Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gratitude is my name today....

Baby M had a day full of meltdowns yesterday and that was the worst day he had had since we brought him home from the NICU.  Mr. Calm-Placid-Smiling-Baby began to crawl two weeks ago.  He did that one day and began pulling up and standing the very next day.  I thought that his new abilities would make him so happy - to be able to zip around and get to toys and mischief more easily.  But he's been increasingly crabby, and as yet, all I can blame it on is teething. 

At one point late yesterday, he displayed yet another temper tantrum, arching his back in resistance to the point that only his head and feet were touching the ground when I tried to change his diaper.  End of diaper change did not signal end of "fit" however, and it was a long hour or so of screaming despite all soothing efforts, culminating in my putting him in the crib and walking away….. and staying away for five full minutes to regain my sanity.  By the clock. 

After that, I returned to him with a bottle and picked him up like he wasn't breaking windows with his volume level and rocked him and gave him the bottle and he fell asleep.  I have begun to seriously worry about what we have ahead of us.  Two weeks of increasingly intense temper fits and general crabbiness has given me an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. 

Where we laughingly used to remark that he was "channeling his mother" as he screeched and grunted with the repeated effort to roll over from back to front……  Now we look at each other and nervously whisper, "he's SO like his mommy!"  And then my brain plays "worst case scenario" game, picturing us having to remove a screaming banchee child from a public place in a year or two…. And then fast forward to the teen years.  Anger issues?  Trying to deal with such issues in a 15 year old young man, taller than we are, at the age of 74 and 79 respectively?  Aaauuugh!   (and of course, our most basic fear is that he will follow his mother's footsteps, and end up with addiction problems himself!)

When my mind goes there, I have to forcibly find something new to think about.  It is pointless to worry about something that may not even happen.  One day at a time!

I was up at Oh-Dark-Thirty (4:30AM) today with Baby M and my husband.  Nice bottle and rocking time and then he went back down to snooze and I stumbled off to the showers.  We eventually spilled out the front door, all dressed, spiffy, Baby M fed and smiling, and rolled into the Early Developmental  Assessment Center at CHOC for what was supposedly to be a three hour evaluation involving about 8 specialists.  Physical therapy, occupational therapy, nurses, doctor, nutritionist, speech therapy, social workers, etc.  Baby M took the first part of it in stride, smiling his famous calm-placid smile, acting like the most adorable baby on the planet.

And somewhere along the way, he tested out at 10 months for gross motor skills (after the therapist shut her mouth - which had been gaping when the baby she expected to be delayed and not even able to sit alone, stood up and giggled at her).  Everything else tested at 7-9 months (cognitive, receptive language, expressive language and fine motor).  His adjusted age with prematurity taken into account is 6 months 13 days. 

We are indeed blessed.  I have to believe it is the result of the therapy he has received and the excellent care and attention provided to him at CHOC hospital.  And I will say, probably we should take a bit of credit, for the hours of work we have put into faithfully practicing every single thing the therapists have told us to work on each week.  I have no wish for him to be advanced.  On time, or close to on time is good for me.

But the baby who was so far behind at 3 months when he came off the methadone (he tested at a 1-1.5 month level across the board), has advanced a HUGE amount in the next four months! 

I am grateful for all the help he has received.

And grateful that he had a bit of a meltdown at the end of the testing, during the portion where the doctor was evaluating him.  She caught that right away.  She showed me a few techniques to control him physically and give him time to settle down, and she said that we were going to need help with that.  M's frustration level and anger were WAY out of proportion to the triggers (strangers, missed nap, and being tired of the testing situation).  She took one look at me at one point and said "you are going to need to get help with this and for his sake, you will have to learn how to help him self-soothe….or it will get even worse." 

Amen, sister.  And she gave me a referral for the help, and told me to try to get Social Services to provide it, since he is not "ours" yet.  She cautioned us to get the help anyway, if it is not a covered expense, because he is truly going to need it, and even a few months would help us learn techniques to use. 

Given that my blood pressure has been sky-high lately, I think I'll make those calls this afternoon.

We knew there were challenges ahead.  I am SO grateful for the way he has been helped to catch up to his age level (and beyond!) and for the wonderful people we've met and worked with along the way.  We are truly blessed.  Now we'll work on the next hurdle!

Prayers for all our precious children, and my daughter and her husband as they sit in their respective jail cells, that maybe, just maybe, they locate some "willingness" and seek recovery. 



Thursday, July 10, 2014


The timing is kind of surreal.  My daughter and SIL should have lost parental rights LAST Thursday, but the "matter" got continued because the jail couldn't find her to transport her to court…. Something about married name on court papers, maiden name on jail papers, added to a change in housing location…  We got up at 0h-Dark-Thirty and jumped thru endless hoops to arrive in court on time, only to wait, wait, wait, and finally be dismissed because they couldn't proceed without my daughter.  Thankfully, we were told that we would not have to come back this week when they try again.

Today, she and he are again in court, in shackles and orange jumpsuits, seeing each other for the first time in months, and signing papers as they finalize the loss of parental rights.  And across town, my husband, baby M and I await the adoption social worker's visit in a few minutes, for a final safety inspection and finalization of our adoption application.  The social worker is very sweet and is bringing her own 7 month old baby girl and will carry her on the walk thru, and it will be over and done after that.  Then we enter the waiting phase.  (about 60-90 days until preliminary signing at social worker's office, followed by swearing  and signing before His Honor, in a court room, at some magic point after that?  Not sure about all the details...)  The end is in sight.  M will have his permanent home, with us, and his absolutely smitten Aunt K.

Edited to add:  We passed.  And M had his very first play date with a beautiful girl who is about 14 days older than he is.  They chewed on toys together!  :)


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The hurdles just keep popping up..... but so do the blessings!

I was staring out the kitchen window while washing a few baby bottles and muttered to my husband, "this never ends."  We keep telling ourselves that it will be better after….

After Baby M is a little older and sleeps the night and can sit on his own and play a little bit so I can fix a meal…to completion!!  J

After the next inspection is over for the continuing Home Study in the adoption process.

After the kitchen counters are in, and we clean up from that mess….

After my daughter gets into treatment.

After we move to Tennessee.....  (delayed, delayed, delayed....)

After Baby M has his MRI under general anesthesia, with and without gadolinium dye… oh yeah, that's a big one.  A bit of perceived left sided weakness that we dutifully mentioned to his pediatrician has morphed into Neurologist demanding  to rule out his having had a little stroke….  If he did have one, I guess it would direct future treatment both in physical therapy and blood tests for clotting factors, but if he did not (I'll vote for that option, thank you!), then we can relax….

But there is always something.  Every time I turn around, the cosmos has placed another hurdle in front of us.  And we jump as necessary to keep on keeping on!  To me, that is life.  I get very very discouraged, even depressed, sometimes.  But we keep on trudging.  Maybe that is the difference between my precious addict and myself.  I keep bouncing back up for life to take another swing at me…..she retreats into the needle.  Not tooting my horn, doesn't make me better than her.  I retreat to the refrigerator or the pantry!  I just wonder if that is what is happening with my girl.  Something else, another hurdle, pops up in front of her and she just can't gather the strength/will to try to jump forward? 

And there are so many hurdles for her.  Sobriety is the biggest, but there are so many previous falls with ever present consequences, both financial and otherwise.  I don't know how she/husband will ever dig out, when I let myself focus on the hole she/he has dug for themselves.

And then, we got the call at 1 AM yesterday morning, from our girl.  In jail again.  Her husband has been in jail for about 100 days, with five months to go….  She's been on her own, couch surfing while she used, used, used.  She was court ordered into outpatient treatment (a joke), and has not done so, choosing instead to call inpatient programs to try to get in.  Only we can see thru that ruse without our spectacles…..  in five months, not one facility in Orange County has had a county bed?  Might have bought that a little longer, except a friend of hers just got into a fine facility on a county free bed, in two weeks.  Ahem.

She had been visiting us/her son.  Two, maybe three times a week.  (We are court ordered to permit this at least once a week.)  She gets depressed because her baby does not recognize her and then retreats to the bathroom for long periods of time, following which she is nodding off until her ride picks her up.

There are two reasonably happy grandparents in this house.  Arrested?  Hopefully not for possession of drugs.  If it is possession, they will bounce her out by midnight tomorrow night, to again try to get herself in outpatient treatment.  Yeah, still a joke.  But if, IF it is sales of drugs, or receiving stolen property, etc….  she may be in long enough to actually get clean, regain some mental clarity, etc.

My oldest daughter commented wistfully day before yesterday, "it was such a nice visit we had with her today…  until she went to the bathroom and used!"  The oldest made this comment after we dropped our little addict off at Home Depot.  That's how she supports herself, apparently.  There is a huge ring of persons who steal stuff, and then relatively innocent looking girls return the merchandise for store credit cards…..  they then sell the cards for 75% of value, pay the person who stole the stuff in the first place, and pocket the remainder.  This is one way she pays her storage unit bill, how she buys her heroin, and the 4592 articles of new clothing she brings over to launder every so often.  She had on one visit 27 black tank tops.  Seriously?

In the meantime, the bright spot in our lives remains the Grand Son.  He will be our son, very soon, in addition to being our grandson.  I have learned much recently from various groups I have joined online, and research I have been doing (once I'm awake at 2 AM for a bottle, my brain won't turn off again sometimes and I end up researching things like grandparents raising grandchildren online).  Did you know there are 10 million of us in this country?!
Again too tired to proof, but will post this and go hug Baby M and soak up his beautiful smile! 

Still praying for all our families and loved ones fighting this disease....

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

And our path takes a sudden turn....

I was sitting in a stupor drinking my coffee this morning and suddenly got the urge to blog (vent!). 

I haven't posted since July of last year.  Not for lack of things to vent about,  but because I am just so sick, sick, sick of the subject matter and feeling so discouraged about my girl and her addiction.  I watched and hoped throughout her pregnancy….  She had relapsed before discovering she was pregnant.  Early attempts to get clean resulted in bleeding and cramping.  We took her to doctors who said they would treat her (detox her) while pregnant, and then decided not to, once they had our consultation fee.  We finally found one doctor in OC who would do the anesthesia detox, even though she was pregnant.  She would have been able to sleep right through it, and they would have monitored the baby the whole time, and after we coughed up the $20K for that treatment, she would have needed to be in this doctor's step-down facility which turned out to be a generic sober home with a nurse on the premises.  For six weeks.  For a mere $600…. 

A DAY.  I used to feel ripped off paying $125-$175 a week for her to have a twin bed in half a bedroom in a sober home.  $600 a day?!

We let go at that point. 

We found out by snooping on line that she had indeed been arrested one month after she was married, a pipe charge and possession.  We found out he had relapsed first, and she used that as a sick excuse to relapse herself.  And the dance to circle the drain to the bottom began.
Finally, one normal day in December, we got a text from my son-in-law.  "Get ready, she's in labor".  21 or 22 days early……  We dropped everything and went to the birthing unit at UCI. 

Before we left, his mother called me and emphatically stated, "I am not going to take that baby.  I took his brother's baby, I will not do it again.  I am diabetic and I won't do it." 


The truths, the realities, that we had avoided so long were surfacing.  We had spoken to each other in hushed tones about "what will we do if she is loaded when she delivers?"  We knew if she tested positive, they would put a hold/alarm on the baby and they would lose custody.  They had continued to voice their intentions for her to get clean, and in fact, that is what brought on her labor.  (She was five days clean and the baby didn't like that one bit.) 

On the way over, we finally agreed that if she needed us to, we would take the baby temporarily so that she could get clean and start jumping through the hoops required by the state to get her son back.  We knew there was a program that would let her bring her son WITH her, after she got some clean time, and she would have classes in parenting, coping skills, etc.  She had been calling that program during the last month, trying to get admitted.

We arrived at the unit and entered the room to find her and son-in-law breathing through a contraction and crying together.  I hugged her and she held me fiercely, sobbing, and said "Mommy, would you take him, please, please would you take him?" 

All fears confirmed.

I said "yes" clearly and loudly.  She froze.  I said, "We can do this for you, if this is what you want.  Only if it is what you want.  If this will give you time to get clean, and for the two of you to get ready to be parents, we will do it."  She slumped in my arms and alarms and beeping machinery went off.  The nurses started calling her name and rousing her.  She opened her eyes and said "really?  Daddy?" and started looking around the room.  My husband went to her and hugged her and they cried together.  She pulled back and called her husband's name.  I looked and he was hunched on the little sofa in the room, crying.  We reiterated that we would do what they needed us to do if that was what they BOTH wanted and he said "yes, please, yes" and her next contraction hit.  From that moment on, she was a model maternity patient.  She had the most peaceful, quick, focused delivery. 

The most beautiful grandson on the planet entered the world with two good pushes, 6 pounds 13 ounces, and perfect from head to toe.  My son-in-law cut the cord and they laid him on my daughter's chest.  After a short time the three of us (myself, husband and her older sister who had arrived when he was about 3 minutes old)  left to let them bond and rest, and went home.

We planned to go back that night for a quick visit.  In the afternoon, my daughter texted me that "he was having breathing problems and he was in the NICU for monitoring."  This turned out to be code for "he tested positive and so did she, and he is on lockdown in the NICU".  She and her husband could visit 24/7, as we could, but he had to be tethered to the alarmed bed, and the state immediately filed for and was granted custody, based on the toxicology report.

Our life since that day has been a whirlwind.  We were contacted pretty quickly by the social workers, and home inspections began (the first was performed at 5:30 pm on Christmas Eve).  The baby had a team of social workers.  Each inspection/interview/meeting drove another nail in the coffin of my daughter ever getting her son back.  And really, rightly so.  She simply was not ready.

We went to court with the kids for a formal hearing and found out the court provided my daughter, son-in-law and grandson each with their own lawyer…and the judge put the matter of placement into the hands of the social workers and suddenly, he was going to be placed with us.

We've relocated our cleaning supplies, decluttered (as much as possible, given we were already packing boxes to put in a pod to store until our someday move!), bought used playpens and stroller, swing and clothing has been given to us by wonderful friends. 

We visited the NICU every single day for several weeks.  We wanted him to be used to our voices, our touch, our smell.  And we wanted to get comfortable with handling a tiny baby again! Three failed discharge efforts took place.  Each time we'd get close, he'd have a bad reaction to a reduction in methadone and in two cases, we got to the hospital only to go home empty handed.  Finally, one day we sat at a table with a team of social workers, attending physicians, physical therapists, and a box of Kleenex and filled out paperwork for four hours, discussing his needs and the requirements for his care and the continuing detox from methadone.  And we left with him in our arms.  His NICU nurse walked me out, telling everyone we passed that "M is going home today!"  When we got in the car she reduced me to tears by leaning in and saying "God bless you M, have a wonderful life!"

We thought life was crazy when we were visiting daily.  Crazy is really what our life is NOW, with our little impromptu parties with M at 2 AM.  And 3:15 AM and again at 5 AM.  I am a zombie. 

But we have managed to titrate him down significantly.  He was at one point  on 0.3mg every 8 hours, and he left the hospital on .15 mg every 8 hours.  We've worked that down to .05 mg at 8 AM and 4 PM and .1 at midnight.  The midnight dose will be dropped probably tomorrow, to .05 mg.  He has a doctor at CHOC (Childrens Hospital of Orange County) who specializes in opiate dependent babies, and she hopes he will be drug free in a month. 

Dark humor: I intend to take a picture of him with one of his mother's newcomer chips on the day he is completely off the methadone.  To me, it will be cause for tremendous celebration.

My daughter and son-in-law lost reunification services (assistance with meetings, counselling, treatment) a week after we took him home.  The courts judged them "incorrigible", decided their drug addiction histories were too long, and the social workers started gunning for adoption even more fiercely.  Adoption by us.  Their hope was to keep him with family.  My daughter and son-in-law told us that was their wish.  We all realized that was probably the only way to keep them in his life in any fashion.  If they are ever able to achieve sobriety, they can be a presence, a much loved presence, in his life.  If not, he would have us….. for as long as we and my oldest daughter walk this earth. 

My oldest daughter, the one who was not really sure she ever wanted kids, still lives with us, and "doesn't like people well enough to want to raise one", did a complete "180" and is totally Auntie Extraordinaire.  I had watched her be an amazing godmother in the past eight or ten years to her best friend's son - and I have watched her fall in love with M, and now, she comes thru the door at night with her arms out to take him from me and love him/talk to him and basically savor his every move and smile.  She is committed to raising him with us, and possibly even being a sandwich kid and finishing him off while taking care of whichever of us (myself or my husband) lives longer.  It's a good thing….. I have no idea how to play video games.  He will need his Auntie for the technology part of his life, as well as the other things she will teach him about kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity….  He will be lucky to have her in his life.

My daughter and son-in-law went into a tailspin after losing reunification services.  It was like a self fulfilling prophesy.  The courts thought and verbalized that they were hopeless.  He relapsed immediately.  He straightened up and relapsed again.  She followed after having attained almost two weeks clean.  They are both using now.  He was arrested and will probably be doing some time.  The bottom of that drain is getting closer.

They occasionally visit for their court ordered time with their son.  They didn't visit for two weeks, and then showed up two nights ago with pizza and we all just sat around savoring the time together while they hugged, kissed, and rocked their boy.  Bittersweet.  Another memory  I am filing away in my heart.

Our move will be delayed while the adoption progresses through the OC Courts.  Again, the social workers all tell different stories, but one who was involved from a legal aspect told us that if we let the courts progress as they will, and don't rush it privately, that the little stipend we receive currently as foster grandparents, may follow him until he is 18, even after adoption.  Every little bit will help us on our retired fixed income to pay for converse tennis shoes for his big feet, and braces for his teeth, etc.  So we're not rushing things.  Instead of moving this summer, it will be sometime early next year, I guess.  The home of our dreams that we've had our eyes on for months may be gone by then.  But again, it would be such a dynamite place to raise M, maybe God's plan is that it will remain on the market until we can buy it.  It's been on the market 20 months…. Stranger things have happened.

I haven't sewn a stitch in my quilting studio in a couple months.  Right now it is all I can do to keep bottles clean, M clean, his clothes clean, and a few meals a week fixed.  I am still running my medical transcription business.  My husband is doing SO much to help and yet we are exhausted.  I keep telling myself once M is weaned off the methadone, and also able to hold a toy and bang on something, and able to sit alone, maybe he can sit and bang away in a playpen while I sew a bit some times. 

I am blessed and I am robbed.  I am honest enough to admit that I am angry.  I am losing a significant portion of the time that I have worked for all these years.  My retirement is not going to be a retirement.  (Quilting and crafting and refinishing antiques and gardening and canning and walking miles to help take care of MY diabetes?  Now I just have to hope I can manage the walking, so  I can live long enough to get M raised.) 
And then I am ashamed and heartbroken for feeling that way, and terrified that M will pick up on those feelings somehow.  He deserves better.  And I am madly in love with him!

I am angry at addiction.   I am not going to be a doting grandmother, and watch/savor my daughter being a mom.  I am afraid for my daughter's life.  She talks of dying often and how relieved she will be.

Each time in the past that she sank to a new low, we thought "maybe this will be enough to make her seek sobriety and fight for it".  Jail, homelessness, prison…..  After each new low, she fought her way back.  After prison, she got close to 2 years clean again, had a great job and a storybook engagement and wedding.  And lost it all again.  Somehow, we were delusional enough to sit there and hope the pregnancy would be enough…  And then we hoped that losing custody would do it.

And she's back out there.  They are both out there, living on the streets.  He is probably going to have to do some time in prison as a result of his recent arrest, and she is "wanted" for the old charges from last year.  It is their journey and all we can do is watch, encourage, love and pray and hope.  I will always love and hope.

I'm just going to post this and add a picture.  It's taken a few days to get this written in between bottles and I'm too tired to proof it. 

But this…… for now, this is what is keeping me going.

Good night!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We are all more than this

Faking it truly is exhausting, as Madyson said in a comment on another blog.  I keep trying to act 'as if'.  Because maybe, just maybe, they will stop acting like cranky two-year-olds and grow up and be financially responsible and think about the baby she is carrying and if they are using, stop, and certainly, both of them would stop drinking.  It could happen, right?

I've acted 'as if' ever since they got out of prison and for a long time, they acted as if they had a clue too.  Then they started just splintering right before our eyes.  It wasn't really apparent until after the wedding, but the tension, the arguments (discussions he called them, with a bit of a smile), the financial woes.... the cracks just started spreading as the hits of life kept coming, and then some.

I am trying to tell myself repeatedly that my happiness is not (or should not be) solely based on their sobriety, or their productiveness, or their ability to treat each other with kindness. 

Dammit, I am more than a MOTHER of one; I am ME, and I am a WIFE and I am a MOTHER to another, and I have FRIENDS that I can be a good friend to.  Without even going into the fact that I'm an employer, a business owner, etc, just that first set of things means that being the mother of my precious addict is only 20% of that first sentence.

Did that even make sense? 

But seriously, I need to start keeping the percentages a little more even.  I am so much more than someone involved in this particular heartbreaking issue.  For so long I have told her she is so much more than an addiction.  My list of positive adjectives for her goes on and on.  She is my precious, amazing daughter. 

I'm (sometimes) pretty amazing too.  I need to remember that.  There is more to my life than her success or failure with heroin, with alcohol, with her job, or with her baby. 

I am more than this.  My life is full of more than this.  I am trying to refocus my attention, and it is a slow process.  I am angry and tired.  I need to remind/convince myself that my fatigue should be the result of trying to squeeze in new adventures as I do cartwheels down the path into my sunset years..... I should not be exhausted because of repeated muscle strain from handwringing over her choices.  My head can know that, but my heart is awfully stubborn. 

I'm off to work on my cartwheels....  or at least, to listen to some music and paint a new birdhouse for my garden.  :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Time continues to go by....

I have not had a chance to read blogs in days, and today I found time to catch up and opened ...  I can't tell you how this resonated with me.  I know how to detach, and I'm getting better at staying in the moment and accepting life as it IS, not as I think it should be.  But I cry every damn day.

It's been a good year.  My daughter and LeBoyfriend worked hard, played hard, planned the wedding, settled into their apartment, initially with his daughter but then she went back "home" to her previous high school.  Life was good.  It's also been a tough year.  

LeBoyfriend and Daughter had a beautiful wedding.  She never once was a Bridezilla. It was probably one of the top five most perfect days of my life, and a memory I cherish from start to finish. 

They've had an emotional rollercoaster of adjustment to marriage, partly because 11 days before the wedding, she got laid off.  And this economy isn't doing quite as well as some would have us believe.  He got the urge to strike out and work in construction, leaving his driving job for his family's business...  hard feelings abound within his family, and it's been tough finding work...  again, the economy.  I wonder if he regrets the impulsive decision to leave that job with his family.... but I try to be encouraging and positive to him.

He doesn't understand why she hasn't been able to get another job.  His construction job is with a more distant family member in another town....  The "ex-felon" factor doesn't enter into things for him in that situation, as it does for every interview she goes out on. And when the gas expense became apparent with this job of his in another town, she quit looking until they could accomplish a move. 

To my knowlege, there have been no relapses to the exact "drug of choice" for either of them.  I could have sworn they might have slipped...  and in the past, it would have become glaringly apparent, and ended only when the jail door closed behind them.  What do I know?  But the bottle has entered the picture and that's the same thing.  Same illness. 

Add in my daughter's bipolar illness which is swinging in arcs that are truly spectacular....  and LeBoyfriend has sought that bottle even more often.  In exasperation or depression, she joins him.  He has never hit her, she said, but walls get damaged, hurtful words fly.  She has refused (for over two years) to take meds for her bipolar illness.  No one can force her to take them. And non-compliance is the most common issue with bipolar patients.

And then they are fine for another few days/weeks, wonderful even, glowing and happy.  Until they are not.

They have moved, this week, about 30 miles from us to be closer to construction work he has found.  I am hoping it helps them.  But with her illness, not sure it will.  I'm also thinking the wildness of the bipolar swings may be hormonally assisted.

Because, yes.  She is.  And it was unplanned, and it is a blessing(?) that they did not need yet.  She says she is not ready to be a good mom, and he is looking shell-shocked.  His oldest, from a teen-aged romance, just graduated with honors from the high school far away...  He has much guilt about not being a "present" father for that child...  he seems sort of stymied by this new development.  I wonder if she is "not ready" because she is using?

I feel guilty for wondering if it will be better, not having a front row seat to the carnage.  My husband and other daughter have detached beautifully.  They ask me for updates and shrug and move on.  They care, deeply, but they have figured out how to turn off their hearts.  That is why I cry every day. Not for long, most days, not loudly or inconsolably.  But I cry.  Because I just can't figure out how to make my heart stop hurting. 

I accept her.  I accept her illness.  I accept his.  I accept their inability to grow up.  I accept their inability to be mature.  I accept that their addictions will rear their heads, and that until they are ready NOT to, they will accept a bottle from each other, or from his family when it is offered as soon as they walk in the parents' home (don't ask me how I have not killed them yet [the family members offering the bottles, I mean...]  actually I love them to pieces, but the stories I hear about each family member, and Child Protective Services, jail, etc, and still, no one there makes the connection that the one common denominator in each crisis is a bottle being consumed)... 

I accept all of that.  I do not try to change it.  I am working hard at not being a helicopter mom.  I try not to overreact to the inflammatory or scary texts I get from her when things are not so good.  I offered assistance with packing/cleaning before their move and I did not push it.  When she did ask, I gave her a few hours assist and a crock pot with a thrown together spaghetti dinner since the landlord had gutted the kitchen while they packed, in preparation for next tenants, and her unemployment check has not only shrunk, but was late this week - I didn't spend days doing her job of packing and I didn't make a gourmet sit-down meal.  I tried to be kind, and do what I would have done for anyone.  No more.  I know how to act/behave in a healthy fashion.  I am trying to take care of me.

But my heart is raw....  And I don't know how to get around that pain.  Not trying to change a damn thing.  Just want to be able to keep on taking care of what IS my business: myself, my husband, keeping my equilibrium in front of my oldest daughter, my work, the dogs, my hobby when I can find the time..... without the pain rearing its head.....

We're counting down the time until our own move next year.  It's been our dream to move to the country, in the mountains.  It will mean even more distance.... from the bad times....  and the good times....   and the baby.   The grandchild I have always secretly hoped for, but that I do not want to have the responsibility of raising.  I wanted to be The Best of grandmothers. But I knew that remaining childless might have been easier for them. 

My family doesn't often see me like I sound today in this post.  I deserve an Oscar for my performance.  And most of the time, if I "act as if", my mood follows and improves a bit, for a time. I can usually hold things together until my husband totters off to bed early in the evenings as he counts down the last couple of months before he doesn't have to get up at 4:30 AM anymore, to work!  But it is exhausting.  And it never ever stops hurting.

Still hoping, waiting, loving...  and praying for all our precious loved ones.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I still need work!! :)

Things are fine here, despite a glitch around my birthday.  But the glitch turned out to be a huge reminder to me to NOT think the worst, and to continue to be grateful and hopeful.

We had planned a dinner at our home and invited my youngest and LeBoyfriend - everything was confirmed, and I had prepared a fair amount of food so they could take home leftovers of some favorites.  Got a text that afternoon, that she was still planning to come, but he might not be coming.  Radar alert.  Later, she texted that she would not be coming either.  Radar extra sensitive antennae raised.  A few cryptic texts later, I had been told that she was "fine", LeBoyfriend and his entire family were "fine", and she was "sorry."

I entered into a full on codependant episode.  We three (me, DH and DD1) went thru the formalities of me opening gifts, tried to make a dent in the food, and then I stashed everything, drove to the reservoir, and walked/stomped/cried off three miles of praying, thanking God for the time I'd had this last year, gratefully remembering some of the highpoints, and mentally placing her in His arms again.  I was convinced, particularly with my husband's negative reinforcement, that we were on the roller coaster again, and that the wild ride would not stop until the jail doors closed behind her.   

My fears appeared confirmed when she took two days off work with flu.  I found that out because I codependantly emailed her at her work email, to see how she was doing.  I finally decided to call LeBoyfriend two days later, on the pretense of needing to know if he wanted one or two coats of paint on some baseboards he was going to install for us (envisioning of course, the worst case scenario, where the flooring was nearly in on her old bedroom and the job of finishing plus putting in baseboards waited another 16 months while they completed prison you believe my stupid brain? do you see the rediculous lengths I went to?  I see it in retrospect, but boy at the time, I was irrational and scared shitless). 

He sounded hoarse, and said she had given that flu to him, he thought.  He was driving that tanker with a 102 degree temp, and chills.  She had gone into work both mornings and gotten email and phone calls caught up, and crawled home to sleep and let her stomach settle.

God forgive me,  but I was grateful to hear that my kid(s) were ill with a really horrible flu.

One week later, they came over and he worked on the floor, she helped, we laughed, and hugged, and teased and smiled.  Like nothing was wrong. 

Because nothing was really wrong. 

I never found out if anything other than the flu happened, but it isn't my business.  People miss things sometimes, and we don't ALL get to know why.  They gave me a beautiful card with sweet handwritten messages, and asked if they could take me, and DH, and oldest daughter, out for dinner on DH's birthday (a couple weeks later). 

In the ensuing weeks, she's made her regular payments on her laptop her dad let her put on his charge card, made her initial payment (plus a hefty set-up fee payment) to the IRS for her back taxes from three years ago before the last Big Run, and also set up probation payments.  And been released not only from informal parole, but also informal probation.  And she's making payments with her own little pre-paid credit card that she has her salary deposited to.  And she bought a dryer to replace the old unreliable one they had been given by his brother. 

I feel sheepish for where my thoughts/fears took me on my birthday.  Yes, they could have been in trouble.  But they weren't.  And I wasted a ton of energy worrying.  Once again, I need to be vigilant in working on ME!

Yesterday morning, she called as they were driving to church, to wish her dad a happy birthday.  How many things in that sentence there are to be grateful for!!

Last night, we met them at a great restaurant (Claim Jumper!) and we enjoyed well over an hour and a half of laughter, talking, listening to their ideas about the upcoming wedding and drinking in their excitement as they described what they envision for it.  I was so blessed by all of it, especially her happy, content smiles (and so full! Yummy!).  (I got such a grin out of watching her pay for the meal at the table with her credit card, adding a hefty tip for our great server, because she waited tables for years and she knows how hard it is.... watching her do something so normal and age appropriate - made me proud!)

I continue to work more on me!  They're doing a damn fine job of working, managing their affairs, and building a life!  I need to file away these memories, and also the realization that they operate in their own way, on their own time, and the occasional glitch does not spell relapse.  I'll get there! I know that the past decade is going to have an effect on my thinking process (and we could go to that dark place again someday), but I am going to work on staying in the day, on not wasting energy worrying until it is a fact there is something to worry about.  Despite what any naysayers around me say!

My prayers continue for all our precious kids!