Friday, August 29, 2014

Mind, Body, Soul

97 degrees, but with very little humidity, at least for Georgia in August, driving Tabby to horseback riding as she informed me, "I don't mind the heat, it feels good after freezing in school all day long with that cranked up AC."  Even Nando went out in a sweatshirt this morning to school, it's gonna be 95 degrees, this is ridiculous.

I agree with her, I'd had a great day working outside with CW, Allen, Martin and JoJo helping me out.  We'd limbed up some trees in the backyard to allow more sunlight and hauled wheelbarrow loads of wood chips.  Considering we've had precious little rainfall, my gardens still look pretty good, minus all the deers have eaten.

I'd spent an hour and a half with three of my dogs, Junebug, Cholo and Shadow, barefootin' through the woods, blown away by the peacefulness and the beauty surrounding me.  I'm so blessed to own this place of peace and solitude.

My elderly truck is in the repair shop with a guy I totally trust, having known him since he was a kid, the original radiator, 15 years old, replaced, plus a balance thing on a belt that squeals whenever I crank it.  "Guess you can't sneak out in your truck," I've been told.  Hey, I'll just take the van...

"Don't you think you finally deserve a new car?" a teenager asked me.  Nope.  I'd have to make payments and I don't have that kind of money.  I don't deserve to take on debt.  I'm also happy with my 1999 truck anyway.

"Later Loser!" Jojo hollered out the van window at me, as I was pumping gas.  He'd jumped in the driver's seat and had the keys that I generally leave in the van.  I reached in the window to unlock my own driver's side door, as he hollered loudly to everyone else there pumping gas, "Hey! Help me y'all!  This old lady is trying to jack my van!"

I was laughing too hard to seriously be considered a viable suspect.  But I'm telling you, this boy's a nutjob.  I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the Army National Guard gets a load of this guy.

I'm gonna miss him big time when he goes to Youth Challenge, but not the messes he makes.  His work boots are in the living room, his mandals (sandals) are in the kitchen next to his cereal bowl and the not put away box of cereal, his shorts are in the family room, there's always a trail of crap in his wake.

As I walked yesterday, I listened to Dr. Joy Browne psychologist podcasts.  Always interesting, always informative, a caller calling to express how much she feels she's gleaned from listening to Dr. Browne for many years.  I so agree.  There's so very much to learn for all of us regarding human behavior, motivation, and actions.

Books, or issues like Toxic Bosses or Sharks in Suits tell us how many troubled people we may indeed encounter in our lifetime.  Wolves in sheep's clothing, weirdos, or manipulative, conniving folks,  Then we'll have our own issues; be it jealousy, dissatisfaction, unmitigated anger, whatever - life takes a varied set of skills in order to navigate each day.  So what am I?  Paranoid?  Maybe.

CW's been informed that he doesn't necessarily have to major in Biology in order to someday get into Physician's Assistant programs, he's considering Psychology a little, but expressed to me after living with bipolar siblings, or those with schizoaffective disorders, amongst other diagnoses, he's not too interested in more exposure to such challenges.  "It seems pretty hopeless," he continued.

"What about the mind-body connection?  Are you interested in pursuing that?"  I probed.

"Hmm, Maybe," he answered.

Finally science is making the connection, something I've read a great deal about, learning of the many facets involved, be it folks just trying to garner attention, or seeking a way out from life's demands, literally making themselves sick, then depending o varied medications that never do the trick, living in a vicious circle of frustration.

Over the past 20 years, mind-body medicine has provided evidence that psychological factors can play a major role in such illnesses as heart disease, and that mind-body techniques can aid in their treatment. Clinical trials have indicated mind-body therapies to be helpful in managing arthritis and other chronic pain conditions. There is also evidence they can help to improve psychological functioning and quality of life, and may help to ease symptoms of disease.

I do know that acute and/or chronic stress has taken me out, I know I'm very susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and I've long comprehended what a crappy diet will do to one's health.  Duh, if you eat fast food every day, you're not gonna have much energy.

So me knowing all that, I attempt each day to work on minimizing my stress by gardening or working outside, plus eating well.  When SAD hits me, I'm out the door to absorb sunlight, even when it's cold, knowing I desperately need it.

Osteopathic medicine is exponentially blossoming - due to it's success.

You are more than just the sum of your body parts. That’s why doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) practice a “whole person” approach to health care. Instead of just treating your specific symptoms, osteopathic physicians concentrate on treating you as a whole.  

Osteopathic physicians understand how all the body’s systems are interconnected and how each one affects the others. They receive special training in the musculoskeletal system so that they better understand how that system influences the condition of all other body systems. In addition, DOs are trained to identify and correct structural problems, which can assist your body's natural tendency toward health and self-healing. 

DOs help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don't just fight illness, but also help prevent disease.

And Moms, not just Trauma Mamas, but all mothers know they're so needed by their families, 24-7 for life, that they best take care of themselves.  Preventative care is especially vital.  Now I need to practice what I preach.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

May I Sell My Van Now?

Photo by Tony, of course, across the Sam's Club Parking lot, as he arduously pushed carts back to the building one evening recently.

"Mom, check your FB messages," Yolie texted me, as our neighbor had offered me free tickets to see the Braves farm team in Gwinnet in the CoolRay Stadium.

I've disabled many of my notifications in an attempt to calm down, to stem my PTSD that allows cortisol to flood my system unbidden at nearly every single sound.  Hyper vigilant and continually on edge, a phone call can send me into high alert, my heart immediately pounding, and I don't like it at all.

I need to spend my time doing chores and paperwork, tending to the kids, and getting us everywhere, and it's not so much the time factor involved, as it is my emotional overload.  Right now Facebook seems too stressful, for no real reason, other than my head is full of everything else at the moment.

There are times that I can't get enough of the social factor found there, and times where I just prefer to be alone with my thoughts - no outside influences.

Flipping channels, watching a weight loss show in which the woman blamed her bewildered mom, yet quit the opportunity she'd been given to participate in a proven program, thus illustrating it's not her mom, but her own inability to control herself, reminded me of me once beseeching Dr. Mandy, "Why do they blame everyone for their own issues?"

The answer basically involved it's so much easier to blame others than to take responsibility for one's own actions and negative consequences.  Therefore it's always mom's fault, the teacher's fault, or the mean policeman's fault.  Huh?  That's not the kind of logic I was raised to accept.

When my sister went away to college and joined a sorority she returned home thinking we were all a bunch of hicks who ate supper in our shorts at 5, versus dressing nicely for a dinner at 8 with a sophisticated glass of wine.

My mom told us all, "I gave all I had in raising y'all, if it wasn't enough, it was still just all I had," all of us knowing it was more'n enough, and that we all hoped to do the same eventually with our own kids.  Grandma's still giving of herself to this day.

Then I fell down the rabbit hole into a world in which I'd get blamed constantly, not just by my kids, but by many others, for that which happened many years before I'd ever even met my kids, leaving me gape-mouthed in shock at the level of illogical idiocy always involved.  What the crap?

Yet when someone like Allen's soccer footwork dazzled everyone at all the championship games he won, no one ever gave me credit for it.  Nor should they have, I'm all left foot.

I don't want the credit, nor the blame, I'm just the Mama.

I often tell my kids, "When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong," as I'm quick to apologize and move on.  To me, it's just easier to accept responsibility for my own missteps than to do all the cover up work.  Duh.  Or when I have no answers, I simply state that fact, as I usually have no answers.

I wish I had answers, I wish I could educate you all regarding your traumatized children, but I can't because I don't know how.  I'm learning as I go.  Basically I'm learning that I have no answers.  I once heard a college professor tell my class that college teaches you just how much you really don't know.  Usually illustrated in society as 'ignorance is bliss', the college student then stressed with so much knowledge combined with the comprehension that there's so much more to learn in life.  Now there's a conundrum.

"I love college," CW announced at our 4:30 supper where he was gobbling burritos, knowing he had to leave at 5 for a class. His birth sister, a very smart one, hates, hates, hates high school, here with only 8 or so months to go before graduation.  I didn't enjoy high school either, but blossomed in college.

A grown kid called to complain about the aspects of her life that I'd warned her would be challenging when one is a Baby Mama.  Duh is just about all I can offer along with a listening ear.

I was balancing my pathetic checkbook last night, to the penny as all nerds do, yet finding several mistakes I'd made.  Should I blame the bank for my carelessness?  Nope.  I failed to enter several items in Quicken, totally my fault.

Clueless, after years of rec league soccer, to fully understand the high demands of academy soccer.  If anything, this scholarshipped mama feels snooty even using those words, so out of our element are we. A mother suggested I just whip out my charge card to pay for Nando's uniforms.  I don't even have a charge card, shutting them down after years of listening to Dave Ramsey, this is what emergency funds are for, right?

I've lately exhausted my emergency fund, what with so many hits, but I was able to cover the sky-high jersey fee thankfully, and his stuff arrived yesterday just in time for this weekend's tournament, way on the top side of the Atlanta perimeter, close to Daniel's house, but he'll be in Athens for the UGA-Clemson game, as will Scotty who'll be initially selling FCA game day brochures, later getting admission in to the game with some men from church.

I need to have Nando up there by 8:15 a.m. on Saturday - about an hour and a half from here, for an 9:15 game, and then a 2 p.m. game, returning Sunday afternoon for a third game.  Oh my.  Travel league, club team, soccer academy - whatever you wanna call it, Nando's playing at a higher level which can only be good for him I reckon.  With so few kids at home who depend on me for rides, I'm more freed up to help Nando achieve these goals.

Ages at home now are 20, 18, 18, 18, 17, 17, 16, 14, 12, and 11.  I've not had it this easy since the mid 1980s.  Within a year I hope to sell my 15 passenger van and get something smaller and, of course, used.

Tabby's adding up her own share of outside activities, all good, such as signing up for all the FCCLA activities and service projects, plus she's continuing her therapeutic horseback riding lessons each week, and is also involved in the Christmas Musical at church.

And sometimes I get all over myself, get a grip, pull up your big girl panties and go take a hike, shake it off, move on, get busy, do what needs to be done, and foremost, count your dadgum blessings here.  Isn't everyone healthy?  Most of 'em slooooowly moving forward?  Less demands nowadays?  No violence?  Why the whining?

Do I wanna snivel or repaint all the woodwork?  Do I think it's emotionally heathy to have a crying jag or to weed?  I have books to read, or solitaire games to play on the computer to calm myself, or deer to chase out of my garden, their mouths and bellies full, my vegan slant swayed to the hunter's side.  Stupid deer.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Barefooting and Pondering In Isolation

If you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” 
― Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper

Marilyn messaged me the above photo via Facebook, which is what I've been avoiding most of this week.  Unlike teenagers, I don't post my negative feelings as a status update.  Sometimes seeing everyone's bliss on Facebook does make me happy for them, very much so, but also sometimes as I struggle here in my real life, I find Facebook to be a foreign, fake country.

And the movie quote?  I know it's a movie, I don't live under a rock, but I've not seen it.  Committing to sitting still for two long hours isn't my thing.

I do deeply enjoy solitude though, and yes, people have disappointed me a great deal - through no fault of their own.  But in these instances, where mental illnesses or emotional disabilities cause them so many intense, irreparable problems that handicap them for life, well it's these issues that make me wanna sob in a corner for them.

It can't be fixed, there's no remedy, using a phrase that echoes in my mind so often, no hay mas remedio, that I'd learned so very long ago studying the Spanish language.

I'm not depressed, even though this post may appear to seem so, I'm really not.

I weeded yesterday and hauled wood chips, cooked a big dinner, and got Nando to soccer practice.  My house was clean, bills were paid, we have the end of the month no spending rule as the money's gone, but will be replenished on the 31st, which is almost here.  We have groceries, all is well.

We're still a bell curve perfectly illustrated by our percentages - yet I'm so discouraged regarding some of the issues that I know won't get any better, leaving me to question so much, all along the lines of, "Why Lord, why?".

My BFF sent me a book title that I'd hunted on Amazon used books, discovering Goodwill also was listing their books there.  That's brilliant y'all, just brilliant, what with all the books donated across the nation there.

I hear from y'all, how you also deeply crave isolation.  I googled it this morning, wanting to understand it better, yet was alarmed at all the connection isolation seemingly had to both depression and social anxiety.  Well, that sucks.  Can't there be a category for trauma mamas where we search it out because we've been constantly pummeled by life?  Where being alone means being safe?  A place for inner healing?  Who doesn't crave peace?  Maybe peace, in our world, can only be found when one is alone?

Ya think, Cindy?

The world of non-trauma might even seem overwhelming to us?  I dunno.

Two different families at our high school each tragically lost a parent this week in two separate events.  I knew neither one, don't know the kids, nor any information.  In both events, the ones who died were younger than I, a 46 year old woman and a 59 year old man - but, pretty much, in the parenting of school kids world, everyone's younger than me.  Both deaths were sudden, unrelated and unexpected.

Where'm I going with this?  I dunno, can't reach for any parallels, but both sets of families weighed heavily on my mind all week.  I think I think too much, I can't shake things off very easily.  Thus I try and process it all here, even with no answers, having dumped it out on paper, so to speak, always helps me somehow.

Sarah told me of downloading a Taylor Swift song about shaking it off, something catchy along the lines of 'haters gonna hate, I'm gonna shake, shake, shake it off," she and Hazel dancing around to the song.

I'd spent the big bucks (for me) on Amazon, $6.60, for Mercy Me's newest CD that I've been blasting all week long, finding it consoling, uplifting, inspirational, and just beautiful.

One of my sons, that I'd been bragging about this month, up and quit his job which irked the crud outta me.

"I don't like it," he whined.

I don't care if you like it or not, I don't like the constant housework, but I do it.  Doing that what you don't like can be character building.  I'd spent all of my years between age 16-23 waiting on tables to support myself, as I went through life, before becoming a white collar professional, which is called paying one's dues.

I got nowhere with my son, leaving me overly frustrated.

This is not a son with any diagnoses, he's certainly traumatized, but not impaired in any way at all.

It's, um, disappointing at best.  I get so frustrated at being unable to establish a strong work ethic in my children, or any drive, determination or gutsiness.  Was that beat out of them in their traumatic early childhood back in Texas, where there was seemingly no hope at all?  No groceries?  No parental figure ever sober, non-violent, or employed?  Did the chaos and confusion permanently damage their psyches?

We've all seen the brain scans of trauma and/or abuse victims.  Is it insurmountable?  I dunno.

That my home now is the safe harbor, where they'd just as soon sit back and let Mama continue to provide the essentials, leads me to believe it may be so.  Yet how can I, in good faith, wanna push anyone out of the nest when they'd been deprived of a safe nest until eventually arriving here? I have to factor that concern into my equation.

So what to do?

I dunno, this calls for a long, barefoot walk through the woods this morning.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our Constant Tightrope Walking

It was a top to bottom clean the house day yesterday, never any fun, if anything my blood pressure rises in response as I survey the crap.  Not so much the continued destruction that I once witnessed, as inner negative emotions boiled over, but senseless actions like tossing the trash in the vicinity of the trash can and being too lazy, or unmotivated, to either finish the job, nor empty one's own trashcan.

Part of it is very normal teenage rebellion, but my family members carry it a step farther into a level of alarming disarray that truly reflects their conflicting emotions and/or mental state.

I remind everyone that it takes me some ten seconds to clean my own room each morning.  Duh y'all.  Make the bed, pick up anything from the day before, and empty the trash.  Done.

I might as well bay at the moon.

Several other kids also use my bathroom each morning, while getting ready for school, and it still takes only a minute for me to clean up.

I'm taking Tabby early to school this morning for a FCCLA meeting and Lily to Art Club.  Grandma ended up helping out tremendously yesterday, as I sat in a therapist office to deal with the events of last week.  We'd had to wait for over an hour to be seen, which was rather frustrating to say the least, my time schedule too precise for such a delay.

And when a therapist tells you that pretty much, "Absolutely nothing you say or do is going to make any difference, but, at least if and when you disengage, the other one may or may not escalate," these are words that aren't particularly encouraging, but I know he is correct.

When one lies and manipulates constantly, upping the invisible ante, being mean, selfish, demanding and obsessed with self - it is what it is.

There is no cure for schizophrenia, bi-polar, or any host of mental disorders, some can't even be managed with medication, unless the medicated one is completely sedated, which isn't an option at all.

What's left?  Walking on eggshells, basically, doing everything possible to not upset the apple cart, don't show any weaknesses as they'll immediately be exploited, and just pray constantly for peace, healing, and for God's Will to be done - my own personal, constant prayer.

A defeatist attitude?  Or realistic? "There are some professionals who won't even work with those with this specific disorder," he told me yesterday, as he suggested we find someone else, not for this reason, but because he's accepted a hospital position an hour away and will no longer be in private practice.

Great, this'll be the fourth new therapist in two years.  And when each one had suggested the same diagnosis based on observable behaviors, one needs to commission a detailed psychological evaluation, which I've done, and we're waiting on its final completion, where it'll likely state the obvious that we already know.

And then there's Mr. Oppositional Defiant Disordered one who just dropped his trash in the garage and when I corrected him on it, he denied doing what I'd seen him do.  It isn't worth the hassle to press my case, the facts don't matter, in his mind, he didn't do it, plus he hates to be corrected.  On some level he can connect the dots and press his memory until the facts come together for him, and he might then state, "oops, sorry," totally unaware in the moment that he did drop it.

It's just the way it is.

How can a mother, a new one at that, usually halfway through someone's 18 year child time span, how can this mother change, fix, or, in any way, alter brain (mis)wiring?

See?  It just is.

I looked at the therapist yesterday, me being rather frustrated at the tough toenails diagnosis, "Then I suppose the parents need the therapy in order to live like this and not lose their own minds?"

"Yes," he stated thoughtfully," And it's important to not expect much more than what you see each day."

I'm from a generation, from a family of Let's Fix This mentality.  But, some things can't be fixed.  That's a hard pill for folks like me to swallow.  It's tough to not get mad at severely negative behaviors, but getting mad just worsens the situation, self-righteous anger has no place in the world of trauma, miswirings and other diagnoses.

You, the parents, must simply work on maintaining your own equilibrium, which I promise you is not only not easy, but is basically a full time endeavor.

And even in neurotypical families, untraumatized and normal, a parent must be very careful to not enable, to not constantly try and fix things, something I needed to learn along the way with my other kids.

My Sunday School teacher, a nurse who is truly a Miss Fix It, spoke of how we parents deny our grown children to chance to learn a lesson when we step in to fix it for them, and thus avoid the consequence we truly see coming.  Should we have let the proverbial train then hit them?  Yes, at times, or else they will never learn the skill of making better choices.

And sadly, some will never learn no matter what you do, no matter how many professionals and residential treatment centers are involved; nothing can, nor will, change.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Snaggle Tooth

Daniel corrected me late last night, reading my blog.  There are only 27 states and one territory with these Youth Challenge Academies, locations can be found here.

Scotty, Tabby and I worked all afternoon, after church, cleaning out our massive pantry.  Again it needs painting, but so does everything, as my very battered home bears the brunt of so much overuse.

A luxury of sorts, in that I got to attend Sunday School yesterday, it seems as if there've been so many other demands upon me lately.  A bonus was in getting to attend with Sarah.  We are planning on doing the upcoming Wednesday night Bible Study series, involving a Beth Moore book, Sacred Secrets.

Chuck and Yolie were substitute teaching the Sunday School class of Hazel and Mae yesterday.  I'd snapped a photo of a snaggle-toothed Hazel, chumming with her cousin, Mae.

Between the marauding deer and a complete lack of rainfall, my garden is suffering.  There's enough to feed me each day, but after a spell of freezing quart after quart of tomato sauce, the dearth of it now is depressing.  The deer have eaten all of my field peas and most of my pepper plants.  I replanted with store bought plants,, but so far I'm not impressed with the limited production.

I've been asked time and time again, what about so and so, as often I seemingly don't mention some kids for months, or years, at a time.  It's generally for a variety of reasons.  It's at their request, or my own desire to keep it quiet, or the fact that even though my posts can be yawningly lengthy, my life is very full, no way to cover everything.  A blog post is not even an overview of each day, instead it's hardly a glimpse.

Miriam sends me a lot of photos of her so cute son, Elias.  Talking with her last night, both of us missing each other, she's down in Pensacola, and I longingly dream of the day when I can just jump in my truck and go visit family members without worrying about school schedules here.

My daily schedule getting totally rearranged today, a truck repair job postponed, while I need to reschedule Nando's knee therapy for tomorrow and ask Grandma to get Tony to work after school, as a psychologist gave us an extra appointment to deal with an event of last week.

Grandma is always offering to help, but I try and do most of everything myself, knowing there'll be plenty of times that I truly do need her to be available, like today.

And it simply has taken me many, man years to completely comprehend that the acting out behaviors I observe, and negatively experience in a trauma world, are truly not behaviors that merely need correction and re-direction, but rather are deep seated and spurred by miswiring in the brain, more often than not.

Seriously Cindy?  Did you think these horribly negative behaviors were a choice?

Yes, probably I did wrongly think so at one naive period in my life, even nowadays I still struggle with my own frustration that my kids self-sabotage too often as if they can help it.

I am very grateful to all the therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors who have taught me otherwise.  Had I not learned all of this, then my concern, or my love, for the kids might've been sorely compromised.

And a bit of a soapbox here.  I have the news on as I type this morning, and the coverage of the VMAs is mightier than that of the Napa earthquake event of yesterday.  Scantily clad, provocative dancers/singers that's crappier than R-rated?  This is what our daughters wanna emulate?  And then we think we can convince them to study for their future rather than to debase themselves?  Our sons thinking this is how their women should act?  I don't think so.

Whatever happened to brain power?

Dang, girls!  Life's more'n a music video.  No wonder my budget discussions cause eye rolling, stifled yawn reactions around here.

I, too, receive wake-up calls when I get my head out of my own armpit.  I yah-yah-yah whine here about our issues, then I'm shocked silent as I learn what others are facing.  One of my main reasons for getting my butt to Sunday School was to get the name of a friend of mine's daughter-in-law on the prayer board.

This woman I'm speaking of might be facing a devastating diagnosis that we certainly want to pray against, rather to pray for healing, and not this diagnosis at all.  I'm also beseeching my prayer partners here to pray about this woman please.

As we shared prayer requests yesterday, I was also buffaloed by what a couple of other women I know are facing.  A longtime friend at church likely needing a liver transplant, and she's way younger than I, while another woman was visibly upset, yet not divulging anything.  Life is hard y'all for everyone at one time or another.

And then our teenage daughters wanna nasty dance rather than study algebra?  As if shaking their rear ends is the key to success versus studying for their SATs?


Miriam was not a behavior problem at school, not at all, nor was she an academic challenge either.  She played high school soccer and volleyball, but wasn't interested in college.  Now halfway through her 20s, the dead end minimum wage jobs unappealing, and there's nothing like having a kid of your own to teach you that Mama was right all along.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Budgets Are Vogue

I still haven't heard the full story, around here with everyone's crazy schedules and now owning their own cars purchased with their own money, as is the gas and insurance, I just don't even have that drive time anymore to hear everyone out.  Martin's often gone by 6 in the morning for his Mickey D's cooking shift, and Dubs is never here for dinner due to his late afternoon UNG classes.

His injured hand kept him from moving furniture on Friday so Chuy took his place, this bossman still unsure that all five boys between the ages of 18-20 with the same last name, living at the same address could possibly all be brothers, he doesn't even know there are three more in the same age range.  Oh well, it's not our job to explain it all.

CW said he was stopped by the police in Athens, no traffic violation, he had his insurance and car registration papers properly documented, but was told by the policeman that he looked like his older brother who maybe has a warrant out?  I never get anyone's full story, but Dubs was irked because this particular brother is about 8 years older and a foot shorter, he's from an entirely different sibling group as well.

That wouldn't have happened in my county, the county in which CW has lived every minute of his 18 years.

CW had called to tell me this, as he and Chuy were driving to a Saturday job in yet another town, but I was busy at that moment at an army post getting a base pass so I couldn't listen to the whole story.  It was a mandatory orientation day for JoJo who has been accepted into Youth Challenge Academy of the Georgia National Guard, the same program that Big Joe and Jesse had once enjoyed so much some dozen or more years ago.

JoJo was pumped.  "I can't wait!" he exclaimed as we were leaving, ripping off his black tie that I'd just bought for 99 cents at a thrift store, the suspenders he'd purchased his own self, simply because he loved 'em for some reason, along with those pink Betty Boop pjs.

JoJo is very intelligent, yet his ADHD and his complete lack of impulse control, plus extremely poor fine motor skills that results in a scribble scrabble handwriting, has left him unable to successfully complete regular high school.  He's very frustrated and I totally understand it.  This Youth Challenge Program is in every state, and I highly recommend it.

It's designed for kids like JoJo, he's not in trouble with the law, he has the I.Q. to finish it, and it'll teach him some skills I've been unable to transmit to him for a host of reasons, starting with chores.

His entry date is not for another month or so, and he's close enough to age 18 to make this a completely viable proposition, they take kids at 16, but even JoJo will tell you, he sure wasn't mature enough then to attempt this rigorous training.  He's planning on joining the armed services afterwards.  This decision to enter this program needed to solely be JoJo's choice.  He was transfixed with the sights of an army base all day long yesterday.

"Dude," I stressed, "Don't go jumping on tanks or climbing on roofs.  These military police don't play, they won't take into consideration your charm, nor your impulses towards antics."

My kids seemingly balk at all logic that I attempt to teach, part of it is intertwined with the very complicated relationship between traumatized children and a suddenly new mom who they just don't trust.  Much of the progress that I make isn't evident for many years, sometimes the kids don't even start to listen to me until after they're grown and they've proven to themselves the hard way that just maybe Mama was right after all.

I'd agreed to babysit Vanessa's kids last night so she could celebrate her birthday with friends.  While I was waiting on her to drive the hour to my house, I was thinking about how much Evelyn and Mateo cling to her, how they have separation anxiety, and how much I wished Vanessa would think back to her childhood, and the fact that I almost never ever left the house for my own fun, other than a baseball game maybe one a year.

And then weirdly, she called me, "I think I'm gonna just stay in tonight with the kids."

Dang, girl!  That's huge progress.  I effusively complimented her on this choice, in which I'd said nothing aloud at all, I'd been willing to babysit, but that she came to this conclusion her own self made me so happy.

Nessa was never an easy child to raise, my daughter since she was 10, now 24.  She'd also just gotten a new job and was excited.

Now if I can only get money management skills across to so many of my grown children...

The ones that already manage their money beautifully are so much less stressed.  One of the many personal finance blogs that I read recently had several templates for folks to follow who are just getting started, and I know that personally I'd never have been able to parent so many children without a strict budget that showed me all of our expenses, where I could cut, or simply where the money went each month.

But I also tracked every penny when Sarah was an only child.  Being a single mom, one income, is never easy.  This article gives simple budgets, I've made my own very detailed and complicated, but it serves my purposes of control and even financial freedom.  To me, budgets are the bomb.  Color me weird, I don't care.

Early this morning, up in my room, watering my hundreds of houseplants with the same ugly goldish colored pitcher I've used the entire time I've lived in this house, I have a blue one downstairs for those plants, I thought about the thousands of ways that every thing I've not frivolously bought, such as new watering pitchers, all adds up to allow me to help Nando in this travel soccer team, or to put Dubs (and many others) through college.

I don't need a new watering pitcher, this one has held up for nearly 22 years.  I don't wander through stores to see what I think I need, conversely I wander through my house and see what I can get shut of, the less I own, the less I have to maintain, right?

Sure I'd look better if I followed fashion, but realistically who gives a hoot what I look like?  Not me, not my kids, so why bother, right?  Following fashions isn't in my budget, nor do I have any interest in it at all.  I ain't vogue, I'm vague.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Go Figure Again

JoJo brought home hundreds of these coasters of sorts, that protected the feet of the new chairs the hotel had ordered, where he's been working.  An environmental nightmare of Styrofoam trash.  Instead of taking this bag of trash to the dumpster, JoJo brought it home.  Even more weird was in how many hours these grown boys spent building stuff with it last night.

Go figure.

Poor CW did so one-handed and loopy from pain meds.

"Mom!" he'd hollered down the long hall, but I didn't hear him over the roar of the shop vacuum I was using, so he set out to follow the noise.

He'd lifted the radiator cap off of his just repaired car without allowing it enough time to cool off and was surprised by the steam explosion, that fortunately was stopped by his hands from burning the beard off of his handsome face.  "It REALLY hurts," he stressed.

I always go for the aloe, and his hand was barely red, not blistering at all, and I just wasn't unduly alarmed, taking a brief wait and see moment.

Originally this travel soccer team of Nando's was supposed to cost me about a hundred bucks, but now there's the $135 uniform + shipping, an upcoming $72 tournament fee, plus several hundred more over the course of the year.  I was more'n a little rattled, Nando's already in too deep, too happy with this team for me to not move forward, they offered me a chance to work off $200 of it by working concessions for 20 hours.  Like I have time?  I did have a coupon code for the uniforms that saved me 10%.

Guess I'll make time.

CW yanked me out of my Excel spreadsheet reverie, "Mom this HURTS!"  He never ever complains, he's super easy going, and I gave him 800 mgs of ibuprofen, something he never ever takes.  We'd also spread an ointment of pain killer cream with an antibiotic, an over the counter preparation.

I browned up flour tortillas on my favorite cast iron black skillet and made him eat, not wanting the medication to land on his empty stomach, here it was mid-afternoon, and he's notorious for not bothering to eat unless someone reminds him.

"It still hurts something awful, " he stressed.  Nearly an hour had passed, his hand was barely red, no blisters, but I called for Grandma to pick Tony up and get him to work, plus please watch the kids who'd get there at 4, and I took Dubs to the Doc-In-A-Box, nearly apologetic to the medical personnel, since his hand looked right normal.

"I'm just worried that they'll wrongly think you're a stoner 18 year old looking for pain meds, or something," I'd told him, while he looked at me clearly wondering why I think everyone's a suspect.

Indeed the doctor, upon learning what had happened, immediately ordered a tetanus shot, plus a shot of Toradol in CW's hip, wrapping his hand that still was barely red at all, slathering it with silver atadine and a gauze bandage.  "You were right to bring him in," the doctor reassured us, plus the aspiring Physician's Assistant let us pick his brain regarding his schooling, an area CW wants to pursue.

It took CW nearly another entire hour to feel the effects of the shot, the doctor wrote him a note to miss his evening class at UNG, and told him to go home and rest.  He sat on the floor building something out of JoJo's new toy set, "Obviously I'm bored," he told me, indicating the masterpiece of a tower.

Grandma'd fried up Okra and cooked field peas, plus I had already made refried beans, so we were good to go, me then taking Nando to his soccer practice, shelling out anther unexpected $65 for Scotty to join a team - hey, I love that this money goes for positive endeavors.  We also have two church teams going at the moment for my older sons, an ultimate frisbee team plus flag football.

My Tony, bless his heart, not a physical specimen, he's developmentally delayed and at age 18 he resembles a 14 year old that needs to shave.  He's working in our heat wave, likely 99 today, but will feel like 105 on an asphalt parking lot hauling huge carts - you know the flat bed kinds.  I'm proud of him, I admire his work ethic, and that he's fighting through his pain so to speak, not built for this type of work, but aiming for a cashier position inside the building soon.

I've got to get Sergi over to his VA appointment this morning, and The Adoption Counselor wrote her usually insightful post, this time about how many of our grown kids aren't moving out, making the point that now they're finally attaching to us emotionally, to which I agree.  I'm fortunate that all my grown ones are working and paying their own expenses, and I have a big ole house, I don't mind that they're still here with me at all.  In this case I prefer it, as I just don't think they're ready yet for the big ole world.

She states, the adoptee now feels secure in the family and needs more time experiencing the safety and the emotional connection.

Over the years though, there've been some that wouldn't have done so well living under Mom's roof, some that couldn't have made it what with their partying or violent tendencies, but these guys here now?  I'm enjoying their company.

I'm not minding the heat either.  My big room is the only room not running the AC, I briefly considered it, but I can't stand to be shut off from the night air aroma and bullfrog symphony each night.  I'd feel trapped like a housefly under a smothering glass dome.  No, thank you.

AC makes me feel smothered, but having 39 children doesn't make me feel trapped at all.

Go figure.
My kid of the previous day, now very calm and smiling, demonstrating to me something I've observed for decades, how a kid with an emotional outburst of any kind, is often very quiet and mentally exhausted the next day.  I appreciate the supportive emails and texts I'd received, thanks y'all.  This is never easy.