Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Big Ole New York Adventure

Like Daniel, another son, Jesse, has always been very easy going, and is someone that so many of us are drawn to, he's just so much fun to be with all the time.  Late last fall when Bobby Cox was voted in for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Jesse texted me, "You said you'd come when this happened."

Living fairly close to Cooperstown, NY, in a place far, far away to me, yes nearly another galaxy, plus I'd not met any of his n-laws, what with being extraordinarily busy here at home with so many needy kids depending upon me each day.  Jesse's been married nearly ten years now.

This was my chance, a colliding of planets, an opportunity I needed to make the most of, and I tentatively planned to try and make this happen, knowing it was also during the same week of my 60th birthday and Jesse's 32nd one.  Major bait included getting to be with my darling grandson Isaiah, now five years old.

 I was sitting in the backseat with him as Kevin was up front with Jesse, Isaiah giving me the exact same look, lips blown out, as I've seen on Jesse for nearly 20 years now.
So this Hillbilly hugely benefited from Grandma's free airline mileage, and Sarah's ability and willingness to come stay for four days at my house being me.  Seriously y'all that's not very appealing to anyone, except Sarah's kids who were thrilled to have a four day party of sorts here with Tabby and Nando.  Grandma was back-up, as was Yolie, who immediately sprang into action when I'd forgotten to cover Nando's knee rehab session.

And you know what y'all?  Upstate New York is straight up gorgeous.  May I use an exclamation mark for emphasis, or does it go without saying?  Jesse and Lena living on a mountain with completely unobstructed views in a house hand built by her sweet brother Virgil?  I also met her brother, Elliot, who towers over Jesse.  Dadgum y'all, Jesse's very tall.

My own favorite brother-in-law, Kevin, a huge baseball fan joined us.  He's building a house in the Blue Ridge Mountains and was as impressed as was I with this lovely and very small town in which Jesse is building a very nice life.

And Lena's family?  Yankees all, right?  This hayseed nervous about meeting any of 'em, yet immediately adoring every single person I met.  Not nervous so much, as fearing they'd be stereotypical New Yorkers to my Georgia-born red dirt self.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  I had soooo much fun, coming away feeling that my son, Jesse, is in a great place with absolutely fantastic, wonderful in-laws, such warm, loving folks.  I felt right at home with all of them.  At a picnic event at Lena's dad's house, resulting in a picture of Isaiah with all of his grandparents for the first time ever.

"Mom's gonna get off the plane wearing a black shirt, black pants, and mismatched socks," Jesse correctly predicted to his wife.

Socks in the summer?  I guess he's forgotten how hot the South is for six months each year?

"I have another set of black pants and a black shirt with me too," I'd responded, packing so lightly, including two Braves shirts because I couldn't decide.

Lena's parents, her aunt and uncle, her brothers, and as many of her 17 cousins, and second cousins, as I got to meet, were simply super spectacular folks.  I adored everyone.  I can't even begin to come up with enough excellent adjectives to adequately describe how much fun I had with everyone up there.

In Ithaca I'd idly told Isaiah that I'm a snake magnet, as we approached one of the Finger Lakes, and dadgum if we didn't nearly step on a fat brown one.

And then Cooperstown with Jesse and Kevin?  Oh my.  Who walks down a street and sees Dale Murphy?  We did.  I was rendered speechless.  "Can I make a picture with you?" I'd asked him, seeing him pose with several others.

"Sure," he answered with a smile.  I immediately sent it to my favorite deputy, Kandy, this being her favorite Atlanta Brave of all time.
Dale Murphy y'all! How serendipitous was this for me?

The Induction Ceremony was free to attend, spending five fascinating hours on a lovely, not hot July day, in a field with 50,000 very happy star-struck fans (the majority wearing Braves shirts) listening with rapt attention to Greg Maddux, Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine, Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa and Frank Thomas give entertaining acceptance speeches.  There were also 50 other Hall of Famers in attendance.  I was completely dazzled there in the physical presence of Cal Ripken and Hank Aaron, amongst many others.

On our last day there in New York, we'd gone hiking at Watkins Glen State Park, the gorges and the waterfalls so beautiful, but everything I looked at for those four days blew me away.  Their winters would likely take me out the first day, I'm not built for that, but their summers must strike them all as nothing short of beautifully amazing.

I flew out of the Elmira airport, my commuter plane delayed for maintenance, the thought alone making me nervous, but then it also made me miss my connecting flight to Atlanta, I had to spend the night in Philadelphia which irked me.  I'd so much rather have been able to spend another night at Jesse's house, and this also forced Sarah to stay at my house another night and day, and oh my goodness, not a word of complaint from her.

My kids behaved wonderfully in my absence, most of 'em grown now.  Technically it was two grown ones who'd caused me some dismay while I was 900 miles away, calling me with crappy news, one even getting arrested, but for a fairly minor offense, well 3 offenses, but, at least, all misdemeanors.

I'm very refreshed.  "You need to do this more often," Jesse'd advised me.  True, that, but I'm committed to seeing all this through at home, and then?  Oh the plans I'll make.  Starting with a Vegan Cruise that Sarah and I'd seen advertised, with lectures, world class chefs, and food to die for.  Grandma would love this too.

Kevin, Gary and I have talked about going to different baseball parks all over the U.S., Jimbo and I drawn to beaches, Grandma always ready for any adventure, plus here at home I enjoy the nearly daily presence of my other grandkids and their parents.

I'm feeling blessed y'all, totally blessed, and it sure feels good.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Way Up North

Me, of all people, way up north, eyes bugging out at the upscale mall called the Philadelphia airport, good golly y'all, the la-di-dah stores were everywhere, and all I needed was my connecting flight to Elmira, New York, when my phone rang.  A crying grown child, "Mama, I'm in trouble..."

I dealt with it the best I could for the moment, in the long run it's only eventually gonna be a bump in the road, although I still don't have the full story.

I'm nearly 900 miles away for my 60th birthday celebration to go to the Baseball Hall of Fame for the induction of three former Braves, Bobby Cox, Greg Maddox, and Tom Glavine, plus two other all time great mangers Joe Torre and Tony Larussa.  

Top it all off with getting to stay with my son Jesse and his family up on a mountain where they live. The front of the house overlooking a mountain range, no other humans visible for miles around.  It's breathtaking.

Just like all Yankees think Georgians must be like the cast of Deliverance, so too do Southeners think New York is completely paved over with asphalt smothered in car exhaust.

Imagine my wide eyed surprise to be awestruck at the beauty here.  Oh my goodness, it is green and gorgeous, they live in a teeny tiny town with lovely old houses.  

Sarah's staying at my house to be Me.  All is calm there.  Grandmas hovering and helping too.

My favorite brother in law, Kevin, is coming tonight for tomorrow's big day and it's all super exciting.

It's wonderful to be here with my Jesse, Lena and Isaiah, a taste of my future when I'll be freed up to travel, finally basking in the light of the next generation.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Replacing a Clutch

We went a long,long time with my kids filling out job applications and hearing nothing, or getting interviews but no callbacks which alarmed me a bit, knowing they don't always present well what with abandonment, rejection, anxiety, or irrational fear issues.

Now we seem to be having quite the turn of events.  CW, who has been digging irrigation ditches in the sweltering summer sun, just got hired in an AC environment, the same hamburger joint that employs Allen.

Such a massive relief to me.  I just don't have much money, certainly no fun money to dole out for them, it's all I can do to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, and the sky high electricity bill paid each month.

There's no way I can buy them cars, gas, and excess items.  Indeed I need to keep my own old clunkers running, I could never afford to be making payments on even a ten year old vehicle.

Fortunately I also don't care if I have a better car.  I'm good with what we have, even the broke down furniture doesn't bother me.

The mall isn't calling out my name either.

My garden is yelling for attention however.  I've been putting up tomatoes while Tabby tends to the tomatillos, freezing green sauces for the winter although we ate the first two quarts within minutes yesterday, sitting down later to a dinner of black beans and rice smothered with fresh, chopped tomatoes.

Michael took my older boys out for dinner, celebrating their graduation that sure hadn't come easy, and today CW's birth father is up under the hood of his ancient Honda Prelude with him as they replace the clutch that Dubs ordered online, saving about $100 of his own hard earned cash.  Thank you Wesley, for this help.  The YouTube video of the job seemed daunting.

That an excess of produce is my biggest concern right now simply makes me smile.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

So Much Food...

I read his daily emails, understanding about half of what he says, as I'm no M.D.  His titles generally grab my attention, such as this one thing you can do to avoid dementia.

The culprit being refined sugar.  I'd decided some months ago first to cut back, then to just say no as often as is possible, finding now that the less sugar one consumes, the less one craves.  I'd already taken a stand against teflon and antiperspirants - the very thought of stopping one from sweating?  Huh?  Didn't God make these sweat glands for a purpose?

Given that antiperspirants are used on your armpits, the aluminum salt concentration is highest near your breast tissue. Further, when women shave under their arms it can result in a higher aluminum-salt absorption rate due to the damaged skin.  (Dr. Mercola)  Yay, hippies were right after all.

In a 2007 study published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, researchers tested breast samples from 17 breast cancer patients who had undergone mastectomies. The women who used antiperspirants had deposits of aluminum in their outer breast tissue. Concentrations of aluminum were higher in the tissue closest to the underarm than in the central breast.

Aluminum is not normally found in the human body, so this study was a pretty clear sign that the metal was being absorbed from antiperspirant sprays and roll-ons.

Eliminating toxins from one's diet greatly reduces bad smells emanating from one's pores.  One even has to read labels carefully at the health food stores to make sure there aren't even aluminum derivatives.

Radical for the general population?  Since when did avoiding chemicals seem radical?  That should be our normal.

How many of us know other women battling breast cancer?  Does it not nearly seem epidemic, especially as one ages?  We might now holler, "But everything seems to cause cancer!"  But we'd be wrong, just go as natural as is possible.  Even wearing a bra is controversially suspect.  I, however, consider that to be the good news.

And then I also wonder why do I even care?  Aren't I already ready to move on to Heaven where there's no stress, no violence, no evil?"  Yes, I'm ready, but, for now on earth, I wanna live as chemical free as is possible, I want a good quality of life without sicknesses and I wanna continue to be strong for my kids and grandkids.

I shouldn't have bought that Ajax the other day, I should've just used vinegar.  I also can no longer use this natural approach to deodorant as I got shot down here.  I wasn't using it all that much anyway. I use very little makeup anymore.

And seriously?  All that striving in my youth?  Did lipstick ever get me anywhere anyway?  Nope.  I wish I'd understood all this decades ago, although I was doing pretty OK overall, since I've always read and researched nutritional information.  It just all made sense to me at a very young impressionable age.  Our amazingly miraculous bodies need high quality fuel.  Duh.

While both Tabby and Scotty got store-bought haircuts yesterday, I flipped through a beauty magazine shocked at the amount of chemicals being promoted to make these emotionally susceptible young women even more vulnerable to cancer.  There was even a pictorial showing fashions that they deemed 'sexy' versus 'skanky.'

I nearly yelled there in the beauty parlor.  Hey, freaks!  I wanted to scream at the editors of this bullcrap, women have brains, guts and gumption.  Let's celebrate the inner strength of women versus making them feel bad for not looking like these air brushed impossible standards of outer beauty that no amount of make-up will help a young consumer achieve that look.

I mull over stuff like this when I'm processing my tomatoes for the winter, also getting distracted by wondering how many quarts of tomatoes it does take to get 12-14 of us through the winter.  What about when I'm all alone someday?  Three quarts a week times 52 weeks?  Is that enough?  So then how many tomato plants should I plan on each season?

Besides heavy-duty nutritional informative emails, I also greatly enjoy Marc and Angel Hack Life posts.  I'm kinda all over the place, right?

Allen got his place of employment to interview two more of my job searching sons today, how cool is that?  Except considering my stance on fast food, the irony is huge, something Ms Carr had to point out to me years ago, as I can be rather slow sometimes to comprehend the obvious.

I've already taken Tabby to her Horseback Riding Therapy Session at 8 this morning, we have Dr. Mandy this afternoon - too much therapy?  I don't think so, school's fixing to start, cutting our time availability by a great deal.

I'd been super irritated yesterday with a very ignorant to me mainstream article on nutrition, yapping about it with Sarah yesterday, disagreeing with its approach.  This middle of the stinking road rationale isn't working America.  We have record high levels of obesity and adult onset diabetes - can't the connection yet be made to our processed food intake and correspondingly high level of those ailments?

Because Sarah can stop at a handful of nuts, versus me being a little piglet who'll eat many handfuls, she certainly looks better by far, but hey she's yoga devotee and 19 years younger than me.

She'd looked into a too expensive nutritional degree that was clearly not mainstream, wanting more credibility via higher education, but my stance remains, "Just look at you!"  At 40 she's amazingly healthful, who wouldn't wanna do what she does to look like she does?  And to feel like she does?

For that matter, is my high energy level due to genetics since both Sarah and Grandma are equally as high-energy?  Or is it because all three of us basically eat very well?  I dunno, one might then question what happened to my sister?  Ellen did not buy into our food theories, but for all we know that genetic predisposition to breast cancer might have been there.  I just do not know, don't even have a clue.

But I do know while I remain here on earth I'm gonna eat rght, and eat good.  I do not feel deprived with my no sugar vegan approach, rather I feel like 'so much food, so little time.'

I also feel strongly that the older I get the less burdened I feel by standards and expectations, the more free I feel to be myself unapologetically, blissfully unaware of teenage vampire love stories, mass media movie culture ( a misnomer itself), and most of that which so many people stress out over that turns out to be unimportant - including my own thought obsessions, patterns, and crap.

I'm as full of it as anyone else.  Pass the 'maters please.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Yeah, I Pushed - And They Pushed Back Hard

I've been reexamining everything, as I'm prone to do.  Alone with my thoughts as I work, my over-taxed mind races.

Hitting the major milestone of 60, looking out at the world from my eyes, the view hasn't changed, but the viewer sure has evolved, aged, and been basically turned inside out by many factors.  I've been figuratively beat to a pulp, driven to my knees in prayer in situations that might've made a Preacher cuss, and sometimes petrified with abject fear, crippling sadness, and inexplicable moments of astonishing joy.

One of my grown kids telling me they appreciated that I didn't push, but rather let them become who they were at their own pace, left me to thinking.  I feel that I do push, rarely able to leave well enough alone, maybe more so she was only referring to our own relationship.

I do know enough to know that severely traumatized children who just met me - their new naive, annoyingly goofy, and super hopeful mom - need a great deal of time in order to have any level of a decent relationship.  Who I am, as a person, is not based on the fact that my kid(s) may or may not yet trust, love, or feel very comfortable with me.

Kids can love me or not, it doesn't affect my love for them.  They need to be allowed the choice to summarily reject me, love can't be forced, it needs to develop at the child's pace, not due to my own agenda.  The kids have subsequent control issues based on the unavoidable fact that they've had less than zero control over any aspect of their lives.  We need to understand that in order to be effective parents.

I've stated before it took my Gina 5 years to tell me she loved me.  I'd rather she wait and mean it, then blurt it out under duress.  She's 36 now, beautiful, accomplished, and professionally employed as a restaurant inspector, the only kid in our family with a science degree, a UGA grad at that.

I've been blessed with the fact of having been able to raise four children since the minute they were born, I was able to watch 'normal' childhood development steps unimpeded by breaks in the caretaker's relationships.  Those terribly harmful breaks do irreparable harm, causing later damage in anyone's ability to bond certainly.

Even me, with a very normal and solid upbringing, now I'm also rather damaged by what I've endured. If an overly educated, stable, and once smart woman can become so emotionally frayed, it ought to illustrate to me that my own children barely ever had a chance at normalcy.  That they are still standing should be celebrated.

I've spoken of keeping my birthday and Mother's Day very, very low key, as the thought of such a day is extraordinarily stressful to my traumatized children, dredging up all sorts of suppressed internal pain regarding their own birth moms.  Yolie once told me that she'd been obsessed for decades with wondering if her birth mom ever even thought of her, especially on holidays.

That specific thought had never crossed my mind, that my kids wondered about that one thought.  I've long picked her brain, wondering what all I just didn't know in spite of my constant learning process.  Yolie's knowledge, behavior translations, and on target assessments have been priceless.  I'd have been flat out lost without her input.

Because I'd not been traumatized, there was so much I did not comprehend in the adoption of older children.  Yes, I had head knowledge, but it was that heart knowledge I lacked.

Fabian was super effusive yesterday, usually cussing and not very sober on Facebook, yesterday he managed to express himself very well.  I know he loves me, I don't need reassurance, but his words did indeed mean a great deal to me.  Words aren't his usual milieu nor forte.

His three birth sisters, Vanessa, Miriam, and Mayra were all sweet yesterday, it's always good to hear from them, and ironically they were my original Mean Girls, making Lindsay Lohan's movie of the same name seem right tame.

Those three gorgeous daughters of mine have four quick-with- their-fists brothers, all seven of them prone to instant violence, blind anger spells, and driven to punching each other our for years and years.  Maturity has helped them all a great deal, the passage of time, and that I'm still here clearly loving all seven of them, as Miriam explained to me yesterday, has meant the world to them.

They have sure been challenging.  I just kept looking at their positive qualities, although I've also be fearful for their future at times.  They are all extremely good-looking, athletic, and mostly fun.

I do not want gifts, I truly don't, being very nonmaterialistic, there's literally not an item on earth that I want, nor need.  I also do not wanna stress out my kids, none of whom can afford to be buying gifts, I'd much rather they use their money to pay their bills.  I'm also afraid we'd have an unsaid comparison issue in doing so. On every level gifts are too representative of too much implied pressure.

Clearly I, too, am not a thoughtful gift giver, and I'm broke as well.

I need to make a run to the dump today, a sofa, a table, and a chair in shattered pieces just from overuse out in my garage.  I'll do it while Nando is at his knee rehab appointment.

I've only read a chapter or so of the Janisse Ray book Pat sent me, I savor every word, her nuances, and verbiage so breathtakingly lovely to contemplate,

After 17 years away, I had arrived at the knowledge that I no longer felt at home on the earth, riven as I was from our predominant culture - cities with hordes of strangers, a gluttony for material things, loss of nature and family farms, general disconnection to the land.  I hungered to be part of a rural community, defined by land and history and blood.

My Miriam, living in a large Florida city, is now expressing a great deal of such homesickness.  Initially kids (including me too decades ago) long to break free from the stranglehold of family and the region's implicit demands, but the draw, especially of the Deep South, and its small towns where everyone knows your business - but the bottom line is that they care for you - is a major gut pull back home.

"It's so ghetto here," Miriam explained, "It's nothing like our county that's so safe."  Miriam'd been a charter graduate of the new high school in our county, we were figuring her inordinately cute son could be Class of 2031 someday.  She also misses having ten tons of sisters around here, an explosion of cousins for her son providing instant playmates, and my garden, our family inside jokes, the knowledge of our family's history, however rocky and dicey it's been, plus so much else..

CW was cracking up yesterday about something Grandpa'd once said, his impression upon my kids still very evident, having Grandma here, technically there are four generations under my roof since three of my kids are also my grandkids, this is oh so important to kids who'd lived in terribly unstable homes in their early childhoods.

Then there's the massive extended family connecting us all.  My own in-laws, Mary and Kevin, and their huge Catholic respective families, plus my cousins, and my own children's marriages and their in-laws.  I'm freaking kin to everyone by three degrees or so.  Reminds me of a joke I'd heard about a Southern man getting married three times and always having the same in-laws.

I'm finally gonna get to meet my son Jesse's large in-law family soon.

A lady I've long since lost touch with on the Mega families list once had her daughter run away to live with their original birth family.  It didn't go well, of course, the misguided girls were only preteens at the time, and there was a reason CPS had removed these kids.  This story that I'd just been thinking about illustrates the massive internal confusion raging within our children.  This one fact is very hard for us parents to comprehend.

We only can see extremely cute, shockingly emotionally needy kids who join our family.  If we could see inside their inflamed psyches, we'd be beyond shocked at what all is raging within them.  They've taught me this much for the last 30 years.

"Why didn't you pick UP?" an 18 year old texted me angrily - as if I'd lost my cotton picking mind yesterday, and had willfully decided not to answer anymore, when the truth is I was putting up tomatoes for the winter and had left my cell phone on my desk in another room.

My kids, if they can't immediately reach me, then start texting other kids in our home, "Tell Mama to PICK up!"

Oh my.

Tony'd told the Boss Lady at Sam's Club about our family and she'd looked at my blog, sending me a sweet note of encouragement, hiring Tony, who I then took for a Drug Screen and Criminal Background Check, both of which I know are clean, thank God.

I'd butt dialed Grandma somehow, unknowingly sending her scrambling down several flights of stairs to check on me, as she'd heard indistinguishable noises.  "See?"  I'd hooted, "See how trauma has affected you too?"  Wonder did she think she'd need to jump in and stop a fight with her 84 year old self?

We were in the garage, the front wheels off of CW's elderly Prelude, needing a clutch, a job so big I'd texted his birth father for answers.  More'n 18 years ago in the hospital delivery room I'd told him, "Sure gonna need you someday about cars for this guy," and dang if the time didn't fly by so freaking fast.

But I'll use all this time, the past 30 years to encourage some of y'all who are deeply depressed (as I've been at times) over anything but the bleakness you see surrounding your children.  Y'all it's a hard row to hoe, this I know, but a stupid nurser rhyme has remained in my knotty head, "Lave them alone, and they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them," Well, it's kinda true as Miriam, 26, was trying to explain to me last night.

Love them, of course, but give them space to rage appropriately, and to detonate if need be, to cuss you out, to push you away, to blame you for everything.  They just need to get the fury out of them.  They'll likely hurt you to the bone emotionally, but try and step back, and please remember, "It ain't about us at all."

I'll close with a card Memaw sent me recently, my 19 year old Sabrina, here just a week or so from the Army Basic Training Graduation.  She'd raged out of here at age 18, going to live elsewhere in anger over an event, a mistake she'd made, unable to face the consequence of me taking away her phone.  She'd committed a grievous offense, and taking away the phone was extremely minor punishment, but that wasn't the point to her.

Hurt people hurt people, remember that mamas.  You're gonna be the emotional punching bag and it sure isn't gonna be any fun, as you've heard me whine for years.  Also go read The Adoption Counselor's Post. She nailed it yet again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stodgily Proud

We'd gone a very long spell of my sons filling out reams of job applications, even getting some interviews, but no jobs had materialized.  Now all of a sudden jobs are more prevalent, not sure why, but I'm certainly glad of this turn of events.

Tony's been picking berries in the hot sun at a nearby farm, stashing the daily cash in his bank account, and yesterday had about his 10th interview for various jobs.  I was up to my neck in chores, so Martin took him there, and he has a follow up again today, leading me to have hope here.

He's been offered the 4-9 p.m. shift at Sam's Club, which means a lot of driving for me, but I'm OK with that as it's a huge step forward for him buying his own vehicle.  He's starting his senior year, I'd held him back on purpose, his CP diagnosis has stunted him in many ways.

If I could have an Adoption Do Over, I'd have held every single son back a year, knowing it'd only benefit them according to newer research.  But not Daniel as his late birthday already made him one of the oldest in his class.  Like I told Big Joe the other day, knowing what I know now?  I wish I'd known about trauma in the early 1990s when he demonstrated so many issues that I then didn't know were trauma related.

One of his older birth sisters who finally tracked us down had later told me of the many, many ways that Joe'd been traumatized differently than Yolie and Daniel, his two other birth sibs that I'd adopted.

I'd studied up on grief and loss, plus other adoption issues back then, but trauma just wasn't recognized which now seems an antiquated notion as trauma was the universal common denominator.

CW took Nando to the knee rehab appointment, plus ran in to the grocery store to get me some Ajax, seriously I'd rather be stuck at home cleaning, which is exactly what I'd done, it's been nearly 48 hours since I've had to leave my house, today however isn't looking great for me, predictably we need groceries.

I've kept Martin on my car insurance policy and on our family account for his cell phone, but here at age 20, he's finally paying his own share, giving me $100 yesterday to cover both bills.  Buying significantly older cars, such as his 1995 Jeep, and us having a high deductible and minimal coverage, keeps the premium lower than him having to go out and get his own policy, something at some point that clearly he will have to do, but for now I'm gad he's living here so I can hopefully teach him some money management issues.

As I've stated, they can live here rent free and I'll feed 'em happily, but they need to start taking responsibility for their own personal expenses. I need some breathing room, clearly I've struggled financially for nearly 41 years of parenting.

Also for years I've just tossed freshly picked tomatoes into a freezer bag in the freezer, my free time so limited, but this year I've spent a little more time, chopping them into a sauce with fresh basil and oregano, some garlic, cooking it down, freezing it, now ready to use on winter nights.

I despise store bought jarred sauce as it's sweetened, which is an affront to my taste buds, and then the canned sauce has BPA issues, leaving one little choice but to tend to it my own self.  My peppers still not producing very well, but we're eating tons of tomatoes.

I also have a great deal of fresh basil, today gonna mix up the chopped leaves with olive oil and then freeze in sheet-like layers, having read I can them slice off what I need as I cook throughout the winter.

Even when I'm down to just me here, I'll still cook, knowing that's both the healthiest and the tastiest way to go.  Even when I can go to a restaurant some day, it doesn't appeal to em all that much, knowing the food is doused in cheap oil and low rent ingredients, mass produced for a fakey taste - nah, I'd rather grow and cook it my self.

I'm still keeping myself as sugar free as is possible, a little dark chocolate is nearly all I've splurged on, but hey, it's summer so I have tons of sweet, fresh fruit - such as my fresh figs.

Watching a DVRd version of The Road to Cooperstown - Class of 2014, three former Braves to be inducted including three of my all-time favorites, Maddux, Glavine and Bobby Cox, another local TV special to be aired tonight I think.  I'd forgotten what mastery was displayed constantly by the three of them, to me baseball is a brilliant, fascinating game of statistics and strategy, drive, motivation and determination, always enthralling to me.

Two weeks from today will be the start of school.  Half of the kids still living here are now out of school, so I won't exactly have each day to myself, but these are great kids, and I'm enjoying watching our roles change as they grow independent but aren't self-sabotaging - unusual in the adoption of older children, but I've had these guys for as long as they can remember, and that longevity has helped.

A heart-wrenching message on Facebook from a longtime friend/adoptive mom of many, facing the stomach churning stress of having a child arrested for violence.  I wish I could hug her, sit with her as she cries.  I know exactly how she feels.

Again that's why my blog gets read.  I don't just brag about how wonderful my kids are - and they are wonderful, but our challenges have been universal to the experiences of others.  Most of us taught through MAPP or PATH that these events could, and quite likely will, happen to us all, but probably most of us, especially me, thought our love, massive efforts, stability and security could change the course of events - finding out it isn't necessarily so leaves us all blaming ourselves for what had been set into motion long before we met our darling kids.

That hard-wired inner rage, the dysregulated emotions, the mental health challenges, and emotional instability has left them so damaged at times, unable to stop themselves from acting out.  After the arrests and court dates, the fines and probation, often the kids then blame the police instead of their own actions, hanging with other thugs who perpetuate that wrong-headed theory, leaving us parents so deeply sad on their behalf.

However maturity does help, it takes years and years sometimes until that frontal lobe kicks into gear.  I'm still kind of concerned over two of mine whose severe mental health diagnoses may render them always unable to make good choices, but who knows?

To that other mom, I'd advise a hands off approach, professionals have also advised me to not bail out my kids, the kids would then misinterpret it as, "I can do what I want, mom'll bail me out, therefore these behaviors must be OK, right?"


If you assault people, if you steal or break laws, then you're choosing to accept the consequences. News flash, y'all.

It pays to be straight laced, it works out just fine to be an employed, stodgy bill paying, law abiding quiet citizen.

To not be so leaves one at the random mercy of the courts; homeless, couch-surfing, and unstable.

But they counter, calling it an exciting, adrenaline rush fueled fun time. They brag on Facebook about 'tying one on' or participating in crazy parties.  Are y'all freaking nuts? Potential employers check Facebook, my friends see y'all's wild status updates, I'm so embarrassed on your behalf, have you no shame?

I'm baffled at times, clearly lost as to how I can properly explain that being locked up just can't be all that much fun?

But sloooooowly, oh so sloooowly, we're experiencing progress.  Two steps forward and then a heart breaking arrest, or custody battles because someone won't pay child support, or sadly, a kid is repeating the abandonment routine that was once done to them, rationalizing it all in weird ways.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Is Parenting Pointless? Or Just On Some Days?

Martin's photo has nothing to do with this post except that I complimented him yesterday on being spiritually mature.  Young adults are the most unreachable to the church, I know I was so at his age, and he's not rebelling against church. I'd swiped this photo from Pastor Brandon's collection, taken the other night at a social.

A very long late night phone call where I listened to an angry, crying daughter blast what's not working in her life, me just listening and watching her wind her way back to the point that she realized her own self, always better than when it comes from Mama.

No sudden, "Hey, you've been right all along," but instead a verbal rendition of that point eventually, after her tears and rage dissipated.  I'd be angry too if I'd endured what she'd gone through, but it was only my job to talk her down.

When someone walked in the room there where she was, she suddenly changed over to Spanish to me, me responding the same, but then asking her, "Why'm I speaking Spanish?  They can't hear me."  Cracking her up which helped diffuse her fury.

Another daughter was unbelievably rude to me, as she often is when she doesn't get her way.  I don't respond with rudeness, but I do shut down emotionally.  Self preservation at its best.  If you can't treat me with respect then back off, get out of my face.

Imagine if I lashed back with even a fraction of the anger I feel when I'm mistreated?  Someone has to take the higher road here, and clearly it must be me, but I gotta tell you, it isn't always very easy.  Silence is my best friend, and I retreat within, the only place I always feel emotionally safe.

I don't generally run to a doctor every time someone complains of a sore throat or what have you, but yesterday an 18 year old usually non-complainer listed several symptoms that my gut told me needed medical attention on a weekend.  Sure enough, he tested positive for strep, and we were prescribed the antibiotics that are free at the Publix Pharmacy.  Then this one nutted up on me later as if this sickness was my fault.

I suggested he was demonstrating very A-Hole behavior and that the real world isn't gonna be as understanding as I am.  My words falling on irritable, deaf ears, back to watering a million houseplants for me, my plants are nice in return.  See?  I ask for so little, just nice.

I retreated to my room, tired of being the punching bag, thinking about an article I'd recently read telling how traumatized children eventually feel as if they deserve no better than what they have - in a chaotic, neglectful household, thus the transition into a stable adoptive family is always challenging for just that very reason.

So I made it about it all about me; sick and tired of the constant crap I endure.

But, like a trauma victim, I realize that I, too, now rarely feel I deserve any better than what I have, or more so that this is just the way it is, and it isn't gonna get any better ever on this flawed earth.

I used to be unbelievably optimistic, I want me back,  dang, I used to be fun, and I need to comprehend it took 25 or so years of being emotionally battered by angry family members, who'll stoop to crazy depths to make me feel as bad as they feel - which initially has nothing whatsoever to do with me, I wasn't even there in their early childhood.

I'm often cooking dinner while figurative dysregulated lions prowl about, lashing out, leaving emotional injuries, usually on me, because it's safe to hurt me, in their minds, knowing I don't lash back.

The cumulative effect of all this is a social misfit who isn't sure she can make a complete sentence in public. It's certainly no wonder that I avoid human contact as often as is possible, never sure that someone isn't gonna attack. Yes, I do comprehend that I now have an issue.

And a full circle moment when last night's crying daughter unloaded on me, all the stuff she's truly done to help someone, that mean someone being a long time Professional Victim and Master Manipulator, and my daughter is left feeling used and emotionally abused - only for trying to help someone.

Hello?  Sound familiar?  Words I didn't say, she's smart enough to figure it all out.  I pray that she can safely get out of that messy situation, a reassuring text yesterday boosted my morale.


The sick one, the patient of the other day, apologized within 24 hours, and, as always, I graciously accept apologies, forgive verbally, and we move on.

Not going back to proofread yesterday, feeling I was a whiner, but knowing if I don't show that side of myself then this isn't then a relatable blog.

An extended family member dealing with a sudden, scary ER issue put everything again into perspective for me.

My sweet, darling, deeply loved son, Jesse, turned 32 yesterday, pictured below with his lovely wife, Lena.  They've been married now for almost ten years.

I pondered another kid's issue all day long, talking it over a bit with Daniel and Megan.  Daniel's quite vocal in his opinion, turning this into a learning example for Tabby and Scotty who were with us.

Everyone knows how I feel about Baby Mama Drama, I don't care if I seem too conservative for today's society, if you are a Baby Mama, or if you have a Baby Mama, then you have a one hundred percent chance of your baby being uncomfortable, unstable, and unhappy with his or her parents' situation.  Yes, the divorce rate hovers around 50% for marred folks, but that's just half of the other miserable statistic.

I realize that I personally cost Sarah having a father in the house during her childhood and I own it.  It was my fault 100%.  I was young and oblivious to the research, that would soon come available, as a large wave of women were also doing the same, now there's a generational issue about it all.  Now we know...

I am thankful however that her dad, who at least I was legally married to, and I have kept it civil enough.  Now we're grandparents together for Hazel and Ray, "We're family," as he's stated, coming down here about one a year, plus Sarah just went to his house. I'm thankful he's there for Sarah, but hey, we've known each other for some 43 years now.

So in response to the first issue, my crying child who is mid 20s now, I'd used the analogy about not giving a drunk a drink - Dave Ramsey's words regarding enabling.  "Honey, you're not helping when you allow someone to remain a professional victim, unable or unwilling to take responsibility for supporting them self."

"I know!" she wailed, having watched enough Intervention shows in her life.

Then I had yet another kid, who wants to be all grown in the big city call me, getting kicked off of another sofa, wanting me to fix it, when the problem lies in how she treats people - demanding, selfish, unresolved mental health issues, and just plain violent.

"Here's your only option," I'd suggested, being logical which just pissed her off.  She's not mature enough yet to accept logic, nor to participate in rational behaviors.

Lord Have Mercy it's a wonder I don't lose my ever loving, cotton picking mind.

I went outside and weeded for hours in a damp mist, picking tomatoes and cucumbers, mulling everything over in my mind, coming up with no answers, no easy solutions, but trying to help my bad attitude to evaporate.

At the Doc-in-a-box place on Saturday, my 18 year old blurted, "Dadgum Mom!  Your phone has beeped 50 times for each one text I've gotten.  Who the heck keeps bugging you?"

In reality, no one was bugging me.  Kevin, my favorite brother-in-law, Jesse, Miriam and I were all working on various issues.  Clearly I don't have time to talk on the phone when I can be balancing texts all day long.  Miriam sending me the cutest ever pics of Elias, while Kevin, Jesse and I are making Some Big Plans up ahead.

Isn't he adorable?  I've long told him how handsome he is, how much I love him, how blessed I am to be his Mama.  He was almost 13 when I met him, a quiet, parentified Sweetheart.  He was an inch shorter than me back then, now he's about ten feet tall, seriously a 6'4" Mexican with a beautiful wife and an awesome son.  Exactly what I wanted for him, the life he so deserves.  He's an incredible man, giving me hope that parenting works...if the kid wants it to work, right?