Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Everything Happens for a Reason

Sometimes everything has to go wrong for you to see that everything is going to be all-right.

It has been one of those weeks. Actually last week was one of those weeks and it keeps trickling over to this week. It honestly feels like Groundhog day with a vengeance in surreal alter reality. It has been one of those weeks that I prayed years ago that I would get to have. And as a result I would like to offer up thanks that my prayers have been answered and enter for consideration a revision of my prayer that involves the synonyms uneventful and perhaps a little boring.

Without going into too much detail into any of it, because really the details aren't the important bits- it's the lessons learned. I've been working. I work at home. I work at the kids school. I work in the car. I do all of it for no pay, which make it volunteering. I think it matters, so I gladly do it for no pay. So when the stress of these endeavors zaps the enjoyment from it- we must reconsider our direction.

I have this, well I had this amazing phone. It was, well I guess it still is, I just no longer have it-a brilliant little touch screen smart phone. And it was smart. Too smart. It went where I went, spewing out google facts- sending emails with a flash, receiving emails from various locations while checking social networks sites, downloading pdf's cross-referencing facts. It also had a calculator. And games- which keep the kids busy when we have to wait for more than 3 seconds- cause what on earth would we do if all movement ceased for 4 whole seconds? It knew my schedule and reminded me when meds were needed, which days I needed to shuttle who, where and for how long. And then it was gone. Like that. Gone. Tomorrow marks a week that my little Evoh(said like Wall-E) and I have been separated. It has not been easy. A chain reaction of events was caused by this separation that gave me momentary pause to question the very meaning of my existence here. I mean without google-maps- how could I even be certain that I was HERE at all. I could be anywhere. But I could also be nowhere. And no one could reach me- which was hugely terrifying. When you have 2 kids with medical needs- not having a phone is a HUGE stress. What if, what if , what if?? And yet the world did not stand still. I managed to get by. After my husband was nice enough to reactivate my old blackberry- I got to physically prove the recent yahoo article about why these dinosaurs are becoming obsolete. The 1,5 and 7 buttons rarely work, the talk button works sporadically and the ringer quit this morning- while I was using my son's former phone to locate it. Not a finer moment.

My phone walked out of the volunteer office at the kids' school. I was good to her- so I knew she must have been coerced. The 18 year old volunteer who was there that day, claimed to have seen a few 6th graders in the office. By the time I realized it was gone, she had left for the day. Once all 6th graders were accounted for, the picture became clear- I knew who walked off with my phone- now to prove it. Mostly I just wanted EEEE-voh back. She knew my schedule- allowed me to text, email and google with mere swipes instead of jabbing broken keys and learning new levels of frustration. It was comfortable if not complacent.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. And once I get burned- that scar doesn't fade. I trust my instincts and they have been on fire for a week. I have singe marks everywhere- mostly on my heart and a few calluses on my fingertips from trying to use an old blackberry. Even the police officer I filed the report with looked at the thing and commented it was probably time to upgrade to an iphone. I gave the poor misguided youth ample opportunity to return Evoh. But who knows what dirty hands she is in now. I can't save them all- just saving my own is 4 full time jobs.

So what does one do in this day and age with out a cellular device? One commandeers their 12 year old's cellular device. Then one finds new chasms of frustration that one never knew possible. One also gets tired of a 12 year old girl's photo on the screen so one goes in search of a new screensaver. One immediately wishes one had left well enough alone. But one knows that one has to continue the illusion of being a good parent, which one certainly is not or one would not have a child's phone- with this. Relief sets in as realization is that this was sent to one's child. Now abject horror. Now nausea. One now has a moral obligation to contact another's parents. One just wants to take one's sinus headache and chartreuse secretions and climb back into bed. One is angry and frustrated and embarrased. One looks back at the countless hours worked, the distractions, the stress and realizes- I should have seen it coming.

SO I begin to deal with it. I deal with the man-child who has been demoted to boy-child and may henceforth be referred to as cave-boy or prisoner. I begin the calculated detective work to piece together the puzzle. I sift through half truths and diversions and suddenly it hits me. This is common practice for youth. This is what they do- not so unlike the 3 year old testing boundaries. They are being kids. Kids are not smart, even if they have smart phones.  And they are getting away with it because adults are too distracted by their work, their phones, their toys to engage. These devices that tout bringing us together have created a wedge of superficial existence that people can not tell what's real and not. The bells go off- the volunteer was lying- and she will continue to do so unless I hold her accountable. My child was hiding things that he knew I did not approve, yet I was too distracted to find. So many of us are too distracted these days to see the truth, to see life, to live. I am guilty. I have logged so many data whatchadoodles on my phone, I am embarrased to add them all up and give them an actual number. I am constantly checking on this and that and who and what , that the this and that and what and who in my own home have gone off the deep end. Here for months I have been banging my nugget against the wall trying to find the spark. It was the piece of crappy technology that I held in my hand that was that wedge. His and mine.

There was much talking. And a little more for good measure. And then I turned the talking over to the husband and when he needed a break- I gladly filled the space. Like talking to a wall. So we start at the beginning. Like a prisoner who has been locked in a cage- we are reintroducing the cave-boy into society. It has been eye-opening, mind numbing- emotionally and gut wrenching work. I wanted to put everything on hold and yell at the world to stop for a flipping minute- I am trying to deal with this. But the world kept going and so did we. It was easier to deal without access to every email, text and task at my fingertips. I had to venture to my computer to check email and I just didn't have time. The world did not stop, nothing imploded. And I dealt with the most important thing- my family.

I have yet to be able to stop and reflect as with everything in parenthood- it's an ongoing process. Yet tonight, between getting dinner on the table, fielding work emails, calls, police reports and various responsibilities- Kiera comes to me with a look of panic and requests to talk to me now in private. I wonder if I can possibly handle another crisis right this second, if I could possibly have anything else to give or fight for.  "Have you ever made a mistake and wanted to make it right but dont know how and are really afraid?"  Yeah. "what exactly?" I have made so many mistakes I can neither recount them all or remember them. The good news is that they do get forgotten, but you can't forget about it until you make it right. What do we have to do to make it right? As the tears stream down her little face, I do no more than hold her hand while she figures out and starts taking steps to correct her mistake. In the grand scheme of things it is so trivial- I seriously have to fight so I don't laugh when she tells me what she did.  And then it overwhelms me so suddenly that I am so flipping proud of her I can't stand it. She came to me and she messed up and she was terrified- but she was going to make it right. And all I needed to do was be there because there were a few times, years ago that I was stressed to the point of being sick that she was on the wrong path and we redirected her and fought with her and felt like we just weren't getting through. And tonight as one child struggles with his path, I know the other is on hers, even if only for a little while and I know that all in all I am moving in the right direction because I am still on that path with them. And like that tonight, when so much has gone wrong, I realize it's going to be alright.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Still Here....

Ok, Ok, OK. I'm still here. I won't lie, it's been a busy few months. I appreciate how nicely multiple parties have been in saying that you miss my posts.

It has been tough managing 2 kids with additional medical requirements. It bothers the hell out of me on so many levels. Throw in 2 more kids with normal kid goofiness and my days are full. On one hand I am so beyond grateful to have the little cretins and on the other hand I have felt the great loss of normalcy as I once knew it.  I have written multiple times and been unable to publish it because I could not find the "up" side. One of my personal goals when I started blogging was to use it as a therapeutic way to find the reason and the positive in the things that were thrown in my path. I have been stumbling over those things a lot lately. Some, I can't even see around them and I have been tempted to turn and run the other way or just slump down where I am and become a hermit. Neither one of those is productive or will make me feel better so I've just been hanging out. Not in the -sitting around eating bon bons kinda way- but the -treading water and hoping you don't get eaten by sharks kind of way.

We have gotten to do some amazing things over the past few months. The kids are all doing well in school and we have a bevy of activities we keep up with after. I have been working very hard at getting the Li Fraumeni Syndrome Association off the ground and helping at school and friends whose needs are greater than mine. Along the way, I got too busy to write- which has always been the biggest part of my healing. We still go to Tripler almost weekly for "routine" stuff for one or more of the kids. I am a huge advocate of mental health healing. You cannot possibly heal the body without healing the mind and soul.  When my dad died, my mom made me go to counseling. At the time I resented the hell out of it. Yet it gave me something to resent and put me in the office of someone who could help me deal with the multitude of feelings and side effects of loss. I know my kids will see the wisdom as well down the road.

I guess everyone gets to the point where enough is enough.  You get to that point and have to decide which direction you will go. I have been here before and I think part of the issue is knowing I will be here again. It's like when you have this huge mountain in front of you and you finally get up the courage to climb it only to find there are even bigger and scarier mountains beyond it. Some choose to hang out by the lake in the valley, soak up the sun and enjoy what is around them. Some march right on to the next climb and then the one beyond without really stopping to reflect. I kinda stalled for awhile. It's hard to start climbing when you know there's going to be another hurdle. It's tough to start planning your route when you know there will be storms and obstacles you just have no idea what. But I also know that you can't truly appreciate the sunrise or sunset from the valley and there are some amazing things to see along the way.  Even when most of it is the backside of kids you are chasing, or the backside of your best friend(one of the great views) who is kind enough to chase after the kids so you can take a break or just hold your hand. Sometimes you have to take a step back and realize there is a grand design, you aren't in control of it, you are only in control of your choices and you can choose to just stay on the path and have the faith it will get you there. And sure it would be a helluva lot easier to climb those mountains without 4 kids in tow and all their associated baggage and sometimes they trip and it starts a chain reaction that lands us back at the bottom, or sometimes I lose sight of the direction we are supposed to go because it is so steep. But then I remember those times that I wish I could bottle their energy and let them pull me along so that when they get tired I can carry them and when we all get tired- we stop and just be. There's going to be another mountain. There are more mountains than us. We don't have to climb them all, we just climb the ones we can. As long as we do it together, that is direction enough.