Friday, February 27, 2009
Eli had a Language Fair thing today and I had to have him at the school at 6:45 this morning. Since we now live in a different town, I just came to work after dropping the little boys off at the daycare. I asked him last night if he didn't have even one friend going, one whose house he could stay at so I wouldn't have to get up at 5:00, but the only one he has is the boy whose parents lost the house and are in the midst of a terrible separation. Not the place I think he should be hanging out right now. So I told him he needs to make more friends in the French Club because this getting up at the butt crack of dawn just isn't working for me. He looked at me with this kind of stunned look, then said, out of the blue, "I have hair on my stomach now." Where in the hell did THAT come from? And believe me, I did not need to know that. I already know that we go through a LOT of conditioner and he spends too much time in the bathroom-I really didn't need to know about the hair on the stomach. Gag.
It doesn't appear that I will be going out for coffee with the other guy, at least at the moment. Steve and I had a bit of a talk on Wednesday, and while there were no bended-knee-declarations-of-undying-love, we established that neither of us wants to date other people. He is staying at the house with me tomorrow night, too. I am not taking this to mean we are on the road to marriage, heavens no, and I don't think I even WANT that anymore, but at least we got the air cleared a little. Now, my tendency is to second-guess, read things into a situation that aren't there (usually in the negative sense), assume, you name it, so even now it is hard for me to take this at face value. I am aware that it could all change again tomorrow, so am trying really hard to just enjoy this for the moment and see what happens. I don't know, I don't even really know WHAT I want anymore, in most ways. Pretty fucked up, huh? One more thing to work on. Wouldn't you think that at MY age, I would KNOW? I think I have so resigned myself to Steve (or anyone) NOT being present in a meaningful way that I really don't know WHAT to think.
The post I wrote a little while ago on the Rocky Mountain Moms Blog has been picked for syndication, which is pretty damn cool. If any of you run across it in your newspaper, please buy a copy of it for me, okay?
Otherwise, I got nothing today. I have noticed that the BlogWorld seems awfully quiet lately, which is a little strange, but then I feel quiet inside, too, so many it is the February slumps for all of us. I just know that if I get in the habit if NOT posting, it gets pretty hard to start up again. Do you all have the problem as well?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
However, there are some things going on that I think I might have made a kind of firm resolution about (and if THAT isn't vague, right?). You all know that I was kind of half-assed asked out by someone awhile back, right? The continuing story is too boring and banal to even go into any kind of detail, but the guy keeps asking me out. A lot. And it has led me to mentally planning a conversation with Steve about the status of this thing we have. Are we, or are we not, "together?" Because in many ways, we are a couple; we just don't call it that-he doesn't like to consider himself "taken," doesn't like losing the image he has of himself as a slick, hip and cool single dude. Which is his own issue, sure, but also one that does affect me. I have let it go on like this for awhile, but now, I don't know. I mean, it isn't like I look at this new guy and think that HE is going to be my Knight In Shining Armor; I have never believed, really (since I quit drinking, anyway), that jumping from one relationship to the next is any way to behave-too many issues are left unresolved. But it just brings to my attention that I really DON'T know what is going on with Steve. I know that he does things (family pictures, anyone?) that indicate a level of commitment, but he rarely refers to me as his girlfriend or anything like that, so I am left, often, uncertain and confused. I am not blaming him, please know that. It is what it is, and there isn't any blame at all.
I am having a hard time keeping on track with my train of thought here. What I am getting at is that I plan on talking to Steve sometime soon and finding out if we are, in fact, in a relationship or not. That is what I want; I want to be with him, I want to be able to put a name to this history we have and call him my partner. However, if that isn't something he is willing to do, I have waited long enough, and will commit to having coffee with this other person. The bitch of it is that I won't really be going with him because I can't wait to be free-the opposite is true. To accept a date with another man will break my heart, because he isn't the man I want. But-life is pretty short, and I do deserve (and want) more than Steve has in the past been willing or able to give. It doesn't mean I love him any less, it just means it is time to start down a different path if the one I am on is not just Under Construction but a flat Dead End. So I am committed to having The Talk with Steve, but I don't know when; when it feels like the right time, when I can do it without sounding like an ultimatum (because it isn't) or as if I am trying to use this other guy to make him jealous (which, okay, is just stupid), when I wake up one morning ans just know. Still pretty vague, but it helps me to be able to know that in this ONE instance, I know what one thing I need to do. Which has nothing to do with Steve, really, or the Other Guy, just me and my perception of things and what I want my life to look like five years from now.
As is usually the case, I feel a lot better after having written; it helps to process things, to think them through, and then I can generally let them go. If a solution is required or sought, I can often write it down and then it percolates in the back of my mind, being worked out while I am not even really aware of it. Thanks to all of you who keep coming back to help me process everything, big and small.
****For those of you who have already sent in your donation, thank you very, very much. You are so appreciated! For those of you who haven't, or have no idea what I am talking about, there is a Donate Button there on the right to help my friend Amber and her family as they deal with an ill baby and all of the related expenses. I am keeping the button up until March 2nd, and am asking all of my readers to donate a minimum of $10.00. I know times are hard, I know that people are struggling everywhere, but try to give what you can. Know that if anyone needs help with something really, really big, it is her. And if you can't donate or choose not to? Stop by and say hi to her, give her some love and encouragment. She needs it.****
Monday, February 23, 2009
And now, 32 years later, this Little Girl is all grown up and angry. She is angry because she has worked so hard to not turn into her mom, she has worked so hard to love and cherish and value her children above all else, and still gets completely lambasted at every turn for not doing it right. She has left a man who was rapidly turning into Stepfather #4 (minus his tendency to want to put his hands down Little Girl's pants every time had could get her alone), and left him with nothing but three children and a car that ran about 1/4 of the time, but has not been given accolades for that; after all, Marriage is Sacred and should be upheld no.matter.what. She is angry because now she has moved into a new home and has paid all of her bills on time (even when it meant eating Ramen Noodles for weeks on end. Little Girl does not give.a.shit. if she ever sees a Ramen Noodle again) and has worked her way up from taking a job at a temp service and making minimum wage to having a good job in a secure industry, yet still raises her four kids on less than $1000 a month, and can't get ahead. Little Girl is angry because this supposedly could have been prevented had she just been more loving, kind, patient, forgiving when her husband was out fucking other people and stealing money from the household to buy drugs and being gone for days and days at a time. Little Girl is angry because no matter which direction she turns, this world turns a blind eye on the fact that perhaps she would not be poor and struggling if it, as a nation, held all men accountable.
This Little Girl? She has been accountable for every decision she has made for the last 32 years, ans she is tired. She is tired of being told she should not feel a certain way-angry, happy, frustrated, bitter, joyful. She is tired of trying to explain herself to people in the hopes that just one-ONE-of them will get it, and maybe stop and think before casting stones at ALL single moms. This Little Girl is tired of a justice system that does not protect the true victims but instead protects the criminal, and this Little Girl is tired of being told she should not be angry-furious, TOXICALLY, uncontrollably angry-at the man who violated her daughter, or for the lack of support she has gotten from people who are her friends. She is tired, tired, tired of being told that she should be neither lonely nor sad, when there is much to be sad about and many ways in which to feel lonely. Maybe more than anything, she is tired of standing up and continuing to fight for understanding when there is none. She is tired of being a voice for single moms when nobody is listening, tired of being an advocate for not just HER children but other ones who are being abused and yet being called a bitch, one who should just let things go. Tired of listening to the accusations of bitterness and hatred, without once being given the opportunity to explain why there are sometimes legitimate reasons for it.
Just-tired. That's all.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I wrote earlier in the week about the blahs I have been experiencing, and last night I was finally so disgusted with myself that I sent myself to bed early in a pair of flannel pajamas. I was testy with the kids and ended up spending money on pizza that I couldn't really afford to spend because I could just NOT deal with trying to cook in a kitchen that is still not completely unpacked. I was just pissy enough to try to pick a fight with Steve, I yelled at Owen for getting the milk out of the fridge (this would be after he got a toy car stuck UP in the bathtub spout, after he dropped a container of salsa on the floor, after he kicked the dog's water dish over...) and taking the cap off and spilling half of it all over the floor. Because God Forbid I should actually have a few minutes to pee, right? And by 9:30, I was just done.
While I was on my walk at lunch, though, I was able to pinpoint part of the reason for my strange mood, and it helps to at least have a reason for feeling a certain way. We have talked about the lack of adrenaline right now, and that is part of it, and the reminder of the ongoing court date, so that is part of it as well. However, right this minute, I think I am feeling very much out of sorts because I don't feel settled.
Don't get me wrong; I love the house, the kids love the house, and I am NOT complaining. I am still grateful for it every minute. However, it is still a huge change, and I am having a hard time adjusting. I don't deal with change well, even if it is positive one. I am having a hard time getting into a routine that works for all of us, and you all know how important it is in our busy house to have a routine; so that has been hard. I am struggling with the fact that I have to leave the house earlier and we get home later, and I have yet to make enough time in the morning to eat breakfast before I go. I don't see Steve as much, I don't get to spend as much time with Jacquie, and when we get home, there are all the chores to be done THEN because the kids are no longer home after school to do them. I know that this will pass once we DO establish the routine, but in the meantime, it is really kicking my ass.
So this weekend I hope to do some things around the house to finish getting it put together. I still have pictures that need hung, boxes to unpack, cleaning to do. Hopefully if I get it all finished, I can start the next week off feeling more connected to the place, more able to adjust to this new change in routine. Soon I know it will seem as if we have always lived there, but for now, I will be happy if I simply don't feel like a transient.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
She-Hannah-thinks she is ready to go back to school. This trimester ends next week, so we need to make a decision about it before then. I suspect that a lot of her feeling ready has to do with this new boy, because at least she knows there is one person who is going to be there to hang out with and talk to. Before she left school, she was so engulfed in her own misery that she was incapable of maintaining friendships, and since high school girls tend to be assholes, she will be going back into school with only this boy to rely on. Of course it is a small comfort that she has at least someone. However, being the emotionally dependant on a boy, at 16, under tenuous circumstances, also creates a whole lot of worries.
She has therapy tonight, and I have suggested that she talk to her about going back to school as well. Even more than not having any friends left, I worry that she hasn't been given any real coping skills yet, so I don't know if she can handle the pressure that is going to be there immediately. The academic pressure, sure, but the PEER pressure: Where were you? What happened? Why were you in the hospital? Why were you being such a bitch? Why didn't you call me/text me/email me/come see me/kiss my ass? I just-I don't know.
I seem to be saying that a lot lately. I don't know. I don't know what this new normal is supposed to look like, I don't know what kinds of things the therapist plans on working on with her, I don't know whether or not Hannah is even going to be able to testify. I just don't know. And can I do anything about it right no? No, I can't; the day is coming, whether any of us is ready for it or not, and there is no sense in worrying about it right this minute. Rationally I KNOW all of that, but emotionally, I think that if I work harder, try harder, just DO something, I can impact what may or may not happen, and the truth is that I really, really can't.
Sigh...lots of worries today.
If you guys haven't stopped by to say hi to Amber and check up on Melanie, please do; I think Amber is feeling pretty discouraged right now, ans she could use some cheering up. Also, if you would go donate that $10.00 right now, it will start to add up pretty quickly. For those who already have? Thank you SO much, on their behalf.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Today, I would like you guys to go here and meet my friend Amber. She works with me, but I have also known her for a few years from the church I used to go to. We were pregnant at the same time, she with her Makiah and me with Owen, and she has since gotten married and had another little girl named Melanie Grace just about 6 months ago.
Melanie is ill; she just had heart surgery for a defect called ALCAPA, and if you go see Amber's blog, you can read about the diagnosis and subsequent treatment. It will break your heart, I think, as it has mine. In fact, up until yesterday I hadn't been able to even comment or be there in any real way because I looked at those photos and I just cried.
Anyway. I know that Amber and Thayne are really in for a long haul. They have sweet Makiah at home, and Thayne has to be back here to work while Amber stays at Primary Children's Hospital with the baby. They have health insurance, but there are going to be a lot of additional costs associated with this, from actual medical expenses to Amber's lost income and silly little things like food and gas and other essentials involved in being away from home for an extended period of time.
So. I am putting a donate button here on my site, and I would ask each one of my readers (lurkers or not) to think about what you can contribute. I average about 65 readers a day, sometimes more, and if each one of us could scrape together a minimum of $10.00, that would add up to enough money to cover the loss of Amber's income for a month. I know that Amber has talked a very, very little bit about the financial worries, but I don't think she will out and out say HELP ME and put a button on HER site. So I will, because I love them all. And parents with a critically ill child should just not have to worry about money problems. I am going to leave it on the site until March 2nd, at which point I will transfer it to Amber and Thayne's account. Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated. Did I mention that I love these people?
And if you can't spare any money, please stop by her blog and tell her hi. Pray for her; pray for her family. Pray for her to be strong and faithful and find the everyday miracles and blessings, even in the midst of this really crappy hand she has been dealt. And also, tell her to please hurry up and come back to work because the filing, she is killing me!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Hannah's date went well; she came home walking on air, the boy having not just taken her to dinner and a movie but also bringing a Valentine's Day present for her. They went to see Twilight, which I had absolutely NO desire to see, so they were safe in that respect. Also, big points for being responsible: the movie is apparently quite long, and they left before it was over in order to get home on time. Hannah said he asked what would happen if he called to tell me the movie was running late, and she told him, "She won't let me go out with you again." I have one smart girl, I tell you. The Boy came over for dinner on Sunday night, and he seems...nice. He didn't say much; he might be the teeniest bit afraid of me. Don't know why.
Eli had friends over on Sunday night as well; thank your Jebus for a basement! They all just sort of hung out down there playing video games and what have you, and I was able to go to bed at 10:00 like always and not have to yell at them to keep it down. Good deal. At about 7:00 pm, they, along with Hannah and The Boy and Sam, went outside to play some version of tag called "Ghost in the Graveyard," and it was a little sad for Owen and the dogs left inside. All three of them were leaning on the back of the couch peering out the window and whining. Cruel Master that I am, I could only laugh at the pathetic picture they made.
I don't know. There is nothing WRONG, not at all. It was a good weekend, actually, from dinner on Friday night with Steve through the weekend. I just feel tired and a little blah today. Maybe from the sudden cessation of adrenaline which has kept me moving forward over the past few weeks. Maybe waking up to snow and ice. Maybe just because I am simply resting inside, I don't know. Maybe later I will read through the paper and see if there is something I can work up a good rant about; my readers seem to visit a lot more when I am all worked up about something or other! Teasing, really. I just don't feel very inspired, and yet I know that if I keep at it, the feeling will come back. Have to stay in the habit of writing, writing, writing in order to get better at it-even if that means you poor folks have to read a lot of crap waiting for the good stuff!
Friday, February 13, 2009
1. Is there a way to do password protected posts on Blogger? I have had some fallout in my "real" life over the post I wrote the other day (St. Nick called it a Manifesto! Which made me proud, actually), and if in the future I might come across as "toxic", I don't want some of my real life people reading it. However, I looked all through Blogger and I can't find a way to do it. Any ideas/suggestions? Also, if on occasion I DO post a private post, how many of you would actually go through the process involved in reading it?
2. If I go to the same movie as Hannah and her date tomorrow night, would that in fact be considered "a gross violation of my personal privacy?" Because for some reason she thinks there is something wrong with that; I can't quite figure it out, and am wondering why, as long as I don't sit in the middle of the two of them, it should be a problem. The only problem that I can see is that they are planning to watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which quite frankly makes me want to vomit just a little.
3. Have any of you ever known "So and so will call to set up an appointment next week" to translate directly to "This is so and so and your appointment is tonight at 5:00," without any intervening negotiations? Hannah's therapist told us last week that B. would call to set up an appointment. Which in my little pea brain I took to mean that it would be like the other 45 million doctor and/therapist offices I have ever been in contact with where they call on Monday and say, "This is what we have open, which day works best for you?" At 10:30 yesterday morning, she called to TELL me, "Your appointment is at 5:00. Tonight." I have never heard of anything so ridiculous; I wanted to say "Are you fucking kidding me?" but she was already mad at me for questioning her "set up an appointment" process. Needless to say, Hannah missed her appointment on Thursday, because I have all of these other things like three other kids and a job to make arrangements for, and being called at 10:30 the day OF just doesn't work for me.
4. Why is it that the day before Valentine's Day, with big plans made because The Guy has to work ON V-Day, after the whole evening has been planned out down to the very last rock-my-world detail, I start my freaking period? I blame the dog; she went into heat last night, poor thing, bleeding all over the place and not sure just WHAT this stuff coming out of her hootch is. But I was not supposed to start until Sunday-ish, so I think she triggered mine (come on. I have to blame SOMEONE!). Nice. Looks like a very chaste dinner and movie tonight. Wow-do I know how to live it up or WHAT?
5. What are my obligations now that I have found out-through an across the fence discussion with one of the less odd new neighbors-that every single neighbor (on both sides AND in the back) are using some sort of illegal substance regularly? Mostly I am all like "to each his own" and shit, because I really don't care what people do as long as they don't bug ME or cause problems for me. I was joking around a little with the guy next door and said, "Oh, great, well if you see anyone coming around my house that shouldn't be, you better call the cops!" and he was all, "Are you serious? I am a stoner (as if the smell of skunky good weed emanating off of him wasn't a sure tip-off) and I don't want the cops around MY house!" So in that instance, is it better to just say to each his own and leave it? Because while I don't condone the use of illegal drugs, I also don't want anyone to know that I am the one who tipped off The Fuzz. It is a quandary, for sure.
It has been a good day; I love the Friday on a three-day weekend. And if all goes at least tolerable tomorrow, I will be out of the old house FOR GOOD. We are all really looking forward to having this three day weekend to finish getting the house in order; my room is still in a bit of a shambles because it is the stow-all for the boxes that aren't unpacked yet, so I am excited to finally be able to clean it out and set it up the way I want it to be. I am also looking forward to having some time to take Owen and Sam to the playground at the school nearby, and Jacquie is coming over to put the border up in the bathroom (we went with a jungle theme and found the cutest bathroom set EVER). I am also now within walking distance of my favorite used bookstore/coffee shop, so I may take a stroll down there with ten bucks in my pocket. Janet gave me another bookshelf, and I only have one shelf filled up. Did I say I am an addict? All in all, I am feeling pretty good today; nothing outstanding, nothing terrible, just pretty content. Which is such a wonderful, quiet feeling that I just feel grateful.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I don't even really now why that particular memory cropped up today. Maybe because Hannah is getting ready to go on her first date this Saturday, and I don't want her to be locked in her car eating cookies four years from now in order to feel temporarily sated. I don't know about this whole DATE thing. There has been SO much going on in her life over the last 8 months that I don't know that going on a date right now is a good thing for her. However, I am also aware that I don't want her dating anyone. Ever. So I might just be looking for valid reasons to lock her in the house, I don't know. I KNOW I can't do that, and I also know I can't; her safety is not contingent on my presence (though do you think they would mind if I just followed along at a discreet distance? Like in the back seat?), as we have learned, and I have to let her take these baby steps forward. The idea of her dating just seems so surreal to me, so-not okay. The good thing is that she has been friends with this boy for a year or so; I haven't met him (Yet. I think it will be a great ice-breaker when I copy down the make, model and license number from his car when he comes to pick her up, don't you?), but she has talked to him pretty consistently throughout the year, and I think he is one of two school friends who know about her stint in the BHC and why she isn't going to school. That indicates a certain level of trust, which is a positive. She said he is a little bit chubby, which ALSO makes me happy (we larger folk need love, too, guys, come ON!); that means along the way somewhere she has listened and found that it is less about looks than it is about finding someone you can have fun with. Plus he wants to take her to dinner and-get this-bowling. Which ALSO means he isn't a snob or a jock; in fact, he may be on the nerdy side, which is just fine with me!
April posted today about Evolution, and while I didn't comment, it was a really great post about how we DO evolve and change; our kids are in general smarter than us, just as we as a generation are smarter than those who came before us. I hope this is true for my daughter; I hope that she has evolved to the point where this one date will not lead to sex in three months and a marriage/baby at nineteen. I hope that she has evolved over the last year to be a strong young woman who can say FUCK NO and mean it. And I hope she has evolved enough to remember that this first date is just that- a first. A wonderful, scary, terribly horrifying yet beautiful first. And I hope this young man is evolved enough to know that if he does not have my daughter home on time, I will hunt him down.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Just because Steve and I have sex on occasion and went away for one night does not make me any less alone, nor does it make me any less of a single parent. I am doing 95% of the raising of his son, in addition to raising three other children, on less than one income. I still go to bed alone 99.9% of the time, unless my bed companion is of the four-legged variety. I do all of the work, believe me, and when I talk about making arrangements to take my suicidal daughter to the BHC or to go somewhere overnight, Steve is never about whom I am speaking. In this respect, I am no different than every other single mom in the world who goes on dates and, yes, occasionally gets laid. I just happen to love the guy I am fucking; that does not mean we are "together" in any real sense of the word. I do the work, I get up with sick kids and I did this move on my own, with the help of a few friends. The fact that I should even have to defend myself in the single mom world makes me sick. The mommy wars? Jebus, I thought we were above all of that, especially in this single-mom world; little did I know that there are as many definitions for "single" as there are for "family," and apparently I don't meet that definition for some of you. So be it. Until and unless I have a wedding ring on my finger and a joint checking account and fucking everyday backup, I am single and alone. Deal with it.
I am no longer going to sit back and let anyone make me feel like shit because of the whole Christmas gift thing. I am well and truly sorry that some of you had awful Christmases yourselves, I really am-because I well know how much it sucks to be poor and not be able to give your kids ANYTHING, much less everything. I really and truly do get that. However undeserving any of you may have thought I was/am, my kids aren't. I would have gladly passed on some of the things we received had I only known that you were also truly struggling in that area.
I have very strong opinions, and I have gotten into the terrible habit of filtering them in order to not stomp on anyones toes. That is the one bad thing about blogging; intent does not come across in words all of the time, and I know I HAVE stomped on a few toes, though not deliberately. If you know me at all, and those of you who are regular readers DO know this, I can be a real bitch. I call them as I see them, I try not to hold back for fear of what people will think of me, blah blah blah. I DO filter myself when commenting, though, because I don't want to hurt someones feelings. By the same token, you can comment all you want about what you don't like about me or my opinion, and I won't delete them simply because my feelings might be hurt. I will, however, address said hurt feelings and/or anger to you directly in an email if I think it is something I need to get off my chest or maybe to clear up a misconception. I am sorry in advance if any of you do not like this directness; take it or leave it. I would be stupid and naive if I whistled around the world with my head in the clouds thinking "oh, yay! everyone loves me!" so unless it is something I feel VERY strongly about, I most likely won't respond at all.
If you need help from me, just ask for it. This goes from needing a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, a safe person to vent to, whatever. I will give advice if asked, I will cook you dinner or come clean your bathroom or watch your kids (Well-except YOURS, because she is frankly a pain in my ass) if you need to run to the grocery store to get a gallon of milk without toting them all over hell and back. I will listen to you rant about your boyfriend/girlfriend/lover/dog. If I can't give you money for groceries, I will try to find someone who can or I will clean out my own cupboards to see if we can't scrape up enough to get you through. What I will NOT do is pretend that I agree with every decision you make, and if I see something that seems wonky, I will tell you. If you are ogling the guy next door through the open drapes while whacking off your husband, I might tell you that I support and love you no matter what decision you make but that it might be better for your marriage if you closed the curtains. What I am saying is this: I don't give a rat's ass what you do, who you do it with, or why; I don't care what strange little rituals you might have, or what your religious/spiritual/sexual beliefs are. If I see you doing something that may hurt you, I am going to tell you. If you see me doing something similar, please tell me. But don't expect me to get hints or read between the lines or follow you around asking if you are okay all of the time. I pretty much suck at that, and besides it isn't my job. Now, I am not talking about just blithely going on about my way and pretending that I haven't noticed if you haven't been yourself lately; I WILL ask. But unless you are someone I see or talk to on a daily basis, especially in blog land, it might take me a while to notice. So if you are feeling neglected, please tell me-in real life or otherwise.
I am a bitch; I know that. I can be really hard to get along with, and I have a very forceful personality. I tend to be self-centered and get caught up in my own life and goings on and don't pay as much attention, maybe, to everyone I should. I can also easily bowl you over with sheer stubbornness if I think I am right; we all, I think, have that tendency sometimes. But I can promise you that I usually get to the point where I can think it through, and if I am wrong, I really try hard to admit that. I can also promise that you will get from me honesty and loyalty and abiding friendship, even if you sometimes don't like what I have to say-because I love you that much. But I am done pussyfooting around my blog and my LIFE, filtering my thoughts and opinions and beliefs in order to please someone else. At the end of the day, the only person I get to crawl in bed with is me, and I better like myself well enough to stand that. If I keep on pushing my own self down, I am not going to have much respect for myself in the morning, am I?
Monday, February 9, 2009
We got moved, obviously, and slept in the new house for the first time on Saturday night. God, I had forgotten really how hard it is to move! But all things considered, it went quite smoothly. Only a couple of things got broken, none of them of any real importance, and nobody got into a fight over anything. All of the kids, plus Jacquie's, were huge help, and it felt really good to have most everything loaded and into the house the first night. Owen and Sam were more than thrilled to sleep in their new bunk beds, and in fact all of us were thrilled about our own rooms-a given. So sweet to snuggle into a warm bed with fresh, clean sheets and know that it is all yours. I had worried a little bit about both Owen and Hannah, Owen because he is two and change is often hard, Hannah because her room is in the basement and therefore a little bit more isolated than she is used to, but both of them fell right to sleep and loved it. Me, well, you all know how I feel about having my own room, so I certainly don't need to wax poetic about it.
It has not been without it's problems, though. The phone was supposed to be hooked up Friday, and that has not happened; the phone company is supposed to be calling me back this morning to set up a time for them to come in and work on it, but I have to be there-not cool. The dogs, Eli's especially, had a really hard time adjusting, and the first thing she did was shit all over the floor out of nervousness. She was afraid of the stairs, too, and had to be dragged up and down them on Saturday and Sunday both to be taken outside. Once she got out there, she wouldn't come back in, poor thing. However, sometime in the middle of the night last night she got comfortable enough to come upstairs on her own and ransack the garbage, and then come wake me up to let her out, so she has finally decided that the place is okay. My dog will go to the top of the stairs and sigh, her arthritic old bones not quite sure they will carry her down, so that makes me feel sad for her. Also, neither of them is allowed on my bed any longer; Janet gave me a down comforter set for it, and even though it is chocolate brown so won't show spots, it does have to be dry cleaned, so no more dogs. My baby Harley is a little bit bent out of shape about that as well, and refuses to sleep on the blanket I put down next to the bed for her; instead, she paces until the clicking of her toenails on the wood floors annoys me to the point of yelling at her, then she goes and sleeps with the boys. I think she does it just to piss me off.
It has been really fun, though, the work of packing and unpacking made less tedious simply because we are all so glad to be there. Each of us has taken pleasure in setting our things just so, even Owen and Sam. Last night when the sun was setting, I stood in the living room for a really long time just watching the way the lovely light danced across the room. Even that first load of laundry fresh from the dryer being folded and, yes, put away was a pleasure; we have places to put it! All of this happened at just the right time, when we needed it the most; I feel immeasurably blessed.
Friday, February 6, 2009
This is part of why I don't date. We work so well together, the five of us, that it is hard to imagine someone coming in and being part of that. The whole "If it works, why fix it" mentality, which I have heard other single moms say as well. It isn't so much that as much as it is a comfort thing; we all know what to expect of one another, the five of us working together for a common good; we work WELL together, the synergy amazing at times. Could any one of us move over and let another person carry their share of the load? I really don't know the answer to that one. It doesn't even feel like a control issue, it just feels like there might no longer be room.
There have been times in the past, even recently, where I have lamented the fact of my singleness; because no matter where things stand with Steve and I, I am very much a single parent. I live alone with my kids, I do the work of raising and loving and guiding and disciplining them. I provide for them financially (not well at time, but still, I am the sole provider). It is hard; it is backbreaking, heart-wrenching work, and every day there are questions as to whether or not I am doing the right thing, making the right decisions, being the best parent I know how to be. There are days where I know I am not, other days when I feel very sure of myself, but at the end of the day, it is fucking hard to be the only one. It is lonely, too, so lonely that I am not ashamed to admit crying into my pillow at night because I want so badly to have someone in the bed with me. Not in a sexual way, but someone to turn to in the middle of the night, a pair of arms and a heart much stronger than my own to lean on. I don't always feel that way, but there are moments that hurt so bad that I can feel my heart shatter a little bit more with every breath. Nights like the one when I had to leave Hannah at the BHC, or when I had no money and you people helped me out. Both bad times and good, and no one near to share them with.
I also don't date because, frankly, men don't ask me out. There isn't a long line of men just hanging around wanting desperately to date a mom with four kids of wildly varying ages; two teens who will leave home soon enough, but then two much younger children that will mean "he" will actually have to interact with and help, to a certain extent, raise-for the next 16 years. That is a daunting enough prospect for ME, much less a potential mate. If it were me, in fact, I wouldn't be asking me out either. Then, there is the little niggling thought that if a man DOES want to become involved with a woman with all these kids, then who is he really after? Her, or her kids? A scary thought, especially in light of what we have recently gone through. Do I think all men are pedophiles waiting to get their hands on my kids? Absolutely not. I would be a stupid parent indeed, though, to ignore the fact that a family like mine is easy prey.
And yes, yes, I know that I could go put myself "out there," but frankly, I have neither the time nor the energy to sell myself. It isn't where I am at in my life right now. I think this is part of why things work for Steve and I; we are not "in" a relationship, both of us free to seek out other companionship, and this works for me most of the time. Because I don't care to invest the time it would take to weed through the hundreds of losers to find one person I might think about a second date with. Please. I have a job, and a life, and four kids, and I don't want to waste any of that time going to a shitty dinner in a restaurant I don't like with a guy who has three teeth, all just because I am lonely and need to find "Mr. Right." No thanks. I don't want to expose my children to the kind of lifestyle that some single moms resort to, all in the name of finding love, nor do I want to expose myself to it.
Despite the difficulties and downright tragedies in our life this last year, I am still pretty content. Lonely? Yes. Not always, and not as bad as I used to be. But lonely doesn't kill, and I have been MARRIED and lonely which is far worse than being alone and lonely. Of course I want to meet someone who will just love me and accept my kids as the most integral part of my life. Of course I don't want slide into 40 still alone. But if I do? I imagine that the good things in my life will have increased exponentially by then, so I am pretty sure that I am going to be just as okay then as I am now. It isn't a bitter, "I hate men" thing, because I don't; I hate some of them, and I hate the way we still live in a man's world in a lot of ways, but I really like and even love a lot of men. Instead, it is just that I am not willing to put the rest of my life on hold while waiting or hoping to meet some mythical creature that may or may not ever appear. I am too good for that, worth a lot more than that.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Hannah's home-bound teacher started this morning, and I think that it went okay. I wasn't there, I just stayed at the house long enough to meet her and I saw her again when I came to pick up Hannah before she left, but it seemed like they got some stuff accomplished, anyway.
There is all this stuff I want to write about, especially the ongoing conversation on O Solo Mama's blog about single mothers and dating, but I have very assiduously trying to remove myself from conflict these days. Not that her post was at all bad, in fact I agreed with a lot of it, but the whole topic in general tends to piss me off. Then I went over to this asshole's post about it and my blood really started to boil at his last line, "Married parents are still best for kids." That, my friend, is an exact quote, and can you say holy fucking hell at the balls on this guy? I know, I know, we have heard it all before; I don't know why it made me so angry and, yes, hurt me so much today, but it did. And in such a succinct manner as well, black and white, no room for argument: this is how it is.
I beg to differ; and no, I am not going to go all crazy-ass on this guy (um, yeah. Right). Are we not all entitled to our opinion (Unless you are both wrong AND an asshole, that is. Which in this case is true. And just my opinion, not fact. He might be a wonderful, caring individual, given the fact that he both a Sociologist and a Right-Wing Presbyterian whack job who calls himself a Centrist. In my opinion.)?
The thing is, there are as many shades of gray to this issue as any other issue in the world. How can one person or group of people say so unequivocally that it is better for kids to have two married parents? In an ideal world, sure. In an ideal world where men don't abandon their children and wives, in an ideal world where neither partner is unfaithful or is an addict or an alcoholic or a criminal, of course it is better. However, I don't know about you people but I sure don't live in that world. I don't live in a world where every house has a picket fence and a comfortable margin of saving to live on, nor do I live in a world where there aren't a hundred different outside circumstances that might tear a marriage asunder.
I know that for me and mine, for all of the reasons I have blogged about and another list of ones about which I refuse to blog, my kids are better off with me as a parent than either of the husbands I have had. You could easily make this black and white as well: I chose badly, therefore it is my fault and we all would have been better off had I made more of an effort and stayed together. Blah fuckety blah, what should have been doesn't change what IS, and I guess that is why I have such a hard time when people spout off this kind of crap. No matter how much we as a nation or as an individual want to decry the presence of single mothers, we are HERE. We live next to you, we work amongst you, our kids (gasp! the HORROR!) go to school with your kids. Face it-you are all rubbing shoulders with those of us who are making it work without a partner, and for the most part, doing very well without one. We are not going away, folks, no matter what spin you want to put on it. Do I wish my life had different endings and fewer new beginnings? You bet your ass I do; but hey, it didn't. So be it-that doesn't mean that I am not just as capable if not more so of parenting my children than any of my married counterparts. It just means I might have to work harder.
Sigh...so much for trying to avoid controversy. Tomorrow I hope to post on O Solo Mama's original question about why single moms don't date. Now THAT should be interesting, should it not?
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I spent the majority of my lunch hour getting things going with regards to Hannah and the school issue. She qualifies for and now has in place a 504 Plan, which is basically a special plan which accommodates her current and ongoing problems. The special accommodations in place now are that she is going to have a teacher come to HER as opposed to her going back to school; this will continue until at least the beginning of the next trimester, and we will all get together and re-evaluate her needs at that time. I was able to talk to the woman who is going to be her teacher, and already I know I am going to get along with her just fine. We talked about what led to this plan being put into place, went over a few very basic things, and we will talk more definitively this afternoon or tomorrow morning. R. (the teacher) can work up to 10 hours a week, so we can schedule it however best fits ALL of us, plus she is willing (if the school allows it) to drop off or pick Hannah up as needed for schooling. We were talking about how I really need someone who can be strict but loving, and that Hannah is still needing to be told things like, "Ok, you have to get up now, and then you have to take a shower." I noticed last night that she needs pretty constant supervision when it comes to her school work; she was working on her Health homework (we got a huge packet of things yesterday for her to do) and needed help refocusing and being redirected to the task at hand. So I went through all of this with R. and she told me that as of today, HER job is to be Hannah's advocate and my liaison with the school. If there is a teacher who is piling on way more work than Hannah is capable of at this point, R. will fight with them. She will pick up and drop off the assignments. The best thing she said, the one thing today that brought tears to my eyes, was, "You have back-up now." This is just one of the many little things that is really, really good right now. No one is pretending that everything is going to be magically okay; instead, they are going to help me do what needs to be done, help Hannah, help my family in real and tangible ways. So on the surface, it is a small thing, but inside where it matters most, this is huge.
The next really great thing is that we are moving into this house on Saturday. You all know how great a thing this is, but what you don't know is that I walk into the place and feel like I am home. We have begun to put our own stamp on the place, for the first time in my life (literally) I have been able to choose the things I like simply because I like them, and so have the kids. We each get to set our rooms up the way we want them, we got to choose the colors we wanted in our personal space, and I know that each of us is truly relishing the idea of having our own refuge. To some this would be a small thing, just another move, but to us, for us, this is something really, really lovely. I have talked to "them" about whether or not the move would be good for Hannah at this time-the disruption of all that is familiar at a time where she is really not emotionally stable, and have been told that under normal circumstances a move would not be recommended, but under the current circumstances it is a great idea. So I have to think that this house came along at the exact right time, when we needed it most. Who can argue with that?
I have this list that I keep ticking things off of: get the whole Medicaid thing straightened out (done. THEY Are going to deal with whatever they have to deal with so far as Hannah's dad goes, another instance of someone saying that all I need to do is fill out the paperwork and they will do the rest because I don't need to be worrying about it. H. and E.'s dad is going to be p.i.s.s.e.d. that he has been "caught," as he is going to have to start paying child support again-as usual, a topic for another post entirely-, but I truly don't care about that; I just want to make sure Hannah's medical needs are covered. I had to pay cash for her sleeping pills, and they were $158.00 for one month. Fucked up). Get the new house cleaned: done. Get the school stuff at least begin: done. All this and more, and what I keep marveling at is how things simply keep falling into place one by one. I am not going to say "with no effort," because that isn't the case, but I will say that with a little bit of work and a commitment to doing the next right thing, things are falling into place. How can I be cognizant of that and still say that things suck? I can't.
So. I am in a good place today. Not thrilled or wildly happy, nor thinking that this is all there is to life-suffering and pain-but instead being able to see things clearly, to do what much be done, and to be grateful. Not for the things that have happened, but for the ability to get through them all a step at a time. Yes, that is something to be grateful for indeed.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Hannah got to come home on Friday, which was much earlier than we expected and too early in everyone's opinion but theirs, the people where she was. She is on a couple of different meds and seems almost euphoric, which I am fairly sure is a temporary side effect, and this itself creates a whole different set of issues. I would have liked to see them keep her there for at least a week, to make sure she was fairly stabilized so far as those drugs went, but-there you go. There is much I would like to say about the place she went, but I don't have it in me at the moment to do so. Suffice it to say that they basically booted her out without even asking how prepared I was to have her home, and then intimated that I am the kind of mom who is weak and helpless and wants someone else to deal with her problem child. I did make an honest attempt to be reasonable and understanding of their position, but frankly, I can't be. I am angry, which is putting it very mildly.
Of course I was and AM glad to see Hannah; I don't think that is in question. But here-and I can only say it here because in real life it just sounds like I am being bitchy and selfish (and I admit that okay, I am)-I can say that this is fucking exhausting. She is so wound up all day that getting her to sleep at night is a chore, because it is SO hard for her to simply sit and wind down. She has to take sleeping meds, and while I know how important rest is, I know how little she has been getting, in some ways it seems necessary just to counteract the anti-depressant she in on. We went to the neighboring town on Saturday with a friend to pick up some things for the new house and it was just like trying to rein in a wild horse. Maybe not that bad, but yeah, a little bit that bad. The friend we were with said something about it being nice to have the old Hannah back, and I just thought to myself, "This isn't the old Hannah, either." But all in all, I would have to say that it went okay. She didn't try to off herself, anyway, which is obvious progress. I think she is ultimately going to be fine, and I am not sure if that is what I REALLY feel or if because the other alternatives are too horrible to contemplate; whatever it is, it helps me get through. Nothing about this is going to be okay overnight, I know that. I also know that Hannah has a long, hard road ahead of her, and I just need to be there from day to say and help her navigate the murky waters of depression.
On the plus side, we have all but one dresser for the house now. Well, there is much we still need, but with the addition of a dresser, we will have all we HAVE to have to live there. We are not taking any junk with us, which is going to make the actual move a lot easier. In fact, the only furniture we are taking are the bookshelves, the twin mattresses, the bunk bed, and Owen's dresser. The rest is so crappy that even if it DID survive another move, which is doubtful, it would not last more than a few uses. We have been making do for a long time, so even though I spent money I really would rather have NOT spent, it will look nice. I also picked out the pain that I LOVE, and so did the kids. We spent all day yesterday finishing up the cleaning and getting most of the painting done, and even though it was hard, long work, the kids were all really helpful because they were helping create their own space. For me, well, I am going to have my own room, and I am going to love it. I don't even know what I am going to DO with the room so far as paint or decorating, but it will be mine, and that will be enough until I can get mine done.
A funny thing to end this with. Remember that bed and breakfast Steve and I stayed in? I posted a review on TripAdvisor and got a rather nasty private message this morning from the owner. She basically said that since we didn't need all twelve dresser drawers, it should not have been an issue that they were all filled with socks, underwear, jeans, etc...and that I shouldn't have been going through them in the first place. She also said that perhaps I would have had a "better" time had I gotten up early and mingled with the other visitors. Which, okay, THAT was not a problem, I didn't want to "visit" with people, I wanted to have private time with Steve. In my review I pointed out that the breakfast was really good, but that the hostess talked about herself and her medical problems all the time and didn't even ask anything about US, and in addition kind of strong-armed us to stay and eat;I didn't even WANT to eat. She again said that if I had gotten out of bed earlier, I might have had the same pleasure as the other guests. I emailed her back that the point of getting away from life with four kids means different things to different people, obviously, and if I chose to sleep in, then good for me. I tried to go back to the oddness of the whole thing, the fact that it is extremely unprofessional in my opinion to have personal items of clothing in the room, etc...but she counteracted with a rather nasty email, so I just let it go. It just made me kind of laugh, though, for some reason, and made me think that perhaps her B&B isn't doing as good as she would like it to be, for her to go off like that to someone who posted a review. I wonder if the other not-so-great reviewers were lambasted as well?