Monday, January 28, 2013

And the sh*t has hit the fan...

It looks like I will be with Steven 24/7/365 in a few weeks. My husband is about to lose his job, having done hell knows what, and I cannot seem to get the school system to understand just how much danger Steven is in right now, due to the instability of his father. I cannot even get the principal to acknowledge me. They're so concerned about my son, what with him having the misfortune of being born to the parents that he has (because according to this state, I am just as much to blame as Steve for being his victim), but not concerned enough to actually help me protect him. When Steve loses everything, the last thing he will grab for before he self-destructs is my son. I don't want my son to be hurt or worse.

I am hoping that I can switch Steven's school (something that I originally didn't want to do) to a place that would be very hard for Steve to get to, but there is no guarantee of that. It's actually the school he is supposed to be attending; I had requested that he stay at his current school in an attempt to maintain stability for him. But it seems like no matter how hard I try, I cannot do this at all. I made a huge mistake in  my choice of husband, and now that he has finally hit rock bottom, I fear that Steven and I will really pay for it.

I have tried to talk to someone at the school, but they're too busy gossiping about this situation to do anything. I do believe that some people there are trying to be tactful, but all in all, I'm seen as a statistic. Young, unemployed, single, minority. Perfect mix for an effed up life. These things mean that my efforts mean nothing.

Well they're wrong.

I shall request that my son's school be changed, in the hopes that there will be just too much effort involved for my husband to try to get to him. Hell, it'll be difficult for me to get to him, but that barrier is the point. I'm trying to protect my child.

If this doesn't work, I will pull him out of school. It'll be hard, never getting a break. It'll be tiring. But until Steve jumps off of whatever cliff he's headed for, I have to protect my son. Until my husband is either stripped of custody, dead or in jail, my son is not safe. And that is that. And I can't live without  my little boy. He's been through enough. All I want to do is protect him.

People honestly act like Steve came up to me on the first day and said, "hi, I'm a batterer...can I take you out to dinner?"


Saturday, January 26, 2013

What Makes a Successful Life?

Steve called me a failure today. And while I know that I should not be taking judgment from someone who can't heat up food without setting off all the smoke detectors in his building, that word hits close to home.

Because I do feel like a failure. My life was supposed to be far more settled now than it is, and I can't totally blame external circumstances for that.

Still, I didn't have to buck my career (and risk my life) to have his child. I didn't have to spend the past five years parenting two people. I didn't have to sacrifice my last to ensure that someone could keep drinking.

I feel like I'm constantly being held responsible for not preempting someone else's abusive behavior. When everything hits the fan, it seems like the only focus is on how I couldn't have seen it coming. Silly me, where are my super powers?

My soon-to-be ex hurls a lot at me. He wants me to trust him (after all he has put me through); he wants to be friends. He's "working on" (or so he says) the issues that have made his own life a mess to date. Okay, so I don't have my own place and a fancy job title. To be honest, those are the only two things that I lack. Yes, they are large, but the absence of them is not permanent. At least I'm not an addict with a criminal record. Doesn't that amount for anything? In my family, and with my had I gotten pregnant as a kid, ended up in jail a few times, and have reason to go to some sort of Anonymous meeting today, I'd get more respect from these people. To be honest, I think they hate me because I have never stopped looking for a safe way to get off of this merry-go-round.

While I understand that he does not like it when I tell him things about himself, those things are true. They are proven fact. There are court records to back them up. That doesn't mean that he (or even my family) should feel they have the right to call me psychotic, a failure, a malingerer, or evil. I am none of those things. Yes, I struggle with depression.You would too if your parents abused and abandoned you. It kind of does something to you, such a situation. Yes, I am out of work. I am not alone. At one time I thought the reasons for it were legitimate, but apparently no longer. And it doesn't seem to matter that I don't intend for it to be that way for long. Yes, I am sick. But my illness is not fake. Imagine, being blamed for a doctor's unwillingness to do a few tests. It's taken me five years to get the answers I have now. No, I am not evil. I am setting boundaries. In fact, I have been laying them down all my life, but I live amongst a truly enmeshed group of people. They have no idea what it means to allow someone their individuality, everything is caught up in covering up the dysfunction of this family unit (and I mean my mom's side).

No one's ever really called me a failure before. And though this came from someone whose addiction has cost him his family and his friends, the accusation hurt no less. Because when I am alone, that is exactly what I feel like.

I'm not going to let it sit within me, though. I will get up today, like every other day, and try to keep moving. So it's a snail's pace. It's progress. That may only count for something in my world, but it's something.

I just wish someone could tell me the secret to a successful life. I'm ready for it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Poem for Homeless Children

One night I wrote this for my son, as I sought a way to put into words my feelings for him during this time of ours. While we are not homeless, moving from place to place does affect Steven. It bothers me sometimes that he will move around on average once per year of his life by the time he is five. It is my hope that someday soon we will stay someplace long term. While I want my son to experience the joy of travel, it was not my intention for it to happen this way.

When writing this, I thought about all the parents who find themselves homeless or displaced with children in tow.

So, on to the poem.

A Poem for the Homeless Child

No matter where we go child,
No matter what we do,
If we are together, we are home.
Our "home" is me and you.
I know we seem to move a lot,
You've no place to call your bed.
But the home you seek is in my arms,
Where you now rest your head.
One day it will not be this way,
One day it all will end.
We'll settle down and cease to roam,
Life will be normal again.
Yes times are hard and I know you've seen
the worry I try to hide,
Don't be afraid to lean on me,
It's quite alright to cry.
I'll keep you safe, I'll keep you warm,
I'll shelter you from harm.
Our struggle is soon ending,
There's no cause for alarm.
Now close your eyes and go to sleep,
Dream sweet dreams of tomorrow.
For tomorrow is coming and brings with it,
A cure for both our sorrows.
No matter where we end up child,
This much I know is true:
My true home has always been
Wherever I find you

I love you, Steven.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Phoenix Rising

I wish that I could draw. If I could, I would draw a picture of a woman with phoenix wings, trying desperately to lift herself out of the quicksand that she is knee deep in.  My mind is filled with tons of images, but the only way that I know how to bring them forth is through writing.

I really feel that quicksand has been that which I have been expected to spring forth from in life. And I am insanely jealous of those who actually had a solid foundation on which to build, or from which to take flight. I have no idea how I am supposed to achieve the same results that my more supported contemporaries have, without the same tools to work with. Yet I know that if I ever want to say that I am happy with my life, I have to.

It’s just so tremendously difficult.

Each and every day feels like a proverbial plastic bag covering me entirely; I can neither breathe nor move. I try to claw my way out of it, but the material is too thick. Each day I search for the tool that will serve as the blade that will free me, and each night I lie down a little weaker than I was the day before, a little more deprived of this indescribable essence that brings a light to so many faces…just not mine. I am so scared that one day I won’t get up again, and that is just not an option right now.

What do I do?

The only people I can truly speak of this with are people who are paid to listen, and while I am grateful for their service (not to mention the type of character it requires to do what they do), it would be nice to have someone listen who wasn't getting anything out of it. I do not listen to others for gain; I seek to give of myself. That is what my name means, listener. I have done so for years to people who are now too busy shining to ever contemplate coming near my darkness. That hurts.

Still, today is a new day. I shall fill my moments with movement, so that the time passes. Only a few hours until I can lie down and close my eyes again…and forget. At least for a little while. 

"Don't talk about it."

Last night I spoke to one of my aunts who commented on how I make allusions to my mother in public forums. She asked me not to do this, as this was “not me”. I paid her lip service, but I am honestly growing weary of this idea that just because the woman reluctantly (and I do mean reluctantly) gave birth to me, I am supposed to hide her sins against me.

Since when did a child not have the basic rights to being loved and treated decently? Everyone has that right, but it seems that few have that privilege.

I find it ironic that my mother and her sisters could treat their mother abhorrently for years, not to mention continue to lie about their actions towards her (even though the kids remember), yet expect nothing short of silence from their children on the subject of how said children were abused. I’m tired of the denial. My mother is a narcissist, she has borderline tendencies, and she has forcefully and deliberately messed up my life for years. So I’m living with her for a few months. So what? If she had signed my damn financial aid forms so I could go to college right out of high school, I’d be on a completely different path, and I would never have set foot back here.

She knows what she’s doing with her little offers of “help”. “Helping” me makes her look good to others right now, you can be for damned sure that every person whose opinion matters to her knows about her “wayward” daughter who, despite all of the tireless efforts from my mother, has not been able to get her life together. Notice that the truth does not come into play here.

How do you explain to someone who knows what the love of a parent means, not to mention feels like, what it’s like to be so badly abused and manipulated that your life has been practically undone? Most people hear the word “mother”, and think “nurturer”. Yeah, in an ideal world. But the truth is, some mothers are awful. They should not have had kids. They abuse their kids, they seek to use their kids for their own pleasure, and they blur the lines between themselves and their children…all of these things with disastrous results.

I’m sorry, but I am not going to keep quiet anymore. I truly feel that denial will cost me my life, or worse, the future of my son. Holding all this in has created something toxic within me. It is not healthy. It is not healthy to be around me when I’m suppressing this. I have to deal with it, get it out.

And unfortunately for Mom and her ardent supporters, that means telling the truth about her.

So the woman has money and an outward appearance of respectability. To me she was a monster. Who is anyone to tell me that I should not speak of that? Or that speaking of that is “not me”? You mean it’s not the aspect of my character that you are used to. Well, I’m sorry. Things change. And if I ever want my life to change, I have to be truthful about that which is not working.

I was abused. Severely. Physically, emotionally and psychologically. Ignoring this will only continue the cycle, and perhaps my son means more to me than I meant to my mother. I mean, at least I was happy he was on the way. I grew up hearing how pissed my mother was when she found out she was pregnant with me. Am I the only one who finds that significant? 

Don’t talk about it, indeed. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Reawakening the Muse

I seriously should be doing schoolwork, but schoolwork is boring. I always manage to finish it anyway. I cannot believe I'm saying this, but school is not a challenge. Dude. That is a surprise to me, it seriously is. I was raised to think that I was dumb, and between a D average in school and folks telling me how inadequate I was, I believed it. Turns out the reason why my grades sucked, was because there was so much going on at home. But I digress...I'm totally off topic. Yes, I should be doing schoolwork, no school is not a challenge, yes that amuses me, but I really need to get to the topic of today's blog.

I have decided to go pour cold water on my Muse. She is an alter ego, and I christened her Lyricist a long time ago. Time to wake up, chica. I'm terribly bored. And when I'm bored I get irritable. And irritable Sam is not someone you want to deal with. I don't want to deal with her, so please come out and play, Lyr. Please...

I wrote my first song when I was 14, back in the days when I was filled with romantic idealism and naivete. My songs reflect it, all of them are really sappy, and not fitting my character today at all. Still, they are precious to me. These days, a love song from me would probably feature a great deal of dysfunction. Hey, you write what you know.

That first song actually took me 7 years to finish the lyrics. I'm that picky. I've penned enough since then to make an album, but the roadblock came in under the guise of not being able to actually notate music. Well, I have nothing but time on my hands now...instead of tossing and turning in the throes of my cabin fever during the day, I can teach myself stuff.

So I've started writing again...and I actually finished a song that has literally been sitting in my memory for almost 11 years. I am strange.

Next up is the purchase of a decent keyboard, as well as music production software. I have plans. If I have to sit here in this situation, I will not be idle. I can't help being poor, but I can help whether or not I'm ignorant. Stupidity doesn't fit me well. Neither does letting my creativity stifle. It's been too long.

Morning, Lyricist.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Loss of Faith

I really have a problem with a label being put upon what I am at this moment when it comes to religious belief or spirituality, because I don't know. I think that when it comes to religion, I utterly reject it at this point, because it's always been an exercise in self-loathing to me. I thought that religious community would be the key to a sort of family and acceptance, but that was never the case. I got tired of not measuring up to man's standards. Seriously, screw you. You tell me I am not adequate enough, but I look at the Proverbs 31 woman, and I'm holding it down just like she did. Yet, I don't ascribe to your creeds, dress the way you do, speak the way you do or necessarily believe the way you do, and so you cast me out. Well...what's a girl to do? Move on, that's what.

And I honestly feel better having done so. I don't beat myself up anymore, because it's Sunday and I'm home sick in bed. I used to try to "make up for it" by studying on my own, but ultimately that was never adequate enough for any religious system I belonged to. When attendance was taken, I was marked absent, and that was that.

Not to mention, the past 8 years in this country, and what I have seen people do who profess to be Christians. I cannot accept the "no true Scotsman" argument anymore. Where is all the outrage at these so-called perpetrators? Where was the uprising from the religious community, each and every time Westboro showed it's proverbial behind again, or each time a pastor started talking out his neck about putting gay people inside an area with an electric fence, so they could all die off? Where was the outrage?

I'll tell you where it was. Swaying and moving to the upbeat music on Sunday. Or at Chik-fil-A.

Unh-uh. Not me. I don't want to be associated with America's brand of Christianity, this idea that if you are rich you are favored by God, and that those who are suffering somehow deserved it. That is NOT what Jesus said. Maybe if I ever get to escape this madhouse and move to Europe, I would find a more comfortable place for the faith of my fathers, something more progressive that leaves room for the worldviews of others. But not here. It doesn't exist here.

And let's not forget the admonitions that the reason why I have had the life I have is because I'm "not ready" for God's blessing. Seriously? Can you quanitfy that? Explain to me how I have only been ready for abuse, rejection, stains on my character and illness? Explain to me what I am doing wrong that is keeping me from being loved, accepted and healthy? Please? Also, back up your assertions biblically. Thank you.

For your information, yes I am ready for my blessings. I was born ready. I was born ready to be loved, to be treated with kindness and respect towards my person. Yes. And I find it insulting that anyone would try to insinuate otherwise. Seriously, vessel of clay, who are you to tell me?

I'm at a crossroads at this point. It's not like my petitions have varied over the years. I can honestly count them on one hand. They are simple. They are reasonable. I feel like I can do one of two things: walk down the path that concludes that no one is listening (nor has there ever been), or continue on the outside looking in down the other path filled with people who feel that the support systems they were born into were God-given. So I decided before I got here that I just wanted a sucky existence?

Yeah? No.

It's a New Day

The temptation to stay in bed was strong this morning; I almost scrapped my self-imposed schedule and kept my dark curtains closed. :-) These thoughts were running through my head when Steven popped up a few hours before dawn wanting to party. He was in full-on giggle mode at bedtime last night. It's dark in the room, we're under the covers, and he's laughing like we're at a comedy show. Well in reality, his twitching was due to the fact that his diaper was wet, but he didn't seem to want to go back to sleep after I changed him. And I'm not the most cuddly person at that time of night. Seriously, leave me the hell alone...

But you can't really say that to your child, can you? So I wake up enough to be nice, bite my tongue, and pull him closer, because I know he needs the reassurance that my physical touch provides. His teacher said he was a bit clingy at school yesterday. I know that he senses the undercurrents of anxiety that surround him. My precious baby. Will we ever get out of this? Can I bring forth into reality the visions I have in my head of the kind of childhood I want him to have?

Steven's father smelled like alcohol when I went to get the baby from him this weekend. I have thrown down the gauntlet, and told him that I shall not let him see Steven again. I always told myself that I would not be "that type of woman" (it's amazing the things that I swore I would never do, that I find myself doing; note to self: stop that), that I would never keep a man from his kids. But after five years of counseling, cajoling, exhortations of unconditional acceptance, I can't do it anymore. I always thought that people really didn't enjoy being miserable (or that my mom was the only one who did). I was wrong. There truly are people who do not want to do the work required to be happy. It's amazing to me! As morose as this blog has been since October of 2010, I do want to be happy. The status quo is not acceptable, not by any means. And I know what I knew as a child; due to my circumstances, getting to that place called "happiness" would take more work than usual. It takes work for most everyone, but it was going to take an extreme effort for me, and those like me who struggle with depression.

Apparently my husband does not want to do that work. So be it. But he shall not drag my son down with him.

My biggest fear is that my husband's negligence due to his drinking, would equate to tragedy when it came to my son. I cannot and will not let that happen. Somehow, I will right this wrong. I have to be brave, only take a few minutes to sit down and cry. After that, time to get back up and keep moving.

I think that one of the things that bugs me the most is this feeling of not getting anything accomplished. Well, I'm back to list-making and schedules. I usually don't accomplish everything on my daily checklist (goodness, who does?), but at least I get some stuff done. And these days, I've decided that since I'm at the mercy of Social Security, I might as well continue my education...within and outside of the university.

I have my traditional classes, but since the library is right up the road, I'm trying to broaden my horizons (as well as unearth some old dreams). My daily schedule currently consists of school work, vocal exercises (when no one's home, I'm still shy about people hearing me after all this time), music theory, and languages when I'm done with that. The evening is spent puttering around and tending to Steven. He pretty much wants me to leave him alone with his iPad, but occasionally it becomes time to cuddle and wrestle. I love tickling him, he has the most adorable little giggle, and when you stop, he takes your hand and puts it back where you were tickling him, as if to say "do it again".

Last night he fed himself with a spoon. We are still working on that, but that is the first meal in over a year that he has fed himself, using an actual utensil. He was making progress around this time last year, but we lost that progress when we moved back in with his father. Speech, signs of self-sufficiency, all gone.

I can't do it anymore. He shouldn't have to. I told his father, that the reason why Steven clung to him is because instinct and need told him to. Steven doesn't yet have the capacity to analyze what his father does; at that age parents are deities. But I won't let my child be struck down by this one. Oh no.

Oh, what a ride I have ahead of me. But I have to keep going. I have to. No other choice. Sit down and cry for a second, get up and hustle. It's a new day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Surviving on Fumes of Hope

Most people are psyched about the New Year, and all of the resolutions that they have planned. While I have a slew of goals and plans (not to mention some significant early weight loss...nine pounds, whoohooo), I find myself feeling a lot more cautious than perhaps I have in past years.

I slept through the New Year like I normally do, I am definitely a grinch in that aspect. I found myself quite irritated one year when I accidentally fell asleep, only to have my phone go off at what seemed to be ten-minute intervals until dawn, from all the well-wishers in my life. I (think I) kindly let them know not to wish me happy new year until the following morning in future. That was back when I actually got to sleep late.

The holidays were hard. I struggled with things that I thought I had left far in my wake; I spent this year alone, and there was one point when I was tired in a way that you should not ever feel. This type of weariness takes people from this earth far too early; I lay in bed and stared at the bottle that could very well have taken me out of my son's life. While I often feel like he is the only person who would be impacted by my death, I know that is not true, and if I achieve only one goal this year, I want it to be that I will come out of this shell I have buried myself in. Because the loneliness is killing me, and even though the pain is intense, I cannot help but be ever aware of the child in my life who didn't ask to be here. A long time ago a little girl was brought into this world unwanted. She didn't ask to be here, either. Yet she was always treated as if this were a conscious choice that she made...and I am still living with those scars. Some days I just hang my head and think that I will never escape this, the wounds that stem from what it means to be raised with little to no love. I would give anything for my son not to be me; his formative years have already been messed up enough. So, I guess the bottom line is that I no longer live for myself. If what you can call what I am doing living.

Hopefully the end of this year will see me a divorced woman. If I learned anything last year, it was that perhaps my definitions of "what is supposed to be" are not as concrete as I thought they were. I married my son's father, in spite of his abusive ways, because my parents hurt me so badly by their divorce. I felt that they could have worked through their problems, for the sake of the children who needed them. Especially me. My parents finalized their divorce before they ever said a word to me, and left me with few explanations. The years that followed were filled with the sound of my father's absence, and the pain of my mother's rage.I thought that the worst thing I could ever do to Steven would be to give him a life in which he was being passed from one parent to the other. It turns out that his father and I fought so much that the poor child prefers us being apart. I cannot forgive myself for that.

I left Steve for the final time on what was his 41st birthday. The apartment reeked of alcohol, and I got tired of looking at this person who was not the person who initially pursued me. I mean, sure, people change...but this change was too much, far too drastic. I was tired of the dance of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I had had enough, and that day as we left, Steven held on to my mother for dear life. I don't want my son to grow up scared. He's been resilient, but it's time for me to stop testing that.

I have learned some very bitter lessons about what it means to be the victim of domestic violence. I have learned that the justice system will grant your abuser parental rights until he or she does irreparable damage to the child or children you have in common, that a threat to YOU is not enough to warrant your abuser not having access to your kids. So guess what? Your abuser still has access to you, even if you take out a protective order. That order really, truly is only a piece of paper.

I have learned how much women judge. The women at Steven's school, the teachers, the admins. So many people staring at me, so many whispers. The penniless woman with the special needs child, who just couldn't seem to leave her husband. So many indignant, ignorant women who just do not understand that it's usually not a case of loving this monster you are with. Me, the only place I had to go is somewhere I do not want to be; homeless shelters have waiting lists here, and I have to place myself in a position to keep Steven's educational situation as stable as possible, no matter what it does to me. I cope by withdrawal and sarcasm. My reputation in my family is that of a person who does not like others at all, but I'm simply hurting too much right now to answer prodding questions.

I have tried to tell the women who judge me for going back twice that what happened to me could most definitely happen to them, that it's not as cut and dry as they seem to think. Domestic violence is not always a knock-down, drag-out fight with the kids either watching on the couch or cowering in their rooms, with their hands over their ears, trying to block out the screaming. The violence can be so surreptitious that when the woman flees, her children may not understand...which can lead to parental alienation. The abuser will use the anger of his children to further control his wife. It happens, and despite all the testimonies to this, the courts still turn a blind eye to what is happening. The court system is a minefield for the victim of domestic violence.

Shelters are ALWAYS full, so you will not be taken until you are bruised, beaten, or worse. The court system will say that most all evidence is "heresay", and that very few things short of physical injuries or you magically managing to record your abuser abusing you (how in the hell...seriously?) will stand up in court. It's not cut and dry. I dropped a protective order last year, because the judge denied the preliminary order (in spite of what was already on record), and my lawyer told me that the case was shaky. He also told me that if I were to lose the case, that this could be held against me when it came time to file for custody. I understand that he had an obligation to be truthful with me, but none of these things gave me the confidence he wanted me to have for this case. I was asked to involve a woman with less protection than I, to risk her safety and that of her four kids so that I could have a piece of paper that would most likely just ensure that if it were violated, I would not live to be able to testify to what happened. Somehow, throughout all the fear, throughout all of this, I was supposed to muster up some sense of indignation and just walk out with my child to nothing....because that was what we ended up with each time we have lost our home. No, I am not going back. I only went back for my child, love didn't enter the equation after the second time he lost his mind. When he started threatening to kill me in June of last year (three times when sober, so claims of alcoholism are obsolete as far as I am concerned), hatred started to build once the fear died down. Seriously, it's not as easy as many women seem to think. I'm glad they have such high self-esteem, but ALL of that will flee the first time that man hits them. It will. They just don't know it yet.

I look back and see the red flags I should have picked up, the situations that should have given me pause, and I grieve. But grief is something I can only indulge in for a moment when it comes to my failed marriage. I should never have said those vows in the first place. However, had I not given this man the time of day, I would not have my child...and as a result, I would not have my life. That boy is my heart with limbs attached to it, and though I spend most of my day tired and gruff, I know that he knows that I love him.

How am I supposed to make a life out of the ashes that surround me? I have no idea. Illness, lack of formal education, a career that has stalled. No home, no money, and only a gigantic spectre of fear in front of me when I contemplate my future. Something has to give, break, materialize...for my son's sake it has to. I cannot carry this child through life on nothing. And while that which I have been surviving on for so long (hope) is a beautiful thing for him to have on his own, it cannot provide a roof over his head, food on the table, or something to enjoy at Christmas. All of that is up to me.

I sit sometimes and wonder if my life in particular is a self-fulfilling prophecy, or if I have a particular gift of premonition. These days I try not to dwell on my fears much at all, because I sit in a situation where the fears of my youth have come true in a frightening way. I feared being the age that I am, with a life that I could not be proud of....alone. For while I am surrounded by people, no one reaches me. I live out my days inside my head, my imagination tucked around me, because at least my illusions cannot hurt me. I cover my eyes and shield my heart, for in here no one can touch me. But I know that if I ever wish to truly live...I have to come out.

I am terrified. But it is a new year, and so I will emerge, bit by bit. I just hope that this year does not bring more pain. Yes, I have a high tolerance for it, yes I am resilient, yes I am strong. But one day I will break. What then? What about my son? That's the one thing that haunts me night and day. No one around me has the capacity to care for my son like I do, because due to their dislike of me, they never bothered to learn. What would his life be like in a world full of people who never sought to learn how to even talk to him?

And I am undone. My son just came over, took me in his arms and held me. There is something in me that knows it's okay for your children to see you cry; how else will they know it is okay for them to show emotion? But my four-year-old non-verbal child should not be comforting me. Still, he did; he wrapped his arms around me and kissed my forehead, as the tears fell down my face. If I know no other deep love in this life, at least I have his. And in that I am blessed.

It is a new year.