On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Monday, October 1, 2012

My story

I don't have a fancy cell  phone. It's a $35 model.  It makes calls, texts and takes grainy photos.

I don't have a plasma or LCD TV. I have a 15 year old 27" box.

I don't have surround sound.  I have a 16 year old AIWA that I've routed through a 14 year old VCR so the television sound comes through the speakers.

The 14 year old VCR doesn't work.  It sits on top of the 8 year old DVD/VCR combo. 

I don't have TIVO or direct TV.  To change the channel we have to get up and use the channel buttons on the non-functioning VCR.

My dining room table was a Craigs List purchase.  I cut and drilled out the plywood to make new seats to the chairs, supplies purchased with birthday money sent to me from a RAD mommy.  I bought foam and covered them with fabric that a reader sent me.

My van is 7 years old and on my birthday I will make the final payment on the loan.  It will be the first time I own a car outright.  I'll be 38 the day I make that payment.

It was a bottom of the line fleet vehicle.  No bells.  No whistles.  I manually close the side doors and lift gate.  
The laptop I'm typing on is almost five years old.  My students tell me it's a dinosaur.

My washer and dryer are 16 year old Kenmores.  I load the washer from the top.  The dryer has three options.  It's stained blue on the inside from years of the ex washing shop towels in it.

I can change my own flat tire in 15 minutes.  That includes putting the jack away when I'm through.

In the past 11 years that I've lived in this house, I've put in all the ceiling fans and light fixtures.

I built my daughter a loft bed because I promised her that if she could be rage, self-harming and threatening-harm-to-others free for six months I would convert her safe room to a proper preteen bedroom.

I designed it myself.

I fix my own mower.

My house is 34 years old with the original windows.  But I pay the mortgage on time. Every.Single.Month.

I don't have luxury items.

I don't have savings account.

I don't have a life insurance policy that has value.

I haven't had health insurance for 8 years because the ex got fired from his job.  8 years ago he lied and told me he was laid off.  I believed him.

I was happy when I ended the month of September with $60 left in the account because I thought I would be $40 in the whole.

My divorce lawyer became a judge today and is no longer my lawyer.

A student I tutored all summer owes me tuition.  His parents drive Lincoln Navigators with leather interiors and heated seats. I've given up calling to ask for the money.  I know I'll never see it.

I've maintained all of it.  Every last ounce.  Myself.  My children.   The bills.  The house.  The cooking, shopping, cleaning, yard work, all of it.  Me.  I've done it.    I've done it all while working, while taking my children to appointments, while picking up their meds, while never messing up their many medications, while enduring the never ending parade of therapists marching in and out of my home, while advocating for my children, while losing sleep, while taking shit from others along the way that haven't understood just how much I do.   Just how much pain and sorrow I've endured.  So.Much.Pain.

People keep saying my life is going to turn around, that good will come.  When?  It hasn't happened once in my life.  Ever.  It's always been me, taking care of me and everyone else.  I can't rely on anyone else.  No one else is trustworthy.  No one else is safe.  No one else knows what I do despite what's been done to me.

And I do it all with a smile, laughter, peace, gentleness, kindness, goodness, patience, self-control, love.

I want life to stop crapping out on me.  Just stop.  I don't deserve it.  I don't deserve any of it.  None of it.  I've never been anything but what everything else needs, 100% of the time with 100% of my energy and love.  I've done it without abusing drugs, alcohol or sex.  I've done it all without hurting myself or others.  I've done it all while taking the abuse from others.  I've done it all without being loved back by the people I loved the most.

All my life I've been told to walk in someone else's shoes and imagine what things look like to them - why people respond the way they do.  To empathize.  It's time people returned the favor. I accept nothing less from this moment forward.

I am a single adoptive parent of a special needs sibling group in a domestic open adoption.

I'm Jennie and this is my story.


Elizabeth-Anne Kim said...

Psalm 73. It's the perfect pissed-off, the-world-is-unfair-and-sucks psalm. I love you, my dear.

Kelley said...

I love you Jennie. All that would have done me in. You are strong and amazing and you rock! And if you are having a hard time remembering that - call me. I will tell you again :) I Love You!

marythemom said...

I wish we were neighbors. I so want a RAD community where we can support and lift each other up as needed. You've been there for me over the years, even when I know you were struggling yourself, and you are an AMAZING person I wish I could spend more time with you. Thank you for being such a strong person.


Ranger said...

The first time I read your blog I said it. You are awesome. You're amazing. There is so much in what you've written in this entry to be very proud of, although it must suck beyond all belief. Hugs {}

Sammie said...

I am so sorry for all you are going through. I know how strong you are, and I also know you don't deserve any of this.

while the divorce sounds tough, it also sounds like something that has needed to happen. You are worthy of being loved, you are worthy of being taken care of. What I know from my own hard road, as another person who did it all for everyone else, that it won't change until you start to really take care of yourself and your needs.

I know, how do you do that when you have kids with so many issues and are in the middle of getting a divorce? Do it in tiny baby steps but start to head in the direction of self care.

I have been a super care taker, helper, doing everything myself. So very strong etc etc. For me I had to step back and take a look that it was what I had needed to survive my own crazy family when I was growing up, but that by being the helper it was my way of always being in control.(I do understand that you husband has not done much in the way of taking care of you or the family).

Not sure if you can relate to this, but it has allowed me to start to change. 38 is still young, and you will find your way through all of this. You have a life time ahead of you, just different then you may have imagined. If you can just get through the darn divorce I think things will really be going so much better for you.

Big HUG,


Reighnie said...

I feel like I could've written that myself. So tired of walking in others shoes. So tired of being the bigger person, of turning the other cheek of, of not taking it personal... doing.it.all.

The fact is until you stop, people will keep stomping on you. Kids included.

You need to stick up for you, no one else will do it. This is a beautiful start.

Teach others to treat you the way you want to be treated. Oh, it will be a fight. Tell people what you do, it might sound like whining or complaining but so be it, they might look at you like you're crazy, or they might look at you with pity, it won't matter. But people need to know. Nobody knew what I did because I never complained, never said. It wasn't until I stopped that they noticed.

I kept asking God, why? why me? I keep hearing "you reap what you sow", etc...I wanted to know what *I* personally did.

Then one time when I asked God why-I'm not Job, I felt like God had said "yeah, Sasha, why? Why do you keep punishing yourself, why do you keep letting people use and abuse you, why do you keep trying to fix the things that I can't fix, did I ask you to?"


We love too much. We don't want to be selfish. But that leaves us selfless and unloved. Empty.

As far as good. I'm slowly learning good isn't always some big change, good comes in minutes and seconds. Good is despite everything still being able to maintain it all, all that time. So many people have lost everything.

Some times, good is being able to be mad and being able to express it.

Even though it seems like nothing is going right and everything is wrong and there's no light at the end of the tunnel, we can still find good in a moment, even if it's outside of ourselves. Don't lose that.

Recovering Noah said...

I think you're so amazing and so strong. And I hope that the next time life craps on you that it craps a pot of gold.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you, you DON'T deserve it!