It’s Been a Struggle – Update

Hey, there, friends. Long time no write on my part. I’m sorry about that. Between the election, NaNoWriMo, and some other stuff going on in our lives, my head has been swimming. I did pre-write some posts and schedule them, but not as many as I would have liked, so I’m checking in with you all today.

  • I woke up at about 3am this morning with the weight of the world on my mind. This has happened a lot since November 9. As I said in my last post, I’m very worried about The Boy’s future, more than I have ever been. His medical coverage is at risk, and that would affect us emotionally and financially. I don’t expect any progress at the national level in terms of increased programs for adults on the spectrum, either. Maybe this do-nothing congress that has been virtually re-elected will surprise me, but I doubt it will be in a good way.
  • The Boy has been struggling with some violence during his meltdowns this year, and I am investigating how we can best help him through this. We may be switching doctor’s offices, we may be switching medications (big yikes), and we may be looking into some therapy for him. It depends on what his insurance will cover. But he needs some help dealing with his anger (thanks a lot, puberty), and I’m at the bottom of my toolbox with nothing left.
  • I get my first Thanksgiving mini-vacation this year since 2012. Every other year in between, I had to work on some portion of the days surrounding the holiday. Starting tomorrow at lunchtime, I am off until Monday, and man,will that feel weird. Good weird, though. 🙂
  • Then The Boy’s birthday is right around the corner. He’ll be 15. There goes my head, swimming again…
  • And the ex reached out post-election with an eloquent text saying he knew he had neglected his son and wanted to be a regular part in his life, promising to call every Sunday. That lasted exactly one Sunday, but I suppose his heart is in the right place. The Boy will be heading to his dad’s for Christmas, and I will miss him desperately.

So, my head continues to swim, which is better than sinking, I guess. I wanted to check in with you folks. It seems like it has been forever.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. ❤

The Ex, Fall Plans, and a Boy Growing Up

DCP_0407When the ex cancelled his summer visitation, he said he planned to come and visit The Boy this fall some time, and then asked about Christmas.  At the time, I reminded him that he had had The Boy last Christmas, which would mean he would have him for Thanksgiving this year, instead, and then possibly the week after Christmas if we could work it out. He agreed, and said he would let me know about fall plans.

Tomorrow, October begins, and I doubt the visit here will happen. In fact, he texted the other day to explain why we hadn’t received child support in a month, and to reiterate that he was “working on” Thanksgiving. No mention of the previous plan to visit here sometime this fall.

The Boy has been through this enough to know that what his dad says will happen rarely does, but he still hopes. When I remind him that we’ll have to wait and see what happens, “I know, I know, I know,” he says, and goes right on hoping. Usually.

Fast forward to this past weekend. It was a rough one, because the girl upon whom The Boy has a crush was absent Friday. As you well know, when someone is absent from school, it is a sign that the end is nigh, and we all run around screaming at the sky because she has moved away, we will never see her again, and why bother doing anything because there’s no point.

The Man and I were doing our best to cheer him up, offering fun things to do, and being generally silly, when suddenly, The Boy piped up from the backseat of the car (always conversing in the car), “I have an idea!” Usually this means he is starting to come around, starting to make everything ok in his own mind, but this time it was actually a real idea. “We can go to Myrtle Beach and ride the go-karts, and I don’t mind missing school to do that.”

Wait, what?

Did he just say he was ok with missing school? This kid? The one I have had to beg and plead with doctors and dentists for the past eight years just to find appointments close to the end of the school day so I wouldn’t be reminded fortnightly of that one day in February of 2006 when he had to miss school??

But he wasn’t finished.

“And if my dad can’t have me for Thanksgiving weekend, we could even go then!”

He actually vocalized himself that his dad’s plans would most likely fall through. And made a back up plan of his own to deal with it.

I think my little boy is growing up.

*tear*

Get Used to Disappointment

One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies (the Princess Bride, which I have seen probably a kajillion times).  Not one of my favorite things my son has to go through.

Broken Reflection

Broken Reflection, Valerie Reneé

Because the ex couldn’t manage to see his son for Thanksgiving, I offered (at Grammy’s urging) to give him the week between Christmas and New Years for visitation.  I suggested he or they come down to the beach for a few days, even rent a house real cheap to see The Boy.

I hadn’t heard anything more about it (although Grammy had overheard the phrase “meet you somewhere” in a phone call between The Boy and the ex), so I texted him last night to see what was up.

I expected him to hem and haw a bit more, but he said straight out he couldn’t get any time off, and couldn’t do it.  Sorry.

I expect this every time, and yet every time I cannot fathom why.  I don’t know anyone (besides the ex) who is or would be completely comfortable not seeing his or her own child for eight months or longer, nor speak to him for a month or more at a time.  I cannot understand his excuses, knowing how much I would do to ensure I would see my child.

But he is not me.

The Boy seemed a bit upset and irritated when I broke the news this evening.  “Why?” he asked.

“Because he can’t get time off from work,” I said.

Why can’t he get time off from work?”

I paused.  Good question, kiddo.  “You can ask him,” I suggested.  “Want me to text him and have him call you?”

“I’ll think about it,” he said.

He’s getting as tired of this game as I am.

Happy Day-Before-Black-Friday…

wild turkey visitorsI love Turkey Day.  Today is our only truly American holiday that doesn’t separate us according to religion, ethnicity, familial status, or socioeconomic status.  It’s inclusive.  It’s about giving gratitude for what we have.  It’s about showing love to those we love most.

I hate Black Friday.  It has overtaken Thanksgiving.  It overshadows the time we are supposed to be taking to reflect on how little we truly need.  It taints the entire season with the greasy feel and steely smell of money.

I will not be shopping today or tomorrow.  I never do.  I enjoy my family to the fullest extent.  But I do have something to do on Friday…

I will be working!  I finally got a job!  I need to go in on Friday to get an orientation of sorts, and I am very thankful to be employed again.  This is a good thing.

I’m thankful we got The Boy into a much better placement.  He has had a great week, and I look forward to many more accomplishments in his future there.

I’m thankful that for the first time since 1991, I am not traveling anywhere today, and was able to wake up in my own bed next to my wonderful new husband, for whom I’m also thankful.

I’m thankful I get to spend today with all of my beautiful family.

I am also thankful to have “won” NaNoWriMo (scroll down and check out my badge on the bottom right of the page!).  I finished and validated my 50,000+ word  novel yesterday afternoon, and it feels GREAT to accomplish a goal that a lot of people think about doing but never quite accomplish.

I am thankful for so much more, but you don’t need to sit here and read about me.  Go have a fantastic holiday, and keep it simple. 😉

The Next Thing

Lithograph, Home To Thanksgiving, published by...

Home To Thanksgiving, Currier and Ives

The ex has bagged out on Thanksgiving with The Boy, unless I consented to have his parents pick The Boy up the weekend before Thanksgiving, and have him miss three days of school.  My response to that was, “That’s not a good idea,” and so, no visitation until who knows when.

The common sense thing for the ex to do, now that we live even further apart, would be to save up a little  money so he could come down for a weekend, stay at a hotel and see his son.  But that will never happen.  He doesn’t save money, and when he does, he spends it on himself.  He probably resents The Boy for the child support coming out of his check, and reasons that that’s enough money to be spending on him, and he shouldn’t have to spend any more just to see him.

If you’re keeping track, The Boy hasn’t seen his dad since April, and the phone calls have become less and less frequent.  They are about once a month, now.  He was excited about going to see his dad’s kitties for Thanksgiving, and even though I tell him every time it comes up not to get his hopes up, and that it might not happen, he still talks about it as if it is a certainty.

Yesterday, I purposely brought it up because we need to get him from this place of certainty that it will happen to a place of certainty that it won’t happen with as little stress, trauma, and disappointment as possible, not an easy feat.  I said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to stick around here for Thanksgiving, and celebrate with me and our family?”

“What?!”

I repeated myself.

“Well, I still might go to my dad’s,” he said.

“And you might not,” I said.

“We’ll see,” he said, and then, “Let’s find out for sure.”

I told him I would ask his dad, knowing full well that I wouldn’t because I already know it won’t happen.  So now it is my unhappy job to figure out when to break the news, and possibly come up with some distraction to soften the blow.

This is one of the most unfair parts of the job.  I know no one ever said life would be fair, but this right here?  This sucks.

This Close

Icon-type silhouette of an airplane. (Mainly t...I am THIS CLOSE to telling the ex to stop even trying to bother.  Over the past couple of months, he has cancelled his August visitation (which has happened three out of the past four years, probably even longer), and then immediately promised The Boy he would see him for Thanksgiving.  His “plan” was to have his mom fly down, fly back with The Boy, and then he himself would fly down again with him to drop him off, and fly back.  He claimed his mom offered to pay for her tickets, and he (the ex) would pay for his own and for The Boy’s.  Did you count how many tickets that was?

I knew before the words were even out of his mouth that it wouldn’t happen, but per usual, just nodded my head, and said, “Sure.”  And The Boy has continued talking about seeing his dad’s kitties in November (the only part of his trips he is verbally concerned with).  And every time, I remind him that it might not happen, and I-don’t-want-you-to-get-too-disappointed-if-it-doesn’t-happen…  “I know, Mom,” he says.

And he does.

The text came tonight, saying he couldn’t afford the airfare, but that his girlfriend has a cousin in our state who will be alone for Thanksgiving, so they might…

JUST STOP.

That plan won’t happen either, because you will ask me to drive four hours, one way, to the middle of nowhere the night before Thanksgiving to make this work for you, and when I won’t, it will be my fault again that you will have missed another opportunity to spend time with your son.

I’m over it.

He’s over it.

It’s so much energy on everyone’s part, and the only thing created is headache and disappointment.  I am THIS CLOSE to asking him to quit trying.

The Previously Preempted Christmas Post

The Man’s proposal certainly surprised me, and preempted my Christmas post.  Not that I mind…  So here’s the post that was originally supposed to air.

The Man isn’t big on Christmas, which has caused some friction in the almost-three years we’ve been dating.  I love Christmas!  Not in a must-decorate-the-house-witihin-an-inch-of-its-life kind of way, but an I-really-dig-finding-just-the-right-thing-for-everyone-on-my-list kind of way.  You probably already know this about me, but I digress.

The Man, however, has a lot of anxiety about gift-giving, as well as other issues with Christmas in general, and can sometimes get downright depressed about it.  I have treated him gently, been very cognizant about his needs, and I’m pretty sure I have rubbed off on him a bit, meaning he’s not as big of a Scrooge as he used to be.

Last year, it came up in conversation that his beloved grandmother, who helped raise him, had one of those all-silver trees that she would decorate with either red or blue bulbs, depending on the year, complete with the rotating light shining on it.  He expressed fond memories of this tree.  “Wait, fond memories of something having to do with Christmas?” I thought to myself, “We gotta get on that!”

A few months later, we were in Marietta, Ohio for Thanksgiving, and walked into a chocolate shop where a silver tree just like his grandmother’s was in the window.  He started a lengthy conversation with the shop owner, fondly reminiscing about his grandmother’s tree, yet again.

After that, I looked them up online to see how much they were, but unfortunately found them to be rather expensive, being truly antiques and all.

And then

And then, I posted about it on facebook, and a few hours later, Fantastic Babysitter responded to my post that her parents were interested in getting rid of just such a tree that they had in their attic!  Not wanting to get my hopes up too high, I asked her about it, and asked how much they wanted for it.  She said they wouldn’t want any money for it.

Ask and ye shall receive!

She brought the tree over, and I got out some rags and brasso, and spent an afternoon in my living room, listening to the Peanuts and Muppets Christmas albums, and shining up every single branch on that tree.

Shining up the tree!

When I gave it to the Man last Christmas, he was speechless, almost moved to tears, and said it was quite possibly the best Christmas gift he had ever gotten.

And this year, it is up in our new house, bulbs, light and all.  He is very proud of it, and you know what?  No Scrooge to be found this year!

tree

Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season!  Sending much love and good will to all of you!

How Was Your Flight?

English: Chiva Bus during colombian independen...

Fine.  All four of them.  Besides the bloody noses (two of them, one on each leg of the flight down [The Boy, not me.  He actually took them pretty much in stride, and thanks to helpful flight attendants, they were quickly handled]), the screaming-coughing-sneezing children behind us, and the parents that were clearly outnumbered (can’t you do math??), the seat-backs that were no more than 8 inches away from our face, the waiting, the CRAZY prices they can charge you for snacks at the airport, and the fact that my ears are STILL popping… yeah, completely fine.

I’m only half joking.  OK, maybe I’m not joking at all.  Since when did airline travel become the big, expensive, greyhound of the sky?  Back in the day, air travel was exciting, a luxury, and they gave you snacks!  Now, it is the equivalent of the chiva of Central and South America, replete with chickens, noise, and too many people.  Oh yeah, and they charge you for the peanuts.  And if you want to apply for a credit card, here you go! – we will talk at you about it for about 20 minutes, and make a big production of handing out the applications and then collecting them, while you are desperately trying to tune out the noise and read your book.

I don’t mean to be complain-y, but if I am spending $700 on something, I expect it to be at least kind of nice.  Nice was not spending four of my vacation days traveling, I’ll give you that.  But beyond that, I got nothing.

Suffice it to say, I have yet another thing to be thankful for: when I live very near my parents, and with my boyfriend, I will not have to fly/drive as frequently as I do.  That’s beautiful.

(And it was AWESOME to watch The Boy be so independent, and way better behaved than any of the neurotypical kids around us!!)