when one makes good choices, life is still very challenging. When one makes bad choices, it's ten times as difficult.
"I'm obviously your son," Daniel told me, adding Mint.com, variable newly labeled savings accounts, a strong budget, and Dave Ramsey podcasts to his to do list. I grinned like a fool at the thought of having so positively influenced him. Yeah boy, Thank you Lord, I prayed aloud.
Sarah's a total chip off the old block, just as I am to Grandma, with our emphasis on many of the same thoughts and ideas.
That my other grown kids have bought homes, finished college, and are raising their children beautifully, makes me very proud, even as I still grieve for those who are still making bad choices and thereby cutting off their own legs to spite everything else.
So to that mother who feels like a failure, I do understand. I often feel like one, failing to teach morals and good choices at the very least. But, in reality, I didn't fail to teach these lessons, some failed to learn them, chose to reject all that was good and decent, while others were sadly incapable of ever learning anything. I think of one now in prison, I think of all the professionals who helped him in his youth. Should they feel they failed too? Of course not...so why do we feel that way?
Why do we take it so personally?
Another law abiding, sweet, quiet mother has a daughter in prison for dealing drugs. Was that the mom's fault? This stable mom who's never taken anything but prescription antibiotics and plays the church organ every Sunday, this is her birth child, but the genetics she passed on included free will. Duh.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I could do this. Quiet exclamation mark inserted here, understated at least. I could build this under a tree in the woods near my upper gardens and I'd be as happy as a pig in a poke. I'll not have that dumb decorative chair in the corner, rather Shatter could sleep there. Oh the many, many plans I'm making for the days ahead, but in the meantime...
Lend your money and lose your friend.
Prov. You should not lend money to your friends; if you do, either you will have to bother your friend to repay the loan, which will make your friend resent you, or your friend will not repay the loan, which will make you resent your friend.
Dad told me something similar years and years ago after he'd loaned someone some money. They knew they couldn't repay the money, much less the gesture, so instead they treated my dad very hatefully, irrationally blaming him for everything under the sun. That was so much easier than paying it back, or forward. It just seems to be human nature, biting the hand that feeds you.
That lesson stuck with me, and I was very young when it happened.
I've seen it repeatedly happen around here and I've learned to live with it.
I get it. If someone took me away from my mom and gave me to another random mom, I'd be mad, angry, rageful and would likely hate the world. I might not ever recover from that primal loss. It's too deep and damaging of a wound.
No amount of words can change this mindset, no therapy, no resources. If someone wants to believe that I'M the reason that they are not with their birth mom, then there's just nothing I can do about it.
If their birth mom shows up later in life, and I encourage them to work on that relationship with her, knowing it can only help them to go forward, then they think I don't want them.
No, I don't want their unabated anger.
It has turned me to dust.
This is not my fault, nor is it theirs.
It came about from bad choices, and I've been kicked by mules ever since.
Traumatized children cannot be expected to simply change their identities, to suffer multiple breaks with caretakers, and then to bond successfully with some new smiling goofy lady who eventually grows kinda sad after decades of theft, vandalism, hatefulness, destruction, deceit, aggression, and lies.
I am very very thankful and grateful to my kids who do understand, who do return love and kindness, who comprehend that I have no ulterior motive other than their success, that don't make me the repository for their anger and confusion.
I want them to succeed, I do everything in my power to help them do so, only to have much of it summarily rejected.
Coming home after school yesterday, Jojo clung to me like the monkey he is, to the ape that I am. "Thanks, Mom," he told me totally out of the blue, in front of Grandma as a witness. "I appreciate everything you do."
I was taken aback, I thanked him for thanking me, "Honey, that means a lot to me," I replied. It really did.
Monday, November 28, 2011
My brother was telling me about a buncha folks where he works that were telling others about another employee who adopted some kids and was now being investigated. The gossip mongers wanted to point accusatory fingers, but my brother blew 'em all off, knowing that all foster and adoptive parents will get investigated, it's not an if, but a when.
People will be so utterly vicious to you, just go ahead and accept it, although I do remain astonished still.
I had a long sad email from a scared mom dealing with this crap now, indeed I've had many such emails, some way worse than others, some that were simply wounding, but all are deeply and incredibly stressful nonetheless.
I've often said that I have no defense against liars and lying. None of us do.
Parents have confided in me that some of their foster and/or adopted children, those who truly know how to manipulate the system, to milk it for all its worth, will flat out lie just to create immense chaos and confusion...as that's their comfort zone anyway.
I wish I could make it all better for you, and for me, but I remain as baffled as anyone.
That you/I/we all just went into this so naively is now almost comical. We just sweetly and innocently wanted to share what we have, to be nice, to be loving, to feel as if in our helping someone, we had a higher purpose in life...then we get slammed viciously.
Viciously and repeatedly. I can't begin to describe the inner pain of all this. It's been shocking and life-changing. It's getting harder and harder for me to get back up and trust anyone. I accept apologies but my inner wounds are slow to heal.
Honestly were it not for my many good kids, my gardens, my dogs, my ability to retreat inward...I'd not have survived at all.
A lady told me how abandoned she now felt by all her friends, as she faces this alone. Honey, I do understand.
People want to believe gossip and slander...on some level it makes them feel better about their own lives. I suppose that's why gossip magazines sell so well.
It leaves us hard-working parents nearly destroyed. And we so badly need our strength to just get up and go on each day, to have it so decimated by lies is shocking.
I'm still very, very angry over some outright lies recently told about me, my fury is hard to beat down within, I know I need to let go of it for my own good, but I'm not there yet. My brother had asked if I wanted to talk about it, and I sure did, blasting him with my white hot disgust at the flat-out lies.
Folks ought to think about helping us, not destroying us. Thank you Chris and Michael for your help recently. Jimbo, too, for his enormous food supplies.
I have no advice for this lady, because there kinda is none available for me to give to her.
This is an awful fact of life, and none of us foster/adoptive are unscathed. Some folks are better able than I to shake it off, it takes me awhile and further spurs me inward, trusting no one, irritated at many.
It's embarrassing, humiliating and self-defeating and it makes some vicious, ugly people happy to see others stumble under hatefulness. I just don't get it, but I have to believe that what one reaps, one will sow. Call it karma if you want.
I remain convinced that God oversees everything, that one thought sure keeps me in line, and even now, I feel as if He thinks I need to work on my aggravated feelings about some folks. He's right.
I'd gotten a comment from another mom facing this too, she with a much better attitude than I've ever demonstrated. It makes me so sad and angry, so upset, I always immediately shut down emotionally, stop eating, become gauntly stressed out. I cry a lot, my children get distressed, I spend infinite time reassuring them that all is well.
My children are never shown any sensitivity during these times, indeed they're asked questions that are so ridiculous, inflammatory and insulting, that recently I even discussed it with a judge. I have some kids that I will never allow on this property again, not ever, as their lies, their thievery, deceit, or their victimization of others is/are astonishing. I forgive, but I go on, needing to protect my other kids who desperately need me to protect them.
Just as there are folks who have a history of litigation against everyone everywhere, so too are there people who make false accusations, loving the maelstrom that they've then stirred up. Let's look at their history of this, then at my history of openness and honesty. Hello?
I keep an open invitation to some supervisory folks at CPS, that they can drop in anytime the want, without calling first if they have a concern. I have nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of, come on over. My house might not be as clean as if I'd actually invited someone, but it'll be clean enough.
My kids were recently questioned about, "Is there enough food to eat?" We have a huge pantry filled enough to feed us for a year at least. I was outraged over this, absolutely outraged.
Another mom tells of not being able to see her grandchildren due to the grown kid's still raging anger. Me too, in a couple of situations. There's nothing I can do about it. I just concentrate on those that are being raised normally with parental love, inner goodness and respect, and extended family.
My bitterness was obviously brought back to the surface as I blog this, revisiting my own trauma.
It's raining, so I won't get any garden time in today, but I'll clean the snot out of this house, as I tend to funnel my inner rage productively.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
My sons watched the Georgia-Georgia Tech game, laughing and cutting up, texting and eating.
Some days are just easy, and I'm beginning to be able to trust that it'll all be OK after many, many years of turmoil and extreme challenges.
Because I get up hours earlier before everyone and work very hard, I'm exhausted by nighttime, my lower back aching with age, in contrast to teenagers who then are restless and slow to settle down. Add in my age, and that's about the only ongoing conflict anymore. I can live with that certainly.
I've used countless hours this fall to continue working on my garden beds for next year, leaving me very satisfied and buzzing with anticipation, yesterday after Jim headed home, I automatically continued my favorite pastime on earth, which is gardening.
Lily went off with Gina, Miriam picked up JoJo and Allen, Luis took Sabrina, I went no farther than self propulsion could carry me, my feets were made for walking, so Jim and I got another quick hike in before he left. Brimming with energy and endorphins, I kept pulling the dang quackgrass that multiplies as I sleep.
Nothing to blog, but coasting on happiness and satisfaction is my goal. And I define coasting a little differently that others might do.
See the ceiling tape coming off over Allen's head? it's been doing so for years, this winter's project for me will entail scraping off the quite unstylish popcorn ceiling, and I have yet to ever paint the living room wall after some 19 years of living here.
I finished off the Artic Homestead book, and dove into a classic one written about the Appalachian Trial, another dream of mine, a buncha old poots have made the thru-hike. Why not me too? I first wanna hike down the beaches from Jacskonsville to Miami with a debit card tucked into my bathing suit, stopping to eat and sleep in hotels and restaurants along the way. That's been a long held dream of mine
Or what about here? The most isolated National Parks?
The AT book told of a study once done on introverts and extroverts. The results stated that introverted hikers are twice as common as not, but in the general population extroverts are the majority, explaining the discrepancy as, "The introvert gets his or her energy from the inner world of ideas and feelings and images. Extroverts get their energy from the outer world of activity, or people and things."
My goals include never being bored after my children are grown up.
Sharon had posted the picture below on Facebook and it totally spoke to me and my inner revulsion to materialism. Because I am non-materialistic, my kids do not have to do without. Notice how many iphones my teens now have? They dress well, they have a swimming pool, and almost everyone has a room of their own now. Not a bad life.
My heart breaks though for those that don't have anything.
Part of me wants to join the Peace Corps as an elderly lady and teach organic sustainable farming practices. Part of me wants to encourage urban farming everywhere, demonstrating how easy it is for anyone to maintain a small plot, thus encouraging locavorism as well.
No part of me ever wants to be idle, my motor hums way too loud for that, specifically my motor roars.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
"It was for old, slow people," Chuy remarked, when I asked him how much he enjoyed the movie I'd taken everyone to see last night at the Dollar Theater.
He'd taken his response cue out of any old Adoption 101 Manual. Rule #1: Never let on that you've enjoyed anything they do for you.
Fortunately I, too, have read it and can now read between the lines of aggressive behaviors and rude responses.
Steven Soderbergh’s brilliant movie about the grimmest subject imaginable: a pandemic that kills millions of people in a few months. “Contagion” is serious, precise, frightening, emotionally enveloping. It’s a highly controlled film about an out-of-control event, a film so sure-handed and intelligent that it has an invigorating, even an enlightening, quality, as if a blurred picture had suddenly come into focus. You leave the movie shaken, but also, at another level, relieved
I loved it, I was enthralled and fascinated, and nowadays it's often tough to hold my attention for 106 minutes. Jimbo and Sarah'd gone with us, loving it as well.
I always wanna pick apart unrealistic crap in a movie, I got hung up on a janitor in Atlanta not having a southern accent. Really, Hollywood? Ever been here? Turns out it was Sean Penn, unrecognizable in his role as a custodian. Jim pointed it out first, I was fairly sure that was Elliot Gould as a doctor, a really, thoughtful movie I gotta say.
I'd once lived with my brother Jim in New Orleans when we were much much younger, going out types of young adults. Now to find ourselves out on the highway at nine o'clock at night seemed daring for us old farts. Even my kids remarked at the bright lights of town, if ever we're out after dark, it's between our house and the soccer park, street lights are rare in rural areas.
Grandma had labeled us both, Jim and I, and my brother Gary, as unsociable hermits, listing me on the bottom of that list. Our sister, Ellen, had always been an outgoing social butterfly in comparison. Neither of our parents have ever been as reclusive as the three of us prefer to be. Totally cut from the same cloth, my brothers and I can easily amuse ourselves with books, hobbies, interests, or home challenges, going days, weeks or months without any need to head for town.
A most excellent day in which Jim and I'd hiked and yapped, later while he napped I'd worked with Martin and CW, Lily and Sabrina, a bunch of us out back working on the gardens for next year, well I worked, they chatted mostly, but it is just so nice to now have a large family that's fun overall. A warm beautiful afternoon, the sun shining on me always boosts my spirits.
I look with deep dismay at my gardens, now fixing to head into my 20th year of planting and maintaining this particular acreage. I've lost plants that I didn't have time to nurture, and other garden areas have grown unwieldy, it's been very tough to find the free time that they, the gardens, need, the amount of work that they demand is extraordinary, but they do reward me with a sense of purpose and beautiful, flourishing vegetation.
Jim pointed out that my blog posts don't do enough justice for JoJo's silly shenanigans, indeed it is difficult to capture the essence of his never ending hilarity on paper or computer screen, he's truly a hoot.
"Mom, what is blue, but smells like red paint?" he asked me seriously.
"I dunno," I replied, searching my mind for a knowledgeable answer.
"Blue paint!" he hollered back at me.
I backed into my brother's car, channeling my dad's remarkable ability to blindly hit anything in his path. Oops.
I finished off my very delightful day engrossed in this harrowing tale of adventure I'd bought so cheap, 50 cents for paperbacks, at some yard sale. I think I'm so tough? I wouldn't have survived their first cold night. I ain't built for that.
Friday, November 25, 2011
I came to understand that I had baffled and infuriated my father at least as much as he had baffled and infuriated me. I saw that I had been selfish and unbending and a giant pain in the ass. He'd built a bridge of privilieg for me, a hand-paved trestle to the good life, and I repaid him by chopping it down and crapping on the wreckage.
A birth child wrote that, a super good, very successful author of several intriguing books. This line is from Into The Wild.
The words jumped out at me, both because I did the same as a rebellious child of the 1960s, but also because so many of my children reject everything that I consider to be good and decent.
I hated, and still despise materialism, embracing minimalism instead, yet I'm as full as contradictions in that respect as anyone else. What minimalist has 39 kids? And all the trappings that go with that number?
Yet my non-materialistic outlook, my ability to live with about three outfits, because I truly don't give a crap about clothes, has enabled me to raise so many kids.
Not everyone rebels, not everyone is ungrateful, indeed sometimes their own level of immense gratitude is almost crippling to them. How do you properly thank someone who has done so much for you?
This is where my own self-sufficiency comes in handy, I don't need gushing gratitude, nor approval, although courtesy would be nice enough.
This is why I feel no need to go on TV, although I'm flattered, but what would be the point? I'm kinda busy as it is.
I'd had a 17 year old move out in the spring, as predictable as the sun rising, I've had this happen numerous times as their own inner rage, unresolved birth mother issues, and many other challenges drives them to the streets. Last Spring Yolie and I literally begged this one to not act stoopid (which is very different from stupid, just as nekkid does not mean naked, thank you Lewis Grizzard).
That one is now 18, and we have a shaky relationship, me from lack of trust and a simmering irritation at the problems that trying to live ill-equipped on one's own is bound to bring, she from defiance maybe, and an understanding that she made a boo boo.
I've learned to not step in and help anymore, as the help is either misconstrued, annoying, or vividly an example of I told you so, or outright rejected.
Grown folks gotta learn some lessons. What mama taught is dead-on true, you can rail against logic and laws of gravity all you want, but that doesn't change the very predictable outcomes.
This man pictured here, Daniel, automatically makes right choices, reaps rewards, and is so dang nice that all of my other children never resent his forward progress. He is universally admired here.
I got some weird phone calls last night, tentative olive branches, and kids mired in crap that need my reassurance. Yes, I still care deeply, still love everyone, but I can not enable stuff, I can not allow that stuff here into my home, and I forgive and keep praying for progress in other grown kids who need prayer big time.
I received some great phone calls and texts as well. I have grown kids scattered to New York, Oregon, Nebraska, Florida and Alabama.
Shockingly easy-going Thanksgiving. A "Whose house is this?" moment. We all cooked ten tons of food, everyone was polite, although after a usual rowdy bout of boisterous, wrestling nuttiness from Allen and JoJo, Daniel explained, "This is why my in-laws are never gonna come here," which I totally understand, but Honey, someday they'll be grown, right?
One grown kid texted me to come get him mid-morning, as if I could leave the kids, the stove, the preparations? Resourcefully he found his own way over here. I hope that wasn't a stolen car.
I'm very thankful that Yolie didn't lose her gall bladder and that Fabian recovered from his brain bleed scare. Seriously y'all, my heart's not that good anymore. 39 constant reasons to be anxious, add in the in-laws and grandkids, plus our massive extended family, oh my goodness, the fret-load is immense.
I heard from a ton of my kids, calls coming in late into the night.
I wouldn't go to a store on Black Friday, no matter what. I don't like going on regular days, why would I go on a busy day? Aren't we in a recession? Who can afford to be going shopping? Not me.
And truly I'm petrified at the moment about so many of my teenagers now on the cusp of driving. Knowing there's that teenage undeveloped brain issue, that ignorance as to the realities of life, even in good kids, it gnaws at me. Having this many kids just ups my odds of more worrying.
I think I'll go eat some leftovers for breakfast.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
I've seen way more rages and dysregulated temper tantrums than I ever dreamed possible, but yesterday's detonating combo of roid rage and PMS was a hair past impressive. Good Golly Miss Molly, I didn't see that one coming. Fortunately it quickly blew past, but it took a third party intervention in the form of a 4'10" Yolie, and a cell phone confiscation.
I'd forgotten about Holiday Hell, now that everyone has been here so long it's so much less of an occurrence...until they grow big, have their own families, or not, yet continue to passively aggressively lash out. I just duck for cover. Tell me how that disrespectful rudeness works out for you? I'm out.
Even my usually sweet tempered Nando ended up squalling in tears yesterday. I'd run into my BFF, Emily, who'd taken her grandson son to the pet store next to the grocery store. He was kinda out of sorts since his Mimi is not a dog person. They were telling us about cute puppies, Nando wanted to go see, then fell apart on the way home, crying his gorgeous eyes out, "Everyone has a pet, but me!"
We have seven dogs, numerous roosters and hens. I just stared at him bumfuddled. He wanted a lizard apparently. He catches them outside constantly, but I have a capture and release policy, telling him, "Well they might have a family or babies nearby. Let 'em go."
Like pets was his issues yesterday?
Good thing I can see past the smokescreen, else we'd have 89 dogs.
And how does Mimi always have the best haircut on earth? No matter what I do, I look the same. Raggedy comes to mind.
Avoiding the kitchen, I took CW, Allen and Tony to the DMV to get their Learner's Permits, right now I have six kids carrying those prideful coming of age certificates in their otherwise empty wallets.
Yolie ended up taking Sabrina and Lily down to her house to make tamales, a very time consuming labor of love...yet so dang worth it. Oh my goodness, I ended up chowing down at 9:30 on a plate of them before bedtime, still so full this morning that the very thought of continuing to cook makes me feel as ill as a sour pickle. Why do we have to eat every single day of the year? I rarely enjoy the food at Thanksgiving, it's a huge effort to get it all done, even with Grandma, Sarah and Yolie making quite a few of the dishes.
I never even touch the dead birds. Grandma cooks two and Preston's frying two. I don't even have to save up the big bucks to pay for them, donated to us by my friend, Chris, for so many years now.
It's the emotional stuff here that we have to wade through that leaves me with so little appetite, me dreaming of a time when everyone is grown, and I can then just eat a cheese sandwich alone, and be done with the dumb holiday. I'll probably be sitting on a beach somewhere warm and trying to get the sand out of all my wrinkles, while others wonder why such an old lady is wearing that raggedy bathing suit. Duh, because it is comfortable. Comfort trumps fashion.
"You're gonna be lost when they're all grown," Chris told me the other evening. Maybe so. Certainly I'll miss everyone, but I have a huge streak of solitariness that I'll then be able to cultivate. I'm thankful right now that all of the kids at home are mainly just teenagers, no one is severely troubled, nor mentally ill. I have a really great bunch of kids living here now, and for that I'm so thankful.
But there's no part of being alone that I don't like.
A character from an old book (the Monkey Wrench Gang) Seldom Seen Smith is who I wanna be. Folks'll someday question my kids, "What ever happened to your mama? I never see her anymore."
There's a great goal for me, puttering around in my gardens, going on long hikes, beach trips, and expeditions. Not being burdened with dumb errands, non-stop big meals, or countless appointments. I'll throw my calendars away, but I will happily show up and cheer my grandbabies on for their events.
Happy Thanksgiving y'all, I dearly hope the predictable explosions are not happening in your homes, I have my imaginary friend, Merilee, on my mind this morning, hoping all is well with her and hers, and you and yours.
CW's not smiling because he found this proud mama photo opportunity to be embarrassing.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Oh my goodness. Seven solid uninterrupted hours spent weeding in the Big Back Garden yesterday in record breaking temperatures here at the end of November. 77 glorious degrees, my dogs lolling in the sun, me catching up listening to all the unheard Dave Ramsey podcasts of late. I didn't stop for lunch, didn't hardly even look up until Tabby and Nando came home from school, then I was really hungry.
Meditation, communing with nature, digging in the dirt, prayer time, whatever, it suits me. Not having to get in the van and run a dumb errand, that's Heaven to me.
I needed to screw my head back on straight, needed to think, and to relax. I relax best when toiling in the sun, I'm just built that way.
I should've been grocery shopping, or cooking for Thanksgiving, and I didn't feel guilty at all for blowing it off. I'll make up for it today. I needed yesterday so bad, and then we had a rain deluge to top it off after dark. Too little, too late, still we have drought conditions, but because I grow so many perennials, any rain is a good rain. It was music to my ears.
If I didn't farm/garden, I'm very afraid I'd go off, I'd explode at those who've caused problems for my family. Instead, exhausted from mowing, weeding, digging or hauling I can smile and go on about each day.
I was trying to take out a poison ivy patch also, Dear Lord, I pray I don't start to itching.
Emma sent me this picture of a fish that Nando'd caught at Family Day with church members last weekend. Tony'd taken this picture of Nando last night as the clouds gathered and thunder rumbled.
Nando is my youngest son, cute as a button, one of the best soccer players I've ever seen in a family of phenomenal soccer players. He's wildly popular at school, has a belly laugh that cracks me up, and is crazy in love with our hens and roosters, one of which had gotten out yesterday, threatening to scratch up my permaculture beds. Somehow Shadow and I managed to corral the ornery rooster and trick it back into the coop, me laughing as if I'd accomplished something via this ruse, again illustrating how easy it is to amuse me.
So what? I'll gladly admit how uncool I am. I'm happy and that's enough for me.
Shadow is a hoot, I adore this dog, I really do. Clearly I'm losing it? I love all my dogs. I don't care if that makes me seem even dottier, I really love these dogs.
Mr Provocateur, the one who used to routinely infuriate everyone in our house, has totally and completely changed his stripes in the last six months, now almost 16, he is a totally different guy. He takes photos, loads them into my computer, "Use this one tomorrow," he'll tell me, knowing I rarely use any that pertain to my posts, but I never know where my thoughts'll take me. Duh.
Mr P used to particularly aggravate JoJo, knowing JoJo has zero impulse control. I'd warn him, "Dude, someone's gonna kill you someday," after a particularly brutal egging on of someone. It was shockingly provocatively anger-inducing. Without me to protect him someday? Lord Have Mercy, he was gonna find himself on the short end of a stick. I warned him over and over and over again.
He'd spent hours the other evening, posing the seven dogs. Yes, seven dogs. They're adorable and truly loved by my kids and I. Pet therapy in spades.
Yes it feels very good to be sing the praises of my children. The huge majority of my kids are really good kids, it was the others, the minority that had been commandeering all of my attention, time and efforts as I fought each day to keep us safe from explosive anger fits over nothing.
Ok stalling enough, time to make some spinach quiches, write out the grocery list, my brother Jimbo will be here this afternoon. He's making a huge effort to drive the six hours from Tallahassee as often as possible, sad that we've lost Grandpa, trying his level best to spend time with Grandma, it truly does mean so much to her. I feel the same way, I'm scared as crap over the thought of losing her too someday. Thank God she is very strong and healthy at age 81.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
It won't even register with me if I lose readers due to my unduly happy nature lately. At some point isn't it only logical that the tide would turn for us?
We're continuing in peace at the moment, happy outbursts of laughter, rather than fear and snarling from those that cannot maintain themselves. We'd gotten great results regarding Yolie's gall bladder, leaving me very thankful.
I've been financially slaughtered this month, every little thing that could hit the fan sure did so with gusto, but that too is the way the ball bounces,
Today my Tabby turns nine, we started the celebration yesterday, she asked to get her ears pierced (again) as she now feels old enough to maintain it all, right between the age of dolls and preteen uber skank marketing, she chose several make your own jewelry kits from the arts and crafts aisle of a big box store, opening and sharing with Martin, Tony, Scotty and Sabrina, and they spent the evening making those braided friendship bracelets, laughing and cutting up, just as I'd once hoped and imagined our life would be.
Had Martin been my only adopted son I'd have been clueless as to troubled kids and behavior issues. He's never hit anyone, never hurt anyone, never destroyed anything, and has very rarely ever sassed me. He's agreeable and nice. He's going to be a wonderful husband for someone. He kind of reminds me of Jesse or Sergi with the niceness, an attribute that's sadly in short supply in this world. Likable qualities that come naturally, what a personality plus.
Martin's not gonna be an academic star, but he'll get by, and that's all I ask of him. He's very, very easygoing and has a wonderful belly laugh that I love to hear emanating from him.
He's easy to crack a smile, just super nice, and that'll take him far in life.
He was three when he arrived here, turned four within the first two months of living with me, scared out of his ever-loving mind, but he bonded immediately with CW, who was then barely two, and they're still best friends. They both have no memory of the other not being in their life.
I haven't started cooking the first thing yet for Thanksgiving, heckfire I still have hungry kids each evening wanting supper and then snacking until bedtime, it's gonna be almost 80 degrees today, I'd rather continue weeding in a particular patch than brave a stupid store.
Grandma'd given Jack some of Grandpa's undershirts, he's happily wearing them, wrapped in Grandpa's essence. Asked how Grandma's doing, I'll repeat back her own stock answer. Having survived the death of her daughter, my sister Ellen some fifteen years ago, maybe even a little emotionally still numb, she states, "If crying would bring anyone back, I'd cry me a river." She's also lost her own five siblings, her parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and others. At almost age 82, you've outlived so many loved ones.
My alarm system is tied into the phone line, the landline, else I'd just go ahead and cancel it, save me $34 a month, the ringer's off anyway, no one calls that number. I left my cell phone on my desk all evening, I'm so tired of alarming phone calls, of nastiness, of stress and tension, I've been lax about answering emails, and I'm essentially still walking around kind of shell shocked from all these challenging years, but leaning towards the healing side of life hopefully.
Martin, I adore the everything about you, you've been such a blessing to me, and I know you shrug it off when I try and tell you all that, you are so modest, handsome, sweet and totally adorable, every mama ought to have a son like you. We've never even been angry with each other, how is that even possible?
And my beautiful and very smart Tabby? Happy, happy Birthday! Here's to helping you grow up and become the teacher you've long stated you wanted to be. We can do this darling.
And then I discovered she'd washed her hair in conditioner, not shampoo, necessitating an emergency early a.m. re-wash. She asked for this feather, I'd capitulated, but I'd, of course, told her she ought to just run out to the chicken coop and get her one of those feathers. She'd declined.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Most intriguing offer ever this week, from a TV producer, who sent me links to his credits, regarding a documentary, a positive one versus a reality show, as if my family being made public would, or could, be heart-warming. "The fact that you are single and doing all this," he gushed.
But here's the deal. I didn't do this, didn't adopt the kids to get publicity for me, I did it simply because I was called to do so.
I don't want cameras here, I don't have time to even speak with camera people nor producers, every minute of my day has so much within it to be accomplished, that I just can't add something else to do. Our therapy schedule alone is time consuming, what a boring show it'd be watching me drive to therapy appointments, wash dishes, do laundry, sweep, weed, cook, haul manure, scavenge leaves, talk and laugh with my kids, or read a book.
I used to think that such publicity would promote adoption, before I adopted such stories had always certainly intrigued me, but nowadays, unless the entire story is told, the dangers we've faced, the frustrations, the apathy, the hatefulness, and everything else? No, thank you, it'd need to be book length to let folks know what all is involved in the adoption of older traumatized children.
I have no outside help, no housekeeper, no yard help, the kids don't help very much either, maybe a bit more so now that it has calmed down around here. I'm very happily surprised at how well the big boys, my Bubbas, are doing with keeping their upstairs area clean, actually everyone's bedrooms are clean right now.
But I have decades of deferred maintenance around here to continue working on, some help will have to be hired out such as electrical sockets and plugs that no longer function, or roof repairs, it's not likely you'll see me purchasing power tools for some of these big repair jobs.
"Why don't you use this documentary as a platform to raise awareness about the mental health issues of teenagers?" an older kid asked me.
Nah. It's not time yet for me to devote my energies there, I feel strongly in my gut that I can't add stuff now when I still have so many kids depending on me every day, all day.
Someday though, when I'm not needed here at home 24-7, I do plan to address some of the Hell that we, and other foster and adoptive parents, have endured especially in the mental health arena. I want to testify before the state legislature, I wanna raise Cain about the severity and the lack of resources, although I've been blessed by what we've accessed.
I'm on the cusp, within a few short years of my nine high schoolers being grown up. That will then leave me with very few kids at home who will then be teenagers themselves, although I don't mind if a bunch of them don't move out quickly, right now we're living such a calm life, especially in comparison to just a year or so ago.
It's nice now, really nice, no less busy, but infinitely less violent.
Our weather has warmed up beautifully again, I pulled quack grass rhizomes with gusto yesterday, listening to Tabby sing as she climbed the wisteria vines that gnarled around tree trunks, Michael brought the kids some fleeces, and I read some more into my newly purchased 50 cent investment, Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, and later a buncha kids sat and watched a National Geographic or Discovery Channel special I'd taped, Walking the Amazon, which was absolutely fascinating, spurring more wild dreams into my mind. I may be old, but I ain't ready to be put out to pasture yet.
Paring down our crap, embracing minimalism minus my very contradicting mongo stash of books and plants, has invigorated me, revolutionized the way I view stuff, changing my outlook from the inside out. It's my choice, not something I inflict upon my kids, but I've noticed many of 'em following suit lately.
Today my first born, Sarah Louise Brown Beam, turns 38 years old. Happy Birthday to my heart! Yes, although we're both genetically opposed to exclamation marks, for me to have been blessed by her presence in my life for so long requires this emphasis this morning. That she hasn't bailed on me after the Hell she too has endured, that she and her wonderful husband chose to renovate a house and live within spitting distance of those that'd rob them too, mistreat them also...well it speaks volumes to me each day.
That she's never railed at me, never screamed at me for inviting the difficulties into our lives, that she's there in church with me each week, here by my side often helping me, and has blessed me with Hazel and Ray? Oh my goodness, shut up Cindy, you have a wonderful life. Readers are leaders.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Two church services later, the early one at our church, plus the 11:00 one at Grandma's excellent Methodist church for the karate graduation, a whopping ten hours of sleep last night for me...honestly I conked out hard, it's been another trying couple of weeks here, but the reward for me pressing on through has equaled family safety, plus Sabrina having another coughing fit, big enough to end the date she was on, Lord Have Mercy, it's a wonder I even do ever get to eat or sleep.
I ate everything not nailed down in the house yesterday, I could not get filled up, I was emotionally whacked out, slumping in a seat in the living room, reading a book I'd just gotten at a yard sale, I did get the dishes done, but not much else.
It's as if I've been beat with a bat sometimes, not by my own kinfolks, but by others who are clueless and have ludicrous agendas.
Sabrina's now on steroids. Oh great, roid rage and PMS, this ought to make for an interesting week. The doctor xrayed her lungs, decided it was some kind of mutant bronchitis that has made her spastically cough, nearly similar to a seizure. It certainly had alarmed me.
One of my teenage boys had a crying spell this morning, took me by surprise, later telling me, "I'm OK now."
I sat at the Methodist church service, glad I attend a rowdier church, although they've got a great and wonderful preacher there, it just reminded me how spiritually unfed I felt as a kid.
Lily was successfully in a flash mob scene at school this week, we have absolutely barrelled through the minutes and hours of the preceding years, and now I stand here kinda stunned at what's left, now it seems as if I have very little time left with my teenagers before they set off into the world.
Lord, please help me make the most of it.
Mid 60s afternoon - a couple of hours spent weeding, planning next year's garden beds, and Sarah blogged.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Chuck's father back to the hospital, a gall bladder sonogram for Yolie, after an initial doctor's visit that morning, shuffling the grandkids to babysitters - in our case it is always one of us babysitting - and ending the night up by debating an ER trip right before midnight.
Sabrina's coach brought her off the field, it appeared to be an asthma attack, yet she doesn't have asthma, a weird coughing fit that wouldn't stop, they'd already had the sports trainer evaluate her. I'm standing there wondering how to find all of my other kids and get her home, the game was ending in a heartbreaking loss there in the second round of state playoffs, and she was pulling off her jacket, sweatshirt and shirts, ending up only in a tank top shirt in 39 degree weather.
I was bundled up so stiffly I could hardly walk. I had to leave her for a minute with Tony and the others, so I could jog to the van in order to prevent her from over-exertion. In the meantime, Tabby, playing with a phone, accidentally dialed Yolie's house.
"Are y'all alright?" someone hollered across the parking lot, as I was later kneeling over a retching cheerleader, who had nothing in her to barf up, having cheered for hours, burning off her supper rapidly.
I ended up leaving Chuy at the high school to wait for Martin and Scotty, while I zipped Sabrina the big whole mile away to Yolie's house and got Sabrina on a breathing machine with the albuterol I thought might help. Yolie is always level headed in medical emergencies, in contrast to my bug eyed, hand-flailing mechanisms. Lemme tell ya, the medical profession dodged a bullet by not having me be a part of it.
Long story short, it did help, the albuterol, but it took quite some time, none of us headed to bed until midnight.
Doesn't matter what time I fall asleep, my ole lady inner alarm clock always wakes me up before sunrise, or maybe it's the roosters outside my bedroom window.
I was thrilled to have another old friend from MYF found on Facebook, for such an isolationist, shut-in hermit as me, that's such a blessing. He reminisced about the six of us, my parents and us four kids, in that old '64 Ford station wagon pulling up to church.
Yesterday at Verizon with Chuy for his birthday I met Kelin Johnson, formerly a UGA Bulldog, later with the Seattle Seahawks, now a sports announcer, this other guy, Ben, has helped me many times adding kids to my family plan(s). These guys made going to Verizon fun, and you know how I detest stores, although I do adore Peach Mac and the chance to mess with an Ipad.
I sent the picture to Daniel, who immediately recognized a UGA former player.
Paloma chose to nutup last night when Chuy wouldn't answer his cell phone, hey, he's 16, he was with his cute girlfriend at the football game. I tried talking her down on the phone, but I knew she was gonna blow. Indeed the facility later called me in the middle of Sabrina's ordeal, to inform me of a restraint they'd had to apply on Paloma, this was two hours after the fact, and she was still raging.
Selfishly I could only think how glad I was to not be dealing with some irrational and violent behavior. Like my hands weren't full enough with normal adoption issues? It's when one teeters into the realm of irrational and severity, the mental health issues that need professional intervention and attention, that's when I balk and run for help, but remember, it's been a ten year time frame of trying to impossibly deal with she and her siblings here at home.
Yes, on the surface, I've given up, it might appear, but I'd counter with the fact that I'd be costing her the help she needs if I'd not taken a stand. I stand by my stance. I really do. Unless one has lived in terror-stricken fear, one has no clue. Family safety has to come first at some point. Duh.
I'm close to wanting to turn off my own phone's ringer, and all email and text alerts. I dread each one, it always seem to be something I have to immediately deal with, but, deep sigh, I know I signed up for this, and all it entails.
I can do this.
To have gotten a nice call, thank you Travis, that the competition cheerleading event of last week was on Georgia Public TV, allowed me to get it taped for when we have enough free time to watch it.
I may not ever have naturally been a Blondie, but anyone else recognize a little bit of Cindy here in Hazel? I've seen that hard-headed, stubborn expression in my own mirror at times.
Friday, November 18, 2011
The first time I'd ever heard of the Twilight vampire stuff, the books and the movies, I questioned what it was all about. "Oh Mom," Yolie sighed, "You'd hate it, absolutely hate it."
And that's all I needed to know about it. An article saying why grown women love it still didn't tempt me to learn more about it. I have enough to do as it is, I don't need to be interested in anything else.
Tony'd somehow found an old picture of an angle from our dining room years ago where Sarah's holding a baby, I'm guessing it's Hazel, and he took a photo last night from the same angle. His initial intent was in questioning me about the cayenne peppers hanging to dry. "Is this your idea of a Thanksgiving decoration?" he demanded.
Do I look like a woman who'd take the time to buy wreaths, pumpkin or gourd crap?
I don't think so.
My mind is full of the menu and amounts of food we'll need that day.
I'm fairly sure that Kevin, my favorite brother-in-law, sent the flowers there on the table, I'm also sure I'll always be drying my homegrown cayennes there. Duh, it's who I am. Why stop now?
JoJo won an award yesterday. "I'm gonna trip and fall down on purpose," he told me. I ignored it just as I ignore the many threats to moon folks, or to be a one man flash mob, or to jump out windows in a single bound. He's JoJo after all.
"Mom, you wouldn't believe how popular he is," Lily, his classmate and sister for 11 years, told me. "Everyone likes him soooooo much."
Indeed Jojo bopped to the front, climbed the steps to the stage and dramatically fell flat on his face, an entire auditorium busting out laughing, music to his ears.
I laughed so hard the tears ran down my leg. OK, I'm kidding, but I'd read that line on Facebook and loved it. I belly laughed though, he's such a clown. I know that only encourages him, but it was an automatic response.
Encouraging words have filtered back to me regarding our painful previous week, as I read between the lines, the words of professionals are bolstering my decision that I was initially attacked about...such is life. My teenagers remain furious, I'm starting to shake it off a bit. A bit.
Today Chuy is 16 years old, he moved in as a very intelligent six year old, the middle child of the most violent sibling group I've ever lived with, he was, and still is, standoffish, brittle and right on the edge of an explosion. He usually reigns it in, but it comes out at times, via astonishing rudeness versus danger. Honey, I'll take rude any day of the week over danger.
He wants a job, he wants independence, I get it, I'll help him attain his heart desires. I truly love him, but he'd rather I not gush about it, it makes him very uncomfortable. I understand. I'm not needy, I don't need for him to boost my ego with professions of a son's love for a mom.
He once told me, "I do love you, but I don't see why I should have to tell you that," which is more'n enough for me.
He's requested one thing for his birthday and I'm gonna get it for him. Wanting to look like a rich white boy, his words, not mine, he wants an Iphone. The previous model is less than a hundred dollars, quadrupled on Ebay, but Verizon and other carriers subsidize the phones, knowing they have you for a two year contract. I can deal with that. I like being able to reach the kids at all times, I'd wager an Iphone is almost necessary for high schoolers nowadays. Boy have I changed, or what?
My cell phone bill is very high, that's for certain, but I'd carried on so much on Verizon's toll free line that I'd gotten some extra features thrown in that saved us some very big bucks. Not having an outlandish clothing budget, getting so much else for pennies on the dollar allows me to allocate my budget to that which the teenagers truly desire...cell phones. We all share the minutes, but no one uses any, preferring to text and Facebook, I generally only call other Verizon folks (mainly Sarah, Yolie and Emily) which uses zero minutes.
Who needs a dishwasher when you have a mom who feels that the only way to totally clean her garden grimy hands is by washing everything in the sink? Seriously. This is how I function. It's my life.
And you know what? I woke up happy today, for no apparent reason other than choosing to think about it being barely 8 weeks before I can again sow my pepper and tomato seeds indoors in a germinating mix, and tend to them through January when it's too cold to play outside.
I'm forcing myself to release my intense, simmering anger over the preceding week when someone hurt my kids on purpose, when we should've received support, not condemnation, by someone who couldn't do for a day what I've done for decades. Shake it off, Cindy, move on, tend to your darlings.
Painting time, time to redo the house for the millionth time.
You can be happy, girlfriend, choose it. And I can talk to myself out loud if I want to, it's my life.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
When I annoyingly crow about being a happy ole bat, every part of me wishes my own daughters could leap past the emotional turmoil of their teens, 20s, and even 30s. I wish they could emotionally launch over it all, maybe even past menopause, into that part of life when one is happy with who one is, or is becoming.
It was with flabbergasted shock that I read the statistic this morning, that one out of every four women is on an antidepressant. Oh. My. Goodness.
Yes, I understand clinical depression, I get the need for meds, but 25% of our population can't be clinically depressed.
I'm gonna just blurt out my theory, that Hollywood and Madison Avenue executives who create all the marketing ploys has made all the rest of us non-Barbie doll like women feel very bad about ourselves because we are nowhere close to perfect.
Everything is so dang superficial and artificial. If we don't wear the latest fashion, or have a plastic filled chest that defies gravity, or be a size zero, then we suck. If we're built like an orangutan (me) or if we're curvy then we're considered fat? What the heck?
No, we don't suck, that fake mindset sucks.
Something is wrong when woman are bulimic, Diane Keaton just wrote a book detailing her own struggle with food years ago. There are countless books on the subject. See, I just bought into a movie star being a role model. Oops. Sorry 'bout that.
Why can't we all just be celebrated for who we are? For our own uniqueness? What is this ridiculous mold we are being forced into that is so impossible to achieve that women have become depressed.
My lovely daughter was brought into court yesterday in handcuffs and shackles, looking quite beautiful in spite of those restrictions, charged with affray and simple battery. I remain glad, on every level, that this violence was not directed at any of my family members, not that I prefer others to be victimized, but even with a professional staff and many psychotropic medications, this violence still occurs.
She's been 10-13'd some 5 or 6 times in a year and a half...even from places with a professional staff. Again I remain bowled over that Just A Mama was somehow expected to maintain these behaviors while also keeping others safe from violent outbursts.
In many ways, I feel as if my own soul has been severely assaulted over the years, leaving me as a shell of who I was once, back then a very optimistic, happy, bubbly goofball. I miss me a lot.
I remain highly outraged over some of the, as of yet, unbloggable crud. My own mom trying to calm me down. She'd watched the entire Casey Anthony trial on TV, outraged herself at the awful lies hurled at the defendant's father. That this alleged murderer would irrationally blame her own flesh and blood? How will he ever emotionally recover from millions of people watching these terrible accusations publicly? I have no clue. Emotional assaults leave unseen horrific scars.
I should know, that's how my own children came to me years ago. That's how some of them have left me later...
I am very, very strong, yet my inner strength has been systematically brutally battered and bruised beyond recognition. Maybe that's why I cling to folks who knew me when, even if it's only a couple of happy minutes a day on Facebook?
A 14 year old here got a behavior referral write up yesterday for arguing with the teacher and disrupting the class repeatedly. When I addressed this behavior at home, he fell into his usual pattern of screaming and arguing, not hearing anything I said. ODD is what it is, that sounds like a cop-out, but the very nature of an Oppositionally Defiant Disordered kid is in the oppositionalism. It was not the one pictured above.
Mr. ODD is also garnering an award today for trying to improve there at school, a small reception this afternoon for me to attend proudly.
"Well, they have to blame someone," a therapist once told me, when I complained about them blaming teachers, probation officers, hall monitors, weather patterns, and police. "Until they deeply want to change, they'll go on blaming folks." It is so emotionally entrenched, so embedded into their very character, it is exhausting to listen to, or to deal with constantly.
I tell ya, it is emotionally debilitating to feed, clothe, house, love and nurture those that constantly hurl ridiculous accusations at you, that's why my own soul has so invisibly retreated over the years. It's why I wanna just dig in the dirt, feel the sun on my back, and ignore the world that seems to have gone cuckoo.
Martin stayed home again, running a fever, we went outside in the warm afternoon, right before a storm blew through, he watching the hens, me weeding because weeding makes my world right once again. He's such a wonderful kid, a teenager I adore so much, I hate that he's almost 18, he's been a delight to raise, I wish he could be 3 again, so I could spend more time with him.
Another medical emergency right around suppertime last night, a grown child with a severe bout of hypertension, it's genetic, blood pressure 159/106, I know the birth family's battle with this. Grandma and I rallied to sit with grandkids, get my kids where they needed to be, serve supper, and get everyone to Youth Group, hardly skipping a beat. Surprisingly enough my own blood pressure is very low 110/68. Go figure.
Still I don't reach for antidepressants, I fear for the health of my liver should it have to process chemicals, I don't want to be impaired at all, I have too many snap decisions to make each day, too much resting on my shoulders, and the bottom line is that I am not depressed. Situationally I face some extraordinarily depressing events, and I need to remember that fact.
This month has been brutal, there's just about no other word for it. I've taken an unpopular stand for family safety after working here in my home for nearly ten years on one sibling group's violent explosions, emotionally and physically. That they then continue to accuse others of ridiculous allegations just cements my own resolve for what I've had to do.
It's taken a toll on us all, we're battle-scarred survivors who are beginning to believe that safety has finally arrived. It would've been egotistical of me to have continued thinking that my love would've been enough.
It flat out isn't enough.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The lovely sound of a gushing downpour woke me up since my windows were open, our warm spell has been delightful. I thought about the sacks of leaves and grass clipping that I'd scored, I'd spent an entire day lovingly spreading it all on one area, that new permaculture bed I'd built of just Navajo blackberries, heavily mulched, that had survived our awful drought. The rain'll pack down the side dressing, will help it to quickly decompose and feed the soil, while fattening the earthworms who are also busy toiling in the soil for me. I thought of a Garden Rant post I'd recently read.
Then I thought, "This is my life? This thrills me?"
Well, yeah it does, and being close to 60, allows me to relax and not be self-conscious about loving such dorky things.
Not being self-conscious is such incredible freedom. Especially for a woman who seemingly has so little free choice it would seem.
Mae's grandfather breezed through his six hour surgery yesterday while she and I tooted around. We'd gone to Tuesday's Senior Citizen 25% Discount Day at Goodwill since I needed yet another sofa. Lizzie, my nearly 80 pound, 13 year old Lab/Chow mix had commandeered a sofa in the living room, and we kinda need the seating.
Scotty took Lizzie's sofa to his room since she sleeps there every night, and we drug in the new sofa I'd splurged some $30 bucks on, but also I'd bought myself a Millennium Worship 2 CD set for less that $2, added it to my Ipod, knowing how much it soothes my very rattled soul.
A couple of new hoodies also for a couple of bucks apiece, to replace those that the kids leave at school, on the playground , the bus, or wherever. It's in their nature to not be very concerned about misplacing items, it isn't worth me having a hissy fit about it either, learning to choose my battles carefully over the years.
Martin was running a fever, nearly 18 years old, this was the very first day he'd ever missed while in high school, and I attribute it to the massive stress of last week, which I'll blog about as soon as I can still my pounding heart and angry soul. Someone hurt my kids on purpose and I find it nearly unforgivable. I will forgive, because that's what I do, but I stand amazed that folks would knowingly test karma, reaping what they've sown, however one wants to think about cause and effect.
"How're we ever expected to feel secure when folks hassle us?" an angry teenager asked me last week, "I know kids whose parents let them smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol at home, why don't they get hassled?"
Euwww, I hope that's not true.
I have an open standing invitation to some folks at CPS inviting them to drop by unannounced and discuss any concerns they have with me.
Chuck puttered with CW's ITunes account way past the level of patience I'd earlier demonstrated. The downloading, or something, had gotten hung up in the process, CW was caterwauling about it. Chuck, long a bastion of complete and utter calm, methodically worked on the problem until it was solved.
I envy that, both his easy demeanor and his astonishingly amazing ability to not get his feathers ruffled. A Black man in the South, living in a mainly white and Hispanic world, there's plenty he could've found himself insulted about over the past 30 plus years, but he just never gets ruffled. I so admire that.
Sabrina and Tabby have both been very clingy, emotionally needy lately, again I attribute it to the extraordinary blast of yuck that we encountered last week.
I'll say it again. I've long been faced with ridiculous and unwarranted criticism from others that couldn't do for one minute what I routinely do year after year after year.
They are who stress me out, not my demands at home. PAINS - People Assuming I Need Scrutiny, I'd sure love to turn the tables on them, see if they can bear up under the microscope that I'm always under. It's a good thing I'm not vindictive. Are you kidding me? I'd be scared to be such a person, an ugly is as ugly does moment. I was raised better'n that.
I have an extremely overdeveloped conscience, 57 years of Bible teaching'll do it to you, plus loving parents, one a Preacher, instilling these concepts of honesty and always Doing The Right Thing in me equals an uber-conscientious person. Duh. Clearly I still need to work on the sarcasm.
Call me strait-laced, I don't care.
My kids were HURT by others, and I'm still struggling with my anger over that incident obviously.
Sometimes, during the school day, when I don't have to be somewhere, I'll just sit on a log and watch my hens, knowing they bring down my surging blood pressure. Simplification is my utmost goal. Last year when I decided to touch everything in my house and get rid of that which I do not need, well it radically changed my outlook. I miss nothing that I shed myself of, material crap just weighs me down, I like clean surfaces, unfettered by decorations, leave me my books and my houseplants though.
A great post here about Ted Talks, something I was totally unaware about until Sarah explained it to me. I face such ludicrous bullcrap so often, that to have logical, educated voices expounding in my ear, their life stories, theories and ideas reminds me that all is not lost, that idiocy is not taking over the earth, that there is hope...which is why I also listen to various sermons.
On the face of things, it often appears as if all is lost, I need massive infusions of hope and reassurance that thoughtfulness and mindfulness exists somewhere..
I'm fixing to download this one, this morning, before I go put on my monkey suit and head to town.
I'm again getting happily hyped up 'bout Thanksgiving, laughing at a Peta commercial, reading a Tweet about someone unable to imagine a vegetarian Thanksgiving, as if that could never happen? I don't eat turkey, don't like it, never will, but I'll serve it because I'm not a food Nazi. My friend, Chris, is donating four birds for us, Preston'll fry two, Grandma'll cook two, and there won't be a single morsel leftover because we always have a crowd.
There'll be plenty for Sarah, Lily and I to pig out on, being vegetarian never slowed us down.
A last thought, I'm down to my last dozen freshly picked tomatoes - which makes me very wistful. However a volunteer plant of grape tomatoes somehow survived our couple of frost blasts so far.
Click over here for an aggravating example of what we adoptive mothers endure. Your blood will boil.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Some folks have had the same outdated thermostat on their walls for years, there's no need to replace a functioning regulator. But us? Preston has replaced the one in the hall at least three times since he married Sarah some 11 years ago. How is that even possible? We're dog years on everything.
An incredibly beautiful day yesterday in which I worked in the Upper Gardens, all my dogs with me, sunning themselves, their solar-heated naps disturbed by my unbelievably bad, off key singing voice, as I blasted praise music through my Ipod. Sorry 'bout that dogs.
Six solid uninterrupted hours of pure bliss...for me at least, my dogs might argue that point, doing their level best to not howl in response.
Today'll be warm too, followed by rain which'll cool down our temperatures.
We have a beloved in-law undergoing surgery today, praying for him to breeze through the four hour procedure.
I've recently read of two different, ten and under, Florida juveniles committing felonies. Yes, America, kids this young rage dangerously. I myself could never have imagined this decades ago, my only reference point would've been my own geeky siblings and my nerdy self at that age.
Noses stuck in library books, all of us, that's who we were, my parents rarely having to raise their voices to correct us. We had such inane rules as not allowing anyone to start a book that had someone else's bookmark in it, indicating a work in progress. Seriously, that's all my parents had to deal with, squabbles over slower readers while a line formed for that particular mystery.
I remember reading incident reports from a challenged behavior-based therapeutic ranch of a seven year old being restrained by staff, even while heavily medicated. I just couldn't picture this. He grew up to be a prison inmate wearing the color that designates mental illness, he's treated differently even there.
Yes, folks, these are some of the children I've lived with, and they weren't even the most destructive ones. This is what the adoption of older children looks like.
An extremely frustrated man called me last night in regards to a kid in his care that is making allegations, there's no worse feeling in the world, terror strikes in one's heart, the state is investigating him, his reputation likely in shreds - all because of the machinations, the nearly evil manipulations of a severely emotionally disturbed teen with too much power at their disposal via lies. These kids know how to get what they want, not caring who they hurt in the process. It is scary, very, very scary.
I listened with empathy, making this card found on a table in my house all the more ironic.
I was once so enthralled with Norman Vincent Peale and William James, with the philosophers and theologians who spoke of our mind's capacity for joy and enthusiasm, it's where I once learned and absorbed a great deal of inner strength that I didn't know would be sorely battered over the next two decades.
It's why I have so little patience now for a trivial world that is hyper-concerned with fashion, fad diets, consumer-itis, the Kardashians, and spray tans.
I'm just trying to be still standing at the end of each day.
I'm as pleased as punch to watch Tabby, Nando and Jack earn a new karate belt, or for Sabrina to be cheering this upcoming Friday night as her high school team steadily advances to the football state playoffs. Signing papers that my kids bring home, doling out field trip money and other necessary fees, feeding everyone supper, getting clean laundry put away, these are my mile markers, that there's no real simmering violence in my home anymore is extraordinary - but it cost us all a lot of emotional pain to get here.
When my kids are grown, I plan to address our state legislature about the considerable violence that foster and adoptive parents face - if I still have the strength to do so...
I remain totally outraged at the lack of support we get, yet I know that I've been blessed overall.
Or maybe I'll tackle world hunger as an issue, an 'each one, plant one' campaign, maybe I'll just sit and drool in the mud, so emotionally damaged will I then be after years of abuse. No, I'm stronger than that.
Thanksgiving is barely a week away, Sarah started tallying our menu plans, we have some special guests coming, it's shaping up beautifully, and I'm getting kind of excited about it. A day of fun and food, plus my brother, Jimbo, will be back here with us.