Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 moves in

Tomorrow starts a new year...2011 is here. How can that be? It's amazing how fast 2010 flew by. It seems it never even happened...but it did. 2010 wasn't a great year for our family. I'm hoping 2011 will be the turn around.

We took DS2 to his new school a few days ago. It seems like a better fit. Still holding back on total belief in an answer. Just don't want to be disappointed.

They tell us that he settled right in and was joking and enjoying his time. They do understand what that is...they understand that the other will come.

After our trip I cleaned DS2's room. Again...I found things I don't want to find. Lots of untaken pills, lots of chewed up gum stuck in carpet...and a note from a girl at his last school. It was a reminder note that she is his "mommy"...not to worry, she'll always be his mommy. Wow...

I don't even know if he understands what a mom is...but apparently he has one that lives elsewhere.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The "I don't even know what to title this" post

DS2 has been revealing some very interesting stories to us - when I say 'us' I mean sister and brother. He doesn't really talk to DH and I at least not in a way that either of us can understand. We've learned the following in his few days here at home:
1. He was jumped in to a gang while at school this semester. He respects the boys that did it and they are more of a family to him than we ever will be. He feels that gangs are families for life.
2. He climbed up on a steel trash bin and jumped into the arms of one of his 'homies' who was supposed to catch him and the boy pulled back and DS2 hit the ground with his face first. That caused the bruising that we've been asking about since he got home.
3. He hates that people don't believe him and that is why he gets angry. He doesn't think it's wrong to get so mad so fast.
4. He believes that WE choose to pull him out of school. He thinks that everyone at school loved him very much and will be very sad without him there...we are the enemy of him staying with his 'friends' and new 'family'. That is why he isn't going back.

Interestingly, I do believe him - the whole entire story. I believe that his fight at school did have something to do with becoming a member of a gang. I am not saying that he joined the bloods or crypts while at school...but I think they called themselves a gang and I think they taught him about gangs as families. He found somewhere he felt he belonged.

The fact that these same boys used him as a scapegoat for all their misdeeds - the fact that he was, at best, a laughing stock to them - the fact that he was injured at their hands numerous times...none of this plays into his thought process. I asked him what he would have thought if we had jumped him in to our family...his answer??? "That would have been fine because then you would have gone to jail for child abuse". Fun.

DH and I are at odds right now. He believes firmly that it's all lies...that none of this occurred and that DS2 is simply trying to rile us up. I think it's the closest he's ever come to being 'clean' with us. I agree that he is saying it all to rile us up - but I believe firmly that sometimes the truth can do that. Chafe us...pain us...tear us to the bone. I sent my child away for help and he came back slightly more soulless than when he left.

I can't even grieve it all anymore. I'm lost for the next step. He goes to his new school/placement on December 30. We're all going to drive him there and have our good-byes. When we told him about where he's headed, there was no reaction at all. I guess somewhere in the deepest part of my gut, I wanted him to be sad - I wanted to see an iota of hope that he would like to stay here with us.

We are so broken and I'm not able to glue anything together anymore. I feel like he deserves so much more than me as a mother. I feel like I deserve so much more than what is happening to all of us now.

Off topic - my parents came for a long weekend and we had a lovely time. We got along and talked and enjoyed each other...I do miss them very much and I'm so happy that we were able to have that time. It renewed my faith in a million tiny little ways.

Then it led me back to the fact that no matter how old I am - I want my mommy to love me. Almost more than anything. I won't ever have the love of my biological father - he's unable to give that...and I've grown to accept that very crappy little detail. But, I need something to root me as the person I believed I was as I grew up. Having a parent that thinks you are a pretty good person is a gift. I'm sure it will continue to come and go...but for now, I'll take it.

Will my son ever want a mommy who loves him? And, when he finally does...will I be able to?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the final's' bomb

Overwhelmed would describe it right heart mostly is overwhelmed.

Here we are at the crossroads of the exact thing I talk about. Does anyone believe in self-fulfilling prophesy? I was taught about that a lot in church as a child. You should never say something that you don't want to have happen...speak positives and they will come true. I try, really.

One of my biggest fears about raising one (or two depending on the day) troubled child(ren) is the fallout on the other kid(s). It's hard to balance. Even with DS2 not living here right now, there is a constant presence over our home. Of course, I do not want to erase him...

DS1 is struggling right now. It's a big change from anything we've dealt with before. Teen age drama - yes...more than that? I don't know. I remember being his age and thinking that pretty much everything about my family was totally whack. I was sure that I knew a better way and I could do everything better than my parents could do. I think that every teen goes through this time and it's ok if he feels he is smarter and brighter and more wonderful than us in every way.

Here is where I worry...bad grades, wanting to be alone all the time, loss of his sense of humor, grunting, anger, not doing work that is due...sadness in general.

He told me that he doesn't want DS2 to come home. He's worried about what this will do to his break. He is completely self centered right now - it's all about him. Isn't that true of all teens? I pointed out that DS2 will be home and no matter what that can't be changed. We have fun plans for Christmas break...we have family coming into town. We are going to make the best of it no matter what DS2 decides to do with his time home. I don't think he believes me. I don't think he believes we have control over DS2. I don't know that we do.

Things came out that happened over last break that I didn't even know about. At this point, DS2 will have to be on full line of sight. I hate that - but I have to listen to my other two kids...who have both asked to not be alone with him at all.

DS1's math teacher called today. He got a low D on his final. He had worked his butt off. Week one was tough and then he realized it was time to get 'serious'. He went in to school early almost every day to work with her. He studied at home and turned in his work. She wanted to let me know that two weeks ago, it all changed. Since then he hasn't turned in any homework...he didn't do his study guide for his final and that led to the D. His semester grade dropped to a C. He also did poorly on two other finals.

I question whether I should have been more involved with his finals and studying. I offered myself to him in any way I could help and he continued to grunt that he had it under control. I let him be - it's high school and I can't follow him to college, right? He has to figure it out. But, maybe I'm too 'out of his life'. Although he's pushing away, maybe he needs to be drawn in closer?

A lady I work with has a sign that says "parenting is like being pecked to death by chickens". It's funny...and true. It's just the daily loss of tiny pieces of your heart - tiny pieces of your child(ren) drifting off from you. High school is tough. You know (and they know) that the clock is counting's now a matter of 3.5 short years before he leaves. Am I pushing at him as much as he's pushing at me?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

wants of a wanted woman

I want to talk to him. Really, really talk to him. I want to have a conversation that consists of more than me asking if he's making good choices and him mumbling an answer I can't hear. I want to sit with him and talk. About something - about nothing...about the fact that we care about each other and therefore can talk about anything.

What if that never happens?

I'm living in guilt world lately. That guilt that I can't do enough for him...I've failed him. The guilt that I hate the people in Russia who did this to him for real. I even hate the people in Russia that lied about his emotional health. I did tell them I couldn't do this. I was honest. The 'good' part of this is that I learned that I can do most things when I have to...I never wanted to - but here I am...doing it. I'll readily admit that I'm doing it poorly, but doing it nonetheless.

We still can't tell him that he's been expelled...we won't be able to tell him for quite a while. I think they said 48 prior to him leaving...ummmm...that's December 15. Goodness. It's hard to think of things to say. I want to tell him what's next. Of course, we need to be sure of what's next.

The program in Utah is in full swing. We've got a spot held for him. I'm struggling with being excited. It sounds like exactly what he needs. It is exactly what he needed the first time. I let a rush of emotions and a rush of actual timing lead us down the wrong path. The school he's at now has done nothing for him. It has simply kept him away from here. That is not good enough.

It scares me to think it won't work...that residential treatment won't work. What is the step beyond that? I hope we don't ever have to find out. On the other hand, it scares me a bit that it may work. We have never lived in a household where DS2 fits. Never had the time of him being a normal member of our family. There hasn't been a time of calm that includes him. Not, at least for a LONG'd have to go back to our honeymoon to find it. Did it feel calm to him ever?

I doubt it.

I realize now that both DS2 and DD have spent every moment in high alert mode. Figuring out if we were safe - if we would still be there after school...deciding whether or not loving us, respecting us and giving us a chance was doable. And, all that leads me to DD.

She is struggling. Does it have a thing to do with adoption or attachment? Not sure. Some of it is normal stuff: I'm never right - she always is. I can't speak two words without her speaking over me...pretty basic pre-teen behaviors.

However, do other kids do it get in trouble? Do they try to be 'bad' so that they feel rewarded? I still sense that is a lot of her reasoning. When I force her to calm herself and listen in a safe way - it nearly kills her. Truthfully - I can feel her heartrate speed up, I can see her eyes tear at the corners. She does not want to be treated fairly. That, I do believe, is based in her past.

I just so badly want my dreams of the future to be more than dreams. I want to talk to him. I want to be trusted by her. I want DS1 to never feel that our choice to adopt changed his life for only the negative. I want all these's all I'm putting on my Christmas list.

Friday, November 12, 2010


We have found a program/school in Utah that can and wants to take DS2 after Christmas break. They actually would like him to come sooner, but I'm trying to just ride everything out right now.

It's more of a residential treatment type program. They live in homes with a smaller group of kids and really work on living in a family environment. Each moment is a teaching moment. The goal of the program is not only academic - although they catch kids up to grade level before they are returned to family...but it's more emotional. They can't make any promise - but they want to return him to our family to live in a functional environment for all five of us.

I feel hope when I talk to them - but I'm tempering that hope. I felt hope that his school in KY was an answer. So, I don't want to hang everything on this hook either. I'm still looking for options because I've learned to have a plan B, C and D at all times.

I continue to be amazed at how many families have the stories we do. Sure, each family has a slightly different twist - but there is so much struggle and so much pain out there. Enough to go around for sure. While I feel a strange comfort in knowing we are not alone - I feel such an empty place that so many have ended up here. So much pain in so many little ones...and I wonder if they will be able to grow up and have normal lives. I'm worried about a generation of lost souls wandering alone.

Stress is weighing heavily on me. I push everyone away and get angry that no one is around for me. I'm trying VERY HARD to show a positive attitude and even harder to not take any of this out on DD and DS1. I haven't really slept in a while. Exhaustion can make a person crazy. I swear that I can't remember anything for more than 15 minutes.

We had dinner out last night and we truthfully had a nice time. That was a relief. We talked about normal family stuff and laughed and shared veggies. So, life goes on with a zombie for a mother...a zombie trying to pretend to be normal.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The squares

I hate not being able to tell him that he's coming home for good at Christmas. It's lying by omission. I get the reasoning I suppose. Kids that know their time is up there can act up physically and become even more disruptive. The list of things they are worried about - well, it's still hard for me to fathom DS2 falling into that category. I just wish I could promise them he wouldn't do those things. I know I can't. I don't think I know what he will or won't be able to do. I would have never thought that he would do the things he has done. I truthfully thought that getting away from us would be the answer to his behavioral problems. I thought that being back in a dorm setting and not having a 'mom and dad' would be the answer. It wasn't. We are back at square one.

I realize now that he was passing school and flying under the radar because I was basically sitting on him. I would stand over him and force homework to get done. I would give him a million daily reminders about how to act out of my presense and he knew the consequences for not following those rules. Not that he cared about the consequences. He was very good at not getting caught. He's not good at that, it seems, anymore. No one there is sitting on him to make him do work. That was what I wanted for be responsible for himself. I truly hoped that he would choose to take care of his own business. He hasn't.

Our options:
1. Keep him home and find a homeschooler (not me) that can come into our home and catch him up, keep him caught up and knows how to deal with troubled kids. File all the paperwork to make that legal. Quit my job to be able to supervise him 24/7 and have a lot of lockdown to keep him away from the other kids.
2. Keep him home and send him to public school. I've called them to ask about the discipline protocol and the fact that he's so behind in school. No one has called back. I'm viewing that as not the best plan at this point. I would still need to quit my job in order to drive back and forth and be here whenever he is home.
3. Keep him home and try to get him into the alternative school. Not sure what that solves other than stricter structure. The quitting thing is all the same.
4. Find another school/program. We have one we like - but the cost may make it out of range. I'm trying to nail down more details. It's a more RTC type setting, but they work through school issues as well. Their goal is to bring him to a point, both behaviorally and academically, that he can return to home life and public school. There is no magic number for how long that takes - anywhere from 6 months to 3 years is average.
5. Well...I don't like to talk about this option - I'm sure you can imagine what it is.

I am not sure if I am ready to live in a prison setting for the next six years. I would love to say that we could go back to him earning privileges and becoming a more 'normal' kid...but I don't think that is the case. So, all options of him staying home would be hard on the other four of us. I want this to be about him...but it's hard to remove everyone else from the equation. Heck, it's hard to not think about myself.

We're just back at square one.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's official. He's out.

They are doing us a 'favor' by keeping him until Christmas break.

Worst part is that there really wasn't a reason for why he's been expelled. No reason at all.

Panic at the inbox

The email came. He may be asked to leave the school.

Then, the panic attack came.

Full on. I've only had 3 in my life...but it was wholly real this time. It scared my daughter who happened to walk in the room. Breath wouldn't come, heart wouldn't slow.

All from hearing that my son may be coming home - and we don't have a plan B.

The communication hasn't been good between the school and us it seems. I continued to hear that he was a good kid who was struggling. They said that there was nothing that would have him close to being expelled. They still won't say expelled - "asked to leave". I think those are the same thing, yes?

I sent an email to address his recent punishment. Their answer included the fact that he may be asked to leave at Christmas break. Shocking...we need more time. My response was quite raw and I think it took him completely off guard. I believe we'll have to jump start the search for somewhere else, but I do think they'll be understanding of needing more time.

We just wanted it to work. We wanted DS2 to be happy (which he still claims to be) and to grow (which is obviously not the case). We wanted time to figure out what needs to happen here, in our home - that is something that we haven't done. It's just been quiet - for the first time in five years. A calm has fallen over our home in general...we just are.

So, I let the planning fall to the bottom of my list. I let go of trying to figure out the next step because I just wanted to sit and rest on this step. I still have to shake myself sometimes to realize that our house is happy and relaxed and calm. I can't help coming back to that word. It's a place I didn't know if we'd ever be again. Now, I'm not sure how to keep it.

I've been busy this morning. Looking into other programs and schools that had made our short list before. The admission that he's been 'let go' from another boarding school program doesn't bode well for his placement the next time. But, I've found a couple of places that are open at this point.

One of the places I spoke with today said that their goal/their job is to help a child through the troubled spot they are in so that the child can return home and become a part of the family again. Most places talk like DS2 will simply be there until there isn't a chance of him returning. It was interesting to hear the difference.

Could these people help us find calm with all FIVE of us at home? It seems like a dream right now...but if we get to that point - I'm going to choose to sit on that step and wait for it. I will wait for it and fight for it and do whatever I can to make it happen.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Mouse at his house (and now on my chest)

We just returned from a long week with the Mouse. You know the one that lives in Florida and has a lots of nutty friends. Yes, Mickey...and we liked it. The best part is people watching. Since this was our second trip in two years and we knew it would be our last for quite some time...we really took our time.

No rushing, no arguing, no stress (OK...when people stop dead in their tracks in the middle of the walkway to pull out their map thereby backing up the 100s of people behind them as they stand 7 across and block all access to getting by with their 3 double strollers and lots of crazy ear hats...well, that tends to stress me out)

For a place called the Happiest Place on Earth, there sure are a lot of unhappy faces. It can be so overwhelming for both parents and kids. Parents get an idea that it will be the greatest thing to ever happen to their kids and lots of these kids - really little ones - don't buy into that. Which, in turn, makes parents stressed...and well, I'm the one sitting nearby watching.

I gotta tell you that if you are a 'thinker' about Disney - and you haven't done it before or a lot of times or haven't done it with my esteemed (ha) opinion you would not catch me dead with a kid that still needs a stroller. Never. I know folks do it and love it and all that jazz - but it's a lot of money for your kiddo to not remember it.

Anyway...we had a lovely time. DS1 and DD got along pretty darn good and even hung out together at times without mom and dad. It was weird to vacation with only four of us. I thought of DS2 a few times, but realized I didn't want to spend the whole vacation thinking of what I wish were...just have to be in the moment with what actually is. For this trip - it was the four of us. We ate very well - haven't stepped on the scale today - TOO SCARED.

We saw and took pictures with all the characters...really - I would guess almost all of them. We rode all the scary rides and all the kiddie rides. We laughed and screamed (not at each other) and slowed our pace to really enjoy being immersed in all things Disney. We enjoyed looking for hidden mickey's (if you don't know what that it) and found a lot of great ones. We sampled foods from every land in the world showcase and thoroughly scoured a million gift shops. I now own a shirt with Mickey and Minnie on it. Said I never would...but I did. I've fallen from grace.

At home today - going through piles of mail and learned that DS2 has been suspended again - this time for ten days. That's a long one. I'm just so dog-gone sad for him. I don't get it...I don't understand which way to go from here as his parent. How can there be a situation with no good answers?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The "STRANGE"r in my home

The human race has created a strange bunch of people. They are called children. There doesn't need to be a possessive term with that. It doesn't matter if they are my children, your children, biological children, adopted children...they can all be gathered under "strange".

Don't get any panties in a bunch here. Strange is a lot of things. At my house, this is what strange looks like lately.

A child who remembers a tidbit of conversation, said in passing from four days ago and actually does what was asked of her (four days later...but being honest - I had forgotten about it by then). Yet, she still doesn't remember to EVER turn off a light when she walks out of a room.

A kid who wakes me up at 6:20 because the sun isn't out and he doesn't want to walk to school in the dark (which I totally agree with), then tells me that he doesn't need to be at school until 7. We sit and watch the sun come up together. So, maybe he could have waited for the sun before waking me up???

The sweetie who sits and talks through the whole show of Amazing Race and then is frustrated at the end because they 'didn't hear' what the host said.

The kiddo who cleans the bathroom mirror and can't understand why it's so disgusting, until I point out that they used Pledge instead of windex. Very confusing...a yellow can versus a clear bottle full of blue fluid. I can see where they can easily happen.

But strangest still is all the great stuff.

A teenager who comes and asks me to dance with him like we used to. Him on my feet and us shuffling (carrying 120 me I shuffled) around the family room. Then, him adding in hushed tones - "would you sing that song you made up for me when I was little?" I knew that may not happen again very often.

The little girl who can be so lost sometimes - so confused - so sad...but still walks up from time to time and offers her greatest compliment. I love you mom. She says sweet things about me...and it's only for the joy of saying something nice. The sweetheart who shares her secrets with me when her guard is down.

Strange is as strange does. I'm strange and maybe they both got it from me. I think that is more of a contagious trait than genetic. When they ask someday why they do XXX - and it's something strange...I'll be happy to report - "You take after me".

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hurry up already

DS2 goes back to school tomorrow. I can say that the last 3 days have been very quiet - in the good way of quiet. Apparently it takes five days for him to wash off the school attitude and realize he's back home. It's not as though he's totally hanging out with us...but he's calm and more relaxed and most importantly...

He's just being here.

We (he and I) get to get up at 4am and drive to the airport. I know he's happy to be returning, but I don't believe that equates that he's happy to be leaving us. I just think that maybe he's happy in both places. I asked him if he could maybe try to take only four days next time - at Christmas - that he comes home. He's home for a couple of weeks that time and it would be lovely to have most of those days be calm and wonderful ones.

I'll miss him. When he's gone we don't have a lot of contact - not by our choice. He settles in there and we don't get emails or phone calls...he doesn't always answer when we call. So, I will miss him. I worry about him.

DD didn't get kicked off the team. They are counting it as strike one and more thing - even a little one - and she's off the team. We decided to leave her be and perhaps pay a price we can't charge her. Everyone at the gym knows she did it. Rumors start and circulate - but this one is true. I doubt that the other girls will find it cute. She's been on suspension this week. She has sat at practice, but not taken part. Tomorrow is her first day back in the trenches. It will be socially difficult. I know it will. DH doesn't think she'll notice. She's not exactly socially adept.

I hope she notices. And, sadly, I hope it hurts her.

Maybe peer pressure can do more than we can on this front. I have to get past my embarrassment. Yep, it's terrible to be the parent of the kid committing crimes. I know that I'll have social reprecussions at the gym as well. I don't want to walk in waving the 'she's adopted and her birth family taught her to steal...she had to steal to eat and live...please, give me a break...I didn't do this to her' flag. But, I'm tempted. tempted. And, I might be weak because I can't think of what the right response would be.

Something very thoughtful like "My daughter made a terrible mistake and has paid the consequences asked of her. She will be working hard to change this behavior in the future."

That's scary. What if she doesn't change the behavior? What if she steals there again?

Then I look at DS1. Liar, liar, pants on fire...yes, he lies too. And, I raised him from birth. Apparently, all kids I've been told. I really didn't. I stink at lying. I stunk at it when I was young and I stink more now. Plus, the guilt. Oh how I hate knowing I lied.

Why can't my kids learn from my good points and ignore my bad points (which are so numerous, but at the top would be impatience). Come on...(quickly please!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the ever changing days of our lives

My daughter stole money at her gym last night. Brazenly...just walked up to another girl's bag, dumped it and took the money. I would have paused a moment to struggle to put her in that position. She's been doing so well. But, you can't really argue video proof.

She did it all in front of a security camera.

I'm heartbroken. She really had been doing so downhill spiral. We were even being careful to not build it all up too much. She's a saboteur of herself...

She is no longer on the cheer team. They are meeting about her to make a decision, but DH and I don't see how we can send her back. The death of a dream. She's so darn it. The dead dream is obviously mine.

All this on the third day of DS2's trip home. That, in and of itself, has not gone well. I won't bore with details, just pretty much exactly what it was last time. Except now you can throw in a lot of rapper/gangster/thug talk. I'm not using those terms in disrespect - but honestly...I don't know what to call it. Who dat? instead of who is that?...and uglier words that I'm not ok with.

I can stop it here (well, not stop it but keep it under wraps) but I can't do anything about it there. I know the school would not be ok with it, but kids are crafty - I'm sure they aren't saying it out in the open. I'm sure these names they call each other are reserved for personal time away from adults.

And, he can't remember why he got suspended again. For two days...he thought is was because he pushed a kid...but NO - it was for being tardy SIX times in a week. This notice, again, said that the behavior could result in expulsion.

Fabulous. I don't think that will happen...but I know that we have to re-think our plans for him. Or give this more time...or give up. But, I can't do that one.

At least DH and I sat and laughed so hard we nearly cried last night. We did that together. What else can you do? As with so many people - this isn't what we thought we were signing up for.

But, here we are.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tootie knows best

DS1 is a nut...otherwise known as teenager. This is a species of person that I remember being. I remember eating a snickers and coke every day for lunch and feeling smug that I was eating 'ok'. I remember knowing how stupid my parents were and why I could never make them understand.

I just never thought I'd be the stupid one.

Now, I am.

He's not so bad. I've heard bad...I have been scared of bad teenagers...but he's definitely emotional and so darn smart. Maybe the thing that drives me the most crazy is that he won't ever admit that he is wrong. Even when proven to be so...he will simply never admit it.

Do I admit it? Openly to my kids?

I think I do. I can remember plenty of times that I've said "I was wrong and I apologize for that".

I don't remember him ever saying that. Is that just something that enters your life when you become stupid?

DS2 has earned his first grade card of 7th grade. It wasn't good. I can't make it good. He comes home on Friday and I'm hoping for the best. No big plans...just a regular week. I think that will be best. No pressure on any of us. I found some new trails since he was home last and it will be fun to introduce those to him. Just the two of us (I'm rather happy the other two are in school while he's home)...

DD is kicking butt and taking names. She is really blossoming. Of course there are still snags - but they are so minor and I'm so proud of her. She has totally gotten into a new 'getting into things'. She's excited to start competitions! Her grades are good and she's becoming so independent (in all the right ways). I trust her to make good decisions and we continue to talk about how to choose that 'right' path. The greatest thing is that she is seeming to accept my guidance. I just can't stop gushing about the fabulous changes I'm seeing in her. Dare I say it - maturity???

Six of one, half a dozen of another...something is always happening around here. I feel like I can handle the majority of it. I've realized the facts of life. Seriously folks - has there ever been a theme song to a show that says it more perfectly?

You take the good, you take the bad
you take them both and there you have...the facts of life.
There's a time you gotta go and show
you're growing now you know about...the facts of life.
When the world never seems
to be livin' up to your dreams
and suddenly you're finding out
the facts of life are all about you...
(sadly, I didn't have to look that up...actually knew it by heart)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

going the distance

DS2 is hot and cold. He's having a tough start this year in behavior and grades. We got notification that we could finally view his grades online, in real time.

I thought "whoooopppppeeeee".

Then, I looked.

How do you fail PE? I'm questioning how hard he must be working to do nothing. PE is fully graded on participation. This is my kiddo that is always moving and can find something active to do at all times...but he can't participate in PE? That one stumps me. DH is totally convinced he's trying to get kicked out of school.

In a shocking way, I'd be touched by that concept. But, I don't believe it.

He's been suspended twice so far - stealing from a vending machine (he must be happy to be so skinny) and being tardy numerous times. I've seen the middle school 'campus' at his school. There is no more than 15 feet between classrooms.

They get three minutes between bells. You do the could crawl in slow motion and still make it there. OR - you could get stuck in a traffic jam at a water fountain that causes you to be tardy four times in one day.

He must be one very thirsty young man.

The great news is that he joined the cross country team - because we forced him to. AND - he likes it. He called today to let us know that he placed third in his meet yesterday. He rocked it...he's never run distance like this before. I'm so proud. He also called to wish DS1 a happy birthday. It was one day late - but such an amazing feat for him. He remembered something...about our family.

Yes, DS1 had a birthday yesterday - one more year into teenage wasteland. He's pulling himself together after his very rough start in high school. DD is succeeding in 5th grade and is emotionally even keel pretty much all the time. Things are really going very well.

I realize what a wimp I am. Really enjoying my job - but how can I be so tired after only four hours each day? It's amazing! I go, go, go at the job - all the I can count that as a work-out, right? I hope so because I'm having issues getting to the gym.

DS1 gets his braces off tomorrow. I'll go from having three in braces at one time to two...what a step down. I feel like I live at that ortho office. He's very excited and thinks it's the best birthday gift ever!

Empty teeth - YEAH!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the dog had to go

Today I met a neighbor that I've seen around with her dog. I was pulling weeds at the foreclosed home across the street (hey, it's still a house I have to look at) and she walked by. I'm a friendly bloke and said hello. We chatted.

I'm a pretty open book.

She asked where DS2 had gone...she used to see him at the bus stop and noticed he was gone this year. So, I told her. I didn't share gory details, but just that he is at a boarding school and is very happy there. I did tell her about his joining the family five years ago and that so many things about family were hard for him.

Then she tells me a story.

She bought a dog. The dog howled at night. The dog was mean to her first dog. The dog just didn't fit in her, she sent him to a foster doggie home.


She said...

She totally gets what it's like to 'send a child away'.

OK, really?

Hubby and I have a 90-10 rule. Ninety percent of people in America are idiots. Maybe not in all parts of their lives - but at some point. Heck, I've hit in the 90 before. Today, she made me know my rule is right. I mean...REALLY?

I know that I speak 'lightly' about the subject sometimes. That is because it's tough to be sad all the's tough on even him...while he doesn't seem to care if I'm sad - it does something to him. It does something to me when he's sad. I can't tell you the relief I feel when I speak with him and he's excited and happy. Yep, broken hearted on the inside because he can't have that here with me, but so darn pleased that he's got happiness in his life - wherever that means he has to be.

However, speaking lightly does NOT mean that I would equate our situation with my son with the puppy who couldn't stay.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A triangle with a missing side?

Maybe I'm a crappy member of the triad.

Don't know if I care if that is true. I think that sums up my crappiness. I'm simply not in a fight over any of this. I want my children to be healthy and thrive and I don't call that being 'active'...I call it being a mom.

I don't call myself an adoptive mom...ever. I don't like terms that are thrown around that somehow label me as an AP or adopter. And let me add that adopter is just as bad to me as birthmother feels to others. Adopter sounds like a robot set to perform a job. Heck...if I could be robotic about this - well, things might be simpler.

I have been catching up with others in my sphere of 'adoption'. Folks I've met either in real life or in cyber space - they've given me words of wisdom, words of support and vice versa. From time to time I set out to check in with them...because we are all living our lives and that causes some breakdowns in communication!

However, when we's not about activism. It's not about creating change in the foundation of adoption. Do certain things make me sick in this world? Yes. But, they aren't the same things that make most others sick...I'm darn sure of that.

So, since I'm an openly crappy member of the adoption triad - does that hurt my kids in some way? Does my decision to not march on Washington to change the rules in this realm mean that my kids will not feel that I care about their issue?

We don't talk about Russia everyday. There is no first family to visit or really even talk about. The memories of those people for my kids are not positive...and I can't force them to be positive about it. Or...

I won't force them to be positive about it.

Guess what? My kids had a sucky beginning.'s true. Adults wronged them - BUT I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE ADULTS. I've done what I felt was right for each and every moment they've been mine. And yes - they are one gets mad when a mother that gave birth to her child says:

That is MY child. Ownership. Doesn't mean I'm pointing out to you that I bought them or something.

What in the world?

So, am I taking sides? I guess not...other than my side. Mostly my kids side. I don't know if adoption 'helped' them. I know they have basics in life they didn't have before...

I'm not talking about clean beds.

I'm talking about parents. Some would believe that having parents is not the best thing for kids. I'm living in that - I get it. Maybe for some kids having parents is not comfortable...or not the happiest of situations. If you know what's happening in my life - you know I can fathom that...BUT how can you know that until they've been given the chance to try it out?

I'm not an activist. I'm just a mom who's still trying to learn. Ok, maybe I'm not really trying to learn...remember, I'm pretty crappy in that part of things.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The 1750 turnaround

I think it's called the 7 rule. You can break a habit in 7 days, 7 weeks, 7 months...7 YEARS??? In my house, the years have it. My children have been home for 4 years and 9 months. I realize we haven't yet hit that magical time of "you've been in our family longer than you were not in our family" - BUT I do believe that 1,730 days should be enough to prove a thing or two.

However, my daughter has spent over 24 hours worrying about something. I know that traditional parenting models would say that I should know what she's worrying about. I should take interest in it and try to alleviate whatever I can to help her feel better. But, DD likes to take tiny things - that are completely non-essential to life - and blow them into life altering reasons to worry. Part of this is her attachment issues and part is her OCD...part is just her. She's a worrier.

I went to bed early last night - even before she was in bed. I was watching tv and she came in for hugs and kisses. She was walking slowly, eyeing me...twisting hands. I gave her big hugs and kisses and our typical good night routine...then said, if this is something that matters, let it rip.
She said "No, I'm just being a worrier" and walked out.

This morning I could tell she hadn't slept much. Her eyes were bloodshot and she was dragging. She walked straight up to me and said "when is assessment day?" Assessment day is a day at her school that she doesn't actually go to school all day. Each child goes for a short amount of time to be assessed...tested, prodded, poked...I don't know. I had mentioned assessment day when we discussed my new job and let her know that we'd have a plan for that afternoon.

Apparently my track record of having her where she needs to be is not long-standing enough. She had thoroughly decided that I was not going to remember her assessment day and she would go to the bus stop that day and the bus would never come. Maybe by then I would have run away from home so when she got back I would be gone (the bus stop being a whole 5 houses away)...then our garage door would be broken so she couldn't use the code to get in the house. After scaling walls and picklocking her way into the back door, she would find that our phone system was down and she couldn't call my cell or dad's work to let us know what a let-down we are as parents...

I'm sure the story in her mind went on and on.

I point out to her (for the millionth time) that she has NEVER missed anything...she is always where she is supposed to be - most of the time early. Just the other night I took her with me to run errands before cheer...she knew that I desparetly needed to beat a cut off time at fed-ex. And, I missed it. I realized I'd be cutting her to close to missing the start of practice so I took her first. She was saying "It's ok, I'll be late...I can do the extra work for being late" and I was saying "no...I'm not going to make you late for me...I'll pay the extra to still get it there on time".

She was there with 4 minutes to spare.

I'm not complaining...that is my job and I love that part of my job. I can make jokes and laugh about running all over town. I'll open my calendar and realize that nothing written in there is about me specifically...but it's my life. I like my kids being active...I love watching them do things and succeed.

Apparently, that 1730 day track record just does not speak for itself.

My daugher believes that I'm simply lying in wait for day 1750...that is the day that I'll become my true self...the witch will come out and suddenly she'll never be where she needs to be...she'll never get to classes, gym, etc...she'll have to hitch-hike with very bad men. On day 1750 I will show my real identity...and it won't be good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

searching for part time satisfaction

I think I'm taking a part-time job. I think about it on and off every few months. But, most times, there was a very good reason why I couldn't. Certain kids who couldn't be alone or special circumstances that would keep me from doing this thing...something that I really want to do!

Now, there really isn't an excuse.

I've found a wonderful fit for our lives. I get to work 4 hours a day and it's active work...up and moving. Not a real brain tester at all - but I can't tell you how excited I am. Tonight I'll discuss what it means for everyone in the family. Really, it doesn't mean that much. And...that is why it should, it will, work.

One hour alone for my high schooler...and 15 minutes with her biggest brother for my daughter. Dinner will be, perhaps, a bit later each evening (but, let's be many families eat at 5:30 on the dot everyday?). No one will miss practice or activities. No pantry will be empty and no ouchie will go un-bandaided.

The real change will be for me. I will actually be expected to be somewhere every day. Someone will see me come in a door and say "great to see you". My family is, of course, generally happy to see me. But, you don't get that excited when someone is ALWAYS there!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Leaving so soon?

DS2 leaves tomorrow. His four weeks home have been very trying for all of us. I'm sure most of all, it's been hard on him.

He came back to a family. That includes expectations. That doesn't work for all. He doesn't even like the positive things we think of as family.

Going places with us is not fun for him. No matter where we go. He skipped out on many day trips during this time home. He knew that we didn't want to deal with lots of drama, so he created it whenever he didn't want to do something. That was often.

If given the chance, he would have not gone anywhere.

Tonight we are going to his favorite restaurant for dinner. Not making a big deal of it, it's more for us than anything. When he found out where we were going - nothing. No reaction at all. Ahhh...well...

So, he gets on a plane and takes off for a full year (with 3 small trips home). No sorrow in his heart...and more sadly, very little sorrow in mine.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The things we continue to learn

It's been about 66 hours since he died.

I've had 8 hours of sleep. Not for lack of intention, but my body has a different plan right now. Apparently the plan is to run into the ground.

I still haven't grieved. I've stayed busy. I've dealt with the kids and the calls and the bills and the grief of others. Right now, that's ok.

My husband is still trying to be strong - but it's ok to not be...right now, he doesn't have to be. There isn't a guidebook for this. So, I'm listening and offering myself to him in whatever way he needs me. I'm giving suggestions when it seems appropriate. And, I'm trying to make sure he laughs from time to time.

Apparently the funeral home lady was well suited for her job...they laughed a lot while finalizing plans and somehow that made it all seem better. I worry for my sister in law, my nieces, my own children...lots of worry and not many answers.

He shouldn't be gone. This I know. He wasn't done here. Or, at least, we weren't done with him.

The stories were amazing that people told. They were amazing in their normalcy...a dad hiding in his daughter's closet for TWO HOURS just to wait until she really believed she'd never find hiim in hide and seek and then jumping out to scare her. A memory she still has years later. A man whose number one priority was his 3 women. He would do anything for them. So many people who said they felt adopted by him...taken in, welcomed. I made many calls and each one ended the same: a story of his life and sorrow that he was gone.

So many sympathy calls even here today - for my husband who has lost his only brother. But, I continue to see the shining rays in this. My husband and his brother had not been close for many years...until they were brought together by their father's death. We've now spent a few years becoming a closer family. They visited us here last year and we had a wonderful week...we email...and this was our first time out to see them. We've asked 'what are the odds?'

You couldn't even find a number to answer that.

We were there so that she didn't have to be there alone. We were there to see the strength and unity of people who draw so quickly around the one in pain that it's shocking to the system. We were there to renew faith in this world we live in. We were there to partake of the blessings of a tragedy. I learned so much.

Admitedly, I hid in what I termed "the closet" for a long time...I wanted to get things in order for her. I wanted there to be a clear path of 'what to do next' so that fear wasn't at the top of the list. I wanted to leave something that I would want to have: peace of mind.

On Saturday - the day after - I took the kids to the amusement park. It had been planned long in advance and they were being so good to just sit with tons of people...but they are kids. Their aunt asked me to take them...blessed me to take them. As we drove I answered questions they had. I talked about my feelings and how each person grieves differently and some take longer than others. I told them that whatever it looked like for them was MORE than ok. We were all shell shocked.

We rode roller coasters - it was quieter than a normal day at the park and it felt like someone had come before us and cleared a path. The park was quite empty due to the high heat. After a few hours we all agreed that we wanted to head back, it had been a nice reprieve, but we wanted to be there. We walked into one last ride on the way out. And as we got up the stairs, I sat down and cried. Looking back, I'll call it an anxiety attack - it just all compiled and ate me at once. But...

Here's the kicker.

My kids are amazing creatures - both inside and out. They fanned me with maps, they lifted my hair and blew on my neck, they wrapped their arms around me for hugs, they asked if I'd like to get out of line, they said sweet things about their uncle...they helped me move past that moment. They didn't look embarrassed or worried about what others thought - they (yes, all of them) took care of me.

We all need a little of that from time to time.

Love on all those around you. I've truthfully learned that going to sleep can change everything. Stay healthy and go to a doctor from time to time to find out how to help yourself if you aren't healthy. Share with your loved ones what your wishes are for when this time does come. You can't pick when it does, so don't be stingy with your thoughts on the subject. Share...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Very sad day

We are on vacation. It isn't what we planned.

On July 23 at 1:53 am, my brother in law died at his home. Where we are staying...

The kids witnessed more than I wish they had, there wasn't really time to make a better plan. I'm blessed to have been 'in my senses' and able to maintain some form of control...

He died in his sleep, but we don't know why or how. We are still waiting for answers. I called 911 and helped my husband perform CPR on his own brother. I've been so blessed to not have death touch my life very often...yesterday it was literally in front of me. Can't quite get past the picture.

Been trying to keep life moving for the kids. There are lots of people here supporting the family and we are going to head back early so that DH can come back for the funeral. The kids seem ok, we've talked about it and they get that it totally stinks, is completely unfair - but happened. We can grieve - each in our own way - and support others that are grieving...beyond that there is little any of us can do.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not so hot

Well...the air is hot, the feeling inside my house is a bit chilly. I'm not sure that he's unhappy to be home, but I am sure that he's really pushing the limits. The hit parade:
  • Slams his hand HARD into my new chandelier to see "if it is breakable"
  • tells me that he'd like to stay at school next year to do the work program because there is "no reason to come home"
  • walks out of the ortho office and into the busy parking lot (as I'm driving by) and gets angry because I tell him to go back to the sidewalk - even more angry that I have to make another appointment for him
  • cussing like a sailor - words that I can't even mention
  • answering absolutely nothing without starting out "I don't know" or "I don't remember"
  • lying (there really isn't a specific example...just everything)
  • has made his brother and sister so mad that they won't talk to or hang out with him - already
  • has lived basically on his own for six weeks, but is constantly asking me strangely basic questions: where are my shoes? do I use a knife to cut this meat? REALLY

So, not the fairy tale that I paid for - ha, ha. I remember the head master telling us that the first few home visits would be worse than things were before. I don't know if I can say that exactly - just seems that things are exactly the same - within moments of him coming in the door.

We off on vacation now. I can only hope that the excitement will do good things for him and not bad - oh Lord, not bad!

Friday, July 16, 2010

He's on his way

He's coming home tonight! DH and DS2 are currently sitting at an airport in Kentucky - where, apparently it's *(#)@%! hot and humid. I'm nervous.

I'll admit it. Seeing my son right now makes me have a lot of feelings...but number one is definitely nervous.

When DH called today to check in I wanted to ask a million questions. Does he look different? Was he happy to be coming home? Did he ask about me? Don't those all sound like questions you would ask as a love-sick teenage girl when your boyfriend was coming home from college?

What the heck is wrong with me?

The answers were yes, he looks a bit more grown up. He didn't really comment on coming home, but seems in good spirits and he didn't really ask much of anything. So, I'll be standing there tonight when they pull in the driveway, holding up my (very pretty) homemade "WELCOME HOME" sign and praying.

Praying I will see a kid that wants a hug from me...and maybe a kid who wants to hug me back.

His summer went pretty well. He had a few run-ins with the 'law' of the school. Didn't seem totally motivated to complete all the things he was supposed to complete. But, he answered for that there - right where he should be held responsible. Not here...home doesn't need to be the saving ground for him anymore - at least for now. I'm hoping behavior can be a non-issue for his four weeks at home.

The next few days are busy...all the stuff you don't realize you do with your kids - I have to do in a short amount of time. What a welcome home gift - new glasses, catching up on shots at the doctor's office, getting braces, haircuts, back to school much fun in so little time.

I'm so thankful he will be able to go on our summer vacation with us. He did miss a lot this summer, but I think his stories probably beat ours! He experienced things we could not have given him here. Responsibility being among the top in my mind.

So, I'm sitting and counting down the hours until I can meet him in the driveway...and I'm ok with feeling butterflies!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Do you believe in Miracles?

My Rockies just came back from a 7 run hole in the 9th inning and WON THE GAME. If you aren't a big baseball fan...that may not mean much. But, if you follow much of America's game...

You know that is a VERY big deal!!!

I'm a freak fan. Really - I read every bit of info I can get - we go to a lot of games every year. Our whole family knows the name of every guy on the field and bench. It starts to feel like they are part of our family.

Tonight, my family WON!

In every season, there is a moment where and hinge swings. In 2007, they won 21 of 22 to make the playoffs, eventually landing in the World Series. Yes, you Boston kicked us good...but we made it there - can't take that away.

Tonight was the hinge for this season. They'll be talking about tonight when we do something great this year!

There are also hinges in our lives. I can't wait to call DS2 and tell him about the game. He can wear his Rockies hat with pride on campus now...

Monday, June 28, 2010

I have to settle

He is really settling in.

We talked to DS2 yesterday. I wanted to call him on Saturday between baseball games, but we had all agreed to Sunday's - so DH made me wait. Of course, when we got home late Saturday night I saw on caller ID that he had called us twice. Then, I worried all night until I could get ahold of him...the worry was unneccessary.

He has really settled in.

The first few weeks he sounded 'fine', but forlorn. Although he wouldn't ever say it, there was a longing for his old ways and old routines...a homesickness. Now, he's feeling very planted. He was SO excited to tell us about working on the farm. He just got to start. He feeds and cares for cattle and has one specific cow that he's responsible for - Coco. It's a messy job, but someone's gotta do it. He has also been moved up to weed whacker duty. That made me nervous. I won't even let DS1 use the weed whacker at home - I always felt it was quite dangerous. Obviously DS2 is proving to be a trust-worthy and careful young man at school. I'm so proud of him.

He's so proud of him.

That is what I could hear in his voice yesterday. Just a thorough settling of knowing that he's doing the 'right' thing. He still struggled to converse with us, but in fleeting moments would offer info that we wouldn't have gotten before. He's made friends and has a pretty normal routine with school, eating, jobs, friends, homework - it all seems to be put in order now.

Then he said "I heard it's really hot where you live". I pointed out that this is where he lives too. A person can live in two places and for us, he's always here in many ways. The parent handbook talked about this 3/4 week mark and how the kids really change their view of things - the shift is that they are in their 'home' there, and we are in our 'home' here.

It's a tough balancing act. This is working out as well as we hoped. He's happy - genuinely - and we are relaxed and regrouping. I'm constantly making plans for when he 'comes back home' - not just on vacations (although I realize I'm overbooking that time), but when he can come back home for good. Then a good friend or a good husband will point out what I already know.

I can't plan for that.

It may not happen. I shouldn't set myself up for feeling sad if he chooses to stay there. If that place is a healing force for him - if it brings him self-esteem and self-worth and peace and happiness and a feeling of being settled...then I have to let that happen for him. I can't wait for healing and then bring him home and expect his healing will hold true here as well. It just may not.

So, for now - I put target dates in my calendar. On January 20, we'll need to know what he wants to do for summer (back to school or stay home for those months?) March 20, we'll need to know where he'll be going for 8th grade. By tomorrow, I'll need to let my heart in on the secret.

He's settled in.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stand-up parenting?

I'm losing friends.

This isn't an oddity in life, especially not in the life of a RAD mom. Nearly any mom you talk to will tell you that people drift off...the craziness of life can push people away. They don't understand and that always present "make mom look crazy" notion - works very often.

But, it didn't really happen that way here. My friends were crazy supportive. They would listen to my stories - which I generally told in a comical way. I guess I don't know another way to tell someone that my child has peed all over the house. I always said that I laughed, so I didn't cry. Not the healthiest attitude, but it got me through. Now, I think that it kept me an audience as well.

Since we made the decision to actually DO something - to choose a place for pursue it and to follow through. This is when the drop off came. Apparently, it was better for me to turn our foibles into a stand up routine then to be honest about the fact that we couldn't do it right. I know I had said it before "wow, we kinda stink at this"..."I don't think my healing powers are working with this one"...always with a sly grin.

I guess the grin covered up that I was truthfully failing with him. So, our lives have calmed a bit and I actually feel like I can breathe - and all this when folks have decided that I'm not someone they want to hang with. I guess I'm now the bad person who 'sent her kid away'. They ask how he's doing...but they don't seem to hear the answers.

On that front: He seems very happy when we speak to him - and YEAH - we get to talk to him today. He has emailed (I'm so proud of him for remembering to do that) and we have plenty of folks sending him mail to supplement our weekly load. Overall he seems to be figuring it out and that was one of the main goals. We have to look at this as what may be deemed "what it will be like when he's all grown up". And, if this is it...we're good.

He's healthy, safe and doing well. He's passing all his classes and even says that some are "way easy"...he's making LOTS of friends and it seems he choosing the ones that don't get him in trouble - a very important skill. He's PROUD of himself. I'm proud of him, but somehow I know that the first part is more important. He talks about what he's doing with pride - even if he's discussing taking out the trash. He knows he truthfully doing it on his own. It is not because Mom is standing there telling him to do it. He seems calm. AND...the best part for our view of the future - he still likes talking to us. He talks to us more now then he did living here...he seems happy to hear our voices and get our letters and emails. He looks forward to things we're doing when he comes home. He almost seems to miss us.

DD went to summer camp this week. She held true to form. I've been in too many situations where the adult looks like they can't wait for my kiddo to leave (and I'm throwing all three of my kids in this basket). Her counselor was VERY sweet and had, thankfully, really read my parent survey (describing DD) and had taken it to heart. She asked me some questions for clarification and as always, I kept saying "I hope this makes me look crazy at the end of the week...I hope that she does NONE of these things." Hope didn't quite work this time around.

Her week was a solid C. The counselor seemed to handle everything as well as you can handle it when you aren't in the trenches. DD spent a good part of her time creating drama and being sure to let everyone know that I am a very mean mom and would be VERY mad at her for X, Y or Z. My comment to 'not spend all $40 on junk food at the camp store' became "My mom will be so mad if I buy candy or ice cream, she said I couldn't have any money for that stuff". Once convinced it was ok to buy a little something - she then spent the day begging her counselor to "NOT TELL MY MOM" as though her life depended on it.

Sweet little blonde, just north of teenager, counselor was telling me these stories and working in the better stuff around the edges. I think she had a long week. DD cried about a lost flashlight (which she had put away already)...and I don't mean a little cry...but a long, drawn out hissy fit it seems and Blondie dealt with it by saying 'you can stay here and cry about this or you can come with us and have fun'. That would have worked if my DD had chosen to go have fun. But, that just isn't her. I don't think Blondie could actually leave her in the cabin, so the whole cabin had to stay back and help her find the flashlight (the one that I bought at the dollar store and even told her so because I didn't care if it came back...yes, that one). I'm sure that endeared her to the group!

The few days alone with DS1 was good...although he would say that I am picking on him. He's a bit snitty and getting called on it. He likes it better when there is someone else to take that attention, when he can just lurk around the edges. But, this week, he had the spotlight. We did some fun things together and some things that he probably didn't find quite as fun (deep cleaning a teen boy's room anyone?)!

And on and on it goes...I'm ready for a day of nothing and maybe then I'll sit around and try to think of my next stand up routine.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

First phone call

We talked to DS2 this morning! He sounded healthy and overall happy. He told us all about his first week. In classes he is doing well: 100% on a language arts test, feeling secure in math (he says it's WAY easier than math here), learning about the Civil War in SS and he wasn't quite sure how to address what he's doing in science.

He has NOT been on the campus list (the 'punishment' list) once. In fact, he and his roommate are model citizens, with the cleanest room! He seemed proud of even his chores of moving trash from campus to the pick up point for the truck.

All the seventh graders are being moved to a different dorm...there seems to be a BIG group of these younger kids. He and his roomie are getting the 'show' room since they've done so good. Their room will be the room that the headmaster uses on tours. DS2 is quite proud of that, as are we! We were also just happy and relieved to hear that he is friends with his roomie and a pretty long list of others.

We talked for our full 'allottment' of time and then I was telling him good-bye. He sounded a bit sad. I think the weekends will be harded since they aren't as structured as weekdays. But, he said he had plans. We were all four sitting on a couch with him on speaker and listening to him talk more than we've heard in years...

It's all good right now. Perhaps sometime this week I'll be able to go for more than five minutes without thinking "what is DS2 doing right now?"...and perhaps, I'll stop calling every living thing in my house by DS2's first name...I think my dogs are very confused!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

stories in faces

There wasn't a child there that seemed sad. Some seemed quite angry, but many looked joyful...then there were a couple who simply looked bored. As I scanned the faces of the new students getting ready for a summer away from home - a summer of full class days, full work afternoons, church services and yes, even some fun...I realized that so many of these kids were there for reasons SO close to our own. DS2 fit in the happy category - however, he was also shell-shocked. There was a lot to hear and digest. Those are not always his strong suits. At some point I could tell he just stopped listening. I knew I couldn't sit there for our last 2 hours together and pick on him to listen, stop fidgeting, pay attention, don't wander off...etc.

So, I listened. And, I watched him.

At the end of a very long day of interviews, video presentations, walking tours and signing papers - we got his room key and moved him into his dorm. I was still being mom until the last moment - I wanted to do it all for him. Make his bed (which I did) - fold his clothes and pick the right drawers for everything (which I didn't).

The headmaster of the school said so many things that hit home with us. He said the the biggest role the school can fulfill for hurting families is a big TIME OUT. Time for healing on all sides...the bonus side of this is that our child will be learning and kept safe while we are getting on at the job of living. Or remembering how to live...without fighting and anger and sadness.

When we hugged DS2 and gave him our last pep talks (if it doesn't feel right to you, it's not right for you)...he hugged us back - tight for a moment or two. Then, he ran off to explore and find some new friends. Hubby says he swears he saws tears in his eyes...I didn't. But, I don't judge either - I wasn't crying. I was nervous right up until...well, I will let you know when that nervousness goes away.

The people I described above were the kids at school...the parents were more easily summed up:
Scared and very, very tired.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Final Countdown

We are totally packed. I have the final shopping list in hand in order to move my son into a dorm on Sunday. As he and I folded clothes and organized things in his bags...I waited. I wanted a breakthrough. I chatted with him and he chatted back - but not a word about what was actually happening.

My best friend asked, "Do you think he even knows what he's feeling?"

No, no I don't. I don't think he has the words or even the capacity to explain what he feels. I have to believe that, because to believe the other side means that he feels nothing. I don't want to believe that.

Hubby tried to talk with him the other day - we always try to sneak it in while we have alone time with him and we're busy. So, over weed pulling DH asked him how he's feeling about his new school. DS2 answered "I don't know". Later DH asked me if he should have pushed. To that I say, "I don't know."

If I had those answers, we probably wouldn't be here.

So, I sit here 36 hours away from taking my son across multiple states and dropping him off for the first six weeks. I'm trying to label my own feelings - which are conflicted. I felt an immense sadness - almost desperation. I just want it to all work out. I want him to want us. I want to want him.

Then I feel a sense of relief - hard core and aching, growing in my chest. The thought tumbling that we won't be fighting anymore...that I'll be allowed to miss him. To rebuild hopes for him, to start dreaming for him again. I'm heartbroken that I haven't done that in a while.

We're all packed...but, I'm not sure if we are actually ready to go...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Adoption Poetry carnival

Play along and write a poem about adoption to share with the blogging world at

Half a world away
I thought you would be waiting
I was waiting for you
You didn't know I was coming

It has been hard to accept
each other
It has been hard to learn
about each other

You didn't want us to come
half a world away
You didn't want to come "home"
to a new place and a new face

The new face was now Mom
and you revolted
And I retreated
It has been hard to accept

Years have passed
and still we battle to find
things about each other
Things that can make us feel

Less than half a world away...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The ties that bind

My mom called me. Shouldn't be a big thing...but we hadn't spoken in almost 6 months and well, it's usually me that calls first. So, it was a deal - although I tried hard not to make it a big one.

We talked for a while. It just doesn't feel like I wish it did.

And, then my sister crashed in. I'm pretty sure it will never feel like I hoped it would again.

My sister is a hateful, spiteful person. She has been rude and nasty to me for as long as she has been old enough to be those things. I have always longed for a relationship with her...probably because she is so attached to my mom and I also long for a relationship with my mom. But, today I realized (again...and who knows if this big revelation will stick?) that will probably never happen. We are just too different.

I see those clips of dogs raising kittens or monkeys raising bear cubs...and I wonder how it's possible for my family to hate me so.

My sister actually likes to let me know that NO she doesn't care what I do or did, because basically she doesn't even think about me enough to care. Is that supposed to be soothing?

So...tough morning after getting a not kind email from said sister (for those who know my sisters, this is not the sweet little blonde) - I cried. DH couldn't understand it and pointed out all the hurtful things she has done to me. All the times she ignored us, too busy to even call back when I tried to reach out...but I still mourn. I spent some time typing a response which I was happy with. It said what is true - that I'm hurt and tired of being so - and wrapped up with the fact that I am choosing to have people in my life that lift me up, not bring me down. I guess it was my ending to a long and troubled road. In that ending, I believe that so follows my ending of getting to talk to my mom as well.

As I wanted to say tonight after her new response (I was SO HOPING she would just read mine and let it go)...she and my mother seem very symbiotic...there isn't room in there for me.

All this to get to...
DS2 and I had a date today. We needed to go shopping for the last of his stuff for school. In one week we'll be taking him to KY and he'll be starting what I hope to be a fabulous year of growth and healing.

As we drove to the mall he asked me if I had been crying at breakfast.

Well, not crying AT breakfast, but yes, I was crying before hand.

What happened?

I got hurt by Aunt XXX again. It's just enough and I cried because I'm going to miss thinking that we could be close. But, we can't.

I'm sorry she hurt your feelings again.

I'm sorry that we've hurt each other's feelings. I hope and pray I've never made you feel like I don't love you. It stinks to think someone who is supposed to love you, doesn't. It really hurts.

DS2: You should just be happy that you have people here who love you.

And, I honestly believe that somewhere deep down - he meant him.

Monday, May 24, 2010


How torn can I be over a lunch?

Today is DS2's big end-of-year bash at school. It's at a park and they were to bring a lunch. He packed his lunch last night. He wrote himself a note - DON'T FORGET YOUR LUNCH. With many crossed out words and lots of mispelling.

He had 10 minutes to waste at the door this morning reading comics. He had time to ask to take 20 things for the party: cap, football, frisbee, etc. YET - his lunch sits in the fridge. He borrowed a cell phone on the bus to call and ask for it. He called again from school to let me know what time to bring it to him. He's been told twice that I won't bring it.

In twelve days, he moves. I won't be there to remind him - which I did this morning by saying "do you have everything?" - I won't be there to run things to him - which, for the record, I've never done before either. Love and logic says not to do it...he won't starve. Yet, there is no logic in our relationship anyway. Should I take it as a movement toward him learning that I care enough to do it? Would he get that at all?

I have to walk out the door right now and can't decide if the lunch should stay put or I should make a stop to deliver it. There doesn't seem to be a right answer...

Why can a lunch make me so torn?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mom issues

We have actually had nice weather...even a day where the kids could wear shorts without freezing to death. I've been able to sit at a couple of baseball games without a winter coat on...

However, I realize that this could change at any moment. We live in a gorgeous place with a very real chance of snow every month except July and August...the change is ok with me.

We live with quick change every day - in many more ways than the weather.

I was thinking about the future yesterday on my walk. We don't know for sure where we'll be and we often talk about retirement and where we'd want to live. I consistently say that I will base it on where our children are...I want to be involved in my grandkids lives and I want to see my children succeed. Especially in relationships. But, I know they may not want me there. I wonder how that actually feels. I know multiple women who've been cut out by grown kids - both RAD and 'mainstream'. I know that I've done so many things that (especially DS2) can and will view as negative. Will he not want me even then?

Of course, I can't help but mix into these thoughts the fact that my mother and I are estranged again. It's a roller coaster ride, but I did not choose it. As a mother - even a mother of troubled kids (which I suppose I probably was/am) - I cannot fathom cutting them off completely. What would be the reasons? I'll admit that I would have trouble with major committing of crimes. I may not be the first in line at a prison gate or sitting right behind the defense table during a trial. I am not sure I would 'get that'...and I wouldn't want to hear excuses for why my child could not help it. I'm not sure how I would do with drug addiction. Then again, you can't aid and abet if that happens. I know that I would be able to 'intervene' to let them know that I wasn't going to help them until they were clean. Beyond that - I can't imagine what would make me totally cut them off.

Religious differences wouldn't do it (ok, if they decided to take up the flag of jihad...I'd have issues with that)...and lifestyle choices wouldn't do it (although I also would be sure they came to MY house for dinners if they chose to live in a mud hut in a desert)...but those are my transgressions. Going on five months without a call or anything from my mother - and I have decided that this time (compared to the 100s of times before that she's done this) - I'm not making the first move. I have to deal with the fact that this could be long-term. And, I can't imagine doing it to my kids.

We've laughed that I'm probably RAD. Heavens knows that I'm a carbon copy in so many ways - or vice versa - of all DD's issues. I told her the other day that we are very much alike and she started listing the ways...thankfully the list included good stuff...not just our 'crazies'.

I hope that all my kids want me in their lives. I hope they want me for more than just a babysitter (although I'll do that with a 48 hour limit)! I hope that we can sit down when they are adults and I'm open to talking through the issues they feel I've created in them and they are ready to hear the more grown-up version of events. I hope that I love them for what they become and I hope they love me for what I've always been.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Just trying to keep it on the down low

Yesterday I picked up a new couch for the office. Later that evening, DS2 came up to me and whispered "I like the new stuff in the office, it looks nice"...I whispered back "why are we whispering?" and he said:
"In case Dad didn't know you bought it, I'm keeping it on the down low."

So sweet...really...

It's not that I sneak around a lot buying things my hubby doesn't know about and I am certainly not good enough to be able to sneak in a couch. But, I have, in the past, purchased littler things that I didn't want drawn to his attention specifically. DS2 pointed out a few of those times. What really came out of this is that he was thinking of me - in some distorted, strange way. Then I realized that our world is often distorted and, he fit right in last night.

He's always been my 'decorating' buddy. He likes to look at things for the house and always has opinions. The artistic, creative parts of his brain really flow in that arena. I hope he pursues it, but I found when I would point out to him how good he was - he would tell me that only "gay guys" decorate and it would end in anger. I've learned to not tell him as much when I think he's great...but try to show it other ways.

So, when he told me he liked the furniture that we were keeping on the down low, I asked more questions. Why do you like it? What about it do you think looks good? As we chatted, I rubbed his back. It's the first time he's allowed me to touch him in months...beyond a good night hug. I didn't draw any attention to it and neither did he.

At DDs birthday dinner last night, he was creating as shopping list with me of things he wants to take to school. Word search books, his rubiks cube, a few new iTunes songs...just things that jump in his mind. I was again, rubbing his back (btw, he sat by me and did not complain) and I started to say "Hey, why don't you..."

and he broke in "make a list...I know you like lists, and I can see why. I'm always forgetting things and if I just wrote them down, I wouldn't forget. I'll make a list for our shopping trip. It's just you and me isn't it?" Yes - thank goodness - right now it is...just you and me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

birthday candles at the gym

Tomorrow is my precious little girl's birthday. She's growing up and I'm so proud of her. She's funny and motivated...she's sweet and silly...she's becoming the young lady I so hoped she could become.
She gets to work hard for her birthday - dance and tumbline evaluations. Oh yes, she made the team she had set as her goal for cheer. She is SO proud and I'm so happy to see her achieve something she set out to do! We had the team meetings tonight and realized quickly that our lives will be dominated by the gym for the next 11 months! I'm more than willing to make that committment for her...because I can see HER making the committment.
I can't wait to see her in her uniform (they jump right into this...she gets fitted in 2 weeks)...very sparkly!
So, in celebration of her birthday:

I remember the day I first saw your face
I remember the red checked dress you wore and
the stains it carried
I remember how you were willing to sit on my lap,
but not willing to really relax
I also remember 3 years later the first time you did
I remember feeling you melt into me and thinking
I finally have a little girl
I saw the changes come in waves
I saw you hold back time and again
And now I see...well, you
Growing, learning, laughing
Not just getting smarter at school,
but, more importantly - at home.
As you gain this new year in your life...
know that I want to share it all with you.
I will somday remember this year in your life...
and I will know that we became more Mom and daughter every single day.

Happy birthday my sweet little girl...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

March on, soldier...

Today I said my piece.

I finally called the school district. I had tried hard to 'ignore' what happened...but it's not ok. My son is heading off to KY and one of the reasons is that THEY wouldn't help us. It's just really not ok. After jumping through all the hoops and turning in all the paperwork, I have not even heard back from the principal at my kids' school...not even a phone call or email....NOTHING. So, I spoke to his boss today.

He was politically correct - but very kind. I shared nothing but the truth of the situation and he really listened to what I want from this. At this point, there isn't much to ask for...DS2 is going to the boarding school and in the end, it's the right choice for us right now. But, I am so disappointed that we weren't given any other options.

What I need to have happen now from the principal is for support with DD...she still has two more years there and I cannot continue to fight every second to simply get what she needs. It's not ok. I will always fight for my kids - but I shouldn't have to fight with their school to just be supported. My DD can't learn when her concerns are centered around manipulating her teachers...which she continues to do. The stop sign needs to be put up and SUPPORTED!

So, I said it. I said it firmly and not in anger...just in truth.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pictures of Mom

I'm playing in the Grown in my Heart can play too by going to and linking up. However, I'm cheating. I don't have any pictures of my mom in the 'olden' days. Our house burned down on Christmas night during my freshman year of high school and all the pictures we had were lost. So, I'm going to write about the picture in my head of my mom...

It was a summer day and I was 7 years old. We were in my mom's cadillac convertible and my mom had been very sad lately. My dad had left was a long time coming, but he didn't do it right. If there is a right way to leave? I had seen her cry a lot...I had heard her trying to hide it in her bedroom in the middle of the night, but I knew I couldn't help her. I wanted to be a really good girl and fix what had happened. I begged my dad to come back...

On this day, she had found some small happiness...the weather was beautiful and I remember looking over at her with her Farrah blond swept hair and her really big strawberry colored sunglasses. She was singing "that will be the daaaayyyyy that I die"...and she was happy. She was beautiful. I remember thinking that I needed to snap a mental picture of that moment, because even at 7 I knew that there was still a lot of pain to come. That was the moment that I wanted to be her.

Singing loud
smiling, wind-swept
Beautiful mom

As an aside...I wish my mom had never gone through that time. I wish my sister had been born into a family that was not broken. I wish I could still have my mom in a significant way. I always wonder if her divorce broke us also...I remind her of things that aren't positive. If she ever read this - I wish she could know that...

I miss her.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Rah, Rah, sis-boom-bah

DD is in the middle of cheer try-outs. Her behavior had been so wonderful that she earned this privilege. We had planned to hold off on competitive cheer until next year...but she is committed to this process. I sat through the TWO HOUR clinic last night and really watched her. She wasn't chatty Cathy...she was focused.
Really focused for TWO HOURS.

Everything wasn't perfect - as little in life is...but she's so good. I was proud watching her. Not because she is good - but because she was 'putting it all on the line'. She was taking on tasks that are hard for her. I could see the frustration, but there was no melting into a small puddle. She shook it off.

She acted so mature.

When we left she said "I didn't do so good"...I looked at her and said,
"You did awesome...I saw a very strong girl out there tonight working hard on everything asked of her. You paid attention and you are a winner no matter what happens."
It's true...and I have to say it feels like a great victory...especially for her.

We find out on Sunday what team she made. I now have to buckle down and be as committed as she's lot of practice time and travel. But, if my little girl is willing to give up other things (I hate that she has to make that choice at such a young age...but softball went by the wayside as did dance) - then I'm willing to put on my taxi hat and drive, drive, drive.

The boys are very supportive of her, which is cute. I think I figure out DS1...he realizes that there will be 'older' cheerleaders at her competitions. Nothing to sneeze at when you're a teen. And DS2 just truthfully wants something good for her. He asked if I would flip (video) her performances and send them to him by email. I'll have to see if I can do that...great that he asked.

As the time draws nearer for him to start this new adventure in Kentucky, I'm working on my cheerleading skills as well. Go dude, GO! Catch up, learn life lessons, get the time away you need and PLEASE come back to me. Add that to a little dance and short skirt and I could make the cheer team as well!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"It's best for everyone"

My son, the one who can barely communicate with me on most occasions, the one who has been begging to leave us for a long time now - offered this deep statement this weekend. Not to me.

My best friend took him on Sunday. They spent the day watching cart racing and during the course of the day he shared the information that he is 'going away' this summer. She knew it, of course she my best friend she gets the brunt of many emotionally hand wringing times, but she had not shared with him that she knew. She asked him some questions, all answered in clear tones and with the authority of knowing what you want to say. One of these questions was 'how do you feel about it?' - to which he responded without missing a beat.

"It's what's best for everyone."

I have felt sadness over this comment. He's right. It is what is best for everyone in our family. It could actually be what is going to save our family. We have probably said something to that affect during our many talks with him about this...trying to take the pressure off him feeling like it's all 'his fault' - I know I've said it...

We all need this.

It's a chance for everyone to re-group.

But, he had never reacted in a way that made me think he took that in. Until she told me about this conversation today. I wish we could communicate more. He did want this and we did not. We certainly did not choose this option because he wanted it. He's a child and cannot make these decisions on his own...but he can - and he did - work very hard to make the other options break down.

DD is melting in on herself lately. She was doing so darn good...and I was expecting the crash that I knew would come on from this situation. She doesn't seem to be fearful - what a relief. I was terrified that she would assume we were sending her away - I didn't know if she'd understand what was really going on with DS2. She seems to get the concept. Her biggest issue is that she won't have him to play with anymore...than a little something slipped out.

In the car - she's pouting/crying/trying to make me wreck...
DD: Once he's at school, I won't have anyone to play with
Me: You'll be fine - we all hang out with you and you are making more, it will be a good thing for you to be able to play without being bossed around so much.
DD: And, my hair won't burn.
Me: (here's the wrecking part - including the bleeped out word when I nearly crashed) WHAT?
DD: When I didn't play the way he wanted me to, he said he'd sneak into my room and light my hair on fire. But, it was just a joke...he always laughed. When you laugh it means you were joking, right?
Me: That's not a joke.

It's like little pieces of a life I didn't even know about are seeping out through the cracks. I'm still hoping that the time away will seal up some of the cracks.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Collared shirts, bow ties and the bible

DS2 is intriging me in these past few days. He's blantantly, continually not following instructions...there is a lot of "I don't knows" and "I forgots". This morning he decided that brushing his teeth is optional and he ended up missing the bus. I had my phone interview with his soon-to-be school and therefore he had to do 'mom school' AKA workbooks, until I was available to drive him to school. It was snowing...hard...

I realize that he probably feels there is no reason to 'try' anymore - but really, things aren't any different as far as behavior than they've ever been for him. Except that he's accepting help from me...or planning...or something that resembles being a mother. It's odd and feels good.

He studied Houdini for his famous person report. While out tonight I got him a bow tie to wear for his presentation (you know those fun things where they are supposed to dress up like their person)...I also got him a white collared shirt. While we were there, he and I looked at other collared shirts. He is required to have them for all chapel services on campus and he really doesn't have any. He went with me happily and we talked about colors of shirts and patterns...he was interacting with me. He even walked with me through the whole store and talked, answered, walked close enough that I could have touched him...I actually rubbed his back while we looked for balsamic vinegar and he didn't jump out of my reach. It was a bit like something 'normal'.

Last night he asked if we were going to get him a bible for school. I was raised penecostal and have about 40 I got him one down and he announced that he was going to read the whole bible before summer school starts. Cute. Not possible, but cute. I offered him a list of great bible stories and where they are in the good book...he's been carrying it around. Maybe he'll want to discuss it? can dream...

I told him that he and I would have a shopping day - just the two of us - to fulfill his school needs and he looked at me and smiled. Is it possible that he likes me a bit more now that he knows he's leaving me? Circular logic I suppose, but this is exactly how I hoped our last weeks would be. Having him as a son is nice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My cape is torn

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

I have some wonderful people in my life. I'm now learning that even some strangers I come into contact with can have an impact. Of course, I'm a loud mouth and right now - I'm on a mission.

Adoption issues are everywhere - really...

I run in adoption circles where people are struggling and I'm sure there are whole groups of people out there touched by adoption who have no issues to speak of...but I firmly believe they are the minority.

Read some blogs of adoptees...there is sadness, loss, grief and even anger there. For a long time I felt mad at them. HOW COULD THEY be mad that someone adopted them? How could they be judgemental of a process that gave them a family? I often termed them 'angry adoptees' and then I started to realize that I am, more than likely, raising adoptees who will still be wounded when they are grown up. Maybe my kids will blog or write or simply talk about their lives, both before and after adoption, and it probably won't be wonderful. I know it won't...because it isn't. When you look at a child and they want nothing more than to be away from you - is there any answer for that?

I don't think there is one that can make you out to be a hero. And, yes, somewhere deep down I wish I could put on a cape and be Superwoman. cape in sight!

I'm telling people about our plan for DS2. I have to. Much like adopting older children, it is generally a story you have to's not like you can suddenly show up with 3 kids instead of 1 and expect people to believe you simply never mentioned them before. So, in about six weeks, he won't be with us anymore. We'll still go to baseball games, hikes, school events and dinners with friends and he won't be there. It's not exactly something I can hide.

And, back to being blessed. Not a soul I've told IRL has seemed judgemental. I'm sure they go home and probably wonder how you can send your son that far away right now. I'm sure they question whether or not they would 'do that'. But, they are supportive to my face. It would be ok if they weren't. It's the right choice for us.

This weekend I told someone about it and learned his story. He was raised in foster care. I sat and listened to a man speak that I firmly believe could by my son someday. He explained his fear of having a family to care for him. He explained his behaviors and why that felt safer. He said that he'd always felt that from DS2...he'd kinda always known. He's a dad now...and a partner to a lovely woman...but he still has issues with being close to someone. I'm proud to know him and truthfully, tears spring to my eyes each time I think that DS2 could have that's more than I've dared dream for him before.

So, I'm busying myself with preparations and the ritual of moving someone. I'm making shopping lists and airline reservations...and I'm thinking about him. This is a child that I am not giving up on...I'm just letting tie to him hang a little looser. His relief is enough to tell me that he needs this too right now.

When asked what our hopes are for an outcome - all I can think is - I want him to feel safe and healthy. I want him to succeed in whatever way works for him. I want him to at least be able to say when he grows up that I did not have a superhero cape, but also - no devil horns.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The answer may lie in blue grass

We've made a decision and we are totally secure with it. DS2 is attending a boarding school for summer school/camp with the plan of attending his next year of school there. I have to say my heart is not heavy, because I feel that we were sent this opportunity by a higher force. The way we found it and the way it's working out are amazing.

DS2 is on board completely. This is not a shock as he's been asking to leave, but I believe he felt that leaving would be permanent. He seemed surprised that we would have him back during breaks. We really worked the fact in, over and over, that we are forever. We will always be here and he is wanted. I hope that he'll continue to learn this fact.

It may seem odd to many of you - to 'send your child away'...but there is a high cost to how we've been living for all of us. The mass chaos that is a constant in every day of our lives is unacceptable for all 5 of us. I saw relief on his face tonight. I saw relief on my husband's face when we realized it was all going to fall into place.

While I struggle enormously raising DS2...this is peace for me. Totally.

I know it's right.

I know that he'll succeed there. As I told the admissions people about him, I was glowing with pride for the things I believe he'll accomplish when he doesn't have to work on pushing away. I believe he'll feel safer without the constant eyes of a mom and dad (however there is strict supervision...but it's different for a RAD kid).

I believe.

And, I think he does too.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


The affect of our situation with DS2 is having an effect on DD majorly. It's not that she's doing terrible, but she's trying her darndest. She's very angry that I won't fight with her. She even made a false 'report' against me - TO ME. I'm always a bit shocked at those. She told me that I broke her finger. I'm pretty sure I'd remember breaking her finger.
I can't be that crazy.
She really tried to make that into a big deal. A really big deal.
She wanted ice and I let her get it.
She wanted me to examine the finger I had hurt so badly...I said "wow, you are so brave to let me this close to your finger after I hurt it so bad"...she just stared at me.
Her finger was swollen.
Don't know what happened and probably never will.

She is just hard-core mad right now. Things here are really, actually very calm. Strangely so, perhaps. But, she wants anger right now.

She is struggling in math and last night I took an hour of my time (spread over a few sittings) to sit with her and re-teach what she's missed at school. I really hadn't done that too many times with her because she was usually right on it. I pointed out that she needed to listen, that I'd help her however I could. We laughed and she commented on how easy it really was...but I was pretty sure she wasn't actually listening.

After our third sit down, I calmly told her that I did expect her to remember at least one problem and how we worked on it. So, tonight she knew none of it. I didn't get upset, just told her to get the papers we worked on last night and re-teach herself.

After much wailing and drama, she just came down and said:
"I'll pay you $10 to teach me this again."...
I said "ok".

So, I'm off to make a quick $10. She'll be offering it to me again soon, because I'm not expecting it to stick right now either. I will be using this money to do something fun and nice for myself...if I save long enough I can buy a nice new pair of shoes....hmmmm...