Friday, August 31, 2012
So many of my grown kids have such similar issues and challenges.
I'd told my BFF recently that I always was positive that I could handle the physical work involved in parenting so many children, the wall-to-wall housework, the physical labor, the rigors, the incessant demands 24-7 upon my body, my time, and my attention, yet I failed to factor in the severity of the emotional Hell that would be involved.
I had no clue, still don't
There was no way to know up front, no way to predict the criminal predisposition of some, the violent, aggressive tendencies, nor even of the later mental health diagnoses.
That said, even if I'd just parented one mentally ill child, with no other children at home, well, I certainly could not have cured it, nor prevented attacks upon others in the community. There are some children that will thrive away from a family setting with its implicit expectations.
There were, and still are, no easy answers to some of that which I have faced.
I'm glad that my parenting adventure span will stretch out over a 48 year time period, from 1973 until Tabby's future graduation in 2020. I couldn't have done this in one short time period. Then at age 66 I will not have any minor children living at home, not since I was 19 years old. Oh my.
Sarah's reading Crazy, Sexy Cancer after having seen the film in which this feisty woman diagnosed with cancer decided to fight it nutritionally, it's become a can't put it down book for her, calling to tell me of that which she's learned.
Kris Carr, the author, tells us that hunger is how our body tells us it needs nutrients.
As a longtime, nearly lifelong, vegetarian I know when my body needs proteins.
Carr extrapolates that when we douse our hunger with Ho Hos, we are, of course, not satiated, the hunger continues, we eat chips or some other nutrient-void food, and the hunger then drives us to continue eating such crap, eventually making us overweight.
I so buy that theory. I buy it because I so rarely eat junk food, finding I don't usually crave it because I've made a concentrated effort to eat what my body needs. Therefore no vicious cycle and I'm not heavy. I know that junk food leaves me empty. I know that a baked potato fills me up.
So simple, yet so not comprehended in general.
Now I want to read this book, I also know that I'll soon find it at a yard sale, that has happened millions of times to me.
'Little Cindy' read the caption as Marcela was obviously disturbing her darling, super-opinionated, beautiful daughter Marissa this morning, texting me this photo that I'm gonna use here, and has zero relation to any of the following words in this post.
If anything, I cling to my grandchildren as hope for the next generation because our middle generation was saddled with such heavy strikes against them genetically and neuro-biologically. Claudia and I'd just discussed that on the phone recently.
Marcela was in my first sibling group adoption, 25 years ago, now college educated, employed, married, and a homeowner, - goals I wanted for all of my children.
But around the late 1990s I began adopting way more troubled children - and none of it was any of their fault. Not at all. I remember consulting with special ed professionals as I read the study, asking questions before the kids ever arrived, and, get this, I was picky about who I adopted, I knew which issues I felt I could not parent...yet ended up with some other issues I'd not seen coming, nor had those in which I'd consulted, met with and discussed everything.
I've told three caseworkers in one day yesterday that I believe I adopted the cream of the crop, literally, very, very difficult children, yet the case studies of those coming into foster care nowadays indicate even more serious challenges. That flat out blows me away.
I want to shout out a public, "Thank you for allowing me to be your mama," to the 38 darlings that joined Sarah and I as a family over the last three decades. I really wanna thank Sarah for standing by me for all these years and for not having fled in fear. Preston too, a big ole thank you.
A series of recent studies has established that psychopathic rapists and murderers have distinct brain structures that show up when their heads are scanned using MRI.
There was a time in my once naive, over-protected, Preacher's kid life when I'd have found that statement to be a cop-out. I was too judgmental. No, make that ignorant.
This is only one of the thousand ways in which I've changed by parenting traumatized children, clearly I needed to learn more. So much more.
A study published in the journal Science this month showed that criminal psychopaths in the United States whose lawyers provide biological evidence for their brain condition are more likely to be sentenced to shorter jail terms than those who are simply said to be psychopaths.
Dee had sent me this article, reading it in its entirety helped me to see both sides of the fence and to also come away just as muddled as before. That I've had the privilege of loving some of the defendants since they were young children, I, naturally, look at them as troubled, rather than as straight-up criminals.
After conducting a series of tests on the Algerian, Pietrini and colleagues said they had found abnormalities in imaging scans of his brain, and in five genes that have been linked to violent behavior — including MAO-A.
A 2002 study led by researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London linked low levels of MAO-A with aggressiveness and criminal behavior in boys who were raised in abusive environments.
Well, dang, all of my children came from the foster care system, and before that, very abusive and violent environments, especially several of the later sibling groups I'd adopted.
I hurt for them as they face consequences, and I doubly feel psychic pain in knowing that they are completely unable to link these consequences to their recent behaviors that got them locked up.
I have no answer, but I do know I'm in good company, as so many professionals themselves are baffled as well.
In yesterday's awesome-as-usual therapy session with Dr. Mandy we were addressing an issue that merely grates on my nerves, is even kind of small potatoes compared to the major criminal ones I've faced and endured...that of lying.
Dr. Mandy described it to me as a functional dishonesty, in that the person simply lied to get their way and that this type of lying generally ceases when the liar is an adult and doesn't feel they have to lie to the parent who is only protecting them.
Well less lying should then ensue, there'll be plenty of opportunities for lies to continue in the workplace and in relationships, but for me to not to confuse this with psychopathic lying, because the one we were discussing does have empathy and a conscience, which, of course, gives me great hope for that one's future.
Teenagers in general cannot conceive that the warnings from a parent could actually happen to them.
Their absurd feelings of invincibility, combined with a lack of brain maturity, lead teens into all sorts of dangerously risky behaviors.
This particular teen perceives that I am mad, not comprehending that I am hurt by the deceit. A difference Dr. Mandy pointed out to me to comprehend and thus better understand my teen.
As for the documented criminals, those with lengthy arrest records that are my family members, I've had to disallow their participation in family gatherings for everyone's protection. If one has been charged with meth possession, one can rightly fear they'll be robbed. And this time, I do believe this one who often lies to me, that it really wasn't literally his drugs - a dubious distinction at best.
I believe him because another one who vouched for him, doesn't have a dog in this fight, and was even furious at the one who'd gotten arrested. He'd notified me in outrage before I'd even known of the arrest.
All the occupants of the vehicle were charged. I also though know this kid of mine would easily take some drugs if offered, certainly drinks until drunk, and therefore I just can't allow him into our home, to bluster and to posture gang signs and thuggish behaviors in front of younger kids. I don't think so.
I do love him, I do deeply care for him, yet I grieve over his terribly detrimental choices. He's gonna be a father in a month. Oh dear.
His youngest birth brother is being re-traumatized every time an older sibling either grows up and leaves home (abandonment and rejection is intensely felt), or makes terrible choices and gets arrested, sending this youngest one running to Dr. Mandy who guides him through his very confused feelings of fear, hurt and fury.
There's no way to withhold this damaging information from the younger sib, he hears an even crazier version at school from all the Hispanics who live in the trailer park in which many of these arrests have occurred.
Many of those residents also tend to make sure I'm aware of all of the details as well.
Dr. Mandy again, maybe the millionth time in more than a decade, reminded me that I can not control anyone's choices, not my grown kids, not even the traumatized children at home, I can only continue to lead, to love, and to try and parent them against oh so many odds.
There are already known biological bases for many brain disorders criminals suffer from, including drug addiction, alcoholism and antisocial personality disorder, which is thought to affect up to half of all those in prison.
I'd told Dr, Mandy yesterday that I'm aware she can't 'fix' my kids, that I don't expect her to be a miracle worker. I'm not a parent who will scream in frustration, "Therapy isn't working!" I just expect her to be the very brilliant ear that my children will confide in, that she's not the parent that represents so much conflict, because of that they do trust her, they adore her, which makes it in my favor because therapy is helping.
It's helping me navigate crazy waters, it's helping my children cope with their incredibly difficult challenges, and I do know, from many, many years of experience as a parent to severely troubled children, that they ARE listening to all she tells them, they are storing it away for future reference, and are using some of the many coping techniques they are learning.
The words I've used most often in seven years of blogging are 'I have no answers.' I only report and ponder what I've seen, experienced and observed while searching for answers, help and resources. I'm a self-described know-it-all who knows very little.
I'd budgeted a generous $300 for our electric bill, we've not used AC all month, the pool pump had been shut down, I'm a little dweeb running around shutting off all lights and fans not in use. And dadgum if it wasn't $639. I had a major hissy fit in the kitchen to no one. Highway robbery, crapping up my carefully constructed September budget. $339 that must now come out of another category or three. Gas at $4 a gallon, can't touch that over-stressed category.
Thank God for the $2 outfit I'd got at a yard sale to wear to Daniel's wedding.
I do share blanket financial statements with my kids, we discuss at dinner rather often where each dollar needs to go each month, they see me sacrifice and make tough decisions, but they also see that these sacrifices pay off, that I'm not a martyr, but rather a CEO happily meeting a challenge. The satisfaction at the end of each month when we might be pathetically broke, but the bills have been paid, is priceless and something I'm hoping to teach by example along the way.
Jump over to this non-sugar-coated post on living with FASD. I doubt there's a single child leaving foster care going into adoption that is not either FAE or FAS to some degree. Do you really think the birth parents were sober? Hello? It drives me to tears to think how seriously my own children were sentenced to a life of severe difficulties because their birth parents drank or did drugs while pregnant.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
The major life events that I process each day can be staggering. Some good, some bad, some wonderful, some are just another gut punch.
This morning is one of those days, all four descriptives apply.
This yummy baby is actually kin to a grandchild I've never met due to extenuating circumstances, and is not yet counted in my 23 tally.
Last night at the Children's Church swimming party Miss Lisa gave me a photo she'd recently come across, taken at another church function, some ten years ago is about my best guess, as Martin and CW looked about 8 and 6, but Grandpa was in the picture. It was before his Pulmonary Fibrosis diagnosis and he was strong and healthy. That stupid disease eventually wasted him away to weighing nothing on his 6'2" frame.
I was standing there with Lisa, and her beautiful niece Melissa, fighting tears when I looked at Grandpa, all three of us women having lost our dads in the last several years.
I later stood in the church parking lot talking with a dear friend of mine who'd lost her mom a year ago. I don't care how old you are, or how strong one's faith is, it's still a punch in the gut to lose a parent.
Imagine how much more so for my own children who all lost their parents making them orphans of the living?
But life goes on, Vanessa already calling me this morning, 250 miles away, fixing to deliver her second child today. The baby's father weighed 11 pounds at birth, Nessa is in for a long day, this is my 23rd grandchild. Thank God my daughter, Miriam, is with her.
I'd tried to figure my timing on driving to Alabama, no way today with three appointments so far, Vanessa's too-cute daughter, Evelyn, wouldn't be up at the hospital anyway, so I'll try and plan a later trip. Both JoJo and Allen, babies of this original very stormy sibling group of seven, miss the tar out of the other five grown siblings who are now scattered over four states total.
Several blog comments of support yesterday, an email that set me to thinking as a friend thinks her boss has cyclothymic disorder, what with him having run through a large number of assistants. As I cleaned out our pantry yesterday I pondered that thought, thinking I'd long wondered how folks like this would turn out as adults. My own son likely will not rise to a level of supervisor, as he is so developmentally delayed, and is touched with Cerebral Palsy, but a lack of interpersonal skills would certainly turn him into demonstrating a staggering inability to maintain office relationships.
And Adele? Not always agreeing with me? Huh? Was it the hairy legged part? Veganism? I pondered that as well, knowing we both share a very deep faith and strong family connections. "Mom," I hollered to Grandma, "Adele doesn't always agree with me," I whined, making Grandma snicker something about, 'not everyone doing so."
Adele is my favorite brother-in-law's sister, we share the most darling, lovely, level-headed, sweet niece, Lauren. We are so blessed.
Cleaning out my pantry is an ordeal, my pantry is the size of an apartment kitchen, lined with shelves up to the ceiling, and when I clean, I clean out every single item, discarding, deciding what to keep, recycling and composting. I only got 50% done yesterday in a five hour time slot. My phone kept ringing with requests I also needed to get done.
Last night at youth group, my sweet son Jack made his public declaration to follow Jesus and somehow, being a Bodie, broke his brand new eyeglasses in the process. We don't do anything half-heartedly apparently. I'm so proud of you Jack, I know you've had a very tough time now for two years without Grandpa here.
Our new youth pastor is on shaky ground, facing nearly a dozen arms-crossed Bodies, daring him to leave...or to stay. Either way they're gonna be abnormally slow to trust. Abandonment and rejection issues blazing across their good-looking faces.
Jacks older birth brother CW was having a very loud cow this morning over a middling grade in his psychology class. His information analysis was on target, his grammar not so much. Southerners struggle in this area as we butcher the English language on a daily basis, me included, you ought to hear us talk.
I, as usual, sided with the teacher. "Nope, Dubs, sorry," I told him, "She's absolutely right and college material kids like you need to get this straight." He remained grouchy and unconvinced 'bout it all.
"Well don't put it on your blog," one grown kid told me about her deep concern regarding some recent issues of another grown sibling. I rarely ever mention any grown kids by name anymore, often not even the ones at home, as again, it's the issues we face that are universal, not the kids who remain incredibly unique. Good golly, how is it even possible to have 39 this extremely unique bunch?
I used to insist, or at least suggest, that they continue to use this address as they couch-surfed their way around, until this address kept showing up in police reports as a result of my dumb suggestion. Nowadays I loudly insist they not use it after they move out. But what if something bad happens and there's no way to let me know? I am the one with a stable, constant address. I'm also the one with a landline that some will use to call me collect from jail.
Right now the fact that the one in question didn't use my address, as he's mid-20s now, has many of us uneasy. It's momentarily up in the air, leaving us with some lingering questions.
That so many lie to me routinely also leaves me unsure, or unaware, or pure T ignorant about certain situations.
My grown kids have been, as a group, very emotionally needy in the last couple of months, especially many of the ones who blew out of here at 18, raging at the entire world. I'm surprisingly quiet about many of my, "I told you so," remarks, knowing they're learning just fine without this verbal reminder.
Every single one of them report hearing my nagging words running as an annoying tape loop in their minds as they struggle with bill paying, jobs, housing, relationships, and all the other facets I'd tried to explain while they were still such blatant know-it-all teenagers here at home.
Thank God for computers that allow me to email or fax documents that they need, thank God that they do call on me for help sometimes, rather than relying on the most amazingly bullcrap ghetto/barrio misinformation they often receive from very iffy street characters.
Life's hard even when you're doing your best to stay on the straight and narrow.
I had a son-in-law driving to court to dispute an incomplete stop sign violation, one my own Mom once successfully argued and won in court many years ago, but this sweet SIL got rear-ended on his way to court, driving his wife's car. Oh my goodness.
My almost 17 year old son is tired of me using either the words inappropriate or appropriate. He wanted to go home on the bus to a girl's house to finish a project. I believe him, I trust him because she's not his girlfriend, but I haven't spoken to this parent, and I won't allow him to just show up over there, it's inappropriate. We're having a text conversation and I can hear him sighing his frustration over my old-school values.
Too bad, son. I love you too much to help you make a mistake. If that mom calls me and reassures me that she'll be there to supervise, and that she approves, then it'd be deemed appropriate in my book.
Deysi, 36, (who soon might not want her age printed), sent me this darling photo of her two children, Alexander and Ellie, along with Curtis and Marcela's baby girl, Marissa. I'm gonna go with Deysi next week to a school function for my darling, Alexander. I love the happy stuff. We have an even happier event coming up the next week that I don't yet have permission to divulge.
And before I could end this on such a happy note I received yet another disturbing phone call regarding a grown kid with severe emotional issues being arrested. She very likely was suckered punched, wrong place/wrong time scenario, surely with the wrong compadres, she doesn't have the wherewithal to deal with all this, no wonder she wasn't returning phone calls.
I'd just heard recently about a young lady that I know who stole her Grandma's credit card and drove the bill up to $900. This young lady in another state broke her Grandma's heart. This is not an adoption issue. this was in a birth family, this is what drugs did to a once sweet girl.
In contrast, my own drug-free daughter, who's about the same age, mid 30s, gave me the above plant. Gina's a giver, not a taker. This flower is referred to as a Mexican Blue Belle, a Mexican petunia, a desert petunia and is considered invasive, which is why I planted it where I did, confined and unable to overtake any vegetables.
My mom suggested that the Grandma press charges, which is exactly what one should do in order to not enable, but that Grandma demurred, "My heart just isn't strong enough for this," as she's even older than my own 82 year old mother.
I do understand this woman's reluctance, I really do, as sometimes I'm afraid my own feeble, too-often broken heart will visibly shatter, explode, detonate, or expire in front of my eyes.
My heart and my entire being hurts for this lady that I've known since I was a teenager. She's super sweet, a very giving, loving, now very elderly woman.
I'd once had a kid kinda sorta accidentally drive a cell phone bill up to $800 in one month, a sum that nearly killed me right on the spot.
Part of the reason, no a main reason money's become tight for us lately is that I am providing my teenagers with smart phones, it's almost required anymore what with the need to be connected. I also don't want them to be the only 8 poor kids at our high school without a phone.
It burns my butt then that they'll use these phones to access Facebook and complain when I didn't believe them when they'd been caught lying. Or yesterday that one of them blasted inappropriate music from his phone, because I'd dared to say no to an outlandish request at the moment.
So they then use what is costing me about $600 a month, every month, plus buying the dang things, to lash out at me.
How does that make any sense to anyone?
I do not provide cell phones for my grown kids, who could afford that? They need to be responsible for their own bills, unless they are attending college, and then I will continue to help a bit. I have always also had 18 and/or 19 year old kids still in high school, and I do continue to provide for them.
I don't want to enable anyone, nor to create entitlement feelings, I don't look for gratitude anymore, because that expectation has been knocked slap out of me, because I've learned it just isn't possible for them to express it - as it then, by definition, demonstrates that I'm doing what their birth parents would not do - and they're just not able to understand that it isn't, nor wasn't, their fault.
They still over-personalize it, they still feel as if they should've tried harder to continue their broken home situation against all odds. As if it is their fault that there was drug addiction or alcoholism or criminal activities.
It take s a long, long time to get past that mindset. And a lot of generously paid for by Medicaid therapy. There's y'all's tax dollars at work and I'm very grateful for this gift.
The one who'd blown up yesterday stalked off to his room to slam the door because I'd walked away, disengaged quickly, dove into waiting chores, knowing there was no ability reasoning skills to appropriate at that time of his explosive anger.
"You're welcome for the phone," I wanted to holler after him, but didn't do so, not wanting to fuel any flames, but also afraid his birth brother, his emotional twin, might then catch the brunt of his ire. The other ET has zero impulse control issues. Fortunately it didn't happen, I like to think it was because I was praying under my breath as I loudly worked off my own irritation.
Three hours later he came back downstairs, glowering at me, slamming an innocent cereal bowl around the kitchen, leaving the milk out to provoke me.
"Wanna hug?" I asked him, totally catching him off guard as he was clearly afraid I was fixing to say, "You need to apologize to me."
"I'm sorry," he said without any sort of prompt by me.
"I'm sorry I got mad," I told him.
This is what progress looks like in oppositional children.
He's a month away from his 17th birthday, he's exceedingly handsome and he has a girlfriend, he always has a girlfriend, and a list of waiting ones as well.
I took that opportunity to tell him, as I'd told his handsome mujeriego older brother, El Guapito, a thousand times, "You gotta work out your mommy issues before you can function properly in any relationship with anyone else."
He is intensely emotionally demanding, insecure, and overly-volatile, not a great combination, but he does have the capacity to attach, to love, and to function quite properly, if he can control his temper and his very, very exhaustively demanding ways. I sometimes refer to him as El Demando here at home, to which he automatically flashes his beautiful white teeth, his gorgeous and shy smile in a happy response.
Dude, that wasn't a compliment.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I know that I have a guaranteed readership of for sure, 1-3, people. I know for a fact that Sarah, Grandma and Yolie read what I write, but even if they didn't, I'd still write, because I write.
I like to write, if my readership goes down when there's little drama, that doesn't affect my will, nor my inner need to write each day. I never read how-to books about blogging, or how to attract advertisers, because that's not why I write. If I wanna go off on a tangent about poor eating habits, dumb debt (not that there's any other kind of debt), or some weirdo who inspires me by living cash-less or trash-less then there I go.
My posts are chapter length, this I know.
I want to walk away from the computer each day satisfied, knowing I then have my own head screwed on a bit tighter, and if I've bored others, well then that's just who I am, a person not full of social graces anyway.
I accept, no I embrace, the knowledge that I'm socially clumsy, often inept, but outright and overall right happy as a vegetarian, politically conservative, hairy legged, Bible-thumping, hillbilly conservationist, farmer-hermit.
All this because I happened today upon a woman determined to be plastic free someday, not an easy task. I find her struggle to be immensely fascinating.
Five years later, she’s largely succeeded: her annual plastic consumption has dropped from four pounds a month to two pounds a year. In comparison, most of us throw away 7-10 pounds of plastic a month…
Even in a drought my peppers thrive, the plants are leaning over under the weight of tons of peppers, as believe it or not, it rained too hard yesterday for me to go pick 'em all. Yay!
Again with onions and garlic, I fried up about 20 large blocky, colorful bell peppers left over from the previous day's harvest, in a large cast iron skillet with olive oil, dumping it out upon whole wheat pasta with my homegrown basil and oregano, not a morsel left over to eat today.
"Dang, that was good, Mom!" echoing around the kitchen from hungry kids after school, as we rushed to get to the soccer fields, only to discover all events cancelled by the rain I'd been praying for every day.
In the foster care system my children had all been exposed to Chef Boy-R-Do Do canned fake noodle slime items. That's what they'd known about pasta. It still blows me away that they'll tell me they loved it. We were never allowed, much less served, that crap as kids.Twinkies weren't in our home, nor sweet drinks, nor a host of other non-food bull-crap, rip-off-the-consumer garbage. Thank you, Martha Ellen Bodie for that.
I suppose the fact that my children will eat and enjoy a higher quality food item nowadays should be enough for me, that they revert back to Ramen noodles upon leaving home grosses me out, but I know that I taught them differently. That's all I can do. I cringe sometimes at what I see them feeding their own children. A mom, or a dad, should strive to do better for their children.
Claudia wrote of her hurt feelings again after learning that the most likely van thief was one of her own children. She (and I) take these events personally because it does hurt. It's crushingly painful. It's the ones we are trying to help lashing out at us, or, at best, still in their to be expected survival mode, and they just don't understand why we are then so sad about it. We don't understand how they can continue to rip off people. There's a chasm between us, the parents and the kids, regarding normal and acceptable behaviors.
It stresses us all out, on both sides of the issue. We'd hope to work on character development and morals, as it turns out it is our own character that gets worked on, if we can rise above the bitterness and resentment, the hurt feelings and the anger, then we will have improved upon ourselves, right? It turns out, it is about us after all. We are all we have left...if there's anything left of us after all this drama, danger, violence, and mayhem.
And the fight we have within our own selves is long and challenging. Thank you God for keeping me from shattering into cut shreds of bile. I still do know how to laugh and to smile.
The stress drove me to mouth the word 'A-hole' to my former caseworker the other day, trying to adequately express my frustration at a negative behavior. Wow, Cindy, and you claim to not cuss.
My severely developmentally delayed son just verbally antagonized the H E Double Hockey Sticks out of another younger, yet larger and stronger, son. He does this ALL the time, it's the behavior most often addressed in therapy, and it's a severely negative behavior he's demonstrated since the day he moved in nearly 14 years ago.
I have to follow behind and smooth the waters, walk the other then pissed off kids away, because the antagonizer continually, meanly, and predictably amps his verbal garbage up, reaching into the smelly depths of ugliness to bring up and taunt his adversary with the lowest blows possible, making others literally seethe with hatred.
I know how they feel, he does it to me also. I have to grit my teeth and demonstrate to the others that it is possible, and definitely desirable, to walk away without retaliating. That's what grown ups do.
Dr. Mandy, his teachers, the school administrators, Dr C, and myself have all explained to him over and over again that someday someone will likely punch him out in response, and Mommy won't be there to protect him. I have no explanation as to why on earth anyone wants to be that hated by others, unless it stems from a very deep-seated, self-loathing, neurological mis-wiring.
He's barely a year from age 18, he tells me when he's in the depths of his cyclothymic disorder that he hates me, the one who's always fed, nurtured, and protected him, the one whose personal space is invaded by him 99% of the time, that absolutely he's one million percent unable to extrapolate what these behaviors will do to him if he doesn't grow out of them.
Kids then scream in fury, "I hate him so bad!"
He doesn't comprehend, likely doesn't have the ability to comprehend, that never ever has anyone here screamed, "I hate Martin!" or "I hate CW!" Neither Martin nor CW ever antagonize anyone. Duh.
This isn't rocket science. If you make people hate you on purpose, how can anyone protect you from the eventual consequences?
How can I not be getting that one very simple point across to him? How can Dr. Mandy not do so? Nor the teachers?
Oh wait. I get it. It's not all of us that are unable, it's on him.
Lord, please grant me the ever-loving patience to continue each day, and I thank You in advance for this clearly God-given ability and inner peace. Thank You that I can be happy in spite of it all.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
My mind is as nearly as empty as my desk. An entire boring day spent in an 8 hour cleaning the house marathon will do that to you, as complete mind-numbing boredom overtook me. My eyes glazed over as I worked on chores, areas that'll just be messed up when the school bus disgorges its contents.
This extreme drought is crushing me. Again another band of storms completely dissipated upon nearing my area, earlier this week there was hope that Isaac would bring rain to north Georgia, my plants are dying, my gardens are too vast to keep everything watered and not dry up my well. It makes me flat-out sad.
So I listened to Dr. Joy Brown and Dave Ramsey podcasts as I irritably cleaned, the high point was my quick trip to the dump, unloading casualties of our home, by way of broken down furniture, rewarding myself at a highway roadside stand with hot boiled peanuts. Sometimes nothing else will do. I practically slobbered with unrestrained joy.
Why you think it saves money: ”I get cash back for things I buy anyway, so put it on the credit card.”
How you can overspend: According to a recent Nilson Report, average monthly spending on a non-rewards credit card totaled $465. With rewards, it reached $890. Clearly, it’s easy to feel compelled to spend more when you think you’re earning rewards. But be careful: Balances carried over can quickly eclipse rewards if you pay interest. Personal finance experts also warn that mental accounting weakens with credit card spending. You’ll likely have a harder time keeping track of what you’re charging than if you were paying for everything in cash.
I never carry a credit card, I've closed them all down but one, and some small part of me is afraid to let go of it. Just in case. Which is stupid on my part. Savings accounts should be used for emergencies, not a credit card. Man up Cindy.
The hot boiled peanut vendor doesn't take debit cards which usually is all I have on me. Luckily I had a couple of bucks as it sure did hit the spot, both vegan and protein packed, a Southern delicacy.
And the happiness continues, Jonathan called to crow about a superb science grade which I lauded for him, then Daniel called me with another set of Braves tickets for us in September, Yay! I also get to see Claudia in September. She's speaking at an adoption conference in Duluth in which I have no interest other than in hearing her, but I can call her and hear her anytime I want. I'd like to invite others though to benefit from her knowledge. It'll be here.
She was telling me about some adoption 'experts', of which no one can be, it just isn't possible, who are parenting 8, 9 and 10 year olds, giving well-meaning advice, but being clueless themselves as to all the Hell that's gonna break out in adolesecnce. Don't anyone think they can avoid it.
But again, getting rid of the clutter, decreases a mom's level of stress hormones, or so say the authors of Life At Home In The 21st Century. Think about how much time we spend managing stuff, stuff that is pretty much completely meaningless to us. I just don't wanna do it. I want to streamline everything, which will give me more time to work outside producing food.
The deeper Sarah's getting in her Yoga Teaching Training Class, the more she's learning, passing it on to me, making me more radical than ever regarding what I fuel myself with, my energy level is high, why would I wanna mess a good thing up with chemicals and non-food items?
I've also eschewed sugar for the past ten days or so, not even dark chocolate, which would've been fine, but I'd rather test my mettle, my willpower, and summertime is the best time in more'n a million ways to do so.
I'm trying to heal my stress from the inside out.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Somehow they can tell. En masse they push me to the brink, where I'm reduced to a door-slamming, foot-stomping, drooling village idiot, and then they surprise me with sweetness, light, and occasionally some chores well done.
Well, kinda sorta.
Again it was CW out mowing the meadow, Allen helped some, Tony stepped up to the plate by helping in the house, as did Tabby, Nando, Jack and Scotty. My Sunday afternoon bliss generally arrives in the way of me allowing myself the luxury of sitting on my tail and watching the Braves game, but yesterday was a night game instead.
I have a couple of pieces of furniture that've been bugging me, silently reproaching me to haul the suckers off, gimme more floor space in which to twirl and dance, to glide over happily, less stuff in the house, me loudly swearing when everyone's grown there'll be nothing here at all, but my bed and a Lazy Boy recliner for me to wallow in and watch baseball games.
Len Penzo Dot Com wrote a thoughtful post about being financially free, but not rich, and it's a stretch but I'll exclaim that's how I feel too. I never have to work again, even though I took a 14% pension cut that hurts for the rest of my life to parent a specific sib group that all bombed out of the house, all except one of 'em.
Like Len Penzo, I've always lived way, way, way beneath my means, preferring experiences over things which sure came in handy when a buncha folks moved into my house and set about systematically desecrating, destroying, and defacing what little I owned.
Nice try, kids, I wasn't attached to those things anyway. I do miss my soul though. My heart's been shredded and my once sunny disposition has been sorely compromised. I miss my four kitchen cabinet doors, both dishwashers, my youth, and my once shockingly complete lack of fear.
JoJo, as usual, amping up, ratcheting his behaviors into the stratosphere, I'd even caught him arguing with the stones we'd hauled home. "Good golly, son," I'd started to address that behavior, but instead busted out laughing, as I usually do around him, because the rocks were winning this argument. Oh my.
I watched Hoarders last night, eating popcorn in my bed because I can, and the show had a lady with a shopping addiction, facing bankruptcy, all those expensive clothes and shoes only trapped her, did not fulfill her.
As a child we kids never had piles of toys, but our parents took us on month long camping trips each summer, traveling to Canada and Mexico, beaches, National Parks, and other places. I vividly remember each trip. My brothers and I still abhor owning stuff, preferring instead a life that does not embrace things.
So the errant furniture that's been irritating me is plopped in my truck to be hauled off, a sofa Shatter loved and some other crap. Shatter stared balefully after his perch as it was indignantly dragged outta the house, plopping his butt down on the floor staring at where it used to be. She's bad about sitting on the kitchen table too, but it gives her a birds eye view out of the picture window I was bright enough to have put in when the kitchen was rebuilt some 13 year ago.
I interchangeably refer to Shatter as both a he and a she, only because I keep forgetting. And its real name is Shadow.
I have two remaining ugly sofas, bought second hand, or maybe third or fourth, who knows? I know I didn't hardly spend $20 on each one. I'd rather wonder about its history than make payments on such a depreciating asset that's gonna take a beating by my kids.
My lovely daughter ,Gina, 34, took my pretty Lily to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens yesterday after church along with a former student of mine. Lily came home exclaiming over its wonders. A fifteen year old who knows great gardens when she sees 'em. I'd love to go there sometime. Maybe I can talk Emily into skipping work one day soon?
Following Sarah's lead, I've been as vegan as possible for about ten days now, only erring one day when I was at the Braves game and had cheese tortellini with the rich folks in that private Sun Trust Club Seats Restaurant. Like I'd said before, this is very easy to do in the summer time. I feel fine, I don't miss dairy products like I thought I would. Maybe this'll be tougher to do in the winter. I'm not gonna stress about it, it's a mostly vegan thing. Unlike Sarah, I haven't lost a single ounce, but I did stop porking up like I've been doing lately.
But right now I have about $17 dollars left until the end of the month. Seriously. The bills are all paid and we have groceries, we'll make do, there's gas in the van and in the truck, all we're gonna be doing anyway is going to the soccer park.
These two sweethearts, both science nerds, make my heart sing with joy. 22 years ago Gina had just moved in with me, neither of us knowing I'd soon be unmarried, moved to another house, and the mother of another 31 kids.
That's why God doesn't let us see into the future.
Gina and her three siblings had come out of a disrupted adoption, back into foster care, scared and hurt, not too excited to see me coming either, viewing me as just another dumb, possibly well-meaning lady in a long line of caretakers.
Gina then didn't know she'd follow Grandpa and I into another family tradition via Emory University, my birthplace and the source of my Master's Degree, and previously Grandpa's Master's Degree in Divinity. We can only hope Lily will want to follow suit, technically she's Gina's birth niece which would handily continue the tradition.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
He was yelling something about these being 'Beaner toys.' He has no filter, no inner brakes, he yells stuff like this at church too.
I hadn't asked him to help, I never do anymore, because it only leads to a screaming fit, thrown by him, that irks me so bad I can't even find the will to continue my own work. So I just let him be, ignoring the negative behaviors, disengaging, and wondering the point of it all.
If I'm completely unable to teach him how to not be oppositional, then what future success will he find?
When I discover him eating in the living room, he denies that he's doing what I see him doing. If I'm dumb enough to pursue it logically, it just ends up with him having a complete meltdown.
I am completely unable to change a psychiatric diagnosis of human behavior, I'm just a human trying to help him to at least manage this aspect of his personality. That he's not mentally ill nor dangerous is good enough for me. He's embarrassing, that's all. I can deal with that.
He's very popular at his high school, Jack told me that he also single-handedly rebukes the cussing middle schoolers on the bus, that they then back down because they want his approval. Go figure.
I stayed out til dark, as I often do because It's not happiness I'm pursuing, but simply some peaceful moments.
I'm weirdly glad I'm not in a relationship that would also tax me, the always under the surface stress of it, the predilection for strife as two people have two opinions. I just need some inner peace, or even a sense that I didn't completely waste my life, seemingly making very little difference to folks.
I suppose that Sarah did not move far, far away to escape the pressure here is at least a decent testimony to my ability as a parent, the one birth child having turned out so beautifully, as have many other children of mine, I always need to remind myself.
That I somehow put ten kids through college so far also feels good.
We'd again run out of milk, I had on a raggedy tank top and just didn't wanna change clothes, so I gave Jack and Scotty a $20 to run into AJs and grab us four gallons while I sat my dirty self in the van, I just didn't feel like having to make small talk with anyone, that too feels too emotionally demanding.
I'm just tired, tired of trying to teach kids simple things in life like honesty or barely sub-human half-decent behavior only to have them melt down in response, rude and full of themselves as only a non bill paying teenager is ignorant enough to act.
That they can't see the 27 grown kids who've gone on before them, struggling mightily. Or can they not see all of my other kids who've worked so very hard to succeed, those that also came out of the foster care system with many odds against them? Hello?
I worked with those stones until my aching back screamed in response, I'm happy with the results so far, glad to have found a free source of that which I need. I need to not keep looking at potential rainfall via Hurricane Isaac, the back and forth predictions send me happy news then crushing news that it's gonna move westward of here.
I'd be willing to wager, I'd hazard a guess that this tiny section of this small county, a one mile radius of my home, has seen the least amount of rainfall in years compared to every other section of Georgia.
I watched a butterfly on the lantana and Tabby did the hair of our sweet dog, Princess, while neglecting her own, but hey it was a Saturday afternoon, her Saturday night bath looming.
I need to take a very deep breath, regroup here emotionally, man up, get a grip and get busy. I have too much to do to be sitting here whining, especially after such a wonderful church service today plus Sunday School.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
"Oh Honey," she stressed, "All I want for them is for someone dumb enough to haul 'em all off for me."
"For free?" I nearly screeched. "I'm dumb enough!"
Oh my goodness. I nearly had a purple spotted cow on the spot. I need to finish laying my faux stone courtyard where I can watch Chicken TV each evening, my version of relaxing without any alcoholic beverages which I don't drink. Instead I guzzle well water out of a mason jar, or more often I just drink straight from the garden hose, classy I ain't.
Long, long ago Sergi, Big Joe and Jesse drug a heavy stone picnic table back there, now I need it moved about 40 feet onto the new courtyard area. Bet they're all three glad they don't live here to move that thing again.
I also have a dream percolating in my knotty head to build a hot tub out of stone for me at some point. Not these stones though, I know when I'm ready to do this, the stones I need will appear. I believe in abundance, not scarcity.
I've always wanted a patio area under the scuppernong arbor Daniel built for me many years ago, and I've wanted a stone path between The Big Back Garden and The Upper Gardens. I was so happy I nearly became light-headed with utter giddiness.
My garden shed has a dirt floor, I've wanted to put stone in it for 20 years. Then there's the old barn that needs work.
We've already driven back over there this morning and dragged home a truckload so far - my winter projects spinning through my mind now that I don't have constant court dates, DJJ appointments, Pathways, Advantage, rages, and all the other time consumers that at the time felt so draining and often almost pointless as so little progress was being made.
The One Who Must Control Everything was tackled down to the ground in her first week of schooling there in residential, screaming at the teachers, demonstrating not much progress still. My heart pounded as I listened to her brother's version of it, I've been through so many episodes like that with no back-up and a need to keep my younger kids out of harm, that even hearing about it stresses me out mighily.
Now that Dr. Mandy isn't having to deal with constant crisis situations amongst my children, it doesn't mean we're now less in need of therapy. Quite the contrary, now that she's established many, many years of consistency and garnered absolute trust from my children, well now the real work can begin, as they all so look forward to their time with her.
For example: JoJo's complete and utter lack of focus. Every single day he asks me, "Where are the pencils?"
The pencils have been in the same small drawer in the kitchen for 20 years. I remind him every day for the 12 years he's lived here and before he can turn around and reach in the drawer, he's forgotten where they are. Or if he gets one out, he leaves it on the counter, it never gets to his book bag unless I put it there, but then it becomes a weapon on the school bus and the teachers complain that he never brings a pencil.
Well no kidding?
He walked in yesterday, kicked off his shoes in the hallway, and tossed his socks into the kitchen trash.
"What the heck?" I asked him.
"Huh?" he looked at me blankly.
"Where are your socks?" I questioned.
"I threw 'em in the laundry room," he looked at me like I must've become nuts momentarily.
I walked over to the trashcan, pulled 'em out and showed them to him.
"Oh," he responded quizzically, "Did I do that?"
This is progress, years ago he'd have screamed that he didn't do that, that I ALWAYS blame him...even though I'd seen him do it and he knew I'd seen him do it. That wasn't his point.
This is what progress looks like in an oppositional defiant disordered kid.
So here we are living beneath the poverty level with Medicaid providing expensive, high-quality therapy, we're eating food grown by me that we couldn't ever afford to pay the premium costs it would bring on the open market for organic heirloom local produce, wearing name brand clothes bought second hand for mere pennies on the dollar, and playing rec league soccer every night of the week and on Saturdays.
Not a bad life at all.
"Girl don't you remember me?' I asked a young grandma yesterday when I dropped Allen off to hang out with her son.
Recognition bloomed on her face as soon as she heard my big mouth, she'd been one of my students from 1988-1992 at a school I fondly refer to as Crackhead High. I loved my years there and I'm constantly running into those kids that are now grandparents themselves, this lady barely 40, but, hey, I was a grandma by 42 my own self, plus I'd made my own mom be one too at the same age when I birthed Sarah at barely 19 years old, after 18 short months of a marriage that was already driving me nutso. It was me, not him. I was too young and restless, too antsy.
I hooked Grandma up with Power Reads, Inspired Reads, and Pixel of Ink Reads - free ebooks that I download and read. An aside: - Emily B- google these for your Nook, you get an email each day from each one, sometimes up to 15 free books a day and you can send them to your phone, your computer or your reader.
It was easy to make Yolie happy today for a buck.
Another buck will occupy me, then Daniel. Check it out here. Then we can pass it on to Preston making it a 33 and 1/3 cents apiece for complete enjoyment, right? Then we can all spout baseball statistics to each other some more. That's how my mind works.
And my Daniel is flying in to the Republican National Convention with his boss and some higher ups right before a Hurricane is threatening. Oh my. He's a month from 27, he's super competent, overly capable, a brilliant young man who doesn't need an ole bat fretting over him.
Friday, August 24, 2012
My excitement today revolved around the massive pile of recycling, each of these boxes contain two weeks worth of papers and flattened cardboard, the bin is full of plastic milk jugs, tin cans and glass jars. That every two weeks I keep this much out of the landfill is something that I personally find thrilling and immensely rewarding.
It seriously doesn't take much to keep me happy. But file this under 'purposeful intentional living.'
I routinely remind my children that if they go to school under-dressed for the weather, someone is likely to call DFACS and report us. To say something cowardly and snarkily in an anonymous phone call like, "I guess she can't afford to buy them winter clothes." If you really believe that about me, then identify yourself, talk to me about it, man up.
So stupid. But foster and adoptive families, especially large families, are immediately subject to intense scrutiny by those who flat out couldn't do what we do routinely, and usually joyfully, so they think something is wrong with us.
So CPS will routinely come out here, I've often told them to just drop in unannounced, as I am what I am, if they just drop in then likely my house will not be as clean as if they'd called first, but it'd still be very acceptable.
So then I got accused of 'threatening my children with DFACS' based on my first sentence in this post.
Seriously. And I know who made that call.
It is terribly unfair to hound people like me who are only genuinely trying to help.
I've also seen divorce cases where exes make false allegations, blindsiding some very good parents. A philandering ex accusing his quiet wife of everything under the sun to justify his own mid-life crisis. That poor woman took years to recover from his betrayal on so many levels, his teenagers never forgave him for that.
I gave her the only comforting words I then knew, "What goes around comes around. I've never ever seen malicious people happy with their lives."
Yolie, with her Master's Degree in Social Work, sat in a mandatory training session for the elementary school volunteers who were told what to look out for, and that they could be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to report, thus arming a bunch of scared-they'll-be arrested junior detectives.
I want suspicious instances to be investigated, of course, had Yolie's original family been investigated years and years ago back in Texas, she and her brothers wouldn't have endured what they endured.
But nowadays it appears almost as a witch hunt where innocent parents get the tar frightened out of them, children like mine get scared to pieces when the 'people movers' appear at the door of their forever family.
Caseworkers themselves try and explain away scratches on their own children dropped off at day care., knowing they too might get reported. Everyone is afraid. And some major meth addicts, crack heads, and deranged mentally ill folks don't get investigated because DFACS is worrying over stuff that isn't real, wasting their time, sometimes even on clearly ignorant and malicious calls.
I know adoptive families where their older birth kids, or older emotionally ill adopted kids would make false claims because they resented having to share an imaginary inheritance with others.
Every morning, reading newspaper accounts of murdered children, or toddlers found wandering the streets of Atlanta because their parents are passed out, I can't help but think about going back to school my own self, and becoming a lawyer to sue and get some laws and policies changed. But really, I'd rather just weed, it soothes my ragged nerves.
I get emails from y'all who've had That Knock At The Door that sets your adopted children back emotionally for decades, leaving psychiatrists with a gold mine to harvest, emotional scabs brutally ripped off and children regressing, robbed of all their progress up to this point.
And, as foster or adoptive parents of severely emotionally troubled children, it won't be unusual to have some insanely ridiculous allegations lobbed at you by those you're simply doing your best to take care of each day. You'll be flabbergasted, astonished, and very deeply hurt by this event.
It'll be difficult, if not impossible, to repair the relationship completely, because you won't be able to trust anymore.
As a retired teacher, a Preacher's kid, a home body, I've been shocked and outraged that CPS would then question me. That anyone would think so little of me has stunned me.
If nothing else, what you see with me is what you get. A rather boring, staid, solid hermit who is trying her very best to raise decent children uphill against some very tough odds.
And if I have an Oppositionally Defiant kid going out of here not wearing the sweatshirt that I insisted upon, knowing someone's liable to call DFACS and say I didn't dress this 150 pound kid properly, then it is what it is. I can't force an ODD kids to do anything, I've tried, I've secured tons of resources for the children, and still often it is to no avail.
This is what ODD looks like folks. At least he is loved, well fed, has a closet full of clothes, is taken on vacations, and treated very well.
That's all I can do...and it's more than the critical, mean-spirited naysayers ever tried to do for anyone on earth.
While Tabby's team practiced soccer I again got in a good couple of miles walk, Lily and Nando riding bikes to keep up with my long stride, when I walk, I walk, fast and furious, letting off steam, feeling oh so much better.
I'm really enjoying all that I'm learning in Sarah's yoga teacher taining class, to us nothing is learned unless it's shared and applied, I never thought I'd be willing to give up cheese, or to even try. I'm only mostly vegan, but have cut my consumption about 95% at least, going several days completely without dairy products.
At my age and with all the stress I've absorbed, cortisol so often flooding my body and damaging my internal organs, I need to be very proactice in regards to my own health, radical even.
And with Sarah? The student has become the teacher, I raised her in a nutritionally sound fashion and she's taken it a step farther, becoming very influential in my own food choices nowadays.
In the book, Healing from Hazardous Parenting: How to Fix Yourself When You Can't Fix Your Kid, Dr. McCreight addresses the damage done to our bodies via cortisol. Most importantly, she speaks into our very damaged souls, the validation is priceless. To order the print version go here.
These are the shoes Lily'd chosen for her birthday, along with those weird Yeti hats. She's expressing herself, I'm good with that. She's a super great young lady, a 15 year old who's sweet, smart and lovely.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Four months ahead of the game, Tabby dove into the church Christmas Musical Practice, this year Mae is old enough to perform in this extravaganza alongside CJ and Ray. Tabby is also on a soccer team and a good student, conscientious about her schoolwork, making me very proud of her.
There was a time when The One Who Must Control Everything would've raged just to stop Tabby from attending auditions for a speaking part, envious in advance that Tabby's cute and talented. Yet TOWMCE is quite lovely also.
Sometimes I feel as if I'm standing in the wreckage of a lopsided but brave social experiment surveying the damages, knowing it's all on me to put this house and the land back together.
Kids with issues can do a number on everything, the destruction was disheartening, there are so many repair jobs needing to be prioritized inside, plus a phenomenal amount of outside work I gotta catch up on, that I occasionally stand there gaping, flapping my arms, and wondering how I'm gonna do it all.
Oh well, I have another 50 years in which to dive in and revamp my entire home and gardens.
"Why don't you just rip out these garden beds and start over?" Nando questioned me, regarding a scraggly area I've not hardly had time to even glance at, much less maintain, what with 39 Demandos.
I believe I'm gonna rip out a bunch of areas and re-do a lot. I personally need large changes in order to readjust my own iffy attitude.
Yesterday was a marathon of grown kids texting, demanding, questioning me on how they should do this or that, and I could hardly get anything done for their needs. We were slap out of milk and cheese, two staples that there was no way to avoid heading for a grocery store if I wanted to fix dinner for them all.
Just because I'm reducing, and/or eliminating dairy products, doesn't mean the kids have to do so.
I hate running errands, it seems to suck an exorbitant amount of time away from me getting things done around here.
Because there is so little drama overall, because order has been restored, because residential placement is available for those who'd injure others during a rage, there's now a thin layer of 'hey, this sure is nice,' stability and security falling down over us all, and it is really, really delightful.
It is how it should be. There's safety now. I will not let down my guard however, I know better.
12 kids at home, all but two are teenagers, it's a lot of work, but our issues are minimal, well to me this is minimal after years and years of extreme combat situations and being scared out of my ever-loving mind due to extremely violent and aberrant situations.
Kids doing homework, spreading out their books and papers everywhere, no one being threatened by ragers, no one risking injury by just walking past a glowering one who cannot not lash out, consumed by an irrational jealousy for what isn't happening anyway, their skewed perceptions leading to violence back then, all of us tiptoeing and kowtowing to incessant, crazy demands. We were physically and emotionally bullied for so long.
It was awful.
I ran into a friend of my grown kids last night and she was asking me about several kids, having seen some very ugly words being used on their Facebook pages. They're grown now, in their 20s, I can't take away their computer privileges, they don't have me living with them as emotional and social brakes on their behavior. This is kind of who they are, and it makes me sad because I wanted way more for them. I've had to hide their status updates because I don't want a vulgar assault upon my system as they cuss and carry on.
I still love them and am praying for a sense of peace somehow to descend into their chaotic lives.
In another older sibling group, the middle one pointed out that he wanted to find the peace he felt he'd observed for years now in his older sister. I know that he knows it comes from a deep and abiding faith, but I know he knows that he doesn't want me cramming this idea down his throat. I'm certainly praying for the light to come back on within his angry mind.
I told this young lady who'd been asking about the kids that this is clearly the difference between her being constantly nurtured by her own loving parents, and my darling kids who came to me older, emotionally bruised, scarred and oh so terribly damaged. It makes my heart literally hurt for them.
"Just keep praying for them by name," I asked her, hugging her, and heading back downstairs from the youth group room in order to attend the Wednesday night services that I now get to go to with an amazing regularity.
I scheduled a neutering appointment for our Chihuahua cat doggie and was told it'd only be $20 in September for all pit bull mixes. "I don't think that's what this dog is at all," I honestly told the lady.
"We're not checking papers," she added.
"But I don't wanna lie to you, even to save money. I just don't see that I can legitimately claim pit bull status," I continued, full of Methodist/Church of God vim and vigor.
"Look lady," she ran out of patience, "You don't know if the grandparents of this dog had any remnant of pit bull, use this opportunity I'm giving you and everyone else that calls."
"Well OK," I relented, "but let me go on record expressing my complete doubts. I'm pretty sure this is a Chihuahua- Maltese mix."
"Whatever," she barked back.
Tia, one of our Yorkies, now 9 years old, gotten a couple of years ago for free from a Breeder, also should be spayed, and I convinced this lady that there was no way on earth Tia had any speck of genetic pit bull make up in her.
"Fine," this lady sighed, no doubt rolling her eyes at my ridiculous persistence in pursuing honesty, "Pay the full price of $85." This is a low-cost, high-volume spay clinic where I'd once taken Shatter, our resident NoNoBadDog sweet pet.
I'd already called several vets and been shocked at how many hundreds of dollars they require.
I worked this into our September budget plans.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Excitedly looking out the window at the dentist office, rain falling for 30 minutes, I couldn't wait to get home and gauge our own amounts. Lily'd texted me this picture from the high school that's just minutes from our home, and the very clear delineation shows what I've faced all summer long. The rain buck stops here, my splutteringly sad disappointment each time is immense.
My exercise determination is decidedly not immense, is unimpressive at best. Like, why bother? But I know I always feel better when I force myself off my butt and all research points to the same conclusion. Folks like me, with heavy-duty PTSD, major stressors, a threatening, hovering depression, well Lord Have Mercy, that means get shaking.
I irritably walked 3 quick miles at the soccer park last night during Nando's practice session, Tabby on a scooter, Jack on a bike, and I, subsequently, felt wonderful. Duh.
Last practice ended at 9, my U17 sons are hard to calm down afterwards, re-trashing the kitchen when we arrived home, and I got to watch the last several innings of the Braves-Nationals game with my favorite brother-in-law, Kevin - 600 miles away - via texting, but that's better than not doing so. Is he backing an awesome team, or what?
Still catching up on all the podcasts I've not heard this summer, listening to Dave Ramsey spout off the average car payment nowadays is $486 monthly for 84 months. Seven years of massive car payments and then that American-made gas guzzler is often ready to expire, according to its planned obsolescence, leaving folks scrambling to start up another cycle of ridiculously expensive payments, but I have always wondered how on earth do people afford such nice vehicles. Now I know.
I think my 1998 truck is very nice, I really do, and I wish I could brag here that I'm saving up efficiently for my next truck, but that isn't so. I'm gonna make this little bugger go for another 100,000 miles even though I'm already close to the 200,000 mile mark already.
A delightful mail event for me yesterday, books from Dr. McCreight, even Grandma has read Healing From Hazardous Parenting, giving her a written acknowledgement, a validation, of what she's seen with her very own eyes here. It's been so dang crazy that logical folks will undoubtedly not trust their own eyes anymore. Seriously. It's been that bad at times.
If you foster and adoptive parents have not yet read this short book, you certainly need to do so. All adoption professionals need to stop right now and read it in its entirety as do psychologists and psychiatrists. Like NOW, I must insist.
I'm now reading Family Matters by Dr. Brenda McCreight. Is it obvious how much I adore her?
I'm building a new patio of sorts with stones I've scavenged for free over the years, near the chicken coop, it's a Chicken TV viewing area in which my dogs and I can relax and watch the hens cavort. It's no secret that I truly love all of my loyal dogs, they are all so easygoing and dependable. My lovely niece, Kelly, posted this link of the most incredibly adorable dog photos ever. (Note to Gina: click and look at them, you'll go nutso.)
Last night at the park I'd met someone with a French Bulldog puppy, Brindle colored, and so sweetly chubby I thought my hardened heart would dribble out of my inwardly and invisibly bruised chest cavity.
See? It takes so little to make me happy, yet in a trauma ward, such as the one I've long resided in, the inmates daily and methodically attempt to remove all sources of happiness from those they should be supplying it to - such is the face of trauma. Don't think it won't happen to you in the adoption of older children.
It hasn't been pretty, but I've fought back, as the warden, in not allowing my inmates to run my asylum, even though disengagement policies might make it appear to be so at time. "Just ignore him," I constantly stress to JoJo's teachers, who call me all frustrated with his repetitious shenanigans. I commiserate, I know how they feel, imagine living like this for decades? And JoJo's remarkably smart, he just goes to great lengths to counteract that perception.
I deeply miss the intuitive teachers like Ms Carr who truly and innately understood these challenging issues, or Mrs. Wages, an administrator extraordinaire. The entire elementary school somehow, as a group, totally comprehended. My children were so blessed in grades K-5, but now in high school the expectations are naturally higher, and some of my kids visibly struggle with this seemingly unattainable maturity level.
JoJo's older sister, my former Viper Girl, the one who'd had to be home schooled after repeated suspensions for fist fighting constantly at our very uppity high school that certainly frowned upon constant altercations, the one who moved out without permission before age 18 - AKA ran away - the one who alternately clings to me, and/or often simultaneously repels me with her negative behaviors, the one who's been arrested several times, the most emotionally conflicted young lady, lovely yet extraordinarily difficult - she texted me a copy of her newly earned GED as I weeded yesterday.
I immediately called her, relaying my happy congratulations, "You know I'm as proud of this as I'd be of a college graduation?" I stressed to her, my Nessa. She does know how I feel about education, it just took her awhile to assimilate this middle class value, to apply it to her own self. Today she turns 22 years old. Happy Birthday to my educated young'un!
It sure took us a long, long time to get to this place, but it's worth waiting for, lemme stress.
She's now applying to a community college - Way to Go Miss Beautiful! Two exclamation marks that seem exhausting to read, yet are so well deserved by her. I am very, very proud. Pictured here with her birth sister, Miriam, and her way too cute Mini Me Evelyn clone. This sibling group of seven now only has one high school holdout at the moment, my goal is 100% participation in at least a high school graduation level, anything else is gravy. (A note to my unnamed holdout: no pressure Sweetheart.)