Friday, November 15, 2019

I'm His Mom Now

It's always when I can't sleep that I begin thinking about the big problems in life.  Or rather, maybe I can't sleep because my mind just will not SHUT. UP.  This is what I am thinking about tonight:

I'm not a great mom.

I'm not even a good mom, most days.


Underpaid.  Underappreciated.  Undervalued.

These are my thoughts, at 4AM.

Kris and I are tired.  We are just plain exhausted.  This blog has only scratched the surface of the things going on in my life right now, especially because I am not the best at writing regularly.

This is my reality, and what my life has looked like over the last year:

My oldest daughter graduated from high school, got her first job, went to college, has a steady, serious boyfriend, and it is evident with each passing day that grand babies are no longer this far-off, abstract thing.  It could happen, people.  SOON.  Though, if Katherine has her way, it will not happen in the next 4 years.  She's lame.

My dear, sweet, sullen son.  Kaleb is so hard to love, and yet so worthy, and so very deserving of that love, even though he doesn't want to believe it.  We butt heads so much more than I would like, but I really feel like this past year has been one of growth for both of us.  I think we would both agree that while it has been difficult, and we are weathering it, we will both be so relieved when we don't live together anymore.  But finally in the last year, I feel like we are learning to talk to one another.  We still fail one another, and I bear that mom guilt heavily.  But it's something...

I try so hard to own my mistakes.  To tell my son that I am sorry.  To tell him when I have misjudged him (which I do, far more often than I should).  To let him know I am proud of him and that I love him.  And, shockingly, as if God knew I needed reassurance, not only did my son hug me once in the last year, but he also told me he loved me the other day, and I am fairly certain it was JUST BECAUSE.  I can't ask him to clarify though, because if I draw any attention to it at all, he will withdraw from society and pretend as if he never knew me.

My third child (the middle daughter, Abbey) is always my bright spot at the end of any day.  Going strong still after 17 years, she is what I need to make me smile.  All of my kids do things that make me proud, that make me laugh, or that amaze me.  All of them fill my heart with a joy and pride I can't even begin to put into words.  BUT that have to meet her only once to get it.  To understand why this paragraph about her is different.  SHE is different.  When she learns something new, as bored as I sometimes get listening (see, told you I wasn't great, or good!), I will never tire of her with her adorable shaved head, literally educating me on every detail, big and small, of whatever her current passion is.

And then there is the youngest, Olivia.  She's 14 and still so naive - not in a bad way.  Overall, she lives in a bubble and for years I have nurtured that bubble.  The longer she can live free of the burden that life can be at times, the better.  I know one day something bad will happen - something that she doesn't know how to walk through - but I am not in a hurry to usher that day in.  Her innocence brings me hope.  It shows me that kids can face all that they are facing and not be pulled down by it.  It is possible to live in this crazy, busy, sex-crazed world as a teenager and yet not be persuaded into growing up too quickly.  I am in NO hurry for my youngest to grow up.  It seems crazy to think that she will soon become an adult and not just live at home as the quiet, nerdy, kid who loves to draw and has a wit and sarcasm that seems incompatible and yet she makes it work.  And that's the funny, crazy thing about Olivia.  She is innocent of a lot of things in this life, but she has this dark and twisted mind that only a dark and twisted mother could love.  ;-)  She has always been quick-witted.  It has amazed me from the time she started talking.  I used to think she was just repeating sarcastic comments verbatim that she would hear adults saying.  But it quickly became clear that those odd comments my three year old was rattling off  were actually a sign of a quick wit and a sarcastic, slightly demented mind.

But the thoughts don't end there.  It might surprise some of you to learn that we have a fifth kid now too.   He's a handsome, blonde-haired 18 year old young man.  There are a lot of circumstances I am not even fully aware of, but at the time, he needed a place to stay for a few days.  He had recently gotten out of an inpatient treatment program for teens struggling with drug addiction.  It was presented to us that the living arrangements would be temporary - and if things needed to progress beyond that, we would look at setting some ground rules.  After the first few days, it became apparent that it would be a longer-term situation, so we put some rules in place and off we went.

Shortly after arrangements were finalized, it became apparent that this new kid of mine was under the influence of something.  When confronted, he admitted he had been using heroin and we got him immediately back into treatment.  He has still been battling his demons and recently gave in when the pressures of life became unbearable.  So, he made the courageous and difficult decision to go into an adult, inpatient rehab as soon as a bed opens up .

Heroin is vicious.  It has devastated this kid's family.  I don't know all of the circumstances or details, but this kid's mom and oldest brother died a couple of years ago, within weeks of one another, and I believe both were overdoses or heroin was involved in some way in both deaths.  So when he showed up on my doorstep, in addition to so many other things he needed (unconditional love, a roof over his head, regular meals), this kid needed a mom.

So, I'm his mom now.

I'm not a great mom.

I'm not even a good mom.

But, I am HIS mom.

It really is that simple for me.  I love him as if he were my own.  How crazy that someone who is literally an adult according to his age worked his way into my mama heart so easily and instantly and I feel like I've loved him his whole life!  I know how selfish I am, so I really believe that God put this into my heart and gave me the capacity to love like He loves us.

But this has been the hardest few months we have had in a long, long time.  Because in addition to all of this, work has been insane and I had to make the difficult decision to step down as a supervisor, due to my health issues.  It has actually been HUGE for controlling my anxiety,  but it also means Kris has had to pick up the slack at work in addition to home, since my spine physically limits me.  He also hurt his low back recently-the first injury of this type for him, and it is taking a toll on him.

Of all the people I am responsible for, the dog is the stupidest.  I mean, literally, he has a death wish.  Or something.  These are just a handful of the mischievous things this dog has done in his not-quite-four-years of life:

Eaten Benadryl
Had his chest plate cut open at the groomer
Eaten Tizanidine (muscle relaxer)
Eaten Ambien (he had his stomach pumped for this one)
Jumped through our bay window and cut his arms open
Consumed approximately one gram of marijuana
Eaten a Suboxone strip (this was just last week and was quite scary)

So I am going to ask again, why don't we have our own reality show?

It's just...a...lot.  But I do recognize that this is a season.  It won't always feel this crazy, this heavy, and this exhausting. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Three Months

A lot can happen in 3 months. 

Many things can also NOT happen in 3 months.

For me, one of those things that did not happen was surgery.  Set for 8/28, a week before, the doctor called and told me that insurance had denied the surgery.  The said it was not medically necessary.  My body would beg to differ.  Within a week of the denial, I started having numbness and tingling in my mid back any time I sit or lay down.  My pain increased in both my neck and  my mid back.  For an entire week, I couldn't even stand up straight, and went to the ER, thinking one of the bulging discs in my back had ruptured.  It had not, and all the ER doctor said was that the CT scan showed bulging discs all over my spine.  Yeah...I know...

My surgeon ordered another MRI, basically a repeat of the previous one done in May, because the report as he put it was the worst he had ever read and contained no information in it.  His thought was that if we repeat the MRI and have a new report, it should contain what the insurance company needs to see to approve surgery.

So, my new MRI was done and this time the report indicated I had bulging discs at C3-4, narrowing on both sides, and a pinched nerve at C5.  They have resubmitted it to the insurance company, and surgery is tentatively scheduled now for 1/15/20.  If it gets denied again, honestly I am not sure what will happen, but I can't think about that.  I have to bank on that hope right now that it will be approved. 

My mental state hasn't been the greatest over these last 3 months, as you might imagine.  It has been difficult to force myself to keep up with the things I love.  Writing feels like a chore, and so I avoid it most days.  The holidays are approaching and this is my favorite time of year and I don't want my outside stuff to affect my joy during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  So, I am trying to push through and get back to the things I love.  But it is hard work.  And most days, I miss the mark.