Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 619

Feb. 13, 2015

Day 619


David is mad at me and says I have "taken away his joy."  He achieved some high level in a video game he plays and posted the news to his Facebook page.  His game name is "Cheif Awesome" and all I did was point out to him that "chief" is misspelled.  Things deteriorated from there.  Sigh...


It's Valentine's Day tomorrow, which I'm ok with.  But they timed the release of the movie, "Fifty Shades of Gray" for the holiday.  So everywhere I turn, it's 50 Shades everything.  Even every time I turn on my kindle this week, up pops an advertisement for the book or movie.  Ugh.  The Today show has been all excited about the movie release this week and have been chattering about it non-stop.  Lizzie listened and then commented, "We should go see that, Mom!"  I suppose I should be dismayed by all the hype, but I find it hard to get worked up about a whole lot anymore.  Yeah, it's bad.  I may or may not have leafed through a copy of the book when it first came out several years ago.  I very quickly put it back on the bookshelf.  The writing itself is so poor that I am surprised a publishing house actually paid for this thing.  But more than that, it's porn.  And it's not just erotica, which is also pornography, in my opinion.  But it's dangerous, demeaning pornography.  Although, I don't think there is such a thing as non-dangerous porn.  Anyway, it's all bad news.  But I don't feel inspired to read any more articles about why it's so bad or watch any interviews with the stars.  I have no desire to sign a petition for "Christian Women against 50 Shades and for  Biblical Morality."  Yes, that did pop up on my newsfeed today.


I just don't care.  Ok, I kind of care, because this is the world in which my children are growing up.  But today - I don't care.



I am completely losing my mind.  Today was my Zaycon bacon pick-up.  They sent me numerous texts and emails in the last couple days reminding me that I needed to be at this certain church at 8 am to pick up my 36 pounds of bacon.  And do you know when I remembered I needed to go?  At 7:59 this morning.  Ugh!  What is wrong with me?  I have always been rather proud of my powers of recall.  I am a person whose first memory occurs at 18 months of age.  I still remember what Paul and I wore on our first date.  I have always been the one to get our family where it needs to be in plenty of time, remembering everything we need.  Paul's memory was not nearly as good as mine and as the years went on I kind of became his "back up" memory. But I can't remember anything else right now!


I called Zaycon and was able to get my bacon two hours later at the next stop in W. Des Moines.  So it all worked out.  Except for my dumb GPS.  I had never been to this particular church so I plugged in the address and that dumb computer made me drive through the entire downtown Des Moines and then all along Grand Ave (which has a 35 mph speed limit) out to W. Des Moines.  I could have just hopped on the by-pass and gotten there a whole lot faster.  Grrr....


I started trying on summer clothes this week for the kids.  Normally I would not do it this early in the winter, although, really, it needs to be done by the second week of March.  We have been known to have temps in the 70s and above by then.  Of course, this being Iowa, it's also not super uncommon to have snow storms in April (or May, like two years ago!)  But with Florida coming up, I needed to see what Ben and I have, at least.  I've never been there, but I'm fairly confident I am not going to need to bring long underwear and winter coats.


Ben has not grown a single bit since I packed away his clothes last fall.  I had a feeling that was the case.  His feet have not grown for about two years now and I wasn't sensing any real height gain.  So, that's great.  He doesn't need anything.

I got Lizzie's taken care of, too.  It was kind of funny.  She and Ellie were both so excited as I pulled clothes out of tubs for her to try on.  Ellie was jumping up and down and handing items to Lizzie, saying, "Oh, I think you will look good in this!" She is such a little diva and clotheshorse.   Lizzie needs quite a bit for summertime wear.  Last summer she wore a 6X-7 top, edging into 8s by summer's end.  Now, she's in a 10-12, with a waist size of 10.  She's grown an awful lot.  Frequently I hear her  comment now, "Oh, I shouldn't eat that - I don't want to get fat." Or she'll ask, holding out some sort of food, "Will this make me fat, Mom?"  I just hate that.  She is only 6 years old.  I don't care if she weighs 300 pounds by the time she's an adult.  I don't want her to spend her entire life worried about her weight.  Life is too short for that.  But I'm struggling to find the balance between encouraging her to make good eating and exercise choices and not having it turn into an obsession.  There is so much more to life than one's weight.  At the same time, being obese can make life needlessly more difficult.  And this could just be a phase on her end, too.  Perhaps the best thing I can do is ignore it all.


Lizzie may just be more aware than other kids her age, I'm thinking.  When I was 6, the last thing I cared about was my appearance.  Yesterday, I caught her taking some sticky strips of cardboard (they had been wrapped around some new pairs of socks I got her) and placing them on the sides of her face and ripping them off.  When I questioned her she told me she was "trying to get rid of my sideburns."  Her sideburns?  I looked and saw what she was talking about.  Yes, there is some fine dark hair snaking down the side of her face.  I explained to her that she has to live with it for now, but it's not uncommon for darker skinned women to develop hair on the sides of the face and sometimes above their lips ("What?!" she then shrieked, "I'm going to grow a mustache, too?!").  I told her when she's older if it bothers her we can get it all waxed off.  She's 6, People...SIX.


I overheard Ellie tell her sister earlier this week (talking about me): "She's not your mama - she's only MY mama!"


Lizzie did bring up the subject of her birth mom again last night.  I don't remember all the details.  She used to cry for her but that hasn't happened in a really long time, since that first year I had her.  Oh, I remember now.  She was wanting to know why I wanted her to wait until adulthood to visit her birth mom.  That's kind of a hard thing to explain to a child, but we got through it.  And then later before I went to bed I was reading my  latest issue of "Lifeline" magazine (put out by Bethany Adoption Services) and they covered this very topic.  This entire copy of the magazine was good because they dealt with transracial adoption in a couple other articles and then the article I read last night had to deal with sharing the child's story with them.  It's tempting, as an adoptive parent, to gloss over the horrible events that may have occurred in your child's life that enabled them to be adopted by you.  But your child needs to know that stuff - obviously, as their age and understanding allows.  So, after having that earlier conversation with Lizzie and then reading the article I felt like maybe I could pat myself on the back a bit.  This is all such unfamiliar territory for me.  I feel like I am walking blindfolded through a very rocky terrain at times!


The kids' pictures and mine ended up on the front page of the Des Moines Register yesterday (must have been a slow news day).  It was from last week when we went to see Clifford.  My first thought was sheer embarrassment when a friend posted a picture of the paper to my FB newsfeed.  My  hair looked awful!  I had just gotten it highlighted a few days earlier and didn't care for the way it turned out.  It's too blond.  I just wanted a few blond strands in the brown to disguise the gray and give it some life.  Not this.  So I saw the picture and ran in the bathroom wondering if I needed to go get some brown hair dye and tame this stuff down some more (I had already done it once).  But I'm wondering if it was the camera flash more than anything because I really don't think my hair looks as brassy as it did in the photo.  Anyway, that was my first, vain, thought.  My second was, "Oh, I hope Birth mom doesn't see this!"  Ellie and I are identified by name under our picture.


Although, I've never shared with Birth Mom the new names I chose for the girls.  And I don't know if she reads the paper.  I don't even know if she still lives in the area.  But I have made a point to not include my address or last name when I mail yearly pictures and an update to her grandmother.  I would think if she saw that picture she would instantly recognize Ellie.  But maybe not.  And even if she did, I have nothing to hide.  I'm not going to live in fear of this woman.  Although, I say that, and yet, the fear of being with the girls someday in some public arena and running into her makes me knees feel like jelly.  But that's a worry for another day.


It's late afternoon now and I have managed to accomplish exactly zero on my  list.  I just got done with a two hour meeting.  Ben's case manager came, his new case manager, and some representative from a company hired by Medicaid to help determine supports Ben will need post-graduation.  I am absolutely broken-hearted that Ben is losing his case manager.  She has been amazing at helping me navigate the system and get Ben the help he needs.  She has attended every one of his IEP meetings and advocated for Ben.  She's been a tremendous encouragement to me in parenting Ben and the others. When Paul died, she came.  She's a neat, neat lady...but her case load has grown so heavy that DHS is making her re-distribute some of her cases.  Since we are closer to Des Moines than where she lives in Knoxville, she's being forced to give us up.  Oh, I hate this.  Maybe her replacement will be just as good.  She seemed nice enough today...but I couldn't help but smell the cigarette smell on her, notice the poorly dyed hair (like I have room to talk on that one), the lack of fashion awareness...all of which will probably have nothing to do with how well she does her job.  But mostly...she's not Lisa.  I haven't even told Ben yet.  The thought of having to makes me sick.


Ok...well, it is Valentine's Day tomorrow.  Will will be coming after work and we'll have our own little celebration with our heart shaped pizzas from Papa Murphy's.  It will be a nice evening.  I really need to get the kids' gifts and candy all put together.  That is on my to-do list for today that I have yet to get to.


One day this morning the Today show was on (like it is every morning) and there was a surprise proposal.  Lizzie exclaimed, after viewing the happy couple, "Oh, that is SO embarrassing!  And that kissing - yuck!"  I'm totally going to remind her of her anti-kissing stance someday when she's grown.


I am living on Advil today, again.  My mouth finally healed up enough that I was no longer having to pop it around the clock.  And then last night I slipped in mashed potatoes and smashed my arm into the counter top.  I am in so much pain from my wrist to my elbow, it's unbelievable.  Nothing is swollen, so I'm pretty sure I didn't crack any bones.  I'm kind of glad because that avoids having to explain to medical personnel that I slipped in mashed potatoes.  I did, cleaning up the kitchen last night.  Who knew potatoes could be so deadly?


Something interesting happened to me Sunday and I'll close with this (I sound like a preacher, don't I?  Promising my listeners that I'm JUST about done - hang on with me a little bit longer!).  I still have Paul's wedding rings.  He has two - the one he wore for 15 years and the titanium one I bought him for our anniversary 7 years ago.  And, of course, I still have my set.  My thinking is that there are 3 rings, so I will probably save them for the Littles since there are 3 of them.  But every so often, I take Paul's newer ring and wear it on a chain around my  neck.  I like the way it makes me feel - closer to him, reminded of our marriage, etc.


So I went to do that Sunday and as I clasped the chain, I suddenly thought to myself, "I don't want to wear this."  At first, I thought maybe it was because the length of the chain wasn't quite right, but even as I went into my closet to get a different chain, I knew that wasn't it.  I put the different chain on with the ring, regardless.  I stood there in the bathroom looking at myself and I knew the ring had to go.  I wasn't going to wear it.




And even though I didn't really want to admit it to myself right then, I can do it here.


I'm moving on.  I no longer have this intense desire to still feel close to Paul.  I miss him, sometimes with more intensity than other times. I wish he was here, that I wasn't widowed, that I wasn't alone.  There is a lot I miss about him.  I may always miss those things, for the rest of my life.  But it's not such a desperate feeling anymore.  I'm not devastated like I was at first.  I no longer feel ripped in half all the time.  There are still moments of desolation, of course, but the feeling of being constantly injured just isn't there anymore.  How do I say this?  I feel like my arm feels today after popping a couple Advil.  When I woke up this morning it hurt.  When Paul died, I felt like a semi had rammed its way through my body.  I was broken apart, injured beyond what felt like repair.  Physically, I hurt, even though the damage was all emotional.  I went around that first summer with what felt like a bowling ball in my stomach.  I very quickly learned that grief has a physical presence.


But right now I feel like my arm after a couple of painkillers. It hurts, but it's not throbbing.  If I accidentally hit it on something or use it for awhile (like right now while typing) it flares up.   It's not unbearable.


It may flare up tomorrow night when I think to myself of how I am probably the only person in the world not being given a Valentine this holiday.  It may flare up  a week from today when I am running all over Des Moines with my kids trying to execute a fun, "Family Day" in an attempt to try to forget that I should have been celebrating my 22nd wedding anniversary with Paul, instead.


But flare ups don't last. 


Who knows - I may wear that ring again sometime.  But maybe not.


Healing takes courage.  And we all have courage,

even if we have to dig a bit to find it.

-Tori Amos -








































1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to say I thought you and your sweet Little looked FABULOUS in that newspaper photo :-). And your hair is great!