Saturday, March 31, 2012
That new car smell does nothing for me. Toxic plastic and chemical fumes? No, thank you.
But oh Honey, the smell of wood is intoxicating. My new pine tongue and groove ceiling, still in the works, is as fragrant as any pile of wood chips, making my heart smile in happiness.
Hoping against hope that rain would fall, I happily motored through all my planting yesterday, non stop, getting maybe 100 pepper plants in the ground and less than a hundred tomato plants and dadgum if I wasn't happily surprised and rewarded by a significant rainfall during the night.
I'd taken Nando to the Pediatrician's office to get his head checked out after the fall he'd taken at the park. He likely has a slight concussion, emphasis on slight, they checked him out head to toe, gave him a doctor's excuse for missing school, and he took it easy all day long.
But on the soccer field today? He even head butted the ball and made the only goal in the game, the youngest kid on the team, full of energy, and doing so when Daniel is watching...priceless. Nando will beam all day long now, happy that Daniel had come to his game and watch him play.
Friday, March 30, 2012
My posts'll likely get shorter and shorter as the incidents I feel I need to process in my head aren't occurring with much frequency anymore.
We're almost normal?
A state I've craved for so long, the level at which most families take for granted, I detest drama and turmoil, enjoying stability and security here, as boring as it may seem in a blog post, it's so what I desire.
Daniel and Megan joined me in trying to watch two soccer games at one time last night, but it was an off field injury that took our attention away. Nando was running around with his friends and tripped, slamming his head into a steel table bolted to the concrete up by the concession stand.
CW and Daniel were right there when it happened, or within seconds, Daniel the Lieutenant immediately got ice, we had a parent with a medical background look at it, an egg popped out right at his hairline, I swooned as I can't stand to see my kids injured, Nando was crying in public so I know it hurt.
The ice greatly reduced the swelling, I babied him at home, fetching milk for him to drink there in his bed, not usually allowed, and he's much better this morning.
Good thing too, he has a soccer game tomorrow morning. Three teams going, all I do is cheer for soccer from now until mid-May. Every night on the fields, but it's wholesome and fun, I like it.
We'd hardly gotten Nando halfway to the van after the game when I noticed Allen'd limped/crawled off the field with a leg cramp, a girl on his team was on all fours trying to catch her breath. Uh-oh. Sabrina helped Nando to the van while Mayra and I took off to check on Allen who was fine, and the girl, Cleo, regained her air. She's one of the toughest girls out there, that U19 League is rough and tumble, fun to watch.
Megan showed me a picture of Daniel trying on his new wedding ring. Man oh man, it still blows me away, Daniel was sooooo young when I met him, he grew up so fast. Now that's hard to process for me. That can make me emotional.
We desperately already need rain. The wood chips conserving what little moisture we have, I'm either hauling more or continuing to plant in the dust that passes for soil. Today is another all day planting event. My kind of day.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Leaning over all day long in The Big Back Garden, making a ton of progress, I haven't been this caught up since before CW was born thus making me so enthralled with the infant, and the two sibling infants that followed, plus an onslaught of cute toddlers and their major behavioral issues, I hardly came up for air in the next 16 years.
But now? They're all so big, half grown, independent, busy, and gone all day, allowing me free time in which to plant, and plant I did, getting some 80 pepper plants in the ground, maybe several dozen tomato plants. I over plant certainly, but then a drought, or a tomato blight, and whoosh it's all gone.
I've even diligently, methodically plowed through the quack grass with my hands, getting every little piece of the demonic rhizomes, eradicating much of it finally.
"I thought I'd blocked all your boys on my Facebook," Elizabeth told me last night at church which made me bust out laughing, other parents might've been offended, but certainly not me. I've hid the status updates of many of my grown kids because they cuss, which I find offensive, or put out other distressful thoughts of self-medication, thug life or whatever. I don't wanna know. I raised 'em better than that.
We'd had cake and ice cream at church, I'd gotten two chunks of it, hungry after working all day long, supper long digested by then, I'd asked Elizabeth's husband what kind it was as he was munching away happily. "I dunno," he replied, "I found this one on the floor. Have you seen that line?" Youth group workers are a special breed, lemme tell ya.
Kind of our Bodie mentality, heck if a dog hadn't scooped it up already, it's considered fair game. If Sarah'd made these cakes, I'd have battled the dogs for it. As it was, these store bought ones aren't quite as tantalizing, Ray finished mine up. They'd made Passover lambs in Children's Church, everyone had had a super good time last night. Bittersweet though as the cake was a reception for our departing youth pastor, Jack trying to hold in his emotions, my older teens totally shut down self-protectively in advance.
Two soccer games tonight at the same time, both U16 and U19, so it'll leave me spinning between the adjacent fields watching and cheering on for both games. The older leagues are nonstop action, it's seriously difficult to watch 'em both at the same time, but they'll both be really good games.
We load up the van, all of us go down there, sometimes Tabby brings a bike or a scooter, it's a fun evening for everyone, especially now that we don't have severe behavior problems that embarrass us or put folks in danger. No drama, I love it.
One teenagers just impressively farted all the way down the long hallway.
"Dang son," I admired, "You spraying for mosquitos?"
Organically so, as that's the only accepted method allowed here on my property.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Easily one of the most recognizable men in Georgia, you could hear the buzz emanating across the huge soccer fields last night, "Mark Richt's right over there," folks pointing and turning their heads to catch a glimpse, including me. It took Sabrina about an hour, but she did trot over for a picture. All photos here again courtesy of Tony.
Two soccer games for us last night, Art Club for Tabby, tutoring for Scotty and Jack at the middle school, plus Martin stayed after at the high school for math help, me driving all over tarnation to pick everyone up, get 'em back home, fed, and into cleats and shin guards in order to to hit the fields on time from 6-9 last night. Tarnation being less than two miles in any direction from my house, I just hate driving and/or having to go somewhere.
Ms Carr had blessed us with a pizza gift card, on Tuesday they're practically half price, and when a family needs ten large ones, man oh man, what a bonus. Michael brought over all the leftovers from a meeting on Sunday, the kids gobbling down everything immediately. Anytime I'm freed up from kitchen duties is such a blessing, here nearly 40 years into feeding kids each night, having been a mom all my life.
I'd been outside planting all day, the workmen up hammering tongue and groove pine boards in my room, I can't afford to hire painters, wouldn't want to anyway, so at some point I need to slap on a coat of paint up there while the furniture is all out. I have the energy certainly, but little to no free time at all.
I was planting Munstead Lavender plants tha I'd grown from seed out under the windows downstairs, hoping their fragrance would drift inside. Should be an easy matter since all our screens have been knocked out over the years by ragers.
I'm sleeping in a construction site, my bed being the only thing left in my room besides scaffolding and power tools, the smell of sawdust is one of my favorites. I'm so tired every night from all my high speed exertions that I conk out immediately, all the windows open because I do have screens up there since I don't rage.
I'm dealing with yet another challenging action by a teenage boy, one who can't be lectured about the natural consequences because he misinterprets it as a dire prediction instead, nor can he be consequenced as he's emotionally fragile while putting on a tough guy act, yet the act must be addressed. Thank God for therapy. Thank God for Medicaid that pays for it. Thank God that I've learned so much about traumatized children. Thank God for Dr. Mandy who really has the knowledge that we need.
We've taken a ton of money hits lately, the starter on the van, house repairs, high gas prices, and other slam dunks that folks are all facing in this recession.
My Daniel had recently thanked me publicly on Facebook for a 'lifetime of good financial advice,' and I'd have to argue a bit. I just don't know enough to give good investing advice, but a couple of my lectures can stand on their own, such as living way beneath one's means, or my percentages of living on 80% while tithing 10% and investing 10%, if only in a CD, savings account or anywhere else for emergencies that are sure to come. Thank you Dave Ramsey.
You need a savings account for emergencies, not a credit card. I despise credit and the lure it has upon folks.
I suppose if anything, I've modeled not being a consumer, not being a lady who lunches or shops, but rather a hardscrabble hag who wears what she has, something black, but I'm very happy and totally content to do so. New, nice clothes wouldn't change who I am, nor would a manicure. I know who I am, I'm not a designer label wearing fashionista with the accompanying department store charge card bills.
I'm a dirt digging gardener who's very satisfied with life. I have purpose, not poise.
If one can't live on 80%, one needs to target one's budget, cut it mercilessly, one just doesn't need all the crap that society pushes on us all via stupid advertising and marketing strategies designed to make you feel bad about yourself unless you buy their junk.
That's just wrong. I want my sons, and especially my daughters, to feel emotionally strong based on who they are, not what they wear.
Happiness comes from within.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I have never, with the exception of that one raucous year in New Orleans, well I have never planted peppers and tomatoes in February in some 40 years of gardening. Now I have. I've also never worked a third shift, but my formerly chronically unemployed Fabian is doing so, accomplishing something I could never pull off properly. I don't have night time energy. I'm a sunshine girl and my hat's off to Fabian.
A simple family rule is to 'make mama proud,' which Fabian truly is doing right now.
Two of my teenage sons were extremely, inexplicably rude to me last night, so much so that I felt my blood pressure spike. I walked off, no I stormed up to my empty room, and within minutes, the oldest was up there apologizing. Something he almost never does, because he almost never misbehaves. He had tears in his eyes, was profuse in his mea culpas, and later texted me how sorry he was, and how appreciative of all I do.
That doesn't happen very much, lemme tell ya.
The other one yelled, "I love you, Mama," from a distance, which suffices for an apology, when one understands the complicated emotional morass that is his nature. I get it. I truly do. "I love you too," I responded, the matter put to rest, which is good enough for me.
I'm not the emotionally needy one, I'm the mama.
One of the men fixing my ceiling kept coming outside to smoke. I hate smoking. "Please be sure and not leave the butts anywhere," I asked of him, "My kids'll be irritated on so many levels if you do."
He looked at me like I was nuts, but, hey, he doesn't live with overly suspicious traumatized children.
Indeed, within minutes of their arrival home from school, several had already spotted cigarette butts in our very large front yard, pictured below. Little detectives, hyper vigilant kids who don't trust anything out of the ordinary, inner alarm bells clanging to beat the band.
As incongruous as a turd on the kitchen counter, a cigarette butt on our property? Oh, heck no. How nasty. I'd prefer the turd if given the choice. It's more biodegradable.
My mother's two friends are leaving today, Vern reminds me so much of my dad that it's been bittersweet visiting with him. They're 83 years old, not my mom's measly almost 82, and they're itching to get back to Virginia to get their gardens planted. That's how I wanna be in my 80s also.
I was dealing with a situation with an older son last night on the phone, not a bad thing, but more of me helping him navigate a situation, that he is so old, that he still needs his mama, spoke volumes to my cocky teenage sons who were listening to me help this one out. "Dang, he still needs Mama?" one of them asked in wonder, another one of them, very emotionally bonded, replied succinctly, "Shut up Idiot," to the clueless one.
It's all so complicated, requiring me at ten last night to turn the laptop and printer back on, printing out, scanning and faxing back important info to him, Tony pointing out the obvious to me, "Why bother scanning? Just take a photo of it with your phone and message it to him."
Hard to believe I was ever a well educated and very decently paid media specialist. But dadgum technology changes every 30 seconds or so, I've been retired for a decade. It's a wonder I can still tie my shoes.
I've eaten my weight in chard this week, now I'm gonna let that stand go to seed, save the seed for next year, knowing each year it gets better and better suited to our unique micro climate.
Now I'm gonna go spur the kids to get a move on, yesterday every single one of them, except Jack, managed to get bus left.
How is that even possible?
Monday, March 26, 2012
It's taken me a dadgum week to empty out my 800 square foot bedroom in preparation for the new ceiling. Little Miss Not Minimalist apparently, but mainly this was a thousand plants that had to be moved.
I had two dressers with empty drawers, since I own few outfits, the dressers had served as plant stands only.
Mr P morphed back into a normal, helpful kid which is what Cyclothymic Disorder looks like, leaving me constantly unbalanced, never sure who to expect.
Another two kids lied to my face, literally and blatantly stonewalled me. I didn't back down, these are two in which disengagement is translated their minds into a Mom Doesn't Love Me interpretation. CW, not involved at all, told me the truth that the other two were dancing around, not afraid of being labeled a snitch, more so just not wanting me to be angry about what they'd done.
I wasn't mad at the action, only at the untruth.
One's conscience was so bothered that he went out to mow the meadow, coming upstairs to verbally apologize later with no prompting. Once labeled a Level of Care 3 in Texas, he's rarely shown me any of those negative behaviors, overall he's been right easy...but look what I'd previously survived. Shoot, raising Idi Amin might've seemed a breeze, in comparison to one of mine, now in prison.
By nightfall I was frustrated with being stuck inside so long, I ran out to weed a bit and Allen voluntarily brought me three wheelbarrow loads of wood chips, mainly to show off his muscles which I duly admired, getting that picket fence painted, thank you Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer for your lifelong influence in my life.
Dude, readers are leaders.
Grandma has two other 82 year old friends visiting for a few days, long time friends from Virginia, while I'll have workmen all week in the house which cramps my style, but the end result's gonna be gorgeous. Not so much the bill that'll come due. Ouch.
However with all the crap moved out, the walls clearly need painting, here when I need to be planting. Watch me multi-task.
Tony'd taken the picture above, me at the far end texting my sister-in-law, Mary, because a 7.2 earthquake hit Chile where my beautiful niece Katie is staying, I'm thinking she was north of the main event though.
I'd taken the other picture from the other end of the room of Tony taking the picture of me. Clever little buggers aren't we? Not.
CW's friend, Brittany, continues to improve, but is still in no less need of prayer.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
My sweet Jack, now almost 12, used the $5 reel mower to cut Grandma's big yard yesterday, taking over what Grandpa once would've done, but Grandpa used the riding mower back then, toting Jack along for the ride, once even running over Grandpa's own glasses in the process, a memory Jack now treasures. My dad was a bit of a goof sometimes.
As usual it takes a near tragedy to shake me to my core, to make me appreciate the little things like being healthy, or able to function on my own.
CW'd been a little bit embarrassed to have me checking to make sure a parent or two would be present for an outing to another teenager's lake house, but I'd have been remiss to not have done so. I'd rather he be embarrassed by someone who deeply cares about him than to have him get into a situation that could get out of hand.
When I was satisfied by the excellent high level of supervision, I allowed him to go have fun. The dad, who was hosting the day, is a medical doctor for Pete's Sake. CW is my heart, raised here since birth, now almost 16, he's been a joy to live with, he has a sweet and loving nature.
It was a day trip, hardly 40 minutes south of here. He has a cell phone, and I allowed him to go.
"Mom, there's been an accident," he called me in the early evening. Me immediately thinking he must be OK, heck he's talking.
"What happened?" I hated to ask.
"We were all tubing, and Brittany fell off, landed on her neck, she was life-flighted to the trauma unit in Atlanta."
He gave me a couple other details and said he'd be heading home soon.
I hung up and prayed that this would be minimal injury, for a full recovery, knowing this young lady and her mother, the father died a few years ago, they were the folks who'd given us our three-footed terrier, Amelia.
He called me back later, like several hours later, telling me the police had been questioning everyone, administering a breath analyzer test to the adults present.
No one did anything wrong. No one was was drinking, or otherwise impaired, everyone was a strong swimmer, and they all wore life jackets anyway, carefully following all safe boating rules, this was simply a terrible and freakish accident.
I'm flat out grieving for everyone, I don't think my very worried CW slept all night, I can't imagine how the parents feel, either of the victim nor those parents who'd been in charge, doing everything by the book.
It's too soon to give CW The Lecture, the one in which I explain all my fears of what could potentially ever happen even if everyone is acting right. See? Son, the unthinkable does happen.
This is a tough, tough world and when one has loved ones, which is just about everyone on earth, then our hearts walk around outside our body. I'm not even particularly a worry wart, but the danger potential for a trauma mama looms always everywhere all the time.
Please pray for this young lady to make a full recovery, there was some movement detected already, and she was conscious throughout her ordeal.
I held off hitting publish, hoping I'd hear some good news, getting everyone ready for church, as today we'd be hosting The Children Of The World: the International Children's Choir, something I'd long been looking forward to seeing and hearing once again.
Marcela, Yolie and I went to both services, skipping Sunday School since my teacher was absent, all my other kids properly in their classes.
After church, CW did receive some encouraging information, that Brittany is doing much much better today, hopefully a best case scenario.
We are still praying for her.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
All of us come into the world with our own genetic predispositions to psychological ills. Depression, anxiety, the whole panoply of adult woes are woven into our genomes. That may not be surprising to scientists, but new research shows that these conditions can start to express themselves much earlier than we knew — sometimes during the first year of life. Trauma can trigger the onset; so can stress, and so can still unknown variables.
Not exactly a duh moment for me, but more of a validation. Yolie and I were outside, as the kids jumped on the trampoline, and she read the article aloud to me from her phone.
...estimates that about 10% of very young children have some kind of clinical emotional condition, about the same rate as the adult population. And while some of those ills are indeed unique to babies, a growing body of research shows that many others — including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social-anxiety disorder, major depression, insomnia, even prolonged bereavement — also afflict young children.
I think it's a very safe bet to believe that children within the foster care system would have a higher rate of this due to many factors, not the least of which could be attributed genetically, but also due to substance abuse, including alcohol, in utero. Add trauma, emotional breaks from multiple caretakers, neglect and abuse. all common factors shared by my children.
...experiments in which preschoolers diagnosed with anxiety conditions are shown either positive images (like a picture of three smiling girls) or threatening images (like a snarling dog). An eye-tracking system follows their gaze. As a rule, anxious kids focus longer on the parts of the pictures that signal danger — such as the dog's teeth and eyes. They even look longer at the girls' faces, in an apparent attempt to see if any less obvious threat lurks. "There appears to be a dysregulation of the fear circuit," says Egger. "This creates a bias in attention to threat, real or not."
I've seen this often in hyper vigilant, extremely emotionally needy kids, factor in their anxiety levels, and the fact that they'd never been either soothed nor reassured as toddlers, never nurtured, and now I have teenagers who still struggle.
Chronic stress can have a similar impact on the brain. In a 2010 study, psychologist Nim Tottenham of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City conducted magnetic-resonance-imaging scans of the brains of 78 children (9 years old on average; babies would never hold still long enough), about half of whom had spent part of their early lives in orphanages. She also conducted behavioral tests on the kids' emotional-regulation skills. In general, she found that the later the children had been adopted — and thus the longer they'd been institutionalized — the larger their amygdalae were. (The amygdala governs emotions such as fear and alarm.) Those kids also performed worse on the emotional test. Another 2010 study of abused children yielded similar findings.
Even the subtler pressures of the home — combative parents, economic hardship, parental substance abuse — can do long-term damage. "Babyhood has its stresses," says Dr. Jack Shonkoff, professor of child health and development at the Harvard School of Public Health. "But the system is designed to get back to baseline. If it doesn't, it can damage brain connections and destroy circuits." It's that damage that helps a genetic predisposition become a full-blown disorder.
I am extremely glad, and grateful, to have had an original social worker explain to me how much my kids needed, or would need, therapy. 25 years ago I bristled I'm sure, naively certain that we wouldn't need therapy, that my love and concern for the kids would be enough. Within a year of beginning, we'd found a good therapist.
I might be socially awkward, but I'm not a dummy.
Even now, with fairly good kids all living here with me now, I don't see us in any less need of therapy, if only to have a fresh, knowledgeable perspective given by Dr. Mandy. I also believe my kids need a confidant such as her, a neutral third party, someone who has a pretty clear indicator of all the nuances in a family like mine.
I love listening to her, literally watching her digest the information and the behaviors and come up with strategies, or at least explanations.
I'm glad that my children don't ever see me self-medicate, that they see me use my gardens as therapy, depending on activity to relieve stress. But I know that's not enough, if anything they'll sneer, "Well, that's you," when I try and illustrate proper ways of dealing with stuff, the implication being I ain't them. Mom's old school and uncool.
Mom's also got too much to do right now to be sitting at the computer, but I feel verbally constipated until I blog each day.
All that rain in the Southeast, a veritable deluge in Louisiana only gave us 5 short minutes of a steady rain, so not enough at all.
Two soccer practices today, finish emptying my bedroom out, routine chores, and I'm seriously contemplating risking the threat of a late frost, going ahead and planting my tender annuals, we've hardly had ay frost all winter long. I cut me a ton of Swiss Chard last night, Lily and I ate the entire pot of it. She'd collected the seeds a year or so ago, these particular plants had become acutely customized to our specific climate, and was some kind of delicious.
Friday, March 23, 2012
I think if you asked others about this, they would not agree. They would see me as the same old stubborn woman I’ve always been, but others can’t see my worried soul or my battered heart or my overly alarmed amygdalla or my shrinking hippocampus. They can’t see the way I lost interest in taking care of myself or gave up trying to achieve certain goals simply because I didn’t have the time or energy or attention left to invest in much beyond work and Hazardous Parenting.
Those are Dr. McCreight's words, I call her Brenda, treasuring her friendship and her brilliance, clinging to those who've endured what I've experienced over the years, pretty much now standing (cowering?) behind her as she shines a flashlight ahead for us banged-up parents who've parented through dangerously violent times.
I was flat out fairly sure I'd never get my 800 square foot bedroom emptied out in time for Robert's crew to redo the ceiling. I'm replacing sheetrock with tongue and grove pine boards. There's 19 years worth of furniture, plants, books, and stuff up there, a room in which I rarely get to when the sun is shining. I crawl up there each night exhausted, but I water the plants and think, think, think.
"Have you found anything important that you thought you'd lost?" Scotty asked me last night, as we moved furniture downstairs, stacking it in other bedrooms. The good news is that is mostly wicker.
"No," I'd answered. I don't lose stuff. I file it or I discard it, if it's important enough to keep then I know where I put it, else wise I don't wanna be bothered with ownerships of trinkets, kotchkes, things that need dusting or upkeep, accessories, jewelry, and other such nonsense.
I lost interest in taking care of myself echoing in my mind. So true. I attributed it to aging, but upon deeper thinking, I realize I'd come to a place where worrying about myself seemed utterly pointless, frivolous even.
My goals - something I've always excelled in, to the point of over achievement - seemed pathetically small in comparison to the goal of simply surviving it all, especially during those years where I was routinely threatened and sometimes attacked or all my energy went into protecting others from rages, assaults and temper dysregulation.
I'm kinda angry now about it all. Now that I'm safe enough to be able to reflect back on everything.
Even those who'd just mistreated me constantly, the digs, the rudeness, the meanness, the hatefulness, the disrespect, the larceny, the damage and destruction - all completely forgiven by me - but I'm unable to force myself to make much of an effort to try any harder or any longer. It's an empty relationship built upon me being unable to trust any words coming out of their mouths, knowing the stealing proclivities are still there, the many arrests making me nervous, as does their propensities towards stealth, dishonesty, back stabbing, violence, and other negative behaviors. I'm right burned out on all that.
My bell curve? 10 brilliant kids, ten above average, ten average, and ten below average in intelligence and ability to function, also translates easily into ten I'm very close to, ten who'd treated me OK, ten who've clearly been below average in their reactions to life, and ten who are flat out dangerous. Same as in a family of four.
As I dragged crap outta my room, 25% of it I never used so I tossed it, 25% was OK stuff but I tossed it, 25% was pretty good so I tossed half of that, since I rarely use anything other than a spading fork in life anyway, and 25% I kept. I even composted a bunch of house plants in smaller containers in my moving on process. The big plants make a statement.
In the morning I'd kept Marissa, while Marcela took a class for her job, I kept Ray and Hazel while Sarah tended to her accounting clients, and Mae came over so as to not miss the party. With the girls very big personalities, it was so much like a Little Sarah, a Little Yolie and a Little Marcela as they cavorted.
My afternoon was darker, as Mr P, who'd kinda apologized for destroying his cell phone, became uncomfortable, uncomprehending after therapy, and went into his cyclothymic disordered behavior big time. Disengaging is my only option, but I was keeping a wary eye on him. Allowed to email Dr. Mandy, instead of exploding, he kept himself occupied better than if he was just prowling the house, looking for someone to provoke into a rage.
Because I'm well aware that my words get twisted or elaborated upon untruthfully, I've learned to bite my tongue, keep it to myself, knowing I wouldn't be understood anyway. When I explain to Mr P that these behaviors will get him in deep trouble someday if he doesn't change them, all he hears is that he's a troublemaker which wasn't what I said. Just as me explaining to others, if you steal, you'll go to jail, all they hear is "Mom says I'm going to jail."
I never understood that until Dr. Mandy explained their perceptions to me, their inability to comprehend my point.
It's more than a little frustrating, but again, brain miswirings are a huge contributing factor here.
I wanted to be planting the Lavender seedlings that had grown so beautifully in pots, I needed to water everything in the greenhouse, but I kept an eye on Mr P, while Scotty, CW and Martin drug furniture downstairs for me, everyone marveling at how cavernous an empty room could be.
Now it's on to an early morning orthodontist appointment with JoJo, everyone dragging around this morning after a late night on the soccer field.
I've filled my office, Jack's room, the big back deck, and the front porch with plants from my bedroom, still have about a hundred more to go. Monday's the big day for my new ceiling.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
I sure didn't see this coming.
A phone call, a heads up, a 'think about how you're gonna deal with this,' as I have 11 kids in the middle and high school youth group, our youth pastor was leaving, resigning after 19 months here, on the heels of the one who'd been here for 8 years previously.
My high school kids had held back a huge part of themselves, rudimentarily attending, but deep within, more than a bit afraid to become attached, as it had hurt so deeply when Pastor Bronson, their original long time youth pastor had left. My middle schoolers, especially Scotty, immediately embraced the new man, and was racked with sobs last night over his departure.
I was very concerned about Jack again losing a central figure in his life, but Jack remained stone-faced. I suppose after losing Grandpa, this didn't seem as monumentally devastating. Yet I'm pretty sure that Jack and Scotty will be a bit resistant now to a new youth pastor. This is fairly predictable.
I remember Daniel being pissed off as a senior in high school way back when Pastor Anthony departed and Bronson arrived to take Anthony's place. Anthony's gonna officiate at Daniel's wedding next fall. Youth Pastors are a very big deal in our lives.
I lurked in the back hallway of the cavernous youth group room, listening, knowing Michael had my kids covered, fighting back my own tears. I tiptoed inside the youth room, super quietly, but within seconds my hypervigilante teens had detected my presence, right as Sabrina was texting me the alarming news of Pastor Chris's departure.
My longtime mentor/friend Pastor Tracy too was sitting with them, very good move on his part, his presence calms us all. He'd been Sarah's youth pastor all her life. He's been everything to me for 30 years, his wife is the children's pastor at church. These are deeply trusted, emotionally vested people in our lives.
My kids were flat out stunned by the news, one of them not even sure he'd heard the words correctly, whispering to another, "What did he just say?".
I'd sat on this information all day, not even discussing with Yolie and Sarah about how I should handle this, if there'd been a leak, I didn't want anyone to even suspect it had come from me, even though I knew I could count on my two girls to keep quiet. Eventually I'd decided not to tell my teenagers, with Facebook and Twitter, I wasn't sure they could've been able to hold in this news. Others needed to hear it from Chris, not as a gossipy tweet.
The core youth group workers have remained consistent for my kids, Debbie, Barbie, Boss (Steve) and, of course, Michael, have been fixtures, Elizabeth and Brian and others, folks my kids can rely upon, especially since two of the women also work in their high school. My children totally need these layers of support.
To a non church attender this may seem as trivial as when you change teachers each school year, but to us, this is huge. This is the person who helps my children navigate emotionally and spiritually, who has fun activities, teaching activities, who shows up and supports them in school activities, as Chris and his pretty wife, Sharon, had even done for Sabrina's competition cheerleading meets, and often for my family's many soccer games.
To our family, this is a huge, painful loss. I'd even debated keeping my kids home from Wednesday night services, to explain to them what was happening, more than a little concerned and wary about them being blindsided by this, never able to totally correctly gauge potential emotional explosions, but I vetoed my ownself, glad that I had done so, because they needed to hear it from him. They needed to see other teenagers come unglued, to grieve within this group, there were some sobbing teens there, crying harder than Scotty.
In the van home they were all emotionally unsettled, their feelings akimbo, high-pitched, bordering on detonating, but hopefully we're past the phase where they break windows to indicate their anger, grief, and loss. On every level this brings up their collective abandonment issues, a primal wound that'll never ever completely go away, but rather will be stirred up, scabs again torn off each time there's a significant loss in their lives.
They'd all kinda slammed shut, processing quietly, asking me a million questions I couldn't answer. I don't know where Pastor Chris is gonna go, I don't know who'll take his place, I don't know why he resigned, I don't know if their crossed arms stubbornness played a part in this, if their emotional distance helped burn him out, I don't even know if he's burned out, or simply following God's will, (which I know he'll do), CW remarking, "Dang, I was starting to like the ole guy."
Old? He's hardly 40ish.
Scotty sat at the kitchen table, dunking cookies into milk, an act I usually correct, but let it go for once, as he sniffled, tears running down his cheeks.
"Crying's better than acting out," my own words coming out of an older brother there. Hmm, Interesting.
Chuy couldn't have been more shut down if he'd have tried, a couple of them had that wide-eyed look of an impending blast of something, Sabrina was on the edge, and the rest were just stunned into silence, not liking this at all. Disgruntled and out of sorts, a little angry on some level, really not completely in touch with their own feelings, I'm glad this is a Dr. Mandy day.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
"Don't judge me by my past, I don't live there anymore," a saying I'd seen on Facebook yesterday, an image of an empty, but beautifully upholstered sofa for an ample illustration.
I believe with our healthy cells rejuvenating and replacing themselves constantly, with all we learn and experience, we change so much that we're not our own past within minutes. I'm not even the same bitter person I was months ago. I'm neither as naive as I once was, nor as hopeful, but not resigned to my fate, still battling the residual secondary trauma issues, excited about the freedom ahead of me, and happy with the contented family now surrounding me.
That those who've criminally bombed out of our family now express many regrets at what they've done, especially those in their 20s, that those in their 30s, and now there's a buncha them, are now positively expressing themselves quite often, my own perspective changing as always, so much junk to either internalize or to process each day, sometimes I'm so emotionally or physically exhausted each night that I've been known to fall asleep with my big fat feet still on the floor, where I'd lain back on my bed to think, only to later wake up with a start in that uncomfortable position, rolling over to try and sleep the rest of the night properly.
I churn through each day systematically at 90 mph and sleep like a dead rock eventually, rejuvenating myself for the next onslaught of stress or joy...hard to predict around here, keeping me on edge.
I came back to Georgia in 1977, here where I was born, leaving coastal Virginia where my Dad had chosen the Virginia Methodist Conference after seminary, like others in the 1950s, leaving the alleged backwardness of the Deep South, but not making it much further than the NC/VA state line, the corner of Southeastern Virginia. We also lived in the DC area for several years, then back to the Tidewater area. I do still deeply miss the water and the sound of seagulls.
To have so many of my friends from those years, folks I've not seen since the 50s, 60s and early 70s, has supremely blessed this voluntary shut-in like crazy, especially as I do still grapple with losing my sister and brother-in-law. There's a FB group of folks from my elementary, junior high school, and high school that's been interesting, to say the least. I'm flat out shocked at the number of folks who've died already.
One of our (my siblings) close friends, a friend of mine as well, since all my sibs and I were born in a four and a half year time span - all four of us, - well this guy, John, had been murdered in his 20s by an angry, possibly scorned woman. ( Scorned? Ya think, Cindy). Another friend messaged me the whereabouts of John's only sibling, a pretty girl who'd hung out with my sister.
I keep hearing from classmates from back then, immediately transporting me to another me. They're the only people who remember the childless Cindy, dang, I was a teenage mom before there was Teen Mom TV, heckfire back then all TV's went offline at 11 p.m...and, at least, I was a married teen mom.
All these young girls getting knocked up nowadays before marriage, including some of my own kids, seriously girls? Dooming the offspring to instant poverty? This is not an opinion, but a fact backed up by statistical evidence. Look at Section 8 housing stats. It grieves me deeply for their future.
Stupid Hollywood glamorizing the cute baby-on-the-hip accessory, susceptible teen girls thinking this is cool when the reality is hard work, sacrifice, menial jobs for the undereducated, and baby mama drama.
Back to reality, to the me I am now, Lord have Mercy, I'm balking and stalling at moving all these houseplants from my room to I-dunno-where-I'm-gonna-safely put 'em all. I'd rather haul wood chips, keep planting or weeding, aerobically mow the immense meadow with a push mower, but it's gotta be done before the rest of the ceiling falls on my hard head, waking me up to find myself drinking hot tea in Heaven with my sister. As fun as it'd be to see her, I gotta finish raising this darling buncha teens first.
Soccer, soccer, soccer right now. I'd kept an eye on Nando through his practice last night, still concerned about the inexplicable neck pain he's had, waiting on his MRI appointment, but I left my older teenage boys down on the field for their practice until nearly nine o'clock, coming back to get them, leaving Grandma here to babysit so my younger kids could get to bed on time.
An aside: Deputy KM - knowing you're there at the park gives me peace of mind. JK, they're good boys. You taught 'em well in D.A.R.E. and they adore you.
My older boys, especially Martin, now 18, are emerging into their reject Mom and all she stands for phase, which I do understand, but Honey Chile, you particularly have another year of school, you still need me, wake up and smell the coffee. CW was grumbling in my office early this morning, a little off put by his BFF Martin's surliness. I'd reminded him, Martin that is, "Dude, I'M your real mom, I'm the only one you remember, I'm the one who cleaned up your barf, changed your youngest brother's goat turd diapers, babied you, loved you, cared for you, can we fast forward through this predictable phase?"
He just stared at me, not hatefully at all, baffled would be a better word. He still sometimes rudely refers to the younger one as Goat Turd, due to the weird consistency of that which I'd dealt with back then, euw, as it inexplicably would fall from his diapers, leaving a trail one might follow after? Go figure. Fortunately he was not a feces smearer, as nearly another entire sibling group was so, thereby making Clorox my own BFF.
Each morning as they all get ready for school, I read the news online, start blogging, get interrupted a thousand times, eventually hit publish, publicly journaled out, cathartically ready to face the morning and all its incessant demands, glad as always when I have a totally uninterrupted day here at home to get it all done, Larry the Cable Guy's "Git 'er done," echoing in my mind each time I think about it, a brain worm certainly. I'd just taped his "Them Idiots," comedy routine, laughing my pathetic butt off, snorting and guffawing, but MLB baseball is not regularly televised enough during Spring Training to keep me occupied.
A day to listen to fascinating podcasts, time flies as I labor doing that which I love, even if it wears me out. I do not remember my own grandmothers, back in the day, genteel women from South Carolina, ever toting a wheelbarrow of anything at all. They had yard men. That both me, and my 82 year old mother, unabashedly love to do so, makes me wonder about us.
Are we just weird dirt grubbers?
Or are the bored, shopaholic women the weird ones? Normal being somewhere in the middle, I'd wager.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
"Have you been up to your room?" CW asked me in alarm.
Like I have time to go to my room before dark? I'd hauled 10 heavy loads of wood chips across the property, determined to cover one long permaculture bed that'd been perfectly weeded and superficially turned over by me, knowing I was gonna get cucumbers planted there fairly soon. Folks around here are already putting annuals out, we've likely had our last frost, but the soil temperatures still feel kinda chilly to me.
Sarah'd had her first snake on the porch yesterday, a harmless black snake, my boys had found a baby copperhead on the dirt road about two weeks ago. Uh-oh, where's the mama snake and its other offspring?
"You need to go look at your room," CW's alarm was evident.
I put down the tomato plants I was transplanting into bigger pots and followed him upstairs. This Old Virginia heirloom variety has some impressive growth on it. I'm growing four other varieties as well.
A heavy piece of Sheetrock had literally fallen down, taking out a half dozen plants, but fortunately nothing else. We'd not even heard the crash, but the attic fan was on, which drowns out noise, and anyway I'd been outside most of the day.
I've been saving up money slowly ever since I'd first received the estimate to replace this ceiling for almost two years, needing to have it done, but not wanting to have to borrow the money to do it.
"You better not sleep up there tonight," both Grandma and the contractor told me. Chuck and Yolie came by later because Chuck couldn't understand how this had happened, but it looks like a ridge line vent leaked and wet it slowly over the last nearly 20 years.
"You'll have to empty out the room," the contractor broached with me, knowing there's about a thousand house plants up there within the 800 square feet that's been my retreat for more'n 19 years.
Fortunately for me, I've severely decluttered over the last couple of years, but I've maintained and multiplied my plants. Yesterday's crash was my first plant fatality. My knees were literally shaking, I was so glad no one'd been up there when it had happened.
I did, of course, sleep up there last night, the area over my bed looks stable, but I've been eyeing that piece about two feet away that would've been my first predicted slab demise.
I hate having my hand forced, hated being time-locked into a decision I might not yet've been ready to make, but I gotta do this now, right when my Springtime planting schedule is so intense.
A teenager of mine, always ,so overly emotional had amped up his mood at school and had been texting me to come get him, threatening to nut up or come unglued. Because I'm very aware of his older siblings penchant for fist fights, I finally did go get him, as I thought about the futility of fighting with anyone for any reason.
I've never been in a fight, not at school, not in my home when growing up. What're we gonna fight over? Library books?
Being a four-eyed nerd or a dork was a dubious, yet coveted, badge of honor for my goofy siblings and I, indeed my stuningly lovely neice called me yesterday, and that was a part of our discussion. In this picture, she accidentally captured the essence of my late sister, Ellen, so much so that it made my heart hurt, but in a good way, as I treasure those years when Ellen was still here.
This morning on Facebook I'd had a message from a woman who'd known all of us, Ellen, Gary, Jim and I, way back when, and she was telling me how much my dad's ministry had meant to her long before the Methodist church became the UMC. (Jimbo and Mom, it was Peggy Lloyd, how cool is that?)
Gotta go move the plants...
Monday, March 19, 2012
Check out this post from 2005, Jack so heart stoppingly cute, not knowing how much he should treasure his times with Grandpa who helped him with his kindergarten worksheets each afternoon. Jack would run over to Grandpa's side of the house every single day after school to tell a then very healthy, active, vibrant Grandpa all the details of his day, his BFF in the whole wide world.
What made me hunt out the post though was a comment in regards to elephant ears that a reader had seen being sold for $50 each at a store. Ouch. I paid $19.99 for three at my favorite garden center, and usually they last for many years here in Georgia if we get enough rain, this picture was before the very serious drought we've endured for several years now. They are heavy feeders, love manure, and need copious amounts of water.
But the pictures of Jack ripped my heart out of my chest. Even I'm surprised at how much I miss my dad, no wonder Jack has grieved so much for 17 months now.
My sweet Scotty is trying to help Grandma as much as possible out in her big ole yard and gardens. She, like me, well we bury, or burn through our grief or frustration or anxiety or whatever via hard work, then we're too tired to be sad, mad or even glad, except maybe impossibly glad to see our pillows at night.
I had six high school kids miss the bus today, one already texting me to please come get him for no real discernible reason. Mr P wasn't bus left...Yolie'd advised him to try very hard today to control his behaviors, that it is his own fault that he destroyed his own phone.
Mr. P had an enormous setback, slinging his expensive phone across the room and into a wooden wall, shattering its screen. He'd been warming up to this for months, in his Cyclothymic Disorder spiral. Literally unable to control his behaviors that produce extreme rage in others, in that he pushes cruel buttons that should never be sparked, and the result is always explosive.
It's very shocking to observe.
A nearly 60 year old woman is emotionally able to walk away, to disengage, to regulate internally, knowing there's no real battle to be won, that entering into this skirmish will be a complete waste of time, but I was finally forced to consequence, to follow through, after many warnings, I was fixing to restrict his cell phone, telling him he'd earn it back, not to throw it, but he hurled it hard while mumbling in his unintelligible guttural tone, that always clearly indicates a snap from reality.
My inner anger surged, big kids came running to protect me, as my elbow was getting slammed in his door. I extricated my arm and made the other kids walk away also.
In that moment, it's totally pointless to point out the errors of his ways.
I've attempted to do so for more than a dozen years, knowing if, and when, he pulls this crap as an adult, he'll provoke someone to an extreme anger reaction and it won't be pretty, indeed at the end of a previous school year, someone had attacked back in his grade and their subsequent furious bullying of him had truly frightened him, me hoping against hope he'd learn something from what he intentionally does to folks.
This morning I'd read of meth babies being saddled with extreme behavior issues, another well Duh moment, and I couldn't help but think how awful that's gonna be, if they'll be considered even worse than what I've endured. Well-meaning foster and adoptive parents are gonna be in for a long haul if so. I'm glad I'm on my way out.
I breathe deeply, pray quietly for for patience and strength, and I keep on keeping on.
We'd had a delightful Sunday afternoon, Chuck had a cookout for my boys, a super warm 85 degree day in which Tabby and Sabrina had tagged along with Yolie, while Gina spent the afternoon with Lily at a State Park to run Gina's dogs, leaving me with blissful hours to work in my gardens.
To then, at bedtime, have such an ugly incident, well it just fired up all my PTSD neurons, making it hard for me to fall asleep later. Why I don't have constant heart attacks remains a mystery to me, all my healthy eating habits paying off I suppose.
Mr. Provocateur had trundled off to Yolie's house without my permission, which is technically running away, but can also be construed as a proper cooling off choice, totally lying to her that Allen had provoked him, but he always blames others. I was right there in the living room as I repeatedly warned him to stop provoking Allen, who doesn't have the inner emotional grip of a nearly 60 year old woman, but Mr P heedlessly kept amping it up hatefully.
Allen wasn't helping matters, feeding into all this, but he was laughing instead of getting angry.
It's ultimately sad, Mr P's adult future without a resident Mama to protect him from the consequences of being incredibly ugly to others, but he's unteachable too often, something I've seen over and over and over again in adoption because, in their minds, conceding to this strange old-school woman who's not-the-real-mother becomes a figurative idiot-move representation in their own minds.
It doesn't make sense on any level.
There's never any comprehension that this woman who feeds, clothes, launders, provides, sacrifices, nurtures, supports, cheers at soccer, takes 'em to church, goes to resource meetings and therapies, only to be routinely verbally threatened with, "I'll tell people this and that," which are absolute blatant lies that'll only cause pain to our family?
What the heck?
Who could possibly choose to act so ugly to other human beings?
This I truly do NOT understand.
Even if you hate what I represent, parenting you, common courtesy should be the minimum. Or if not that, at least bare bones decency. I am a human being, right?
Maybe not, I've been treated so badly by so many for so long that even smiling at church now feels like a chore. I'd rather isolate myself from the human race, digging in the dirt, hanging with my wonderful dogs who do treat me well. Hazel makes me smile at church.
I generally shut down in response to all this, which is a better option than lashing out, but honestly, after decades of being the recipient of unbelievably shocking hatred at times, it becomes more difficult to pull myself out of it again and again. I tend to want to avoid folks like that, a natural human self-protective response I'd say.
JoJo'd been so disruptive and inappropriate at church yesterday that I'd had to sit between him and Allen, Preston offered to take JoJo to the nursery so he could be with the other two year olds, an opportunity he jumped at of course.
And ironically, or conversely, maybe even oppositionally, I put up happy pictures of the ones who don't lash out at me. Gina'd taken Lily to a Thai restaurant, she'd had iced tea, the caffeine surging through her, she was playing her guitar past ten last night on a school night.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Record highs doesn't mean I need to get all the annuals in the ground, there's always a Blackberry Winter on the horizon, and they've barely budded, much less bloomed.
And this weird feeling of contentment and happiness? Hard to trust what with my own secondary trauma, after years and years of living in a war zone, danger and violence so often brewing that peace was never more than a wispy illusion.
After Ray's Master's Academy play, in which he was splendid, a monologue, a dance, plus a part in a play, grinning and carrying on properly, an amazing kid at work, his eyes sparkling. Beside himself with excitement that Chuck, Yolie and their kids supportive and smiling, showed up in Athens on a warm day after CJ's baseball practice, Preston and Sarah took him to Agua Linda's for a celebratory dinner, allowing him to pig out on Chili Con Queso, Honey, that's living.
"Dang," CW whispered to me during the show, "I couldn't have done that," in regards to Ray's monologue. Me either, I'm a weeder, a plodder, not a smiling, star presence, show person.
CW mowed Grandma's front yard, distinct from our own, in that hers has a white fence surrounding it, while ours spills into The First Meadow, as we've always called it. The Second Meadow is now a misnomer as the pines shot up rapidly, making it wooded, not grassy, over the last 19 years of us living here, but it's still how we delineate the different areas.
Scotty trailed after me, bringing me loads and loads of wood chips, I weeded and mulched, planted more beets, lettuces and radishes, absolutely giddy with excitement at the upcoming season of delightfully sweaty garden time.
"Back sweat, oh how I've missed you!" a local weatherman tweeted, making me bust out laughing. I told you I'm giddy.
"OK if Tabby and Nando go to the Big Creek with me?" Lily asked, as even my teenagers have to inform me of their whereabouts constantly, me requiring a line of sight supervision policy, I need to see where everyone is at all times, even though this is basically an extremely good group of kids living here with me now, especially in contrast to that which we'd endured for so very long.
She texted me within 30 minutes, "Man oh man, are your kids soaking wet, or what?"
Well, what's the point of having water on one's property if not to fall in and get wet?
And why wouldn't I be happy? Fabian's still employed after two full days of working. I'm impressed and proud.
But seriously, I'd seen the headlines, am I the only one who'd not wanted to holler, "Well, no spit Sherlock?"
Insecticides linked to honey bee colony collapse...how could it not be? A big screaming duh. Did no one ever read Silent Spring in the 1960s? I didn't do so until maybe 1970, but this woman was a visionary, so far ahead of her times, that only now has she been proven so dead-on. Don't we wanna leave a better world for our children and their children?
Saturday, March 17, 2012
In spite of living with this one, I still managed to now get all 425 strawberry plants planted, another row of Swiss Chard, 3 elephant ears and five more pounds of seed potatoes in the ground.
You're supposed to have at least two eyes on each cut piece, but I hedge my bets, one eye only, giving me potentially twice as many plants, twice the eventual produce haul due to having such friable, rich soil, in that everything germinates, sprouts and become productive.
My bigger concern should be about the $5,000 set of braces not covered by Medicaid.
Hauling wood chips in the wheel barrow, trudging up to the Upper Gardens, I'd heard sirens, sounding close by, and sirens are not a regular occurrence around here, so I group texted my nine high schoolers to make sure all was OK. PTSD to the core, fretting, flinching, often uneasy, and still twitching in response to the monster load of stress I've endured for years and years, I still can't control my gut-wrenching reactions at times.
Lily, in response, oblivious to my high stress level, simply sent me a picture of the fire engine in front of their school.
OK, that worries me.
CW, a little more attuned to his mama, here after nearly 16 years together, was more verbal, "Some idiot set off a flare in the gym that flamed up. All they needed was a wet towel, not a fire truck."
"No Bodies involved?" is always my next fearful question. I don't want either victims nor culprits, I want non-involvement puh-leeze.
"No ma'am," the sweetest teenager on earth responded.
Breathe Cindy, breathe.
I kept on weeding only to get a crapier, scarier text from my son, Jesse, "Pray. Isaiah passed out, we are in the ER."
My heart simply stopped. I couldn't even concentrate enough to weed anymore. Sarah contacted the prayer chain at church, Yolie was texting Jesse's wife, who was more likely to give us answers.
They now think maybe it was a seizure, put him back on heavy duty medicine which he doesn't tolerate very well at all, so my continued prayer is for this to have been an isolated incident, that he can again come off that medicine, and be the healthy adorable kid that he is, and that Jesse and Lena will recover from this immensely frightening episode.
I hate being so far from them, I swear if my kids were grown, I'd have jumped on an airplane and sat with them during this ordeal.
My heart rate shy rockets way too often.
This morning I took the kids to yard sales, they all found stuff they needed and wanted while I desultorily picked through stuff. I do need clothes, but I find the whole process so boring, I have enough unread books, our furniture's holding up, but I did get some piano CDs that I play through my Iphone as they calm me down, relieve my stress. The guy wanted $5 apiece for the CDs. "They're hardly $2 at Goodwill," I explained, "How about a dollar apiece?"
He agreed. I mean heckfire, if he'd have wanted them, he wouldn't have been selling them, right?
My poor Nando's so banged up, awaiting his MRI, he'd fallen down at school and been bandaged up, knees and elbows, so I'm letting him do the unthinkable today, skip soccer practice, because he can't run and his neck still hurts.
We're loading up and heading out to Ray's Master's Academy school play, over there near Ms. Carr's house who blessed us unbelievably. When I told Sarah about it she put it into words better than I, "While other folks might wonder how to help a mom with 39 kids, Ms Carr just does it. Period."
My kids were shocked into a happy silence, all grinning in anticipation, and adoration for their former teacher.
Friday, March 16, 2012
"Probably most parents might be afraid that their kids aren't emotionally mature enough to handle a funeral," JoJo mused aloud as we took our seats at a funeral, unable again to grasp the irony of his own observation.
Yeah, my resident clown, he of zero impulse control, dressed nicely, sitting subdued, blinking back tears at the funeral of one of his former teachers, "She liked me," he explained earlier.
Her cousin, a cancer surgeon, spoke a wonderfully moving eulogy, and I sat there struck by her youth, born in 1970, and way too early death. I have five kids born in the 1970s. That so young.
Lou Gehrig's Disease left Mrs. Carson's two wonderful children motherless, and I remain stunned at the depths of grief another family is enduring, a previously intact, nuclear, wonderfully loving family, now left in grieving painful pieces.
I just don't understand the whys of this earth. All our praying is not gonna dull their pain, I hope they were, at least, encouraged by the very large turn out. I hope, on some level, that they do feel the love, and all the prayers being offered on their behalf.
Sabrina and Mayra were with me, they'd been her students, as had Chuy, who chose not to go.
Being a Preacher's Kid, which calls for caps, lemme tell ya, as in PK and all that goes with it, as a child my parents allowed us to attend funerals of family members, but I don't remember ever having a teacher or peer pass away when I was young. The amount of closure it gives is priceless, how much kids must wonder about what parents are shielding them from if they're not allowed to attend?
That Sabrina's lost two young incredibly good teachers from the same school, the school I'd retired from, within the last four years, is a huge amount of loss for an already traumatized kid. Dr. Mandy and I marveled at her resilience and emotional strength yesterday as we attended our weekly session.
But two young teachers within a four year time span? I can't imagine how difficult this must've been for the previous teacher's family, knowing both families were close. Grief is a tough, challenging road to walk.
I'd left the funeral and headed to the high school for a cheer leader parent meeting for next school year, such a contrast to the previous sad hour.
A team down to the soccer field for practice, leftovers for supper, even Dr Mandy'd mused aloud at my unrelenting schedule, "Do you ever get a break?" She who's known us well for a decade, also knows how much easier our lives are now, with us not having to attempt to maintain irrational behaviors.
In an earlier conversation this week, it was discussed by workers, "I don't know where this 15 year old will go if kicked out of this placement." She's already demonstrated some tough behaviors, fighting and breaking a window. Been there, done that, do not like it.
And that's why I took the crappy step of asking CPS for help, knowing they can access the beds in psych units that a family can not get. This teenagers needs all the resources that are available, this I know for certain
I'd babysat Mae earlier in the morning, she'd been so excited, unable to decide which was more entertaining - the 18 baby chicks in the family room or the new Chihuahua mutt mix cat of Chuy's. My gifted kid cradling this pet he's long been requesting, "I'd sure love me a black cat inside the house," he's often mused aloud. OK, see if this one meows.
Seriously, I'd awakened yesterday, blogged, hit the ground running, and before I knew it, it was bedtime. I'd run into a friend from my former church, he was standing there with his 33 year old son who I remembered being a four year old in the church nursery. The past three decades have flown by, so rapidly so that I think I have wind burns, if the next three go this fast, my Hazel and Mae will be 30 something year olds before I know it.
It really does go that fast.
I did get some 45 Roma tomato plants transplanted into larger pots though, only a couple hundred more to go. But, as I've crowed about before, I'm never ever bored.
I mull over my life, thinking and pondering, knowing I have no monopoly over stress, thinking about two teachers I know well who've successfully survived brain surgery, Ellen and Nancy, while another teacher told me yesterday of an MRI and steroids, trying to figure out what was happening within her own body, a sweet, extremely pretty woman who'd been classmates with Sarah back in the day. Jolaine, now Nando's teacher, told me the steroids had kept her up all night, she'd read back through six months of my blog and on to Sarah's, but the grand news is that she'll be fine. Thank you, Lord.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Yes, my very beautiful Lily Belle is yapping on a banana in front of the high school, but in light of our lives, this picture kinda makes sense. No Verizon arguments, that's for sure.
In my previous 4,162 posts I've clearly walked the line between hope and despair, depression and optimism, fear and strength, all sorts of opposite actions and reactions, it hasn't been easy, but I've always been armed with my faith, and the ability to get up. and keep on keeping on every single dadgum day.
I stood in the doorway of the ancient tenement cabin on my property, closing my eyes for a minute, and fantasizing fixing it up in order to live in blissful seclusion someday, then realizing I might be odd in that isolation is my main dream?
I don't dislike folks, I just need some time alone to recover, repair, and restore myself to its original factory settings.
Like it's still primitive times, I dig in the dirt with rudimentary implements, but with a mini-computer in my apron pocket, my Iphone.
It's been a wild ride.
I wanna leave my phone inside and not be constantly stressed out by its annoyingly persistent alerts and rings, but I don't wanna miss an important call, such as the one about Chuy being unconscious in the school hallway. Hello?
I'm a little upset this morning about Nando's unexplained neck pain that's radiated up into his skull, me taking him to the pediatrician yesterday who ordered a CT scan.
"Well, Cindy," he drawled, "Since he hasn't responded to the medicine, since I know that neither he, nor you, would be complaining over nothing, we need to further check this out," to which I whole-heartedly agree. Nando's an active, adorable, high-gear ten year old who isn't sickly.
Medicaid, the federal adoption assistance version that we adoptive parents are absolutely blessed to obtain, is dragging their feet in both their pre-approval of his CT scan, as well as for Sabrina's knee rehab payments. I'm not gonna caterwaul about it because it paid for Chuy's nearly $10,000 hospital episode. Lord knows what Sabrina's knee surgery will total up to...
That's y'all's tax dollars at work, thank you very much. I'm being serious, I promise you.
Fabian came by, introducing me to, "My baby's mama."
This is how you introduce me to a woman who I'll be connected to for life since I'm the Abuelita?
I liked her, she was nice, she was pretty and witty, but I always wonder about women who hook up with unemployed, thuggishly sketchy men. Yes, he is handsome, but...
I'd just been in a meeting where I'd been carrying on about this very fact. I'd like to ask you praying mamas to pray for an unspecified prayer need for one of those women I'd met with yesterday, I literally know two women with the same prayer need, facing the exact same disheartening, very frustrating situation. God's bigger than this, I'm positive.
But back to Fabian. Deep sigh. This Baby's Mama's mother has already pitched a serious hissy fit, (Good for her!) I gave Fabian some paperwork he needs in order to get a job since he'd conveniently lost all his identification. "Dude," I started in my nagging mode, thought the best of it, and withdrew the motion.
He's gotta learn on his own, his entire sibling group is one hundred percent hard-headed, you'd think I'd have learned by now, you just can't nail jello to a wall.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
A plus for a cell phone, as Sabrina called me on it last night, unable to walk upstairs to my room to tell me she needed me.
A negative would be my uncoordinated thumb accidentally hitting delete on a comment for my blog. Sorry 'bout that.
This surgery allowed for weight-bearing as in no crutches, she'll most likely return to school tomorrow, really she needs to use these 24 hours to get the noxious effects of the anesthesia out of her system, plus the Rehab facility's gonna call us about the knee exercises she'll need.
Nando's neck is still bothering him a great deal, the pediatric office reassured me last week that they felt it was muscular only, giving him prescription strength Naproxen, but he's complained ever since, so I need to re-visit this issue. I'll call them at nine when they open.
Pepe'd texted me his surprising compliance last night, that he had indeed done the right thing in regards to respecting folks in authority there, and I was overly effusive in my praise. His younger brother, in another facility, had later called and been very verbally positive in a long, long phone call.
I find this all so interesting and conflicting, scary yet reassuring, as my family at home now lives in overall safety and peace. I do miss my other violent children though, strange as that might seem.
Tony'd taken this photograph at the Mix when Sabrina'd been on stage in front of 1300 teenagers, participating in a game. She's not shy, that's for certain, cheer leading at the high school in front of large crowds each football season.
I have a meeting this morning, requiring me to get a babysitter for a 17 year old as Sabrina will be home. Tag teaming with Grandma, she'll cover this morning for me before heading off into her incredibly busy schedule. She's way more sociable than I, heading up meetings at church, committees, Bridge games, and many other events.
I'd watched an interesting Tyler Perry interview. I adore him and his Madea movies, and he's done two movies about Why Did I Get Married, neither of which I've seen, but the interviewer was asking him why wasn't he married, here in his mid-40s. "I'm a workaholic and a loner by nature. I'd love to be a parent, but I'm not sure I'd be a good husband."
I so get it.
I'm a workaholic also, in that what I do here at home is 24-7, time off only for sleeping, and honestly, I, too, am a loner by nature in that I truly do crave alone time and I'm never lonely. That feeling is a feeling I've never felt nor experienced. I like being alone.
It's as if a light bulb went off in my head, illustrating to me why I'm very happy overall with my life. I do what I love to do which is parenting and farming, I like being independent, I crave any alone time, and I'm not having to entertain the moods, thoughts, feelings and considerations of a partner. I do what I wanna do, I call the shots. I don't have to argue my point with anyone, I don't like conflicts, I like peace and quiet, I like doing my own thing.
And call me clueless, but Jack needed a pie for Pi Week in math. JoJo slowly explained the concept to me, as in pi = 3.14159265. We dropped 16 year old Allen off at the soccer park for practice and ran to Publix, where I hollered in dismay at the sky high prices of pies, never having bought a pre-made pie before.
Good golly! Who shells out big bucks for this crap? Do they not read the ingredients? There was little to none in regards to actual food being in this grocery item, it was all unpronounceable chemical, food starches and high fructose corn syrup. And folks think I'm odd for pigging out on bucket loads of freshly picked fruits?
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
"They called you for that?" Pepe angrily barked at me, when I phoned him in response to someone in his facility becoming fed up with his aggressive non-compliance.
"Could you try and reason with him?" they'd asked me, at the very inopportune moment when Sabrina was having a nauseated, exploding barf reaction to coming out from under the anesthesia.
I'd met this lady on Sunday and we'd clicked. She's super cool, a Haitian lady who'd asked for my cell phone number so she could ask me garden questions. She'd planted her basil too early, well early by usual Georgia standards, she's probably OK this year with our no winter cold.
So while the nurses tended to a woozy, vomiting Sabrina, I put my own head between my knees trying not to hurl. I'd not eaten and felt light-headed already. Who can eat in a hospital? Not me.
"Seriously Pepe?" I hollered, "Do you wanna get deported. Juarez isn't quite the tourist trap it once was. You're old enough to go to Big Jail now, not Juvy, son"
He sighed, debating if he should argue with me, or continue the good time feeling we'd had on Sunday. He wisely chose to respond, "Yes ma'am, I'll do what she tells me, but it's stupid."
It sure wasn't like that when he lived with me, he'd have hurt someone, broken something, he'd have gotten his way, taking prisoners, inflicting massive damage and casualties. Now he misses me.
Fabian must've called me 42 times, texting questions, as was Allen. It's as if their nerve endings are shaved off when they know I'm tending to something, and every single one of 'em wants to amp it up.
I was soooo bored in the hospital, watching Tiny House videos on You Tube, plus some Mexican comedians that cracked me up so much I was laughing out loud, earphones in, but other folks kept glancing nervously at me.
Gabriel Iglesias is a hoot.
Grandma'd gone to get Tabby from Art Club, Allen from tutoring, Yolie'd gotten Nando and I raced home in time to pick up Scotty and Jack from CRCT tutoring, leftovers for supper, soccer practice later tonight and Jack just told me he needs a pie for Pie Day tomorrow.
The decorated door above was Mayra, Tony and Tabby's idea of welcoming Sabrina home after sugery.