Search This Blog

Friday, June 3, 2011

Exactly Where I Need To Be

The other day I got the chance to lay on the floor and snuggle up with Alec.  I can't even begin to explain the emotion and happiness that washes over me in these moments.  We are laying so close.  Nose to nose.  I can't even make out all his features and it looks like he has only one eye.  But I know them all.  Each tiny, perfect feature.  I know the feel of his cheek when I press my lips against it.  I know how soft his little nose is and how beautiful those tiny little teeth shine when he smiles.  And those eyes.  Those crazy big blue eyes.  If he was close to me now, I'd have to stop to grab him and love him up all over again.

When we talked about having children, there was no question that I would stay home to care for them.  This is a personal choice.  It was my choice.  We knew that financially, it could make a harsh difference, but so would day care costs, etc.  So, we dropped down to one car payment and cut back where we could.  Jim's parents have always been wonderful and supportive in this decision.  In fact, since Emily was born, we have always had a second car.  Whenever they bought a new car, instead of trading it in, they gave it to us.  Their generosity has made life with three children much easier.

In the time since Emily was born, we moved to a bigger house on gorgeous property and have done alright.  It's not always easy and we often have to reevaluate (i.e. manipulate) our finances.  But, somehow, it always works out.  I believe this is because I am exactly where I need to be and there is no other choice, other than to make it work. I have learned to make a game out of making the most out of what we have.  Jim has told me I make it possible for us to live beyond our means, within our means.  I'll take it!

There is not a car, a bigger house a toy (not even a NEW camper) that I would sacrifice the gift of being home with my children for.  This is reinforced each time I have those little moments with them.  Again, this is a personal choice.  I do not agree, at all, with the Working Mom vs. SAHM battles.  There are pros and cons to each.  And nobody has identical situations.  All any parent needs to be sure of is that they are truly doing what is best for their child.  I've seen it work both ways.

The truth is, I needed this time.  There are so many things that I have learned about myself.  No job or education could have ever prepared me for the changes I would go through all these 10.5 years.  This is the best experience I have ever had.  And I am in a better place than ever.  There is no where else I'd rather be right now (other than 100lbs or more lighter (0: ).

I can never express how thankful I am for my husband who wakes 5+ days a week to go out and work for his family.  For us.  And does it without a single grumble.  I have never, not once, heard him say, "I don't feel like going to work today".  Yet, I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the times I grumbled and would say, "I don't wanna get out of bed now!".  He works hard.  He works for us.  Sometimes, too hard.  But he is the breadwinner, our provider and I can't imagine the burden he must feel.  His commitment is solid.  He does it all for us.

It is not always a party to be the Stay at Home Mama.  It truly is the 24/7 J.O.B.  There is no time clock, no guaranteed lunch, no peaceful ride to and from work.  No scheduled breaks.  Poop and vomit are a give-in as well as spilled milk and boo-boos.  No conversation EVER goes uninterrupted and you can always count on it being unfinished.  The bathroom could be called my Break Room, however, the toilet seat has a secret, well hidden button that goes off every time I lower myself down to it.  I know this.  It never fails, someone cries, the phone or doorbell rings or someone just busts in.  Sometimes, this happens all at once.  There are times I feel I am never alone.  And never will be. 

And I don't want to be.  Sure, I need some quiet time...and it always comes.  In those stolen moments when everyone else is resting and Alec is playing on the floor.  Or when Emily is reading in her bed long after her bedtime.  I go in and chat with her or just kiss her and she gives me that sleepy smile and sigh.  Or when Ethan comes to me early in the morning and kisses me when he thinks I am asleep and I grab him to pull him in for a nuzzle as he giggles.  Despite all those other imperfect moments, it's all good.  Because I am there to answer to bathroom door, to clean up the poop and vomit, to kiss the boo-boos and make my babies smile again.  To hear what the interruptions are about, even when it's because someone broke the blue crayon...This, all of it, is exactly what I needed.  To be needed with great reward.  I am exactly where I need to be.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Walk Away

I rarely walk away from anything.  I don't like things left undone, unsaid or misunderstood.  When I do walk away, I want all to be good.  Often in the past, it has been at my expense.  Not any more.

Last week I had a confrontation with my father.  It ended with me speaking up and then walking away.  Nothing has changed and most likely never will.  For the rest of our lives, we will see each other with a certain amount of discomfort.  His should be about what he has done whereas mine will be about what he may do, again.  Honestly, there is nothing new here.  Except that I spoke up.  I still can see the look on his face when I did.  Shock.  I quit.  It is NOT my job to make you happy.  Especially when you have such little regard for my happiness.  Nope.  There is absolutely nothing new here at all.  I have always been uncomfortable where it came to my dad.  Always.

What has changed is that I no longer hope or expect my mother to do anything about it.  I just want her to know how I feel.  I don't want there to be any question as to why I don't want to be around.  Sure, I will attend functions, but will never just stop in.  That's not really new either.  I pretty much have done this over the past few years anyway.  Now, I won't have to make excuses.  Which I suck at.  I hate lying.  Mostly because I spent most of my early years being asked and expected to lie about so much.  And because I knew someone was always watching how well I lied, I always feel that they still are.  Ironically, one of the things my parents constantly called me when I was young, was a liar.  Guess it was only a good thing when the lies were to their advantage.  When I did lie, on my own, it was to escape.

Basically, I am continuing on as I always have, with one exception...I am done caring.  All the "things" that kept my tongue and actions in check are no longer my responsibility.  My sisters have grown and are going to have to make their own choices.  If they are pressured to not have a relationship with me...I can't choose for them. I can no longer take on so they don't have to.  My mom, I know she understands that she made her choice a long time ago.  I will be where I always have been.  Here.  Being the person I've always wanted to be.  And loved more than I could ever have imagined.  Even though...

After 30-some years, I have finally learned my lesson.  And nobody can ever call me a quitter.  I have done more than I ever should have and forgiven all I can.  Now, you can watch me as I walk away...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Learn Your Own Way

I am so excited!  Last week, Jim and I met with the doctor who is going to do an educational evaluation on our little Ethan over the next four weeks.  Finally.  On the fifth week, we get the results.  I cannot wait.

It's no secret that we have struggled along with Ethan over the years.  My first sign that we were in for...something, was when he was about nine months old.  We were out with some friends.  Ethan was in a stroller and my girlfriend told us she would watch him while we went to order our food.  He should have been well distracted, there were many other children, including his sister, playing on the playground right in front of him.  We were in line no more than five minutes or so and I turned around to find my friend standing behind us with Ethan.  "I'm sorry.  He is so upset and I don't know what to do with him."  She was right.  He was clearly not happy.  I remember thinking, 'YOU don't know what to do with him??  YOU could soothe any child...and are returning him to us??'  Oh boy. This friend of mine was great with children.  She and I have very similar parenting styles.  She doesn't give up...or in.  And here she was, unable to console my child who was upset only because we weren't right there.  It was clear, this wasn't a phase.  No sir, the next seven years would prove it definitely wasn't just a phase.

Poor Ethan.  And honestly, poor me as well.  I was never in a position to swap children with friends or neighbors to enjoy some time to run errands or get some housework done.  I had to be present with him, at all times.  The only time I thought I was safe was when my father-in-law was babysitting him.  I later found out that Ethan would stand at the door or window and just cry and cry.  It makes me so sad to think of him like that.  We would try the 10 minute thing, where you leave him for ten minutes at a time and return to show him that you will return.  It never worked.  Pre-school...well..he did OK.  But it was rough.  He didn't cry the whole time, but he would barely participate.

Ethan would turn 5 on August 10th.  So he was a young five...and a boy.  He was a really young five.  We made the decision to send him to kindergarten thinking it would be the push he needed to get him through this anxiety.  That backfired and we had him repeat kindergarten again.  Any issues the school had seen at that point had to do with immaturity, not behavioral.  That all changed in fist grade.  All of the sudden they wanted to classify him as Special Ed.  We weren't clear on exactly why so we decided to hold off (at this point, we were in April) get through the summer and rethink it come September.  The classification discussion has come up again.  Again, it hasn't been clear to us why.  He is doing far better this year.  The papers he brings home aren't all that terrible.  Not perfect, but not consistent C's that would cause us to be concerned.  He does get it.  What we understand is that he doesn't always put forth his best effort.  After much discussion, consulting and worrying it was suggested to us that we seek an evaluation outside the district.  It was a great idea.  As we aren't sure we exactly trust what is happening any longer.

So today it begins.  Answers.  Peace of mind is coming.  Knowing exactly what is happening with that kid.  We will be right there for him.  OMG!  To know what makes him tick!  What his thought process is.  To learn how to best work with him.  Just to better understand him.  Can you imagine how ecstatic I will be??  I will have A PLAN!!  I know how to work with Ethan, I just want to know that we are working with him the best way we can be.  And at the same time, showing him how to work to his fullest potential.  Whatever he needs, tools, techniques, we want him to learn and embrace them.  Not everybody learns the same way.  I know this.  I live this.  I am a hands-on learner.  My husband is a book learner.  There are those who are both.  This kid is brilliant.  His memory is unremarkable, always has been.  He was speaking FULL sentences at 15 months old.  Potty trained himself at 13 months (I went through hell with his older sister and was not AT ALL on board when he announced he wanted to go potty like a big boy!).  He is one of the most considerate, compassionate and loving boys I have ever known.  He also has a great sense of humour.  I love this kid.  When he was little and blowing us away with his advanced skills, we worried that he would be bored with school...the class clown who distracted others because he wasn't stimulated enough.

My children are special for different reasons.  I also believe that they have and continue to teach me so much.  In Ethan, I have gained confidence, in my ability to be a good and adaptable parent.  I am proud to know that no matter how difficult he can be, I can (for the most part!) keep my cool with him.  Break it down and figure out what is really going on.  Then help him to work through it. His natural born level of compassion has taught me to be more compassionate.  I have found a level of patience in myself that I didn't know before him.

  I cannot wait.  In five weeks, we will have a plan, our plan.  A trusted plan.  It will be a plan that will be, without a doubt, what is best for Ethan.