Monday, October 25, 2010
I never thought I'd be the victim of domestic violence. I never thought I'd be one to hit back. I was a timid child growing up, but the past three years have changed me dramatically. To be abandoned by family when my life was on the line, to be reduced to poverty with no end in sight and to be essentially lied to for the duration of my relationship with my son's father has made me someone that I do not want to be.
Steve is in what was once our home. I miss it somewhat, but I do not miss him. I am scared, where will we lay our head long-term? Steve was served with a protective order today, and he must have resisted arrest or tried to hide, because they booked him, took him to the jail and set him up for court. He wants me to plead on his behalf. I shall ask the judge to make him go to Alcoholics Anonymous and therapy. He's a broken man with a broken past, he put his hands on me and I fought back. I fled out of the bedroom window in the middle of the night, my sleeping son in my arms because the county police had failed me when they ordered me to let the man back in the house. There is no turning back now.
Steve loves his son, there is no doubt. And I do pity him. But he cannot be around my son in the mental state that he's in. Especially when he repeatedly threatened the life of his son's mother. No sir, you may not snap my neck. You may not get near enough to me to do so. Steve wants to see his son over the holidays, sure with supervision. I'm not trying to use my son as a chess pawn, this isn't about money. I want my son to lose that look of fear that's in his eyes every time my voice is raised. There was once a time when he paid me no attention at all. But now his gray/green eyes widen with fear, even though I'm just trying to peel him off the wall as usual. Ever since Saturday, Mommy's raised voice means danger. My son cannot talk but he knows how to hide.
I have no idea how to undo the damage except to keep him close to me. He sleeps by my side at night, and I try to keep his routine as familiar as possible; Mickey Mouse episodes all day, baths each night and books before bed. He sleeps curled up at my side and for the past few nights has not had any night terrors. It's a blessing, given the circumstances.
Monday, September 20, 2010
I don't live life relying on horoscopes, but one in particular (which always seems to have an antecdote to think about) said that with regards to my family, something may have to be torn down in order to be re-built properly. That's basic spiritual thought; most of us have constructed our lives based on false assumptions, and sometimes outright lies. It may not be totally our fault, but if you find that life is not working out the way you would like, and you yearn for better, you might actually have to tear down some constructs in order to create better ones.
That is happening in my family right now.
My generation has known for years that my mom's generation has some issues. The women all despise my grandmother for some reason, I thought for a moment that they were going to actually examine this, but in light of recent events, I see that is not going to happen. It has gotten so bad that they are abusing my elderly grandmother. They do really well with getting her to her doctor's appointments, but when it comes to the emotional quality of her life, they suck.
They refuse to let her go to church, or even to Wal-mart. My aunt, whom my grandmother lives with refuses to put a chair lift in so my grandmother can get up and down the stairs, because she doesn't want to "ruin her decor". So my grandmother crawls backwards down about 30 steps each day to get to the main level. There are no full baths on the main level, so she would either have to sleep in the basement or on the top floor, but all in all that 8,000 square foot house is not handicap accessible. And that's going to have to change, because it was this particular aunt who swore that my grandmother (and her baby sister who has her own set of insecurities and issues) belonged with her. Well, fast forward 6 years or so, and everyone is burned out and my grandmother is a "problem". They don't even have a legitimate home health aide in there who can assist my grandmother properly, it's my rich aunt's personal assistant. I tell you, all of this is going to change.
The real problem is that no one is listening to my grandmother. They're all so angry about their childhoods...which took place 50 years ago! They talk to Grandma like she's a child...or worse, they call her outside her name. They tell her to her face that they don't care what she wants or wishes, and accuse each other of taking Grandma's money while they do it themselves. All the while insisting that the nieces and nephews respect and revere them...and ignore the pasts of child abuse, deliberate lack of education (and insistence on lack of education for their kids), and drug use. It's time for the madness to stop, I say!
Well it's all definitly coming to a stop, because I called the authorities on them. My cousin and I have each filed separate complaints with the county Adult Protective Services division. And we'll be going to get my grandmother on Thursday so she can spend the week away from that gilded prison (and go to church, the one thing that brings her joy)...and unfortunately we'll have to go with police escort. My wealthy and snobbish aunt complains that no one comes to see her mother, but she doesn't realize that we're all tired of being treated like puppies on a white carpet. Don't touch this, don't chip that. I tell her every chance I can that her material things do not impress me.
I wrote a plea to my mother and the two aunts who can actually turn on a computer and asked them to seek counseling or mediation as sisters, so they could address the emotional issues they have with my grandmother, and ultimately treat her better than they have been. Typical behavior continues, blaming everyone but onesself, refusing to seek help. My wealthy aunt and the youngest aunt decided to insult my intelligence by telling me that I'm lying about things people have born witness to. So I let them both have it. The family is shocked, once again I'm crazy (sometimes I wish I had never said I was in therapy, if they hadn't have heard that, they probably wouldn't be calling me that). But I'm not the one abusing my elderly mother.
When I was a child, before I could even read, I asked my mother for my birth certificate. I swore up and down I was adopted. I still feel that way, honestly. These people do not act the way I feel a family should act. And I'm ultimately tired of it. I'm tired of being seen as wrong because I want to do what's right. I'm tired of the fickle behavior, you agree with me to my face and then you go back and agree with someone else to their face.
This is going to get ugly, but I hope that out of all of this, some healing can come. My grandmother may have made some mistakes, but she's an old woman now. None of the women in my mom's family who have kids want their children to abandon or abuse them, so they need to think about that when they do things that hurt and dismay their mother.
Monday, September 13, 2010
It's a lot easier to comb now, but I do miss his Kramer fro. It was unique...even if it couldn't be styled. Oh well, when his hair grows out, it'll grow out evenly this time. That is, if he doesn't try to mop the floor with his forehead again.
Labor Day weekend we went down to Ladysmith to my parents' "summer house". Man, it's peaceful down there. And we needed the vacation. Hopefully one day we'll actually be able to go out of state on vacation. I have a feeling we will. Steve and I have plans, it's just implementing them that can be hard sometimes.
We enjoyed a nice, quiet, long weekend just outside of Richmond. Traffic going south on 95 wasn't that bad, and we got to chill out and have fun. Little Man ran through the whole house, Steve got to relax, and I got to read and scrapbook. We even took Little Man swimming down at the lake. They have a nice beach there, and he liked it so much we took him twice. It felt so good, watching him run up and down the beach, screaming with joy. He even stopped to "talk" to people. Well, he would just pick out a cute woman and go sit in her lap. Folks were totally enamored of him.
My little Beach Baby!
We all had so much fun...
We came back Monday afternoon, and it wasn't too much longer before reality set in. By Wednesday my landlord was trying to evict us over $53 dollars, an amount we didn't dispute, but an amount that should have been paid back in July. All I wanted to know was, firstly what the fee was, and when they finally told me, why it wasn't charged back in July. Their bookkeeper made a mistake, and rather than admit that, she and her managers chose to be degrading.
They've been a bit upset with me, because I keep pointing out that they use "the increasing cost of goods and services" as their excuse to raise the rent, but if you are an old tenant, your apartment just gets shabbier and shabbier. Because the problems are not ones that endanger health and saftey (by their standards...my son can get into the hall closet, climb the shelves, and get to the medicine if he doesn't fall first because the door is broken!), they do not get addressed. It is at the point now where it would be cheaper to pay a mortgage and the bills that come with it than to pay rent. I've actually found houses that are twice as large as our apartment for half the price. Now if only we could get a home loan. It'll happen. God is preparing the perfect house for us. I feel that within myself.
This past week has been extremely stressful for me. I'm beginning to understand just what type of caste system really exists in this country. Many of those who have money choose to look down on those who don't. The poor are "lazy", "ignorant", or just looking for a handout. We're all uneducated, we all choose not to better ourselves. I fully understand that poverty in the United States is nothing like poverty in other countries. For that I am truly grateful. But that doesn't mean that it's not hard.
Obviously I can get in contact with others via the internet. We pay our bills, we used part of our school refund check to get a better computer, as both Steve and I study online (and I've finally narrowed down the concentration within my major, more on that later). We pay the rent. We manage to feed ourselves and clothe little man. Clothing for the big people only comes when something has completely worn out, or the money fairy pays us a visit (perhaps once a year). Wal-mart is my best friend. I'm so psyched that they're building a Super Wal-Mart down the street, I LOOOOVE their grocery store. I doubt I'll shop anywhere else. I'm all about saving what pennies we have. :-)
Still...it hits home at least once a day what we can't do, especially for Little Man because we are considered "under the poverty level". We do our best to be resourceful, I give thanks for our blessings, but it is still hard. I sometimes feel like we just can't stretch our resources any further, and wonder just what we did wrong in this situation. Maybe we did nothing wrong.
But I see more clearly how the poor are viewed, now that we are considered that. At the same time, I realize the blessing of being considered "poor" in America. That's rich somewhere else. I remind myself of that when my friends are travelling the globe and wearing nice things. My son is happy. He has no idea what his parents are going through. He has his needs met. Heck, he dresses better than we do, and I see nothing wrong with that. Those $4 tops and bottoms at Target are cute! We find ways to go and do things as a family that don't break the bank. We eat well, even if it's the same thing every month. At least we can afford to get fat. The boy never runs out of his whole milk, and there are plenty of diapers for him to pee through (and boy does he). Whenever we can get away and the Green Goblin (our car) can get us going South, there's always Mom's place. Scrapbooking isn't that expensive. We've learned to want less.
Still, we look forward to the day when we can own our own home. Steve qualifies for a VA home loan. We're looking but we can't buy yet. Still....one day, my son will have a backyard to play in, and any sisters or brothers he might have coming after him will have a room of their own. If something breaks, we'll be able to fix it.
I'm dreaming of that white picket (or chain link) fence.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Little Man and I went with a friend and two other children to the National Zoo. I will never ever EVER do that again in the summer. That zoo is best seen on a fall day, so the Mount Everest-like climb to the top isn't so bad. Me and my friend almost died before we got there, and what would have happened to the kids?
A few pictures...
Steven and Big Girl Vera
My son, actually being sociable!!!
A few more pictures...
The Panda, once he finally got his butt out of his dinner bowl...
I think he saw a Panda....I dunno. :-)
HE was tired...
And so was he! Ah, to be an animal...at least one that far up the food chain.
From there we went to lunch. I walk into the strangest McDonalds I have ever seen, somewhere out in Arlington. I almost thought there were no bathrooms, but I finally found them after we ate...somewhat.
People keep telling me that it's just a toddler phase, but my son has never liked food. We have puke issues in my house. I'm through being frustrated, I just try to make sure he doesn't jump on our bed after he has his nighttime bottle, and that he drinks while he's eating. Still, he's stubborn.
Yesterday was one of those days when Little Man felt he had to challenge the one person who he goes to first and last every day. He rolls over me in the morning when he wakes up and lies on me to sleep at night...or as close to me as he can get. He knows I'm his caretaker, servant, chauffer...but that doesn't mean he has to listen to me, haha.
Well, we're chomping on chicken nuggets, and I think to myself that Little Man is doing pretty good. Until he starts gagging. Little Man is getting over some congestion (which all came out today, by the way....), and it's hard for him to eat or drink sometimes. The room was filled with the sound of his retching, and I was trying hard to catch it, and he was pushing my hands away; we had quite a power struggle there for a minute. I got the most of it, but he was still gagging, so I took him outside (thank God for the door nearby!). I stood outside with him while he regained control of his gag reflex (his is strong, like mine....morning sickness was a nightmare), then we went back inside. I got him changed, and we continued home.
I think I might be growing as a person, because this didn't irritate me as much as it would have six months ago. I felt for the people eating who had to hear that noise, not to mention the echo in that room, but there was little I could do. I can't make him eat, and I can't make him drink if he doesn't want to. All I can do is watch closely for any clue of an impending explosion.
Today I had a physical. Little Man was in tow, and very well-behaved. I think the world outside our house is so interesting, he doesn't have time to flip out. I hope his view stays like that. I then went to therapy, and wanted to make one more stop before coming home. Steve has a cold, and I promised chicken noodle soup. Well, that didn't happen. Poor Little Man decided he'd had enough of all that phlegm in his throat, and proceeded to throw up all over the backseat of the car. Nothing else to do but drive home...but I did have to take him AND his carseat out of the car, to minimize the spread of stomach debris. Little Man found that funny, and laughed (and played with his puke) while I hauled him and the seat in the house.
Mama rewarded herself with a pizza. Steve doesn't know yet. Too bad, his beef noodle soup is simmering right now, and he will be grateful.
Well, as it stands, the day is winding down. I actually had to stop in the middle of the blog to feed Little Man, who surprised me by demanding food. I'm learning more and more each day to listen to my son's cues. I guess eating a towel, getting upset and toppling his high chair were cues enough. :-)
I'm trying to get some of this laundry out of my living room. This weekend I washed four quilts, all the linens in the house, and three weeks worth of laundry. It cost $60 bucks, and took about 3.5 hours. But I have yet to put any of it away...except for some towels. On to the whites. By the end of the week I should have them all put away, and a whole new pile waiting for me.
Little Steve is making a game out of hiding more and more. It's quite fun. I'm trying to learn to slow down, stress less, and have fun with my child. Today he wrestled with me; because I was on the floor, I was game, so he came and jumped on me. As we laughed and played, I reminded myself that today will never come again, and to savor it, regardless of what happened to put a monkey wrench in my plans. Still...
I can't wait until bedtime. Mine.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
But I can't cope with the crying jags in the tub because my day started off at 65mph, and rose to a speed of 90mph and stayed that way until I hid in the bathroom. I guess it's hard to understand when it's not you, not to mention my family has innoculated themselves against my "mood swings". Reminder: get myself evaluated for Borderline Personality Disorder. My mom was one, I could be one. I doubt it, it probably would have been diagnosed by now, but anything to shut them up.
On another note, I think I've found the toddler Oz. There's a rec center near my house that has a soft play room. Oh my gosh, I love that place. And for $4 bucks a day, open 7 days a week, who wouldn't want to take advantage?
I think my biggest guilt trip has been not being able to do more for my son. I want him to get out and have fun, to play with other kids. I do not want my limitations to affect his life. I need rest and some time to myself, but I can go without it long enough for him to have a good time and get his needs met. Somehow I'll have to deal with the burnout I'm experiencing, but for now I'll just have to accept that I have never had the type of family support system that I need and that everyone deserves. It is what it is. I'm not going to let it get in the way of my dreams. Like I told Steve, I've buried too many aspirations due to the will and wants of others. I'm not doing that anymore.
I asipre to have a son who has a normal, happy childhood. My mind was never that of a child's and I don't want him growing up that way. He's just as bright as his mother, but I don't want that intelligence to be used to recognize discord where there should be none. I just want him to be happy.
How happy I am that I've found one more tool to make that a reality. God bless the creator of the Soft Playroom. :-)
WHERE to begin?
I guess I could say that first of all, I'm tired. I'm not even sure if I can pull this off, because two and a half years of drama has sucked me clean of my creativity, and at the moment I'm just a zombie. I wake up, I go through the motions of trying to keep my son clean, happy and healthy, I wear myself down further...and I go to bed.
I'm trying to find out a way to deal with this burnout, because no one around me takes what I'm trying to tell them seriously. Honestly, there are a lot of things that I wish now I didn't say.
I grew up in an abusive home. Only a victim of child abuse can understand the fears I have as a mother. I fear my personality is borderline...but it could just be stress. I'm a veteran of over 24 years of depression, and it has been a long, hard fight for sanity. I didn't ask to be born, I didn't ask to be born into the f*cked up family that I have...
So I have to remember that my son is in the same situation. He's just a happy little baby, he doesn't know that there's a storm raging around him. So somehow, I have to step back from all of the problems that were here before him, and regroup so I can properly parent him.
Because I love my little boy. He's honestly the only reason I'm alive right now. That may annoy some, but I don't care. He hasn't hurt me.
I wish I could get those who were never mothers (men, women who have never concieved) to understand what it means to be a mom.
1. You never get enough sleep...and your fatigue is not on the level of an exec, a college student, a marathon runner even...it's WAAAAAAAAY past that, and you don't really get rest until those kids are grown. My son isn't two yet, and I know that.
2. Unless you have a maid, the house is perpetually a mess. I can vacuum every day, and there will still be goldfish crumbs on my floor.
3. The laundry piles up...I swear there's a full load one day after I finish washing. IT NEVER ENDS.
4. Husbands truly have little clue what stay-at-home moms do. They think we're June Cleavers, or better yet the Rice Crispy Treat lady; either we make it look effortless to the point that the men believe it, or we really don't do any work but we try to make it look like we do.
5. Mom's have an intense love for their kids; I'll kill you if you touch my son, but there are days when I want to strangle him myself. Especially at 2 am. Or when he's climbing on the dining room chairs to get all the stuff on the dining room table that we've pushed to the back to keep away from him. Or when he's somehow broken the child-safety locks on the kitchen cabinet doors, or when he's pulling open the drawers in our bedroom and pulling things out. Or when he's managed to eat something off the floor that my vacuum missed...and he's about to throw up because it's lodged in his throat...and let's not talk about the number of times he's vomited, exorcist-like all over me and every piece of bed linen we have. I could go on...
6. Something as simple as going the store can turn into a marathon. You have to make sure you have a bottle, diapers, don't forget your money or cell phone...then you have to wrestle a wriggling kid into the car, endure being yelled at each time you stop at a red light (honey I'd love to run them but I owe my county enough in tickets). Then you get to your destination, and if you've forgotten your stroller (if it's not a store), you're up the creek. I personally do not have the strength to carry my son long-term. If you are in a store, make sure the cart is far enough from the shelves, or you will either be re-stocking or paying for broken merchandise.
7. I have learned that the library (my favorite place) is off limits for us at the moment.
8. There are countless moments when you find yourself really glad to be a mom. Like the first time baby says "mama". That was my son's first word...and it's his favorite. Other times are when you watch them sleep (they're angels when they sleep). Some of my most favorite times are when we're grooving to music; music was once my life, but circumstances contrived to take that life away from me. If my son wants to make music, I'll move mountains so he can do so.
9. Mom's need help. Far too many of us try to do it alone. Far too many of us have to do it alone. If you know a mom, help her. You would want help if it were you.
More than anything, I want understanding.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Where did the time go?
I can't believe my son has grown so much. His personality is so much fun, he's usually always happy (unless he gets into something he should not and Mommy gets into him), very stubborn, and very attached to those he loves. He has a little girlfriend at daycare who he manhandles when he's not terrorizing his provider. I have seen this, he grabs her by the bib or hair, and I have to separate them...which is hard because she's usually on one knee and he's on the other. I want a girl now. :-)
Work is going well and has gone full-time. My boss pulled a number on me. He calls me into his office and says, "Sam, I regret to say your part-time job has ended...and is being replaced with a full-time job." The man is lucky I like him so much! I almost died!
The Krzewski family can definitely use the extra money. I find myself feeling a lot more peaceful as of late, as I realize that we are in a much better situation than we were last year. That and I also realize that I can't take the migraines that come from stressing over that which we can't immediately change. We are able to do more on our own to maintain our household, and with Steve in school and graduating in a year-and-a-half, we'll be able to do even more. The most exciting thing for me is the example we're setting for Little Steve: both of his parents college graduates.
Of course Big Steve understands that once I am ordained he has to go to church. That's another five years down the road, so "Reverend Backslide" can have ample time to prepare. I understand his misgivings, though. I had to point out in my last class, ironically called worldviews, that people may not be rejecting Christianity because they reject Christ, but rather because of the abhorrent behavior of many of his followers. Of course one should never use the Bible to prove your point, because then you're "not Christian". Whatever, bite me. It's there, you can read, either come up to speed or continue to wonder why no one around you is interested in your faith. I'm glad that class is over. Now on to History (a much more neutral subject, ha!) and a 1001 page book. Reminds me of my Old Testament class, a book just as huge with the entire OT to read as well.
Can you say no novels for a while?
Today is payday (why do I get so excited when I'm not going to see any of it). I'm waiting to get my check. Have to go get Steve from work because Metro has gone beserk and their fare hikes kind of hit us in the middle of our budget. Note to self: check their site today.
Well, that's all that's going on over on this end. I'm including a few pictures of the boy, he's growing so fast! I'm going to blink and he'll be going to prom. :-(
This is often how we find him on the weekends when we leave him to his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and a warm bottle.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I'm kind of getting used to this routine. Wake up by 6:40 at the latest (and that's REALLY late, because I'm supposed to be dropping Little Man off by 7), get the baby ready, get myself ready, get out the door, drop him off, go to work. I enjoy my job…most days. I really like my job, but if I'm low on sleep like I was last night due to Steve's snoring, then the day is long. I am SO grateful for the increase in hours, the chance to be useful, and the extra money coming into the house. Still, I have to remind myself that all temporal blessings still come from God, and to not be dismayed by what I don't have. We're talking about that in class right now, the naturalist POV versus the Christian POV. Christians know that this is not all there is, so we live life with an expectation of experiencing something outside of what we can physically feel. We're having a discussion about how Christians and Naturalists approach the subjects of career and money, and I'm learning some valuable things. I finally feel like I'm in my element, it's helpful to discuss things with people who at least share the same class that I do, so the topics we speak on are common ones. Sometimes I feel kind of lonely; there are not many people around me who share my interests. I think my family just tolerates my "creative genius", LOL.
My first class went by successfully, I got a perfect grade. I'm aiming for that with this class, as well. I have a dream of being at the head of my class, and if there is such a thing as a valedictorian in our online community, I'd love to aim for that, too. What a blessing that would be, especially for me, as I was raised to believe I was stupid.
Little Steve is growing more and more every day. He's also growing more and more hard-headed. We're taking him to the circus next weekend, and the day after to the Little Gym. My son is so nimble, you can go into our room at any time to find him standing up on a toy trying to reach the flat screen TV, or something that he wants that he shouldn't have. Next weekend we're going to start purchasing items for his room, as well. A complete Mickey Mouse theme. Since we cannot paint, I'm going to get black foam board and cut out Mickey Mouse shapes and attach them to the walls. A border that we will attach with double-sided tape, Mickey Mouse curtains, Mickey Mouse pillows, and Mickey Mouse bedding. I have waited so long to be able to do this, and it's going to be so much fun!
I'm hoping that life evens out a bit for us. I've been working here for a month, and I intend to continue to make myself an asset. In the late spring early summer, Steve and I want to move to Maryland. Steve's parents are getting up in age, and they depend on us to help them around the house from time to time. Plus, they've been such a huge help to us. It's nice to know that there are still some people out there who, if they struggled, did not forget that time in their lives once prosperity hit. I am so grateful to my in-laws for all their help. Their son gets on my nerves sometimes, but we're a tight-knit little dysfunctional family. Little Steve was destroying things at their house the other day. All boy, my little man. I went to get him from daycare the other day, and it was so cute to see him running around outside, enjoying the weather. I'm glad spring is here, so we can enjoy the weather. I look forward to all of the things that we will do as a family.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
My son does not hesitate to frighten me. When he's in the other room and he coughs, I go running, because he has a tendency to find things and put them in his mouth that I was sure he would not be able to get into. And he LOVES to eat things that just are not palatable. Like shoes. We now cal him "Bam Bam" (Flintstones), because he's so destructive. He has completely de-baby-proofed this house. What was the point? It took me two weeks to put on those door latches, and now he just snaps them open. And if he eats another one of my earplugs, I don't know what I'm gonna do... Needless to say, this picture shows him doing my favorite thing. :-)
School is going alright, though my perfect grade was ruined by an unknown change in the syllabus. I'm hoping that my grade will be restored by the weekend. I had expected that any changes in the syllabus would have been followed by an email or post in the classroom, but I was wrong. So my place at the head of the class was taken by another. Grrr...still, I think the teacher might be willing to work with me. Steve keeps laughing and calling me a nerd. It'll be him next, I think he's going to start school in March.
Valentine's Day came and went, Steve upgraded my ring. Prior to Steve, the only precious gem I had on my finger was a birthstone that I bought once. It's kind of nice to wear something other than CZ, even if it's not a big one. Not that I'd want a big ring. I tend to leave them in the shower, and I don't want to end up losing the equivalent of a house payment. I'd lose my mind.
My boss is a pretty nice guy. If I'm not careful, I'm going to get even fatter than I am now because I work for the owner of a restaurant! I'm his personal assistant. Not a bad job at all. When I work holidays, he treats me to free lunch, and man is the food good. When Steve and I finally go to the JotP, we may go there to eat. They have a lovely upstairs dining room, and I'm sure he'd let me reserve it and decorate for the occasion. Nothing too large, I cannot see the logic in feeding and entertaining people who cannot even keep in contact with me (i.e. relatives). Yeah, onto that.
A wise man once said that there are three different types of storms in life: storms of direction, storms of correction, and storms of perfection. I spent the past year trying to find out what type of storm we were in, but I've come to realize that we were in our own little Perfect Storm, a combination of all three. A storm that came through and wiped our lives bare of all the things we took for granted. A storm that revealed to me who my true allies are in life. A storm that pushed us through a dark valley into a better place where we have more knowledge; about each other, about our faith, and about our desires for our future as a family. Nevertheless, storms suck. You end up wet, cold, or in the worse case scenario, homeless. We came too close.
The wise man is my pastor. Amusingly enough, there are some who would say that he's not my pastor because I'm not in church every Sunday. Well, it's 20 miles away, and if we don't have the gas or it snows, I'm staying in VA. That's what he has online video feeds to his services for. Still, it's funny how many people in the world can come to a conclusion as to the content of your character based on where you are on any given day. Nobody asks "why" anymore, we live in a fast-paced world with all the answers, and apparently there are folks out there with "answers" about me. Go figure. People have labeled me as lazy for not working, others have labeled me lost because I'm not attending the church THEY go to. Others have labeled me crazy because I was honest about my struggle with mental illness.
And still others have just written me off altogether, because I'm not able to go party with them. And there are those "Christians" who won't touch me with a ten-foot pole because Steve and I aren't married. Ah, if they knew the truth of this distasteful situation (WHY we're not married), they'd be even more shocked. Still, I have the right to ask my future husband get his house in order before I take his name. And I feel it to be wrong to bring unnecessary confusion and pain to my son by separating from his father. We are the only people he feels completely comfortable with. He may not be able to talk, but I know it would bother him if his father were not there. I went on vacation without Steve once, and had to go home early, because Little Man is used to sleeping between us. He kept reaching out for his father in the night. Imagine a more permanent situation. He will walk through the house looking for us and calling for us if we're not there. I'm not going to cause him pain for the sake of anyone's scruples. I anxiously await the day when I can legally call myself Steve's wife. Believe me, I don't like this situation any more than anyone else. Hopefully by spring it'll be rectified.
It makes me wonder about my own judgment though, how in blazes I surrounded myself with such people. Well they aren't here anymore and the crickets are chirping a little too loudly for me, but it is what it is. I'm trying not to be bitter and go back to my antisocial ways. I've spent most of my life without friends. I guess my early 20s were a time when I learned to be more sociable. Turning inward would go completely against any sort of preparation for ministry. Instead, I'm choosing to use this time of solitude as a lesson. I fight the loneliness every day. I have to remind myself that most people are alone inside their own heads. I reach out to those who I know are like me, and ironically most of these folks are online pen pals, people I've never met, but people who seem to take more of an interest in my life than people right down the street. I've stopped sending emails to a "friend" who lives less than a mile away. I get the point. I just wish it hadn't come to that. If my company was so distasteful, wouldn't the right thing to do have been to tell me?
Ever since I was a little kid, and I learned that lying to inflate myself only made me look rediculous, I've been adamant about telling the truth. I'm far too serious for most, including poor Steve. I believe in the value of one's words, so I don't joke. That often creates a disconnect between me and my significant other, because he likes to tease. But I feel that if my word is to have any worth, I can't be light with it. So if it were me, and I felt that someone's company wasn't in my best interest, I'd tell them so. Gently, but honestly. I wish that had been done to me. This isolation hurts, and it's not easy for me to admit that.
My therapist has challenged me to get out and be sociable again. I'm not quite ready yet. I've come to the conclusion that for now, it's best to be quiet and stay at home. As I rebuild my life, perhaps I'll come in contact with people I share interests with (LOL, that'll be the day...another 28-year-old with a passion for Tudor England). It's going to take a few years for me and Steve to get to where we want to be in our lives. The light is growing brighter at the end of the tunnel.
I just have to keep walking.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Little Steve is growing in both stature and attitude. We push things farther and farther back on the dining room table, as well as the little coffee tables, but he still manages to reach what he wants. He's still eating paper. It's so cute to see, when you move something away from him, the look on his face says, "but I want it, I WANT IT!" If he throws one more bottle at me, I'm gonna suplex him. I swear.
Because of the temperature problems in this apartment, Little Man is still sleeping with us. A few nights back, I had put him down to sleep in his crib and gone to wash some conditioner out of my hair. I come out of the bathroom about 10 minutes later, and Steve is in the bedroom. Little Man is in the middle of the bed fast asleep. I ask Steve, "did you put him there?" He tells me, "no, he was there when I got there!" Little Man let us know where he planned to sleep.
He kicks like the dickens, so I would love for him to sleep in his own bed. But it gets so cold at night, so I feel guilty about leaving him in that crib, when the warmest place is in between us. But we wake up at least 4-5 times per night with a foot in our mouths. By morning, Mommy is not a happy camper. But whatever makes the gremlin feel secure. We're setting up his room this spring, if finances allow. I want to put bunk beds in there, so he can sleep on the bottom bunk wiht a bedrail, and the girls will both have a bed when they come up to visit. Mickey Mouse theme! Wal-mart has an entire line of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse bedding and accessories. And Ikea has the right furniture.
School is going well, so far I've made perfect scores on all my assignments. That sure does feel good. I still remember thinking that I was so stupid when I was growing up. Side note: my son is very determined. He likes to pull paper out of the printer to eat. When I put it out of his reach, he stood up on one of his toys to get to it! Oh my gosh!
Life is kind of quiet in this house, but I wish it were quieter. I still find myself worrying about money all the time. I may just give up and go back to work ASAP. Right now it doesn't really matter if I hate my job, at least we won't struggle. We're alright at the moment between my tiny tax refund and school refunds, but I was hoping for a slightly larger nest egg to get us through the year. It's not to spend, it's just to look at. Oh well.
I'm planning big things for Valentine's Day/Our Anniversary. Pictures to come!
Monday, January 4, 2010
2009 was a difficult year, but I learned lots of lessons. I think one of the biggest ones was to take care of myself. So from now on I'm doing that more. I can't give or serve if I run myself out.
Little Steve turns 1 today. I have a toddler. I can't believe it. I still take comfort in those moments when he wants me to hold him (and his bottle!), as I do miss my little peanut.
I can't believe that it's been a year. The past year has truly gone by in a flash, can it have really happed so quickly? I'm thinking back on this day last year, the weather wasn't as cold, but it was a sunny day like today. At this time last year I was hollering (haha, I can laugh about it now) at the top of my lungs. I was NOT prepared for labor. But when I finally released him into this world, and I got to hold him, it was like the poles shifted. At least they did in my world.
My son is like my fuel, he's the reason I get up in the morning (even when I don't want to!!!!), he's the reason I don't (and can't) give up. He brings me immense joy (and at times, like when he's taking things out of the trash can or reaching into the toilet, immense frustration). He's so spirited and funny. I believe that he will talk soon. It's so cute, seeing him try to express what he wants or needs. He'll come to you grunting, and I swear I've seen him stamp his foot a time or two. The temper tantrums are amusing to a point. He's learning to like "people food". His current favorite is potato chips. However, he hasn't learned to completely chew them, so eventually Mommy ends up cleaning up the carpet. Ah, but I'm used to it now.
Little Steve was very sick the week before Christmas. It was a frightening time. He woke up on Sunday the 12th, feeling very irritable. Early Monday morning I took him to the ER because he was running a high fever, and I personally wasn't feeling that well, either. They didn't find anything wrong with him at that time, and they didn't find anything wrong with me. They figured it was just a cold. That irritated Mama, because a cold doesn't give a baby a fever of 103.7. Well, we took him home and kept giving him Tylenol.
When the Tylenol wore off, his fever came back. For a week straight. Two more ER visits, and we learned he had an ear infection. We got some antibiotics on the second visit, but two days later Little Man was very dehydrated. It's a scary thing when you see that your child is not himself. All day Sunday Little Man either slept or just lay in bed. This is a child who wakes up happy and doesn't stop running until he's about to drop. Then it's time to crawl onto Mommy and go to sleep. His fever kept coming back and I asked Steve to look up signs of dehydration. We took the baby back to the ER, and this time they tried to give him an IV. Didn't go over well. Besides the fact that he was dehydrated, you can't expect an 11-month-old to understand why his hand is suddenly on fire. 4 people could not pin him down, two of those people were his parents. After they gave up on the IV for a while, he started drinking and going to he bathroom again, so we were released, and we took him home. A few days later, he was back to his old self. Just in time to enjoy Christmas.
School starts for me today. I had to quit my job in light of Little Man getting sick, as there was no one to care for him. Steve has no leave, and when your child has a fever, daycare cannot keep them. I had trouble getting my boss to understand this. But I forgive her, she is young, rich, and as yet without children. Her bottom dollar is her bottom line. My son is my raison d'etre. Bottom line for me is that I'm a mother before I am ANYTHING else. I could not expect her to understand that, and as the week went on and he didn't get better, I realized that I had made the best choice for my family, even if it meant that we might suffer temporarily on the financial front. At the end of the day, God meets our needs. I have seen that time and time again. We may not drive a fancy car or live in a big house, but when it comes to love, my son is a Prince among princes. He is secure in the knowledge that his parents are united around him, and that is worth more to me than any worldly accolades.
I'm continuing my Christian studies degree. As I've sat over the past few weeks and thought about my work life, I've come to realize that my unhappiness in my place of work has stemmed from the fact that often I have operated from a different place of ethics than many I have worked with. I believe that the workplace is hard for any Believer. You are supposed to approach situations differently with the knowledge that you have of Christ. But I have come to learn that I'm too much of a caretaker to just make money for people. I have plans for what I'm to do with my degree, but that is several years down the line. I'm choosing to just pray on it and tuck those plans within myself or a while.
As I sit and think about it, I realize that I'm never going to be a "success" by worldly standards. At least it is not my goal to be. I'll probably never be rich, I'll never be a CEO. But I know now that God has given me all the tools I need to be happy in life, and also all the tools I need to give back and serve. I'm growing a bit weary of the materialism in this world; it's all fine and dandy to have nice things, but these days people place their sense of self on these things that they cannot take with them when they leave here. I want to build something that lasts...even after I'm gone from this world. In the mind of my son, as well as in the life to come. Perhaps elsewhere as well. If I'm to "make a name for myself", let it be doing something other than getting rich. I'm not knocking money, it's just that I've seen the emptiness that comes from just relying on that. Our media is flooded with people, youth especially who are placing too much stock in what they can accrue. It's not healthy.
Well, my son is too quiet. Time to go see what he's torn up now. :-)