A fog

It has been quite the week, one day sort of blurring into the next and I feel like I am operating in some sort of fog. Some days or weeks are like that, so much going on that it feels like one thing is finished before another has begun, and no time to truly process them all. Nothing bad, just life stuff, but it’s funny how when you are operating under exhaustion and low-level anxiety, everything seems tinged with a bit of darkness.

At any rate, after a talk with Eli’s probation officer and Eli, he did come home; the five-day alcohol test I requested was negative, which on the surface is a good thing. However, the “five-day” test, when used on kids, is really only accurate for about 36 hours, so whether or not Eli was drinking is in question. Still, we have to give him the benefit of the doubt without having some kind of definitive proof. He was still punished for allowing his so-called friend to have alcohol in the car, and he doesn’t seem to get why that should be an issue at all-especially because he maintains the “I don’t know how that got there!” stance. I am not buying it, having used the same line to my own mother back in the day; maybe he really didn’t know, but I am not giving him the benefit of the doubt on that one. So, he is mad that he is still being punished, mad that I called his probation officer, mad that he tried to get me in trouble because I told him to get his stuff and leave and it backfired on him (his probation officer actually asked if I was even willing to allow him to come home; he is, after all, just three months short of turning 18). Still, the worst of it is over for the moment and we have been talking; not even about any of this, but the usual stuff we talk about-music, politics, religion, and this really cool trick he just learned to do on his skateboard. We do have to go to court on Thursday, and I will write more about that afterward, but for now, peace has been restored.

None of this makes the worry go away, though, and I have really been struggling with the whole “letting go” part of parenting. I just want, so much, for him to be able to achieve his dreams and move forward in life, but he has made some choices that have derailed his plans a bit. I just want to jump in and get my sticky fingers on HIS life and manage it! But I have learned through the years that after a certain point, a point that is different for every child, there isn’t anything you can do because they are just damn well going to make whatever choices they are going to make no matter WHAT you have tried to teach them.  it is so difficult for me to sit back and let them deal with their own consequences. Necessary, but difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I am not sitting around letting him do whatever the heck he wants to do, but am trying to make sure he feels the consequences. Insert wailing here when I say,”But it’s so hard!” Yes, it is, but I don’t imagine it should be easy to raise strong, good children when so much we see in the world undermines that effort. I will save that whole rant for another day though.

It has just been hard in lots of ways this last week. Josie has been screaming close to non-stop for three days; I finally took her into the doctor yesterday even though she had few symptoms of anything obviously wrong; a slight runny nose, a very low-grade fever, nothing to explain her inconsolableness (it is a word in MY world), to be told that there isn’t really anything WRONG with her. A bad cold, and my doctor said something about “fake teething” which made me laugh because she is my friend and I think she was trying to placate me. We haven’t had more than a couple of hours sleep at a time since early Saturday morning, so it has made everything seem so much harder. The funny thing? In the middle of the night last night she started a croupy cough, yet she slept better than she has in days. It’s like she is one of those animals who can tell an earthquake is coming days before it happens and get all freaked out before the fact. Either that or she is just so exhausted that she is sleeping right through it.

And there have been dentist appointments and school activities and Sam has been preparing for clinic for orchestra, which is a BIG deal, and Steve applied for a better job and got hired, and Hannah and Josh might be getting into the income-based apartments in the next couple of weeks, and….it’s just a life, my life, and no matter what is going on, I am glad it is mine.

 

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Prayers

He left home last night with a bag packed and his backpack slung over his shoulder, and I don’t know where he is. To say he ran away isn’t accurate, nor is it accurate to say that I kicked him out. Really, it’s a little bit of both, I guess, but I don’t suppose it really matters at this point. He is gone, and I don’t know where he is or if he is planning on coming back or, really, if should even let him.

The back story is that he borrowed Steve’s car on Saturday night with the understanding that he was going to three different places and would then be at his friend’s house, and they would fill the gas tank back up. Steve got car back and it had 150 miles on it (which is about 100 more miles than he was supposed to have driven), the gas tank wasn’t full, and most of a pack of cigarettes was gone. Then, Steve pulled the seat forward to let Owen out of the backseat and found three plastic shot glasses reeking of alcohol. I confronted Eli about it after school, of course he denied everything, and an argument ensued. In the heat of the moment I told him he couldn’t stay at the house any longer. We got home and he went downstairs and packed a bag, and when he came upstairs I apologized and told him I had said that out of anger, and that he couldn’t go anywhere. He left anyway.

(the back back story is that we have had trouble with Eli before. He is currently on probation for a combination of things-running away, truancy, minor consumption, and malicious injury to property)

I called Eli’s probation officer this morning to let him know what had transpired, because Eli is supposed to check in with him again today. He is going to go to the school and if Eli is there, drug/alcohol test him and tell him he has to come home or he is in violation of his probation. If he isn’t there, I am not sure what his PO will do; he said he will call me and let me know and we can decide from there.

So those are the facts, but the facts don’t even begin to describe how this feels to me. All night long I was in and out of sleep, worrying about where he was and what he was doing and whether or not I was going to get a middle of the night visit from the police. I worry about where he is and what he is doing, and what the consequences for him might be. I worry that I have failed him in irreparable ways, and my heart is broken to think that I may have lost him. I don’t know if he needs rehab or jail or to be forced to come home, and don’t know if him coming home is the answer either. I don’t know anything at this point other than that I am helpless to stop this tidal wave Eli seems to be riding on, and I worry about the inevitable crash.

So if you are the praying sort, please pray for my son. Pray that he finds his way, pray that he is safe, pray that deep down he knows how much this mama loves him.

Progress

I have spent the morning taking some online proficiency tests and working on my profile for    some potential online jobs. I heard about a couple of reputable online places that hire freelance workers, so I thought it would be a good idea to get going on that. I actually just applied for my first job, so it will be interesting to see if I get it. The pay isn’t GREAT, but I wouldn’t expect it to be just starting out, and doing piecework like this. Still, I have to start somewhere, and a little bit of money coming in is better than none.

It has been a rather productive morning all the way around.  I have begun the process of actively looking for work, doing a few small things to refine my existing skills and making a list of other things I need to learn. All this while laundry is going and last night’s pans are soaking in the sink, and at one point I was working while Josie nursed. That in itself makes me very happy, really, as I think I have mentioned that she is something of a high-needs baby. How lovely to be in the comfort of our own home, where she be held and nursed to sleep to her heart’s content, where the sling is handy and her toys can be scattered around on the floor nearby. I have coffee at hand, and one of the dogs is keeping my feet warm, and I certainly never had this at the office!

It feels really good to have taken steps, real and concrete steps, toward making this work. I  think I have needed the last month to process the enormity of quitting my job in order to be home with the baby, as well as move in a completely different direction in terms of life work. We all know how poorly I weather change, even positive change, so it feels as if I have been graced, today, with calmness and direction. It’s a small start, but-a start.

Just Write

 The kids just left for school after over two weeks off, the littler boys all shiny and proud in their new clothes and Sam carrying his very own violin, brought to him by Santa. Eli was up early, showered and ready for the day by time I got up, a little surly but still, up and ready to go. The house is quiet now, and I have gone from room to room turning off lights and mopping up water from the bathroom floor, putting lids on toothpaste and hair gel and rinsing out the bowls from the oatmeal. Laundry going already, the sound of zippers and buttons clinking against the dryer drum and the washer just hitting the spin cycle. The baby still sleeps. 

This is my life now, the one of slower mornings and cleaning up messes and planning dinners that actually require cooking as opposed to opening up a box of Hamburger Helper or making tacos. I thought it would be easier, not in the sense of “stay at home moms don’t really work (because God knows that is a lie!)” but in the sense of being less stressed about getting everything and everyone ready and out the door in order to go to work…but it isn’t easier, it’s just a different kind of hard. 

So I write while the baby sleeps, not just here but some other things I am working on, wanting and needing to write in order to keep somewhat sane and maybe someday make some money. I look for online work I can do from home (and if any of you have some leads on freelance editing or ghostwriting blog posts or whatever, let me know!), and try to keep the panic at bay. I drink my coffee and do the small chores and try to live in this moment of gratitude for these slower mornings while the baby sleeps.

2012

I was working a post out in my head yesterday, and it was a good one, but I failed to put the words down in time and they have somehow managed to escape my head. Instead, I am reposting one of my favorite ones, because the sentiments remain the same as they did two years ago when I wrote it. Blessings to all of you this year.

The weather was terrible last night, with wind and snow, and several times I heard the ambulance, the police, and I worried; this is what New Year’s Eve was for me, one filled with edginess and restlessness and, yes, fear. Eli went to a party with his friends, a party hosted by responsible adults who don’t drink, a party filled with kids and fun and midnight four wheeler rides, and I still did not rest well until I got them all safely home.  People who drink like I used to drink are out, you see, and I know how quickly everything can change.  I hope, this morning, that no one I know and love was hurt, that none of my friends’ lives were changed irrevocably by careless actions of people who are like I used to be.  I am grateful, too, that my own irresponsibility was never punished by causing irreparable damage to someone else’s life.

This is not a holiday of rebirth for me, a chance to look at the year past and make new resolutions.  I don’t do resolutions, because if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, in recovery and in life, I should be taking stock daily and working on what needs to be worked on.  I don’t sit down and write out a list of grand plans for the year, with these self-imposed rules that I need to follow, sweeping changes that I need to make.  I am not critical of those who DO this, please understand me.  It is just that for me, making a decision to change myself, my life, is a daily project.  So-no dramatic declarations of losing weight!  Eating healthy! making more money!  for me, but instead a quiet determination to keep doing what I have been doing.  I suppose the resolve, if that is what you want to call it, is to simply keep getting up in the morning, putting one foot in front of the other, and moving forward.

There have been a lot of changes this last year, these last months and weeks and days.  I can’t sit back and examine them all, because I would either be filled with an inflated sense of self importance or would be plunged into the depths of despair.  I know this: that I have made friends and lost them this year, that I have been both hurt and healed by people I love, that I have found reserves of strength that I didn’t know existed.  I have learned that real life is dramatic enough without needing to stir the pot, and that self-care sometimes involves distancing myself from those who still need to create drama-even when it hurts.  I have learned that those who love me simply love me, and that even when I make mistakes, there is no mental tally being made, no past transgressions being stored up for future use.  I have learned through these long months that I need not apologize for who I am-as long as I make an honest effort to let go of those character defects which are detrimental to myself and others (which god knows is easier some days than others), as long as I love with all I have, I can look into the mirror at the end of the day and like what I see. 

To look at the year ahead of me as a whole seems daunting; the temptation is great to try to project what might happen, to plan for every possible scenario and mentally gird myself for what might be ahead.  This is not good for me-because I have also learned that no matter what I think might happen, I can’t prepare for every eventuality.  I can spend the days worrying about what is ahead, but I know that things will happen no matter how prepared I think I am.  Instead, I need to simply live for this moment, this day, and trust that no matter what, I will be given what I need to thrive.

So today, this day that for some is such a portentous time of year, I sit looking out the window at the snow falling and I say a prayer to whomever might be listening.  I say a prayer for the people I know who are floundering with the enormity of life, I pray for those who are nestled peacefully in the arms of someone they love.  I pray for change, and for the ability to weather change with dignity and grace.  I pray for the things for which I pray every single day-the ability to love more fully and to let go of the sharp edges I still carry around.  I pray for the woman I know who is worried that the baby she is carrying is no longer alive, and for another woman who just found out that she is carrying new life.  I pray for courage and strength for two other women I know who are struggling with the question of whether or not love is enough to save a marriage, and for those I know who have decided they had to leave a marriage to save themselves.  I bow my head in gratitude for new love for one family in particular, who have managed to find each other after death and divorce and have merged into a complete unit.  All this, and so much more.

So.  This day is for you, whoever you are who might be reading this.  My wish is for abundance and peace, and on the days when those things seem so far out of reach as to make life feel hopeless, I wish for you strong arms and loving people to carry you through.  I pray that each one of you gets exactly what you need, and for the courage to take what is given freely and run with it.  I wish for good food that nourishes the body, and good books and conversations and letters that nourish the mind.  Whatever it is that you want most, that is what I wish for all of you.

Happy, happy new year, yes, but really, happy, happy day.