You know Ive been in this bed before, 1000 count and not a single thread of truth 

  I went and woke jer up and I told him. 
I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore. 

I told him that it’s been more than a year since I went to him and laid out all the issues and he made promises to fix things and make efforts

I told him its been all talk and no follow through. 

He said he thought he’d been doing better and if it made any difference he had planned to call and set up therapy tomorrow 

It doesn’t. 

I wont let him hurt the kids anymore. 

I told him so. I told him that I  didn’t know who he was anymore. He’s not the man I fell in love with. By always having my EX to compare to …well that’s a pretty low bar and  I can’t stay married to you because sometimes you pay attention to me and it’s nice when you’re hurting my kids. I said I never imagined Id say this to you but I don’t like who you are and Im watching my son turn into you and it makes me sick to my stomach. I said that the kids are an extension of me and when you hurt them it hurts me. It’s selfish of me to consider anything else. 

Then I came back upstairs, climbed into bed and now Im laying here with a million things going through my head and tears … so many tears. 

Everything is going to change but it has to. 

This is what gets me: Part Two

Today I had my epidural spinal injection. They were at the same hospital where I delivered my kids. In fact, the recovery room was the room I actually delivered Jedi in. I’ve written about what a strange experience it is before. Just like I’ve written about watching the episode of ‘Friends’, the one where Rachel tells Ross she’s pregnant and they have the sonogram and how it sent all these memories flooding back.

Today, I found myself watching that episode again and coupled with being in the same room I delivered my son, I was struck with such emotional pain that it took me back a little.

Back to a place I don’t like to be. I found myself back in the place where I question everything that happened in my previous marriage. Questioning how I ever let myself be in a situation like that. Examining every other moment we shared. Being disgusted at the way they have all been tainted. Wondering if I’m ever going to be able to look back on these memories that I should cherish with anything more than bittersweet melancholy. It makes me resentful and that’s a place I never want to stay. It makes me wonder too. Not that it would matter anyways but, I can’t help but wonder how he lives with the memories or if he ever thinks of us, or me, at all.

This is what gets me: Part One

This morning we were awaken with a BANG! that shook the whole house. A thunderstorm was rolling through just as the kids alarms were going off to ready for the school day, My thoughts, of course, went to wondering how long this storm was going to last and if I was going to need to drive them to the bus stop or to school altogether when me cellphone rang. It’s my Dad calling to say that the storm had woken him up too and that he’ll take the kids to school today. I hang up the phone even more grateful for my Daddy than I already forever am, when it hits me. THIS is one of the many things that never occurs to the EX. 

Does he ever wake up wondering how the kids are? 

How does he go about his day not knowing how they’ll get to school  during a storm, how their day will go, what they’ll eat for lunch, what kind of social situations they might need guidance navigating, what homework they may have, the things they’ll have to say about their day, whether there’s food to eat for dinner, if they’ll get their chores done or need a privilege taken away to motivate them or without those hugs and kisses before they go to bed safely tonight?

Foul Play

This morning I was accosted by a song. 

I recognized the melody immediately. Tim McGraw. 

When all our tears have reached the sea
Part of you will live in me
Way down deep inside my heart

I knew every word as it came, even as I tried to block the weight of it out. A song that takes me back to a time of bittersweet. I guess a time when I still believed the lines meant something. Something I wish I still believed. 

Just like the waves down by the shore
We’re gonna keep on comin’ back for more
‘Cause we don’t ever want to stop

But we could and we did and I want to forget. I want to forget that I ever believed that I was something more than small that could be cast aside.  I want to forget that revelation. 

Late at night when you’re not sleeping
And moonlight falls across your floor
And I can’t hurt you anymore

I wish that were true. No, I could not even pretend, as I may like to, that was true. Even now. It hurts. I don’t want things to be like this. 

Please remember me

No. I’d like to forget you as I know you now. I’d like to live with the nostalgic notion of you. Somebody that I used to know. 

Letters I meant to send

Dear Blank,

You dont need to be such a dick. Just because you drunk sexted me while you had a girlfriend and I took it in stride, doesn’t mean I’m a doormat. Quite the opposite. Im someone who says exactly what Im thinking. I’m honest. My husband knows everything. He thinks that you’re a pretentious douchebag. Not because of the sexting. Mostly because you have no sense of humor and are as immature  as our teenage son’s attention seeking girlfriends who completely ignore their own behavior and put themselves on pedestals to judge others. Not cute. Try saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Less to keep track of when bullshitting others. 

This is me moving on. 

Kisses, 

Stephanie

Things I Meant To Say To an EX

You,  sir, are an asshole. An asshole of epic proportion with an ego to match.  You think you’re special. I can hear it in your lines and even though I’m gracious enough not to call you on your bullshit, trust this, I know it is.

Look down on me all you want, I know you do. And it’s fine by me.

I know who I am and I like me, even the messy parts that you term “crazy”. Ive had enough experience in life and love to be ok with loneliness and others disregard without it bothering me. I choose not to change the fact that my scars are on display, that they are a part of me. Yes, it can make me a little insecure. Sometimes I don’t make sense. But I put myself out there. I’m in the arena. So yeh, I like that about me. It makes me ME and it makes the world my oyster. I’m always gonna keep looking for and learning about the pearls. That’s how I grow. I’m ok admitting I’m no angel. I never claimed to be.

In fact, I’ve always been honest with you. I’ve always told you what you need to hear, instead of  what you want to hear. You call it rude. I call it reality. If you don’t like it, change it, but you can’t change me. Unlike you, I can own the good and bad, the triumphs and the failures. I can say “I was an asshole” or “I’m sorry”. I don’t think those are things I have ever actually heard, or for that matter, ever will hear from you. And you know, I don’t need to. I know you better than you know yourself. Maybe more than anyone else does.

But you don’t get it. You never did. No matter what I do, I just can’t convince you to just believe that what you see is what you get with me. This is real. I can’t even convince you to just hear me out.  You always know everything. Everything about what I think and feel. What I really mean. What my intentions are. The truth: You don’t know me at all. You dont even know yourself because even though you think you dont care, nobody gets that heated about things that dont matter to them.

The only reason I made the choice to reconnect with you is because unlike you, when I give my heart and makes promises to people, I mean them … I keep them. It’s not just words. When I tell someone I’ll always be there for them, I will. No matter what is said and done between us, when push comes to shove, if you need me, all that shit is gone, just like that. No apologies. No expectations. When I say “I love you” I know what love actually means. It means sacrifice, it means forgiveness, it means setting aside all the things that you have said and done to hurt me and choosing to hold on to the good times.

Sitting next to you, while we flew down back roads to share intimate moments away from the rest of the world. Just us. The radio cranked up and me singing along. You laughing. Running to the car in the rain and getting soaked, laughing our asses off until you took me in your arms and kissed me. It didn’t matter that we were literally taking a shower with our clothes on and you had on brand new shoes. Nothing else mattered. The way you let me hold you like a child when your family and childhood were too much to bear and you broke down. Those are the moments I’ll hang on to. That’s the pieces of you I want and the pieces of me that I wish you recalled more often than the flaws you invent. That’s where I hide my heart when you hurt me … again.

For now, the defending is done. I won’t concern myself with defending myself against things I never thought, said or did. To be honest, I don’t have the energy for any of it and shouldn’t have to, so I won’t. Making myself small enough to fit into your life is done. I’m the kind of friend a friend would want.

You, sir, are no friend of mine.

Wanderlust

I lost my shit this weekend.

It started early Friday morning with drunken text messages from an ex-boyfriend from high school. These things don’t phase me. In fact, I find them quite entertaining. Mostly because I have insomnia and there isn’t much quality programming on TV in the middle of the night.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s somewhat of an escape too. It’s a vacation from all my ailments and responsibilities as a thirty-something married woman and mother of three to listen to someone go on and on about how amazing I was back then. I honestly am not sure if any part of the girl I was even exists now but, it’s still nice to bask in her glory. It’s also nice when you’re married and your husband forgets that you can be the object of desire. I am not looking to relive any teenage fantasy. I just want someone to see me.

The texts were not the issue. Even my husband’s best friend will drunk text me and say very inappropriate things that we both crack up about. I was discussing the texts from my ex with my husband when the issue between us reared its ugly head. No, he wasn’t mad about them nor is he threatened in any way because he knows there is no reason to be. HE is my lobster.

He figured that a drunk ex -boyfriend would wander into his memories of how good I was in bed. (Yes, I’m good in bed. I own that shit.) In a, much failed, effort to just write them off and reassure him that nothing more would evolve from these drunk texts, I pointed out that I am, in fact, resistable. This was a reference to the fact that said husband has not had much interest in this golden vajayjay of mine.

He went into defense mode over my joke about out sex life and in the process of him doing so all the little things I shove down started to boil over and then flat-out erupted. I wanted to run away from all of it. Him, us, the weight of the world on our marriage from circumstances surrounding my failing health and maintaining our very complicated, nuclear family. But I couldn’t. Because I can’t drive. The feelings of being stuck, trapped as I was in my prior, very abusive marriage all flooded in and I got manic. I had to leave. I had to go.

I packed a bag. I got online and started looking for airfare. It didn’t matter where so long as someone I knew lived there and would let me crash. Being that I have these type of friends and relationships stretched across the country, there was an overwhelming number of choices. I settled on somewhere that would let me soak in some energy from the sun. Florida. Made a couple of phone calls, was about to book the airline ticket and call for a cab when I stopped. I stepped outside and sat on the frozen concrete patio as a way of grounding myself and tried to hold on.

I didn’t buy the ticket. I just asked my husband to give me some space to clear my head. Asked my parents to take the kids for the weekend. Booked dogs at the kennel. Made sure the kitty had enough food and water. Husband made plans to stay the weekend at a friend’s house. I booked a hotel room to breathe in neutral air not surrounded by our life.

I don’t drink very often but I just didn’t want to feel the feelings…the mania, so Friday night I drank alone. A Lot. It was a sweet surrender to an oblivion where the ugliness had been ripped away. I listened to ‘Chandelier’ on repeat:
“123, 123, Drink…
Help me Im holding for dear life…wont look down, wont my eyes…Im just holding on for tonight, on for tonight, on for tonight

Sometime after midnight the high school ex began to text me. There wasn’t really a lot to say between us. Mostly just consisted of him making fun of my horrible texting which I couldn’t even make sense of the next morning. I know he has a live-in girlfriend and had company visiting from out-of-town so I inquired where everybody had disappeared to, he replied bed, I said: “So you’re basically a weirdo drinking in your garage alone”.
The guy lost his mind. Apparently that statement was rude and meant that I “needed to learn some manners” because he was only up talking to me “as a favor” to me. At first, I thought he was kidding. Then I was even a little pissed off considering the benefit of the doubt Id extended to his drunk texting the night prior. Even sober the next morning, I couldn’t understand the hostility. I mean his friends and girlfriend had no idea he was texting someone on his phone.

First, in my mind, roles reversed, one of my friends would’ve been like, “Hey weirdo! What the hell are you doing out in the garage by yourself?” Right? We would’ve laughed about it. HSEx was having none of it. Took it as a serious insult. His harshness, but more so the alcohol, brought me to tears. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. That he would think I was the type of person who would just randomly insult somebody who was “doing me a favor” just … hurt. I felt like after some 3 years together and what I thought was nearly 20 years of knowing each other, he didn’t know me at all. Hell, for that matter, did anyone?

In the hours after ending the back and forth with him, which I can only conclude had more to do with him than me since it was SO out of proportion, I just cried and cried and cried some more. Sobbed, really. I hurt so bad emotionally that I actually felt physical pain. After I was all cried out a really beautiful thing occurred to me though. It really doesn’t matter if anybody else understands me because I do. I know who I am. For everything I’ve been through in my life this is a huge revelation. And the only person I wanted to share it with, the person I knew who would value it most, was my husband.

By this time it was nearly time for the sun to come up. I took a nap and then got up with a new resolve. Took a shower. Washed everything from the night before away and got my game face on. I sat down and wrote out the problems, well, their more just heavy circumstance, that are affecting my marriage and where I thought I needed to apply more grace. Then I just made an offer to my husband to come meet me at the hotel, neutral ground, to talk this all out. I didn’t care if it meant we used the room to stay up all night and fight it out until we made sense of it all. If that’s what we needed to do, so be it.

This is where I’ll get lazy with this post and just conclude with saying that he did opt in, we had a very long talk about EVERYTHING and I think he finally heard me. Only time will really tell though.

We shall see.

To my Ex-Husband on your Birthday

I think you’re 44 today.

I think it has been about 4 years since our last real conversation. In the midst of our marriage, even when I was certain that our demise was becoming increasingly inevitable, I never imagined that there would come a day that the kids and I would no longer be a part of your life.

I wonder what you thought about when you woke up this morning. Did you look back over the years of your life? Did you have any remorse for destroying our family and casting the children by the way side like items you no longer needed. I just can’t imagine having a “happy” birthday without knowing where they are, what they are doing and who they are becoming. I cant imagine wanting to slice a cake without being able to share it with them. How do you do it? How do you celebrate? How does it feel?

When you look on the current state of your life and know that they’ve been less than 10 miles away being raised by another man…
When you know how easy it is for someone else to fill those shoes…
When you know you broke every promise to the only people who would’ve loved you unconditionally…
When you spend the day before your birthday in another Court before another judge facing more consequences for making the same mistakes as you did 20 years ago…
When you know your whole life is a lie…
What makes you go on? What’s the motivation to continue your miserable, undignified existence?

My wish for you is that something about today makes you take a long look at the reflection of your life. I hope that you are disgusted enough by what you see that you decide today to make some changes. Changes that will help you become the man you’ve always wanted to be. I wish that you’d decide to take the pain of your childhood and instead of using it as an excuse for your poor behavior, you find something rise up to take advantage of the experience and use it as your reason to be something

I wish that our children’s heart reject bitterness and remain forgiving. I wish that one day in the future that should they reach out to you, that you are the father you always wanted…the father they always deserved.

I wish for you to find your way to redemption starting today. Not just for them, but for you too.

Live and Let Die – Literally?

Ive been thinking a lot lately about somebody who hurt me quite deeply but who is also now terminally ill. The latter normally shouldn’t change the way I observe the debacle philosophically, except it does. Not really as it applies to me so much, but as it applies to my children.

I am not the type of person who has ever held a grudge. In fact, I used to be the person, who would do whatever it took to make peace with someone. I just never saw the point in these things. Some years ago though I had a number of incomprehensible arguments with  friends and family members that I absolutely  did nothing to provoke and it became obvious there was nothing I could do to repair. It hurt like crazy and it drove me mad. What did I do? What could I do? Why was this happening? Why would people do this to me? From that point on I just learned that sometimes it’s not about you and you just have to let people find their own way and let it be. (Love that song – Mental note) Eventually, they worked themselves out and all is well, but as I mentioned…this person is terminally ill so time is quite literally of the essence.

This person is my former mother-in-law. I used* to be really close to her and I used* to really respect her. These items are not past tense simply because she is my former mother-in-law. I have great relationships with my some of my former boyfriends and their parents. I’m just not a petty person. The issues here are a consequence of her not being able to decide things for herself based on information and beliefs she KNOWS is true (i.e. she has witnessed it with her own eyes) and enabling her son, my Ex, to the point that she has disabled him as a man. She loves him unconditionally and as a mother I get it, to an extent, but she doesn’t know how to establish consequences and boundaries and I imagine its been that way for him his whole life. This ended up having disastrous effects for me and my children. I accept responsibility for my own choices in this, that’s not what I’m saying. I was in the relationship with him, procreated with him. I get it. I don’t blame her for any of that.

What I do take issue with is this: There were times in our relationship when he literally was so out of control that he could have killed himself or someone else and when I went to her to help HER SON, she ENABLED him to be more of a moron and turn on me. Thankyou. Much appreciated.

There have been plenty of examples of this through the years but there’s two that stand out:

Example 1: The EX was in a downward spiral and was coming home drinking, Im talking to the point of alcohol poisoning drunk.  I had just had the Jedi, my Pickle had just come to live with us and had also just revealed that he was being molested. MIL records a taped message to me and my EX telling him about how I call her complaining (NOT complaining, crying my eyes out – scared, hello? – look at circumstances – help!, help!) about his drinking and making him sound like a drunk and he works everyday and she doesn’t think its a big deal for him to come home from work and catch a buzz. THANKS. That very night, with mother’s permission, he gets wasted. Then he proceeds to decide that he needs more beer and is going to drive, drunk, to go get some more. We argue about how he can’t do that. He tells me he’s going to do it. I can’t leave him with a newborn and 4 year old, drunk – duh. He pushes me down. I let him go. What do I do? Can’t stop him? Can’t call his Mom OBVIOUSLY. Can’t call the cops because then I’d really be seen as MEGABITCH. (Superplot to get him arrested, lose job so we can lose everything for fun! That’s me <— Supervillian. Insert severe eyeroll) No seriously, this is how his family thinks and they never look at him and go ‘Hey dummy – what the hell is your problem, you have kids – time to grow up!’ This is what I’m talking about. Anyways – He goes out in the garage. Starts car. Never opens door. Passes out behind wheel. ALL BAD. For all of us. If I just would have not cared and been asleep in bed, we could have all died.

Example 2: Last October on what would have been our anniversary, I got some really bizarre texts from  EX saying he missed us, loved us. I was sympathetic. I know he misses the kids. Anniversary is hard, easy to get nostalgic, but he doesn’t miss me. Then he tells me he made me a CD. Ignore, ignore, ignore. He skips next couple visits….I figure he’s drowning his sorrows. So when his next visitation date comes up, I send him couple texts to check on times, etc. Then as I’m heading home, I give him a call. He’s got an attitude right of the bat. When I ask “What’s wrong?” He starts screaming at me….I mean SCREAMING so loud that his voice cracks…that he hates me and I’ve ruined his life. I just sit there and he hangs up. He calls me back about 10 times in 5 mins, calling me a bitch, a cunt, etc, etc. Finally, when I get a word in edge wise I say to him, “I don’t know what your problem is, but you’re obviously having one helluva bad day, so have a bad day and we’ll see you this weekend. Just take a breather.” And he lost it. He showed up at my house before I got there. I was on the phone with my husband when he pulled in, he was being belligerent, my husband tells me to hang up and called the cops. Fiasco.
Two days later his Mom calls me. She asks if the kids are around and I immediately think something has happened to the EX. Then she starts in telling me that when two people get divorced that the number one priority is to keep normalcy for the kids and I have done absolutely NOTHING to do that for the kids. (Are you fucking kidding me? EX has had 1/2 dozen live-in girlfriends, residences and jobs. His visitations are never consistent. Cant count on him for anything. Ive even loaned him money, which I never got back) She starts yelling I don’t care what happens between you and EX it’s about the kids. OK, then – have you ever bothered to ask them about the stuff his visits with them or what he SAYS to them, maybe you should. So, I start to tell her she has absolutely no idea about how EX showed up at the house and was under the influence trying to pick up the kids and that Im not putting my kids in the car with a drunk. Then she starts yelling at me that I am the meanest, most selfish person she has ever known her entire life. (Even writing that now makes it seem even more preposterous). I inquired how she could even say that to me when here I am having taken on the full responsibility of raising my Pickle and I don’t see EX, or anyone in her family for that matter, stepping up, doing anything to help. She tells me thats my fall back – I always bring up Pickle and what I’ve done for him. (My fallback? WHAT?!?) I just couldn’t take it. I lost it. I told her that her family did nothing but enable him and I was sick of all them and maybe instead of having a restraining order against just EX I needed one for the whole lot of them.

Not only have we not shared a single word since this phone call last November she has not called my children, which  I think is ludicrous and THAT is what I take issue with. I’m all fine and dandy with her son making sides and her deciding to take one with her son after a divorce – whatever – but I can’t ever pretend to understand how you take a side that puts you in a position to not visit or telephone your grandchildren. Ever. Maybe thats why I never demanded such loyalty. I already knew.

Now, I know EX and I know that he is not truthful and he is self-serving and I can only imagine the things he has told her so, I know that these actions and words are mostly based on false information, but I think that there has to come a point in life when you can’t blindly, accept all the bullshit a grown man is feeding you further enabling him to continue to act in a horrible manner which hurts innocent children.

Now, she has sent the kids birthday cards and she has sent them a “care package”  here and there for St. Patty’s Day for example with green attire and such, pictures of more people in the ‘family’ who the kids never hear from and don’t even know their names. The kids called her and left her a message to say thankyou, she wouldn’t answer, didn’t return the call. I think that’s harsh.

When she was diagnosed as having terminal cancer EX called me and told me to take them to see her. Well, exactly how am I supposed to do that? Remember, I never said she couldn’t see them. They’ve left her messages telling her they want to see her, she doesn’t call them back. I can’t just show up at her house and given that EX has made everyone else in his family choose a side and think that I’m the enemy I can’t use any of them as a go-between. What the hell am I supposed to do? EX created this situation and now I have to muster up all the compassion in my heart to make it all better for her? And exactly how fair is it to give my kids all this information about their Nana dying with no way to process it?

I ended up sitting them down together and talking about the whole situation. They decided collectively that they wanted to send her a “care package” like she has sent them. They sent her a picture of the three of them and Jedi picked out a daily devotional and hand wrote inside “God is always with you” all by himself (he has such a good heart, makes me tear up – so proud of him). We weren’t even sure she had gotten it until a month ago when she wrote them a letter back and she mentioned having the picture next to her bed. That’s just not cool.

None of this has been fair to us. It hurts. So when I think about the lack of compassion my children and I have been shown from this woman, especially given the hell we’ve been put through at the hands of the EX, I think why should I care? Why should I burden myself or my children with her dying without closure on this issue? For all I know maybe she doesn’t even give a rat’s ass. But at the same time…I know she’s been deceived and so she is also being robbed unfairly of the her relationship with her grandchildren. But she also chose to act on that information without any consideration for them, without probing any further. I just can’t believe that she would ever believe such things about me. How could you look at a situation in which a woman takes on a special needs child as her own for anything but what it is? This is what I mean by her not being able to have an opinion of her own. Her opinions are always diluted by information she doesn’t mentally check out. I’m just thinking out loud here. Pondering. Bear with me.

I don’t want to regret not saying or doing something to remedy this situation, especially for the kids. I’m just not sure what that something is and I cannot forget the way she has made me or my children feel.

There are primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”

Upside Down

Just when I thought I was getting used to life as I now know it….my little snow globe world has been picked up, shook and I’m waiting for all the snow to settle again I suppose.

~My Dad is in the hospital – AGAIN. Last summer he had this ultra rare stomach condition where air expands in the lining of the stomach. I guess something like 50 people have had this happen in the history of medical science, 9, including my Dad have survived. This means that doctors don’t really know what happens after the fact. As it turns out, when he stomach poofed up, it caused some tearing on the arteries that feed blood to the stomach. This has caused scar tissue which is slowing and at times prohibiting blood flow to the stomach. This is not good. Lack of blood flow=tissue dies=stomach dies=stomach removed=NOT GOOD. The only options there are right now is to continue to go and stint and/or stretch these arteries. However, you can’t do that too often because it could tear an artery. So, last option is bypass….same as heart bypass, but I guess when you do it on someone’s stomach arteries it’s EXTREMELY risky. I hate, HATE, all of this. It’s not fair. My father is the best Dad a girl could ask for. Most people would tell you he is one of the best people they’ve ever met. I honestly can’t keep count of the number of people who have told me that through the years. He’s just a great guy. It is beyond discouraging when I see him dealing with all of this and other piece of shit fathers/people seem just coasting through life. UGH!

~ Paperwork with THE EX is final. He signed paperwork stating he would not contact us and forfeits his parental rights in exchange for not having to pay child support. Selfishness is an ugly thing.

~ Things at work suck. My boss lacks any passion for….well, anything. It’s a cake job with good pay and benefits, but I don’t think it’s worth it. Found out Friday that he’s an even bigger douche than I could have possibly imagined AND he’s sexting another girl in the office who is TERRIFIED to do anything about it. Creeper. Trying to decide whether to circulate the resume and get the hell outta there or tough it out until I make a decision about law school.

~ Ive gotta make some decisions about law school. If I go, I need to just do it. i’m not getting any younger and neither are my kids and they’re going to college. Period. I graduated with my Bachelors last summer and decided to take some time to figure things out but if I wait too much longer, I won’t go. In order to go next Fall  (2011), I have to take the LSAT by this December at latest so I can put in my apps this Spring. Big decision. Aside from the financial investment, its a lot of sacrifice for the entire family and I’m just not sure  how much sacrifice is too much. The kids have been through a lot.

~ Its hard to make decisions when there are so many what-ifs involving the kids, mostly Pickle.  I’m not talking about regular what-ifs here. i’m talking about not knowing if he’s ever going to be able to come home because of the younger two kids. And I can’t even begin to tell you how much that pains my heart. When I start venturing down this thought track, it’s all down hill.

I really need to get to bed. The lack of sleep surely isn’t helping me get things turned around.