Posts Tagged With: teenagers

Santa bring my baby back to me.

I don’t think about it any more than I have to.
I’ve only written about it once.
I heard a song today that made it all come crashing back.

I realize I have only flashes. Only moments. I have no full memories of that time.
I remember Thing 1 begging for help.
I remember being in the ER at Richland.
I remember going to Palmetto Baptist and being separated from her.
I remember saying goodbye and leaving her there. I held her close and told her how brave she was.
I remember falling to my knees in tears on Taylor Street before I could even make it to my car.
I remember explaining to Thing 2 where her sister was.
I remember leaving work early every day to be home in time for Thing 2 to get off the bus so she wouldn’t come home to an empty house.
I remember how painful it was to visit the hospital or talk with Thing 1 on the phone.
I remember singing ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ with Thing 2. So hopeful she’d be well enough to come home to us for Christmas.
I remember ‘Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me’ having an entirely new meaning that Christmas.

The pain of that time was excruciating. The healing process even more so.
I don’t intentionally ignore the fact of it. I just don’t choose to get up to my ass in it. Sometimes it sneaks up on me and I don’t have a choice but to feel it. Today was one of those days.
Leaving my suicidal first born in the mental health hospital was one of the absolute worst experiences for my family.
All I wanted for Christmas was my child to come home. And she did. And it was awful.
We lived through it.
We came out the other side irrevocably changed.

When I heard the My Chemical Romance version of All I Want for Christmas is You this afternoon, I was up to my ass in what it felt like that Christmas six years ago.

As I write this, I am filled with love. The love of a mother who nearly lost not just one, but both of her babies. That love is precious. That love is sacred. Those girls are my heart. And that means I have all I want for Christmas.

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it’s all about your point of view

I’m eavesdropping on a conversation between Thing G and his mother. Apparently something happened at school today and she called to talk with him about it.
She got an email and has one version of the story and asked him to her his version.
He immediately gets defensive and says: I can’t really explain it.
She reads the email verbatim. (I know this because I can hear her clearly.)
He says: That’s not what happened.
She asks to be told what happened.
He repeats that he can’t really explain it.
She explains if he can’t explain his version how will she understand.
He gives a HUGE exasperated sigh.
She asks him not to get mad at her for trying to help him.
He says: I’m not mad. I’m just frustrated. You go on and on.
She pauses. (I can hear her pause.) Then she explains she’s trying to help him by understanding his point of view, how he was feeling at the time.
He sighs again.
She tells him she loves him.
He tells her he loves her too.
The call ends.
He returns to watching videos on his phone.

This exchange fascinated me. She’s a tough mom. She takes no prisoners. She calls him on his BS straight away. BUT she’s the first one making sure he’s getting everything he needs when it comes to his education. She needs his input to know how to respond to the teacher. She needs his input to make sure his particular educational needs are being met as laid out by his IEP.

YBW will come home and ask about this incident. He’ll say I got an email. He’ll say I know Mom already talked to you. He’ll clarify he just wants to hear what Thing G has to say.
Thing G will present with the same defensive attitude.

We’ve been working on trying to help him see what it is he presents to the world. His perception of his behavior is vastly different than how it’s viewed from the outside. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all like that. But in the case of this particular individual, he cannot seem to take the outside perception into account.
We’ve been talking to him about how his actions look. We’ve been trying to explain to him what is expected behavior of a fifteen year old boy. (Honestly, he behaves like my three and four year old preschoolers a great deal of the time.)
He’s too smart for his own good. He’s been accommodated in life and in school since he can remember. He manipulates it to his advantage.
He has so many excellent qualities and I absolutely adore him.
Sometimes it’s hard to get past the roadblocks. Some of these roadblocks are naturally occurring based on his diagnosis of ADHD and Aspergers, but some of these roadblocks he creates. He is literally his own worst enemy.

YBW and I were talking with him the last time he was at this house about how what he does and says looks to other people. He simply can’t see it. Whether he chooses not to see it or really can’t, is the question and none of us have the answer.
I found what I considered a perfect example on the fb page of a local community theater. We were at one of the performances and they shot a preshow photo of the audience. In the photo you can clearly see Thing C, me, Thing G, and YBW in the second row. YBW and I were reading the playbill, Thing C was smiling because he noticed the photo being taken. But Thing G, who had complained about going to the show since he got in the car was bent over at the waist with his head in his lap.
So I asked him what did he notice when he looked at that photo.
He told me he thought that guy looked tired.
I agreed and told him that he knew he was tired. (An excuse, because the moment the play started he was COMPLETELY engaged.) But then I pushed further, I asked him about the other audience members. I asked him to pretend he didn’t know that guy with his head in his lap. I asked him what he thought then. He repeated that he thought he looked tired.

I don’t know how to help him realize how he looks to the rest of the world.
I don’t believe he has to care all that much. He’s his own person, etc. BUT by behaving the way he behaves, he’s not presenting the complete picture of who he is.
Most of us strive to put our “best face forward”, it’s like he’s working hard to put his “worst face forward”. I understand not caring what the world thinks of you…to an extent.

He has been accommodated for so long that he utterly lacks skills to cope when things don’t go his way.
I’m not saying this is right or wrong. I’m stating fact.
He’s great as long as things bend to his will, but the moment he has to make accommodations…well, all bets are off. But that’s the way of the world. We all spend our days accommodating and being accommodated. It’s a delicate give and take.

I want the absolute best for this kid.
Helping raise other people’s kids is so much harder than raising your own. I can pinpoint each thing I did or did not do that buggered my girls. Where I failed, where I was successful. So it’s not that I think I’m the perfect mom and should be able to raise this kid who isn’t really mine.
It’s tricky. I love him. He is part of my brood. But I don’t really have a leg to stand on when it comes to him.

It’s hard to help someone that simply isn’t interested in being helped.
I experience it with him fairly regularly, but witnessing it today while he was on the phone with his mom was an entirely new way of seeing.

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busy and lazy Christmas fun

Thing 2 and I met Sundance and Girlie Thing yesterday morning for a bit of last minute Christmas shopping. We didn’t know Girlie Thing was going to be with her mom. I saw her before Thing 2 did and when I said it out loud, Thing 2 took off running down the store’s main aisle into the outstretched arms of her cousin. My heart grew three sizes that moment.
Sundance announced her progress since her surgery and Girlie Thing announced she has a boyfriend! There was a great deal of squealing and giggling.

Thing 2’s boyfriend D decided at the last moment to come here for Christmas. Which is wonderful! But…there are not gifts for him under the tree. I sent his Christmas Eve jammies and book and a couple of other things down to him earlier in the month.
But now that he’s going to be here Christmas morning, we had some quick shopping to do. The mom in me and the dad in YBW couldn’t abide him being the only person with nothing under the tree. YBW tasked Thing 2 straight away with the job of going with me to choose things for him. It was cute, he was all: This is your job! You can’t do anything else until it’s finished!
We not only managed to finish in one day, but get everything wrapped too!

Then the lazy fun started! Holiday movie time!
We started with Love Actually while I wrapped his gifts. The whole time making fun of the articles I sent her before I wrote about the haters in I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes….
We took a break when YBW came home to eat a quick dinner and then organized ALL the pressies, moved the bulk downstairs.
We snuggled up on the sofa and went straight back to it. Thing 2 wishes the haters some ‘Love Actually’ peace.
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We had a mini-debate on whether to watch The Holiday or Miracle on 34th Street (the original). Thing 1 wants to see Miracle on 34th Street, but we figured we could watch it twice…
We did the age old “behind the back choosing” and realized we wanted The Holiday most.
I popped corn and we got sorted on the sofa ready to go. Thing 2 gives two thumbs up.
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Today’s movies: Miracle on 34th Street (to be watched again at some point after Thing 1 arrives tomorrow afternoon) and White Christmas. (I’ve watched it two and a half times already this season, but Thing 2 has never seen it and I think she’ll like it.)

What will we do this evening you ask?
Why, The Nutcracker, of course! So much squealing and clapping!

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on being a mom

I write a goodly bit about being a mom. It’s all I ever wanted to do with my life, be a mom.
That might not sound like I had great aspirations when I was a little girl, but it’s the truth. All I wanted to do was grow up and be a mommy.
I made sure I found someone who would make that happen as soon as I possibly could. I was twenty two when Thing 1 was born and twenty six when Thing 2 was born.
I’ve been a mom half my life…well technically not till March when Thing 1 has her birthday…but speaking strictly mathematically, half of forty four is twenty two.

My goal was to raise strong and independent girls. They would be ready to take on the world when the time came.
Of course it all got derailed along the way.
We lost everything in 2008. Our business. Our home. It was the final straw that killed my already broken marriage.
When that happened, there was subterfuge and betrayal. My first daughter was used maliciously as a pawn against me. I wasn’t able to protect her from that. She walked headlong into it. She has since told me: I’m so sorry. I didn’t know how bad it was for you. Daddy brainwashed me and I believed him.
I was able to protect my baby daughter a little better. But only for so long.

We were trapped in a waking nightmare. I was the one who was brave enough to change it by moving out. The plan was to bring Thing 2 with me and leave Thing 1 with her father. She wouldn’t have come with me even under duress. Thing 2 used to worship her big sister and wanted to be just like her and in this case, she temporarily joined the “I hate Momma” team. She chose to stay with her sister instead of coming with me.
This was not my first mistake.

To keep myself sane, I turned my back on Thing 1. She was horrid and my pain and anger made it so simple.
We tried to come back together several times…each time driving ourselves further apart.
Until she tried to take her life. I’m the one she came to with the desperate plea: Please help me.
None of that was in my childhood mommy-ing plan. But I did what was necessary to keep her safe. To keep her alive. Even though I believe she still resents me for it.
It wasn’t better after she came back from the hospital. She didn’t seem changed. She just seemed more angry.

A few months later, we got into a physical brawl, she held me down by my hair and I bit her so hard there was a perfect ring of teeth marks on her arm but she didn’t let go. Thing 2 was screaming and crying and I think that’s what finally made her let go.
Her therapist saw the bite mark and reported me to child protective services. The investigation showed no real abuse and it all went away. That doesn’t change the fact that my baby daughter had to tell a stranger: No, my Momma doesn’t hurt us.

Thing 1 damaged her relationship with Thing 2. They have good moments, but nothing like the way they used to love each other.
I don’t think Thing 1 understands this and Thing 2 won’t ever feel brave enough tell her.

Their father stood back and let it all happen. He watched with twisted joy. I was being punished for my sins and he didn’t have to lift a finger. He just planted the ideas and watched as my first born and I not only ruined our relationship, but she ruined any chance of a real and positive future.

I am not without fault. I didn’t just let her go, I pushed her away. I only loved her because she came out of my body. I didn’t love her for herself. It was easier to not love her than be in that much pain every day.
Shame on me. I should have fought harder. For her.
I was manipulated by the situation just as she was. Only I’m the grown up. I should have worked harder to keep her safe.

Thing 2 and I went through the hell of her not wanting me to be her mom anymore. She was “tired of always being responsible for my happiness”. She’s not entirely wrong. But neither is she right.
She wasn’t responsible for my happiness. She simply brought me joy.
I’ve learned that telling someone: You’re my favorite person in the world. can be too much pressure. However much the truth it is.
When I came here we chose for her to stay there. I wanted her to understand that I respected the life she’d built for herself. School, friends, theater. I knew in my gut she needed to come with me. But I didn’t feel like I could force her.
She accused me of setting her up to fail. That if I hadn’t “protected” her all her childhood she would never have been in that situation.
I never wanted her to see her father for what he really is. I wanted her to simply love her dad.
I also never thought she’d ever be alone with him.

I failed her too. Not because I was the buffer but because I didn’t trust my parenting gut. I didn’t want to make her unhappy so I ignored what I felt was best for her.
She’s lost. She has no support from her father. And I can only do so much from five hundred miles away.
I can’t fix that.

The masochist in me thinks they like it this way. They can always blame everything on somebody else. They can blame me for the way it turned out.
They don’t remember when it was good. When we were safe and sane and actually happy. They only remember how awful it was.
I think Thing 1 blames me for not protecting her from her father and his manipulations.
I blame her for disregarding the first fourteen years of her life.
I know Thing 2 blames me for protecting her from her father and his manipulations.
I did what I thought was best for them. Most of it I would do all over again.

If I had been braver I would have left their father sooner. Maybe I could have protected them better that way. I know I could have protected myself better.

I am trying. Trying to reconnect with these girls of mine. They’re so jaded. They’re so hard. It pains me so to see them this way.
Thing 1 is trying too. I believe we both want more than we have. We want to love each other freely and without fear. It is so hard.

She sent me a message last week about a wedding gift for YBW and me. I told her she didn’t have to give us a gift, that her participating and loving and supporting us was enough.
Then she wrote: I feel like I don’t show you how special you are to me enough and I haven’t for a long time and I want you to know that you are and that I’m happy you’re starting a new life and that’s a special thing and I want to give you something to commemorate that.

I don’t show her how special she is to me enough either.
I don’t remember how to do that. I shut her out for so long to feel safe that I worry I’ve lost my love for her.

All I ever wanted to do was be a mom. I was so damn good at it for so long. And then I failed epically.
I can’t make that go away. For any of us.
All I can do is sort my own shit and then I’ll be ready to move forward with them.
I’ve worked hard to sort mine. I think it’s finally time to help sort theirs.

The love of a mother for her child is easily understood conceptually. The reality of it is indescribable. There are truly no words to express the ferocity of it.
I know they don’t understand. I know they listen and hear. But how can they possibly understand? Perhaps one day when they become mothers they’ll get it.
What they do understand is that nothing they can do will truly make me not love them. Therefore they continue to test that theory.
They don’t do that with their father. They both know intrinsically that to test his love would be to lose it. Perhaps that’s the curse of being their Momma. They’re going to try me to see if I break because they know I won’t.

This is my love letter to them.
Being their mother has been perfect and horrible and the happiest and most painful experience of my life.
My love for Thing 1 is remembering how to be unconditional. My love for Thing 2 is trying not be be too much pressure for her to handle.
Thing 1 was the most perfect human equivalent of all my hopes and dreams. I loved her because she was my wish come true.
Thing 2 was the gift I didn’t even know I wanted. I fell in love with her because she was there.
There’s a difference between loving and being in love. But one does not diminish the other.

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mothers and daughters: tricky, curious beasts

Being the mom of daughters is tricky.
I’m sure being the mom of sons is not without tricks. But I honestly think daughters might be a bit trickier. At least once they hit a certain age.

Thing 2 is having some issues with her hair after we went and had it done on Wednesday.
It was tri-colored, pink, purple and blue and mostly dead from the over processing. She wanted to save length to grow it into her “hair goal”
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but there was a great deal of damage. While some length was saved, she has what she bitterly referred to as “mom hair”. She’s not wrong.

Knowing how dissatisfied Thing 2 is with her hair, Sundance suggested she figure out a cute short cut that will satisfy her as well as get rid of all the damage and give her a starting point for growing into her longer “hair goal”.
Thing 2 knows her Auntie is right, but doesn’t know what she wants to do with her hair.
Frustrated tears.

Pinterest to the rescue! After literally hours of searching, she’s found something she really likes!
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Instead of doing her normal thing of over-analyzing the living hell out of it, she made a gut decision. This is HUGE for her!
Like her mother, (So sorry about that, Mousk.) she has the ability to get so trapped in her head when making a decision…and not just the ability to do so, but the crippling reality of it. Unlike her mother, (Who has twenty-six more years life experience.) she has not yet learned to listen to and trust her gut. The fact that she trusted her gut and then said: Give me a minute to think about my gut decision. made us both laugh.

For those of you who don’t know, hair really is a big deal. Part of Thing 2’s issues with hair is that from the time she could form an opinion, she wanted to have red hair like me. The fact that her hair is brown (A beautiful, warm and rich brown.) is something she just has trouble accepting.
I wanted to be blonde when I was teenager.
hermione what an idiot
So I am acutely aware that the hair struggle is real.

All of this brings me back to my opening sentence.
Being the mom of daughters is tricky.
It’s tricky because you have to have just the right bit of understanding mixed with a splash enough of indifference to keep you sane. I care deeply that my daughter is content but I don’t care quite as much what her hair looks like. Does her hair make her happy? If so, then I am happy for her. Do I want to like her new do? Sure! But it’s not going to cause me frustrated tears if I don’t.
My tears of frustration are caused by other choices for her life…school, employment, life-long well being. You know, the stuff that moms really care most about.
I care about her hair. I want it to be adorable. To match her personality. To look beautiful in my upcoming wedding photos.
What I care most about is her emotional well being. And I know deep in my soul that bad hair can make you feel miserable and dissatisfied. Thing 2 has had enough of that. So if new, good, and ‘gut decided’ hair will make it better for the time being, I’m on it.

I’m both a mother and a daughter. I know how it feels to be each one individually. I want my daughters to know that nothing and no one is more important in my heart than they are. That every single decision I’ve made has had their best interests at heart.
I want to remember that though my own mother was fraught with her own special…idiosyncrasies may be the best word here, I know she loved me and did her best.

There are hard feelings. There are times you’re not sure you did the right thing. You’re trying to take the other one’s feelings, thoughts, ideas into consideration and possibly failing.
But there is love, limitless founts of unconditional love. There are times when you just know that you did it right. That you are the product of, or looking at the product of the most on point mothering humanly possible.
Am I the best mom in the world?
Most likely not.
Have I tried to be the best mom I possibly can?
With every fiber of my being.

Daughters are curious beasts. Every single daughter ever. Some of us grow up to be mothers and become an entirely new kind of curious beast.
As much trouble and hard times as we’ve had, I wouldn’t trade my curious beasts for anything! Because we’ve also had great times and so much love that I sometimes can’t even contain it!

Mothers and daughters are tricky. There’s never going to be any getting around that. But sometimes tricky is the best thing ever!

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oh happy day

Finally! After a twenty day countdown today is the day!
Thing 2 arrives at Dulles at 11:45 this morning!
I am quite possibly the happiest human being on the entire planet!
I can hardly wait to get my arms around my baby!

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My joy knows no bounds! I wish this level of happiness for absolutely everyone!

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

14 days!

I never underestimate the importance of a countdown.
I talked about countdowns at they apply to my birthday in counting down.
During the four years that YBW and I dated long distance, we always made a countdown when we knew we would see each other again.
I love counting down to pretty much anything! Right now I’m actually counting down two things simultaneously.
The first is easy: last two weeks at this preschool. The second one is my new favorite: 14 days until Thing 2 arrives!

She and I have been trading texts and emails the last few days:
Me: I’m so excited to see you! I’m going to kiss your face off!!
Thing 2: You know, I have really been needing a good Momma hug this week so all of that love will be hella reciprocated when I get there! I also wanna hug those boys!
Me: It’s gonna be SO great!! Snuggles. Baseball. Tom’s Diner. Snuggles. Lin’s. Hanging out. Snuggles. New do. Girlie stuff. Snuggles. (Y’all notice a pattern? Cause I sure do!)
Thing 2: All those made me really really really excited and smiley!

Me too, girl. Me too!
I’m near bursting with excitement to see my baby girl! We have yet to celebrate her birthday. I can hardly wait for her to open her pressies!
YBW and I scheduled a meeting with the event coordinator at the winery for when Thing 2 is here because we want to share it with her and have her input.

YBW came home today and I said: Want to know something SO exciting?
He said: Sure!
Me: (with a giggle) 14 days!
He giggled and hugged me.
Me: Do you know till what?
YBW: Thing 2 comes!
More giggling.
Me: I’m so excited.
YBW: Me too!
Then I said: I have a little Momma jealousy, I think she’s just as excited to see you as she is to see me.
YBW: REALLY!?!
Me: Yep.
YBW had a GREAT BIG GRIN!

I love a good countdown. It’s a playful way to mark the passing of time between me and something I feel happy about.
I thought, today, of the countdown clock on the wall in Matt Albie’s office on the show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
It’s an old show that only lasted one season. It was a tad left-leaning for me but I loved the characters and the way they related to each other. I adore Matthew Perry, and the natural on screen chemistry between him and Bradley Whitford was a joy to watch! Aaron Sorkin’s rat-a-tat-tat dialogue suited these actors.
One of my favorite scenes happens during the second episode: The Cold Open.
Danny Tripp, played by Bradley Whitford turns on the clock.

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Matthew Perry’s character, Matt Albie reacts:
Matt: How did it know?
Danny: How did it know what?
Matt: Exactly how much time was left in the week?
Danny: Yeah, it’s a miracle of technology that we’ve invented, an electronic device that can count backwards from seven.
Matt: But it was off.
Danny: It has a battery.
Matt: [in horror] So it always knows?
Danny: Don’t endow the thing with special powers, Matt – it’s a clock.

I disagree, Danny. I’m all about endowing the clock with special powers! But only if you’re counting down to something good.
Matt is counting down until the next show…and he has to write it.
Isn’t that every writer’s nightmare? The deadline.
My deadline is picking up my child at the airport on time. I’ll countdown to that ANY day, thanks!

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sassy birthday love

I write a great deal about my love for my daughter, Thing 2. Partly that’s because I’ve honestly never loved another human being the way I love her, and partly because she (frustrating as she is) has become one of my favorite people. She’s become a bit of an acquired taste, but if you can get through her thick hide of protective armor she’s rather spectacular!

The kind parts of her personality are truly something to behold. The unkind parts are somewhat amusing, she can sarcasm and sass like nobody’s business, but sometimes it can cross that line between amusing and cruelty. I don’t believe that’s her intent. She just calls it like she sees it.
She’s quite like me in so many ways. Perhaps years of life have helped my sass remain more so on the amusing side of the line with occasional jaunts over to cruelty. I’d like to think so anyway. My sass intentions are never cruel and, surely that counts for something.
Thing 2 is still in that ‘figuring it out’ phase. That wretched place in life we all have to wade through to get to the place where our actions more and more reflect our intentions.
We do think very similarly about things and have those moments when we call each other and report some event of the day when she had a “Momma moment” or I had a “Thing 2” moment. We laugh about them and I tell her I’m so glad she’s a good sport about being so like me.

There is trouble in her heart. A wound that she simply hasn’t figured out how to let heal. I’m hopeful that with time and hard work she’ll realize that it doesn’t have to define her. But I have great concern she may not ever know how to come to that place. I’ve offered every kind of help I can think of. She’s becoming more open to help…perhaps that’s a good sign.

She celebrated the eighteenth anniversary of her birth last week. Eighteen years of Thing 2. With all honesty, I can hardly believe it! It seems only a moment. Only a moment since she was a teeny little think in the NICU. Since she was fitted for her first pair of glasses (at sixteen months). Since she put on her first black leotard and pink shoes. Since she got on the school bus the very first day of kindergarten holding her big sisters hand and smiling from ear to ear. Since she stood on the stage for the first time as a young princess in disguise.
Since the terrible moment she told me she didn’t want me to be her mom anymore. And the beautiful moment we found our way back to each other.

Eighteen years of love and laughter and sadness and tears. Eighteen years of silliness and snuggles and sassiness to spare.
One of the best gifts I’ve ever received! And so many more to come!

I wasn’t with her on her birthday, that was hard for me. But I’ve come to terms with it. She was with her friends and her big sister even came to town to celebrate with her. She and I decided to celebrate later on, when she’s here for a while. I didn’t even send her gifts (some she even knows about). Because I found what I hope will be the coolest gift and I selfishly want to be with her when she opens it. I can’t yet share the secret because she sometimes reads these words. I can say the item is celebrating it’s centennial this year, that it was involved in an important historical situation, and that it is meaningful to our family.

Interestingly enough, it was YBW who came up with the idea that sparked my search for this perfect item. I love that he gets us, even though he sometimes doesn’t understand us.

I have this item for her and wanted a special way to present it to her and nothing felt quite right. So I made a trip to the craft store and found the thing that sparked my idea for the way to present Thing 2’s special gift. A janky little balsa wood suitcase that with a bit of stain, antique travel and map stickers, and some mod podge became the perfect box for her gift!
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Thing 2 loves antique suitcases and bags, I hope she loves this one too!

The inside had to be as perfect as the outside.
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How precious is this little case?
I’m so excited to celebrate my baby’s birthday!

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some words can never really be spoken

My child always moves me.
This may seem a ridiculously obvious thing to say, but I’m honestly not sure how else to say it.
I called Thing 2 this afternoon just to say, “You’ll be here in ten days!” and we have talked and talked and talked the deepest well of emotions and pain and love. She emailed me a couple of samples of what she’s been writing and the anguish I felt upon reading them borders on indescribable.

She has been emotionally crippled by a time in our family life much more severely than I ever realized. The pain I feel is overwhelming. (These words simply cannot convey the feeling behind them.)
I worry so that this moment in time has come to “define” her. That she doesn’t want that, that there is a part of her that knows it isn’t true, but it does indeed contribute.

This time in our life was excruciating. My Mommy pain stole the breath from my body. The only other time I felt as helpless was when I left Thing 2 in the NICU when they discharged me from the hospital.
I couldn’t protect either one of my girls and that was something I had no idea how to live with.

She wrote a “spoken word piece”. I adore the irony of this…writing the spoken word. But she said it’s all about the way she speaks and I agree. When I read it, I heard her voice saying the words.
To say it is powerful is an understatement.
I’ve asked her permission to share these words. I’m grateful she agreed. I feel so strongly that her words need to be “out there” if for no other reason than to get them out of her.

We were actually on the phone when I read it. I cried so much I could barely speak. All I could do was apologize to her. Tell her I was sorry I couldn’t protect her.
She has so much pain and anger inside of her. I still don’t know how to help her. Feeling helpless about my babies is truly the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve copied and pasted it exactly as she wrote it.

born second

Shave your head, slit your wrists,
In the middle of a teenage crisis,
Get out of your head, cause you’re making a mess,
I’m not just talking about the bathroom,
God, you’re so selfish,
Ruining my childhood innocence,
I was just a little kid, it doesn’t make sense,
I didn’t know any better than to keep your suicidal secrets,
Looking back I cant believe that you did that to me,
“Don’t tell mom”
What happened to the role model you were supposed to be?
Did you care when I was tiny and scared?
Praying I wouldn’t come home to find you dead,
I’m still freaked out by hospitals, makes my stomach flip,
Remembering the visits makes me fucking sick,
Throwing the blame of the disappointment you became on everyone else,
Yeah, fuck em, they can all go to hell,
Then you’ll be left with yourself,
And the hole in your heart where mom was supposed to fit.

And after you went back to school, it was all about attention,
Nobody seems to remember when I had to keep it secret,
Cause the rumor mill was churning, they already called you a lesbian,
What would they say about this?
I started failing history, couldn’t pay attention,
Barely talked to my friends for two months and when they questioned it,
“Oh, sorry, I don’t feel good, I’m sick.”
And that was it, we were eight graders, they just believed it,
Years passed, and when we talk about the past all my friends talk a big game,
“Yeah, I knew something was wrong then, I just didn’t say anything.”
It makes them feel better, like they’re being supportive,
I ignore it, none of them knew shit,
But I can’t hold a grudge because they couldn’t help,
What are they supposed to say?
“Sorry that your sister tried to take her life away.”

It was a very dark December, I’ll say that,
Since then it’s been a struggle to forget the fact,
Like how we waited for you, to come home to decorate the tree..
And you didn’t want to, don’t even get me started on “All I Want For Christmas Is You”

Thing 1 tried to take her life, was hospitalized for ten days and came home the week before Christmas. Our lives have never been the same. Their relationship has never been the same. Thing 2 had the harsh reality of the darkest part of life kick her little girl soul and hasn’t been able to heal…even after all these years.
My instinct is to hold her in my arms, that won’t take away her pain. It won’t help her heal. But it’s the only thing I can do to comfort either of us.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

our love (of Joss Whedon) is ever-changing AND constant

Just had a great conversation with Thing 2. She called as I was leaving school this afternoon and we just hung up the phone. Her voice is one of my true joys. We’ve been playing phone tag for almost a week now and I am so happy I got to talk with her!
She was sounding a bit sad when we first started talking. I asked and she explained there was a bit of drama. Girl drama. I laughed and said: I didn’t think you hung out with girls any more. She laughed too then said there was some ickiness with her best (girl)friend. I asked her if she wanted to talk about it. She explained that she’s hurt that her best friend has gotten really close with another girl (a common friend) but Thing 2 is kind of feeling put out. She said: Like I’m suddenly less cool than (girl’s name)? (I can assure you that Thing 2 is INFINITELY “cooler” than this other girl, and I’m not saying that just because I’m her Momma.)
We talked about how all her friends are in school and she’s not. How her life is completely different than their lives. Then she said something that gave me pause (and great pride).
She said: Maybe it’s me. Maybe I need to change my expectations.
Damn, that kid has insight. How many seventeen year olds have that much self awareness? (I did something right.)
So we talked about her perspective, she was thrilled to have my feedback. I feel hopeful that it will help her when she begins to feel this way again.

We talked about our adoration, nay, worship of Joss Whedon, Thing 2’s girl crush on Eliza Dushku, and how freaking talented Alan Tudyk is.
This portion of the program started with her sharing that she finally started watching the second season of Dollhouse.
(Then it went a bit like this: OMG Thing 2! I was just thinking about Dollhouse earlier this week! OMG Momma! We’re totally connected!)
This was a hilariously animated discussion which moved into Buffy and what a total whiny crybaby we both think Angel is. (We love Spike.)

We discussed a visit. She told me she promised to visit her sister first and then come here. But she wanted to come here sooner rather than later but didn’t want to hurt her sister’s feelings. Hmm…this got me thinking…and I said: It isn’t lost on me that we are talking about a twenty-one year old grown ass woman and the concern that if you spend time with me instead of her it will somehow hurt her feelings.
Thing 2 said: Wow! Way to put it into perspective! I’m coming to see you! (We don’t yet know when, but she’s a-comin.)

We talked about our emotional connection now that we don’t really have our physical connection. I told her I missed the days when (as a teenager) she would come into my room with her pillow under her arm and I’d say, “Whatcha doin?” and she wouldn’t speak, but walk to my bed, move the other pillow, place her pillow and get into bed, look at me and grin.
She giggled and said she missed that too. She said: Now you have a boy in your bed. We laughed. But I said: You know, there are other beds in this house, but you were all, No! I wanna be right in the middle of this big bed with your tiny self. (the same bed that was mine into which she would plant herself) She laughed again and said: Well damn, if I’d know that, I wouldn’t have left. (Interestingly, hearing that didn’t sting.)

We agreed we were both missing our connection. We agreed to be more aware and mindful of it and to amp up our communications.
That kid.
That kid has been my very favorite human being since she first grabbed my finger through the tiny hole in the incubator bed in the NICU.
Our life is different now. We’ve hurt each other immensely, but we’ve healed each other, too.
The love we share is different from any other love in our lives. It is true and it is deeply rooted, but it is also adaptable. And that is what will keep us together even though we’ve been through some gut wrenching pain. Even though we’re five hundred miles apart. Even though she’s almost grown.
Our love is unconditional. Our love is ever-changing AND constant.
But I could cut off her Netflix at any moment…
(If you’re a Whedonite, you know what I did there…undercut a “sappy” moment with “sharp” humor. Thing 2 would be chuckling…as long as she believed I was kidding.)

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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