Monday, August 24, 2015

Conversation With My Twelve Year Old..

Today was as normal as any other..
 I made it to the bus on time with roughly 10 minutes to spare. I talked with a few friends until the bus arrived and one by one.. my littles unloaded and came bounding for my car. With one last errand in mind, I knew we would be home with plenty of time to get homework done and head off to a friend's birthday dinner.
 As my kids got situated, seat belts fastened.. I put my beautifully, dirty, white Toyota Highlander into drive and headed off for our destination. It just so happened to be Aubrey's turn in the front seat. (This would be my beautiful, incredibly intelligent, fun loving, caring, giving, easy going, people pleasing, oldest of four.. child... Bonus Child for those of you keeping track.) I turned to her and asked how her day went, as I do with each and every one of them as we progress on our drive. She started telling me about a class assignment they are working on and how her home room teacher asked each kid to list three things wrong with America. She went on to list things one and two... but her third, left me a little off put and almost, well a lot, sad. Her third answer was that we have "to many homeless people and people who aren't supposed to be "here", taking the jobs." .. It was as though she were reading a script. This couldn't be the same child I described above, could it?
 I let her finish, she told me about the book they are reading and then she trailed off. Before I could move on to the next child and ask about their day, I had to spit out what was rattling around in my brain as I listened to my twelve year old talk.
 I looked over at her as we stopped at a red light and I asked, "What makes you think that every homeless person is lazy? Why would you assume someone has come in and taken their job?" and she looked back at me, blankly, and replied, "I don't know." I said, "Where have you heard something like that? I find it hard to believe this is a conclusion you have come to on your own?" and she said, "I don't know, I've heard stories."
 UGHHHHHH... I took my Mommy moment, not to be mad.. but to serve my child I healthy helping of humble pie.
 I explained to her that when I was in the 5th grade, circumstances had landed my Mom and Me in a homeless shelter, right here in Victorville. All our belongings, packed into the Ford Taurus she was doing everything in her power to make the payments on.. and us sleeping in a large, over crowded room with what felt like hundreds of other women and children. (Im sure it was only 20.. but it felt like way more.) My grandpa had just been laid off, as would happen many times later and no one could afford to take us in, trust my mom to be in their home.. and I was stupidly committed to staying by my Mom's side and refused to stay anywhere else.
 I explained that most people who are homeless, aren't lazy, hustlers that you see in front of fast food establishments.. I explained PTSD and mental illnesses, without boring her to death. I asked her how she expected these "lazy" people to get jobs if they don't have an address to put on an application or a phone number they can be reached at?
 She did not have an answer.. to which I continued that, at any moment.. If I were in a car accident or injured my arm or leg and was unable to work.. our house hold would no longer be able to function as is does. I explained that it takes both her father and me to contribute to this house hold. If such thing were to happen to me, would I become lazy in her eyes?
 After a few quiet moments, I explained that I don't share stories often about my child hood, because I don't want my children to know a life like the one I grew up in. I work so hard so that they can have the life they do.. not so that they can turn their nose up at people who have less then..
 I realized, my lack of sharing, has created the exact opposite in my child then that of what I would like to see in her heart.
 I hope today she took something away from our discussion.. and we never did discuss the "people who come in and take the jobs".. I don't exactly know what she meant by that.
 I try my best to show my children that we give with an open heart and we give what we can when we can. They have seen me hand someone begging money, they have witnessed me pay for someone else groceries, they have helped me make dinners for other families in need. We have gone through our clothes countless times and given them to others, passed on our gently used hand me downs. I have always hoped these would be lessons in listening to your heart and doing something when your heart and brain collide with those ideas.
 I hope that today as we all ate that humble pie, my children will think a little more before they judge.. and even more so before they speak.
 I know that my children will only learn these lessons when taught and they are so blessed to have SO many people to catch them if things were to ever spiral downward, however, I don't want them to think that it's ok to pass judgment on someone else's story because at the end of the day, you don't know the burdens they carry or why they are who they are.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Most Nights, I Just Don't Know..

It's a working title.
 Since the start of school last week I have put on this brave face, this happy go lucky attitude and a make up caked smile.. but inside, I am sad, angry, hurt and going through some shit. (Yep, it's going to be one of those "blogs"..)
 After Jason and I divorced, I sought counseling. I got to go and really grieve the loss of my Mom, the loss of a Dad I never knew and deicide what part of my life was good, bad or ugly. I got to work through the issues I had with my Mom being a drug addict, the step dad who "stepped" right on out of my life and the father I never had the chance to know. It's amazing how working through those steps and knowing how good my life is now, how experiencing those things made me a stronger person today and how they helped me identify my behavioral patterns and my choice in people as an adult.
 It's also amazing, how watching my tiny little human go through heart break, can take every step I have made it through and every ounce of grief I have healed through.. and set me right back at the beginning. It's crazy to think, that at 30 years old.. I still have to work through some "Mommy/Daddy issues".
 I have always said that no matter what, my kids won't experience what I had to experience. My kids wouldn't know that life on any level.. and no matter how hard I have to work.. My kids will have everything they need. They will have a parent who is present, they will have a home to live in, clothes to wear, shoes that fit and a parent who loves unconditionally. Sometimes, I may go to extreme.. but I am almost always, doing the most I can for my kids.
 Yet here I sit, in this stage of life.. watching my child experience cloudy milestones, a life of loss, no matter how great the amount of people in his life and the imprints that have been left that I prayed he would never know and that my friends, leaves me feeling pretty shitty inside, incredibly frustrated and dare I say.. MAD.
 That also leaves me battling my own demons, which is fine.. I am used to that but now I am learning how to battle my demons with one hand while guiding a child through his with the other.. and still trying to find time and effort for 3 other tiny humans and 1 large. Oh, and the dog.. lets not forget my year old impulse.
 Some days it feels like yesterday that our life was flipped upside down and inside out.. and others it feels like 4 months. 4 months we have spent cycling through these patterns and 4 months we have spent trying to find normal, happy and routine.
 I know I end every blog with how this will get easier and how this phase will pass.. but honestly.. I just don't know anymore. It has been 7.5 years since my mom passed. A whole lifetime ago, yet some days, its so raw.. I feel like she was just here.
 So, as much as I try to candy coat my life and tell myself it's all going to be ok.. I just can't be sure. I do know, that were doing this one day at a time.. and I am giving it my all, which some days, isn't much.
 I guess when you spend your day's doubting every word, every lecture and every action.. You're bound to get something right.. and when they lay their heads down on their pillows at night and give me sloppy kisses.. there is a peace and comfort in knowing that no matter how bad I messed up that day.. tomorrow is a new one. (That I will likely, mess up).
 I have always joked that if my kids weren't in therapy by the time they were 18.. then maybe I hadn't done my job as a parent. Little did I know that one day that wouldn't be a joke and that 1/4 of my children would end up there, sooner rather then later.
 This isn't a pity post either, by any means.. It's therapeutic for me to get this all out and somedays I feel like unloading on my husband as he walks in the door from a long work day isn't healthy for either of us. Thats when I find myself here.. typing all my heartbreak into a box and hoping that maybe, someone will take comfort in knowing that no matter how bad their day was.. They aren't Kristi Ehart and that is a thumbs up.
 I know I am strong, I know how much I have endured and how little credit I give myself. I also know how much I can handle before I break.
 Today though and for the better part of last week.. I just felt crappy. I know thats ok but I don't wanna wallow anymore. I find myself getting stuck in the mud while trying to pull Riley out and in the struggle, we both start to sink.
 Until something better or worse happens, I'll keep on keeping' on. <3

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Back To School.. (YES!!!)

Tomorrow is the day that all parent's of multiple/school aged children look forward to. It is probably, by far, the most anticipated day of the year in this home. Quickly followed by the LAST day of the school year.
 This house hold has been prepping for tomorrow for weeks! We have shopped till we dropped, we have packed our bags full of pretty pens, pencils, erasers and paper galore!
 Officially tomorrow, I am the proud Mommy of a Pre-Schooler, a Second Grader, a Fifth Grader and a Seventh Grader! It isn't even bitter sweet, I am going to bask in those three quiet hours a day, until Cooper comes home to set my life straight again. But TODAY we made sure our brand new shoes still fit and those outfits we picked out were still ok! We packed our healthy fruits into smaller bags, checked all our lists, trimmed hairs, fingers, toes, brushed teeth, set alarms and tucked into bed!!!
Then it was this Mommy's turn to prepare for tomorrow..
 As I showered, I couldn't help but burst into tears. I am talking, sad, ugly tears.. that are already coming back and forming in my eyes. It dawned on me that in all my prep and all my gusto and excitement for tomorrow.. I am clouded with a sadness that Jason won't be meeting us at the school to see Riley off into his first day of second grade. Though I know my brave, happy boy won't say it, I know he will notice it too and that breaks my heart.
 It was a quick realization tonight that forever, my son's happy milestones will be clouded with the fact that his daddy isn't physically present. For once in this entire situation I can relate to exactly how he feels.
 Tonight as I ugly cry, I am filled with a lot of anger and sad and I HATE those feelings. I am SO angry that Jay isn't here anymore and I am SO sad that Riley will always know that feeling..
 I have been thinking so much lately about how this isn't how Riley's life was supposed to be. His life wasn't supposed to mirror mine. It was not easy for Jay and I to build a friendship after divorce but we managed to make it work. We made it work for Riley because thats who mattered. Riley was supposed to always have at least 3 loving parents to support him and be present for all his events. He was supposed to have Jason, Sean and me.. because thats how its been and thats how it worked, really, really well.
 I know I need to suck it up and quit wallowing.. but it's really hard. Though I am adjusting,  I don't so much like this new standard of normal. I am super thankful for the happy stuff to recall and the time we all had with Jason but today, I selfishly would like him to be present for tomorrow and knowing he won't be makes my heart super fucking achy. (pardon my language.. but its an eff word kind of day.)