Friday, December 24, 2010

Feeling Powerless

At Becka's first week check up, she had a slight temperature. That combined with something about her heart the doctor didn't like led her to tell us to go straight to Duke University Medical Center (We were in Durham, NC then). Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Don't even stop back by your house. Just GO.

Thus began the worst and most heartbreaking day Charlie and I had in our few young years as parents.

The sense of powerlessness, watching your tiny infant poked repeatedly with needles by med students who had never worked on a child so small... of watching them try to find and place a catheter... knowing they'd have to make her scream for a chest x-ray all tore us apart.

Nothing that came after... not the cardiologist visits, the diagnosis, the pediatric cardiologist visits compared with the gut-wrenching feeling of being unable to comfort or fix things for our child that came that day.

Last night, I sat with Becka in the Emergency Room while she watched the same torturous tests being done on her baby. Despite the doctor's assertion that there is a big difference between he anatomy of a 1 week old and that of a 5 month old, it was the same. Repeated attempts to find a vein. Repeated attempts to access her tiny urethra and the knowledge they'd have to make little Elena scream to get a good chest x-ray.

It was almost eerie. Not just seeing Elena and Becka going through it all but being in the same position of powerlessness when it came to comforting my baby. I could hold her while she cried, whisper words of reassurance, remind her Elena would quickly forget... that all these tests are standard these days and it's a good thing... but when it came right down to it... I couldn't fix my baby's hurt.

I whispered to Becka at one point that this was a part of motherhood. There will be times in Elena's future when she'll go through something or experience some pain Becka will not be able to take away.

Super Mom or no... some boo-boo's can't be kissed away.

It's a hard lesson to learn as a parent. I wish Becka didn't have to learn it so vividly or so soon... but I know it will make her a stronger mother and woman.

Still, it was a heartbreaking evening for all.

But then they finished with the torture and we could comfort Elena and giggle at her pathetic but adorable attempts to find a thumb on her taped up hands. She was fascinated by the gauze wrapping and small splint holding her hand still for the IV. When they took it off, I couldn't tell if her crying was because another nurse was messing with her or because she wanted to keep that interesting thing on her arm.

Elena will be fine. I know that.

Looking at the strength of her mother I know, she too... will be fine.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Different Thinkers

Several months ago, I watched the HBO film Temple Grandin about a woman with Autism who has opened many doors for herself and for others with ASD. John included a photo of Ms. Grandin and Claire Danes, the actress who played her, in his report on ASD.

The movie is airing on HBO again this month. Charlie and I watched it together the other day and it sparked some interesting conversations. Now Rachel and Krys have seen it, the conversations have continued.

At the beginning of the movie, Ms. Grandin states she "thinks in pictures". Until discussing the movie with others, it never occurred to me, except in passing, that there are people who don't think in pictures. Holy cow, really?

I mean, I think in pictures. I make connections in pictures and concepts. It's why I have such a tendency to write or speak in analogies. It's how I think.

Apparently Charlie, Rachel and John also think in pictures.

When Krys said "I don't", Rachel and I were both taken aback.
"How do you think?"
"In words."
"Like how?"

It went on for a little bit, with Krys trying to explain her thought process to a confused Rachel and me, while we all sort of tried to imagine what it was like for others.

Krys mentioned how the difference in the way she and Steve think creates the occasional conflict. He's a picture thinker too.

Then Charlie and Daniel got home and we asked them the question, "How do you think? Do you see pictures, words, concepts, what?"

Charlie thinks in pictures, Daniel in words. We already know John thinks in pictures... We texted Becka to ask but didn't get an answer (yet) and so the conversation continued.

My brain hurts.

To be honest, it might not even be a good idea to try to tackle writing about it... but I haven't written in a few days and so I'm at the keyboard dribbling on about the first thing that comes to mind.

Did I mention my brain hurts?

On a side note... I just had to fix the can crusher. We have a solid steel can crusher mounted to a piece of 2x4. I made the mistake of tossing some Altoid Mini tins into the recycling bin and John got the brilliant idea to try crushing them. While he does think in pictures and, often, mathematically, the addition of Attention Deficit means he is too impulsive to think ahead... which means he and his siblings can break darn near anything under the guise of experimenting. *face palm* On the other hand, I'm Monster Mom and can fix darn near anything. So they're out of my hair for a few more minutes and maybe I'll finish a post without 75,000 interruptions.

So yeah, back to thinking in pictures...

Seriously? There's another way?

No matter how Krys and Daniel try to describe it, I can get it on an intellectual level but... thinking about is like trying to snow ski on a hill of gravel. (SEE? Pictures.)

At first, we discussed the idea that perhaps thinking in pictures is an Autistic Spectrum thing. But that doesn't work because of six people in the family on the Spectrum, at least two think in words.

But then... if they see the words in their heads, isn't that the same as thinking in pictures?

I know from the different skills and strengths of my kids that thinking in one way doesn't mean they'll have the same area of gifts. Some who think in pictures are brilliant at Maths... and then there's Krys who thinks in words but talks Calculus for fun.

Daniel thinks in words and he's a musician. I think in pictures and learn more toward being an artist.

Also, some of us are more intuitive and others more logical in their thinking... but it doesn't match up with the pictures/concepts/words thing.

Is there any kind of connection to be made between the way a person thinks and their areas of particular strength or talent?

*head desk* I need Ibuprofen.

So, before I think myself into a migraine, I'll ask... how do you think? Pictures, concepts or words? Or even something different? Can you describe it?

Becka finally responded. Her answer? "Not generally in pictures. It goes in this order: words, concepts, pictures."

I figured she'd say words... but then, she's another artist... and so is Rachel.

This does not help me organize this puzzle into something I can assemble... dang it!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Q&A Episode 1

In your report you mentioned that people with autism related problems often have specific talents - things they excel at. What would you say are your particular strengths? 

Creating, imagining and anything in the inventing category. Sci-fi things (space ships, plasma based weapons etc.) clay (what ever you can make out of a ball of clay) building blocks, especially LEGO®.

These were all built on ROBLOX

Paper planes: The Planez Republic® is my pure creation. I create new planes by simply adding brake flaps, ailerons (for maneuvers), elevons (for pitch), rudders (yaw). Lastly is real life building (non-LEGO®). For this I need some supplies. But I have the hovering disc, titan ( a gigantic ship using the hovering disc technology to fly, and is an air staging and cargo aircraft).

 This is your friendly autistic human shaped awesomeness.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


John was always a wonderful source of interestingly pronounced words. "To-member" is still one of my favorites and one we still use around the house. It's funny how different words the kids used have become part of the family vernacular...

The more time I spend with Elena and Dora, the more little things like that I remember. Krys and I were talking yesterday about one of my Mum's favorite memories of her.

When Mum came to stay for Becka's birth, Krys found an eager and appreciative audience for her antics. To this day, Mum still talks about Krys standing on the coffee table, announcing her next trick with "Fuh-paducing, Disten Fedders!". This was usually followed by a song or even something as simple as showing how far she could jump. Whatever Krys did, she was rewarded with clapping and "Brava".

Playing with Elena this morning, I noticed her fascination with the remote control. She's not allowed TV and seems to know it as she's constantly trying to crane her neck to see the screen if it's on. I don't know if she's made the connection between the interesting box and the remote, but she certainly wanted it today.

Rather than let her slobber all over a working unit, I found an old one, removed the batteries and gave it to her. She didn't want it. She wanted the one Grandma had and it made me laugh because it reminded me of her Auntie Krys and Uncle Daniel when they were little ones.

Krys loved Sesame Street... You know, the cool one, before it got all PC and stupid. At about 14 months, she was interacting with the program... usually Elmo. On one occasion, I was transported to motherly ecstasy at the vision of my brilliant first child trying to reach through the screen to find Elmo hidden under a blanket.

Without going into regrets about letting my little ones watch the boob tube, I have to admit there were funny moments... especially with that lovely and tempting remote control. Even at 15 months, Krys knew she wasn't allowed to touch the gray toy Daddy and Mommy used. It was one of the no-nos... along with pulling all the tissues out of every kleenex box and endlessly playing with the magical lamps that turned on and off with the slighted touch on the base.

One night, Charlie and I were snuggled watching a movie while Krys played on the couch next to us. When the channel started changing, Charlie and I looked at each other then at Krys. The little turkey took one look at us, glanced at the forbidden remote in her hands, threw it behind her and sat on it. She then gave us the innocent smile we eventually learned to associate with trouble. We still tease her about her very first fib and instinct to hide the evidence.

With Daniel, it was a whole other story. Like the rest of the family, he was a strong willed child... but he had a determination to do things according to his rules that rivaled (rivals) all his siblings combined.

When Daniel was 3, the master bedroom had 2 remotes. One for the VCR and a universal remote that controlled all the electronics. The universal remote was, of course, much cooler looking than the other one. It was bigger, had more buttons and was almost exclusively kept on Daddy's side of the bed. Like all the kids before him, Daniel knew the "mote-troll" was off-limits. (mote-troll is another word/phrase still used by Charlie and me) Off-limits or no, it didn't stop him one day from stalking over to me and snatching the cool remote right from my hands. Before I could say a word, he put the remote on the night stand, his hands on his hips and his face in as stern an expression as he could manage and informed me "NO! Daddy's MOTE!".

It was one of those moments when the desire to correct one of my kids for ill-behavior was totally over-ridden by the futile attempt to keep a straight face. All I could think was, Yup, he's all male. When I later told Charlie, his response was the usual, "That's my boy!"


I'm excited to see the adventures Krys and Becka have with their own strong-willed little ones. In so many ways, their little girls remind me of their Mamas and I can only imagine the stories they'll inspire.

Just out of curiosity, back to the first paragraph... Do you have words exclusive to your family? What is the origin? Do you ever accidentally use them around non-family members and get strange looks? Share, please.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Insensitive? *shrugs* Valid? Definitely

Hmm, why are you such a magnet to demented asocial whelps?

I know, insensitive question - but visceral never the same. A sanctuary should have its rules, and those who seek its shelter are duty bound to obey them with humility and gratitude.... Remember, they are refugees not guests.

Perhaps you should try and arrange for a howling raging mob of villagers baying for the blood of the sanctuary seekers waiting to lynch them the minute they step out of the sacred precincts. That should keep them in line and well behaved?

First, let me say this comment/question is one of the reasons I'm daily grateful for this person's friendship. He has a way of being brutally honest in a way I don't find offensive, but which usually makes me giggle... even if the truth of it can be uncomfortable.

Demented, asocial whelps.

Sadly, when it come to the age group in question (18-28), that's pretty much the majority. No joke. I know there are a lot of wonderfully raised, responsible, mature young people out there... but in America, they are a distinct minority.

I could go on a long-winded Dennis Milleresque rant about the ills of American society (because culture would be a misnomer) but I don't think that was the intent of the question. The rant would be worth doing one day but I'll save it for when the emotions are there to fuel something spectacular.

I know, insensitive question - but visceral never the same. A sanctuary should have its rules, and those who seek its shelter are duty bound to obey them with humility and gratitude.... Remember, they are refugees not guests.

This is very true, and a lesson Charlie and I have learned by degrees, sometimes quite painfully. We have, for years, labored under the delusion that by living the example, people would either choose to follow the example or, I don't know... learn by osmosis? I think I really believed, especially with Cameron, that living an example of personal responsibility would encourage her to learn the same.

We totally missed the truth that humans as a species don't really like change... especially change that involves work on their part.

So, combine a pair of bleeding heart, New Testament Christians (ie... people who believe in following Jesus command to give not only your tunic, if asked, but your cloak also) with wounded young people who never had a decent example and you have a recipe for disaster.

Charlie and I have always had difficulty with the word "No". It's one of the reasons we could blow through a six figure income each year and not understand why we were still living month to month. If the kids broke something, we replaced it. If they asked for something, they got it. If we had a whim (what Charlie used to call Command Decisions) we'd buy something stupidly expensive that we didn't need. And if someone came to us with a need, we did everything we could to meet it. I'm grateful to say that when the bottom dropped out, the character we had tried to teach our kids shone through. They handled the change in financial circumstances better than Charlie and I.

We didn't get burned by a someone staying with us until Cameron came along. By that time, the six figure income was gone, the partners in the business venture Charlie had financed had cut him out of the business and we were living on the grace and generosity of extended family.

I was nearing integration and feeling oh so much stronger than ever before and Charlie and I genuinely thought we could handle a refugee of Cameron's caliber. We were so wrong.

I had my fill in under a year. It took Charlie nearly two... it took him until she started trying to get between him and me... but rather than tell her "it's time to go", he did all he could to keep the peace until she figured that out on her own. When she realized she could no longer manipulate anyone in the house to do her bidding and that everyone avoided her, she got the clue. I regret we all played the passive-aggressive game... but it happened and we've accepted the consequences.

Fast forward two years... (we were slowly getting back on our feet financially, without the reliance on extended family) and the quartet of young men who stayed with us for various lengths of time from August '09- July '10. Of the four, only one was a flaming lunatic. We did create a lease of sorts. We drew up a written set of absolute house rules. That set of rules is why "God is Watching Man" was out in only three weeks. He had one week to give us an idea of what we were dealing with... a week of game playing where he tried to manipulate the rules and a final week only because Charlie was kind enough to give him seven days notice. On the seventh day, it took informing him the police would be called before he finally packed his stuff and left.

Since the last of the young men (Chris) moved out this summer, we haven't had any other lodgers. For the time being, we do not intend to. Grand-babies are the priority right now and they get the majority of my energy. There simply isn't any left for babes in their teens and twenties.

For all the stress and strain, I don't regret the people we've had stay with us. Each has taught us important lessons. Each of them has brought their blessings... okay, except maybe for Tim.... but even there, you could call a new set of family jokes a blessing of sorts. All you have to do is remind someone God is watching and any tense mood is eased.

For the future, it's still and probably always will be, our dream to have an open home for those in need. We're taking lessons from our own experiences and from a local shelter for abused women on the kinds of rules necessary when dealing with wounded people. I don't plan to ever allow another profoundly mentally ill person into our home. We simply aren't equipped... and we've found that those who have come through our doors are not in a place where they can admit to the need for help beyond our skills.

From here out, it's written contracts and specific consequences. Follow the rules or out the door.

Society isn't going to get any better. That's simply the reality. There will always be people in need. If we can, when we can, we'll do what we can to help. But the days of being doormats are over.

So even there, we can thank Tim. He was the lesson that finally taught us that 'keeping the peace' is an illusion and when you need to speak up, you'd better take ownership of your home and speak. Even if you have to do it at the top of your lungs with the rest of the family cheering you on.

I'd love to think that any guest we have in our home would be well behaved and grateful... and there have been many who have been just that. They make up the majority. We're not deluded enough to think we'll never have another whack job under our roof... but I'm willing to take the chance for the nine (or twelve) others who find what they need here.

Hope that answered your question.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Open for Questions

As per Jarred's query, yes, John is taking questions.

He said to feel free to ask questions about what it's like for him to be Autistic (or as a friend said "AWEtistic").

Post here or on the link to this post on FaceBook.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ASD According to John

The topic of my report is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It is estimated that as many as 1 in 80 people are affected by ASD. I have Autism and believe more people need to understand the difference between ASD and other genetic disorders like Mental Retardation or Cerebral Palsy. Most people with ASD, especially High Functioning Autism, like I have, are very intelligent and gifted in a wide variety of areas, such as art, science, mathematics and music.

            A genetic disorder is caused by abnormalities in genes or chromosomes. There are, sometimes, abnormalities in the chromosomes of an Autistic person. These are deletion, duplication, and inversion. Deletion is when some genes exist in one chromosome, but not the other. Duplication is when some genes have two matches on the second chromosome. Inversion is when some genes are just flipped upside down. Some scientists believe that Autism has specific genes for the different parts of the spectrum. Sometimes ASD can result in co-existing disorders, like epilepsy, mental illness, gastrointestinal issues, and sleep disorders. If a child is born with Autism, children afterwards are more likely to have ASD as well.

Above: deletion (1) duplication (2) and inversion (3).

There are strong genetic links to ASD but it is believed environment can also play a part in its development. Autism spectrum disorders are not illnesses. It is not a disease to be cured. Autism is about how the brain develops. Because Autism affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves, it affects every part of their life. Learning to live with ASD takes strength and dedication for the person and their family

Autism was discovered in 1943 by Leo Kanner. He believed Autism was caused by cold, unloving parents. This is a stigma that still exists. Scientists have since proven that of all the possible causes of ASD, poor parenting is not one of them. The National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) seeks to raise awareness and understanding of what is now the most common of all developmental disorders.

Children with ASD tend to write slowly or have poor handwriting. They are often focused on things with such intensity, they can’t break free to pay attention to what’s going on around them. When told to describe a person’s face, they have difficulty completing the task. They usually have disabilities such as social and communication difficulty, because it is often hard for them to read or understand another’s intent or emotions.  People with ASD have advantages as well. They have a greater ability to find small objects in a cluttered field. An example of this would be: noticing an object someone else can’t find. They are often gifted in many areas.

There are five forms of ASD: Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Rett’s syndrome, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. While the other forms of ASD affect mostly males, Rett’s syndrome affects female almost exclusively. Asperger’s syndrome has no significant language development delay, if any, and yet every other part of the Autistic spectrum shows this delay.

While some believe Autism is a disease to be cured, most High Functioning Autistics and people with Asperger’s Syndrome believe it is how we are wired. The focus for us is not on a cure but on learning to adapt the way we think and feel to a world that is very different to us. There are many support groups for people with ASD and their families. There are group therapies that help people with ASD understand the world around them and their part in it. There are treatments to help us manage the overwhelming amount of information we absorb at all times. It’s the reason many people with ASD retreat into repetitive or unhealthy behaviors, to get a break from the world.

For me, Autism is less of a disability, more of a puzzle missing just one single piece, and managing it for me is like saying “So what? One piece isn’t there. Just one. No reason to throw away 999 pieces just because the 1000th isn’t there.”

John not only received 100% on his project, the teacher asked to keep it to share with other teachers. His project was the only one in book form. It goes without saying, he was the only person who served as his own visual aid. ;-) All other projects were done using PowerPoint or poster board... so John was extra proud of finding a unique way the do his report and that his teacher was impressed enough to want to share it. HOW AWESOME! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Remembering to Breathe

Today has been spent in varying degrees of massive anxiety/panic. I'm irritated with myself for getting lost in it... but in some ways, I think it was needed. Needed in that I don't let myself express my concern, worries, fears, hopes, dreams, disappointments where John's Autism are concerned. It's all about keeping a level head and a supportive face. Staying as consistent as possible without going insane and loving him when he has his distinctly unlovable moments.

It hit hard today. Today, I have been a quivering, hyperventilating, twitchy mess. I finally sat down with Krys while she and Dora were visiting the kittens and allowed myself to put my head on her shoulder and cry. Just a little bit... but still. I'm sure after everyone has gone to bed and it's quiet in the house, I'll disturb Charlie's sleep and ramble on about every rational and irrational thought and feeling that's come up today.

I feel like so much is riding on John's report. This is his chance to stand up and say he is different but not "wrong". He has disabilities and differences but is not mentally retarded or mentally deficient in any way. He's different and for every area where he struggles to fit in and be understood, there's an area where he excels and shines.

He's wearing a T-shirt I made today that he considers to be one of the required visual aids. It's his way of saying "I AM WHO I AM. DEAL WITH IT"

I'm so proud of him... but so scared at the same time. Part of me wants to ask the assistant principal who has been such a support to him to be there, if possible. I want to support him standing up for himself in an intelligent, articulate way... but I'm Mama... and I want someone to have his back.

I wish the house would get quiet. I wish they'd all hurry and go to bed. I want to curl up with Floppy (who moved back into the bed a couple of months ago) and wait until I have Charlie to myself.

John's got his crap together. He's good to go. I'm a slobbering mess. Lord, help me. I need some peace and strength so I won't be too worn out from worrying to rejoice with John tomorrow when he tells me he kicked butt and took an "A".

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Four Feet, Ten Inches of Brave

 Last night, John brought us information on a Science project he has due next week. He asked if we could help him research and put it together.

Looking over the information and the rubric, I was struck speechless. The students were given a choice of two projects... The first is to do a Cell Analogy using 10 of the 11 organelles. The___ is like the ___ because... Then each analogy needs to be illustrated.

The second choice is to do a report (which will be read to class) and a visual aid on a genetic disorder. How and when the disorder was discovered, how it affects a person and how it is treated. It should also include pictures of characteristics of the disorder or any pictures that go along with it.

John chose the latter. His choice of subject? Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Wanting to research ASD doesn't surprise me. Using the context of a school assignment to justify it also doesn't surprise me. Choosing to stand up in a class which includes kids who have been calling him 'retard', who have egged him on when he has outbursts and then tease him and who have (as kids in groups tend to do) shown little to no compassion or understanding... and seek to teach them something about himself is quite simply the gutsiest thing I can imagine for him to do. I'm in awe.

And a little scared. I'm the queen of 'what ifs'. What if it backfires? What if the pressure is too much and he melts down before or during the report? What if one of the little jerks in class decides to spout off in the hallway between class?

But what if he gets through it? What if he speaks with confidence, giving examples of other pretty awesome people with ASD? What if one or two of his classmates learn something and grow a little tolerance and understanding? What if the sheer ballsiness of a decision to stand up for himself in this way earns the respect of those teachers who still look at him as a whiny, spoiled child? What if he learns some wonderful things about himself and can stand a little taller, with a little more pride?

I'm cheering him on.

And I hope to stand up to a few things in my own life.

Kiddo, to call you an inspiration is an understatement. Keep being you. "Teh Awesome"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yeah, Sometimes it's Like That

Me: *jumps about 3 feet* Why?
Charlie: *still yelling in a frightening enthusiastic way* WE'RE GOING OUT!
Me: Why?
Charlie: Because I am NOT going to sit in this house all day and I'm in too much pain to go out alone so you're coming too!

*sighs* He's right... there is living to do and if we're going to go do it we have to change out of our shorts and sports bra (me, not him... duh) and wear real clothes and go do it.

But some days... well, lately it's most days... that involves more complicated steps than I have energy to complete. The mere fact that I'm making coffee again rather than living on Stōk Shots is a pretty big step up. The total and utter pathos of my life recently is embarrassing to acknowledge. My almost total uselessness serves not to allow for rest but the echoes of past voices (and not the cool ones) I fought hard to silence saying all the condemning things I fought hard to disprove.

While it's true that my body has betrayed me (I'm not going to list all the ways) there is still no reason to give in to pain and wallow. Besides, doing that doesn't relieve the pain, it only makes it more painful when I do try to get something accomplished. No pain, no gain. If I want to be more mobile, I have to move. If I want the continued use of my arms and hands, I have to do more than use them, I have to exercise them properly to prevent further repetitive use problems.

I constantly berate myself for becoming so passive. But the pro-active Marisa stuck herself in a cramped little cage of emotions and lies then forgot she had the key to get out again. Berating myself doesn't get me out... getting out gets me out.

Oh, so poetic.

Charlie and I are on our way out. We're going to do something. We're going to visit places and accomplish things. Or we might just go to WalMart and buy groceries. Whatever, at least it'll be out.

Have you ever let yourself get caught in a vicious cycle?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Road to Recovery

I was asked the other day about sharing more of my road to recovery. Many of the people reading this blog were with me on the 6 plus years of blogging that chonicled my life as a wife, a mother and a multiple with, at times, as many as 10 active alters in my day to day life. I stopped blogging rather abruptly in '07 or '08... I'm really not sure about the exact time.

Since then, what writing I've done has been sporadic at best, and pretty avoidant and whiny at worst. I haven't written about my integration, not because the process of becoming one mind was traumatizing or difficult... but because going through that process while sharing a home with a profoundly ill person who had no recognition of her compulsive need to control every aspect of our lives was hell. Pure and simple. By the time she moved out, a few months before the process of integration was completed, I was in the worst place I'd been emotionally since I first began the road to healing from DID.

For a long time I held resentment that a period of my life I should have been able to treasure and to process in peace was dominated by the constant ME ME ME of another. (I was even reamed by one person for not allowing her to say goodbye... because, yeah... my healing was about you.)

For a really long time, I've found it difficult to separate her and another's effect on my family with my desire to write about that period of time... how could I talk about my journey without including the person from whom I could only be physically separated by literally hiding in my room? Or the person who made up the other corner of a sick and desperately co-dependent triangle? How could I write about trying to navigate becoming one person while also battling a crippling depression, triggered in large part by the person who fought not only to destroy my marriage, but to talk my husband into committing me and allowing her to raise my children... because, of course, she was the more capable. How could I write about that time in MY life without (childish, I know) giving THEM the satisfaction of being part of the story? Especially as I had, on many occasions, been expressly told I was "not allowed" to write about them?

WHAT THE HELL? So I have to shut away 2+ years of my life because I might say something less than flattering or worse, the TRUTH about you? And what the hell was wrong with me that I allowed myself to be emotionally bullied into complying with such a sickeningly selfish demand? Why did I allow myself to cut off the outlet responsible for the recovery I had attained to that point?

Bitter as this question may sound... how can someone possibly delude herself into believing she was nothing but a positive influence on my kids when only two of the kids were willing to see her when she visited today? How can anyone think they knew best for a child I knew to be dealing with an autistic spectrum disorder when her entire approach was a military style 'my way or the highway' approach? When John was told a few months ago that she might come to visit, he said "If she comes to this house I'm going to lock myself in my room until she's gone."

I know she felt rejected when told that she couldn't come to the house. I know she was certain only Charlie would go to see her at a local restaurant... the shock on her face when she saw Rachel, Daniel and me was obvious. But however much she has blamed us for all that happened ("If you hadn't ____ then I wouldn't have ___ so it's really your fault") she cannot expect the entire family to welcome her back with open arms. This house is a shelter and sanctuary... I will not allow someone into this house who threatens that... even if it's not the intent.


I've come to the realization that I've blamed her for not writing. But it is not she who whispers in my ear that the crap will hit the fan if I write honestly about that time. I'm the one holding myself back.

I want to write about that time but not if it means also talking about Cameron, Kelly, Eli, Trish, Julie, Kate, Lex, Matreshka and all the other people hurt not just by Cameron and Kelly but by me because I chose to "Keep The Peace" and allow them their way because I was too chicken to stand up and say "NO MORE".

Most of those people are, I'm grateful to say, back in my life in various ways. Cameron and Kelly are not... and for whatever healing and reconciliation may come from today's visits... I'm not willing to allow them any closer than the periphery of my life.

If either of them, though I doubt they'll look that far beyond themselves, decides to hunt down this blog and read it. SO BE IT.

I'm not making any plans about writing... I find deciding I'll do it pretty much cements the fact that I won't. I'll just say this... if it comes to me... if there is inspiration to share a portion of that time... both the wonderfully beautiful healing that came in the midst of devastation and loss and that loss... then I'll do it. The "Rules" be damned. It's my life. My journey. No one but God gets to direct it.

If I could come out of hiding long enough to face two people I'd have been happy never to see face to face again... and do it with grace and a choice to believe the best (after the initial panic and 'what ifs') then I can face the years I keep trying to stuff in an ever growing box that threatens to squash me like a bug.

For crying out loud! Nothing we dealt with having those two in my life at that time even compares with what The Crew and I overcame!

I may never be able to confront them face to face about the devastation they leave in their wake (and not just in my life) but I can damn well confront myself. Writing about it does not give it or them power over my life... it serves to free me. Six years of honest outpouring in a little blogging community taught me that.

Now her 'things' are no longer in our care (forced responsibility), it's time to drop the rest of it and move on.

No promises Valerie... but I'll try to get there. If for no other reason than The Crew deserves to be remembered and honored this way.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Morning Hair

Okay, so remember a few posts back when I went on and on about my hair and promised myself I'd learn to accept it as it and get over myself and would post pics so I could perhaps be a little more objective?

So this is what it looks like in the morning when I've just stumbled out of bed, not yet put in my contacts and compulsively check Facebook. It's not so horribly scary from the back... but if Charlie and Rachel are to be believed (jury's out on that) I looked rather monstrous. Even before I made claw hands and started hissing at them for teasing me.

It would probably be good if I work on that posture... but it's only because I have to have my face that close to the screen to read.

Working hard at thinking of worthwhile topics and have even gone back to keeping a pad of paper close by to catch the weird things said in this house.

Feel free to offer subject suggestions because there's so much flying around in my brain these days it's hard to catch anything long enough to turn it into a post.

Tomorrow, I think will be a collection of things heard around the house.

Oh, and I've talked Krys into giving me a haircut. I'll wait 'til she's got the scissors in her hand before mentioning it to Charlie.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

They Say...

Money isn't everything... but apparently, at Wal-Mart, it can be purchased for $1.98.

Pretty impressive. Oh, and Rachel gets the credit for finding it. Good eye, Kiddo. So why couldn't you find the benadryl right under your nose... hmmm?

Anyway, my brain is still twitching so this is all I got tonight. Now I just have to remember what Everything looks like and on what aisle it can be found. Gots to get me more of that.