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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

One of THOSE days

Typically on a Saturday morning we are at the barn, riding and hanging out with our friends.  This week I have been out there nearly every day so today is a day off.  It's unusual for us to have a quiet Saturday morning.  It is quiet and we are lollygagging.  There is always so much to do but it can wait.  There are two days left of relaxing before we begin the mad dash to the end of the year, Christmas, finishing the second quarter and swinging head long into a new year.

Thus, I had one of my I'm-overwhelmed-feeling-alone-can't-breathe-holy-cow-am-I-really-doing-all-of-this-by-myself-all-the-time?!? moments.

October 13th was the last time I felt like this.  A brisk walk with some tears followed by a quiet moment of being still, soaking up the sunlight while listening to the sounds of nature were enough to settle my nerves.  Today I'm opting for letting the chores pile up while I quilt and watch movies.  Which is a double edged sword because it is a beautiful day so part of me will be looking out the window at the leaves and pinestraw in the backyard thinking *i SHOULD be outside working in the yard*.

Some days I have to stop.  Take care of me.  And that has to be OK because who is taking care of me if I'm not?  No one.  Which is why days like this pop up.  When I contemplate all that I am responsible for by myself, every day, all day, without ceasing, it's too much.  I get lonely and scared.  It feels hopeless and helpless.  I'm wonder woman - brave, capable, strong, hard-working, loving, kind, vivacious, fun, happy, patient - I'm this all.the.time.

Some days I don't want to be.

Some days I want to be a helpless, hapless soul that is needy and clingy and desperate for attention and companionship and returned love, patience, kindness, happiness and strength.  Some days I want someone else to do the thinking, planning, parenting, cooking, cleaning, juggling and fixing.  Some days I don't want to be the only one that is available to trouble shoot the daily issues that pop up with two challenged teens and an energetic preteen and a geriatric lab and a yippy-yappy chihuahua and a 36 year old house and an 8 year old van and a yard full of loblolly pine trees.

I'll get over it.  Today is just one of THOSE days.

Split pea soup going in the crock pot, quilting happening while laundry and dishes pile up, movie watching while the last of the leaves and dead straw fall from the trees.  None of those things will kill me today.  And neither will time.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

All Warmed Up

It rained for two days.  Long, hard rain that chilled me to the bone.  I hate when I catch a chill like that, it's so hard to shake it.  But I have lots to warm me up lately so it's all good.

This week I'm helping out my friends who have nine horses between them.  I'm sharing the responsibility for eight.  Watering, feeding, blanketing, etc.  Horses have been one of the saving graces in my life the last two years of recovery.  That and the horsey friends I've made in the process.  I am so blessed.  Giant four legged creatures with long manes and tails and whinny and hoof stomping when they are hungry, nose nudges and neck snuggles and warm, musky smelling coats of horsey goodness make me happy and warms me up when I'm feeling lonely or scared.  I feel full when I get to take care of them because I like hard work, being useful and accomplishing things even if it is simply to muck stalls.

Other blessings that have warmed me up:
1.  My fully mustached son
2.  Sissy home for the holidays AGAIN (second holiday season without hospitalization)
3.  WG's energy (i'd be a wealthy woman if I could bottle and sell it)
4.  My two dogs, Grace the lab and Roscoe the chihuahau
5.  My family - so grateful for open adoption and extended family and reconnecting with the kids' first mom and her family
6.  music - I'm singing again!
7.  my home - and it IS mine now.  it softly speaks "this is a woman's space"
8.  my van - still a reliable vehicle
9.  my jobs - teaching is such a joy and now I'm also certified to provide respite for adults with special needs - no end to the laughter
10. my health - no panic attacks in a very.long.time. and I'm finally losing weight.  Happiness.  It does a lot for a body!
11.  my smile.  I'm happy.  so very happy. FINALLY. happy

There is so much more.  OH SO MUCH MORE!!! but that's all I feel able to talk about today, on this Thanksgiving day that I am spending with just me and my kids. And honestly?  I like that.  A lot.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


On December 3, I will mark the two year anniversary of living abuse free.  I think I might have a private little party for myself to mark the occasion.

On December 16, Sissy would have made a two year anniversary herself - discharged from long term care.  Sadly, she just finished a week-long acute care stabilization.  Regardless, that is the longest stretch between hospitalization since I began this blog in November 2009.

Being in the EBD classroom has helped her immensely.  She is now focusing more on her behaviors: cause and effect, following directives and obedience.  It goes without saying, she is a very bright young lady but her challenges will always nip any academic successes in the butt.  My new goal for her is that she spend the rest of her middle school years sorting out these behaviors with the hope that by high school she can pick up the slack on her academics.  I accept that academic pursuits will likely never be a priority for her but as mom, I have to set some goals for her.

She has a long, hard road of puberty and changes ahead of her and I know that will mean lots of stabilization time too.  I hope to finally get us out of this area and to a region of the U.S. that will have more resources and appropriate support for her.  I have many short and long term therapy and medication goals for her.  In the meantime, I have changed up my parenting strategy.  I am providing all nurturing and care giving for her as though she were a toddler.  It seems counter intuitive but I was never going to win those battles with her and actually, after so many years of her fighting me about every little thing and refusing to let me nurture her, it is a nice change of pace.  Tough?  Yes.  No one WANTS to be dressing and bathing their nearly 14 yo daughter but it's what she NEEDS right now.  So I do it.

WG is sowing her oats, back in public school this year.  She is learning that she can have a bad day too and still be loved.  She is learning how to navigate her own bad days and how to recover from her mistakes.  She is understanding more and more each day what her older siblings struggle with and how to steer clear.  Of course, that means she has also gotten good at provoking so I am putting out fires a lot.  As a whole, a typical fourth grader!  I keep reminding her that I was a handful at that age too - smart as smart could be but testing the limits all.the.time.

AB is on a new medication.  The Resperida.l was causing mild tachycardia, tardive dyskinesia and weight gain.  The Abilif.y has  given me my happy, smiley son back.  And he's creating again!  He has always been such a good artist but in the effort to suppress his other issues, the medication inadvertently suppressed his creativity too.  He smiles, hugs, laughs, talks, swings, and is actually very social comparatively.  He will be 13 in January.  I can't believe it!  And to be honest, knowing I will have TWO teenagers after this holiday season, I am tickled pink.  I really do love teenagers with all of their P.I.T.A. ishness.

For me?  Well... I'm happy.  Happier than I've ever been.  Just so happy.

Thanksgiving - so many things to be thankful for.  Heart to overflowing with joy and happiness and hope.