Monday, December 13, 2010

I have this.
 The verdict is in.   I have this syndrome.  I'm lucky as I don't have lupus, RA or schleraderma.  I'm also lucky because it can take years to get a diagnosis and my rheumatologist suspected it right away. 
So.  I don't feel so lucky just yet.  Maybe when the med kicks in and my feet stop hurting.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Last Thanksgiving daddy held my hand tight and told me he had made peace with God and was ready to go home.  It was the last time I saw him before he died.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

     If I had realized that this photo would be the only picture I would have of me with both my parents, I wouldn't have goofed around and flung my hand out like that.  When I look at this picture now, what I remember is how comfortable I was with the thought that my mama would never really leave daddy even though at the time this picture was taken, she was only months away from doing so.
     I also see why my daddy's second wife could never accept the family we were; why she despised my mother; why she has worked tirelessly to wipe out my daddy's first wife and the children she gave him.  I see that my parents loved each other and they loved their children.  It was love that remained even through divorce.  It was love that I was blessed to grow up with and was probably the reason that I never thought my mama would really leave.
     My mama lived in an orphanage from the time she was nine after her mother walked out on her daddy.  She didn't know anything about marriage or family dynamics except the popular opinion of the times which was:  If he doesn't make you happy, LEAVE.  My parents would get along great for long periods of time-the calm before the storm-and then have loud shouting matches the result of which were that she would move into my room with me and inform me that as soon as her children were grown, she was leaving.
       I was 19;  my brothers, 18 and 14.  We weren't grown and what I know now is, it wouldn't have mattered if we were.  Leaving was not the solution to her unhappiness.   I can't speak to all situations where couples feel compelled to divorce.  I can only speak about what I experienced and that was my parent's inability to deal with the problems between them.  Their divorce didn't solve any of those problems; it only denied us all the one thing we really had going for us:  love.
      My daddy's second wife of 29 years spends lots of time since his death saying how my daddy was her soul mate.  She spends lots of time saying how he was her best friend and how he will always be with her.  She spends a lot of time reminding everyone that she was his wife.   In the year before his death, she also spent a lot of time reporting how often he had accidents to anyone who would listen; jerking his pants down to "see if you've messed yourself" in front of whomever; snatching his hat off  and commenting on his balding head; telling him that his children didn't care about him and taking every opportunity to embarrass and humiliate him.  She spent a lot of time bullying him and trying to make him leave his 30 acres of dirt and little 3 bedroom rambler to her so she could have the power over what my brothers and I eventually inherit.
      What she is unable to understand is that I have my inheritance.  In the months before he died, daddy entrusted me with a message for mama:  he never stopped loving her and he wished he'd tried harder.  My mama says that now that he's gone she doesn't think about what he was like in his later years or even what drove her to leave in the first place. 
She remembers that she loved him.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

     I miss the days when mothering was simple.  I felt important and wise and, to some degree, I was.  My present day mothering of  young adult children, who are living with life changing stresses, alternates between them clinging to me in that loving, nostalgic way and punches that knock me to my knees.  As they stumble around and attempt to make their own separate lives, I stand at the ready to assist but all too frequently I am knocked to the ground and chastised for my failure to make everything work out exactly as they wish.
     My offspring don't seem to realize that I am living with life changing stress, too.  It feels as if they believe their father and I have finished with any living of our own.  Our feelings, needs, hopes and dreams are inconsequential to any of theirs.  I suppose their attitude comes from so many years of letting my children be the culmination of all I hoped for as a young girl.  I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mother; to have a family of my own with which to live.  The problem is that having a family is not a feat to be accomplished;  it is a way of living.  Only lately it feels more like a boxing match where I spend most of my time unconscious on the mat.
 But I am starting to learn how to box;  to keep my head down and heart protected; to avoid the quick jabs ands punches that come my way.  And when I get hit square and fall to the mat, I'm learning how to get back up again.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Realization time is almost upon us.  L has been dancing daily, going to community college, and hanging out with her boyfriend.  Our lives are suspended for the moment wondering what will be happening in the spring.  When she left school to transfer, she was 100 percent sure she wanted to pursue dance but as she's waited and prepared for these auditions, I see her confidence lag.
We're both taking deep breathes and knowing that God will be in her excitement or her disappointment.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I confess:  I was not intending to see a rheumatologist about my neck and feet pain.  But, my doctor's office called and said  "Your sonograms were normal but your neck x-ray showed mild arthritis and bone spurs.  You are following up with a rheumatologist, correct?"

And I said "Ding dang it!" 

What I really said was 'yes' and then made my appointment.

Looks like forty was my peak year and for the last eleven,  I've been heading down the other side of the hill.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Winner

My son was waiting out on the front porch yesterday when my daughter and I returned home at 4 pm from a girls' day out.   He had been sitting there since 12:30.  He was ticked off because his phone was cut off.

We had an agreement.  I bought him  a CricKet phone in August and paid his first month's usage because-the official reason- he was getting set up in his own place. (The more accurate reason is that I'm an idiot.)  He was going to get his ducks in a row and then pay his own phone bill: $45 dollars monthly for unlimited text and talk.

Yesterday was October 12.  The bill is due on the 7th of each month.  He wanted to know why his phone was cut off and why his bill said he owed a hundred and seven dollars.  Let me say that he came to dinner three or four times in late August and played the good son and I paid his phone bill in September.  I looked up his bill on line and explained how this was OCTOBER and I had paid his bill in SEPTEMBER which was LAST month and he needed to pay for OCTOBER to get his phone turned back on and they were also indicating that he would owe money for NOVEMBER.  I said that I would pay over the phone FOR him and he would have phone service within thirty minutes.  He said "Ok!  I get paid on Friday".


Lest I sound cold hearted I must explain that 2 weeks ago, S came around and whined about how hard it is to make ends meet working at Target.  He just doesn't make enough money.  He left his bills here, lying on the floor instead of taking them with him and they indicate that the bank has closed his account and he owes them 96 dollars for an overdraft.  He owes Progressive for car insurance, the last installment, and so he is driving around without car insurance.  He also owes his landlord 500 dollars for the month's rent.  I'm not a math genius but his pay stubs indicate he makes roughly 1200 dollars a month-if he bothers to work all the available hours.

A day after these financial revelations, he texted me to tell me he had stuff stolen out of his car.  The driver's side window wouldn't roll up.  He chose not to put it up and leave it up because he has to be able to smoke, doesn't he?  So he left his car in the parking lot at work with the window rolled down. 

Texting is a tricky thing.  Sometimes you text someone something not intended for them and poor old S texted his mom something intended for his friend:  All my pot and my grinder bowl and my gun got stolen.

Come on, Ma.  How many times are you going to let him convince you that this time he's figured it out and he's really trying hard to get it together and by the way could you help me out? 

One less time, anyway.   He wanted me to pay to have his phone turned back on and he would pay me back on Friday.  And I said  "No."   I need 45 dollars.  Now.   Turns out he had 46, but paying by phone has a two dollar charge.  I told him he should go to the CricKet store and pay.  They only take cash and there's no fee and they return your service within 30 minutes.  He snatched up his money, huffed out and slammed the door.

While I was away for the weekend last week, S came to the house and hung around with his dad.  S showed him a budget that said he made about 600 dollars a month.  So his dad payed to fix his window and told him that he'd pay his car insurance.  I gave my husband my information:  I've seen his pay stubs and he makes more than that.  My husband said not to worry that he had left the assistance up to S.  He has to contact the bank and get his fine paid so he has a way to pay his bills when he can't use cash and he has to contact Progressive and find out how much it'll cost to get his car insurance reinstated.  Then he has to come to his dad and let him know that he's taken care of it and how much it's going to be.   And guess what:  He hasn't done it. 

The boy's a real winner.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


So now I have muscle and joint pain that my doctor, very sweetly and calmly, explained to me is most likely fibromyalgia.   She ordered some blood tests  just to make sure it isn't anything else and assured me repeatedly that fibromyalgia can be treated and managed.

I looked up fibromyalgia on the internet.  It apparently is the diagnoses you get when the docs can't find anything else causing your symptoms.  I, on the other hand, think that I know what is causing my symptoms:  my son who is driving around without car insurance, smoking pot and refusing to grow up; my daughter who is freaking out about auditioning and her future and what to do with her boyfriend; my oldest son who rejects God and wants to be in comedy and is living in LA with no job; and my husband who needs constant tlc.  All add up to not only literal pains in the neck but pains in the feet and legs, too.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy birthday, Daddy

Daddy would be 80 today.  I hope he's having a big heavenly party.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm feeling like a chemical experiment.  Sweat randomly beads up on my upper lip and pools in the small of my back.  I think my inside wants to come out and beat up my outside.

Every little thing feels...monumental.  I'm incredibly angry and trying to manage it is taking superhuman effort I don't currently posess.  I need my family to move out of my house.


Monday, July 12, 2010


On a Friday afternoon at the end of April, I drove down to school and picked up my oldest daughter from her first year of college. I stayed through the weekend. She wasn't getting along with her friends. She hated the changes in the program for next term. By Monday she had decided she wasn't going back next year.

We let her make that decision. But today I realized that I haven't allowed her to deal with the consequences of it. I've been too busy scheduling visits to other schools and finding her SAT scores and applying for a copy of her social security card because she doesn't know where her original is.

We drove to the community college today, where she plans to take some classes in the fall until she can audition for other schools. We drove there to give them her ss number so she can apply online. She didn't bring her photo id with her. And she said "It's no big deal. We'll just go home and get it and I'll come back tomorrow."

And there I sat, the big dumb ma. Running around and fretting and pushing and helping myself to death. My wasted time is no. big. deal.

Haven't these years with my son taught me anything? I can't care about the consequences for her. And I'm tired of being the dumping ground when things don't go how she wants them.

I feel like the great enabler when what I want to be is an encourager. Do I communicate to my offspring that they can't do anything for themselves? My husband says that she's just been refusing to step up to the plate. Partly because she's depressed over how things turned out at her first school. And partly because now her life is on hold again. He feels we have to push, maybe even push her over, in order to get her up and moving in the new direction.

I guess I needed to get pushed over, too, in order to realize that I need to back off.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My second born son is staying here again. It was to be for a few days when he called on my anniversary needing a place to stay. His girlfriend broke up with him and kicked him out of her house. Why couldn't I say "Too bad"? My husband has extended the couple of days to June 9, the day before we leave for vacation.

It is so difficult for me to have him here. When he isn't living here, I can hope that he's getting himself together. When he is living here, hope dies again.

It isn't even as if he spends any real time at our house. If he isn't at work, he's out partying. I hear the door at 4 am and then again at 4:08 as he comes in long enough to put on his work clothes and then leave for work. He gets off at 12:30 pm and goes straight to "a friend's" house to "sleep". His days off, he's over at "a friend's". When we ask him if he's found a room, he says that he's been talking A LOT with his friend about moving to Richmond.

He will only start looking for a room on June 9Th.

I wish I didn't care. How do you stop caring? How do you stop seeing bleary eyes and a raw nose? It isn't fair that I feel the pain of his self destruction while he lives oblivious to everything and everyone.

I have to put the hurt somewhere so I am putting it here. If I talk with my husband, he gets angry. He's sick of hearing me grieve aloud about it. He says I punish him for what our son is or isn't doing. If I want to stay married I must stop talking about our son.

I hate when my husband asks me what the matter is. I want to tear my clothes and scream and let out the constant living grief. I want to tell him that something is and always will be the matter as long as my son is an addict. I want to grab my son and pound the madness out of him. I want to open my eyes to sunlight that signals the end of the nightmare. I want people to stop telling me he's a "good kid" and everything is going to work out OK because they don't know anything else to say. I want them to stop asking me how he is because I'm sick of the look on their faces when I tell them how he really is. I want God to reach down from heaven and DO something.

I am going to be OK as soon as he's out of my home and if his dad doesn't put him out, I will.

I just have to make it to June 9.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

January 16, 2010 daddy died. He was recovering well from his bypass and strokes; using his walker to get around a bit. He, his wife, and some of her friends had gone to daddy's favorite steak place for dinner. He was drinking a beer and eating a steak. Swallowing was difficult for him since his strokes. He frequently choked and that's what happened. He choked.

God is good to me and He was good to my daddy. Daddy didn't want to linger and, in spite of his progress, he told me more than once that he was ready to "move on". He was out having a good time and apparently, was dead before he had time to realize it. The stress of choking brought on a heart attack.

I guess in all families there is stress over relationships. The days and weeks since he died, I have been at peace over his death but his wife for 29 years has wielded her sharp tongue and attempted to destroy the evidence of mine and my brothers' relationship with daddy. As much as I say I don't care, I do. Her hatred of me is palpable and while we never have been close, I never realized the depths of her feelings. I never let myself accept that she was capable of such hostility.

It makes perfect sense. I was my daddy's confidante and he never made it a secret to me that he didn't marry his second wife because he loved her. He never stopped loving my mother or the life that he had had with her. He regretted deeply that he didn't try harder to win my mother back after she left. His second wife married him to give herself, what she saw as, position in the community and daddy married her to help him financially and with his 14 year old son still living with him.

I was 20 when they married and married myself the year after they were. I see now that she counted me out from the beginning. I made it fairly easy; we live five hours away. It was easy for her to erase me from my home. But it proved impossible to erase me from my daddy's heart.

The death of my daddy and her behavior had caused me to claim that I'll never go back there. She has, as my daddy had asked me about, a life estate in the property. But never is a long time. It's part of who I am; a country girl who loves home and family. Daddy was one of ten children; the eighth to pass away. My uncle and his wife continue to live there on the road where they all grew up. Next to the house my great-grandfather built and lived in; the house where my daddy and his siblings were raised.

Daddy's wife may have erased me from my home but she hasn't erased home from me. Isn't it the way of life? Aren't we all like blades of grass, here in a moment; forgotten and gone in the next? I remain my daddy's confidante able now to remember for him the love and family that was.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fighting my way out of the box I made for myself with family and friends.