Sunday, April 29, 2018

Do Not Believe the Lies

"It's been a while. I want to tell you things are great, but they are not. I'm swallowed in a sea of endless despair. There is no hope or happy ending. We are forsaken and merely crawl through each bitter day.

Friendless, clueless, alone.

We have have lost every battle. It's only a matter of time before the swell of the invading army over take us.

There is no hope.

Don't tell me that all is not lost. You don't know what we've been through. Don't tell me you understand. You don't. Don't tell me God is on our side, that this will make is stronger. Lies.

I'm battle weary. I just want to lay down on the ground and cry until I am no more. Until my body melts into a million years and nothing is left but the dark, damp earth."

I wrote this a few months ago. It was raw and emotional and should not have been posted when it was. I posted it in the middle of the night, then realized the next day that other people would read it and probably be concerned.

They did and they were.

Sorry about that.

Living in a house with someone who hates you is hard. Living in a house where every word and deed is a manipulation, is harder.

To set the record straight, I think y'all should know that I have been accused of abuse. It's been bandied about that I have "hit" her. That I have "refused to give her the medication she needs" and that, "I'm mean to her".

Oh, and that she has attempted suicide twice.

I've had my conversation with DHS. I've had my conversation with her doctor, her therapist, her psychiatrist and with my own therapist. I've tried to make the love of my life understand my pain and sorrow.

So.Much.Talking.

A few more things you should know:

There is no open child abuse case - because DHS knows she lying.

She has NEVER attempted suicide in this house.

I give her the medication that keeps her from rolling into a ball and sobbing hysterically, every. single. day. I watch her take it. If she's at her former foster parents home, they give it to her and watch her. When she went to camp, the counselors gave it to her.

Am I mean to her? Probably. She lies to me on a daily basis. She ignores me. She argues. She tells lies to others and then they come to me about it. She manipulates. She sneaks.

I take her to her therapist, her riding lessons, her volunteer job, weekly. I take her to her doctor for well child check ups and to her psychiatrist. I take her to her orthodontist and her dentist. I meet with her teachers, her IEP specialist, her school Principle and Vice Principle.

I do her laundry. I buy junk food for her. I speak softly. I walk away.

People don't understand that what we are dealing with here is not a rebellious teenager. WE are dealing with mental illness. WE are well aware that she "appears" normal.

Sometimes I just want to scream and say, "EDUCATE YOURSELF BEFORE YOU PASS JUDGEMENT ON ME!"

Fetal Alcohol Syndrom
Reactive Attachment Disorder

Look them up

Am I feeling better than I was when I wrote the above despairing blog? No, well, sort of, but I'm learning how to manage my anxiety and my failure.

If you are reading this and wondering how the hell we got here, all I can say is we were lied to. The state lied, the attorney's lied, the girls lied.

And we believed it all.

Monday, July 13, 2015

On Monday's We Wear Blue

A blue, button down, collared shirt to be worn each Monday, then a different color for every day of the week. ONLY button down, collared shirts. This should have been my first clue, but I was excited about this new possibility and all the perks that went along with the position. I was leaving property management behind, thank God, and moving onto a brighter, bigger, more productive future. 

Health Care - It's where it's at!

I applied for and ultimately took the job at the eye-clinic because I was so over, so so so over, property management. I was finished with the grumbling and the leaking toilets and the games that upper management played. While the position itself had been a pretty cushy one, times were changing and so was the ownership and management team at the Senior Community I had been employed with for the past four years.

It was bitter sweet leaving. No more sweet residents (or grouchy ones), no more working with two good friends (who fought most of the time anyway) and no more cushy job. Still, the future looked bright. The new job offered retirement and a future. It also offered a clothing allowance - Dude! A clothing allowance! There were solid medical benefits offered and since I have twenty years or so left to work, this position seemed like a solid choice.

Sadly, I was unprepared for a Micro Managing Manager.

In my early twenties, I worked for one of these MMM's. They told you exactly, when, how and why to do things. They scheduled EVERYTHING and they did their very best to make darn sure you were kept busy. MMM's like to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of their employee pool. They will get their pound of flesh, one way or the other.

Which I suppose is fine for some, but not for me. Not at forty-seven years old. My twenty-something self took it, but at this stage of life I'm more apt to tell them what they can do with their middle management glory, than actually put up with their power trip. I’m a "tell it like it is" kind of gal. The MMM did not know what to think of this. She would stare at me and blink during some of our discussions. I felt a little bad for her. I wasn't impressed by her and it was obvious. I was not disrespectful or snarky. I simply found it impossible to play her little game. 

I was the voice of descent in the ranks!

The other "girls" in my hub were young. Young women, young mothers, who needed this job! They clung to those positions and kept their heads down, eyes averted when the MMM was on the prowl. These girls always looked busy and I was told to slow down on a certain project because if I finished it, it meant that the MMM would find me a new, fun project to complete. I was assured these "projects" were never fun.

When I was offered the position, I was not informed of bi-monthly 7:00 am meetings. They also failed to inform me that my hours could be changed according to the MMM's whim. One of the reasons that I had taken the job was due to the compatibility of the hours with my family's schedule. I would still be able to drop the girls at school and would return home at exactly the same time, but with a much shorter commute. 

The 7:00 am meetings were going to be a big problem for me and I admit that I was annoyed that they hadn't been mentioned previous to my accepting the position. I went to MMM and explained that these meetings would be a problem for me. She, in turn, informed me that they were mandatory and that I'd have to figure something out. I explained about my girls, with a little detail, and said that I need to take them to school. She suggested my husband take them, that I find morning child care or that I find put them in an early school program. 

In the end, I decided that this position was never going to work. They had not been upfront about my apparently fluid schedule and I am too old to kiss someone's butt. It was such a depressing, dark, miserable place to work. I lasted two weeks and only lost a smidge of my soul. I left the eye clinic behind, telling those young girls in the hub that they were worth more and that there are better jobs out there. One of them looked at me and said, "You're so brave!"

No, just old and cranky.

Today, I begin a new adventure with a small insurance office. My interview was daunting, with the boss and the entire staff volleying questions at me for two hours. Yet, I walked out of that interview liking what I'd seen and heard. I'm excited about the adventure to come and a little nervous too. New things are always hard at the beginning.

The two weeks I spent at the eye clinic reminded me that life is short. It is far too short to spend 8+ hours, five days a week, dressing like twinsies and having your time micro managed by a woman who is frustrated and on a power trip. Life has to be about more than that! I hope those girls at the clinic and others like them figure it out. It doesn't take bravery to look for a new job. It takes bravery NOT to give them the finger when you walk out the door for the last time.


Snicker.



Friday, May 15, 2015

That's What She Said!

For the third time in a four month period, I have Laryngitis. I rarely get sick and seldom go to the doctor. I thought that I was either fighting an infection or simply catching every darn cold that came along.

Time for a doctor visit.

My doctor and I are just getting to know each other, since my perfect and wonderful and amazing Dr. Emily had the audacity to get pregnant and LEAVE my clinic. How could she? We had known each other for at least ten years and she was just the perfect doctor. She got my quirky sense of humor and always reeled me back in when I told her my latest and greatest diet plan (she was more realistic than I!)

New doctor is okay. I have only had two visits with him since Dr. Emily left. I've been that quiet patient, waiting to know him better before I shared my true colors and my quirky thoughts on weight-loss, child rearing and aging. This plethora of information has probably been recorded in my chart and yet, he still took me on as a patient. Whew!

At my visit I shared my concerns about my chronic laryngitis, the fact that for the first time in many married years, I snore, and that I cannot breath through both sides of my nose. I'm tired....so very, very tired.

I was surprised when he told me he thought the culprit could be seasonal allergies.

Really?

I know allergies. I have suffered with pollen allergies every.single.year since I was thirteen-years-old. Allergies...snort.

Oh yes! Allergies! Doctor said my throat looks like someone took their fingernails and raked them down the back of my throat. "This," he said, "is from the post-nasal drip that's been going on for months."

Dang.

So, here I am. I'm armed with enough medication to cure a small village of their seasonal allergies and a nagging fear that I am going to become one of the walking dead. You know, the chronically ill. That person with a humidifier in their bedroom, an air purifier and a distinct, smoker voice. Yet, I don't smoke...That person who cannot stand a live Christmas tree or surprise, delivered flowers because they might have an "episode".

I'm not trying to judge or look down upon those who DO have chronic illness. I have friends who have suffered greatly under the weight of their health issues. I am just surprised by the stealth of something so simple as a pollen allergy and the fact that it's kicking my tail!

Images of my mother, unable to walk up stairs without wheezing, dance in my mind.

What if I can't play with my grandchildren. Not that I have any....yet.

What if I am unable to go to the gym?

What if my chronic laryngitis lasts for weeks and months instead of days?

What if I never feel rested again?

Then I remember, that I'm not that person. I do not live in the land of what if! I don't have time for that. I have a life. I have children. I have too many things on my to-do list!

Full steam ahead!

The gym is the first stop on this journey back to self and perhaps an overhaul of all things edible. Perhaps a little quality SCHEDULED quiet time should be enforced too. A good dose of Bible time and encouraging notes to others is sure to bring me out of these what if thoughts.

I am such a little person, aren't I? Worrying over nothing. Silly. Apparently, I have too much time on my hands if I'm really going to wallow in this pollen bath.

Achoo!












Tuesday, January 20, 2015

An Extraordinary Life

Extraordinary - adjective, very unusual, remarkable

A few weeks ago, one of the residents where I work celebrated her 100th birthday. Knowing that this milestone was approaching, I phoned her and asked if I could put together a celebration for  her. "Why not!" she exclaimed. Why not indeed!

Ours is a small senior community filled with independent folks ages 55 and older. Several of our current residents have lived here since the apartments opened in 1991. Dorothy is one of them. She lives in the same 2nd floor apartment that she originally saw twenty-three years ago. Hers is one of the best apartments on property with a glorious view of Douglas fir trees and other evergreens. It feels as if you are somewhere tucked back on a mountain side, rather than in the heart of a bustling city.

The property features more than two bedroom, two bath apartments. We provide activities of all sorts. Everything from Bingo, to knitting clubs, watercolor paint classes as well as potlucks and monthly birthday celebrations. Dorothy's birthday, I assured her, would be an event to remember.

I contacted our local paper, advised them of this remarkable occasion and asked if they would be interested in attending the party. Imagine my surprise when I was told that turning 100 years old is NOT remarkable or out of the ordinary...unless, of course, that person has lived an extraordinary life.

Extra-ordinary

What does an extraordinary life mean? Is it somehow more special, more important, than say, my life? Could my life be considered extraordinary when compared to that of another? How and why do we as mere humans decide who has lived an extraordinary life?

Mother Teresa
Mozart
Ghandi
Anne Frank
Socrates
Newton
Bill Gates
Lady Margaret Thatcher
Ronald Reagan
DiVinci
Martin Luther
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Malcom X


Are these individuals somehow more extraordinary? Or are they merely famous for what they accomplished and if so, does this make the rest of us rather ordinary?

I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with that statement or thought. I refuse to believe that because I did not invent something or write something or was in the right place at the right time, that I am somehow less significant than another human. I do not believe any of us are.

I bristle at the thought that Dorothy is somehow less interesting than, say,  Anne Boleyn. Life is interesting! The living, the breathing. Is it possible that those tiny instances in our lives that make us deliciously happy or despondently sad are extraordinary?

Shouldn't they be?

Think of your greatest moment...the one that leaps to mind and causes you to flush with pride or joy or love or excitement. What is it about that moment that outshines all the other events of your life.

For me, there are so many extraordinary moments. My marriage, the birth of my children, the adoption of two of my children, my work being published, running my first mile at age 40, caring for an elderly relative, teaching my children to read, baking the perfect Banana  Whipped Cream cake year after year for my Beloved's birthday. So many! So many great accomplishments and I haven't even touched on my redemption and salvation by an extraordinary God!

Life is extraordinary. Each breath, each blink, each moment.

Dorothy turned 100 years old on January 17th. She never married. Instead, she worked for her father, a physician until he retired. Dorothy taught herself to drive and is still driving to this day (although, some of us wonder at the wisdom of this). She has visited every National Park in this country at least twice. Dorothy has hiked trails few of us will ever see. She's read classics and romance novels and murder mysteries by the score. She is greatly loved by numerous nieces and nephews, friends and neighbors.

Dorothy has lived and is living, an extraordinary life.

I asked her, what is the secret of life?

"Just be happy. Be happy with your spot in life."


Dorothy 1934


I hope each of us will be remembered for being extraordinary. That we impact the lives of others around us with all the goodness and kindness we can muster.

As for Dorothy and her party, it was a smashing success. Friends and strangers gathered to honor a lady whose life we deemed extraordinary. For indeed, it is.





Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A Travelin' She'll Go

My Girl, my big, 22 yo, girl is leaving for a study abroad in a less than two weeks. Every time I think about it my stomach hurts. She'll be gone for four long months. We've never been separated for more than a few weeks AND she'll be in a different country...without her mother!

This will be a grand adventure. It's a chance of a lifetime. The perfect opportunity.

I'm excited for her. I truly am. It's just that, well, I'm going to miss her.

We are close, she and I. 

While she's studying and traveling and meeting new people, I'll be holding down the fort and trying to keep Thing One and Two from killing me (or each other). It just isn't going to be the same.

Which is why this trip is so great for her. She will come home a different person with new experiences. It's a good test run for when she really leaves home for good and let's face it, at 22 yo, moving out is going to happen sooner, rather than later. 

The girls: Things One and Two and equally excited and sad. They've been made plenty of noise about spending time with her before she leaves. Of course, they have also pitched one of them moving into her room "temporarily". They are both a little jealous of Girl's boyfriend and other friends. They want to keep her to themselves....yes, even 16 yo wants her fair share of time.

Beloved is worried, in a manly sort of way. He worries about different things than I do. I worry about illness and her getting lost. He worries about terrorists and human trafficing. The boyfriend has tossed out the thought of traveling to see her during spring break as have a couple of her friends.

It's only four months.

Only four.

And I'll cry. I know I will. I cried when Boy was in Prague for a couple of weeks when he was 16. I cried when he was in India at Christmas time a few years ago. Oh yeah, I know the waterworks are coming.

Part of me doesn't want to go to the airport to see her off, because I know I'll be a mess and I don't want HER to be a mess. If I don't go, I'll just be a mess at home. Ugh.

It will be fine. She's going to have the adventure of a lifetime and have so many stories to tell. This is going to change her life and she'll never regret going.

As long as her mother survives :)


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

And Now for Something Completely Different

I've spent a lot of blog time writing about the girls, their drama and trauma and my own insanity and insecurity. Today's blog, however, is on a different subject: Our Boy.

Sunday morning, bright and bit too early, we drove to the small town our boy lives in. The hour and a half drive can be a little daunting on a Sunday morning, when you'd rather be snuggled in your own bed and later attending your own, local church. Truth be told though, if we are invited by Boy to do anything, we are all over it! We don't see him as much as we'd like and when presented the opportunity to hear him preach, well, wild horses couldn't keep me away!

Boy is the Admin at his little country church. He preachers every now and again. There's been talk of an official offer down the road....but that's a tale for another time. This little church is filled with former hippies, former Hollywood types, and lots of artists and craftsmen. The casual atmosphere is very welcoming and I doubt that anyone would ever feel unwelcome there.

I love that he has found his place with people who are like him and that he understands. It's a good feeling to know he has a community of people that love and support him.

We sat in the back row and listened to him teach, his father, his two new sisters and I. It's a feeling that I will not soon forget. Watching this boy, now man, walking his brothers and sisters in Christ through the Word was incredible. Proud does not even begin to describe how I felt.

I watched him, mike in hand, notes and Bible spread on a music stand before him, his dark rimmed glasses and beard making him appear older than his twenty-four years. I recalled a drawing he had shown me years ago. A picture of him as an adult, wearing glasses and preaching. He was only five at the time and didn't wear glasses...

It's wild how God does indeed call the young.

He's a good boy, a good man, this boy of mine. In many ways, he is very much like his father, my Beloved. Yet, in others ways he is so very much his own man, as it should be.

Being the mother of adult children is so different from what I expected. Both Boy and Girl are strong, independent people, wise and firm in their faith. It's a good feeling to look at them and they will be okay out in the big, bad world (not that I won't worry!).

It was a good day and I'm one proud mama!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Beautiful

During the past two weeks, I've noticed something interesting about girls. It's not as if I didn't already know these things about us, but for some reason, the "beauty" issue just slapped me along side the head. It wasn't a gentle caress either.

A week or so ago, Girl and I flew to Los Angles for my best friend's daughters wedding. I hadn't set foot in CA for so many years, that I am embarrassed to even write how long it had been (20 years!). My friends girls had grown into lovely, talented, amazing young women (see what happens when you don't visit your friends? Their children grow up!).

Standing next to them, my own beautiful, accomplished, talented daughter felt...frumpy.

Frumpy?

My girl?

No way!

Yet, she did. She's a quiet, willowy young woman who would rather tackle a complex math problem than party down with a group of people she doesn't know. It's just  her way. My poor girl felt out of sync with these lovely ladies; an ugly duckling among the swans.

It wasn't the way the girls treated her. Surly not! They all have their Mama's heart and embraced my Girl with love and kindness. It was something inside her that made her feel as if she somehow didn't measure up.

Simply not true!

All ended well and Girl looked lovely at the wedding, but I'm disturbed by her reaction and when I follow the thought process back to it's original...well, damn if it didn't lead straight back to ME!

No matter how hard we try, we women just can't seem to get over caring about what other people think of us. Even when we know (and we do KNOW) that no one thinks about us as much as we think they do.

So, my own insecurities have bled over into another generation.

Great.

Which brings me to pretty girl number two and her new found beauty.

KK is an athlete. She's tough. She's very much a no make-up, hair looks fine, gray t-shirt wearing if you don't like it, don't look at it, kinda girl.

Until Sunday, that is.

What led to this make-over? Not a clue, but suddenly there she was, blond hair curled, eye lids tinted a soft blue and lashes swept with mascara.

And she was lovely. So, so lovely.

And we did what everyone does...we bathed her in praise.

We didn't praise her because she is intellegent or because she's a beast on the Lacrosse field. Nope, we saw a pretty face and complimented her on it.

Palm to face.


For all my bold and brash language concerning beauty being on the INSIDE, I have taught my girls by example and word, that beauty is on the outside. I didn't mean to. I do not want them to feel inferior in a room full of super models. I want them to stand on their own two feet, secure in the knowledge that they are strong, talented, and amazing. I desperately want them to see that they are a powerful and they do not need anyone's approval.

It's a hard subject to teach...when you don't always believe it yourself.

I think I drank too much of the Koolaid when I was growing up. I think we all did and do.

So, I'll keep telling my girls how smart they are. I will remind them that their hearts are what is truly beautiful and I'll try to remember that a pretty dress does not a pretty girl make.

Just don't ask me about this one.... Because she already knows she's all that and a bag of chips.