Belligerent

bel·lig·er·ent
bəˈlijərənt
adjective
hostile and aggressive.

 

Belligerence is mom’s new state.  The anxiety meds not only don’t help with anxiety, they now increase her belligerent attitude.   *sigh*

 

Case in point:
Today, after day care, we went to the fairgrounds to pick up my items.

 

Mom:  Which fairgrounds are we going to?
Me:  Stark county.
Mom:  Oh, I thought we were in Summit county.
Me:  No, you live in Stark County.

 

*Indication that she has no idea where we are… and who I am*
*Arriving at fairgrounds.*

 

Mom:  I didn’t know the fair closed up during the day.
Me:  It is over.
Mom:  Was it just one day?
Me:  No, you came twice.
Mom:  I need to get some money to buy food.
Me:  No.  The fair is over.  Look, there is nothing here.
Mom:  I see that.  There are no people.
Me:  Yes.  We are just picking up my items.

 

Me:  Why don’t you get out of the car with me while we pick up my items.
Mom:  I have items to pick up too.
Me:  No you don’t.  Not this year.
Mom:  Yes I do.
Me:  No.  Please just come stand with me in line.
Mom:  I don’t have my tickets or number.
Me:  That’s because you don’t have any items this year.
Mom:  Yes, I do.  I brought them myself.
Me:  No, you didn’t.  You don’t go anywhere by yourself, you are always with me.
Mom:  You may have been with me, but I brought them in myself.
Me:  No.  Please, just stand here with me while they find my items.
Mom:  I need to find my items.   *tries to get the attention of a worker*
Mom (to worker):  Do you have the notebook with all the names?  I don’t have my number and can’t find my items.
Me (to worker):  She has dementia, there are no items this year.
Worker tries to be nice to her but she is being adamant.
Mom:  I need to get my items.
Me:  You don’t have any.  You have dementia and your brain is confused.  You didn’t enter anything this year.
Mom:  My brain is clear today.
Me:  *sigh* and *eye roll*
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*All my craft items are collected*

 

Me:  Let’s go over to the antique section to pick up the items.
Mom:  I never got my items from here.
Me:  That’s because you didn’t have any.
Mom:  You are just going to leave them?
Me:  yes.
Mom:  I have antiques too.
Me:  *ignores her*

 

*Lady is searching for my item.*

 

Mom (to worker):  I have items here too.
Me (to worker):  Not this year.  She has dementia.
Worker:  Honey, I’m sure your daughter is taking care of it.
Mom:  No, those are her items.  I need my items.

 

Mom:  Is that my crock?   *it was a lovely LARGE crock*
Me:  No.  You didn’t enter anything this year.
Mom:  Yes, I did, I need to find them.

 

* she starts to wander off through the aisles*

 

* I retreive her for the 2nd or 3rd time*

 

Workers (to me):  Bless you.

 

Me:  We are done here, let’s walk down to the Grange building to get Esther’s ribbons.
Mom:  I never got my items from this building.
Me:  You didn’t have any.  Turn right, we are going to the Grange building.

 

*takes her arm to turn her in the right direction*

 

Mom:  Don’t pull my arm!
Me:  I’m not pulling your arm.  We are headed down there to the Grange building.
Mom:  No, I need to get my items first.
Me:  Let’s just go get Esther’s ribbons.
Mom:  SHUT UP!!
Me:  That was inappropriate, you should not talk to me like that.

 

*arrive at Grange building*

 

*she starts to wander off down towards the flowers*

 

Me:  Please stay right here while we get Esther’s ribbons.  We will go down there in a minute.
Mom:  I’m just going down here for a bit.
Me:  Please stay right here with me.
*I wrap my arm around her waist and direct her back towards the baked goods counter.*
Mom:  Did you miss me?
Me:  No.  I’m with you all the time, how could I miss you?

 

* we get all the ribbons… and the vases*

 

*leaving the Grange building to go back to the car*

 

Mom:  Are we just going to leave my jellies and such?
Me:  Yes.
Mom:  That’s too bad.

 

*in the car leaving the fairgrounds*

 

Mom:  Are you going to pick up mom from that building.
Me:  Your mom is not here.
Mom:  You can’t leave your mom here.
Me:  You are my mom.
Mom:  No I’m not.  I would have been 7 when you were born.
Me:  Nope.  I was born in 1964 and you were born in 1942.   You are my mom.
Mom: No I’m not.
Me:  I realize you don’t know who I am and don’t recognize that I am your daughter.
Mom:  I am not your mom.
Me:  Yes you are, please be quiet, we are leaving now.
Mom:  We can’t leave mom here.
Me:  Your mom is not here.
Mom:  I just saw her, she went in that building.
Me:  Your mom is not in that building.
Mom:  Maybe she went to this building.
Me:  Your mom is not in that building.
Mom:  You can’t just leave mom here.
Me:   Your mom is not here.
Mom:  I know she is.  I talked to her before you arrived.
Me:  No, you only talked to me.
Mom:  You can’t leave mom here.
Me:  *silence*

 

This is not a verbatum conversation, but it is pretty close.  There was more inbetween all of that… exhausting.
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Educating the Educators

Since 2002 and Preschool in Carrollton, I have been fighting for daughter #3 in school situations.

Trying to open teachers and administrators eyes to the fact that not all gifted students are loquacious. Trying to educate them about how to meet the needs of a student that might be slightly different. Pushing teachers to “do their job” and maybe work a bit harder to rethink how they teach instead of teaching every year/class the same ol’ way.

 

Watching her flourish under the great teachers – Kindergarten teacher in Carrollton, 3rd grade teacher at Seville, and 5th grade gifted teacher in Westfield.

 

We have butted heads with some teachers more than others: preschool in Carrollton, 1st grade in Lodi, and most notably 10th grade English in Perry.

 

I know that some of you probably think that we are “enabling” her and not allowing her to succeed or fail on her own. Some of you probably think that we should FORCE her to talk by letting her fail. Believe me, we have tried almost everything.  We tried the force… we tried bribery… we tried bargaining… we did it all.  What works is acceptance and educating the educators.

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Today  again I (we) are faced with another battle.  I am so exhausted by this.   I am no longer tolerant (was I ever really?) of the educators that think they know better than the parents who have lived and worked and learned how best to encourage her to be her best.

 

I am thankful for an “old” friend who suddenly reappeared in my life a couple years ago (via Facebook) who is a professional who deals with this kind of thing and gave us invaluable advice and support at a time when we needed it dearly.

 

Did I say that I’m exhausted?  I am.  This is so draining.  This school year has been remarkably uneventful for her, but now the issue rises again in anticipation of her Senior year of High School.   I really can’t take it any more. Can’t we all just play nice, get her graduated and let her go off to college?

 

Adding this exhausting emotional situation to all the other crap in my life, leaves me beyond exhausted but knowing I have to continue on.  One foot in front of the other.   I need someone to take care of me,  I feel so alone almost all the time.

 

Thankfully, daughter #3 has always been surrounded with WONDERFUL friends who accept her and understand her and include her and work with her. We were worried when we moved away from that group of friends she had been with from Kindergarten through 5th grade. She has found an equally (or maybe even better) group of friends at our current school.  So good, in fact, that she has more of a social life than her 2 older sisters ever had in High School.    She has parties/gatherings almost every weekend with them.

 

I have no doubt that she will succeed in college.  Either she will find her voice (she is getting ever closer) or she will find her words to take responsibility for this disease on herself.

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Late Night Phone Calls

No one likes to get a late night/early morning phone call.  Anything after 9pm and before 9am would fall in that category, IMHO.

 

I have gotten them… don’t like them.  They are usually some sort of crisis or bad news.

 

Last night I got one.  Well, OK… I should say I didn’t get it.

 

Apparently, my phone rang at 2:30am, but I was sleeping and didn’t hear it.  It rang again at 2:49am and I did hear it but didn’t get to it in time.  The phone said “no caller ID info.”

 

Now… what does your mind do?  Race… what is wrong, who is hurt?  I have a child that is out of the state on a trip…. did she get bit by a rattle snake?  fall off a cliff?  get stung by a scorpion?  Drop her phone in a volcano?

 

However, my brain starts to work properly and reason it out…. “no caller ID info”… OK… everyone that is on the trip with her would have caller ID on their phones, the hospital would,  so would the police… the teacher… the other students…

 

BUT… my brain says…. they called back … maybe I should wait 15-20 minues to see if they call again… of course, I cannot fall back to sleep until well after 3am waiting for that call.

 

It is really early in California/Nevada… but I kinda need that child to check in today.     🙂

 

I’m pretty sure she is fine.

Shopping

I don’t like shopping for clothes.  I don’t like shopping for shoes.

I don’t like shopping for food.  Shopping always gives me the blues.

 

Sometimes you have to go shopping.  Your child might need new jeans.

You might need some new hiking boots, tennis shoes, or even green beans.

 

Your child will grow and need new dress pants for band.

The searching and trying on and waiting, I just cannot stand.

 

Take all 4 of them along and they will bicker and tease.

Someone else take them shopping, oh please, pretty please!

 

I love my 4 daughters, I absolutely do.

But after shopping for hours, I’d sell them to you.

 

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I have never liked shopping.  Not even as a teenager.  I prefer to just go in, get what I need and get home.  Yesterday we had to go shopping for several things.

 

Daughter #1 was really just along for the ride and the free lunch.  Oh… and to maybe creep on daughter #3’s “boyfriend.”  She did end up getting 2 dresses from the resale shop and a pair of shorts for work at Kohls.  She also supplied the coupon codes for BOGO free at Cold Stone Creamery.

 

Daughter #2 needed jeans for her geology fieldtrip to the desert.  She got those.  And then proceeded to complain the rest of the time that she didn’t get any dresses or blah, blah, blah…. she could have looked at them too.  *sigh*  She did get some wool socks (reluctantly) for her trip as well.

 

Daughter #3 didn’t NEED anything.  She was along for the free lunch and promise of ice cream.  She ended up getting a couple dresses from the resale shop and a shirt off clearance at Kohls.  Of course she had to endure the teasing from her sisters on how she is the “favorite” and I always buy her anything she wants….   *eye rolling*

 

Daughter #4 needed brown shorts for under her costume for the choir concert and black dress pants.  She whined the whole time that she didn’t like the polo shirt we had purchased weeks ago for the choir concert.  She found the shorts and another t-shirt at the resale shop.  She found a NEW polo shirt she liked (or could tolerate) at Kohls (it is basically the same color as the other one… WHATEVER).  Dress pants…. UGH… she found some but they were $32.  I was NOT paying $32 for  a pair of black dress pants to be worn 3-4 times before they were too small.  So we did 3 more laps around Kohls and she tried on some other ones but nothing fit.  At that point she was reminded by daughter #3 that she wore her pants last time and why didn’t she do that again.  *face palm*   SERIOUSLY!!  Why did I just spend almost 2 hours in the store looking for pants when we had some at home she could wear????????

 

We were definitely going for ice cream after that!  I needed it.

 

If you think you enjoy shopping.  Please take ALL 4 of my daughters with you sometime.  You will be cured!

 

We did take Grandma along and usually she is able to keep everyone calmer.  However, she wasn’t feeling the best so she had stayed in the car to rest/nap.

 

 

 

 

Reflections from 4 years

g12c000000000000000110788669b514916cdde1e2117c088701662408cIt has now been 4 years since my life was irreparably changed.  Yes, NOT repairable,  incapable of being rectified, remedied, or made good.  I could explain again how one person shouldn’t have had the power to do that… but this is more reflections on where we’ve come in 4 years.

  1.  We are NOT done grieving.  I am NOT done grieving.  I’m not certain I ever will be.  As I have said before, the life I had was  a life I wanted and it was forcibly removed from me and I had no say in the matter.
  2. We are trying to just live life as best we can.  Some days/weeks/months it is more of a struggle than we’d like.  We, unfortunately, now know how Food Stamps work… and unemployment.. .and the atrocities of Medicaid/Obamacare.
  3. I would say that we are still in survival mode.  I wish this wasn’t so, but I’m not certain how to get out of it.  I wish that we were thriving… but when you are always conscious of every penny and you have to think twice before you can buy a t-shirt for your child at a band competition… or swim meet…and you sometimes visit a food bank… that is not thriving.   I love the game/show Survivor.  Honestly, I would rather have done that for 39 days than live this life for the last 4 years…. burnt rice, bug bites, back stabbing and all.
  4. Our family unity is reaching all time lows.  I try… I really do… but it is hard.  I do my best to provide the younger 2 kids the things that the older ones took for granted, but it is harder and harder.  We no longer eat meals together at the table very often which I prided myself in doing.  We have often struggled with this during swim season (with conflicting practice schedules) but we really made an effort regardless.

There are some things that my heart still grieves for… things that “fueled” me… that gave me hope, that filled my soul, that encouraged me, that helped to give me purpose, that bonded our family…  those things I cannot get back in our current state of life.  Honestly, I do not have hope that I will ever do those things again.

  1. leading VBS – encouraging the teachers, teaching the songs, helping with the crafts, organizing it all into one cohesive event, sharing the message with the congregation/parents.
  2. Preparing a Christmas pageant/Program with the children/youth.  I have several fabulous Christmas pageant musicals that I envisioned being able to use over and over again with various congregations.  Fun songs, cute donkeys, wise men that crack jokes, “Haste” the shepherd, “Lo” the angel… helping the children learn some new Christmas songs and some old ones.  Giving them a fresh perspective on the Christmas story.
  3. Putting together a fun Children’s Musical.  Again, I have several of these that I truly planned on using again.  They are such fun.  Hard work for both me and the kids, but with such great messages and it gives the children a chance to be the star and to worship their  way.
  4. Being part of a choir.  When we first had to move on, I asked the choir director where we are attending if we could just show up on Sunday’s during the run through time and sing with them, that we had lots of church choir experience and most likely we had sung the song before, or a close version.  We were not able to attend the midweek practices due to the kids schedules and the distance.  He was going to think about it… yeah… 4 years later his silence speaks volumes!  I feel like that if he had just taken a chance, it would have helped in our healing process.
  5. I miss being part of a community that loves me, wants me, encourages me, needs me, respects me, supports me, loves my kids, and blesses us.

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Where are we today?

Unfortunately, a job that I loved ended in June.  I am currently working at a job, I’m not completely happy with.  I feel like I was forced to take this job because I needed  to have a job.

I am doing my best to take care of home and family.  I feel like I fail at that a lot.  I hope that my younger kids understand that I tried the best I could.  That even though their life is significantly different from the life they (and their older sisters) were used to, I have tried.

I am still leading Girl Scout Troops.  I enjoy that and it is a nice outlet for me to encourage those girls as I have encouraged over 100 girls over the years.

I am knitting/crocheting more these days – for multiple reasons – to fill the time, to distract my mind, to bless others.

The girls are all doing well.  They are excelling in school.  They are making wise decisions and being responsible young adults.

Wayne has finally found another job (he was unemployed AGAIN this year for 6 months).

I know that most of you (99%+) of you don’t fully comprehend what we have gone through… are going through… but I do appreciate your kind words, cards, and prayers.    It has been a tough 4 years.   I’m not sure I see a light at the end of this tunnel, but my night vision is getting better and I am making my way through it as best I can.

Disappointment as the Norm?

Lately it seems that disappointment is the norm in my life.

I am disappointed with my place of former employment… I’m disappointed with people in my family… I’m disappointed with myself… I’m disappointed with friends… I’m disappointed with how people respond/react to me and my family…

Why?  I suppose that it could be my own perspective.  I suppose some would tell me that I need to have a cheery/rosy outlook and it really is all in how I perceive things.  In some ways, that could be true.

But could it also be true that society has gotten to the place where it is all about “me.”  We no longer seem to care what others think and/or feel.   We do what we want, say what we want, not caring how it will impact others or how it will change someone’s world.

Yes, we have gotten to that point.  Society, in general is very egocentric.  It is all about what you can do for me.  What I can get out of you.  How I can get the most out of doing the least.  Which is very sad.

Maybe I am naive, but that is not how I believe or behave (or try to behave).    I try to help others.  I try to put others first.  What can I do for YOU?  I don’t mind hard work.   I know that this sometimes leads to me being taken advantage of… and thus disappointed.  I think of myself AFTER others…. which in many cases results in.. disappointment.

What can I do about it?  What can I do to stop being constantly disappointed in others?

1.  I could become hardened and egocentric and look out only for myself.

2.  I could not care about other people and their feelings.  I could become calloused to others.

3.  I could lower my standards and not expect much from people so therefore they can’t disappoint me.

4.  I could continue to be disappointed, holding on to my principles that helping others is the better way to go — ooops, that won’t stop the disappointment.

I guess I am going to choose to continue to be disappointed.  Of course, there are times when I look out for myself and gird myself to withstand the disappointment.   However, I guess I just need to somehow accept that I WILL be disappointed by others – ALL THE TIME.  I will be taken advantage of, I will be overlooked, I will be dismissed, I will be looked down upon.   If only, all of that didn’t hurt so much.

I’m not really sure of the point of this blog post today.  I was hit with another major disappointment this weekend, on top of a big one last week, not to mention all of them in the last 5 years.  I am getting weary.  I will pull myself up by my bootstraps (what exactly are bootstraps?) and trundle on.  What else can I do?  If I get angry, no one listens or believes me or seems to care, so that is almost worthless.  Besides, I don’t do confrontation.

disappointmentThere are some shining lights in my world right now.  Some of the people at my (now defunct) work have been fabulous!  Some of the people in my life – mostly those involved with Girl Scouts – have been fabulous.  I wish I could say the same for people in organized religion.

I realize that not everyone disappoints me.  However, when it is people/places/organizations that disappoint me that are very, very dear to me, it hurts deeply.  I suppose, that I hold them to a higher standard and I really shouldn’t.   However, when you want the best from everyone and know that they could do better….

The argument could be made… that the fault is mine.  I bring the disappointment on myself by having too high of expectations and standards.  I don’t feel like that should be a bad thing.  This world is so far removed from good behavior, manners, common courtesy, common sense, graciousness… it is very sad that I might be questioning lowering my own standards to come in line with the world.

Just a melancholy, raining Sunday morning…. headed out to clean in the garage now.  Maybe the physical activity will help.

Assured Clear Distance

Assured Clear Distance – you know… that space you leave between your car and the car in front of you so you have enough space/road to bring your car to a safe stop if you must do so quickly.

If you rear-end someone, you are usually sited for not having an assured clear distance.

I almost always leave a nice assured clear distance between me and the car in front of me.  Remember in driver’s training we were taught to count a certain number of seconds (I think it was 3?) from when the car in front of you passed a stationary object to when you did and that would be a safe distance.  Do they still teach that??

Since I now drive 30+ miles daily to work on the interstate, I have a new definition of assured clear distance.

Assured Clear Distance is the space I leave between my van and the vehicle in front of me that everyone else thinks is a space left open for them to pull into …because going around me gets them there sooooo much faster, especially when I am going the exact same speed as the car, that I was a safe distance from, in front of me.  Which then means I must slow down a bit to re-establish my assured clear distance with the new vehicle in front of me.

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I can hardly wait till winter when I’ll get to drive the interstate with these crazies in the snow!  Oh the joy that will bring!