Grandma and a very few of her Great-Grandkids
Grandma and My Kids
Grandma and a very few of her Great-Grandkids
Grandma and My Kids
I had a visit on Tuesday night from some people from my church. You all know I am a believer, but also that my idea of The Big Guy does not necessarily take the same form as the Almighty God taught in church, so we don’t need to get into a major theological discussion about whether or not He exists. I choose to believe, you don’t, all is well. No, I thought maybe we could get into some actual CHURCH bashing, because I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like a lot of churches actually have anything to do with, you know, God.
Anyway. I had this visit, and all day I was thinking about it, stewing about it, worrying. Because I might talk tough here on the old blog, and amongst my friends, but deep inside, I cringe from most kinds of confrontations (unless they have to do with my kids; I am good at that). I am brave and strong when thinking about the different possibilities regarding how any particular incident will go, but then when I am faced with any type of “authority” figure, I find myself immediately reverting back to that scuffling, lurking, subservient person that they expect me to be. I have gotten very good at blowing them off by saying all of the things I know they WANT me to say, but I just can’t come right and say, “This is what is going on.” Which is why I was worried about the prospect of a visit.
But something happened-and since I AM a believer, I choose to say that it was God-and I felt suddenly very powerful. It was, for me, exceedingly strange; we were talking and they asked me how I was doing and suddenly it ALL came spilling out. That I am, in fact, not doing well at all. That the reason I don’t go to church is that I am so tired of having every lesson, every class, every freaking song, point out to me all that is lacking in my life. I am a single woman-not by choice. My ex-husband and now Steve did and have done some really, really awful things (the ex did things far worse than Steve, though, and Steve’s biggest issues really don’t have anything to do with me, but I am of course affected by them), yet I am the one who is left with the stigma of being a single parent. I am tired of the belief-verbalized or not-that we are not a family because there is no father/husband. I told them that they have no idea what it is like to go to a church event and have no one talk to me. Of going to a Scout event and having one person sit with me, a MAN who is married and technically isn’t even supposed to talk to me, much less sit down with my kids and I, and feeling grateful that he had enough guts to buck the system. Much, much more was said, too much to go into detail here, but suffice it to say that by the end of the evening, I had both of these grown men crying. That makes me happy, because it means that for a brief moment in time, they both listened. They heard, and they felt, if only for a few minutes, exactly what my life is like. I am not egotistical enough to believe that anything is going to change, but I also hope that by my speaking up, they might choose to hear more often.
They offered to help me, though, which had my back up almost immediately. Not because I don’t need help, mind you, but because any offer of help comes with conditions. I said this, too. I said “No, as much as I need help, I don’t want your help, because it requires a commitment form me that I am not willing or able to fulfill.” I talked about my belief that we are supposed to help everyone without expectation of gain of any kind, and we are supposed to help without taking into account where, or IF, someone goes to church. They both nodded their heads, said you are right, etc…but of course did not offer again.
However: when I got home from work last night, there was a message from one of them asking if I would please call, he had a couple of things to work out with me. The tone of his voice piqued my curiosity, so of course I called back, and that is when the negotiations started. The offer he put on the table to start was that they would provide groceries for a few months, as well as some counseling (hm, clearly he thinks I am just a typical hysterical woman who is losing her mind, right?), in exchange for my presence at church, with my kids, three times a month. I countered with groceries for one month and attendance at my leisure, with or without kids. I mean, Sam is already very active in Scouts, Hannah is in the YW and is also participating in a huge event in August, and Eli has gone hiking, trekking, etc…with them all as well, so it isn’t as if I am keeping THEM from participating. At the end of the conversation, we were both satisfied: groceries and counseling for an indefinite time period, in exchange for one church attendance a month, with kids. I was firm about not going on Mother’s or Father’s Day, though. No way.
In some ways, I think I should feel a little bit guilty. I mean, this isn’t a business deal, right? So should I feel guilty for somehow taking advantage of them by accepting their help and knowing that the one weekend a month (kind of like the Army Reserves) is not going to be enough to suddenly make me want to leap into the aisles and start shouting Hallelujah! (though, okay, this is SO not that kind of a church.)? Somehow, I know that I should, but I somehow don’t. It’s like feeling guilty, once removed. I am not an avaricious person by nature, am not particularly out for whatever I can get. I think what I am is practical. Yes, I need some help right now. And God knows I need counseling (which was really the deal-clincher for me), and he also knows I can’t afford it. And I guess I also-whether it is fair or not-think that maybe, after all that they put me through during the divorce and the advent of Owen (illegitimate bastard that he was. What.The.Fuck.Ever.), they owe me. Is that wrong? Yes, I am sure it is.
But I am going to take it, because I know that the God I believe in has nothing to do with whether or not I go to church, and my best friend (in my mind only, but still) Anne Lamott says something like “God loves you exactly the way you are and He loves you too much to let you stay like this. ” This is a way for me to get the help I need, because I am really not coping at well with things, and I have to find a way to fix myself. I have to find a way to deal with the shit that is my life, so that I can find me again, that woman who I used to love and cherish and be so proud of. Too much has happened and she is buried, but still, under the rubble, there is a small pocket of air and a little w
ater and light; I just have to have help digging her the rest of the way out.
It is June 11th. The 11th! And here where I live, it is 38 degrees and snowing lightly, with 50 MPH winds on and off. No fucking wonder I can’t get my shit together; I am still in winter mode, and the weather has gone beyond depressing clear on into if I don’t have some warmth and sun soon, I am going to seriously hurt someone. I like the cold and snow when it is, you know, winter, not when it is the beginning of June.
So I haven’t been around for a variety of reasons, partly due to work and partly because I really haven’t had anything of note to write about. Or rather, I haven’t had the mental energy to write about anything besides fluff. Actually, I still don’t. I just know that the mere act of writing often helps me process things, clear my head, move forward, and when I don’t write (here, in my journal, a letter, something) then I start to stagnate and feel really, really stuck. Which makes it really easy for me to isolate and brood, which is NOT a good place for me to be, especially lately.
Over the weekend, Owen climbed out the window in the boys’ bedroom. In an instant, he had flung one leg over, and before any one of us could get there (me from the living room, the big boys from the backyard, which was where O. was trying to get to), had fallen out. It is about a five foot drop, and just underneath the window there is an old tree stump; he missed it entirely, and I still shake to think what would have happened had he hit his little noggin on it. Thankfully, all he got was a little bump on his head and a scratched up and bloody leg, but it still left me shattered. I watched him all after noon and evening to make sure he was okay, especially after he was in bed; I just had to watch, and wait, and be sure. I am not one to be eaten up with guilt, it isn’t that; I was not being negligent nor careless, it just happened so FAST, and I think that is what scares me so much of the time-that in an instant, our lives can change, and there is nothing I can do about it. No matter how vigilant I am, no matter how much I try to protect my kids from harm, there are no guarantees.
On Monday, Steve’s 11 year old nephew was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle (and PLEASE, you guys, this is Idaho. He lives on a farm, and 11 year old kids and younger ride cycles ALL OF THE TIME. He was not on the highway except to cross it, he was wearing a helmet, etc…)As near as anyone can tell, this was just an accident. No fault, or if blame is to be laid anywhere it was probably The Boy’s fault, but really, just an accident. An accident that has The Boy in the hospital with a punctured lung, a jaw that is wired shut, broken ribs, they removed his spleen, and oh, the possibility-even likelihood-that he will lose his leg from the knee down. And this is the GOOD news; when they first life flighted him, the fear was major head injuries, and since his lung and spleen needed operated on immediately, the leg was totally NOT a priority; it was a given at that point that he would lose the whole leg, if he lived. Another instance of no guarantees.
I don’t know what my point about this really is, except that all we have is this day. I know how trite that sounds, really I do. And I know on some level I am always aware of this; I mean, in AA, it is ALL ABOUT one day at a time, and I just forget sometimes how important that is. I don’t mean in the sense of being on edge and worrying all of the time that something might happen to one of my kids, or me, but in the sense of trying to live every day. I can’t and won’t live my life or make my KIDS live their lives full of fear. I take pretty damn good care of my kids, and am pretty vigilant about their safety so far as I can control (you can BET I moved the furniture around so that Owen can’t reach any windows, now that we know he can get out!), but I need to remember that no matter how careful I am, there are no guarantees.
I am still depressed and crazy and emotional, and it still seems like I am spiraling out of control, which is more than scary for me. But this is one more thing I can do to help myself get better-to remember that I have today, and do what I can do today to feel better. For today, this has to be enough.
My Ex…. mother-in-law is crazy. Not in the sense of “I never liked her because she was interfering” type crazy but, you know, certifiable. Her son and I have been divorced nearly 15 years, and in that time period, I think she has had her phone number changed at least that many times, if not more. Because if she gets more than a couple of wrong numbers or hangups within a few weeks, she is sure someone is stalking her. Ditto with the same car passing by her house more than once. If it is one she doesn’t recognize, she calls the police. She also has a very odd list of things that the kids are not allowed to eat or drink: red Koolaid has always been out (RED DYE), but red jello and all the diet soda they can drink are IN. Sunscreen gives you cancer so the kids are only allowed out in the pool when the sun is down.
Maybe I Should…. stop worrying so goddamned much about what I SHOULD be doing, and just doing what is good and healthy for me.
People Would Say… that I need some serious mental help. But they are MY delusions, and I am enjoying them very, very much. When they stop being entertaining and fun? THEN it is time to get help. Or if I, you know, suddenly drop everything and sell all of my household furnishings in order to get a tattoo and fly to the next state over, I might have stepped over the line from harmless sexual fantasy to, you know, certifiable. Like my ex-mother in law.
I Don’t Understand…. why people call their spouse/partner/whatever “Baby Daddy” or “Baby Mama.” it just doesn’t make any sense to me, because it seems so…so…demeaning. I really like a couple of people who use that expression, so this isn’t about some deep-seated personal resentment or anything like that. I just don’t get it.
When I Wake Up In the Morning…. I immediately put my glasses on. Because I can’t see much without them, and when I can’t SEE, I can neither hear nor think.
I Lost….my wallet one time when I was in high school. Set it on a counter in a gas station, and by time I walked out to the car and noticed it-we are talking about a matter of minutes here-and went back in, it was gone. I thought my step-dad was going to have a heart attack or stroke because he was SO ANGRY with me; in fact, I recall thinking that if he did, in fact, than it would be money well lost. No dice.
Life is full of…. enough ups and downs to rival a roller coaster, complete with heart stopping views of the world from the top, and plummeting, stomach shaking dives downward. All in all, quite the ride.
My Past Is…. checkered at best, but perhaps better left unspoken.
I Get Annoyed When… people in charge of putting up signs outside stores can’t spell. I have posted this one before, but my all-time favorite fuck-up is “Two pinds of brokli.” Please. I actually won’t frequent a store whose sign is miss-spelled, it bothers me that much.
Parties Are… like a slow, painful death for me. I am way too shy and self conscious and I always end up doing something really stupid like stumbling up the stairs (sober, even!) or spilling food on my shirt.
I Wish…. that I didn’t feel like I had to take responsibility for everyone else. I would like to be nurtured every once in awhile, thank you very much. I also wish my niece wasn’t mad at me for telling her that I wouldn’t tell someone to stop calling her husband a jackass. Honey, it just isn’t that big a deal!
Dogs… make big piles of shit in my yard (which is why I have the kids mow, actually), eat way too much food, and make me smile. A lot.
Cats… I really like them, but I can’t eat a whole one by myself (stole that line of a t-shirt but it makes me laugh every time I say or think it).
Tomorrow…. I hope that my $50 Boomertowne Visa gets here, because since it is “found” money (as in, not budgeted in for something), I would really, really like to go get a new bra. Or two. TMI, I am sure, but the only bras I have that even come close to fitting are my old nursing bras, which haven’t been in use for over a year (at least not for their intended purpose, as Owen quit nursing at 15 months). And frankly, they aren’t all that sexy. Not that anyone is seeing them, but STILL.
I Have a Low Tolerance for…. ignorance. And long lines at the grocery store. I always think that if people knew how important I really am, they would just move aside and let me throug
h. Hasn’t happened yet. Also, for people who don’t bathe. Please; I will buy you a bar of soap and some deodorant; they are cheap at the dollar store.
If I Had a Million Dollars… I would just sit down and cry.
I’m Totally Terrified…. of my ex-husband trying to take Sam. Or of even seeing him. I am terrified that I am really, really screwing up my kids. Terrified of getting seriously ill and having no insurance. Of…too many things to list.
*****OMG. I JUST learned about a kind of party that I think I would like. If I wasn’t too embarrassed to walk in the door, anyway. She described it as being sort of like a Tupperware party, only with, you know, adult toys. I am wondering a couple of things, though: 1. Can you, um, return the merchandise if it doesn’t live up to your expectations? 2. Are there trial items, like Bath and Body Works has? 3. Would it be possible to hand out masks outside the door so those so inclined could me incognito?****
In case my button doesn’t work, join the revolution of words by checking out Mimi Writes; she has all the info you need to get going on this. This is a today-only deal, so don’t miss out. This is important, and I firmly believe that we can make a difference.
This is what is on my agenda today (after work, of course, because I would never do personal things while at work. Please.): Taking the kids to, yep, McDonald’s and to buy Eli a pair of shoes. His are, I think I mentioned earlier, falling apart, and he also has a terrible case of athlete’s foot that just isn’t getting better. This is in part his fault, because he wears his shoes with no socks AND he swims in them regularly and then walks around in them all day. Eeew. This little trip serves a dual purpose: to “celebrate” the better financial situation, and also to avoid the people from the church who want to come visit. “They” called me and left a voice mail at nearly 10:00 last night ( I was, thankfully, on the phone when they called), asking if they could come visit today. At 5:30. Even if I wanted to have them visit, which I don’t, that would not be enough notice for me.
Here is the thing. I believe wholeheartedly in God; I actually even consider myself a Christian, though I tend to be, shall we say, just slightly to the left (okay, way the fuck off in left field, as ***gasp*** I don’t think homosexuality is a sin, I support gay marriage, and believe in pro-choice. To name a few.) politically. What I DON’T believe is the whole religious dogma that is espoused by many churches, but this one in particular. Here are a few examples: since I am a single woman, I am not “allowed” to have missionaries into my home, even if the kids are present, without also having a male over 18 present. Because I might corrupt or seduce these poor innocent boys. Yet it is perfectly appropriate for three adult males to come into MY home, with or without kids present; how is that at all appropriate? Might that be, perhaps, a safety issue for me in addition to a propriety issue? I mean, really; I don’t want to sully my reputation by being seen entertaining three MEN in my home! And what is to stop these men from overpowering me and corrupting and abusing ME? I hate the double standard that comes from people with testicles, especially CHURCH people with testicles. Also, there is the simple fact that I cannot hold a position in the church due to my status as a divorcee, AND the fact that I had a child out of wedlock. Because again, I might corrupt someone, in this case the innocent young children. Puh–leeze. The fact that my ex-husband was a chronic and confessed philanderer (okay, in layman’s terms, he fucked a whole boatload of people who he was not married to. Because, you know, he was married to me) had absolutely no bearing on HIS status in the church. In fact, I got told that it was my fault for not being “loving” enough, and he got extra prayer and support. So yeah, I have some issues with organized religion. Which is why I am going to pointedly NOT be home tonight; the fact that I neither confirmed nor denied that I would be available does not preclude them from driving by to see if my lights are on and stopping anyway. Go figure.
So going out is on my agenda for this evening, and this is what I have already done today: got up at 5:30 because Owen has figured out how to climb out of his bed and come visit. This is progress in that he made it clear until 5:30 to do so this morning; over the weekend? 3:30 on Saturday and Sunday morning both. NOT fun, at least for me. He thought it was just a great time to be up and around. My alarm goes off at 6:00, so it wasn’t worth staying in bed that extra 30 minutes. Therefore, I was able to get a load of laundry washed and in the dryer, and another one washed. Finished loading the dishes left from last night’s chili verde. Left The List of chores for the older three kids to get done. Acted like a real bitch to Steve when he came over to get the leftovers, for no real reason other than I was tired and grouchy so took it out on him. Which meant that I had to call and apologize, which I really, really hate to do. I really like to walk around and think I am the shit and that I am never wrong or behave like a childish two year old, but the reality is that sometimes Owen is better behaved than I am. I have read the things in my reader, done a crapload of actual work, and now…wait for it…
…I just added something else to my blog roll. Someone else. You all know how I feel about dad blogs, and basically about men in general, so this is really a special occurrence that brings the men on my roll up to, yep, THREE. I do read other blogs by men, don’t get me wrong, but the three I now have listed are ones I read and comment on regularly, and thoroughly enjoy. You all know BusyDad, and for those of you who don’t know XBox4NappyRash, he is a man who wants to be a dad so badly but he and his wife have not had any success yet; go read him if you get a chance, because he is an excellent writer. Last, and newest, is one called LiteralDan; he is funny, he is thoughtful, and he is real. I followed a link from someone else’s blog to find him, because I liked a comment he made, and wanted to read more. I was well pleased, and I think those of you who don’t know him yet ought to go check him out.