Brain Babble

It’s been a rough week. I can’t lie about that but I certainly want to.

Multiple issues Sunday and Monday, a couple this morning. Perhaps one of the most disheartening realizations was the fact that, even though I knew I shouldn’t go on rollercoasters, I will never be on another one as long as I’m alive and  “healthy”. I tried swinging next to my daughter. Swinging, you know, on a swing set? My favorite part as a kid was always that arc right before you got too high and the sing started jumping. I didn’t even make it to that part before “something” happened and I almost fell out of the swing. No swings for me. No rollercoasters. That family trip to Six Flags my husband and I have been planning for when the kids got older just got thrown out the window.

But, hey, even just typing about it I started to get upset and get a little dizzy, but that could just be my medication kicking in.

My husband met his daughter, finally, after being denied for so long by her mother! From what my husband relayed to me and from what I saw myself on her social media stuff… my husband was right in that he made quite a positive impression on both his daughter and her soon-to-be-stepdad. He made enough of an impression on the latter that it has caused his ex some second thoughts in regards to whether or not she wants to indeed marry her third child’s baby-daddy. Interesting creatures, people.

I need to go in to my neurologist, the twitches in my hand keep getting worse. I don’t know if it’s related or not but I am forgetting and mixing up words I shouldn’t be. I can’t help but feel like I started going downhill super fast in one way once the medication was started for something else. What if the seizures are an allergic reaction to the medication? What if I’m not as sick as she thinks or it’s not what she thinks? I’m being hopeful, I’m trying not to be naive, I’m trying to ask questions so I don’t end up like a vegetable for the rest of my kids’ childhoods.

There’s so much in my head, but I am so tired. My sleep has not been restful at all the last few weeks. or maybe just two weeks, I’ve lost count. It’s my body, adapting to the medication.

Even now, I can feel the fire in my hands under my skin has returned. It makes me want to take an ice bath, and I hate the cold, normally the cold hurts. Ah, well,  life goes on.

Hopefully, I’ll be sitting down with my son’s principal tomorrow to discuss why the hell she let a child get away with punching my son in the eye. Accident, my ass. An accident wouldn’t have landed a fist in his eye, instinctually your hands are open when you fall. Just freaking common sense.

I have found myself missing my fellow writers as of late, the ones I used to meet with, and the community of bloggers I was with before I was here. Things keep changing, eh?

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Can I Give You Family For Christmas?

My husband is back by where his ex and his first daughter are. Originally we had thought he wouldn’t be able to come home for my birthday or Christmas. Turns out, we had been wrong and he had been allotted two weeks of time off for the holidays. He started taking measures to come home, spoke of surprising the kids, spun some fanciful tales of bringing his daughter home with him for Christmas so we could ALL finally meet her, not just him. They were just daydreams we spun out, laughed over, and secretly wished were realistic.

When he emailed his ex… he got the typical “Of course you can see her, oh, wait, no you can’t” song and dance he’s had every time he’s tried to meet her.

We talked. We sat in silence on the phone, each of us heartbroken in our own ways in the silence, weighing it down with all the tears we’ve shaded in the past and should know better than to shed now.

“Stay.”

It’s what broke the silence. It was the word that broke my heart and would break the hearts of my kids if or when I tell them the untold story of Christmas 2015.

“If there’s any chance you can finally meet her, you should stay.” This was a bit stronger, and felt with a sincere passion and stubbornness.

If I could have seen him, I know the way he would have looked at me; his eyes a bit more open, his shoulders tensed in surprise and apprehension as he waits to see if I’m going to break down crying.

“You should stay.” I said again.

“Okay. I’ll cancel my leave.”

One sentence… with years of heartbreak, trepidation, disappointment, hope, fear.

I couldn’t say “You both deserve this chance.” It felt too much like telling him to put one side of his family above the other. He’s made my son such a priority, how could I tell him to do any differently in regards to his own daughter?

I just hope that one day, they can both see this and realize I said what I said out of love for them both and in hopes that it would finally bring all facets of our family together into the beautiful jewel it is meant to be.

Those Letters You Never Send…

I’ve written my level headed response to TheEx’s email, something which took me walking away from it several times and probably a good 24 hours.  With that “reasonable response” written, there are a few things left unsaid that I really need to get off my chest.


 

The problem is actually on the return on Sunday… And again it’s not about stressing my schedule… Really? Because “stressing my [your] schedule was a phrase I quoted directly from your previous email regarding this weekend’s normal visitation. It’s about having quality time with Alexander rather than just being in the car or at work or leaving him with a sitter. While it’s nice to see you FINALLY taking an interest in the quality of the time instead of the quantity of the time, the fact that you are contacting me on a Wednesday about your visitation beginning Friday doesn’t show much consideration at all.

I’m suggesting any 5-7 day period during the thanksgiving week that 
a) makes up September, October and November visitation While I appreciate you being willing to move the September visitation on my request, the fact that you are only just now concerned about it’s rescheduling speaks volumes.
b) includes thanksgiving day (it’s my year for that), I am well aware it’s your year for Thanksgiving. Based on the schedule we currently have which was specific to this duty station, mind you, my/ChaosMonkey’s calendar is already scheduled out till his 18th birthday.
c) minimally impacts his school schedule and It shouldn’t impact his school schedule at all, you self-centered ass.
d) doesn’t negatively affect any existing plans you have for time with your family. I would like to make this irrevocably clear: ANY time ChaosMonkey is away from my side of the family negatively impacts said family. I miss him, his siblings miss him, I dare say his stepfather misses him. We all take turns as often as possible when we talk to him on the phone while he’s away. His brother and sister cry and want to know when he’s coming back despite wanting him home right then. We are all HEARTBROKEN when he is away.

Options I see, but am open to other suggestions…

Friday to Friday (20-27) Jump off a cliff. That doesn’t allow us any of his Thanksgiving break to celebrate with him.
Sunday to Sunday (22-29), See Option 1’s response.
Wednesday to Sunday (25-29) and make up November during Christmas… Go fuck your narcissistic self, it’s our year for Christmas/my birthday which I had the option of having him for every year as it is my birthday. I was NICE when I agreed to alternate years with you and you’ve been a lying, manipulative, underhanded, un-child-supportive DICKHEAD.
If the whole thing falls through due to the move, we could also discuss making it all up during Christmas somehow… Though I really dislike the idea of pushing off 3-4 months… See Option 3’s response.

Respectfully, As if you have any idea what that word means.

TheEx


And on the other side of the family…


Dear Husband’s Ex,

Telling us you can’t give us the information to order school pictures for you and TheHubby’s daughter when, in fact, the school sent it home a couple weeks ago and you yourself would not be able to have ordered photos without said info, is outrageous. I shouldn’t be surprised given your colorful history but at the same time I can’t help but expect more from the human side of you, if there’s any left in the bitch that you are.
Sincerely,
Me

When the Ride Ends…

Writing Prompt

After reading the prompt, I couldn’t help myself…

A little personal history with a twist of fiction…


When the Ride Ends…

We met after a band event at an amusement park when I was sixteen. My best friend and I ran into him and his best friend. We were inseparable; hitting the rides together, eating lunch, even just walking around. We parted ways when the day was over with a “See you next year” thrown over my shoulder and my

friend and I didn’t give it much more thought.

“Miss Smith, Miss Johnson, can I see you both in my office for a second.” Our music director had been one of my older brother’s best friends in college so he was always teasing me. I’d had a crush on him when we first met–older, cooler, cuter than guys my age. Now, he was my teacher and was much more of an annoying reminder that I had a family reputation to uphold.

“I received a letter at the school here.” He began. “Inside was a request to hand these off to you ladies,” he continued handing us each an envelope from out of a larger one. “I had meant to give this to you a while back”.

We looked at the envelopes, my friend’s addressed with her name and mine addressed with “For the Friend whom you know to give it to”. Whoever had tracked us down didn’t even know my name…

“I realize this is a bit presumptuous, but given the letter I received with them, I think it’s safe to assume they’re meant for you two.” He smiled that annoying big brother knows a secret kind of smile and dismissed us.

We looked at each other, grinned, and went to find an empty practice room. We closed the door behind us and tore into the envelopes. They were from the guys at the amusement park. We laughed till we cried.

…… Ten Years Later……

Time has a way of changing things, what you consider to be an adventure among them.

I wasn’t galavanting around, living off of my skills as a musician or writer anymore. I was a single mom working three jobs. My adventures these days consisted greatly of watching my child’s eyes go wide with awe as he learned about animals, bugs, science, everything. The antagonist of this journey was his neglectful father.

I still spoke with the young man I met at the amusement park on occasion, but the discussions were few and far between. I didn’t have much time for friends these days. On one of my rare, true days off we reconnected and he offered to take us out to dinner.

We ate and chatted and he told my son what a smart, wonderful kid he was. The evening was wonderful. So, when we got back to the house and I got my little one in bed, he was a bit baffled when I started crying.

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had an evening out I wasn’t working or worried or just trying to make it through. It was nice to feel like a person again. The rest spilled out with the tears, how difficult things had been,how terrible things were with my son’s father even when we had been together.

He held me close, silent, gentle, and strong while I feel apart into the thousands of pieces I was always trying to hold together.

“I’ll take care of this” He whispered into my hair.

I din’t know what he’d meant, what he said didn’t even register until I got the call the next morning.

Seemed my son’s father had been found dead. The police said a lot of things and asked a lot of questions. It seemed like they couldn’t decide if it was gang related or not. There didn’t seem much evidence of violence among the gang members themselves…

The police asked a lot of questions… and when they left… I cried.

 

Can You Be Reasonable With The Unreasonable?

How can you respond reasonably to an unreasonable person? It would seem that is the lesson my son is bound to learn from this summer as we continue to struggle through things with his dad.


Dear Amebic Toad,

Once again, you have put our son in the middle of communications that should be occurring between us.

When I had him call you to discuss his desire to switch his weekend with you from this weekend to another, it was because he is coming to an age where he needs to voice his desires to you himself instead of asking me to act as a conduit. It was not so you could once again try to indoctrinate him into a childhood/lifelong messenger servitude to you.

Plus, given the multitude of miscommunications between the households, it only makes sense to keep the scheduling discussions between the two people who have control over the scheduling.

Not to mention the fact that, as you so succinctly put it, ChaosMonkey is a child. It is not only inappropriate for you to be putting him in the middle of these “discussions”, but it is not emotionally healthy to be submitting him to that kind of emotional stress. He is dealing with more than his fair share of that going between two completely opposite households. Any attempts on your part to communicate through/via ChaosMonkey will be ignored, one reason among the multitude being that he is a child and could easily misunderstand and I would hate to make plans with a child who has misunderstood the situation. *cough cough*

In short, knock it the fuck off, you dickless reptile.

Sincerely,

One Proud and Protective Mama


… I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that he did this, and on our dime nonetheless. If you know a dog bites, don’t be surprised when it does. I just can’t get over how he keeps putting ChaosMonkey in such stressful situations. He’s a kid, a KID, he shouldn’t be a pawn in some control freak’s power struggle over money (I’d say time if ChaosMonkey felt like there was time being spent on him).

My son has come home from his dad’s saying things like “I may as well not even exist till after noon”, or “my dad’s probably not going to show up because he didn’t set his alarm”, or “my dad won’t change because I ask him to”. He has gone through heart broken year after year and he is starting to get angry.

Yes, my husband has gone above and beyond to make him feel like part of the family, and if ChaosMonkey’s dad hadn’t requested visitation (read as reduction of child support) he may very well have truly developed that father-son with Hubby, but when his dad interjected himself and created disappointment after disappointment and stress after stress on our son and I and hence my whole family, it puts this terrible wedge between them.

Hubby is responsible, noble (in his own way), driven to be the best he can be. He expects the same, quite reasonably, from his family. ChaosMonkey tries to live up to that and thrives on the expectations to meet. When he comes home from his dad’s… he’s lost, moody, his self esteem drops, he lashes out. It’s always been difficult but we’re getting to some crucial milestones and how he decides to deal with the situation between his practically warring households will steer so much of his life.

I know he doesn’t feel emotionally safe with his dad or discussing how hurt, ignored, angry, and so on with his dad and he has always been fearful of suggesting things to his dad that would require, frankly, effort. He has told me so many things that he has begged me to not tell his dad because he is afraid his dad will withdraw (not the word he used but it’s the word his mind was going for).

For ChaosMonkey to agree to talk to his dad tonight and not just bow out of what he wanted was huge and I was so proud of him for putting himself out there in that vulnerable position and then his dad does this… and I am still somehow surprised. Why am I surprised that in his narcissism he doesn’t, can’t, or won’t see what he’s doing to our son? Our amazing, talented, compassionate, full of a need to be loved and accepted child?

Yes, he is getting older, and yes, he is extremely smart. He is also extremely, EXTREMELY sensitive to other’s emotions and if you don’t give a fuck he’s gonna know it, and he’s gonna internalize it until he feels like he’s analyzed the shit out of himself and where he went wrong to not be worth you giving a damn. He’s done it, over and over again. Like the summer he kept having panic attacks and I found out later it was because his dad had told him he was going to propose to his then girlfriend, now wife. I don’t know how ChaosMonkey reacted at his dad’s but when I tracked the time back, it coincided with the worst panic attack he’d had during that time which had occurred within 30 minutes of him getting home from his dad’s. And his dad has the NERVE to say that he won’t help with any counseling fees because they must be resulting from MY family? Really? It was terrifying, he was out of control, and could have really hurt his then baby sister.

This summer has basically been one big “you don’t matter” message to ChaosMonkey from his dad and it’s like his dad is trying to pull us into said message with these stupid games he’s playing. I have told ChaosMonkey that certain discussions are to be had between the adults, like scheduling, because they can be so complex. I have told him I will do my best to take care of things, he doesn’t have to worry about it, enjoy being a kid, and his dad pulls this crap.

Laughable

When your ex blames you for miscommunications between his wife and his mother-in-law. LOL It is so… Pitiable. Normal pick up is X o’clock during the summer. I was there at X o’clock. TheEx wasn’t. Not only was he not there but evidently his mother-in-law wasn’t there (he notified me about an hour and a half before pick up she would be the one picking him up despite my expression that I wasn’t comfortable with that). I contact her. No response. I contact him, he says he’ll get back to me. He is NOTORIOUS for not getting back to me. So, I let him know I’m leaving at X:xx if I don’t hear from him. He tells me she’s ten minutes away. I say “okay, I’m leaving in fifteen then.” The husband had an appointment and needed our only car/someone to watch the kids while he tries to supplement our child support free income. Given that he had said she was “10 minutes away” I thought it was fair. Evidently, he didn’t and went off on a tirade. Evidently  that wasn’t exactly accurate, as if that’s any surprise or any detour from his normal less than honest demeanor. At X:xx on the dot, his mother-in-law walked in. I was both really thankful and disappointed; I had no curriculum planned for this week if my son stayed home but I love having him home and so do his siblings. His rantings were still ringing through on my phone but I a) had to get home for Hubby’s appointment and b) they weren’t worth my time and energy at the moment. I just really have to wonder how people don’t see him for what he is. ChaosMonkey is certainly starting to, which is both good and heartbreaking. He told me today he had come to expect his dad to not show up after him doing it for years. 😥 My life revolved around TheEx at one point of my life, as ridiculous as that is, and it seems like TheEx feels like it still should. I don’t think so, Buddy. Get back on your obese unicorn and propel yourself into the setting gaseous mass which is your ego.


Update:

Interesting. In looking over his texts, he claims the “miscommunications wouldn’t happen if you [I] would just be ok with anyone I [The Ex] send (who is related or you approve).” And I need “to understand how damaging your [my] stance is on this is to my [his] relationship with ChaosMonkey. But because of the stress and anger you [I] cause (and I [he} contribute to) during these drop-offs, it would just be better to have a non-biased third party consistently picking him up on my [his] behalf, thus minimizing my anger and frustration with you, and allowing me the space I need to protect ChaosMonkey from seeing these negative emotions.

While reading this, I cannot help but recall how I have been nothing but cordial, kind, congratulatory during our pick ups and drop offs. If they’ve been late and not let me know, I have politely requested, in tone and word choice, that they please let me know next time (his wife’s last response to that was to mumble “well, at least he’s here”). I have made small talk with his wife. My husband and I even bent over backward to drive the full distance to and from his visitation weekend to cover his & her asses because they ‘misunderstood’ that we had agreed to drive the full way one way and not both.

These communications are one of the huge reasons I only feel comfortable dealing with an adult the law holds responsible for ChaosMonkey’s well being. He has refused to give me the full contact info of the caregivers. He makes spiteful, hateful, sarcastic comments about me to ChaosMonkey and within ChaosMonkey’s hearing range. Even when my son and I are talking on the phoneme’s making snippy comments.

Any stress, anger, frustration, that I “contribute to” is over email or text message. If it’s email, I usually have time to emotionally pack it away before the kids can see, but if it’s text message it’s usually on a way to a pick up or a drop off in which case I must exercise immediate, *gasp*, SELF CONTROL (a foreign concept to him as evidenced by his grotesquely obese waistline) and am in the same boat except that ChaosMonkey is usually around me at the time whereas with TheEx he’s usually not.

This all reads like he’s trying to hold me responsible for his shortcomings and blaming me for his lack of a relationship with our son. You know what’s killing his relationship with our son? “He doesn’t do Legos with me anymore because Aunty Di wants to help and he doesn’t want her to.” “He and (His Wife) don’t wake up until after lunch so I have no humans to even talk to.” “I asked him to get up earlier already and he said he might be able to do that, but he won’t.” “I just decided to expect he won’t show up because he doesn’t, like, all the time.” “He’s probably not here because he’s still asleep.” “He never plays with me because he’s on his phone or his computer.”

Stress? Frustration? Anger? TheEx has caused all that in our lives, too: two adults and three children. Emotionally difficult? Yeah, I get that, I really do. You know what else is difficult? Having to cancel family vacations. Having to count and pinch pennies to put bare minimum groceries in the cupboards. We have seen two movies in theater the last two years: Minions (my eldest desperately wanted to watch Inside Out, Minions, and Home with us). His dad had taken him to see Inside Out, which he of course loved, but he was super conflicted about it before hand, near tears, because he had wanted to see it with us. I told him it was alright and I was super excited he was going to get to see it and that I wanted to hear all about what he learned when I got to talk to him the next day. Stress on my marriage, stress on my kids, stress on ChaosMonkey’s academics because we can’t put him in a school that’s right for him and can’t evenly him supplemental material to augment school. He has always had his own curriculum at home, which his teachers had been willing to work with alongside me up until we moved to this godforsaken, manure-ridden, allergy compacted hell hole (that being said, it’s a beautiful farmland valley if you can survive that kind of thing).

I really needed to just dump all this out of my head. I have to get up early and prep myself and the kids for an MRI appointment. I have more specialist appointments to make once that’s done. It’s kind of a scary time for me, to be honest. I can’t imagine not being able to run around with my kids, I can’t imagine my hands and feet being numb 100% of the time but that seems to be where I’m heading. Things are getting worse… I can’t imagine life without my hands… My feet I can make do without, but my hands?

… Don’t overthink it. Don’t spin tales with this. Spin tales for writing prompts.

Worry is the wrong kind of creativity.

Nine Going On Ninety

When ChaosMonkey first told me that he wanted to come home during this week at his dad’s, I told myself it was because he and his friend were in the middle of a project. Multiple times this week he has mentioned how this visit feels like forever and he misses everyone here. I told myself, and him, that missing people you love and like to be around is normal, that we’d be here for him when he got back (which isn’t entirely true as his good friend is moving sometime this summer). He responded with that begrudging “I know” that means that he does know but he doesn’t want to admit it because his emotions aren’t lining up with the info. I get it. I get him. We read each other really well… scary well somedays.

Today we were talking, like we do every night I call his dad and my kiddo picks up. He’s had this underlying stress the whole visit, this whole summer it’s been building. Summer visitation started out… badly, to put it mildly. His dad stood him up for Father’s Day… again. When we go to see his dad, the car rides to the meeting place have been abnormally chatty and the car rides home even more moodily silent than normal. Tonight, though, tonight broke my heart.

The conversation had already gotten a little strained due to him wanting me to address some misinformation his father had told him (according to my son his dad had told him we/this side of the family was going on a two week vacation and I never once told him we were doing that) and I wasn’t going to argue with him on the phone. When it comes to his schedule and his sensitivity to KNOWING what his schedule is the most helpful thing I have found is to sit him down with a color coded calendar. This is something we have since about the time he started seeing his dad. Not knowing when he was or wasn’t seeing his dad was very distressing for him.

Towards the end of our conversation I had to tell my youngest to stop poking at the left over pizza (He’s learned how to make stepping stools, so fun for mom! lol). When ChaosMonkey heard we had pizza for dinner he almost broke down into tears. He felt like he was “missing out”, which he is in all factuality. Pizza is a special treat for our family, usually accompanied with a family movie night once a week. I had to explain to my child, my child, my child who already wanted to be home before this, that our lives don’t stop because he’s not home. I have already had to explain that the family events we won lottery spots for were while he was gone and he was going to miss them, it was beyond my control. I had to explain to him that we specially plan our family events and trips to make sure he’s with us as much as we possibly can.

His response? His response… “Yeah, I know”. The resignation in those three little words would break any parent.

This is the same child who, just days before during the car ride to go to his visitation with his dad, asked me why his dad didn’t want to give me the recipe for the pizza dough they make over there. Doesn’t he realize that in not telling me what the recipe is that he [TheEx] is keeping ‘good stuff’ to himself instead of sharing it which means he [ChaosMonkey] gets less ‘good stuff’? (To paraphrase)

My son is nine. Nine years old. Is this normal for a nine year to concern himself with?

I miss the psychologist he was seeing back in the last place we lived. The books he’d written on this very subject were so helpful and eye opening. He was really good with ChaosMonkey, too. I wish we could take ChaosMonkey back to see him, again.

I want my son to be happy. I want my young man, who is showing all the signs of hitting puberty much earlier than I am ready for, to be a healthy, happy individual with as little parental baggage as possible. I hope to God that he learns from my/our mistakes. I see a lot of myself in him; naive, trusting, thirsty to learn, and attracting the worst kind of people imaginable. He has had more “friends” take advantage of him than I can count. I tried to be the protective mom when he was younger and I have tried to step back as he’s grown and let him see the results of those judgement lapses and then discuss what happened and what he might do to avoid similar situations in the future.

ChaosMonkey has an underlying desire to be a guardian, even more so than his male driven desire to be a “knight” or “hero”, he wants to protect above all else. He is creative and compassionate while also highly analytical.

Sometimes, I wonder… Hell, I wonder a lot, let’s be honest with myself now. I wonder, if I had been a better teacher would he have been the next DaVinci? Could he still be?

I try to balance his desire for knowledge with his need to play. He may be a book-thirsty old soul but he IS only nine and loves to run around outside and act like a goof whether he admits it or not. I’ve seen him, I’ve heard him laughing with his friends. It is something I miss while he’s gone.

Good news, though! I guess he couldn’t color at his dad’s house because the colored pencils didn’t put enough color on the paper, but they got him a big box of crayons so he can color now. Yay! I know he will love that.

I am exhausted. I was up in pain till well after two last night and the toddler was thrashing around on my head, literally throwing himself onto my head, the rest of the night. Keep him in his own bed, I know. We both sleep so much better when he’s with me, usually. Especially after my husband leaves for work. Hence, I have spent the whole day zombified but now I can’t sleep because of all the thoughts regarding ChaosMonkey running around in my head.

All I’ve ever wanted for my kids was for them to be healthy, happy, and safe…