An amazing thing is happening. Now that I broke the ice about what is really going on I might not be able to shut up. Life is like that. You hold stuff in because it's ugly or fearful and try to stuff it. Stuffing stuff, eventually you get too full and like an overstuffed teddy bear you start spilling your stuffing and little parts fall from the rips in the seams. I can relate to a tattered up toy.
My daughters. The one who I had, and who gave me three more and a little boy. It can become confusing because rather unconventionally they all get lumped into the category of "mine"- my babies. Kayla is in the behavioral health hospital. Monday we find out if she is going to go for long term treatment and that looks like that will be the case. It hurts worse than anything so far that I've been dealt. It hurts because we got so close to the dream. We had the college education in our grasp. All the work to teach her had really produced results and she could make it. For her it was a monumental achievement. Her education has been one rocky, tough hill to climb. It took a lot of persistence and nagging. It took creative thinking to get ideas into her mind in ways she could understand. After all these years of effort the sky was blue, the scholarship granted, and the future bright. Then a hurricane blew in and it is all vanishing.
When she was young she was really a handful. She was so hyperactive that she was expelled from three preschools by age three. My husband and I would just roll our eyes at each other. It was so obvious that Nannie was going to have to stay home with these two. Because that three year old did not dare moon me or her shiny bum would feel the wooden spoon. She didn't mess with me like that, but she had no mercy on the preschool teachers. My job was to keep her from leaping from tall walls to her demise, or getting burned from touching things that were hot. Or doing things to our pets that would hurt them. It wasn't easy. She was fast and impulsive. It seemed that her cause and effect was completely broken. Keeping her safe was a huge challenge, huge!
I mean it.
Have you ever had a kid pick the shiny glass balls off of your Christmas tree and start eating them?
I have. They looked pretty enough to eat, so she did. With her mother and me trying like crazy to get the glass out of her mouth. Did she do it only once? Nope. Her Mom and I nearly tore the tree down that year. It almost wasn't worth the stress.
How about losing your kid at a big country fair? This little girl had to do life fast, and move quickly. It was always hard to hold her hand. She would squirm against your vise grip to get loose. One second of forgetting to hang on and she would be free. When I realized she had got away I had my first panic attack. We were in a very large county fair in Watsonville CA. I took them almost every year. We loved looking at the exhibits and sitting on John Deare tractors for a photo shoot. They were so cute back then. One time as we stood in front of some darling Nubian goats one of them was really talking to us. I feel so sorry for 4 H animals. I know that it teaches kids but these animals have been raised by one loving child and when they get sold they are totally freaked. It's sad. Heather was watching this little goat and finally she looked up at me and asked me, "Nannie, what is she saying?" I said, " I don't know honey, I don't speak goat. But it sounds like she wants her mama."
After I found Kayla that day I started hooking a leash to a loop in her pants. She hated it and I didn't care. She cried that I was walking her like a dog. I had to!
I want my Mama. I don't care how old you are when things get rough we want our Mama. Mine has been gone for a long time. I sort of had an idea when my Mom died and I was 26 that we were getting the short end of that stick. Only time has really defined what that short stick feels like. I miss the little surprises. Mom's do things like get you a package of new underwear, or just pop in to go have lunch. Mom's know when your trying to stuff your stuffing and they call you on the carpet before your seams start to split and spill. Mom's. We need them more when we become one. From the time I was a little girl, maybe even five years old, my one main desire was to be a good mom. I wanted a bushel basket full of kids. I had 9 dolls. I named them all and dressed them up. I'd wash their hair and cut new hair styles. The only problem being that doll hair doesn't grow back. So if a doll ended up with a butch, I'd just make her be a boy and put that doll in boy baby clothes after that. You know creative problem solving.
I have tried to be a good mom, where I have failed them, I have made up with loving them.
Kayla required creative problem solving from the first week of her life. She was the cutest baby we ever laid eyes on. Actually she was such a replica of her own mother that it was a big fat deja vu. It felt so weird to take the same child into my arms. Strange I tell you, as I searched for a difference and couldn't find one. I was speechless. She was a beautiful newborn, creamy skin, pure white hair and big dark blue eyes. Her little head was perfectly round, no molding and her cheeks were chubby. She looked like a little perfect doll. Beautiful. My husband nearly swooned he was so smitten with her. He just sat down awed at how pretty she was. He looked at her and said, "I have never seen a pretty newborn before." He just lost it over her, completely head over heels. Kayla has always been Papa's baby. Papa's heart is breaking too.
I taught her to write on a cookie sheet spread thin with chocolate pudding. If she made a letter right she could lick her finger. We started printing that way, edible finger painting. It was the only way I could get her to focus. Once she could make all her letters we went to paper and big crayons. It took awhile but she learned how to write. Reading was another hurdle. She loved to play on the computer and could install programs and "do" them. All without reading. We had every Reader Rabbit program I could lay my hands on. She was 8 years old when she figured out the reading code and then she went through every book in the house, with 100% comprehension. In our big house in Felton there was enough rooms to have a room for school. It was filled with everything a kid could want to play with that would teach them. I adopted the philosophy of surrounding them in a rich environment of learning. We had a ton of choices. Lots of hands on ways to learn. Beans to count, dough to squish, art to make, stories to read, it was a lot of fun. We managed to hit all the subjects in a rather random way but they always had a full day. We studied how plants grow, we studied the world we live in. We learned about animals on the land and on farms. We explored the ocean and all the creatures and plants in it. We learned how food grows. We planted gardens and they climbed trees. We played in the mud and had tea parties. They had lots of music, you know singing loud, banging on sticks and drums. They loved Harry Belafonte and singing Day-O. We had a blast. It was so much fun. I don't think learning needs to be a chore and not much of it happens in workbooks where you fill in a blank. At least that is my opinion. Our young girls learned and grew and they thrived. They were happy.
Then life got tough. They moved back with mom and at first life went well. Kayla became a handful again but in different ways. She was mean to her younger sibblings and rebellious. She began to over eat and steal food. She would eat other kids lunches at school and lie that her mom didn't feed her. She gained weight so it was pretty obvious she was getting more than enough to eat! She had trouble in school making friends. She could make friends with boys and kids that were younger than her. She refused to work for the teachers and after a few frustrating years she ended up in special ed. I'll never forget what she said to us about riding the short bus to school. "Now what have I done?" The broken cause and effect. She never has understood how certain behaviors get a person into trouble.
She has never learned that. No matter what approach we took. She has always obsessed on one thing at a time. When she was young it was safari animals. All she would play with was safari animals. When she got into video games it was all over. I didn't let her play with them. Her mom liked them, she played them too. When you look back it's hard to see which part of your trip may have been a wrong turn. What was it? We may never have the answer. My hope is that after all this time we might get a diagnosis. If someone will take the time and care enough to piece the puzzle together. She is 19 and she is old enough to ban us from this experience. If she tells the medical team not to talk to us, I guess that will be how it is done. It will make it a lot harder for them because I have a lot of useful information. That is if they really want to know and not just punch the clock.
Here we are. Another big hurdle in Kayla's life. I had no idea she had such thoughts until I found that she wrote them down. Shocking stuff. On the outside is a sweet precious girl, in the inside is her evil twin full of rage and rebellion. Full of fantasies that can only lead to death and tragedy. Heartbreak and the kind of stuff that gets you locked up. Too scary to ignore.
Have you ever been heart broken? Isn't it weird that it physically hurts? Your heart can feel like it is ripping apart in your chest. I have experienced that over broken relationships with men. Children can rip your heart out on a whole nutha level. I can't tell which is worse, they are both bad. Today I think a child induced broken heart takes the cake.
Worry can creep up and smack a person right in the face. Sometimes in a big right hook. I have to fight with worry and lay that bad boy down. Worry steals from me. It steals my peace and sometimes my sanity. I can't play with it. I have a whole lot of worry coming at me right now. I'm having a full on nuclear war with it.
Besides Kayla, Jennifer has her troubles. I am so proud of her. She has finally grown up. She has such a great sense of humor and she is so funny. You have to watch out for that girl she can make you pee your pants giggling too hard. She works hard and she has become strong. It makes a parent proud when they see their kid can put their hand to the plow and make a field. It is a satisfying feeling. It's good.
But our world is rocky right now. That cool little shop at the beach is struggling to stay afloat. Struggling enough to get behind on paychecks. Getting behind on paychecks is getting behind on the rent. Getting behind on the rent is getting into trouble with the landlord. The whole thing seems about to implode.
That should be enough right? Enough trouble? But no....let's throw in a sudden onset of horrible toothache. Let's go to the dentist after hours and get a big bill just to be told that we have 3 teeth in serious trouble. One can be pulled because it's in the back. Two have gaping holes and are infected. Root canals ka ching ka ching. No money, no benefits, owed the last 3 checks, working 10 to 14 hours a day 6 days a week and no money. That just plain isn't fair. But I'm not done yet! There's more. Yep believe it or not there is more. I saw Jen changing her pants and she has a goober on her thigh that is a big ugly. I freaked. I am so much better now at maintaining my 5 alarm bells but this one was tough to keep calm. This was a "WHAT IS THAT?" Let me see it! And my funny girl is jerking her pants on as fast as she can to get me away from that goober. She says, "That's Fred!" I excitedly answer back, "FRED?" This thing has been with you so long you have named it?
Before you judge, think about what you would do as a single mom working 60 hours a week without benefits. When you are using everything you've got for food, roof , clothes and some occasional fun to make up for the lack of time to your kids when your home. There is no time or money for the doctor. She is TIRED.
But her mother (me) worked oncology. Her mother knows when the cavalry needs to be called. The calvary needed to be called a year ago when Fred was a little sore that wouldn't heal and bled. Fred is bigger than a quarter, crusty, blackish blue and irregularly shaped. Fred's last name may be melanoma. But Fred might be just one of those benign barnacles that old folks get.... probably not. As I try to beat worry down with a big bat. As my fear grips me, "Do I get her back to lose her?" She is in a lot of pain all the time every day. The teeth could have attacked her joints. But she had other alarming things happen while I was there, like have bile in her urine. Her low back is thick in an odd way, the tissues feel dense. When I tried to give her a back rub to make her feel better she had something foul tasting spit up into her mouth. 5 alarms went off in my head, no maybe 10. So I had a great big asthma attack instead, and we blamed it on the mold. There is a lot of mold in her place.
Maybe that's why I am up typing at 3am in the morning and can't sleep. Steroids will do that to you. My house needs another good cleaning. Last night at 3am in the morning I wiped out the microwave.
I may be totally nuts before this over. Here I am without a job. I am not in a position to do anything. I have thought about selling the house. It's the last thing. For a person like me who likes independence and problem solving; being in this position with my knees knocked out from under me all I can do is pray. Have mercy God have mercy.
At least my blog is going to be going in one direction. I may have to change it from "where you never do know what your going to get," to "where you never do know what is going to happen next."
On a happy note the HOMETOWNSEEDS folks want to sponsor a give away. I'm going to get that post up the first part of the week. I just got my survival seed pack and it is very cool and a very big supply of seeds. It will be an awesome give away. I just need to get my thoughts together about it.
I will too, these last two posts are cathartic in a helpful way. it has always been easier for me to write than to talk. I even pray better when I write. I have journals full of prayers. The cool thing is I can go back years later and see how God answered, otherwise I just forget. My mind has trouble with recalling data. Writing about all of this other stuff is helping me. I hope you don't mind sharing my journey. If I quit stuffing then my bulging seams might stay together.