Doing Better.

I got word that my son landed safely. Apparently, it was a very sweet reunion that brought on tears from the biological father. I am going to try very hard to not be snarky here, so just insert your own sarcastic comment.

My son’s, stepmother, upon meeting him for the very first time, asses that he is indeed not a drug addict. Cool! I feel SO MUCH better now.

This is going to be harder than I thought, trying not to be a smart ass. Just know, that many times I do use humor to deflect, and no matter what I feel, I am sincerely thankful that my son is alive and seems to be happy. That is all that matters right now, and hopefully, when the time is right for him, everything else will fall into place.

Last night my son’s ex-girlfriend reached out to me. Now, she does read this blog, so as to not embarrass her, I will use an alias for her. Mia is my favorite of all the exes. Not that there were many, but I truly enjoyed Mia. I have a few pictures of just Mia and me, and at one point she even met my family. I do not know the details of why they broke up, but I do know my son seemed very happy with her. He was at his best, at least from an outside perspective. I do not know went on behind closed doors and have nothing but respect for Mia. After all, she owes me nothing, and yet assured me that she had heard from my son and said he seems happy.

Last night was a hard one for me. Today is better. I worry about the quiet hours at night when my kids and husband are asleep. Insomnia kicks in and my mind goes to places of guilt. I believe that is just part of the process though. In my opinion, I am going through a form of grief. Grief has many different stages to it, and right now I am at the guilt stage. That’s okay though. It will eventually pass.

This is a public blog and I have no idea if this will get back to the biological dad, stepmother, or even my son. I have no idea if people will feel a certain kind of victory, or empathy. It does not matter.

I am going to breakdown, I will cry all sorts of tears, I will question everything and then I will rise, filled with even more strength than I had before. Because it is right after the Breakdown, that we will soon see the Breakthrough.

Stay tuned, and as always, thank you for listening and allowing me to “talk” this out.

~Jennifer

 

Goodbye?

I do not know where to begin. I do not know much of anything these days other than it is time for me to come back to where it all began, here on the blog.

As I write this, my 26-year-old son, just landed in Richmond, Virginia.

Nineteen years ago, my son and I decided to make WA State our home. I was a young mother who had a young son. It was time for new beginnings while leaving the past in the past. Although life was never easy for us, we made it work. We always had a place to live, food on the table, and the bills were paid. There was never much left for extras, but it worked.

Over the years my son was pretty vocal about not wanting to communicate with his biological dad. I understood and never really pushed the issue. My son knew that if he were to ever change his mind “Just let me know and I will find out how to get you in touch with him.”

Somewhere over the last 19 years, my son lost himself, and drugs entered the picture. I still have no answers. According to my son, everything is, was, and will always be my fault. I try to tell myself “It’s just the drugs talking” but at this point, I do not know, maybe he is right?

Sadly my son saw things he never should have seen. I got wrapped up in a pretty abusive relationship. Maybe that had something to do with it? Over the years, after three failed serious girlfriends and more drug abuse, things just got worse. He was unable to keep a job (my perspective, he will tell you differently) and just latched on to the drugs even more. (again, my perspective. He does not believe he has a drug problem)

The last time he had a job was August of 2019. My husband and I were supporting him (enabling?) and always hoped for the best. We knew he had it in him, I just do not believe my son thought the same.

It got to the point where we had to ask him to leave. He went to go stay with his childhood friend, and then because (as it was told to me) of the drugs, they had to kick him out.

Somewhere in between my son decided to reach out and connect with his biological father. The same guy who abandoned him nineteen years ago. There was never any phone calls, birthday cards, Christmas gifts, nothing, and now, in the span of a week, my son left us and went to go live with bio-dad.

I am at a loss. I am hurt. It feels like a slap in the face. There was no goodbye other than “I am out.”

I have no idea what will happen. Best case scenario, VA will work out, and he will get his life on track. Naturally, I have my doubts. In the end, I need him to be okay. I need him to be alive, and I need him to make things right with his siblings. I hope and pray he will find himself in Virginia, but who knows? Drugs and the addiction that comes with it is an evil thing. And, unless someone realizes there is, in fact, a problem, then the cycle will just keep repeating.

The saddest thing for me is knowing he is gone. Knowing that when I go outside to run errands I am not going to see him walking up. Knowing that when my front door opens it will not be him. Knowing that late at night when I hear someone rummaging through the kitchen cabinets, it will not be him, and knowing that maybe in some small way he is right and everything is my fault.

Last night on Facebook, he posted a selfie of him and one of his long time friends. He had wonderful things to say about her, and to be honest it was a very sweet “goodbye” post. However, the two things that struck me, even gave me chills, was how happy he looked, and how much he looked like me. I do not believe I have ever seen either.

His eyes sparkled and his smile was as if I was looking at my own. I do not know. I do not know much of anything these days other than I need to go back to where it all began, with my oldest son. I need that person back. I need that smile and the sparkling eyes, and as hard as it is, if that means Virginia is the answer, then I just have to ride the current.

~Jennifer

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The End?

“She was washing dishes. A much-needed distraction. Of course, she did not feel like washing dishes. She wanted to sleep or talk on the phone to her BFF. She was just so tired but knew she had to make an effort.

There was another argument. Probably the norm these days. Again she heard He “was done.” Second verse same as the first “I am done.” Holding back tears with her trembling hands in the soapy water, she did not want him to see her cry. Even though there is most definitely strength in tears, now was not the time. Silently asking herself, “How many times do I have to hear “I am done” before it breaks me?” She did not know how to answer her own question. She has the fight in her. She was born a fighter because she comes from strength. It’s just sometimes the fight is hard. She is feeling defeated, and insecure. Those three little words “I am done” hurts her more than being punched in the face from her past relationships. It hurts her to her core. For a moment, she thinks about cutting herself. Something she used to use as a coping mechanism decades ago. Box cutter, or razor blade, she knows how to do it. Cutting was Her way of making her feel anything than the here and now. She does not do it, she knows she has to remain strong and continues to mindlessly wash the dishes.

He comes into the kitchen. Either to get something to eat or to put a dish in the sink. She is unsure. Her thoughts are everywhere. All She wants is a sign. A small sign. Anything. A hug, a brush against the arm. She wants to hear something she can cling on to. Maybe an “I am sorry.” Or “We will get through this” or even no words, maybe nothing needs to be said, but a small minuscule touch would mean something.

There was nothing. There no hug, no kiss on the cheek. There were no words.

She wishes for more. A small sign, something.

But, if she were to be honest with herself, she knows it is not looking good.

She will keep fighting though. But, everyday that passes, she realizes she is closer to facing the cold heart truth.”

 

 

Little Wonders.

I remember when my kids were babies. On the rare occassion, they would sleep through the night, I would watch them all cute and snuggled in their swaddled blanket and tell myself “I wish they could stay this age forever.”

As we all know life does not work that way and before I knew it, I was walking a nervous five-year-old into their first day of kindergarten. It was always harder on me than my kid. Once I got comfortable with the elementary years, I would again tell myself “I wish they could stay this age forever.” There is just something special about seeing their artwork, or chorus concerts. The student-led conferences that my kids dreaded but I enjoyed. Mainly because the teacher would really talk up my kids. Well, okay there was a time or two where my boys had less than stellar conferences, but you know what I mean.

Gracie, who is now getting ready for her first year in high school told me the other day “I had my first crush in kindergarten.” Well, she starts early! (Takes after her aunt.)

I believe Sofia’s first crush was on one of her teachers. She never told me that, but I know my kid. Sofia is now getting ready to begin her 7th-grade year in middle school.

Where does the time go?

My oldest son. There are so many things I should have done differently with him. You know we always screw up the first one. He is a good person, at his heart and soul, he is good. He has been struggling through.

My youngest son, he is a badass. He has it together. Working and going to college. I realized what I did wrong with my oldest and made sure not to do it with my next. Trust me, in some capacity, you will one day read about him in a place other than this blog. He is going places.

My girls. I try so hard with them. I want to do everything I possibly can to protect them while giving them independence. I want to set them up for success. I think for the most part I am doing okay.

In the blink of an eye, I said good-bye to diapers and pacifiers. I said good-bye to sippy cups and Disney channel. I said good-bye to cute pink hair bows and Dora the Explorer t-shirts.

As soon as I said good-bye, I was quickly welcomed with crushes and makeup. We went from “Highschool Musical” to Nightcore videos, and at the writing of this post, I am still not exactly sure what Nightcore is, other than Sofia really enjoys listening to it.

I have been following a few new “Mommy Bloggers.” I kind of want to laugh. As they post about their child causing some sort of disturbance in museums and grocery stores, I am thinking to myself “Oh, you have no idea!” As I am entering this new chapter of teenagers and grown adult children, I can safely say I have paid my dues. I have paid my dues twice fold, in fact, I have probably over-paid somewhere along the way.

My youngest, Sofia, woke me up at 3am this morning. She was all pissed off and I could hear her attitude before I opened my eyes.

“Mom! There is blood on my underwear so that means I started my period. I am not happy about this! Do you hear me, I am not happy about this!”

Oh dear God, the beast has awoken.

“Do you hear me, Mother!”

Crap, she is serious. She used the word “mother.”

“Yes, Sofia, I am up. Thank you by the way for waking me up with your stomping across the hardwood floors at 3am.”

“I should have known this was going to happen. One week before I start school and I get my freakin period for the first time ever. Thanks, Mother, thanks a lot!”

“Umm, you do know this not my fault, right?”

Sofia is my little drama queen. Between her hair flips and exaggerated hand moves, home-girl is annoyed.

“Forget it, Mother! Where are the pads or whatever it is called?!”

Damn, she is a bitch when she wants to be.

*Sigh*

“Sofia, let’s bring it down a notch. This is normal, I did not set out and pray to the Gods above asking them to bestow your first menstrual cycle one week before school begins. The pads are in my room and Gracie has a stash in hers. Do you want to talk….”

“That’s all I needed to know Mother, I will handle this!”

I think we are all in agreement when I say we already feel sorry for her future spouse….if she chooses to even have one. Sofia is kinda scary, but it works for her.

You guys, this is like the circle and life and all that.

When I first began this blog, my sweet little innocent Sofia was three years old. And now here we are. She is blaming me for her menstrual period. Fun times!

In closing, to all you Mommy Bloggers out there, enjoy these moments. It won’t last so take it in now because before you know it, that sweet little baby you have in front of you, they do not stay that way.

And, in the time it takes you to change out of your black leggings and a simple white t-shirt, you will find yourself asking that sweet innocent baby for permission to write a post about their first menstrual period.

God speed, and when you need it because trust me, you will need it, just know that Vodka is always Calling.

 

 

 

 

 

My daughter came out.

My 12 yr old daughter, Sofia, wrote something. I am not sure if it should be called a post, a letter, an essay or what. She wrote a piece. She wrote her truth. In this piece, she talked about how she very recently admitted to me that she likes both boys and girls.

As you can imagine, the last few days we have been having many different conversations. Some initiated by me, some initiated by her. All of our conversations begin and end the same.

“We love you no matter what. We do not care who you date in the future. As much as we appreciate your honesty, dating rule is 17. Whether you are dating boys, girls or the Purple Freakin’ People Eater, there is no alone dating until you are 17. More importantly, we love you. You are strong and you are brave.”

Sofia was naturally worried about what her family would think. Especially her brothers and father. If I am to be honest, I was worried too.

I grew up in the church. I know how my family feels. I know what my family believes. I grew up in Virginia, during a time when even mixed relationships were frowned upon, not to mention homosexuals. Back then, very few people were openly gay, and if they were, it’s pretty safe to say they got jumped a time or two.

So when my 12 yr old daughter full of bravery and strength tells me she likes boys and girls, of course, my mind goes to the worst.

What will my family say?
What will my husband’s family say?
I know my family will be embarrassed.
Will they feel I brought them shame?
Will they blame me?
They won’t take me or Sofia seriously.

Then, I started thinking, if I feel this much anxiety about posting my daughters “coming out post” I can only imagine how much anxiety she felt holding it in.

I am a Christian. I believe in God. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. I believe I am a sinner. I believe we are all sinners. I do not believe that being gay is a sin.

I wish I was able to eloquently explain why it is that I do not feel being gay is a sin, but I can’t. However, I will give it my best try. It is just something I feel inside. When I pray to God and I ask for daily guidance and strength, when I pray for his will and direction, I just know that for me and my own personal relationship with God, I just know being gay is not a sin. I mean really, I am such a big ole hot mess, it probably is not even on God’s radar to speak to me about being gay. That’s just how I feel, and I do not know maybe I am wrong, but can anyone really question my own relationship with God?

When Sofia’s brothers read what she wrote, one of them cried. “Oh Mom, she got me. She really got me with the feels. I am proud of her.” The other one, read it “That’s what’s up. I am going to go give her a hug and tell her I am proud of her.”

When my husband read it he says “I would rather be dead than have any one of my kids be afraid to tell me anything. I love them all, no matter what.”

I posted Sofia’s piece on my personal Facebook page. I was nervous. I have a very diverse group of friends and family. I was just scared. “Oh she is too young, she does not know what she is talking about.” “What did you say to her? Maybe she feels you want her to be gay?” I don’t know, this is where my mind goes.

When I was a little girl, my first crush was Ralph Macchio. Soon after Michael J Fox, and then Buck Seward. A fellow student in my 4th-grade class. I knew I liked boys at an early age. No one ever said to me “Well, let’s give it time. Maybe you will change your mind and like girls when you are older.” For me personally, I just do not feel it works that way. You know what you know.

What I do know is Sofia has more confidence in her little pinky than I do in my entire body. She has a voice. A strong powerful voice. Sofia was the one who told me “I want to share my story. You never know Mom, I may be able to help someone.”

So, without further ado. Here is Sofia’s Story.

When I told mom and my sister I might like girls and boys I was so happy to tell them and scared because I always get this impression that you had to like boys only because my sister likes boys and my brothers like girls. So I always thought I had to like boys. But I never had a crush on anyone. But I always felt okay dating girls and boys but never had a crush. Weird. Then I realized I might like boys and girls it was weird at first but I was happy too cause it¬†didn’t feel like I only had to like boys. It made me happy but scared because what would my family think of me? Would they hate me or kick me out? I was scared. But when it was me and my sister and my mom up and talking about relationships and my mom asked if we like girls or boys or both then I just said it that I might like girls and boys. I was so happy to let that out. My mom did not care as long as I was happy and hearing those words made me so happy to know that my mom supports me. And my sister did too but what scared me the most was my brothers and dad. I mean would they be disgusted with me or try to change me? Then it was me and my mom talking on the couch and I asked if my brothers or dad hate me if I like girls and boys. Then mom told me that the brothers won’t care as long as I am happy and dad the same thing. He won’t care as long as I am happy. That made me smile knowing my family is there and supporting me. I know it might be hard but it’s going to be okay in the end cause if you have someone you trust then tell them because they will understand.

Sofia.

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Lemons and Lemonade

I have noticed writing is a lot like sex. I want to write, but at the end of the day, I have no energy to write. It’s one of those things where I know if I just do it, then eventually I will fall into the groove,¬† but damn is it hard to muster up the energy to write. That pretty much sums up why this is the first blog post in God knows how long.

Summer vacation this far has been something else. Lots going on. Lots of stress going on. You know me, give it a few days and I will end up writing about the stress as well. It’s just one of those things where maybe the proper thing to do is let my family know before I write about it. Oh, who am I kidding, on a good day I have two family members who read this blog. Maybe I am good.

My husband has been working crazy overtime this summer. He has also picked up two new hobbies. Playing the guitar and reading. I mean he has always played the guitar, he just recently got back into it. He is good. Very good. In fact one night we stayed up until 3am trying to write an original song. He did the music while I did the lyrics. I think my husband and I will both agree that we are hard to work with.

He has also been engrossed in some new series of some kind of fantasy book. I have no idea. All I know is he will take the girls to the library, spend hours there, come home and read. He can seriously knock out a 400-page book in a day. Meanwhile, out of complete boredom, I have been reading “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Do not even get me started. All I will say is I seriously do not understand the hype. Plus the fact that there are two other books in the series makes me wonder if I need to change my writing genre.

Well, because our summer has been filled with stress and new hobbies and lots of overtime, I kind of found myself in an intimacy rut with my husband. It happens. You guys know it happens. For reasons that are still unclear, I just happen to write about mine.

I wanted to find a way to spice things up. Not in a “Fifty Shades of Grey” kind of way, but in a “Dude, are you still even attracted to me kind of way.” I do not know about you guys, but many times it is very hard for me to not take things personally. I somehow turn whatever is going on and make it about me. Logically, I know many times it is not even about me, it is about the other person. However, when I am going through it, it is hard for me to understand that.

So, Christin (who is the Ethell to my Lucy) and I came up with a plan. Disclaimer, probably not the most thought out plan, but it was a plan. Late one night we searched Amazon for the most perfect, reasonably price, lingerie. Again, nothing “Fifty Shades of Grey” ish, just something different and classy. Perhaps that is where I went wrong?

For ten bucks, I found a very lovely piece. Red and black mid-thigh length baby doll set. It was both classy and flattering. Something different from my usual black tank and shorts that I go to sleep in. I mean we know guys are all about the visual, right? Anyway, and this may be where my plan takes a turn down the “This does not even make sense road.”

I did not exactly plan to wear the lingerie. Oh no, that would be too easy. My “plan” was to leave it discreetly hanging up on our bathroom door with the hopes that my husband would see it, and, I don’t know, maybe some dialogue would start. Something like…

Husband: Hey, what’s that on the bathroom door? Is that new?

Me: Hmmm. I am not sure, have to go look. Oh that old thing, no, I bought that when we first go together….15 years ago.

Although it does not seem like it now, there really is a method to my madness. Yes, perhaps I read too much romance novels. Thank you Nicholas Sparks. I mean my husband cannot even see a bottle of ketchup that is sitting right in front of him in the fridge. Did I really expect him to notice a piece of lingerie that is hanging on the bathroom door?

In fact, if he were to ever read this post (and he won’t because he does not do social media) he would tell me, word for word “Why didn’t you just put it on?” to which I would reply “I don’t know, I had a plan!”

Well, I am happy to report that the lingerie has seen the light of day. I mean I still have not worn it, however, it has proven to be a really good hand towel when my daughter washes her hands after using the restroom. So, you know, make lemonade out of lemons and all that.

~Jennifer

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Kindness

Only twenty minutes left until the bell rings. We are outside on the “small playground” getting the kids ready for the bus. It is hot. Already at 85 degrees which is unusual for us this time of year. Everyone has had a long week. Students and teachers. Only twenty minutes to go. My phone rings. Quickly, I look at the number. It is a local number, yet one I do not recognize. I have a very unhealthy fear that at any given time Gracie will have a seizure, therefore, I always answer all local calls, because, you never know.

“Hello?”

“Hello, is this Jennifer?”

“It is but you need to make it quick I am at work.”

“Oh yes, of course. This is “Jessica Smith” the principal at…”

“Oh, of course, I will always make time for you, is everything okay?”

“Yes, I just wanted to connect with you and thank you for the email….”

Immediately I knew the email she was referring to. I took a small, silent breath of relief, realizing that everything is okay with Gracie, and I listened.

The woman on the other end of the phone is a mother of two. One of her daughters also has autism. The woman, “Mis Smith” is also the principal at the middle school my children go to. It was only then I realized she called me from her personal cell, and not the school phone.

“I was so touched. It just meant so much to me. You have no idea and…and…”

And she starts to cry.

Teacher Appreciation Week was this week. It came pretty fast. I struggled to decide what I could do to show appreciation for my daughters’ teachers. I wanted to do something but was at a loss.

Two days ago it all came together. I picked three strong educators who I feel make an impact on my girls, and in a somewhat lengthy email, I let our Superintendent know just how much I appreciate these women. One Principal, One Sped teacher, and one Gen Ed Teacher.

Apparently, the Superintendent forwarded the email to the teachers/principal. Which brings us up to date. On the phone with the principal, listening to her cry, telling me how much she appreciated my email, well, you know me, I almost started crying!

I have years of experience as a parent volunteer seeing first hand how much teachers do. I can fill this post up with stories of how over the years my children’s teacher not only tutored my own children but me as well. I can tell you the countless times I have seen teachers use their own money to supply classroom supplies, or the times they stay up all night making Christmas treats for the kids, especially the kids who may not get anything else for Christmas.

For the last eight months, I now have the perspective of being a paid employee with my district. Guess what, the stories do not change. I see it every day, I see teachers go above and beyond. So, for me, sitting down for twenty minutes, penning a letter to our Superintendent, well, that was the least I could do.

And being on the other end of the phone, listening to the tears of appreciation, well, it just reinforced what I already knew.

Educators, they do not need much.

Just a little “thank you” every now and then.

kindness