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!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pictures from my walk today....

Just wanted to share some glimpses of spring here in my neighborhood.... I live very close to a reservoir and there is a paved trail around it that I really enjoy walking.  Here's my take on today:

I call him Edgar (the egret? I have no idea what he is, except big, white, humongous beautiful wingspan, and quite the gentleman, guarding his mate and a nest in one alcove of the reservoir.  I love seeing Edgar swoop across the trail in front of me, even if he scares the bejesus out of me when he does.

 I think the caption for this one should be "bloom where you are planted".  That is a wild flower blooming from the open end of a pipe near the water's edge!

 One of my favorite backyards that backs up to the trail...

Chugging two or three miles around this path is a pleasure! Now, up to my sewing room to play!

Two Years, and some really good news.....

·         On April 7, my daughter and LeBoyfriend had 2 years clean and sober.  They barely even noted the date - they are too busy working extremely hard, and building their lives together!  But she did acknowledge my congratulatory text with "yep, 2 years, J"

·         I have been keeping up with blogs, but obviously not saying much.  I think I am just burnt out - I've had a lot of ups and downs with my business and the uncertainty is exhausting in its own way.  We got dropped the other day by yet another physician that we had been transcribing for, for seven years.  Rain, hail, internet outage, power failure, vomiting, fever, vacation, NOTHING kept us from returning this doctor's dictations well within the 24 hour turnaround time as contracted.  I haven't raised my rates in 18 years, though I plan to this month.  We got up one morning and Dr. T was simply not on the dictation system.  And not the next morning, or the next.  This has happened before and I could have recited his staff member's speech for her, when I called.  "oh no, nothing wrong, Dr. T, he is using the new 'electronical' medical records and he no need you any more!" 

Thanks for the considerate notice and giving me the opportunity to prepare MY staff member to lose about a grand a month in income.  Ugh.

·         I'm missing my daughter horribly.  We are lucky if we see her once a week and while I realize that is APPROPRIATE, and I should just shut my mouth and stop my whining, I miss her "hi mommy" when she would come home from work, and her "bye mommy" when she would zip out in the mornings, or on the way to the gym.  She always stopped just long enough to vent and I loved hearing about her triumphs, challenges, and how all her friends in recovery were doing.  I'm nosy that way.

·         My oldest daughter is actively pursuing a move to the eastern TN area.  She has joined the expansive paralegal association there, is taking advantage of the online streamed continuing education classes for those jurisdictions, and is applying for every job on their job board.  She may just beat us to our forever home-place.  That should light a blowtorch under my DH's butt, to say the least.  He's moving very slowly on the things that must be done to prepare this house to sell….  While I am happy to think we could be waking up on our little chunk of heaven in the mountains of TN in about 611 days (yes, I have a countdown widget heralding his retirement date), the thought of being 3000 miles from my youngest and LeBoyfriend, positively makes me dizzy.  Must work on that!  Skype and airplanes exist for a reason.  Right?!

·         I will have to stop calling him LeBoyfriend soon.  About a month ago, he called and asked if he could stop by to talk to my DH.  I initially thought it was about the flooring he is going to lay for us in my daughter's old bedroom, now that she is living with him in their cute little apartment.  Then my heart skipped about 30 beats.  I told DH he better be prepared for THAT conversation.  He went white as a sheet.  LeBoyfriend showed up in a starched blindingly white shirt, pressed pants, and when I hugged him I realized he was shaking.  So I started shaking too.  He asked DH if he could speak with him on the patio alone.  I almost hit him with a nearby frying pan.  No opportunity for eavesdropping.  I went back in my office to pout.  Five minutes later I hear the slider door open and "Joy?!?!?".  I go skidding around the corner to the den, scattering dog hair and dogs, and screech to a stop in front of him.  As my husband comes in the sliding door, LeBoyfriend tells me "I told your husband that I'd like to ask your daughter to marry me on Saturday and he gave me his blessing!"

·         I bear-hugged him and cried.  He cried.  My husband cried.  I told him how honored we would be and how proud I was, having watched him do every damn thing he had said he was going to do, since he got out of prison.  They lived at home a year. They got job(s).  They became regular in their attendance and activities with their church.  They saved money.  They "dated".  (He spent the night every Saturday night and I miss those evenings - so much fun with all of us together!)  They bought cars.  They satisfied their active parole requirements and were both were switched to "informal" parole with "write-in" reports once a month.  He dealt with his child support issues and is paying that off.  She met with the IRS and is paying her back taxes from two years ago.  He said his one regret was that he was unable to discharge his parole completely.  My daughter is now off parole, LeBoyfriend has six months more of informal.  Healthy steps in the right direction, in my humble opinion.  He had already picked a ring with the help of his sweet mom, and it was going to be ready in another day.

·         So high on the top of a snowy mountain in Big Bear, that Saturday, he asked her to marry him.  And everyone cried some more!  She said "yes" and now she is trying to plan a wedding.  They want a small Las Vegas wedding with immediate family members only, and a reception about a month later.  It will literally be an 'up and back in two days' affair.  His mother and dad were married in a small chapel in Vegas 37 years ago, and for sentimental reasons, he would like to do the same.  She's a little overwhelmed with the whole process, but we've told her to take it at her own speed.  They don't want big, expensive or stressful.  His daughter and my oldest daughter will be co-maids-of-honor.  I think there will be nine of us there, total.  The reception on the other hand, will be a raucous affair with a DJ and much fun and celebration!  I think they are going to drive to Vegas in May to check out a few chapels with package deals, and make their decision about date/time.  Who knows, maybe they will elope while there.  I don't care about anything except the happy smiles on their faces. 

·         The same week she got engaged, my daughter's job was in an upheaval.  She texted me "old boss fired - I'm new boss".  The next day she texted me "double salary, and an assistant!".  She's working hard, but definitely under pressure.  She has a coworker who is actively using (meth), and since she's been with the company since its inception, this girl has no accountability to anyone and it is hard for the rest of the employees.  Everyone at this company is in recovery! Prayers please, for my daughter to stay focused and to keep working on her own recovery!

·         I personally am trying to work on me.  I am walking daily, and  have worked my way up to being able to walk three miles at a pretty good pace, without feeling the need to preplan my funeral.  I have a silly app on my cell phone that tracks me and rewards me with graphics representing how well I did.  I got three apples daily until I was sure I was going to never get anything else.  Pushed even harder one day and was rewarded with an avocado.  Good times!! 

I am trying to remember "I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to."  I live with someone who makes inflammatory remarks on purpose and I am trying to ignore, leave the room, and just keep my side of the street clean.  I fail, way too often.  Yesterday's proclamation that the "little hoodlum got what he deserved" (young man shot in Florida) got the better of me.  I don't know if that individual was up to no good or not.  I don't know if the shooting was justified or not.  I was not there.  I can NOT take the word of the news, or magazines, or the various celebrities who have made it their business to speak out.  It is not my business to determine guilt.  I can pray for the family(s) involved.  I can walk out of the room the next time that statement is made - and since this is going to be an ongoing never-ending news item, I better get used to it.  I cannot change anyone's behavior but my own.  I am trying.  I need to remember that I'm not the only sick one in this house.  I hope that made sense!  Thank heavens, he and I both have enough redeeming qualities to hopefully even out our character defects.  At least, that's what I'm trying to concentrate on!

Enough rambling!  I am going to try to get today's walk in, before the rains that are forecasted for us!

I will continue to pray for all our precious children.  And for us, the loved ones who pray for them!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lost my gauge.....

Was checking a few blogs in between batches of work just now and read Lou's post:

I used to remember how to make a shortened link.... I have clean forgotten!

Anyway, a comment she made really struck me...

"Trying to discern what is unsaid. Trying to gauge the truth."

I get it, Lou. We've gone from seeing L every day, to phone calls once or twice a week (and the random loving or funny text).  If I call her with an honest question (not a contrived excuse to call), and she doesn't answer or call me back, my brain almost fries on the spot. Called her about a quilt she wanted repaired Tuesday night... she texted me the next morning that she was sick and had gone to bed the night before at 7 pm. You can imagine where my head took "sick" etc.

I have lost the "gauge" I really had no right to have... She would saunter past my sewing loft with a soft "Hi Mommy" on the way out to smoke, and I could gauge whether work was good/frantic, LeBoyfriend was making her smile/frown, she was feeling picked upon by Cranky Dad, boss lady was loving her, etc. Two words and I knew how my, I mean HER world was. Yes, the codependent irony there is not lost on me.

I too, will likely never completely take the words at face value. LeBoyfriend came by today to pick up some things of hers, and to verbally contract with us for a March flooring job in her old bedroom as we continue efforts to get ready to sell/move in two years.... I handed him some Airborne/cough lozenges she had asked about, and he said "Oh that will help! She's got another good cold going, coughing all night! Thank you!" Yes, I know they can get their own cough/cold items, but I chose to help because this was a short month pay days wise, with many start-up expenses in their new place.  I had scored both items with double coupons and had more in the pantry. 

I am chagrinned to tell you how relieved I was to hear she was genuinely sick.... She's going on two years clean in April and I still hear (dope)sick.

We're getting better at this every day, all of us.... but it's definitely 'progress, not perfection'!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2011, it was a very good year.... :)

I've been visiting blogs almost daily, when I have the chance.  It's been a little crazy around here, but in a good way.  (It seems odd to post a good report while so many I care about are fighting the good fight while their children struggle - please know that I only mean to share that it can be done.  And that I am cognizant that it could all change tomorrow.  Those of you who've been reading here for a while know I've tasted both sides of this battle.)

Things for us at this time are going well.  My daughter has excelled at her new job, and is enjoying the fast pace and certainly the bonuses she gets for closing out cases.  Both girls have enjoyed their time together this year, and Christmas was something like a dream to me.  A good dream! 

One of the best parts was when my girl searched and searched online and found a Rock Band game at a discount, to give her sister to use with her Wii.  This gift just blew my oldest daughter away.  It was extravagant, and it was something she had wanted for a long time.  She often enjoys a night of goofy karaoke with friends and she has played Rock Band at other people's houses…  But as a broke 31-year-old paralegal paying off school fees, etc, it wasn't in her budget.  We had given her a PlayStation many years ago that the girls enjoyed and played each other for hours and hours.  That one later was stolen for drugs by L.  Big sister recognizes the difference between her little sister and the "monster" (addiction) and never held it against her that the game was stolen.  I'm not sure I would have been so forgiving.  But then, I was too busy looking for tools and cameras and other things, to worry about a game.

Laurie brought me tips and money, a few dollars at a time, until she had enough to order this game.  She couldn't stand it any longer on Christmas Eve and made her sister open her present early.  They had SO much fun playing that night.  My husband was a long-haired rock and roll drummer back in the day, and they even got him to play the drums.  I have video to prove that he did.  Once he started, he was amazing.  We were just sitting there stunned and when he was done the girls were cheering for him.  Little things.  Things that so many families take for granted.  Sitting together on Christmas Eve laughing and playing a game.  I was one second from tears the whole evening. 

Gifts the next day were exchanged and it is the first time in quite a long time that she has been sober, employed and happy at Christmas.  She gave us all lovely gifts that were thoughtfully selected and will be treasured/used/loved.  My eyeballs were about to burst, but I kept it together. 

DH surprised the heck out of me yet again.  L's car "took a dump" (her words) and died, and he sold her the old Acura Integra that had been his mom's.  At a price way less than blue-book.  She got $400 for the old heap that died, paid him $500 for Grandma's car, and for a net of $100, she was back on the road, zipping back and forth to work and loving the mileage she was getting.  She popped a stereo in it and she's one happy camper.  Like I say, he continues to surprise me and drive me batty - maybe that's normal!?! 

At any rate, we find ourselves looking at each other when our little addict heads out the door for work in the morning, and we have occasionally said "we'll always have 2011, no matter what."  I see this time as pure GRACE.  A gift I never thought I'd have, and may not get to always have.  I am wallowing in GRACE.

L and LeBoyfriend are getting a place of their own February 1.  It is a cute little two-bedroom duplex with a garage - he is excited about the Man Cave and also having a bedroom for his 16-year-old daughter when she visits.  My daughter and his daughter get along really well and they're looking forward to her visits.

A few days ago, L came down the stairs about halfway, stopped on the landing where the stairs turn, and announced:  "I need everyone's undivided attention!"  We all paused, turned and listened as she announced that she had just gotten off the phone with her parole officer.  She had turned in her monthly write-in (she was put on write-ins, and minimal supervision, a few months ago) and didn't expect to hear from him.  He came by one night not long ago and talked to us/her about her application to get off parole early for good behavior.  He said it was a long shot, but he wanted her to try. 

Anyway, on the phone this night, he asked how she was doing, and when she told him she was getting ready to move, he said, "you know, you don't have to give me your new address." 

She was confused, and said, "really? How come?"

He said "oh, cos they discharged your parole, you're not a parolee anymore."  We all burst into cheers and tears simultaneously when she told us.  She ran the rest of the way down the stairs and gave me the biggest hug I'd had in months.

LeBoyfriend has been doing some odd jobs for us from time to time and is driving humongous tankers for his dad's company, to and from the refinery with acid on board.  I asked him once if he'd rather do construction, or drive, and he got this sad look on his face and said, "Joy, I really love working with my hands, making something useful, or pretty, doing tile work, putting down floors, even building fences.  But my dad needs me; and I owe my mom and dad so much for all these wasted years, so, I'm driving for Dad for as long as he wants me to."  That made me sad, and proud of him at the same time. I hope it doesn't become a burden; does that make sense?  He listens to books on tape and even young adult oriented Bible studies as he drives, and I hope that helps the time pass.

My house looks like a storage unit.  I seriously expect the guys from Storage Wars (do they show that TV show nationwide?) to show up and start bidding her stuff right off the front porch.  There's a sofa, a new queen mattress/box springs, a  newfridge, all stashed in the living room and dining area, with about 30 boxes scattered throughout the living room, dining room, hall and den!….. they saved the money for the big stuff, and friends are donating things like silverware, a mixer, etc.  About two weeks ago, I spied a "free" sign on an adjustable queen bed frame, sitting in a driveway down the street - DH and I hiked down and carried that frame home so fast! Score!

She's eyeing a tiny gas grill for LeBoyfriend for Valentine's day - will buy it and hide it in our garage til then.  The next week to ten days will be chaotic as they move, but good….

Normal and age-appropriate steps.  What a blessing this year has been and what a blessing to see them eagerly taking the next right steps.  We look ahead to 2012 with hope and excitementNO expectations, and lots of love for our girl and LeBoyfriend.


Prayers continue for all our beloved children....