Sunday, December 25, 2011

Twas the night before Christmas

Yesterday morning.  Christmas Eve.  I received a very unexpected text from... my sister.  It simply stated, "hope the kids have a merry christmas.  and i hope you have a merry christmas too."  I didn't respond right away.  I got up and made some Eating Clean Blueberry Oatmeal Flax pancakes, and got the kids fed.  Then I texted back to her, "Thank You.   I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas too.  The girls will have an Excellent Christmas this year.  Going skating in a little bit."

Why did I feel the need to tell her we were going skating?  I don't know really.  I want her to understand that I am taking very good care of her children, and I give them every opportunity for happiness that I can.  For some crazy reason I can't quite put into words...  I need to tell her that.  I need her to know that they are in the best of hands. I do still love her.  Regardless of what has happened.

Her response came about 20 minutes later.  "Glad to hear i love you thank you for taking such good care of the girls i an an glad they are with you  you still are the wind beneath my wings."

The wind beneath my wings.  Let me explain why that wrought me to tears.  If you are unfamiliar with the movie Beaches starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey...  it was a favorite of mine.  It was a tear jerker, but the story line was just... moving.  It's about these two women who grow up the best of friends.  Bette's character is a big time singer, Barbara's character is always her... anchor to solidarity, in her crazy messed up life.  Near the end of the movie, Barbara's character is dying from a heart disease for which she is on a transplant list.  She can not get the transplant in time, and succumbs to the disease, leaving her young daughter to be cared for by her best friend... Bette's character.  At the end of the movie, Bette's life has evolved into something selfless... when at the start of the movie it was entirely self centered.

When I was 13, I was delusional.  I wanted to be beautiful, and didn't realize that beauty is more than skin deep.  I begged my mom to let me enter the local talent show/beauty pageant, and she let me.  I got up on stage in front of everyone in the small town I grew up in, and sang a song from the movie,  "The Wind Beneath My Wings."  My 13 year old mediocre singing voice couldn't match the caliber of Bette Midler, but I did it anyway.  I sucked.  But the judges told me I had a beautiful smile.  I grew up believing that they were just trying to let me down easy. 

When my sister graduated high school, I wrote out the lyrics to "Wind Beneath My Wings" and gave it to her in my graduation card to her.  If you're not familiar with them - here they are.  Sorry - they make this post much longer than I intended.

"Wind Beneath My Wings"

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
to never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that's your way.
You always walked a step behind.

So I was the one with all the glory,
while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.

Did you ever know that you're my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I've got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

Did you ever know that you're my hero?
You're everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Did I ever tell you you're my hero?
You're everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings,
'cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Oh, the wind beneath my wings.
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly away. You let me fly so high.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.

Fly, fly, fly high against the sky,
so high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you,
thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.

Then she says that to me.
Me.  The person whom she left two of her three children with.  The person who has felt undeserving of being called "mom" by them.  Who feels she has betrayed her own sister when they do call me that honored term.
She says that to me.  The "stronger" sister in her later texts during the day.  Praising my strength, saying she knew I could do what she could not.

She tells me she is so sorry for all she has done.  I tell her she has nothing to be sorry for.  Life is too short for regret.  I tell her again what a blessing being the parent to these sweet girls is and will always be.  I feel like I need to thank her, although I know it makes her sad that doesn't have her children anymore.

After our short texting back and forth for 20 minutes - I stalk into the kitchen and start cleaning.  It's what I do when I have a torrent of emotions that I can't handle.  M follows me.  He doesn't know what we texted about, only that we texted.  He starts badgering me to talk to him.  I'm not ready.  I tell him to leave me be, let me clean.  He keeps badgering me.  He is afraid.  He can't leave me alone.  I clean in a frenzy now.  Still asking him to go away.  He still isn't listening.  At this point he gets angry, and begins trying to remind me of all the bad that happened when the kids were with her.  I haven't forgotten.  There isn't a week that doesn't go by that I don't still carry that mark on my soul.  I tell him to stop - I don't want the kids hearing this.  V  comes in the room and asks why I'm crying.  I tell her that I'm just having a bad day, and that she needs to go play.

I break down and tell M what I put in the beginning of this post.  About what she said, and how it made me feel.  I cry even harder.  This is so hard.  So very hard.  I can't even begin to put it all into words.  The end of the conversation she told me that she would never try to take the girls away from me.  She told me she feels this is where they belong.  Part of me wants to believe her.  Really wants to believe her, but there have been so many lies.  I have such a hard time trusting.  So I thank her for telling me that - but I don't buy stock in her words.

We took the girls skating.  They had a good time.  DQ came in 2nd in a wipe out event.  We brought them home, and I snuggled them and watched Barbie movies all evening.  Then we got them ready for bed, and put them down for the night.

Santa visited.  Boy did he ever visit.  The generous folks who helped provide us Christmas nearly brought me to tears.  I couldn't have ever dreamed of getting that much for them, or myself for Christmas.  We are so blessed.  DQ got a violin.  V got a bunch of new clothes and toys.  I got a gift card, and some perfume body wash and cologne.  M got me Zumba 2 for the Wii, and I plan on using that until I'm a pro at it!  M and I got some gas cards.  M got some cologne, and I have one more gift for him, just haven't rec'd it yet.  Just an amazing Christmas.  Mom, Dad, and Z came over to unwrap presents with us this morning, and hung around for a little while.  M and I baked cinnamon rolls, and we all ate breakfast together.  It was such a nice morning.  I couldn't have planned it any better.

All in all - I have a little peace in my heart this weekend b/c of my sister's words.  I have a little more to think about, because she is asking to see them again.  I really want to grant her wish, but this isn't all about her.  I have to keep their best interests at heart.  I will let their therapist know what transpired, and talk it out with her.  See what she thinks is best.  She isn't a biased emotionally invested person like I am in this whole mess.

I hope you had a very happy holiday weekend.  I hope you got all you wanted and more, but above all - I hope you were able to spend time with your loved ones, and enjoy your holiday.  After all - that is what it is really all about.

Aunt TT

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Rotating Christmas Tree

I am sitting in my silent house.  Alone.  I can't tell you how many times in the past few weeks, I have wished for just a moment like this.  Especially last weekend when I decided to take a bath to clear my stopped up sinuses.  I mixed up a cocktail of baby oil, eucalyptus oil, and lavender oil and poured it into a steamy bath-tub.  I broke out my old copy of Bag of Bones by Stephen King, and settled down to relax.  DQ and V were in the living room watching ABC Family as they have a slew of Christmas movies on right now.  Every commercial break, V would come bursting into the bathroom and say, "How's your bath?"  It was so stinking cute that I couldn't be irritated with her, but smile and say, "It's fine.  How's your movie?"  She would ramble off about the dogs that were trying to rescue Santa Claus, and then toddle off to watch the movie again - being very mindful to shut the door behind her.  I can't help but smile at this.

So I'm off track.  I'm alone right now.  The kids and M are at therapy.  We split up because early on in the month the girls therapist asked us if we would please let some ladies that she knows sponsor our family for Christmas.  These ladies are due at any moment to deliver the gifts from Santa - and this will all be a huge surprise for DQ and V.  Now I have been on the giving end of sponsoring families every year for the past 4-5 years.  My co-workers and I usually sponsor someone and try to make some Christmas wishes come true.  I only wish that I could give in the magnitude that today....  what we have received.  I sit here in silence at my kitchen table.  The only noises are the clothes spinning in the dryer, and M's rotating Christmas tree.  A tree that wouldn't be up if it weren't for him.  It keeps trying to unwrap the presents that we have under it.  Every so often I hear the lower branches scrape across the top of the highest gift.

You know so often since I have received the blessing that is two beautiful girls, I have wished for peace.  For quiet.  When they are fighting for instance.  Or when they are running through the house being unruly, and my head is throbbing.  I have wished for silence when taking DQ on a jog with me because she just can't stop talking!  But now here I am.  In this still house, waiting for my nephew's gift to be unwrapped by the tree, and wishing the kids and M were here.  So much has happened in the last three weeks.  I am so full of emotions that I don't even know how to express.  There are so many things I should be doing right now, but in the spirit of Christmas... I am sitting down and pounding these feelings out.

Early in the month of December 2011 - something horrible happened.  I can't go into detail, all I can tell you is that it shook our world.  Terrified me.  I was so afraid.  It affected all of us.  M.  Me.  DQ.  Especially V.  We won't know the resolution for a little while longer yet, but I have come to terms with it.  Maybe some day I will be able to put into words this great fear.  I just can't right now.  I have lived the better part of this month, letting this fear control me.   

This great fear overshadowed everything.  I snapped at co-workers, and was ashamed of myself, beginning a cycle of self destruction.  I didn't want to think about Christmas or everything that would come with it.  I just wanted this blissful peace... that I have now, and can only blog about.  I nearly sent M packing - and am so grateful for his patience with me.  I couldn't see all of the good in front of my face.  Until lately.  Because of the angels who heard me out when I called upon them crying - and the professionals in our lives who helped me to pull the gravity of the situation into focus.

And the tree keeps trying to unwrap that present.  Maybe if left long enough, over time, it would wear away the paper - like water flowing over rock for eons will make it smooth.

So now I am ready to face whatever resolution comes from this fear.  I sit alone in this silence I have wanted for so long - and now all I want is three sweet faces to come walking through the door - so I can hold them.  A few of Santa's elves just stopped by.  They dropped off the gifts that the therapist spoke of, and I am blown away by their generosity.  I told her I don't even know how to begin thanking her for this, and she told me she merely wants photos of the girls opening their gifts so that they can put them into a collage on the wall.  Because this is their third year spreading the spirit of Christmas.  They got to meet the girls, as they left the therapist's office to head here, and the girls headed into their meeting with our beloved therapist.  I really wish I could have given her more than a light hearted Christmas card this year.  She means so much to us.  The girls will have one of the best Christmases ever.  All due to the generosity of these kind strangers, a very talented crafty friend, and the love that M and I will always have for them.

I believe in Santa.

On a lighter - less cryptic note - we got to see the girls costumes for the 2012 recital.  They are soooo cute.  I can not wait to see the entire performance together.  Their instructor does such a good job.  I am so glad to have them dancing at her studio.  Not to mention she's a super person too.   V is doing one ballet class, and she will be a skunk (a super cute skunk).  DQ is doing Ballet to Singing in the Rain, Acrobatics to Under the Sea (yes - from The Little Mermaid), and Tapping to Baby Take A Bow.

I want to wish each and every one a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, whatever you believe in.  I hope it is a lovely ending to a year, be it a good year, a bad year, whatever.  May you get everything you want out of life... unlike our rotating Christmas tree... that will never be able to open that silly present.

Aunt TT

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"And You'll Be Walking on Air"

Let me start this post with the sad dreary things, then I will end it with all of the good things in life!

First sad dreary thing...  I took Corwyn to be euthanized last Wednesday.  Dad went with me.  I'm so happy he did.  I had my times mixed up and the shelter didn't open until 1:00, but we arrived there promptly at 11:00.  The lady who opened the door at 11:10 to tell us that they were closed, and we had to come back later, was ever so kind, and took my Cornie cat into the building even though they weren't open.  I was crying and I told her that I didn't think he would be able to make it much longer.  She said she understood, and the vet on site agreed to euthanize him.  I held him, and said my goodbyes.  It was easier than I thought, as I had been saying my goodbyes since he was diagnosed, lavishing love and affection all over him for the past few weeks.  He isn't in pain anymore.  He is free of this mortal coil, and can now enjoy the afterlife.  Precious Corwyn.  I will post photos of him on my next entry.  There are some really good ones I want to share with you all.

Next sad and dreary thing...  My sister.  Let me back this up a little bit.  I have a good friend who recently adopted a baby.  So excited.  So happy for her.  I just went on a little shopping spree for the baby b/c Auntie TT just can't help but dress baby girls up.  They're soooo adorable!  Anyway while she was going through the months leading up to adopting this precious angel, we met one night for dinner.  We talked about all sorts of stuff and I asked her if she wanted an open or a closed adoption with the birth parents.  She stated that she wanted an open adoption, because when the baby was older, she didn't want her to rebel b/c she didn't know who her birth mom was.  She didn't want her to fantasize about this mysterious woman, and set out on a quest to find her, etc.  Which is a very grown up way of viewing it all.  So it got me to thinking of my own situation...

My sister is a biological mom who isn't really a part of her children's lives anymore.  Sad as it is, that is the truth.  We haven't heard from her since June.  There haven't been any developments since then in either of the biological parent's communication to me or the girls.  So it really got me to thinking that one day, my sweet girls are going to grow up and wonder more about their biological mom.  I talk to them about her a little here and there.  I tell them how very much I miss her.  Especially when they are fighting with each other, and seem to hate each other.  I tell them that I wish I had never fought with their mommy because I miss her so much now.  DQ has hands shaped exactly like her mommy, and when I polish her fingernails, I tell her that.  That makes her happy, to think that she is part of her mommy.  Regardless of what has happened to these children they still love her.  V doesn't really remember her much, and is very happy to consider me her real mom, but the older she gets, the more we will explain, and the more she will understand. 

But in the here and now...  should I open and explore visitation with my sister?  I carry guilt that she hasn't seen her children.  The rational part of me knows that it is her own doing right now that she hasn't, because I don't even know where she is or how to contact her.  But if I were to dig, I could probably unlock those secrets, as my other sister met with her in June when she was here in Ohio.  I am apprehensive.  Is this a door I want to open?  Will it prevent the girls from fantasizing about her when they are in their rebellious teenage years?  Do I open them up to the heartbreak now, so they can heal from it before they are older (and more dangerous - running away, physical harm, drinking, smoking, etc.)?  Do I remove the mystery of the birth mom, and let them see her for what she really is - instead of trying to protect them from the truth?  It is something I need to talk to my mom, and their counselor about.  Their counselor thinks they aren't ready, but they are such strong willed little girls.  I know they can do anything they put their minds to.  It's just getting them to put their minds to surviving heartache.  But I'm open to your suggestions as well.  I always walk such a thin line between right and wrong it seems.  I have a feeling that my older brother believes I am doing wrong by "keeping" them apart, but I wonder if he understands that in the entire 2 years and 5 months she has been gone, she has only asked to see them once.  And then she didn't really ask.  She just informed me that she would like joint custody with them.  She wanted them 1/2 the year, and for me to have them the other 1/2.  That would crush me.  I feel in my heart it wouldn't be the best thing for them either.  I can't see her being any more stable than she was two years ago.  Sometimes I hate my position, as much joy as it brings - there is a degree of sorrow.

Now for the good lighthearted stuff! 

I'm still on baby watch for my good friend.  She is due in the beginning of December, but with it being her 2nd birth... she could go any time!  I have been keeping my phone near at all times, and the ringer turned up loud enough that I won't miss any calls. 

As I mentioned above, another good friend of mine recently adopted a baby girl born 11/10/11.  I still need to get up to see her, and her beautiful little E.  I just haven't had the time, and she's been so swamped with folks coming to meet the new addition to her family.  I will need to get up soon, though b/c I really want to give her the cutesy outfits that I picked up (really inexpensive) at one of my favorite stores!

I have evolved into a new Aunt TT.  I feel like although I am 32 years old I am coming out of my shell.  I have been playing with my hair and make-up and getting positive feedback on it.  I always wore brown eyeshadow, and grey eyeliner, but lately I have been playing with "smokey eyes" and all sorts of other colors.  I've been having fun, and not caring much if someone likes or dislikes what I have done with my hair or makeup.  I only hope that I get brave enough to try the 1940's Victory Rolls one of these days.  I love the 20's-50's hair styles.  Maybe I was born in the wrong era?  Nah.  I'm too mouthy to have been a subservient wife.  :)

I have fallen in love with Kerli's music.  I have been drawing strength from her song "Walking on Air".  Let me quote you my favorite parts of the song so you can see why:

"Do you know what it's all about?
Are you brave enough to figure out?
Know that you could set your world on fire
If you are strong enough to leave your doubts
Feel it and breathe it, believe it
And you'll be walking on air
Go try, go fly so high
And you'll be walking on air
You feel this, unless you kill this
Go on and you're forgiven
I knew that, I could feel that
I feel like I am walking on air"

So empowering.  Come with me.  Let's Walk on Air. 

Aunt TT

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Have you ever...

gone through so many changes in your life that you are restless?  You can't sit still.  You can't concentrate.  You can't focus on even the smallest of things in life?  That is how I have felt lately.  It's part of the reason I haven't sat down to write up a blog about the goings and comings of our little family.  There hasn't been a whole lot that has happened in my absence.  I'll give you a quick run through.

Baata came home.  He is healthy, doing well as far as I can tell.  A few days before Bombaata came home,  we adopted Corwyn.  Sweet Corwyn.  I feel in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him.  My bleeding heart couldn't visit the shelter looking for Baata that many times, and NOT bring home a stray.  Another orange Tom - who is so lovable, that he tolerates Elmira... I mean Vampire's affections.  He stole my heart.  It was love at first sight when he nose dived at my face when he wanted affection.  We thought he was a great (and cheap at an adoption for 10.00 - neuter and all) addition to our family.  Well two weeks ago we discovered that he has FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis).  It is fatal.  He is in the final stages.  I have been struggling with the decision of when it is time to euthanize him.  He is so thin and frail.  I start thinking his quality of life is compromised to the point that it is time to say fare well - then he starts eating, or drinking, or purring, and I think what is right?!?!  FIP is contagious.  He could have infected Lil Bit and Bombaata too.  I spend the days hoping, praying, wishing that they will survive this, and be OK.  Baata is so old that I really worry about him.  So I know I will lose Corwyn, and soon - and I fear that Baata has succumbed to this horrible virus.  Adopting that sweet little angel may have been the worst decision I have ever made. 

For Halloween, we were Gnomes.  We won a few costume contests.  It was really nice, really fun, but all overshadowed to coming home to discover that Corwyn is sick.

Vampire really slacked off in her biting, but she's picking it back up again.  She is averaging about 1 bite every two weeks.  She pushes M's and my buttons so much.  It's like she LIKES to be in trouble.  It's not little things either.  It's hitting her sister, breaking toys that don't belong to her, trying to touch things she's been told not to.  Just last Tuesday, she knocked a few jars of grape jelly off a shelf at the store.  They shattered all over the place, and I had to tell a clerk - who said they would clean it up, and I wouldn't be charged.  She told me it was an accident, and I could tell it was, but after that incident.... she kept touching EVERYTHING, then looking at me and saying "It was an Accident!"  It was an exhausting trip to the store.

School is in full swing for DQ.  She is constantly getting in trouble, or on a warning for talking.  She talks to anyone and everyone that she quite possibly  can.  The therapist is wanting to test her for ADD.  I hate those terms.  Hate them all with a passion.  So we are looking at her diet, and talking to a nutritionist.  We need to talk to one anyway due to Vampire's being 4 years old, and fitting snugly in 6/6x - so we might kill two birds with one stone.

I've had baby fever, with all the babies being born around me.  A good friend of mine has asked me to doula on her second birth.  I am ecstatic about this.  I LOVE being able to help bring a baby into the world.  It is the best gift anyone could give me.  I'm starting to prepare for her big day in all the ways I possibly can.  I'm honored and blessed to be included in this!   She is going to be doing a natural birth again, and is such an incredible woman for being able to do that.  I just love her. 

I will try to get into writing more again.  I've missed talking to all of you, and hearing your thoughts on what goes on in my life. 

Aunt TT

Friday, September 9, 2011

A turn of the tides

Today marked the 21st day that Bombaata was gone.  I have done a lot of grieving for him over the last 20 days.  I went about the usual routine this morning, and went to work.  I took DQ to school, then went back to work.  As I drowned in paperwork and titles, I missed a few calls on my cell.  Around 11a, I looked at the phone to see two numbers that I didn't recognize.  Now since I have plastered my phone number all over the city... internet...  etc for the past 21 days, it is nothing abnormal to see numbers I don't recognize.

I listen to the messages.   The first is from my next door neighbor, saying she has seen my cat a few doors down.  I feel in my gut that although her heart is in the right place....  it's not him.  You see he has a "twin" nearby, and people have mistaken the twin for my baby.  The second is a message from a lady two blocks away, and when she said "my husband and I were grilling out last night, and I think I saw you cat.  He came out from under the neighbor's shed while we were grilling our steaks."  My brain was saying BINGO.  Bombaata might hate you, but when you break out the food, hes your best friend.

I have had so many dead ends.  I couldn't bring myself to race out of work, and run to see if it was him.  I called the lady back, and told her that as soon as I could get away from work, that I would be there.  45 minutes later, I was headed to her house.  Her house is about two blocks from mine, and the kicker... I had been in that area looking for him multiple times.  At least every other night.  I get to this woman's house, and she comes out of the door.  She guides me around the back, where she saw him last, then gets a call on her phone.  I walk around calling his name.  I am seeing no sign of him, and losing hope fast.  I keep calling, and something tells me to look over the fence.  There he is, trotting toward me between the fence and the pool that is on the other side of the fence.

He can't get to me through the fence, so he backtracks and runs around it.  I walk toward him, thinking he is heading to me, but he is startled, and he runs under the shed.  I drop down on one knee and hold food in my hand and call him.  Gingerly, he comes out from under the shed, and comes to me.  It is him.  There is no doubt in my mind.  I couldn't ever forget his sweet angelic face.  Ever.  I tell the woman (who is still on the phone) that this is my cat.  I am holding him.  He is muddy, dirty, and so thin.  He seems weak, and is trying to get away from me, but I put him in the car, and give him his food, then shut the door.  I turn to the woman and thank her over and over again, then hug her.  I tell her how special this cat is to me, and how very much it means to me that we have been reunited.  I ask her if there is anything I can do to help her, and she says that she has a cat who is pregnant, and she will need home for the kittens.  I tell her that I can't take on any more cats right now but I will try to help her find homes for them.

I bring my baby home, and make sure he is OK.  I get him more food (he is eating enthusiastically right now) then I make sure he has fresh water.  He follows me around.  It breaks my heart to go back to work.  But I am also thrilled that he is home.  My sweet kitty is home.

I bust the news on FB.  I text my friends.  I am so happy.  Today couldn't have been better.  M bathed him for me as he has fleas, and was so dirty.  He has a few scratches from fights with other animals (I assume), but none are infected or really severe.  I call the vet to get him in, and they say that he is eating and drinking, so there is no immediate medical emergency, and that they can get him in on Tuesday.  I spent the entire evening tonight with him.  He won't leave my side.  I've been coaxing him to eat.  He has spent the entire evening on my lap.  I get up to go somewhere, he follows me.  I get Vampire ready for bed, he sits right outside the bathroom.

M goes to the garage to unplug the baby monitor I have had in there for the past 21 days (and have attracted all sorts of critters from kitties to opossums with the food I have in my "trap").  I am in the bedroom near the other half of the monitor, and I hear, "I'm so happy Bombaata is home.  I love you."  Then he unplugs the monitor, and I shut off my end.  I can begin to let go of the turmoil of sitting at the back door waiting for him, being afraid to be away from the house in case he comes home, and being sad that it is raining, and I don't know if he has shelter or not.  The relief is immense.  I am so very happy.

I am concerned about how thin he is.  He was in the early signs of renal failure last year, and I hope this hasn't made it worse.  He is so weak.  He has been sleeping a lot.  I hope that in time, he will rebound from it.  He isn't any spring chicken, though.  He will be 13 in March.  Whatever happens, I am glad he is home.  I am glad that from here on out, I will be able to be there for him.  He won't have to go through it alone.  I will be there to hold his paw, and comfort him.  I am so very thankful to have finally found him.  The girls are thrilled that he is home.  M is thrilled to see me smiling again.  My parents are happy.  Life is good.

20 minutes after he was home

A shot to show you how thin he is.

After bath, and laying on my lap for awhile.

Skin and bones, I hope to get him healthy again.

Aunt TT

Friday, September 2, 2011

When life gives you lemons... throw them right back at him.  Well it backfired on me this time.  He threw them back at me and now I'm sporting a bruised ego and spiraling into a black bottomless pit.  Why you may ask?  What can be so horrible in life?  Well...

1.  My beloved cat still isn't home.  As of tonight, he will have been gone for 14 days.  Last night he was gone one day for every precious year I spent with him.  13.  I woke in the middle of the night and could have sworn I felt his weight on my body.  As he used to stretch out across me and snuggle with me.  I cried.  Realizing I may never feel him with me again.  Be able to scratch his shoulders like he liked or feel the comfort of him by my side after a hard day.  To those of you who aren't animal lovers, I know you may not understand the depth of my loss.  You may not understand why I mourn a cat.  But he was one of my best friends.  He may have just been a stupid animal to you, but he was a faithful friend, and very much like a child to me.  This is really hard for me.

2.  The scholarship that we were accepted for by the Dept. of Education in the State of Ohio has been taken from us.  Why you ask?  Due to the way the custody papers read.  A school that is not in academic probation paid for DQ to go to school last year, b/c that was the district that her biological mother lived in when she left the children.  The state of Ohio informed me on Wednesday that we are now NOT eligible for the scholarship.  She explained that this happens to 3-4 people a year, and I'm just one of those people.  This is heartbreaking for me.  My only option is to fight to get the school district that her mother used to live in to drop us and refuse to pay for us, get the district we do live in to pay for us, and re-apply for the scholarship next year if the stars are aligned in all the right positions, and I dance a little jig in my underwear, on the 6th Tuesday of the 14th month of the year.  OK... so I am being dramatic.  But I do have quite a few hoops to jump through, and none of them are easy.

3.  One of the ladies I work with just lost her 26 year old nephew in a tragic motorcycle accident.  My heart goes out to the family.  It is a very sad story indeed as the car he ran into was being driven by a 19 year old girl.  She is being charged with a 2nd degree misdemeanor of vehicular homicide.  The 26 year old boy leaves behind a pregnant girlfriend, and a family who loved him very much.  As well as many friends, etc.  Very sad situation.  She has been out of work, and I do understand that she does need to be, but it puts a lot more stress on my all ready broad shoulders.

Now....  I will end this on a good note and discuss the good in my life.  As I know it isn't all horrible.  I apologize to my friends and loved ones if I have been moody, and irritable.  I am just under so much stress right now.  I am so very depressed at the loss of my furry little guy.  Please bear with me.

1.  The co-worker who's grand children were nearly killed by a drunk driver last Thursday has given us a ray of good news.  The 1 year old's eye socket was shattered, but she is healing very nicely.  The children have been at home since Monday night.  The 2 year old has a shaved head, and has to wear a helmet due to the bones in her skull having to be removed, and the holes they had to drill to keep the pressure off, but she is recovering as well.  She misses her hair, but hair will grow back.  The impt. thing is they are alive, there was no paralysis, no brain damage, and the wounds they did suffer will heal.

2.  My children are healthy and happy.  DQ isn't taking this move very hard.  I nearly cried when she said goodbye to her friends, but she just smiled and said goodbye.  She is excited to start at the public school on Tuesday, and hoping that her friend Gabby from her old school will be there.  She has been a real trooper.  No complaining.  No whining.  Just going with the flow and trusting that I am trying to do my best by her.  Vampire is doing fairly well.  She is still stubborn and obstinate, but she has had only 1 biting day out of 10.  She is talking a little clearer.  She loves for me to spray my "fume" on her, but I refuse to know what she is talking about until she says "perfume".  I know...  it's so stinking cute when she calls it "fume" but I can't let her be lazy with her speech.  I have to resist the temptation to enable her. 

3.  M is healthy.  I can't say he is happy right now watching me mourn the loss of my cat, and watching me fall apart under the stress that I try to appear so brave about to everyone else, but he is hanging in there.  His allergies have been bothering him, but he doesn't complain about it often, and just tries the OTC meds to help himself feel better.  His cousins will be down this weekend, and I think it will be good for him to spend some time with them.

4.  I am healthy.  I haven't had much of an appetite, or been able to sleep very well, but I am healthy.  I don't have any life threatening diseases, and for that I am so thankful. 

5.  Lil Bit and Hobie are healthy.  Lil Bit isn't as loving toward me as Bombaata was, but I have hope that she may grow to be more lovable with time and patience.  My heart longs for another cat since I am afraid my boy is lost to me, but I just can't do that right now.

6.  I still have my job.  My employers are flexible with all of the insanity I have had to deal with recently.  I am so grateful for them.

7.  I have some pretty great friends.  I love them, and am so thankful for them.

8.  I have some pretty wonderful family members.  I love them and I am thankful for them.

So I guess the good outweighs the bad.  I have 3 bad things compared to 8 good things.  I just get so overwhelmed with the stress of it all sometimes.  I do apologize!

Aunt TT

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The search continues.

Since Monday, the Vampire has had good days at school.  I am knocking on wood right now, because I don't want that statement to backfire on me.  She has been more articulate, and imaginative.  I asked her where Bombaata was, and she says, "The Forest."  So I say which forest? 
V: "the one behind the trees." 
Me: "OK.  Show me where it is because I want to go look for him." 
V: "oh no mom.  You don't want to go there."
Me: "why not?  I want to find the kitty."
V: "there are alligators in there!"
Me: "there are?  OH NO!  How will Bombaata survive all of that?"
V: "with his claws mommy.  He will claw them."
Me: "oh.  Good.  I miss him."
My mom brought her birthday present by on Tuesday, and some of the present was new undies.  You would think that my mom gave this child the world on a silver platter.  She wears them and smiles from ear to ear.  She just had to fold them and put them all away this morning to.  That's my perfectionism shining in her I guess.

DQ is loving school.  She had an attitude with me yesterday when I picked her up, but aside from that, she's been doing great.  She hasn't complained about the uniforms yet, and says there is a little girl in 2nd grade with the very same Twinkle Toes shoes, and the very same name!  I told her that those shoes must be shoes for little girls with her name.  She just giggled at me.  I am buying fun and funky tights when I find them on sale for her to wear thru the fall/winter/spring months when it is colder.  She HAS to wear a skirt, and I know my legs would be freezing!  I found a sheer white pair with silver hearts for a dollar the other day.  Her school uniform colors are navy blue, light blue, white and gold.  So I'm keeping my eye out for tights in that color family.  They don't make many in those colors for girls!  LOL.  M has been taking DQ and my cousin (who also got accepted, and rec'd the scholarship) to school, and I have been picking them up.  My aunt said she will pick them up this Thurs and Fri. however, and that really helps.  Pick up takes my entire lunch break if I don't get in the front of the line, and parents line up as much as an hour early!  It's really crazy.  I guess they can't wait to get their kiddos home from school. 

Bombaata is still missing.  Last night was his 5th full night out in the wilds of the world.  We distributed 50 flyers with his photo, and info, and my number on them last night.  The girls helped, and had fun running up to houses and putting the flyers in the mailboxes.  We met a few of our neighbors, and talked a little bit.  We saw a cat that looks similar to him, and chased him down under a bush, only to realize it wasn't him.  It looks very similar, and my heart was in my stomach to think that I had found my baby, and find out it wasn't him.  The guy that owned the cat says, "you want him?  He's neutered."  I nearly started crying and said, "No.  I'm sorry.  I want my baby to come home."  We had a huge thunder and lightening storm last night, and I hardly slept for worrying about him out in it all.  Tuesday night we put a baby monitor and a bowl of food in the garage and left the door up a little bit.  At 12:30 we heard the munchings and crunchings of an animal eating it, and both M and I ran outside to see if it was Baata.  Sadly, this was another near miss.  It was the neighbor's cat.  He didn't come back for the rest of the night either.  I drove to the pound yesterday and looked at all the cats in the cages to make sure one of them wasn't him.  I left in tears thinking of all those cats in need of homes.  Some of them were in rough shape, having been hit by cars, or attacked by other animals and lying in the cages with the cones on their heads.  It was rough to see, but necessary.  Very sobering.  Reminded me that Baata might never come home.  I cried my entire drive home.

Gas prices soared overnight here.  It's sad.  They blame it on the impending hurricane, but I figure it has to do with the approaching holiday.  Prices took a 50 cent hike here overnight.  I'm glad I filled up yesterday.  M's allergies have been bugging him pretty bad.  I feel awful for him.  August is always hard on him.  There isn't much I can do, though.  He has been helping me hunt for my kitty, and I know it's probably even worse that we have the windows open at home.  I just can't do another $300.00 gas/electric bill.  Not with all the other expenses we have right now.

Labor day weekend will be here soon.  We have some housework to get done, as we will have house guests that weekend.  I need to get an extra key made (or borrow my key from Aunt T. for the weekend) for the guests to have as they will be here while we're still in work/school/daycare mode.  My hopes of having the basement painted a color other than white will more than likely not happen, but we plan on heading to Menards and looking around as I hear they have better paint prices than the other home improvement stores.  But the basement is fairly clean, and needs just a few more touches to be perfect.  Dance class starts the weekend of 9/12.  DQ is excited to begin.  V hasn't said much of anything but I'm sure that if I mention it to her she will be excited.  Both girls have randomly said, "mommy?"  I say, "yes?" then they say "i love you."  It happens quite a lot lately, and makes me feel like I am doing right by them.  They are happy, and comfortable, and want to tell me they love me.  They're my girls right now.  I think it makes M a little bit jealous, but I told him that when they're older, they will be daddy's girls, so let me enjoy the love right now.  I also tell them that Daddy loves them, and wants their love too, so I'm not trying to hog them or exclude him.

M and I finished the huge project we were working on when Baata escaped.  The total cost of the project would have been $130.00, but I had coupon codes for 50% off, and free shipping, which reduced the total price down to $52.00.  I'm really stoked to get them in the mail (around 9/3) and I can't WAIT to give them as gifts..... and see ours.  We worked really hard on it, and put a lot of love into it.  If you want to see what I am talking about, just tell me, and I'll send you a link.  Unless you are my mom or M's mom.  I won't be showing you now what I will be giving to you in December.  Sorry!

Aunt TT

Monday, August 22, 2011

Elation and Depression

Friday I took DQ shopping for school.  Spent around $45.00 for supplies, and $120.00 on school uniforms.  The skirts alone cost $40.00 apiece.  I about fell over.  I will be trying to buy the rest on consignment from now own.  SHEESH!  I was in complete sticker shock.  I bought two skirts, and 5 shirts, and figured I will just be doing a lot of laundry.

M and I are working on a project for Christmas, and spent the rest of Friday working on it.  All I can really say is a friend of mine recently did one of these and it turned out fantastic (Thanks Nic), and I got the crazy idea to do one as well.  I would tell you what it is, but it would ruin Christmas presents for people so I must skirt around the subject.  M and I have been working hard on the project.  Friday night we snapped some more photos for it, and were doing everything that needed to be done while the girls played hide and seek.  Their version of hide and seek is one stands in the kitchen, while the other runs to us and says, "HIDE ME!".  So we alternate helping the other one hide, then tell the one in the kitchen (who is supposed to be counting, but has given up on that) that the "hidee" is ready, and the game commences.  Switch "seeker" and "hidee" and repeat.  While we did that Friday night...  someone opened my back door, and left it open.  My cats (all two of them.  Bombaata and Lil Bit) got out.  We didn't know they were missing until sometime the next day.  I was so tired, and I haven't been feeling well, that I didn't even know my cat was missing.  I have really beat myself up over this.

Bombaata is 13.5 years old.  He's my baby.  He and I have been through hell and back together.  I am so broken-hearted over this.  We found Lil Bit on Saturday shortly after we realized they were missing.  She is safely back in the house.  Baata on the other hand... is still gone.  I spent the better part of the weekend alternating between crying my eyes out and waiting by the back door for him, to being hopeful and searching the neighborhood for him.  I hope and pray he comes home soon.  I yelled at the Vampire because she was smiling and telling me that he probably got hit by a car on Saturday.  I snapped.  I was distraught, and it hit me wrong.  The fact that I am human and I make mistakes came shining through when I yelled at her, "what are you?  Psychotic?" and stormed off out of the room.  I have felt very bad about this.  I apologized to her that evening, and hugged her.  I told her that mommy is very sad that my kitty is gone, and that I was angry with her for playing with the door when she knows she shouldn't.  When you are a parent... it is so hard NOT being perfect sometimes.  I also beat myself up over this.

That is the bit of depressing news that took up my entire weekend.  Now for the good news...  DQ started school today!   She was accepted to the Private school.  I am really happy with the Private School thus far.  It is more individualized.  I got to spend time with her today on her first day and meet the teachers, etc.  It is a lovely school as well.  I am so excited for her.  We have been sweating bullets trying to figure out if she was accepted for the scholarship or not for the past few weeks.  Checking the mailbox like a woman in the 1920's waiting to hear from her love who is away at war.  Well today...  we got news that she HAS been approved for the scholarship.  Now I don't have to sell a kidney to pay for her schooling.  Kidding of course, but it is pricey.  Now we can relax a little and be thankful that at least she will get a good education.  I mean heck... they teach the kids stringed instruments in 1st grade there!  They have to wear uniforms, but she looks so stinking cute in her uniform.  It is a world apart from the local public schools.  I know it won't be perfect, but I am so glad we made this choice!

Vampire had a rough day at school today.  The teachers think she was tired, but I think it is b/c the extra teacher has been moved out of the classroom.  She bit twice, and bragged about one of the bites to another class mate.  I have a feeling this week will be rough, and wonder how well she will do w/o the extra teacher.  She had to stay in her bedroom and play with a limited number of toys as punishment for biting.  The weekend at home wasn't perfect due to the disruption of my kitty being gone, and my anger/sadness in dealing with it.  But I really don't think that was the major factor in her biting today.  She is testing the waters w/o the 3rd teacher.  Seeing how far she can push things.  She likes to be in control, and she has learned how to control thru the biting... Our therapist suggested that we don't try to get V into the private school with DQ next year if she is still struggling with her aggression, etc.  There is a school in town for autistic children, and she has suggested that we try that.  So we do have options next year if it looks like she isn't ready for the general population yet. 

So begins a new chapter in our lives.  I'm praying and hoping that my kitty comes home.  I'm supporting my little 1st grader (can't believe she's in first grade all ready).  I'm hoping and praying that V will understand that being in control isn't always the best thing at the age of 4, and will stop trying so hard to manipulate people.  She is SUPPOSED to start Kindergarten next fall too.  So we have a lot of work ahead of us to get her ready for that.  Of course there is work, and getting ready for up coming holidays in the mix (Labor Day fun with Martin's family), but that is what we are up to right now.  And aside from my kitty being gone...  and V having hurt people today... I wouldn't change it for the world.

Aunt TT

Monday, August 15, 2011

School Daze

Oh it's that lovely time of year.  It has crept up on me.  I can't fathom where the summer has gone.  It is lost in a haze of work, ridiculously hot temperatures, breaking up fights between V and DQ that seem to be never ending.  Seriously!  Let's fight about who touched the hair brush last, or who gets to sit on what side of the table, or maybe the best one yet... who didn't flush the toilet.  *Sigh*  The summer of fighting!  Love.  It.  I do however unsarcastically LOOOOOVE that this is my last week to pay for daycare for DQ!  Woo Hooo!  We survived the summer with out bouncing any checks, and with very little plasma donation!!!

So now is the pre-school push.  I should have done more this weekend but that would have required taking a shower and leaving the house... and this weekend I was a total hermit!  PLUS...  since DQ will more than likely be going to a private school that she has never attended, and I didn't have the "list" of what she would need...  I didn't want to have to make two trips.  Hence the procrastination!  But now that there is a week left till the start of school....  UGH!  I do have the list after meeting with the principal.  No more excuses TT.  Just get it done. 

OK... I see your confusion.  DQ will be going to a private school (which I have to pay for) versus public school (which is "free") and I complain regularly about having the dough to pay for daycare!?!?!  Well there is a loophole!   And DQ qualifies to be one of the kids in that loophole!  Why you may wonder?  Well because our public school systems are systematically under performing.  Yup.  You heard me right.  Our schools are NOT meeting the basic criteria outlined by our state gov't.  You might not think it's such a big deal at the elementary level... but folks!  This is when kids learn to read.  This is when children learn basic math skills that like a flaky buttery delicious biscuit aren't complete without the many layers (years) piled on top of each other of math knowledge (aka buttery flakey goodness).  You can not build a good house w/o a good foundation.  So to me... elementary years are the foundation of an education.  These years are very important!  So the girls will have the best I can give them. 

Now... to the loophole.  We are (anxiously.. but trying not to appear anxious) awaiting word if we have been accepted for this scholarship.  We should know by the end of this week.  DQ has been accepted to the private school (way to go sweetie!   I knew you could do it!!!), and is slotted to start the week of 8/22.  We just don't know how we are going to pay for it if we don't get the scholarship.  I have been thinking positive thoughts.  I have been praying.  I have been hoping.  I have been hanging in the balance.  Whatever the outcome, I am positive that we will make the best with what we are given.  If I am good at nothing else in life... I am good at that.  I have decent credit and can get a loan if it comes down to that.  We will survive!  I will keep you all in tune to what we learn.

Tomorrow is a care conference meeting for the Vampire at her daycare.  She has been doing well these past two weeks, and we have been trying to fill her days with nothing but sunshine and happiness.  It isn't always easy as she is still obstinate, and has to go right when told to go left, but we are learning new coping mechanisms every day, and implementing them.  I hope to video and post her singing this "baby bumblebee" song.  If you were ever a Girl Scout, then I am certain you have heard it, but it is so stinking cute when she sings it.  I can't help but grin from ear to ear.  I will try to post that this week amongst all of DQ's back to school stuff.  I should probably charge my camera battery first...

This time of year... pretty much every year... I get the remodeling bug.  I haven't touched the basement much since I moved in, and I am finally getting started on that.  The hot pink and yellow walls are now white.  The red pole, and one wood colored paneling wall leading to the basement are now white.  A nice clean primer white... till Uncle M put his dirty hands all over it....  But that's OK.  It was easy to clean up.  We are kicking around making them a light beige and a deep navy blue when we have the extra $$ to buy paint.  M has this theater room in his mind that he would love to bring to life.  Our ideas of decorating aren't always on the same page but thus far we have been able to agree to disagree.  We shall see what the basement will become.  I want to tile the entire thing as we have had leaking issues, and it will hold up best.  He however can't fathom tile in a "living area" and would prefer to put down lanolium tiles or the click together wood flooring... but I can't stand to spend the money if it might get wet and damaged.  But there is no use dealing with it now as Lowes won't give us any flooring based on our terribly good looks (ha ha ha).

So that is what is going on in my very discombobulated mind!  I hope your summers have been well!!!

Aunt TT

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The past two weeks.

The last week of July, the Vampire decided to finish it with a bang.  She bit at least one person 3 out of the 5 days, hit on yet another day, then had a great day on Friday.  I don't entirely understand why.  She didn't have bad mornings, the evenings weren't bad.  But her aggression came out full force.  I stooped to bribery.  I told her that IF she can keep from hurting others...  she and I would go and do something together, just us.  She seemed thrilled at the possibility, and every day at work, I kept hoping that today was the day.  I was actually very sad that I couldn't go do something fun with her due to her unacceptable behavior.  She seemed sad, but would resume her aggression the next day.

Finally on Friday, she had her good day.  We spent a little time together one on one at Greek Fest (which happens to be next door to our house, once a year).  Uncle M. and DQ, walked over and we all got some food, then ate dinner together.  I can't explain what switch was flipped in her little head, and why she decided to begin acting less aggressive....  but since then, she has been a much better little girl.

DQ lost another tooth.  This is tooth number 5.  She has the sweetest little toothless grin. 

This is what I get when I ask the Vampire to smile.   LOL.

I am fighting with our local school system.  They re-organized the schools in the district, and DQ is not going to be attending the school she went to last year.   She will instead be going to a school that is on Academic Probation.  I am not thrilled about this.  I called a local private school to get her enrolled there, and learned that there are actually scholarships for kids who, like DQ are assigned to go to a school on Academic Probation.  This scholarship will pay her tuition to go to private school instead.  I am now on pins and needles waiting to hear if she will be accepted to the school and the scholarship.  I don't know if we will be able to do the same for the Vampire next year, but I am hoping so.  This school is a very good school, and has great test ratings.  I hope we can make this happen.

Camping photos:
The too tight goggles

Pilot Vampire reporting for duty SIR.

My Sweet Vampire and her 4th birthday cupcake!

DQ Enjoying S'mores

Greenhouse / Garden

At 8:00p.....   yeah.

Hobie in Action!

Lil Bit - found her napping in my bedding.  Sat beside her for 20 minutes before I knew she was there.

Lil Bit and her mouse - she still plays Fetch!

 Local Water park - M got some good shots!

DQ in the water

Vampire ready to spray someone!

I love this shot.

 Late July Garden shots:

The greenhouse....  didn't yield as many fruits and veggies as I would have hoped.  We have had much more luck with the little garden we planted just outside the house.  This summer has been so hot, and I think it may have been too warm in the greenhouse.  M and I will have to clean it out soon.  I wish I had thought of planting pumpkins in early July!   Bah!

Anyway that should bring you up to speed of the last few weeks.   Enjoy!!!

Aunt TT

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Picture Perfect Moment

I wish I had my camera at ready this morning.  I dropped Vampire off at her school first, like I usually do.  DQ's school is on the way to my work, so I find it's easier to drop V off first, then DQ second.  There was a little girl at Vampire's school.  She was with her mommy, and she was very upset that her mommy was leaving.  OK... she was more than very upset - she was hysterical.  Both of my girls stared at her.  I think they were a little afraid due to the screaming this little girl was doing, and they could just sense something was wrong.  I believe this child is autistic, or could have a slight mental retardation, but a child doesn't always understand these things as an adult does, and can't always process the logic of it all.  Vampire shook it off pretty quickly and went to be with her teacher.  DQ on the other hand was pretty shaken up by it all.  She clung to me on the way to the car.  I teased her that I was running behind getting to work, and she was just going to have to walk from Vampire's daycare to her own, and that she had better start walking.  She knew I was teasing and laughed and said, "no... you walk to work!"

We got in the car and drove the short distance to DQ's daycare.  I walked her to the door.  Told her to enjoy her field trip today.  I kissed her on top of her head and hugged her.  She seemed preoccupied.  I sensed that she was thinking of the hysterical little girl.  I asked her if it scared her a bit.  She said it did.  I told her that I believe the little girl could have something different going on in her mind, than what DQ and I have, that she thinks differently, and is more distressed that her mom is leaving than what DQ and Vampire are.  By this time - we are at the door.  She hugs me then walks into the daycare.  I call out that I love her - and get no response.  She is getting to the age where parental displays of affection are only welcomed when she wants them.  I checked her in, then walked back to my car.  As I am climbing into my car, I hear the door to the daycare open, and I look back.  There stands my sweet little girl.  Tan from playing outside during the summer.  Missing her top front tooth on the left side, and a bottom tooth just under it.  She has a pretty red white and blue shirt on the M's mom bought for her.  Her hair is parted down the center and lays in two braids on either side of her shoulders.  She smiles that toothless grin I have come to love so well.  I smile.  I wave.  I blow her a kiss.  She simply holds her hands up in the sign language gesture of I Love You.  I do the same, my heart bursting with a love I never knew I could have.  Then she dances off to play with the other kids.  I wish I could have photographed that with my camera.  But I have put it down in writing, and now I will be able to see the image when I re-read this blog post.

In the last week, Vampire has not bit anyone (cheer).  She has however still been aggressive.  She hits, pushes, kicks, pinches.  The daycare keeps working through it all with her.  She has been pushing buttons at home.  She picks at DQ.  She uses way more toilet paper than she is supposed to and she will stop up the toilet, and when asked why, she will smile that knowing smile and shrug her shoulders.  On Sunday - she urinated on my couch.  She flat out sat there and peed on my couch.  I asked her why she felt that it was OK to pee on my couch instead of getting up and going to the restroom.  She said it was because she didn't want to have to miss watching Scooby Doo.  It was about 1/2 hour before her bedtime anyway, so I showered her and put her to bed.  I told her that if she had not peed on herself, and my couch that she could have finished watching the movie.  She cried herself to sleep.  It was raining yesterday when we were getting ready to leave for daycare.  She insisted that since it was raining she had to wear a jacket - and she pulled the hood up over her head.  It was so cute.  M began to argue with her that it was too hot for a jacket, but I stopped him and said that if she wanted to wear a jacket in 90 degree weather - we should let her make that decision.  It wouldn't be for long.  It's not a major battle to fight, like if she wanted to go to school nude!  And finally - she would learn before too long just how hot it gets in a jacket in extreme heat like we have been having.

DQ has been telling me she loves me at random intervals at home.  She will just say, "mommy?"  I say, "yes sweetie?"  Then she says, "I love you."  And I tell her I love her too.  It makes me feel as if I am doing something right that this child wants to tell me she loves me, and that she isn't expecting anything but an 'I love you too' in return.  My love for her and her sister is so fierce.... it would crush me if anything ever happened to either of them.  DQ is still coming along in her reading.  She has been reading one book off and on all summer, and likes to talk to me about it sometimes.  I enjoy these times with her.  I can't believe school will be starting in a few weeks.  Summer seems to have come and gone all ready!

I must bring you up to speed with what has been happening with my sister.  She called mom and I last Friday around noon.  She wanted to tell us that she is sorry for not having texted in awhile.  She didn't have a cell phone any longer and she had "fallen on hard times".  She said that the number she called from wasn't a good number to reach her at, so don't call back - but she wanted to tell the kids that she loves and misses them, and that she is sorry for everything.  Mom and I corresponded about it all.  We have very good, open lines of communication.  We did the same thing we usually do... by tucking the knowledge away and moving on with our lives raising these children.  Yesterday however, I received a call from a number that merely appeared as the area code.  I thought it odd that only three digits showed up on my caller ID and answered the phone.  The lady on the other end identified herself as an employee of the child support agency in the state we reside.  She was trying to contact my sister.  She thought this was a number for her, and I told her it isn't.  It is my number (has been since 2003).  She asked if the person she was looking for was indeed my sister, and I confirmed it.  She wanted to know what she does as a profession...  I told her I really couldn't say as the past 8 years she has just done odd jobs, or collected scrap metal as an income.  She asked if I knew where she was living...  I told her that the last I knew, she was living/working in a local motel.  She gave me an address, and asked me if I knew where that was.  I did a reverse look up...  it's right down the street from where I work.  The motel she was living in was that close...  The child support employee then asked if I knew where she could be located now.  I told her that I'm sorry, I didn't.  I told her that she contacted us on Friday from a number but told us how it wasn't a good contact for her.  Her response was..."imagine that."  She then asked if I get any new contact information, could I please call her and give it to her as they are going to take my sister to court b/c she is so behind in the child support she owes on these three children.

I can tell you honestly that my heart is so torn.  So very torn.  I love my sister.  I wish she could pull herself up out of this lifestyle.  I know that she will never get ahead now... owing so much in child support.  I also know that it was entirely her choice to leave.  It was her choice to walk away from these kids.  The only support we get from the state is medical insurance for all three of these kids.  We don't get food stamps.  We don't get daycare assistance.  We get medical insurance... which I can say is priceless, but the state pays for that.  The child support that my sister owes then.... is not due to us, it is due to the state.  The state isn't independently wealthy.  They have to get money to pay for these things from somewhere.  Where do you think it comes from when at least 1/2 of these parents don't pay child support regularly?  That's right.  Taxpayers.  John and Jane Q. Public.  So should the state have a right to pursue her for support?  In the end - I decided yes.  I did a reverse look up on the phone number she had called from on Friday.  It was another motel.  This one is a little further away.  So I called the child support worker back.  I got her voice mail, and I left her a message with the phone number, the motel she MIGHT be staying at now, and the residue of my guilt on having to do this to my own sister.

So again, I am feeling a little guilty.  I am wishing that I could find that magic road to making more money so that I could adopt these girls and negate the need for the state paying for their medical insurance.  It just isn't in the cards right now.  How could it be with the daycare tuition being as high as it is for both girls?  Again the question of having a child of my own floats into my mind, and more and more... I feel that even if I could conceive a child.  I couldn't afford to care for it anyway.  So thus is my life.  I'm hitting another valley on this roller coaster ride... but it won't be too long before I'm flying down the hill again, smiling as the wind caresses my face, and the world flies past me so fast that everything but my joy and happiness is just a blur.

Aunt TT

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Not the end of the world....

.....  but still so hard to cope with.  I'm so afraid that the Vampire is autistic.  Yes.  I understand it is not the end of the world.  I still love her.  I will still fight for her, and do everything I can to support her.  I am past the point of blindly trusting that things will just get better.  She is four, and so strong willed, so aggressive, so problematic!  I don't have much of a basis of comparison, but I know that this is NOT how "normal" children behave.  What am I saying "normal"?  What the heck is "normal" anyway?  Who is "normal"?  I don't think I ever have been.

She is so difficult.  She fights me every step of the way.  I am not the kind of parent who gives into their kids just because they fight for what they want - so every day is this huge fight.  I am so tired of fighting.  She can't seem to understand respect.  She refuses to follow direction.  She can not be quiet.  She picks at DQ to the point that DQ can't stand to be around her.  If Vampire breathes in DQ's general direction, it's a fight.  So M and I are always playing referee.  She peed herself multiple times yesterday at daycare.  She can go weeks without peeing herself, then suddenly she thinks it's OK to sit around in urine soaked undies.  They have been able to keep the biting at a minimum but only b/c they have a 3rd adult in the room that is Vampire's constant shadow.  So the biting is diminishing, but the aggression is still kind of hardcore.  She was pretty much a bully on her birthday.  I hate thinking that my kid is "the bully".  I keep seeing more and more ASD symptoms in the Vampire that terrify me.  I don't want her to be like her older brother.  I love Z-man, but it is so hard to communicate with him.  I feel like a horrible person for admitting that, but his autism is so very difficult to cope with, and I fear that Vampire is going down the very same path.  I fear being exhausted, and fighting her for the rest of my life.

Z-man was at our house on Weds when I got home from work b/c M had picked him up from his therapy.  Backtracking further...  Z-man's therapy takes place at the Vampire's daycare.  So I come home to chaos (after a craptastic day where I spent my lunch break crying after being treated like crap by a salesman at the other store).  Z-man has this really whiny voice when he is upset.  It's this mixture of yelling/crying/whining.  He is nearly incomprehensible when he does this.  His speech isn't "normal" to begin with, but this is off the charts.  My mom is off work by now and picking him up from our place.  He is doing that yell/cry thing at her because he can't find his socks.  I help him find them, by moving the couch - just knew they were under there.  Five to ten minutes later, he seems calm, in control, and I start talking to him about his day.  I learn from mom that he visited a local kids camp (where I went to camp in 6th grade), and try to talk to him about the zip line, and this really cool swing they have.  He flat out clams up.  He WILL NOT speak to me.  He won't look at me.  He won't acknowledge me.  I know it is part of the autism, but I am still a little heartbroken.  Here I think I can connect with the kid by talking about something from my past that maybe he did today, and he's just mentally gone.  Like he mentally crawled into a hole, and refuses to come back out.  I get down on his level, make eye contact, and try to talk to him.  He just looks away and begins doing something else.  He and mom leave a little while later.  He doesn't even say good bye to me when I tell him goodbye.  I give him a quick hug.  I am lost, and can't understand why he clammed up on me as mom says he had a really good time on the swing, and had a good day.  I try not to take it personally, but it's so hard.  I feel like I just lost years of respect with this kid because he chose NOT to talk to me, and there was nothing I could do to convince him otherwise.  He was so oppositional towards me.

The Vampire exhibits the same traits.  She has been doing the highly annoying yell/cry/whine thing.  She is incomprehensible when she does it.  She has always been aggressive like Z-man was before he was placed on medicine.  She was up at 6:15 this morning and was told she could play quietly in her bed since she is wide awake and can't go back to sleep.  I was trying to get ready for work.  M wanted to sleep in a little bit.  It's like she didn't even hear me tell her to be quiet twice and M tell her once.  She's out of her bed running around giggling, yelling, laughing.  I love to see her have fun, but can she do it quietly?  No.  DQ is being mostly quiet.  V isn't even trying.  I tell them to get back in their beds, that I don't want to hear another peep.  I get done with my shower, and can still hear all the ruckus.  I can't always re-direct them.  I can't always sit down on the floor to play with them.  I snap and tell them that if I hear anything else from them I will swat their bottoms and put them back in bed.  I go back to getting ready for work.  Now they are creeping into the bathroom saying they have to potty.  I tell them one at a time.  They both take their sweet time, and fool around.  I'm just trying to get done so I can be out the door and to work on time.  It is a stressful start to the day.

It's not always like this.  Today is just a bad day.  I'm tired.  Work has been stressful.  Life has been stressful the past few weeks.  I'm a miserable failure when it comes to dieting as I eat in times of stress.  Hello chocolate!  It's just one of those days where you wish you could crawl into bed and stay there for awhile.  For those who aren't up on my blog - YES.  I have had the Vampire tested for ASD.  They told me she COULD have it, but aren't going to diagnose as she has been diagnosed with PTSD.   M doesn't think she is autistic.  I don't know if he is right or in denial.  I really haven't been able to figure that out yet. 

In more positive news today marks three weeks since I have heard from their biological mom.  The bills are all paid for the month of June.  I still have a job and I still work with a (mostly, except for the salesman at the other store) wonderful group of people.  M still has a job, and although he has not received the raise he expected, he does still enjoy the job and the folks he works with.  Vampire is in the best daycare she could possibly be in.  DQ seems to be enjoying her summer daycare.  We are healthy.  There is a new Conan movie due out later this year.  My new sewing machine works well (and is quieter than my old one for some reason).  Thanks again to M and his family for my sewing machine gift.  Love you all.  We have decided on Halloween costumes for this fall.  I just need to get busy sewing them.  My cell phone still works although I have dropped it countless times.  My pets are healthy, and the best companions a person could ask for.  My car is still running, and I did not ruin my brakes hauling the camper on back roads last weekend.  We never go without food, and the girls have plenty of clothes.  Zombies have not yet taken over the world.  There is a public (supposedly free) online school that I can enroll DQ in if all else fails, and I can't get her into the school I want.  I'm a fan of homeschool anyway, and wish that I could be a stay at home mom to provide that to these kids, but that's just not how the cookie crumbles.  My favorite ink pen still works.  My loved ones are alive and healthy.  Focus on the positives.  Just focus on the positives.

Aunt TT