Out of the blue

I received a bizarre text message from EX today out of the blue asking if there was anyway we could meet for a coffee. He thinks it is time for him to talk to me. I told him I would need to think about it. He said he understood and then explained that he is in a program and he needs to complete a step.

This is the conversation that followed after I logged into Yahoo.  You be the judge.

(ONLY the names have been changed)

EX (2/27/2010 4:28:09 PM): hi
Me (2/27/2010 4:28:31 PM): hi
Me (2/27/2010 4:29:13 PM): So can you explain this to me?

EX (2/27/2010 4:30:17 PM): wanted the oppratunity to appollogize to you in person.

Me  (2/27/2010 4:30:43 PM): apologize?
Me  (2/27/2010 4:31:17 PM): You said you’re in a program and its a step. A step is to apologize to me?
Me  (2/27/2010 4:33:50 PM): hello?
EX (2/27/2010 4:33:59 PM): forgiveness, my behaivor when we was a family and over the past few years. alot of things are clear now and it has been a long time comming. i will tell you about it if we meet.
Me  (2/27/2010 4:34:26 PM): i just dont know if i feel comfortable with that
EX (2/27/2010 4:35:08 PM): and that is ok, i understand.
Me  (2/27/2010 4:35:12 PM): do you have a sponser? can they come with you?
EX (2/27/2010 4:36:24 PM): i will have to call and see.
Me  (2/27/2010 4:37:08 PM): dont you think its better if they do? i thought thats how it works.
EX (2/27/2010 4:37:52 PM): they do what?
Me  (2/27/2010 4:38:15 PM): that your sponser is with you…to help you
EX (2/27/2010 4:39:14 PM): i would like to talk to you in person
EX (2/27/2010 4:40:22 PM): in a public place if you are not ok with it that is why i suggested the baggle shop
Me  (2/27/2010 4:40:46 PM): i know you want to talk in person, but youre not the first person i know who has been in a program. usually a sponser would go with you.
Me  (2/27/2010 4:41:40 PM): its not just being alone with you that makes me uncomfortable its also that we both have our own feelings and sometimes its like trying to tip toe around a mine field
Me  (2/27/2010 4:41:59 PM): it’s easier when there is a mediator
EX (2/27/2010 4:43:03 PM): it will be a nice meeting at a public place, got to go now. just let me know please.
Me  (2/27/2010 4:43:25 PM): i didn’t say no i just asked if your sponser would attend with you
Me  (2/27/2010 4:43:52 PM): this should happen on my terms, not yours
Me  (2/27/2010 4:44:03 PM): and i would feel more comfortable with a third party
Me  (2/27/2010 4:45:32 PM): i would feel more comfortable with someone i know, but i think a sponser remains pretty neutral
Me  (2/27/2010 4:47:45 PM): hello?
Me  (2/27/2010 4:56:23 PM): the bottom line is that your behavior has caused a lot of hurt – A LOT, not just to me, but our children and in you defending or covering up those actions you made it harder for us not only to heal, but you also made it harder for us to have support because you made your family choose a side and by doing that the kids were cost relationships that they had done nothing to lose. this creates more confusion and hurt for them and in turn it caused me more hurt. it only hurts me because i am their mother.
Me  (2/27/2010 4:58:14 PM): i am a long way past what happened between US whether you admit or apologize for it to me personally. the harder thing to deal with is what has happened to the kids and i don’t know if youre ready to accept responsibility for that or even understand that. that’s why i think your sponser should be there. not for me, but for you. because anyone coming to grips with the pain they’ve caused an innocent child is a tall order.
Me  (2/27/2010 4:59:36 PM): its also the only way i can believe that you are taking going through this program seriously.

EX (2/27/2010 5:42:31 PM): not sure what you are talking about and this has been very overwhelming. maybe someother time, thought i would try to have a nice meeting in a public place over coffee obviously that is a problem with you, so maybe someother time, good day,thank you

Me  (2/27/2010 9:47:17 PM): you’re not sure what im talking about?
Me  (2/27/2010 9:48:26 PM): then you’re right – maybe some other time.
Me  (2/27/2010 9:56:19 PM): good luck. i hope you find your way back to yourself. nothing would make the kids happier.

True Colors

For example, in January there was this stupid disagreement that occurred between my sister and I, on Facebook of all places. Actually, to be more accurrate…my sister imagined a disagreement between us and it continued from there. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience where you say something to someone in humor and it doesn’t get conveyed via the internet and they blow it out of proportion and then you’re sitting at your computer going….’Wait, what the fuck just happened?’ or is it only me these things happen to?

Remember when people were posting their bra colors as statuses??? Yeh – it’s about that, that’s how stupid this is.

It started because I posted my bra color as my status and then forwarded the message to my closest friends/family (so I thought) to do the same. All in fun, no big deal, everyone I send the message to does it, except my sister. Sometime later, my sister posts as her status that: “Posting your bra color as your status does more to promote Victoria Secret than breast cancer awareness. It’s stupid/slutty. Do something worthwhile and go to komen.com”

(Ironically, the Susan Komen foundation loved this campaign. See here, here, and here.)

Anyways, when I read this status I read it to my husband and laughed. I know my sister’s personality. If she thinks she’s right and your wrong, she will beat a dead horse with it. She always takes it as a personal attack if you challenge any of her thoughts/beliefs and then plots a personal attack on you or whomever has made this mistake. You can’t say anything or it’s an insult, but she can actually insult you and you’re just supposed to take it. And if you insult her, even unknowingly or just in her perception, she’ll never forget it.

You’ve never seen someone hold a grudge like this girl. She hates everyone. She’d be the first to admit that. Then she’ll get upset and say eveyrone ignores her, no one wants to hang out, no one acknowledges her birthday. I mean she’s said this to me about people in our family and I’m thinking: “But you hate them, so what does it matter.” Nothing is ever good enough anyways so who would want to try?

I’ve never faulted her for it, she’s my sister, I love her, Ive written it off as immaturity, but as she’s gotten older it can be exhausting. So, I’ve just learned to take it in stride.

In this case, I saw her post, I just laughed and then I wrote “Thanks” as a comment under her status. I cannot convey the inflection of the voice I intended to use to convey this over the internet, but it was not meant to be like “Thanks alot, bitch” or anything close. It’s one word. She wrote” “Sorry it’s true.” I actually did write “So I’m stupid/slutty?” and then deleted it thinking she wouldn’t understand the humor and would blow it out of proportion. Turns out, it was too late. How this turns into the rest of it, I’ll never know.

This led to her sending a REPLY ALL message to everyone I had sent the bra color instruction to saying basically that I had over-reacted and made all this drama like I always do and that she can’t write anything on her Facebook without me thinking its about me!?!?!

HELLO POT – YOU’RE BLACK!

I was beyond confused. I simply wrote back and asked her what her problem was and that this was all in good fun for a good cause that she needed to relax. That essentially I wasn’t mad. that she was in fact the one starting the drama. I told her I wasn’t sure who had pissed in her Cherrios today and what the problem was, but I hope she felt better.

Now, mind you this message was a thread to other people and some of these other people are our family members who had posted the color of their bra, some of them were friends and work colleagues of mine who in fact, have lost loved ones to breast cancer and so none of them understood what she was upset about or what had happened and were trying to explain themselves. I just apologized for the dramatics. And then one very opinionated friend, Matilda, basically said that we all needed to SHUT THE F*&% up and get over it because “there are wars and shit” and I agreed.

I don’t know if that upset my sister or what but the next day I’m sitting at work and I get a text message from my sister that says “You’re a cunt

The only person whom has ever called me this word, to my face anyways, was my EX. Immediately, Im vulnerable and wounded. I ask her what her problem is and explain that this is some imaginary conflict between us, I’m not mad and don’t understand what the hell is going on. Then she tells me that I’ve crossed the line this time (???), she’s done with me, that she doesn’t love me, she hasn’t for a long time (???) but has tolerated me because we’re sisters and I’m not to contact her again.

OUCH! If it wasn’t so incredibly hurtful, I would have laughed at the stupidity of it. I cried the whole way home from work that day.

The worst part of all this is that my mother and father both had health issues last year in which we thought we might lose them both. If anything that experience only reignited my belief that life is too short and you hold those close to you tight while you can because tomorrow may never come. It’s even more hurtful and confusing to me that she has chosen to behave this way because now my parents can’t enjoy their family all together because my sister refuses to speak/see me. Which also means she is not speaking/seeing my children which I can’t even find words to express my feelings on. I’m sure she’d see them if they went somewhere without me, but you know what, I’m fucking tired of people playing games that involve my children. Seriously, grow up! I just can’t fathom that she would be so selfish, knowing everything my parents and my children have been through. But maybe that’s the problem entirely. Maybe she just can’t see past herself. She can’t put herself in anyone else’s shoes and see the flip side of her behavior. I don’t know.

Normally in this situation I would call, email, write, etc….doing everything I can to figure this out. Make myself sick with worry over her and her psychological health. Not just for me, but for my parents who deserve way better than to suffer over something so petty. For family in general. I did tell my Mom I was sorry things were like this. She told me I didn’t owe her an apology. I too recognize that this isn’t my fault, but I still want to fix it for Mom and Dad.

Regardless, because I know I am already in the thick of dealing with my own overflowing plate…..I let it go. Completely. There’s no grudge. And unlike the old me there’s no worry. It just is. I’m not going to seek her out, but I will always be here. I don’t know that we’ll ever be close after this. It is what it is.

No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?

Husbandry

This is an ode to Hubster.

The guy who worked a twelve hour day, came home with a Frosty for my sore throat, tucked me into bed, then got the kids settled and got them tucked into bed.

AND THEN when I told him he was the most awesome husband ever, made a face at me like I was dumb for saying so, because its what he’s supposed to do.

Hooray for men who handle their business and don’t expect a blow job for their efforts. MUAH! I love ya!

Sick & Tired

No, really, I actually am sick and tired. Period.

I don’t know what the issue is but it started with a scratchy throat, then stomach issues, now body aches, head ache and I’m losing my voice.

All I want to do is put on my jammies and veg, but I have kids to tend to.

Oh, and did I mention I also feel guilty? The kids keep coming to me and asking me if I can do this or will I do that or if we can go here or there and I just look at them, clear my throat and squeak out the same answer I did 5 minutes prior…”I’m not feeling good.” It’s almost as if they don’t believe me.

Maybe that’s a testiment to my SuperMom ability to do everything.

Shit Happens

I’m frustrated.

I’m also tired which I know is just adding to the frustration.

Recent events have led back to insomnia. I just can’t get my mind to stop racing with out taking a little pill and I’m paranoid about becoming dependent on little pills, so I avoid them. I know, I have too many hang ups.

It’s not so much that I’m afraid I’ll become an addict or abuser, but I don’t want to be dependent on a pill or anything to get me through my days or nights. I realize that at this point in my life, I may need to take the pills to deal with situational circumstances…and I keep reminding myself that the situation will resolve and life will go on and the pills can go buh bye.

Oh, if I could only fast forward to the point where all of this makes sense in the big picture.

I’m frustrated with Pickle. No, I’m not frustrated with him, I’m frustrated with the circumstances we’re facing – together. While I usually handle this much more gracefully, there are points where it’s stressful and frustrating and this is one of those points. I’ve spent the last year trying to get his epilepsy under control and as we were getting that under wraps, behavioral issues flared up because of his strained relationship with EX.

Everyone involved with him has commented on how much more animated and interactive he has become since supervised visits went back into effect. It is as if the weight of the world has been lifted off his shoulders. But last week as we were dealing with other traumas for other children, he exhibited a resolved behavior. At first, I slightly suspected he was acting out because my attention was on the other two and well, he just doesn’t deal well without having all the attention he is accustomed to.

Because he struggles so much with communicating what is going on with him, the most I could understand is that he didnt have enough time. Its as if he decided it would be neat to see how long he could hold it but forgot that he couldn’t hold it. Bizarre, I know.

So after three days of wetting, I had to drag him in to see his urologist. He does have some kidney/reflux issues and I had to be sure there wasn’t a physical problem before we dealt with the behavior. Kidneys were ok, urine was ok, but the ultrasound revealed that he was holding it in, both ends….which means the backend was putting to much pressure on the front end and couple that with him holding it, for reasons beyond anyone’s comprehension, and you have a mess, literally.

The solution is going back to his bathroom schedule. The doctor gives him these instructions, they are familiar to us, not so bad. Until I make the realization later in the day that this concept was a little too much for him and so he was literally, just going INTO the bathroom and sitting fully clothed on top of the lid for 5 mins. It was a nuisance but also sorta funny.
I had to break it down for him, walking him to the bathroom, explaining in as much detail as possible what it was he needed to do, without physically undoing his pants and placing him on the toilet.

Unless, you have dealt with this, I cannot explain how completely frustrating it is. I also cannot make you understand how hard it is to break down basic concepts to someone with little to no short term memory. Its pretty hard, especially when by all accounts, he should understand them. I catch myself thinking: ‘Really, I have to explain to a 13 yr old how to go to the bathroom?’ Where does this information go? Is it ever going to get better? Does this child need anymore obstacles? If you had told me 10 years ago when I met him that I would be raising him alone, I couldn’t have fathomed it. It’d be nice to have a little pity party for myself. Boo hoo, I adopted EX’s child and now he’s bailed and it’s so hard, boo hoo….but I don’t have time. And honestly, I almost feel guilty for feeling frustrated cause as hard as it is on me, it’s gotta be harder on him. He’s living all this. He didn’t ask for this either. We’re both just trying to figure out this puzzle with all its pieces.

Finally got an appointment with a new behavioral therapist this afternoon. Hoping that will yield positive results for the kid.

Off to close my eyes for an hour or so before I put on my strong, Mom mask again.

***UPDATE***

I didn’t get to close my eyes, I couldn’t sleep. Mind was racing. However, I did put on the strong, Mom mask again and was able to pick up son and take him to his appointment. While we were sitting in the waiting room, this foul smell kept bothering me and then the sudden realization struck me:

OH SHIT – literally. He wasn’t phased at all. Took him to the bathroom, cleaned it out as best I could. Come out of bathroom, approached by therapist, explain situation, she isn’t phased….she realizes he isn’t phased…appointment proceeds as planned, with the addition of a foul odor.

Therapist commended me. I don’t know why but this made me cry. She told me that I had done a wonderful job with him despite the circumstances. She recognized that this situation can’t be easy because I “inherited” it. I didn’t sign up for this willingly, but I’m making the most of it. Sometimes its nice to be validated. But then I felt like it was the good news before the bad.

She point blank told me that my son would never go to college or get married or have children and that he would more than likely live in a group home after graduation. She assured me that him experiencing independence outside of the home without ME is essential to his development. I’m sorry, I understand that there is expertise and experience and resources that I don’t have that could help him and I know that I want to be as successful as he can possibly be but this is a concept I couldn’t wrap my head around…someone else taking care of my child?

It’s almost funny that I am the one questioning letting someone else take care of my child, when he will no longer be a “child”….when I, in fact, am raising this child because two other people in his life didn’t question letting someone else take care of their child.  Oh, the irony.

Too much.                          BLOG END.

What Im not saying 2/20/2010

(sigh)

This week has been rough. There was a moment, just one, when I actually envisioned that I might need to be “committed”. There are just some things that a child should NEVER have to deal with and as a mother when you watch your children deal with those things, no matter how well the child bounces back and overcomes, it not only breaks your heart, but it also creeps into your psyche and breaks it down.

My children are resilient, this much is certain. So, I figure aside from everything else, I also owe it to them to not have the mental breakdown we so rightfully deserve. We’ve survived so much already and I know we will survive this as well…together.

I really struggled with how much of this to share, but the bottom line is that silence is what feeds this epidemic and if writing this out of my mind opens up someones eyes to something or someone else, then it has served its purpose.

The backstory: My EX husband and I separated in October of 2006 and while I could speculate about other things that MAY have been going on in the shadows behind my back, I can say that what WAS going on in my home, to me and my children, was enough to seal my marriage’s demise. After our separation my EX moved in with a woman who had three children of her own. This immediately sent up red flags for me because Pickle (a product of my EX’s first marriage whom I adopted but is no less MY son) had been sexually abused by his half brother while in his biological Mom’s care which was ultimately why he came to live with myself and the EX. It was no secret that there was looooonnnnngggg history of cyclic sexual abuse on her side of the family. I used to blame her for what happened and subsequently abandoning him but, I’ve come to realize in time that she too was a victim and was also mentally ill and just simply incapable of caring for her children or protecting them. Pickle’s sexual abuse occurred shortly after my EX and her split up and so now that: 1) we had split up; 2) he was now being exposed to two boys who were the same age he was when his abuse occurred and; 3) that he was also going to be exposed to his own hormones because of the presence of a teenage girl in the new home….I was acutely aware that these were potential triggers for him. For those of you who aren’t aware: my oldest son is also special needs so he needs A LOT of guidance and supervision anyways, couple that with urges he can’t understand and memories he cannot forget and you have have a whole lot of potential for really bad things to happen.

I brought this to EX’s attention and begged of him to pay close attention and not under any circumstances to allow the children to share the same bed. To my dismay, he didn’t listen because in his mind I was trying to control him and he couldn’t have that. Priorities, obviously. Everything is about him.

So came the Summer of 2007, when my Pickle would  report to his therapist that there was dangerously, inappropriate playing that was going on with not only him, but now my youngest son, and the EX’s girlfriend’s son, PlayDoh. I was devastated. If it had not been for my current husband (boyfriend at the time) I don’t know what I would have done. Don’t misunderstand me, I was a rock for my children. They needed that from me and there was no other choice, but I also needed a soft place to fall and he held me and talked me through my mental dark places so that I was able to do that.

The counselor had to make a telephone call to Children Services and because they revealed even more to me in the privacy of my home, I had to make that call as well. Despite Children Services telling me not to “warn” EX about what was to come, he was their father, at least I still imagined he deserved that application at that point in time, and so I called him. I remember sobbing to him on the phone and begging him to help us. I told him I would never keep his children from him but that he couldn’t take them around this other child until this was all sorted out. This began an argument. I couldn’t tell him what to do with HIS children. I begged him. I told him if he insisted on continuing to expose them to this other child that I would have no choice but to stop visitations and thats not what I wanted. I wanted him to help us.

Then, he showed up for his next visit with not only his girlfriend but PlayDoh in tow and that was the beginning of the end. He became upset that I refused the visit even though I explained over and over that he could see his children, just not take them to her home or have them around the other children. Those were the instructions from the therapist and Children Services.Then he and his girlfriend began to call me sick, saying I made up this whole story to keep him from the kids. I don’t know who would do such a thing but they adamantly ignored the fact that Pickle reported this to his therapist. I wasn’t even there. She told me. With him taking this position against us, I felt I had no choice but to call my attorney and file an emergency motion for supervised visits and it was, obviously, granted.

The months that followed are kinda a blur now. I had to resign from my job at the time in order to meet the requests of the therapists and Children Services. I had to produce my children for a physical exam at the hospital, I had to sit through interviews with Children Services, a guardian ad litem (court assigned advocate for children), therapists, and court hearings with my EX. As I was writing this, I remembered a mediation session in which I asked to step outside and when he followed me out he said something to the effect of how could I make my children go through a physical exam.

How could I make them? Like there was a choice?

No the choice was when he decided to go off and leave the kids unsupervised or letting them all share the same bed, despite  not only me, but all the professionals involved telling him not to.

(Deep Breath Break)

Let’s fast-forward: The court recommends, after reviewing the professionals recommendations, and orders the EX to permanent supervised visits until such a time as the children become more comfortable with seeing him in an unsupervised setting. He goes 6-8 months without seeing them. EX starts asking me to draw up adoption papers for Hubster to adopt the kids, has his brother call me and demand that I hurry up and draw up adoption paperwork WHILE IM AT THE HOSPITAL WITH PICKLE for an epilepsy monitoring admission. – EX even calls me one night drunk and threatens to “beat my ass” if I don’t let him see the kids, as if its in my control after all that he’d done to create this nightmare, I ask the Court for a protection order and he somehow manipulates the magistrate with water works and gets supervised visits reenacted. Yup, thats right! He threatened physical violence and then cried and made it all better after all of the above. Thats the legal system for ya! I nearly lost my mind and made my tongue bleed biting it to not correct the magistrate’s incorrect assumptions and application of law. Several attorneys told me that it’s frustrating when that happens on your case because you cannot correct them in open court, but they couldn’t imagine if the case involved their own kids and especially under the circumstances.

Turns out he had broken up with the girlfriend so the other child wasn’t involved and for awhile it seemed as though he may have seen the light and might behave the way a father should. He’s still a complete ass to me, but I am not the kind of woman who believes this should impede on the children’s relationship with their Dad. It would be nice, but it’s just never  going to happen. Although I was advised not to, I made the decision to move from supervised visits to monitored (at a relatives house and they meet with someone before and after the visits to discuss how it went) and then we moved on to one night a week, spending the night one night and eventually a standard visitation schedule because I know we all wanted him to be the Dad they wanted.

Within 6 months, I had to file for supervised visits again. On New Years Eve I had to request another emergency order to supervise visits because of the kids coming home filthy, unfed, reporting the water and heat being off  and the last straw involved skin staph infections that almost got me in hot water in the emergency room.

Since the visitations have stopped the kids have started telling their therapist and myself, Hubster and my parents all sorts of tales about things that occurred in their father’s care, but the worst of it came this week. While we were swimming at our health club, Now, I of course realize that there is going to be some natural curiosity amongst children. I’m sure we have all “played doctor”, but something about this just didn’t sit right. There’s just this heightened, anxious, excitement static that starts to get charged around them that I must be sensitive to. Maybe after your eyes have been opened to this – there is no shutting them. Hubster will tell you that often times when the children are awake, I am highly distracted because I am always keeping an ear out or trying to stay aware of what they are doing. But nothing could have prepared me for what was disclosed next.  And thus, now all three of my children have been exposed in ways that their innocent brains just can’t understand.

I’m angry. I’m soooooo angry. I promise not to let this anger consume me, but I do feel it is warranted. You know, screw validating my anger. I’M ANGRY. I’m disgusted. I loathe him. Nobody ever accused this man of being smart, but more than 3 people TOLD HIM SPECIFICALLY how to protect the children from this sort of thing and he just what – ignored them? Was it too much work to expect his supervision and guidance for 3 hrs one night a week and every other weekend at his brother’s house. More than that, I’m angry because HE has hurt them. It sucked to watch my now husband hold my son while he sobbed about how much he hates his father and how none of this would’ve ever happened to him if his Dad had protected him. He said all his Dad cared about was drinking.

I remember once writing  those exact same words. I remember feeling the pain as I wrote that he would always choose alcohol over his family. And the words I wrote after that, came back to haunt me as I listened to my son: “I just hope that my kids don’t ever come to this same realization.”

I just can’t shake this overwhelming thought/feeling that all of this is a consequence of my own poor decisions. Somewhere deep inside I knew, even at nineteen and naive, that I should have run screaming in the other direction when I met EX. I had been raised in church my whole life, I had a good father, my parents had a great marriage – I knew what a man was supposed to be and EX was not it. I yolked myself to him unequally and it was a heavy burden to bear. I know a lot of it has to do with my oldest son. He needed me. I made a lot of bad decisions for myself that ultimately made very good outcomes for him, but still I can’t shake it.

I regress. This isn’t about me – it’s about the kids and they need me. Now that I’ve taken the time to somewhat vent…I can focus.