Category Archives: By Marriage Only

This is my therapy.

Lots of things happening, but either not feeling the urge to blog about it or lacking the time. Right now, I’m sitting quietly next to a digital dictaphone while it records the dictation from another dictaphone because I screwed something up at work. Sparring Partner has eradicated the louder humans from the house, so I’m doing what I can with the silence gratefully acquired.

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We were on vacation a month ago. We spent a week at my Southern-living SIL’s vrbo beach house. The arrangements were perfect for us; specifically within a very short walk to the ocean and our own private pool. We had invited another couple and their two children who are close to Dood’s age, but they weren’t able to accept. Instead my single, child-free sister was crazy enough to accompany. I think by the time she got back home to her two cats, she was thankful to be both single AND child-free. I often felt torn between letting the kids dictate the schedule and making sure my sister was able to take advantage of the local offerings.

Unfortunately, the most memorable part of the trip for me was the harrowing return flight. I won’t bore you with details, but please for the love of the sweet baby Jesus, if you bring carry-on luggage with you, and even if you plan on not letting that item leave your side the entire flight, put one of those stupid little tags that are piled on top of the terminal’s check-in desk on your bag. Shit can, and will, happen if you don’t. I was so traumatized that I have cried each time I recount the details.

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I recently had a birthday. My mom sent me a birthday card and at the bottom of it she wrote, “Come get your rabbit.” I have no fucking clue what the hell that even means.

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My daughter turns five next week. I still get phantom let-down pains when I think about her infancy.

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Next month Aitch will start kindergarten. Not a big deal, certainly, but I’m mostly concerned about how my tu-tu wearing, pink! purple!, girly-girl will adjust to the navy/khaki school uniform requirements. I imagine it’s also more of a struggle with girls than it is for boys at that age. The worst part for Doodicus was teaching him how to tuck in his shirts and to button a fly. In the past year, Dood has worn one pair of pants that did NOT have an elastic waist, and that was for his grandpa’s funeral.

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Since my FIL’s death, my MIL has been holding my husband emotionally hostage. If before I didn’t care for her, I now want to kick her in her artificial hips. HARD.

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Sorry to end on what can only be the most somber of notes, but it is important to note that my son’s best friend’s dad committed suicide on July 4th. I had the chance to speak privately with Danny’s* mom the day after the funeral. While the dad probably had always had depression, it was both undiagnosed and untreated, however the circumstances that led to the self-inflicted gunwound were mostly acute in nature; an accumulation of events from the preceding handful of days. If the news hadn’t been horrific enough, Danny was the first on the scene.

I was lucky enough to be able to see Danny the day I talked to his mom, but I was utterly speechless with him. We made small talk as we admired the crucifix his pastor gave him at the funeral. While I am completely heart-broken for the family, I am also very angry at the selfishness of the dad. He left two young boys behind who are THE age they need to have dad around (not that there’s really an age a boy doesn’t need his dad…), but both currently face heavy bullying (one of the reasons my son gravitated to Danny in the first place because they were both picked on by the same kids when they first met years ago). Plus the younger child has emotional issues that likely will have to be closely monitored all his life. It all just makes my head and heart ache. It’s unimaginable the burden the mom carries. At the close of our talk, she said on top of everything else, she feels humiliated by what he did and knows that the community will judge her unfairly. Sadly, she is right. I know being there just to listen will help, but I really wish I had the ability to perform just one miracle…just the one.

*name has been changed

240

Imagine this level of Crazy in YOUR home.
Imagine this level of Crazy in YOUR home.

Even though I’ve known his collection was extensive, I just found out that my FIL owned approximately 240 firearms.

TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY GUNS OWNED BY ONE MAN!

And now five children will split that collection between themselves. That’s just shy of 50 each, including to my husband, Sparring Partner. I’m furious.

Would you believe that S.P. thought I would be less angry if he told me that he had no intention of keeping them all? He’d sell most of them. This coming from the man who still has his sibling’s Christmas presents sitting on his desk waiting to be sent out…from LAST year. This coming from the man who hasn’t finished insulating his shop that he built seven years ago and yet recently informed me that he’s ADDING on to it this year (over my goddamn dead body, he is! (which if he gets 50 guns, he increases his opportunities and odds)). This coming from the man who adamantly refuses to let the kids have a trampoline because of how dangerous they are.

I should mention that since he told me all of this about an hour ago, which immediately preceded me telling him that he’s fucking crazy if he thinks he’s bringing any of those guns into our house, he’s been trying to draw me into some small chat about Doodicus’s homework; the night sky; and now just a moment ago, a rerun of Frasier. Does he really think he can baffle me with bullshit?

(Image courtesy of The Guardian.)

Day Is Done

I found out that my FIL passed away very early last Friday morning when I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and realized Sparring Partner wasn’t in bed. I checked my phone and saw a missed call. I knew then.

SP made it home about an hour later and napped fitfully until the alarm went off at 6:00. Despite the awkward conversations between Grandpa and Doodicus, Dood adored his grandpa. I think it was one of those things where Grandpa took full advantage of his larger than life persona. SP and I decided that it would be best to tell our son right away about his grandpa’s passing.

When his dad told him that grandpa had passed away, Doodicus burst into tears. I made sure to give SP a heads-up that Dood may end up additionally upset because he was suppose to go to a friend’s house that night for a birthday party and eleven-year-olds aren’t exactly known for their unselfishness. And while he did ask through his tears if grandpa’s death meant he couldn’t see his friend, he also was upset that he hadn’t been able to see grandpa the night before like he normally does as he hadn’t been able to finish his homework in time to go visit.

We gave Doodicus the option to stay home from school or to go ahead and go and let that and his friend’s party be a distraction. I was a bit surprised when he opted to go to his classes, but happily so. We asked him not to say anything to Aitch since we had decided to tell her at the end of the day. I called my employer to let them know I would be on leave until Wednesday.

Friday ended up in a whirlwind of planning and appointments for my husband. Even though my FIL had terminal cancer and hospice care offered, he and the family had made no plans whatsoever. No plot, no casket, no obituary, no memorial, … Nothing. That coupled with the fact that many relatives would be traveling across country, the funeral was tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. The day after SP’s birthday.

My husband and his two sisters powered through the day, getting one appointment after another and making almost impossibly difficult decisions. With the kids in school, I went to the mall and tried to find appropriate attire for myself and both kids, something I literally had been thinking about doing a week earlier, knowing that the time would come soon. Dare I mention how difficult it is to find what I would deem as appropriate funeral attire for a four-year-old girl a week after Easter? Plus, there’s no place in town to buy children’s shoes except a small Payless store in the mall so I ordered several through Zappos knowing that I would have them by Monday.

By the end of the day on Friday, we were drained. We eventually told Aitch who at first seemed fine. However, as she thought it through, she asked, “Does that mean I won’t ever see Grandpa again?” and that of course brought new tears from all of us.

Over the weekend, my job was to simply keep the kids distracted and out of Sparring Partner’s hair. He spent it helping clean out the room at the nursing home and shopping for a suit. Again, small town living was detrimental. The only place in town was at a department store in the mall, which was akin to JCP. The only jacket they had in his size was a Long and it didn’t match the pants. When he tried it on for me, he looked at himself in the mirror, saw the jacket sleeves nearly covering his hands, and admitted that it simply was not going to do. Sunday, he drove to Sioux City to a menswear store and found himself a quality suit that fit. However, the tailor wouldn’t be able to alter the pants until Monday morning so SP had to make another trip, which thankfully he made to and back in record time with enough to spare for him to get ready for visitation Monday afternoon.

Neither of the kids brought up Grandpa over the weekend, and Monday they headed off to school like normal. It was an incredibly beautiful day, almost reaching 80F. It was SP’s birthday. I managed the the kids for school, made last minute preparations for the funeral the next day, and cleaned the house for visitors. I had intended to let Doodicus babysit Aitch while I went to the church for about an hour, but instead SP asked that I just come in with the kids and join him. Fortunately, I had already showered and dressed for the occasion; unfortunately, I had not prepared the children. Aitch ran around the church wearing a dirty sundress and no shoes. She looked like a hillbilly, complete with two ratty hair braids framing her face.

The most difficult part of the visitation was when Aitch spotted daddy in the front of the church surrounded by friends and family and she ran to him. He scooped her up and was holding her when she noticed the casket. “Who’s that man?” “That’s Grandpa.” “Why is he sleeping?” “Honey, he died.” Cue new tears.

Tuesday morning greeted us bleakly with cold and sleet. We were grateful that a friend was taking the little children and babysitting them together. Doodicus looked so grown up in a dress shirt and tie. Sparring Partner looked more handsome in his black suit than he did the day we got married. We arrived to be with family about 45 minutes early, but it seemed like hours. When I saw them prepare to close the casket, I asked Dood if he wanted to see Grandpa one last time, and as they closed the lid, he lost it and pretty much was weepy through the entire mass.

The ride to and from the cemetery was difficult. There were a couple stretch limos waiting for the family as well as one standard four-door Lincoln, which I chose as it allowed room only for just the three of us and the driver. Doodicus didn’t have to worry about being embarrassed as he cried on the short drive.

My FIL was given military rights, and the sight of the police officers and the Honor Guard at different intersections standing at full attention in that freezing rain was incredibly moving. They played Taps and a petty officer from the Navy presented the flag to my MIL.

Sparring Partner is holding up as well as can be expected, as is his mother. Out-of-state relatives trekked back to the airport early, no thanks to Winter Storm Waldo who delivered not just rain and sleet, but hail, thunder, lightning and snow (enough to leave us without electricity Wednesday morning). The support we’ve received from relatives and the community has made it a bit more bearable. The kids have a firm grasp of what has happened, but I think Aitch’s out-of-the-blue remarks like, “Grandpa’s in heaven and we won’t see him again,” over breakfast makes us all stop short for a moment. I’ve made sure to tell Doodicus that Grandpa was always very proud of him even though he had a hard time showing it. Each day will be a little easier as the unimportant and petty thoughts will drop away leaving behind the memories of how grand and formidable Grandpa was sitting at the head of the supper table.

DAY IS DONE (TAPS)

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.
Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know
God is nigh.

P.S. I decided to journal this for Doodicus and Aitch for Some Day.

Grief by Proxy

Around midnight last Thursday, my FIL died peacefully in his sleep with my husband and his sister by his bedside. He lived an incredibly full and rich life in the nine plus decades he had, but his loss has profoundly affected Sparring Partner who spent more nights than not in his room over the several months at the rest home watching either football, baseball, basketball and even the coverage of the 2012 Presidential Election.

My first official date with Sparring Partner started with us going to his parents’ house where they were having a major party to celebrate dad’s 70 birthday. It was a big deal because family flew in from the east coast to surprise him. When I walked down the stairs to the basement where the family had gathered, I was instantly immersed in the sounds of what I imagined would be similar to a noisy pub in Boston. The laughter (braying) and the *clunk* of full beer glasses which followed the din of "Cheers!" are still fresh in my head as if I had heard it last weekend, not 20-plus years ago. Maybe it’s because even when there were no extended family members around, my FIL still could summon that impression just by sitting at the head of any table.

However, even with as much personality as my FIL had, we just didn’t click. It’s not because he was ever standoffish or boring, as confirmed by the sheer number of sympathies we have been extended, which were always extended along with an amusing anecdote. I’ve had time to think about the relationship I had with my FIL and to wonder why it seemed like little more than strained politeness. Everyone around me adored him! Even from the first moment my own father was introduced to SP’s dad, they struck it off like peas in a pod.

I think much of my inability to simply LIKE him had to do with the fact he was such a boisterous and unabashed bigot. I was furious the first time he dropped the N-bomb in front of Doodicus when he was a toddler. His prejudice would come up when simply watching a football or basketball game since it would seem that most players are not Irish Catholics (who knew??). The slurs he wouldn’t even bother trying to whisper should have sent people away from him. But not here in conservative, Republican, Christian, Nebraska. My FIL would even refuse to eat Mexican dishes, because "it might affect my eyes!" Of course, then there was the time early on when he referred to Middle Easterners as "sand-n****s", and I angrily told him that I didn’t appreciate that, especially as my brother-in-law is Jordanian. He simply poo-poo’ed me with the excuse "that was different. Jordan is politically neutral."

He had a brilliant engineering and designing mind, for that no one could argue. He was considered a respected leader in our community, and a generous benefactor for the Catholic and Lutheran schools, not to mention the hospital actually dedicated a family room in their name (which was incredibly insulting personally to me as that had followed right on the heels of me being fired from the very same hospital) ("Oh, thank you Mr. and Mrs. Bigguy for the enormous financial contribution! Should we mention that we fired your daughter-in-law?"). For me, I just couldn’t get past these offenses and simply like him as everyone else seemed to do.

I will miss him, but I had to honestly admit that my emotional responses to his death have been largely triggered by Sparring Partner’s need for comfort and support, or by the children’s tears and difficult questions about why grandpa had to go to heaven. I am grieving by proxy.

Guns and Your Child’s Friends

I read today on Facebook that a friend of mine asked a mom if there were guns in her home before responding to a RSVP for a child’s birthday party. I was amazed by her audacity, her bravery, her awareness. Even though a day rarely goes by that I don’t think about the shooting in Newtown, it never occurred to me that as my children’s social circles expand that I need to consider more than the basic questions (what, where and when). As one of her other FB friends stated, it’s a question parents should “normalize.”

First of all, I am absolutely for gun control. I believe the 2nd Amendment is ridiculously outdated and grossly misinterpreted. It’s a topic that I know has lost me friends (if not, my name on a restricted list or two) because it’s one I’ll admit that I’m not flexible. However, what you probably did not know is that my husband, Sparring Partner, was a long-time member of the NRA, but while he’s no longer a member and his opinion about the NRA is now hardly favorable, he and I don’t see eye-to-eye on gun ownership. In fact, there are guns in this house. Right now. I couldn’t tell you where they are except I do know they are under lock and key, and that neither my 4-year-old or 11-year-old know we have them. Then there’s my husband’s father, who is a collector. Not just a half-dozen or so, either: we’re talking hundreds of guns.

I grew up with guns, specifically rifles. As a farmer, it was one of the tools of the trade and used for hunting, pest control and as brutal as it sounds, to humanely treat critically ill livestock. They were kept (and still are) in an unlocked cabinet in my parent’s house where even now my kids can see them and frequently ask about them when we visit. The only dangerous situation I ever recall happening was this incident back when I was still pregnant with Aitch (I never would have guessed it had been that long ago) when my husband had one of the old rifles misfire while he was handling it.

The point is, I’m not at all ignorant about guns and how they can be used effectively in the hands of a responsible owner, but I also know that there are a half-dozen less objectionable ways to protect ourselves or to put meat on the table. So simply put, I don’t like guns, under any circumstances. It wasn’t until I read my friend’s update mentioned above would I have ever thought to ask the parent of a child if they had guns before I considered letting either Aitch or Doodicus go to their homes. I then put the question to my friends (bear with me as I included ALL of the responses below):

I have to ask, and I do so respectfully (and expect the same in responses): would you ask a parent if they have guns in their home if your child was invited to a sleepover? And how would you address this with your child if the parent’s response was not favorable?

RN: I wouldn’t even think to ask this question, but I think it’s a really important one. If there is a gun in the home, I would follow up with asking how it is stored (is it locked up in a gun safe?) and if it’s loaded and where the ammunition is stored. If everything is locked up in gun safes and only a responsible adult knows the combo, it is probably ok. Right?

KA: No, because although it’s not completely unheard of here (we live in quite a rural area and next to a big game shooting area), legally they would have to be in a locked cabinet, inspected etc.

TGM: i don’t know if i would think to ask but then again i am not sure. if a parent asked me that i would answer them honestly. yes we have guns in our home. they are kept in my room, in a closet where the children can not access them easily. they are kept unloaded and the ammunition for them is not kept in the same area as the guns. if they objected to their child being there, i am ok with that and don’t see it causing any hard feelings on my part. i know that not everyone is comfortable with guns. i am not that comfortable with them. all of the guns we own are my husbands, used for hunting (no hand guns) and some are from his grandpa that were handed down. however, i don’t have an issue with my child being in a home where responsible gun ownership is being practiced. responsible being the key word. and of course i assume that i would know that family pretty well.

MG: Never thought of it before..

XV: 1. Yes. 2. I’m worried about a lot of kids in the same house with guns. Yes, I know the parents are very responsible, and I know you are careful, but you know as well as I do, darling child, that kids can be crafty and get excited in packs, so…I’d rather not risk it. I love you.

IPK: I would absolutely ask and if the answer was yes I would not allow my child to visit that home. I once visited a home and discovered after half an hour that my three year old was playing with duplos in a room with a shotgun leant up behind the door. I died ten times inside.

EGM: I don’t know that I would think to ask normally but if I did, I would follow it up with asking how they are stored and locked away. If the answers weren’t satisfactory, I would be honest with the other parent and say that I’m not comfortable with it and ask if the child could sleep over at my own house first. Then I’d address it with my child. With a child of [Dood’s] age, I’d be honest and explain my concern and the solution (hopefully the other parent would be OK with the sleepover at my house instead). With a younger child, I’d probably just say that we’d decided to change it to our house. For the record, we have a gun–it’s kept locked up in a coded safe, unloaded, and the ammunition is under separate lock-and-key. Only Jxxxx and I know the code to get to the gun itself, so even crafty kids couldn’t get it.

KA: I let M spend the night with a friend who I know the family has guns. They live on a rural property, and the guns are locked away. I think the dad usually does carry on his person though. I grew up on a farm though, and my father had guns, so my comfort level might be different.

KJW: I would ask. I’ve personally known 2 families that wish they would have asked as well. You can’t be to careful. You don’t get a “re-do” with a gun.

KA: Also, I’ve had some pretty blunt discussions with my M about guns and gun safety. I agree that there are people out there who might be careless with guns–and careless with other things too. Trust your gut. If you’re not comfortable, for any reason, keep your child home and do something else.

EMM: Yes, I would absolutely ask! If they were locked away and secured appropriately, fine. If not, explain the rules of gun safety with him (treat every gun as if it is loaded, etc.)

JF: Oh honey, I ask even if we have a play date and I’m staying. It’s an important question to ask.

EC: I have the gun talk with my boys A LOT. Their Dad and his brothers all have guns. They are locked up appropriately, but I’m paranoid. There are three houses in the neighborhood where my kids play and have sleepovers. I’m nosy enough to know that all the parents are crazy liberals like me and don’t own any guns.

MGK: Never would have asked that I grew up in a home with guns was educated starting at an early age (5) my daughter has been shooting since she was 5. I feel it is very important that our youth are taught about guns what is proper handling and how to act around guns. People can get hurt around guns if they don’t know proper handling and how to act. If children are brought up and taught to respect guns and that they should not handle guns without an adult present I believe you have a lot less to worry about. When kids are introduced to something and taught properly they are less likely to investigate on their own it becomes second nature. When I was growing up my dad had all of his guns in his gun room and I knew I couldn’t go in there and when I had friends over they were not aloud in the room and it was never an issue.

KY: We have guns and they are locked in a gun safe. I wouldn’t be offended if someone asked me about it but I have never asked, nor have I had anyone ask us. We have lots of sleepovers.

KA: [Yo-yo Mama], the more I think about this, I had to add that A LOT of things make me nervous about sleepovers. (Older siblings, drugs, other safety concerns, and so on.) I think for me, it comes down to how well do I know the family, how comfortable am I with them, and do I have a high enough level of overall trust for my son to be in their care for any amount of time? When I lived in Boston/Cambridge, guns probably would not have come up. Living in rural NH, I tend to assume that almost everyone, regardless of political leanings, likely has a gun. I went to get a permit myself recently, and had to go back, because the PD has run out of applications. I don’t currently own a gun, but I wouldn’t be offended if I was asked politely if I did, by a concerned parent.

CC: Yep. And if I wasn’t comfortable with the answer, my kid wouldn’t go over to that friend’s house. I’m the mama. I don’t give a fig about the other family. There are houses that are off limits to my children because I think the people are too stupid to be responsible (with and without guns). There are houses that are off limits to my children because I know drugs are present. There are houses that are off limits because the parents allow movies and videogames that my children are not allowed. My job is to do what I think is best for MY family…not be politically correct. And how I handle it…I’m honest with my kids about it.

JF: We have a lot of potentially dangerous medications in our house. For my child’s safety and the safety of those visiting our home, we purchased a medication lock box. We keep all of our daily meds in there (the scary stuff – not the vitamins). I think it was $30 but it gives us peace of mind. We also put it up high when we have kids over and our son does not know the combination (though he’s tried to get it out of us LOL)

KCN: Vitamins can be fatal too if ingested in high quantities. I would lock those up too.

JF: True [KCN] – they are kept out of reach as well. However, I’m more concerned with seizure meds and stimulants than vitamins and space is limited.

CMS: The harder part of your question is explaining it to your child. They really have no comprehension of the finality of gun accidents. If a parent is offended by you asking, I would wonder why. Shouldn’t they be just as concerned if the sleepover was at your place? I think an open discussion is never out of place.

KY: I agree that we don’t do sleepovers with people we don’t know very well – my son is just uncomfortable in that situation. So, with that said, we know the families and where they stand on the issue of guns. Now, one of my son’s best friends has parents that “act drunk” in his words, or leave the kids home alone often at night. He himself chooses not to stay at their home overnight.

KF: Do I have to let my kids go on sleep overs? . Never thought of that now I have another reason to be paranoid! . I am not sure if I personally would have the guts to ask but I wish I could! Good luck with that one!

KSB: Sleepovers aren’t what they used to be. I fear the older sibling or the older sibling’s friend or the creepy uncle who swings by for pizza. Medications, drugs, guns. I recognize that I can’t control every environment my children enter, nor do I want to limit their experiences. We haven’t reached sleepover age yet but I’m sure it won’t be long. We’ve already agreed that sleepovers aren’t allowed unless we are friends with the parents. Not just friendly. Friends. My nephew went to a sleepover and their house phone was turned off that night. The mother didn’t want to use up all her minutes letting the 10 yr old boys contact their parents, so my SIL had no way of contacting her son. The next morning the mom took the boys to a splash park without asking permission or notifying anyone. The police found my nephew in a parking garage outside the park. He was fine but terrified. Some if our close friends have guns. My kids could sleepover at some of their homes but not all. Not all gun owners are safe and responsible. In fact I am terrified that the house next door to us has four unlocked guns and two mentally impaired/unstable preschoolers. We don’t do play dates at their house. It’s likely nothing bad will ever happen over there, but why hang around to find out? I understand we will encounter tears and drama and “it’s not fair!” The first time W isn’t allowed to go to the big fun sleepover but I’m okay with that. It’s my job to keep her safe. Not keep her cool.

JLK:  It, coming from a no gun culture, scares the Willies out of me that people would have them in their homes. No matter how they are kept.

SR:  I absolutely would ask but I wonder how many people are going to tell you if they have guns but don’t store them properly? I didn’t grow up with guns and I’m scared of them but I know people who are responsible gun owners so I don’t think that anyone who has a gun necessarily is bad or irresponsible. As other people pointed out, there are so many things surrounding sleepovers that are troublesome for me but it all really boils down to how well do I know the parents (which I know isn’t a guarantee either).

ALH: Sigh. I would ask, if I was an American. Don’t know how I’d respond to a yes — and I come from a hunting culture and have handled plenty of guns.

JL: I ask, saying something like “you know how interested kids are at this age.” And he doesn’t go if I’m not comfortable with the answer. I also have a good long talk with him about what to do if the subject of seeing a gun comes up.

Even after reading the comments, I’m still not sure if it’s something I won’t feel awkward asking about, but it really is a question that shouldn’t be uncommon (“normalized”), and therefore shouldn’t be a question that anyone would find offensive. On the other hand, it makes me wonder how I would feel if a parent who was a hardcore NRA member refused to allow their child over to our house because I wouldn’t be the person willing to arm myself to save their baby in an event that would be a hundred (if not a thousand) times MORE unlikely than an accidental gun-inflicted injury.

And while we’re talking about accidents, it never occurred to me that we should have my son’s stimulants secured in a lock box, which we are now going to remedy. But what about the beer in the fridge? What about the carkeys on the hooks? What about the stairs to the basement? The toilets, kitchen knives and glassware? Sure, *I* know there’s a huge difference between a gun and a glass, but the difference comes in teaching Responsibility. For me, that is something I can teach and don’t have to have a gun in my hand to teach it. NOT talking about it isn’t going to make it go away or not happen, and that’s hard for me to remember because open discussions often feel as if I’m erasing innocence.

Tomorrow

Things have been not so good lately, but each time I sit down to draft it out, 600 words later I have deleted it and closed the window. One of my friends from Facebook posted on one of my wall updates how I never seem to be happy, and frankly, the words stung with their accuracy. I have not been happy.

It’s not because there is a sense of “buyer’s remorse” over our moving Doodicus from a private school to a public in the hopes he would have access to more…more what? Yeah, well, that’s hard to explain. And the remark about Buyer’s Remorse came from the psychologist, not from Sparring Partner, myself or Dood, but it kinda sums things up nicely.

It’s not because Sparring Partner’s dad is slipping slowly away in a too-small nursing home room. The giant man whose presence in any room could not simply be ignored – not just because of his size – but because his distinct Bostonian voice could drown any cacophony of Midwesterners, has become an almost empty, cancer-riddled shell. Or that my mom’s Alzheimer’s is progressing in what seems like light-speed ever since Aitch started going to school and we see her less frequently. Talking with her about how the kids are adjusting to school, or the home projects, or just little stories about day-to-day happenings is like trying to write on a chalkboard in the middle of a rain shower.

My unhappiness is not because my son had a crisis that shook us all to our very quick; that incurred a standing appointment with the behavioral health department every other week, that made me ache to go back in time and tell him a thousand more times a day that we love him more than anything. I should have hugged him more even though he always wiggled or turned away. Especially when he wiggled and turned away.

It is that culmination of emotional weight and stress and a feeling your life is spinning wildly off course even though there was never a course to begin with to follow. I know it will slow down enough so I can catch my balance. Yesterdays always seem much simpler, and certainly less of a burden. They are the days that no longer have long lists of things to-do and the things un-done. They are just simply the days that were. Tomorrows are hard because they are filled with expectations, anticipations, dread and worry.

I am hoping just for better tomorrows. Maybe even happier.

NINE

It’s getting late and I’m crazy-ass tired and yet – I am compelled to post. Let’s keep it brief and get to the points I wish to cover, shall we?

1 – My MIL wasn’t able to get around very well this weekend, complaining of pain in her legs. Monday a.m. she was admitted to the hospital. She needs to have her hips that she had replaced 15 plus plus years ago replaced. Mr. DD has spent every evening at the hospital as now she’s been running an unexplained fever. Once she recovers from the fever, she then will spend the next couple of weeks in a nursing home until the scheduled date of her surgery since she can’t go home as the FIL is also recovering from a surgery from a couple months ago. Getting old sucks.

2 – XBoy has brought home work every day from school that he refuses to finish in school. This on top of the regular homework, which includes 20 spelling words, like “autumn” and “September”. Is this normal for 2nd Graders? In the three weeks he’s been in school, we’ve already had the note about pushing another kid as well as the initial note about XBoy’s belligerence in refusing to do his work. How many more weeks before school’s out?

3 – ZGirl received her one year vaccinations including the first half of the flu (regular flu) shot. Mr. DD and I spent that night alternating between holding and comforting an arched-back, screaming hysterically, and feverish baby. Remind me to tell you how the next morning I opened the door on her head. I’m sure it’ll be funny in a week or two.

4 – The next day I stayed home with ZGirl since she was still running a low-grade fever. I was in the middle of getting her lunch in the microwave, running a load of wash, running the dishwasher and we lost electricity in the house. A car accident somewhere down the line. I called and bitched to my husband since he has some sort of magical power to make it come back on again if I get screechy enough with him.

5 – AND THEN tonight Mr. DD announces that we have no propane. Even though our contract with the natural gas company is “keep full” (which means to come in every month and top of the tank). The company has done this not once, but twice before. Instead of calling them tonight and fight with them later over the emergency service charges, he will call and have them deliver during normal business hours. No hot water for a shower or the endless dishes or ZGirl’s or XBoy’s baths.

6- My own post requesting advice on how to get rid of violets garnered less response than a post I didn’t even write. I’m wounded.

7 – Mr. DD and I had a huge fight. Huge. It was about money. Or should I say the lack thereof? Not being able to find a new job is wreaking havoc on our marriage. Is that oversharing?

8 – We received news a couple weeks ago that one of Mr. DD’s nephews and his wife were expecting their first baby. This weekend we heard she miscarried. Now instead of sending the congratulatory card, I need to find a sympathy card.

9 – I’ve caught a cold.

Excuse the multiple updates if you get this through a reader. I blame life right now.