“Please God, god, someone, something, make this easier… make this suck a little bit less… make their lives happier… just fucking fix this already”
And those were the words mumbled in the middle of the night on Monday in the midst of all of my family turmoil. I lay in bed next to Brittany, knowing how much she was hurting, having just gotten off the phone with Cassie, knowing how much she too was hurting, and I had run out of answers, and energy.
I know I say this a lot, but it is so true: There is no manual for raising children, and you have no idea how much this pisses me off. Every day that I don’t screw something up I am happy. How insane is that? How have we not mandated a class for all parents as they approach new and challenging points during their childrens' lives? How are we not forced to take a class on how to raise a toddler, child, adolescent, teenager, young adult? They have breastfeeding classes, diapering classes…and then you are a graduate. WTF? I am woefully unprepared, uneducated, and inexperienced when it comes to dealing with the situations of late.
Some people tell me I am doing the right things. Others tell me I am messing up my kids even more by the things I do. And yet others just shrug and tell me it doesn’t matter what I do, it will be how it will be. I don’t even know what that last one means.
It appears things are fixed, or taped, or glued, or stapled together for the time being. We seem to have a plan, and people are crying less around here over the past few days. That is a good sign, right? I am not sure I credit God, god, someone, or something for any of the calming waves rippling through our house right now, but I have to give the idea some ounce of possibility…right?
“Please God, god, someone, something, make this easier… make this suck a little bit less… make their lives happier… just fucking fix this already”
Cassie is coming home for Thanksgiving. It has been an exhausting 24 hours. May we never speak of this again.
Email discussion with my daughter at college – the one where she said she doesn’t want to come home…
DAUGTHER TO ME:
I know you don't understand why I don't want to come home for Thanksgiving, but I want you to know I do support y'all and Brittany. I'm sorry you feel the way you do about my decision, but I think we just have extremely different opinions about the same situation. I'm not sure you realize how difficult this situation is for me, and I wish you could. If you don't support my decision, I just want to let you know that I don't mind paying for my college tuition and a phone. I'm not really sure what this means for Christmas break, but just let me know if you don't want me to come home. Love you, Cassie.
ME TO DAUGHTER:
Your attitude about this amazes me. You say you are supporting Brittany - but you are not supporting her in the way that she needs. You are a member of this family, and as such you have certain obligations. And flipping me off by not coming home when I tell you that you need to be here is unacceptable.
I have so many issues with this situation and your email that I don't know where to begin. I did not say that we won't pay for college. I did not say that we would cut you off financially. You were fishing for an ultimatum, one that I did NOT give you. Apparently you want me to make it easy for you. You want to feel justified in your ridiculous actions - and you think that by not coming home, you can play the martyr blame me for all of the issues and your actions, and not have to deal with controversy. Which, by the way, is controversy ONLY IN YOUR OWN HEAD.
Do you think that your dad will be accepting of your not coming home? Do you really think that he will be OK with you staying there and not coming to see him? Do you think that avoiding all of this makes it go away? You don't think that he will be accepting of your supporting your sister and not taking sides? You think that if you support Brittany, your dad will not love you anymore? And honestly Cassie - if that is at all true, how can you care what he thinks or how he feels. If he is worried about Brittany, asking about her, he would want to know that you are looking out for her. He should be proud of you supporting her, and listen to you when you tell him that you still want to come home, and see him - but you need to see Brittany too.
As far as the ultimatum you apparently think I have made or want me to make (which I want to be clear - I have not made): You say that you can pay for college on your own. How will you do that? You will not have a co-signer on any further loans if you go that route alone. Are you prepared to transfer to a college that you can afford on your own, or have you discussed with your father if he will co-sign, or if he can even get the approval needed to do so? You don't have a job. You don't have any income. You are biting off more than you can chew with the statements below. I don't want you to come home because of a financial threat - I want you to come home because you care about your sister and you are respectful of us as your parents and what we have asked you to do.
I am baffled by your response to this situation, and very very disappointed in your behavior. Your lack of concern about this family - specifically Brittany, and continual focus on only your dad's feelings is troubling. I would like to understand it - but you spend no time trying to explain it, nor do you appear to care how I feel. Your sister has all but gotten down on her knees and begged you to come home, and you have made it quite clear that you don't care what she is going through. All she has asked is that you come home and see her, talk to her, help her through this rough time. And yet - you have essentially said that she isn't important to you. I am not important to you. This family apparently means nothing to you.
What has happened to you?
We are not asking - we are telling you to come home.
DAUGHTER BACK TO ME:
I'm sorry y'all don't understand, but since you can't support my decision, I have decided that I'm not coming for Christmas break either.
You should ask Brittany how she felt after she found out Daddy didn't believe her. That's how I feel.
ME TO DAUGHTER:
This isn't about me believing you. We believe you don't want to come home. We believe you don't want to deal with this. We believe you don't want to make your dad mad. What is it you think we don't believe? Or what is it you think we don't understand?
We are not asking you to come home and even stay with us. We are asking you to come home and see your sister when she needs you. How are you finding throwing out these ultimatums so easy? How is it not acceptable to upset your dad, but perfectly acceptable to not even want to discuss this with us, and further, not want to be here for your sister FOR TWO DAYS. And now, all of Christmas? You have made this all about you instead of Brittany. This isn't about you. Or me. Or your dad. This isn't an ultimatum and it isn't about money. This is about Brittany hurting and wanting you here. This about her crying for help and wanting her sister to help make it better. She would be anywhere you needed her to be for you. If you were hurt or upset, she would put everything else aside just to make you feel a little bit better.
Somebody please tell me how this can be happening? I am baffled. How can she not want to be here for Brittany? How is that even possible? I am not trying to make this anything more than it is - I want her to be here for Brittany. Brittany wants her to be here. I am not threatening anything, I am not throwing out ultimatums. I don't even care if she sees me. I just want her to support her sister...
Oh the fun I have had today with the police. Two run-ins. 2. And it is only 4pm on a Monday. What does this say about the week ahead?
INCIDENT THE FIRST:
I am driving home from the book store with Brittany this afternoon. I have just gotten into an argument of sorts with Cassie around her not wanting to come home for Thanksgiving and me wanting to KILL HER because she needs to come home and see her sister. My mind is not on driving. My mind is on trying to think rationally through the situation and figure out how to best handle it without coming across as the supreme bitch that I normally am.
I looked into the mirror and saw a policeman behind me. Shit. I just went through this a few months ago – and do NOT need another ticket. I pulled over and went through the whole “do you know how fast you were going” “no” “why are you in a hurry” “I am not in a hurry…I was just arguing with my daughter about why she doesn’t want to come home from college for Thanksgiving and my mind wasn’t on driving and I am so sorry…oh my god TEENAGERS!”
And do you know what? For the first time in the history of…well, ever, I didn’t get a ticket. The officer told me that he has a son in the military and he just went through the same thing with him…and I started crying at the injustice of it all and he handed back my license and RAN AWAY FROM THE CRAZY LADY. It was awesome. And I didn't have to offer up sexual favors or anything. I did have to promise to drive more carefully though.
INCIDENT THE SECOND:
“Hello ma’am. This is XYZ Police department following up on an incident from last week. I understand one of our officers was out at your home regarding a custody issue with your daughter Brittany. It appears that your ex husband has inquired about filing criminal charges and we needed to follow up with you and let you know the status and find out what has happened…”
I proceeded to tell the officer/sergeant/whatever he was the situation. I also sent him the restraining order, affidavit, and modification documents. I was also kind enough to share with him my ex husbands cell and work numbers. I am so accommodating. I told him what had happened and the guy actually agreed with everything I have done, stating he would have done the same thing. He also thought that Brittany’s dad was not doing anything to help mend the relationship with her. Kudos to that guy.
We ended the call with him apologizing profusely for having to call at all and wishing us the best of luck.
About 15 minutes after I wrote the last entry, I received a call from my boss saying that I was going to have to work all night – on Saturday night. Apparently the universe has a damn fine sense of humor. That is the last time I am saying that I don’t mind work issues in the middle of the night.
So Saturday night found me leaving for work at 9:45pm, stopping at a hotel to pick someone up, and then working in a freezing cold building until 3:30am, returning said person to the hotel and then getting home around 4:00am Sunday. Wow – that was fun. Let’s ignore the fact that it sounds like (based on the work schedule anyway) that I am a part-time hooker. We didn’t really even have to do any WORK once we got there. We just all sat around staring at each other waiting for updates on the work being done. 5 of us. Not contributing. Wonderful plan if you ask me. And by wonderful I mean clusterfuck.
Brittany went out with a friend last night...mostly to feel normal again, and probably to get away from me. She has been attached to me for over a week - and needed some damn space already. This after being grounded for a month. Poor kid. So - she went out with instructions to call in a few hours and be home by midnight. She called by 9:30, called again at 10:30 or 11, and was home by 11:30. And even though I knew she was home, when my phone rang at 4:30 this morning, I was paralyzed with fear that something had happened to her. I sat bolt-upright in bed, grabbed the phone, and waited for bad news.
There was no bad news from Brittany. It was only a work issue that needed my attention - and I have to say that I have NEVER BEEN HAPPIER TO HAVE WORK ISSUES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAMN NIGHT. NEVER.
Last week I found out that Brittany was VERY VERY unhappy at her dad's house. She had been cutting, had tried to kill herself, and said that she would do it again if she had to go back. I didn't try to understand it - I really didn't and don't care about the reasons. All I care about is taking care of my daughter and keeping her safe.
I immediately set up an appointment with a psychiatrist for the Thursday morning, which is no small feat considering I didn't find these things out until 5:00pm on Wednesday evening. I also made an appointment with a lawyer to discuss how I was going to keep her safe and alive until we figured out what started all of this. The next 5 days are some of the most difficult days that I have ever faced in my life.
When the police showed up at our house Monday night looking for Brittany because she had not returned to her dad's (yes, he called them), I can honestly say that I felt like it was the end - that we would have to send her back...and I didn't know what would happen. I was afraid of what her dad would do, but mostly, I was afraid of what she would do to herself. I knew she would cut herself, and was more than sure she would try to kill herself. How can a parent put their child through that?
We went to court today - or rather our lawyer did. We were awarded temporary custody pending the outcome of a custody trial. They also issued a restraining order against him. Brittany is going to get the help she needs and will start to heal. We will try to help fix what is broken. We are all walking on egg shells and hoping we are doing the right things.
I have learned a few things here:
Violation of a custody order is a civil offense - it is not a criminal offense and will not result in being arrested.
Non-Forensic Psychiatrists and Psychologists back out faster than an SR-71A Rocket Plane when asked for their opinion on custody or anything related to legal issues.
There is very little experience with cases involving a 17 year old that wants to choose which parent they live with - in which one of their parents refuses to listen to them.
Sometimes you have to step way out of your comfort zone in order to do what is right for your children. Sometimes there are no laws or doctors or advise to guide you. You have to follow what feels right and hope you don't fuck it up too badly.
Lawyers are REALLY REALLY REALLY expensive.
You will never have all of the answers. You are winging it when it comes to doing the right thing for your kids.
Wow - this parenting stuff - it is hard.
Depression suicide failure pressure sadness defeat intimidation custody psychiatrist family runaway lawyers headache medication numb court writ police contempt temporary cutting help
The newest addition to our Halloween collection has arrived. Meet the Zombie. We also added an 8 foot blow-up spider, a fog machine and a small grave yard. Of course the Scary Clown is back as is the man-eating spider and body-less victim. Next year I think we will add another zombie and expand the graveyard.
I don't really know what to say about things over here lately. We are in a fragile state...full of discussions in the dark of night while laying in bed: "What should we do?" "How can we make this better for her?" "When will things get easier?" Full of half-glances and walking on egg shells. Full of carefully worded phrases. Full of very little laughter. Full of tearful phone calls. Full of feelings of helplessness and defeat and confusion. There will come a day when we will look back on this as The Dark Time - but the pain of it will fade. I wish that time was closer than it seems right now. Right now? It feels very, very far away.
We are dealing with some pretty difficult things over here...so if you are so inclined please keep us in your thoughts.
I met an old boss for "drinks" tonight after the boys went to bed. I feel like such a poser going out for drinks, when I don't drink. The whole "let's meet for drinks" thing just seems silly to me now. It was great to see him and some of my old colleagues - but I have to say that getting home close to 11 (OH DEAR GOD - NOT 11!!) feels...late. And ridiculous. And to think some of them are still out drinking and they have to get up in the morning and work just like me. I don't know how they do it and I don't know how I used to do it. Mind boggling.
My clothes are big. I love that. I really do. I love that the working out I have been doing is making me more fit...looking better, and feeling better. I however don't like the lack of clothes that really fit me well. I have been researching skirts lately - wanting one to replace my favorite black one from Express. It was form fitting and buttoned up the back. It was simple, yet sort of sexy. It is a size 6. I wear a 2. I wore it today anyway, and it was a HUGE mistake. Damn thing was not exactly in staying-on-mode. So, long story mind-numbingly-longer, I have been looking online to find a replacement - and all I am finding these days are pencil skirts - which have a really high waist. Didn't we just all ditch that for the hipster types of jeans and skirts? Did I miss another fashion change when sleeping last night? God - I should have saved all of my old skirts - because apparently the stuff I wore back in the 90s is freaking BACK IN STYLE????
Anyway, I stopped at Express after lunch to actually see with my own eyes what they are selling and figure out my size...and low and behold...the high waist pencil skirts are IN STYLE. Still finding that odd. But not interested in arguing with those French people about what we should or shouldn't be wearing. Chances are pretty good that they are NEVER going to listen to me. I cannot match socks.
In case you care, I bought this skirt, and this one.
I do not work at a financial institution, but support one, so we follow their holidays. Today is supposed to be a holiday, a day of not working, a day of rest. Instead, today has consisted of meetings and emails and phone calls just like any other work day. I am not a fan of holidays that end up like this.
If I had actually been able to eschew work today, I would be at Ft. Worth's River Legacy Parks running right now. I was looking forward to an afternoon of running followed by sitting in the park on a blanket reading a book (Day by Day Armageddon - to feed my latest zombie craze). I thought that I may mix in a burrito the size of my head (Hello Chipotle) or the worlds best salad (kisses to you, Corner Bakery) and maybe even take a nap. Doesn't it sound lovely? Sorta like fantasy land? That, I am finding out, is because that day only exists in my fantasies.
Speaking of zombies. I have been reading a few books about them - and we have ordered one for our yard for Halloween this year. This has led to a lot of zombie talk in our house...talk that the boys have started participating in. Which is awesome. Is there anything funnier than 3 year olds talking about zombies? I don't think so.
Cole: Are those ga-zombies* on that book?
Me: Yes. Well - one is a zombie, and one is a good guy. The guy with the gun? A good guy. They one with the face falling off? He is the zombie. The good guy is going to kill the zombie and keep all of the people safe.
Roark: zombies are scary.
Cole: Yes, ga-zombies are scary. But I will help the good guys keep you safe. I will hit the ga-zombies with this bat. And this fly swatter.
Me: Make sure you hit them in the head. You have to hit zombies in the head to kill them.
Roark: When the UPS man brings us our zombie, I will hit it in the head with my bat.
Me: NOOOOO. That is not a real zombie. You only get to hit zombies in the head if they are moving. That zombie doesn't move - you cannot hit him.
Cole: I need to find some ga-zombies. Good bye.
* I don't know why Cole calls them ga-zombies, but it is cute, so I don't correct it.
I am not evasive
I do not enjoy playing pretend
I do not like to wait
I seldom cry
I miss drinking
I only see my flaws
I think through things way too thoroughly
I am a firm believer in "beat a dead horse" for no good reason
I love to read, but don't want to make time for it
I wish I had family outside of my husband and kids that I was close to
I wish I had remained in contact with childhood friends
I listen to a song I like over and over and over - until I am sick of it
I expect people to understand me without me having to explain anything to them
I don't like talking about my feelings
I don't like hearing about your feelings
Having children is one of the best things I have ever done
I feel old
I feel more connected to people I read about than some people I actually know
I over-react to most things
I love the tired feeling I get after working out
I hate coming into the office
I am already missing summer
I hate most sports
I love writing, yet seem to struggle over what to write about
Having to have our last dog put to sleep has made me less interested in pets
I started the 30 Day Shred on 9/20. A long 20 or so days later I have only missed maybe 3 or 4 days. I have to say, it feels good. It looks good too. Although now I am suffering from a new issue...please play tiny violins for me...or send the WAmbulance... my clothes - they are too big. I have invested some money recently in new work clothes, and it is freaking expensive. I picked up a dress, some pants and skirts and a few shirts. I also have a pair of jeans that fit very well, but then I have a pair that is a bit big and one pair that just doesn't work anymore. The pair that fits really well? Well, I am embarrassed to tell you the size (2). I thought that maybe the sizing was off...because a 2? Really? But - I am here to say that most of the 4s I tried on the other day (jeans, skirts, pants) were all too big. The really funny thing is that I have not lost a lot of weight, but I am a different shape.
All of this changing shape got me curious...what measurements are most celebrities? How do I stack up? I went on a google-mission and the results were staggering.
Julia Roberts: 34B-23-34
Halle Berry: 36C-22-37
Jennifer Aniston: 34C-23-35
Sandra Bullock: 33B-24-34
Christina Applegate: 35-23-35 1/2
Charlize Theron: 36B-24-36
That is just a sampling... What I want to know, is how do they fit their internal organs inside a 22-effing-inch-waist? What is that all about? 23, 24 inches? Seriously? Can you actually live as an adult built like that? What keeps them from snapping in half? Do you realize that they must wear like a size -4? A size chart I found said that size 24 inch waist is a 00. Is there really anything smaller than a double-zero? Because DUDE - that is crazy.
My measurements are embarrassing at this point.
Enough of that. No, really enough.
I had a dream the other day that one of my boys died. It was horrible...and it felt so real. The one thing that sticks with me from that is in the dream when I had to come back to work - I couldn't face the pictures in here - in my office.
Anyway - the sick dream got me thinking...how does someone ever handle something like that? It isn't like losing a parent - someone we know is not going to be here forever. We just never think about losing our children, and I don't think I am wired to be able to handle that.
Don't you love it when people write something depressing? You are welcome.
I am back home from all of the work travel, was able to head home last Thursday instead of Friday and had the whole weekend here, which was nice. I ended up taking two days off of the 30 Day Shred last week, making it three days total I have missed it in over two weeks. I think I have logged around 15 days...maybe more. Anyway, I am close to 1/2 way. And I see huge differences in my body. I actually have arm muscles. And stomach muscles. And they look GOOD. My legs are more toned - although I do admittedly spend a lot of time feeling pretty sore. It seems like every time I do level two, my shoulders scream at me for a day. I am hoping that the added muscle there will start to make those god damned push-ups easier...but so far I am not feeling like a viking in that area.
I have also lost a few pounds - 5 overall I think. The first week or so I think I actually gained weight. I find that annoying. Now though, I am starting to see it drop off a bit. I didn't really have to lose any, but a few pounds isn't going to hurt me. I only have about 4 or 5 pounds to go and I am at what I weighed at 21 before I had any of my 4 kids...nice. I cannot say enough positive things about the effects of that workout, especially based on the fact that it is only a 20 minute workout! I do however hate that trainer..and her skinny little posse. In fact, I have all but called each of them the "C" word during workouts. Ask Todd - I really hate skinny bitch and think Jillian is personally out to get me. I am not sure he is amused...but it gets me through the workouts.
The boys are good. Cassie seems great - Todd visited her a week or so ago, and said she is happy. Her dad is there this weekend for their homecoming festivities (against Cassie's will) - and I suppose everything is going fine.
Brittany's boyfriend came over this evening. Todd wanted to talk to him, and requested a little discussion with him. I have to hand it to the kid, he sucked it up and sat down to talk to us. He pretty much took responsibility for his actions, admitted he used poor judgment, apologized, and was VERY pleasant all evening. He even played with the dog, played with the boys, and stayed for dinner. Ruling now is that Brittany is grounded until the end of the month (she can have friends over here if we are home, with our permission). The friend of hers that tried to give her the sleeping pill and then said she didn't do it is never allowed over here again - as she is a shitty friend, showing continued poor judgment and lack of being sorry for being such an idiot and almost killing our daughter.
When Brittany is allowed to go out again, she will have to call us and verbally check in every 2 hours. She will not be able to spend the night at anyone's house, and will have a strict curfew of midnight. She will also be giving us a detailed plan for her evening so that we know where she is. "just hanging out" will not be an option. Eventually, once we start trusting that she isn't going to get herself in more trouble - or dead - we will back off of the strictness...but for now, that plan feels right.
We are working on once again getting her a lawyer so that she can move out of her dad's - long story there, but her step-mom has been horrible through this little mess and is repeatedly showing how she simply enjoys hating Brittany as opposed to parenting and teaching her. Her dad is sitting idly by not doing a thing about it, and Brittany is having to take the abuse and neglect...not good.
So - same verse, different day. Ah, circle of life - you kick my ass.
I spent the days in mindless meetings and followed up dinner with much of the same. I need a break. So I am taking one. Nighty night.
I brought The Shred with me on my trip. It sat on my desk mocking me until I finally worked out. I didn't bring weights, opting to use two bottles of water in order to feel like a complete and total idiot. Mission accomplished.