Engulfed in Sadness

Lately this is how I have felt, completely engulfed in sadness. An emotional wreck of crazy.

First there is the uproar of the lion named Cecil. Poaching is wrong. I am sad by the loss of this animal and for his community.  I am also sad for the poached bull moose that was found shot and left along a road. However, my sadness does not mean I don’t care about other important issues. My sadness is because these are animals that are being tricked by deceitful humans for their personal enjoyment. To me it would be like one of my neighbors luring one of my dogs out of the yard so they could cause harm or kill them.

Next there are the animals that are in shelters. The old, the young, the ill, the healthy and the perfect animals all together waiting. I have read a lot of stories lately about these animals. Some have been saved and others have not. The senior animals seem to have a harder time finding new homes and often times don’t leave the shelters. This makes me sad. My son told me yesterday that my dog was looking pretty old with his grey muzzle. I reminded him that I have had my dog for 8 years now and I hope to get another 8 or more years with him since he is a Dachshund and then can live 15 – 20 years. I am sad for the shelter animals because they don’t have homes. They don’t get to enjoy the life my own animals do and share their own unconditional love with humans and be part of a family, their own family.

I also miss my mom. She has been gone for 4 and a half years now. There are so many things she wasn’t able share in. There are still times I forget and want to call her and many nights that I dream she is still with us. Adding to my sadness is my kids miss their Nana and wonder if she would be proud of where we have all ended up in life. I wonder often if her Heaven is everything she hoped it would be and if she “knows” all that happens in our lives.

My kids are all 18 and older now and officially are not my “responsibility”. I raised them, taught them right from wrong, and hopefully helped them improve their skills in self sufficiency. Meaning that they can continue to manage their own finances and afford to care for themselves. This also makes me sad, I miss them with their noises and chaos. Sometimes the house is way too quiet. It isn’t as easy getting together and spending time as a family now that they are all older and independent. It is something we all work on though because so far we still like each other!!

I know this sadness will pass or at least it won’t feel so overwhelming. I am aware that there are others out in this world with their own struggles they are facing. I try to stay positive and look and the bright side of things and offer smiles to all I see. I also snuggle with the dogs often and offer them lots of love and attention because everything I give to them they give right back to me :)!

Jurassic Quest

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In 2014 Jurassic Quest was in town. I took my youngest daughter to share in the experience. She was 17 at the time. The plan was to spend the whole day. We only lasted about 2 hours. My little girl was tired from babysitting the night before. I was sad to cut or adventures short, how ever I enjoyed every minute we were there.

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This is the first thing we seen once we were inside.

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This is one of many exciting dinosaur attractions we seen on our Dinosaur Tour

We missed out on a lot because we only stayed the 2 hours. I really wanted to see the baby dinosaurs that did their own walking tour, but since we went on the larger tour first I missed out. There were tons of things for kids 12 and under to do. Face painting, dinosaur crafts, dino dig, bouncy houses, dinosaur rides and games. I also missed the larger dinosaurs walking tour. My hope is we will be able to go again at some point. My little one did feel bad for being so tired and we decided that even though we were missing out on a lot we would always remember our time at the Jurassic Quest. Especially with our cute souvenirs.

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This is Blueberry, my little Triceratops 🙂

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This is my daughter’s T-Rex, I have forgotten his name, oops.

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Here is a group shot of our little friends.

Happiness is a dinosaur expedition :)!

Dear Father to my Children,

Dear Father to my Children Sperm Donor,

How do you measure your parental skills? How do you know when you are doing well versus when you SUCK? Do you care? How many “trophies” do you need? When will enough be enough? I wish you would stop causing heart ache and destruction in the lives of your children. I wish that you would do me a favor and MOVE.

For the past 21 years I can count on one hand how many times you have done the right thing for your children. The right thing is defined as when you did something that only benefited your children and did nothing for you including making you look good to others. Sweetie that is a total of 5 or LESS times.

  1. Secured Santa to come to the house to visit your son and oldest daughter.
  2. Gave your oldest daughter a bath every night for about 2 months straight during her 11th and 12th months of life.
  3. Secured lunch money for our youngest daughter last year, when she was a Junior in high school.

Yep less than 5. You have possibly done more, but I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t also make you look good to others. I could however think of lots of times you screwed our kids over.

  1. Sold the weight bench your son wanted, for $20 bucks.
  2. Didn’t show up when you promised to visit the kids, too many times to count.
  3. Told your friends you needed money to buy things for your kids when really you needed money for yourself.
  4. Promised to bring money to one of your children and show up weeks late or never.
  5. Making out with your girlfriend at your daughter’s birthday party instead of hanging out with your daughter.
  6. Going to your other girlfriend’s house in another state when your son came home for Christmas from Basic Training.
  7. Arriving late and high to your oldest daughter’s high school graduation and then skipping pictures after she asked you to take pictures with her.
  8. Not showing up at all to your oldest daughter’s graduation party.
  9. Not listening to your kids when they tell you something that is going on with your girlfriend and her kids.
  10. Driving like a crazy person because you are mad you said you would give your child a ride across town.

That of course is the short list 🙂

I would like to remind you that your 3 oldest children are 21, 19 and 17. These 3 are old enough to make their own decisions and are not at all intimidated by your loud voice or threats. You feel the only time they talk to you is when they want money. Perhaps if you looked at how you interact with them when you are together you would see that they just don’t like to be ignored or to hang out with your “other” family.

This past weekend you killed your relationship with your son. I understand you wanted your children at your wedding, but I hope you understand that they did not really want to be there. Your wife is not nice to them. She has double standards for her kids and your kids. Your children tried to talk to you about it, but you were unwilling to listen. They were not comfortable making the drive to your wedding location and the fact that they had to come back after dark was not very appealing to them either. The other kicker for them was the girls thought they were in the wedding, but somehow they got kicked out. Then two days later, after you came back to town, you couldn’t even find the time to see your younger daughter off on her trip. You sure are a classy guy.

Yes I am angry. I am tired of seeing my children hurt by your actions. I am tired of hearing how you promised them this or that and didn’t follow through. I am tired of seeing the pain on their faces when you don’t follow through or when you choose not to listen to them. You have produced 6 children that I am aware of, the 3 oldest you co-created with me. The other son is 15 or 16 (the one you never see), you have a 13 year old daughter (the one you signed away your parental rights for) and then there is the youngest daughter who is under 10, this is the only one you have actually made a go of the parenting thing with. I mean the one you pay child support for and take for full weekends during the school year and weeks during the summer. I am glad at this point you have figured at least that part out, for just this one kid. No worries for the other 5, I am sure they will continue to survive. I know my 3 would like you to stop ignoring them when they try to talk to you and listen to the words that come out of their mouths.

Thank you for also telling our son just how horrible my parents were. My parents that have both passed away in the past 7 years at very young ages. The same parents that allowed us to move in with them when we had no where else to go. I believe the year my mom passed away she gave you lots and lots of money to help you get caught up on some of your bills. These same people who supported me for months on end so I could help you pay of two different trucks on two different occasions. Yes my parents were awful because they supported us financially while you gambled and drank all of our money away. They did voice their opinions on your lifestyle but they still supported us. How many times did they take the kids when they were smaller because you just couldn’t handle it?? PLEASE tell me what did your family do to support us, how much contact does your mother have with these kids now? Does she even remember our youngest daughter’s name? Probably not.

7 months to go and I promise I will get to deal with you even less than I do now. I am looking forward to that more than you can possible understand. Good luck and best wishes 🙂

 

Changes

My sadness may start to overwhelm me soon. There are so many changes that have began to happen. Things I thought I was ready for that I wasn’t. I have cried, I have tried to start new dreams and I have spent days wondering what will happen next.

My youngest daughter left for her trip this afternoon. She will be spending the next two weeks in London with a day trip to Paris. I created a journal full of pictures from home and her past experiences on Girl Scout destinations. I am excited for her, just sad she will be out of contact for most of those two weeks. She doesn’t have an international cell phone and she should be making new friends and enjoying the experience anyway. Her older sister did this same trip in 2010 and they will have lots to talk about once the little one is home.

Once the little one is home she will be off again for another four weeks working. She will be working at concession stands at two fairs and will be away from home most of those weeks as well. On a side note she will probably be sick of fair food once she does get home and have some of her own spending money burning a hole in her pocket.

While the little one is gone working my oldest daughter will be moving 3 hours away to go to college. Her apartment is ready for move in on August 1st. I am not looking forward to her being so far away with winter and snow coming sooner rather than later. If the mountain passes are bad she will not be able to travel home from either direction. One of my biggest fears for her right now is her finding a job once she gets all moved in. I know her savings will pay her rent for the first 6 months she is there if absolutely necessary. Yet I still worry, that is what moms do. I hope school will be more of a challenge for her at the new school and she won’t get bored and hate going every day.

My son recently turned 21. I had hoped that once he hit this age he would mellow out. This has not happened. On Friday he had yet another fight with his spouse. It was not pretty, they are both young and always think they are right. The second time the divorce word was used I lost it and told them to figure out if they loved each other or not, marriage isn’t a game you have to work at it everyday. It took them about an hour to work through some of their issues and get to a point where they could talk to each other. My hope is that they fight for each other instead of against each other.

Health wise for myself things seem to be at a standstill, nothing really changing but still not 100% functional. UC sucks and I need to try harder to improve my outlook and health as well. I am not sure that I will ever feel any better than I do right now, but I am slightly hopeful that I will…… someday.

Frustrated Mommy

Watching my children struggle is very frustrating for me. As their mom I want to make everything perfect in their worlds. As an adult I understand that is unreasonable for me to achieve and not very beneficial for them. I am beginning to believe that at some point good things will happened for them so they do not have to struggle with everything.

My youngest daughter is a Junior in high school and has two and a half weeks of school. This year she applied for programs that would benefit her life and her community and for some reason was not selected for either program. The first was a program to promote leadership in the community and get young people involved in finding solutions for problems that exist. This program is suppose to help the young people involved build their own leadership skills as well. She was not selected, her heart was broken and she moved on and involved herself in Key Club instead. The next program she applied for was to work with elementary school kids for one hour a week to assist them with their school work and just be their buddy. These kids come from homes where they may not get a lot of one on one time with adults because of a number or circumstances. These children usually also need assistance getting their school work done. She was also not selected for this program. She is feeling disappointed in herself and her abilities to do good things. She wanted to make a difference in a young person’s life and because she is only 17 there are not a lot of options to volunteer with kids unless it is through school. The other things that have added to her sadness with school are she has not had her Junior visit, this is a visit to make sure she has a plan or at least knows her options after high school, she didn’t get assigned to a job shadow and she decided to quit band because the teacher was rude too many times. She isn’t the best trombone player, but she did like trying her best, it just wasn’t good enough for the teacher.

The struggles are not limited to my youngest daughter. Sadly my oldest daughter is facing so many similar struggles with college and other life aspects. She worked for a summer with two nonprofit organizations to earn a college grant and after working for the entire summer doing the program and working an actual job on top of that she was told the program was never approved and sorry there is no money. This caused all kinds of undue stress mainly like who is paying the last $1000.00 for her tuition now? The other downfall was one of the nonprofit organizations is viewed in a new light by her and she probably won’t ever be very committed to them in the future. Next she applied for an award that was very prestigious and was passed up because of politics. The person that received the honor new someone or perhaps didn’t rock the boat like my daughter does. My daughter is currently attending a private catholic college and what she expected to learn and what she is actually learning are two different planets. I might go so far as to say they are two different galaxies. She has learned little to nothing in a year and feels like she wasted time and money. Thankfully she voiced these concerns to someone who gave her wonderful advise telling her had she not experienced a bad learning environment she might not recognize a good learning environment and she now knows what kind of teacher she does not want to be. Her father has been a bitter disappointment lately for her as well. He promised to pay to have her car fixed and then called me the day it was at the shop to tell me he couldn’t afford to pay for it. This was after the mechanic called him and told him it was $500.00 and the car was unsafe to drive without the repairs and they could not let anyone pick it up until it was fixed. He also promised her an iPhone two years ago that she is still waiting for from him, luckily she has a job and saves her money and doesn’t actually believe his empty promises.

My son has his own set of struggles that have not been easy in the least. He struggled through school with bullies who happened to be girls. Try explaining to a school that girls do bully and get away with it because others can’t possibly believe girls bully. He deals with false promises from their father as well. With an added bonus that my son changed his last name to my maiden name and the father tries to get him to change it back as often as he can. My son was recently married in September of 2013 and his spouses family hates him. I am not really sure why they are unwilling to give my child a chance but it really hurts his feelings and hurts their relationship as well. He also has been having the hardest time finding a job which causes its own set of problems financially and for their relationship.

None of these things I can fix or make better for them. All I can offer is words of advise on how I have dealt with a similar situation or how I think others are missing out on their greatness. I also remind them how much I love them and how honored I am to be their mommy. This however doesn’t stop me from silently wishing their lives were easier and that they got the things they desired.

Selective Mutism

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Imagine being a hyper active three year old child running around, talking a mile a minute, playing with your older siblings, loving on your stuffies every chance you get and in general being a happy go lucky little person. Then you start preschool and so ends your carefree life. Apparently your family hates you so much they send you off to spend the day with people you don’t know and quite frankly don’t want to know. Your world becomes dark and cold with very little light shinning on your face. There is no where for you to turn for help and no where for you to escape.

Fast forward to Kindergarten and we start year 3 of NO talking in school. This year we have a fool proof plan. We hand picked your teacher, your older sister had her first, you know her so we think that you will be ok. Yet you still won’t talk. We take your security blanket to school and give it to your teacher, when you talk you get to bring your blanket home. Still nothing after two weeks and for you that is a LONG time without your blanket. Next we take Ord, your rat. Your teacher is not happy about this. She doesn’t like his tail. We promise to come in and take care of him so she doesn’t have to. Still nothing little girl, you are holding out. I have no idea why you need to have such control over your voice. Why are you so unwilling to talk to anyone that you haven’t had a three year relationship with? At this point we are at two and a half years of no words coming out of your mouth in a school setting. The next call from the teacher was asking me what she should do, you need to go to the bathroom yet you still won’t ask. I am tired and at my wits end. It is so hard to be a single mom raising three kids all with three different sets of needs, wants and desires. I failed in this moment and I am sorry for that. My response was simple if she doesn’t ask then she doesn’t leave the room. You came home in different clothes that day. Now the teacher and I are both distraught. As luck would have it one final person stepped into our equation. The school psychologist came in to observe you in class one day and within five minutes said give her back her things and talk to her doctor about Selective Mutism.

The diagnosis was simple. We went to your doctor who then referred us to the psychologist. The psychologist also did an observation that we were unaware of. After ten minutes of observation he took us back to his office and asked some questions. He determined that you did indeed have Selective Mutism and provided us with some treatment options. Then he told us he would forward all his notes to our regular doctor and we would work with her on the continuing treatment. Together we have learned so much over the past twelve years since your diagnosis. I wish we would have had answers when you were three instead of five. Perhaps had we known what we were dealing with your life would have been less scary.

Find more info here:

http://anxietynetwork.com/content/selective-mutism

Selective mutism is characterized by a consistent failure to speak in specific social situations in which there is an expectation for speaking.  Children with selective mutism have the ability to both speak and understand language, but fail to use this ability as a result of what we would consider to be social anxiety in adults.  Most children with selective mutism function normally in other areas of their lives.

Quantity VS Quality

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Is it better to spend more time, quantity, with your children or is it better to spend better time, quality, with them? How many parents ask themselves this question? How many professionals have answered this question? Does it matter? Do the kids even care? I would say yes both matter and the kids do care.

My son told me awhile back this story of how when ever he has something important to share or something he is excited or unsure about he calls his best friend. That when he is fighting with his best friend it is very hard for him to fully accept what is happening to him if he is unable to share with his best friend. It turns out I am his best friend. I was touched and honored to make this status with my oldest child. Growing up he and I had a lot of struggles finding a balance that worked for our communication styles and his medical issues. My son suffers from ADHD, Oppositional Behavior Disorder and recently diagnosed with PTSD. He also had some scary anger issues growing up as well and became violent on a few occasions. I believe that I achieved this honored status by both quantity and quality time spent with him and his younger sisters.

I was never one of those lucky parents who had access to unlimited childcare. My family watched my children whenever I needed to work and occasionally so I could go out but never for silly things like shopping or house cleaning. Those times I had to take my little ones along with me. We spent a lot of quantity time together when they were very young. Running here, doing that, driving them across town to my parents so I could go to work and then back again at the end of the day. During those times my children learned a lot of things. How to push my buttons was a great one and then they learned when mom says no don’t ask again.

We also did spend quality time together. My children had a very extensive collection of board games and movies. We would spend my time away from work doing nights of dinner and a movie where they would pick what we ate and what we watched. For holidays especially we had many years of no TV and had to spend our time doing other things like playing games and hanging out together. Some of my favorite quality times are when they allowed me to read to them. For years I read to them every night before they went to bed and if they didn’t fall asleep while I was reading I would lay with them and talk about their days, their hopes and dreams and occasionally tell them stories.

Finding your own balance between quantity and quality is the key. Today it seems I get very little of either considering my children are moving fast into adulthood or are already there. My favorite compliment when the kids were growing up was from another single mom who told me she admired how much time I spent with my children because it seemed like we were always together and almost always laughing and have fun.