Sliced and Diced

I feel pulled in about a million different directions lately.

There are a lot of things going on, but it’s hard to pin just one of them down long enough to finish what needs to be done.

So I’m slicing and dicing this week.  A little here, a little there, and hope I end up with something that resembles a cohesive whole instead of something that ends up being fed to the dog.

I'll take the mess - no problem!

Here’s a little bit of what’s been going on:
 
*I’m trying to get the house ready for when the grand-baby gets here.  We have to clean the basement (which is difficult with Future-Son-In-Law leaving his stuff all over the floor, chairs, tv, tables, couch, etc.)  I also need to clean up the spare bedroom down there so we can get EldestDaughter’s and FSIL’s stuff in there.  Is it too late to call the reality show that helps people organize their homes and lives?  Yeah… I thought so.  They’d call it a “fail” anyway, I think. 
 
*Went out with some co-workers on Friday night.  It was fun – but I felt too old for the crowd.  I think I’m supposed to be having some kind of “mid-life crisis” over this?  Well, I’m not.  I like hanging out and laughing occasionally, but the party-girl era has passed.  I’d rather sit in a quieter restaraunt or bar and be able to actually have a chat with someone than be in a place that’s so crowded that taking a deep breath causes you to get accused of sexual harassment. I no longer remember where the fun is in attempting to stand still in a room jam-packed full of sweaty, drunken people who think screaming at the top of your lungs to be heard is the sign of a “good time”.
 
*And on that same tangent… I’m tired of people who think I should be on one side of the fence or the other when it comes to being friendly with others.
I can get along with a lot of different types of people, and I don’t have to bad-mouth either side to do it.  If others want to play the “my side/their side” game, count me out.   I had a friend who was extremely jealous of anyone I spent time with outside of that friendship.  Just because I talk to other people and can get along, doesn’t mean I’m any less of a friend.  I’m just not getting in the middle of the dispute.
 
*I want ED home.  She’s been away for almost a whole month, and I’m worried that she’s all alone at the end of her pregnancy.  There’s supposedly a winter storm coming on the day I’m supposed to be bringing her home, and she’s 2 hours away.  I’m praying as hard as I can that the weather holds out until we get her through my front door.  Then we can all relax a bit.
 
*OnlySon and I need to do something together again.  I feel like I’ve been neglecting him, even though he’s with his father a lot, and isn’t even home most weekends.  We need to do something – baking, book-shopping, something fun.  He has been getting along really well with A lately, though.  They’ve been talking “dude-stuff”, and OnlySon has been having a blast, giggling so hard he almost has a seizure.  I’m so glad they’re getting along – and fear that I’ve created a testosterone monster dynamic in which I end up out-numbered and getting the “It’s a guy thing” speech, complete with the rolling eyes and conspiratorial glances at each other.
 
*YoungerDaughter is having a rough time with her crush.  I’m trying to be as understanding as I can, but I’m truly not comfortable with her contemplating dating this guy.  He’s a decade older than her, they’re in completely different stages of their lives, and… did I mention he’s a decade older than her?  I know I can’t be hypocritical about this, because my brother and sister-in-law are 12 years apart, but at least they were both adults when they met.  YD is still just a teenager.  It does make a difference now, even if it won’t in a few years.
 
*I’m working on trying to get things ready for YD’s graduation in May.  There’s so much that has to be done, it’s a daunting task.  And, since the divorce, I have to organize it by myself, plus still keep the household running – with the addition of 2 more people (ED and FSIL), and the promise of another one (grand-baby) on the way next month.  Daunting, indeed. May is a lot closer than it appears at first glance.  I’m feeling a little like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, and wondering what I did with my pocketwatch – and my sanity?
 
But… as a wise man once said…
Well said, Mr. Bueller… well said.
 
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Runaway Train

Lately my life has felt somewhat like this:

  The train is barreling down the track, and I haven’t been able to decide where I am in relation to the train.

Am I on the train?  Am I driving it, and haven’t figured out that the brakes work?  Am I in front of the train, and have no hope of getting off the tracks in time…

Or am I standing on the platform in the station, watching it as it speeds past?

Everything’s been moving at light-speed, barely giving me a moment to catch my breath from one stop to the next.  And while I’m moving as fast as I can, just to keep up… I’m not sure I have the brain power to keep moving this fast and furiously forever.

Not that all of it’s been bad.

Why do you have a problem with HappyMom?

There have definitely been some good things going on, and I’m happy about them.  Getting to know A better has absolutely been a good thing.  Being able to spend time with him, getting to know his kids, it’s been a whilrwind – but one I’m glad to be caught up in.  I wouldn’t change that, because it’s been a lot of fun, and I’m smiling more, giggling, even… it’s enough to make YoungerDaughter comment “Geez, Mom – you’re worse than a teenager!” 

To which I say “And that’s bad, why?”

And the anticipation time for the new grand-baby coming is growing.  We’re only a couple of weeks away from EldestDaughter’s due date, and she’s getting ever more impatient.  I’ve almost resigned myself to the fact that she’s going to find a way to get on the back of a motorcycle on a bumpy country road, just to be done with this already!

I laugh about it, but I remember that same feeling – oh so very well. 

But there have been other things, not-so-happy things, that have been zooming past, daring me to keep up or be left behind.  The situation with EldestDaughter has been a difficult one, and there are still some unresolved issues.  I know that we’ll work them out, get her life back on track and going in a healthy direction.  It’s just hard – knowing that I can’t actually do anything to catalyze the change.  ED has to do that herself.  I’m just here as support staff.

So, where does that leave me in relation to the train?  Hell if I know.

Somedays, I’m on it, watching the scenery slide past in a watercolor blur, not knowing which station I’ll get spat out at.

Some days – I’m driving the train – blowing the whistle and laughing my head off at the sheer exhiliration of the speed we’re travelling.  Hair blowing around my face, and my eyes shining, I look forward in anticipation of what’s going to appear seconds away just up over that ridge.  I’m strong, and ready for it.

Some days…. I feel more like this:

I guess – it’s all just a matter of perspective?

To Which I Say NOOOOOoooo….

My little girl is growing up way too quickly.

YoungerDaughter – my little Haus Frau, my Haus Maus baby-girl who used to sit with me for hours on end when she was little….

has a crush on an older boy  young man some dude who is actually older than EldestDaughter.

So now, she’s taking great pains with her hair, makeup and clothes every day, striving to look older, more sophisticated, than her formerly happily-scrunched 17-year old self.

And while I haven’t met this guy, I’ve seen his picture, and he doesn’t look much older than YD, so that makes it more difficult.  Trying to reconcile the actual age he is, with the age he looks, coupled with the fact that he works at the same restaurant that YD does, which is normally a young-person’s type of job. (He just finished school – college – as an “older student”, with my sister-in-law, another “older student”…. *sob*

Yeah, he’s over 21.  By a couple few years.

Yeah, once YD hits 18 this summer, it won’t make that big of a difference.

I know that “age is just a number” and that once you reach a certain number, it really doesn’t matter how many years separate 2 people that care about one another.  My brother and sister-in-law are 12 years apart, and they do just fine.

But it makes a difference now. 

And I’m not ready for it.

I’m not sure YD’s ready for it.

So far, this guy doesn’t know that YD likes him this much.

And I’m hoping (read desperately praying) that this is just a crush, and that it will blow over by graduation, or shortly after.

Please?

Breakthrough

Talking to EldestDaughter last night, I was… well, the only word to describe my state of mind at the time – is “elated”.

Considering the surroundings she’s in right now, court-forced treatment (because of a technicality, and a vindictive state’s attorney who has awful professional ethics), my ED has been going through some serious navel-gazing.

And she’s come to some realizations that I’ve been hoping for YEARS that she’d find for herself.

And, as awful as it sounds, maybe this treatment that she was forced into… won’t be the worst thing in the world for her.  Maybe this is exactly what she needed, at exactly the right time.  I just wish the circumstances surrounding it hadn’t had to happen the way they did.

I know, this all sounds so murky and round-a-bout.

I’m trying to protect ED’s privacy here.

Needless to say, the circumstances that got ED where she is now, where she has to be for a little while yet, have fallen behind the strides and gains ED has gotten from the people she’s surrounded by now.

Last night, after talking to her, and finding out all that she’s come to see – with both eyes open – and the complete shock that enlightened epiphany most often brings – I wanted to cry with relief.

It’s been a long road, and I just hope that ED can see it all the way through.  It’ll be so much healthier for her in the long run, and she’ll be so much happier at the end of this journey – if she just sees it to its conclusion.

Opening your eyes to who you really are – seeing it reflected in other people, through their own eyes – is not always easy.  It’s often painful, confusing, and can cause anxiety, anger, and depression.  But it can also spur you into making changes for yourself.

Because I’ve often said that you can never change another person.  And no one can ever make you change yourself.

You have to choose, for yourself, to make changes because you want them.  It’s the only way that the changes work, it’s the only way that they’ll ever stick, and it’s the only way to do it without resentment and recrimination.  Because it’s all you.

ED has been surrounded by people who have it worse than her, people with problems that she can’t imagine having to shoulder through.  But, through listening to them talk, and through hearing about some of the things in their lives that closely mirror her own… she’s finding that she now understands so much more about herself, and why she does some of the stupid things that she does.  And she’s gaining the tools necessary to not only forgive herself, but to forgive others for their past mistakes – so she can let go of all the old resentments that have been eating away at her for all these years. 

Once she can reach that point?  Everyone who has a problem with her will have to deal with their issues on their own, she won’t feel guilty for them anymore, and she can simply choose to walk away from the negativity, instead of trying to fix everyone else and make everyone else feel better by giving up pieces of herself.

We talked about how one of the people in her group was talking about being a “people pleaser”, always trying to make everyone else happy, they emptied themselves out of emotion, energy, etc.  And when they had given everything they had, and there was nothing left, they had to “fill” that gap with something else, to take away the pain.

And ED realized that she’s been doing that with her Paternal Gene Donor for most of her life.  Trying to please him has repeatedly “emptied” her out.  Trying to “fix” others has repeatedly drained her dry of energy and will.  And once empty, she grew resentful.  Resentful that it was never enough, could never make those others happy.  So she would try to fill the void within herself with what she and I have taken to calling “dangerous fun”.  Those things that sound like so much fun, and friends will try to convince you are just “the best time ever”, but are dangerous to you, to others, and are almost always illegal.

And the one thing that ED realized that really made me want to cry?  That she is stronger than she ever thought.  She will make it through this, she will be better for it, and she will know that she can walk through fire – on her own if necessary – but that she also has a strong, loving, and unconditional support system waiting for her if she needs us.

I think my baby’s finally growing up, for real.

Thank you, Goddess, for letting me be a part of this, and for helping my little girl get through this time.

Pull the Trigger

Everyone has an event, a person, a habit or a pet peeve… that just pulls their trigger.

The “emotional volcano” trigger.

It’s that one thing that just crosses every line you have drawn in your head, that sends you over the edge, and down into the abyss.  Reason takes a hike, and emotion takes over, leaving you flailing and usually, struggling just to keep breathing while the world seems to crumble around you.

For me, I’ve got a couple of things that trigger emotional overload.  One major event being one I wrote about a while ago, that happened when I was a young teenager.  Anytime this gets brought up, referenced to, or triggered in my memory… I lose some of my rationality, and revert to a more basic, almost animalistic, id state.  Fight or flight takes over, and reason goes by the wayside.  I lash out or shut down, depending on where I am, and who I’m with at the time.  But it’s not about the thinking part, the reasonable part of my brain.  It’s about the lost, scared, betrayed child inside, wanting repayment, validation, and revenge.

Talking to EldestDaughter last night, I told her something that I realized about her a while ago.  Even though she knows that she has made her choices on her own, good and bad both, and neither one of us blames her Paternal Gene Donor for her behaviors…

I know that a lot of the reasons why she does what she does, is because she’s been looking for his affection, attention, and acceptance all her life.

And has never gotten any of it without strings. 

There has never been the “unconditional” terminology attached to his feelings toward my daughters.  They always have to do things his way, or he pulls his affections back and holds them for ransom.  And in fact, in talking to ED, I learned that his other children, the ones that live with him, have to toe the line too, or they lose his approval and his affection, too.

And so, I told ED… that her PGD is her trigger.   Every time something happens between the 2 of them, or something that even reminds her of him… she falls off the wagon, emotionally. 

Sometimes, she’ll do something stupid… and while she knows that he’s not to blame for her choosing to do these things, it is a bonus to get his attention.  Even if it’s negative – at least he’s paying attention to her.  He sees her, even when it’s because he’s mad, and flies off the handle, he’s acknowledging her.  And she gets some of what she searches so hard for.  His attention.

I told her too, that until she gets her real feelings out in the open about her dad, with someone who can help her figure out just why it triggers her behaviors, she’s not going to be able to change the stupid habits.  She’s working on it now, and has been talking to a counselor about just this very thing.

But it’s a process, and probably going to be a long one. 

Especially because the PGD doesn’t believe in therapy.  Calls it “psychobabble”, and claims it’s never done anyone any good, ever.  That ED will never be able to change her behavior, even if she’s in therapy for the rest of her life.

Because… he claims, people never change.

And yet – when I met him, he was a drug-using, long-haired, hard-drinking band boy.

Now?  He’s a Bible-thumping, alcoholic, hypocritical, power-hungry, arrogant…

Not that I’m bitter at all…

I’ve always tried to keep my personal opinions about the PGD to myself in front of my daughters.  Growing up, I wanted them to make up their own minds about what kind of relationship they wanted to have with him.  I tried to keep any criticism of him out of the conversations, even when he did things that made me want to scream (like “forgetting” YoungerDaughter’s birthday for 3 years in a row).

For years, I told the girls to “make up their own minds”, and kept things from them both that might color their opinion of him.  I didn’t want to influence their relationship with him, because 1)  I knew that their relationship with him was between them, not me and them; and 2)  I knew that he’d hang himself, given time, and enough rope.  He didn’t disappoint.

Yeah, his history of crap behaviors over the years is yet another trigger for me, as you can tell.

ED is doing her best, having opened up a lot more in the last few months, and especially in the last week, than she has in a long time – if ever.  She’s starting to recognize that when she spins off into wild and stupid behavior, there’s usually something behind it that starts the whole thing to begin with.

The Trigger.

And once she identifies that moment… that one thing that set her off in the first place, she can choose to not follow through with the old behaviors.  She can choose something healthier for herself, and step away from the thing that caused the problem.

And that’s one of the keys to therapy. 

It’s not about the therapist filling your head with psychobabble.

It’s about the therapist giving you a safe head-space to open up, spill all the beans out in the open, and find the answer for yourself.

And then, you can choose – eyes open – what you want to do about it.

Pull the trigger?  Or lay down the gun and go off in a different direction?

Your choice.

Twenty-Six

Thoughtful moment:  It doesn’t matter what they say, it doesn’t matter what they do, or how old they are,

 when my children fall down, I want to pick them up.

 

 

 

We’ve got more drama going on at the house, again. 

It’s not the end of the world, but it is stressful and serious, and not really something I’m ready to make public now, if ever.

Suffice to say, that parenting never stops.  There will always be times when your child needs you, either to physically be there to help, or just emotionally to support.

And it’s hard to watch your babies, no matter their age, go through things that are so painful they make your chest hurt.  You want to step in, help out, fix it, make it go away, make it stop hurting.

But you can’t.  Not always.

Sometimes, the only thing you can do is hug them, tell them you love them, and that you’re there if they want to talk.

But you still want to pick them up, snuggle them like when they were little, rock them and let them cry if they need to, and soothe away the tears when they’re over.

No matter what other people say when they tell you “It’s just never going to end with this child, is it?  You really need to just tell them to grow up and let them hit rock bottom once.” 

It doesn’t work like that for me.

Yeah, I might get pissed at the things they do, sometimes.  I might yell and be angry at their actions.  But I still love them, and will never simply “abandon them to their fate”.

I can’t just leave my child, crying, hurting, curled up in a ball on the floor.  I don’t care how old they get. 

I. Will. Be. There. For. Them.

That’s the kind of mom I am. 

 

 

Twenty-Three

Thoughtful moment:  Common courtesy is now an oxymoron.

It amazes me that people just don’t use manners like they used to.

Gods, that makes me sound old.

Common, everyday occurrences, like passing someone in a crowded room, or hallway, used to garner you an “Excuse me”, and you’d say the same back.  Not so much anymore. 

A sneeze was always a “Bless you”, to which the proper reply was “Thank you.”  (People used to believe that a sneeze was an opening through which the devil could steal your soul, hence, the “bless you” kept him at bay, saving your soul from damnation – something you kinda wanted to thank someone for, I guess!) 

Please, thank you, excuse me, pardon me, may I… all these seem to have fallen by the wayside in a good portion of our interactions with others.  I see it every day in my office.

My children are pretty good about using manners.  I trained them from the time they could talk, that they needed to be courteous.  Being courteous often got them things that they wanted, when being discourteous would only get them sent to their rooms.  It paid off to be using the manners. 

So, how do you get people to use their manners?  I’ve tried a couple of different ways.

*I’ve tried the “So sweet she’d rot your teeth” routine.  It only works at certain times on certain people.  And I can’t keep it up for long.  My brain starts to sizzle and hurt from over-straining the “Pollyanna” routine.

If you do that too long, your face sticks that way FOR-EVER!

 *I’ve tried the “overly loud sigh and passive-aggressively point out how much you love courteous people” routine.  For the truly rude – it goes completely over their heads.  They just don’t think it applies to them – But yeah, everyone else is a total jerk, right?

*I’ve tried to “rise above it” and just be myself, using the manners, and going on about my business, no matter how rude the other person is.  It – really depends on who this is, and how rude they’ve been.  There are some lines in the sand for me, that I won’t let others cross without comment.  I have to say something before I walk off. 

I wish… and I know it’s probably a futile one, that people would start using the polite mannerisms again.  When did it become acceptable to be this way?  When did people stop caring about others, and become societal sociopaths?

*sigh*

Excuse me, I need a nap.  My brain hurts.  Thanks for playing.  And be kind – the next person you hold a door for, could be a serial killer who hates rude people…