This past week I was hit like a suckerpunch in the gut with some news about a friend in Arizona. I saw a post on an old friend's facebook page that simple said, "Heartbroken..." I immediately checked his wife's page and didn't see anything new for the day, just early morning hours that said, "I've never felt so alone." I then sent her an blackberry instant message asking if they were ok. And sent him a text asking the same. They are a very loving, happy couple
I got a text from him right away. "...ended her life today...she could no longer deal with her past. " I literally blinked my eyes, quickly shook my head as if I would see something different when I looked again. A numbing feeling came over my body immediately as I furiously typed back, "oh my God oh my God..." asking what I could do. As if there were anything...
I had just spoken with her just a day before via blackberry messenger. Normal conversation. She left a comment on a picture of Lily that day that says, "She has her Mommy's beautiful smile." Given what followed, she will never know what a gift that truly was for me for those to be her last words to me...
There are so many unanswered questions. I honestly do not understand suicide. My mom shared with me something she had learned in her life, "They cannot see past the pain they are in because if they could they'd have hope that things would get better." It makes perfect sense. And thinking about my darkest days, I have always had hope and faith that I would get through. Logically, my mother's words of wisdom are clear. Emotionally, though I have been shaken to the very core.
I am heartbroken for my friend (her husband), her 13 year old son and his 11 year old son. I cannot imagine the pain and the journey they are now walking.
I honestly don't feel capable of writing too much about this right now as I still feel as though I'm working through my own feelings about it. I look at her picture on facebook and simply shake my head in disbelief.
We got quite a bit of snow this week...nothing like last year, but still about 5 or so inches overnight. The kids had a snow day on Wednesday and a 2 hour delay yesterday.
I let Andrew and Reagan sleep in from their usual 7:30am to get up for school until 8:30am when they woke up afraid I had overslept. HAHA! I guess they forgot my Lily alarm clock gets up at 7:30am everyday regardless. :)
I made them oatmeal for breakfast to warm them up and then decided we'd do the dishes in the morning instead of after school. They weren't wild about that, but grateful after school when their chores had already been completed. :)
One of Andrew's responsibilities is sweeping the snow off the porch and the walkway and salting. I guess he decided that simply walking to do it wasn't enough...
Okie dokie, I'm gonna get some things caught up...finally!
A lice update:
Back before Thanksgiving, Reagan ended up with lice. You can catch up here first and then here. Well, this went on and on and on, we'd get it cleared up and then she'd go back to school and would end up with nits again. The beginning of this was November 22nd.
Fast forward to December 20... Reag was with her mom and she got the call that Reagan had nits again that day at school. Her mom flipped out and called us to tell us that she had called the principal and was taking Reagan out of school for the rest of the week (Tuesday and Wednesday) before Christmas break and she called the health department to get them into the school.
As frustrated as we were with the nits, we had NEVER seen anything live at our house so we didn't really feel that missing her Christmas party and school for 2 more days was worth it the annoyance factor. We were not supportive of that decision, however during her custodial period, there's nothing we can do.
However, the way our custody agreement works, if there is no school, OUR custodial period begins at 9am instead of after school. So, George and I felt that it was in Reagan's best interest to go to school for her last day before Christmas break after we picked her up that morning. I checked Reag's hair before we went into school, picked out 8 nits quickly (her mom swore she had been treated 2 days earlier and then hadn't been back at school) and off she went. We suspected that there was still something going on at her mom's apartment also because we learned that Reagan's stuffed animals and bedding etc hadn't been bagged up after the inital lice.
The nurse found 2 more nits that day that I missed in my quick check. No biggie. I treated her hair that night when we got home... a new treatment that worked! She hasn't had ANYTHING come back since December 22.
She had a fantastic time at her school Christmas party that day by the way!
And yes, her mom yelled at her about going to school. "I kept you home for a good reason and Stephanie's a liar about finding nits in your hair."
Thanks for following along on our now not-as-public journey! Also, I will no longer show up in your reader etc. You'll just have to check in when you feel like it. :)
I also wanted to say, I'm ok about going private...really. I appreciate the sentiments from folks who have walked beside, in the trenches and held me up in the last nearly 4 years of the crap Reag'smother has put us all through. But, as I said, I'm peaceful about my life.
It just makes it more annoying for people who want to read and for that I feel badly. For myself, I'm ok with it. I like to write, will continue to do so and if I'm ultimately the only one reading, then that's ok with me too.
I recognize that no matter what path I take, Reagan's mother is going to create havoc for Reagan.
For example, when Reagan called last night, I answered the phone. We talked for a few minutes about school that day, the snow and then I gave the phone to George. While she was on the phone with her dad, her mother said to her "You're not allowed to talk to that fat fucking cow." Ummm, yeah. Ok, 'cause that hurts ME?? But precisely my point, Reagan is the one who is constantly hurt. And you can't reason with crazy.
So, basically I will not give her any additional ammunition by the ability to read my blog to hurt my stepdaughter with. It's really that simple a reason for my operation private. :)
Now, moving on to getting back to updates about my family soon! Today's a snow day, so all the kids are home and they've kind of encroached on my alone time during the day haha. :)
My primary reason is to keep a journal for my family.
This public venue started as a pregnancy documentary and then my baby's life.
My family and friends are spotted around the country and even a few in other countries, so in an effort to journal for myself and share our pregnancy and new baby with them, thus Got One Past the Goalie began.
I had actually been keeping a private blog prior to that to document all of our lives, not just pregnancy. Trying to maintain two blogs proved to be too much and in an effort to document my pregnancy, the private one failed to get updated.
This blog also became a source of connection for me during my pregnancy...I discovered several bloggers going through pregnancy the same time, found comfort in our similar experiences and continue as we've welcomed our babies and document our babies' lives.
Blogging anonymously hasn't really ever been my thing. I don't blog as a job or to say things I wouldn't otherwise say in real life. I journaled as a child--you know the diaries with the locks on the front where you penned your innermost, incredibly important thoughts and doodles. I continued as an adult writing in journals and then I started on blogger around 2005 sparingly. So it only made sense to make a digital diary of my family's events and pregnancy. Following Lily's birth, it's been a way to continue sharing pictures and documenting her life as well as the events of our family.
Sometimes it is a place for me to vent and pose questions as well. Much like my original little girl diary.
Recently, I have found myself feeling tempered in my writing and/or documenting by the fact that my stepdaughter's mother and grandmother (on her mother's side) read my blog. I have become increasingly uncomfortable with them following my daughter's and my family's chronicles. I write minimally about my stepdaughter solely so my words don't affect her life when she is not with us, however it hasn't stopped the negativity about her life with us. And if my public writing contributes to that, then I can do something to change that also.
Thinking about why I started this blog and why I will continue blogging, I have decided to become a private blogger. I've been contemplating this change for a little while and with the peace that I feel moving into 2011, I've decided it is the right time.
I am who I represent myself to be. What you see in this blog is a reflection of who I am--the positive and the negative and that will remain.
I very much appreciate the thoughts and comments I've received and connections I have made while blogging and I don't take any of it forgranted.
I have received encouragment, support, friendship, acknowledgment, and love that I value so, so much! So, I will return to writing about my family, my sweet baby's 1st year of life, relationships, activities, venting, posing questions, documenting pictures and keeping my innermost thoughts and doodles just as I did when I was 7 years old...under lock and key.
There are many of you who read and do not comment, so if any of you (commenters or not) are interested in continuing reading, just leave me a comment or send me an email to let me know so I can send you an "invitation".
While I recognize it's a hassle to log in to read someone's blog, this is simply the right decision for me.
Butt paste, A&D, Desitin, cornstarch & mylanta, babypowder with cornstarch, neosporin, naked baby, poopy diapers, screamy baby, warm washcloths instead of wipes and lots of tears.
This was pretty much my day yesterday.
Lily has recently started eating baby food and we think she's teething too. As a result, she has been pooping A LOT! Her little bum very quickly became fire red and it was so painful. :( She would SCREAM when she'd pee or poop. It was so pitiful.
The rash onset very quickly late Tuesday night and of course, we were on it to heal right away. As soon as it would start to heal, she'd poop a lot more and the cycle would just perpetuate. She enjoyed her play naked time to air her tush which allowed for some smiles. :) She's such a happy baby all the time and I learned yesterday she can feel miserable and still give that grin!
Today is a much better day! She's almost all healed up and there have been no tears and NO screamy baby!
And now I have a whole slew of remedies in my arsenal for the next time. Although, of course I'm hoping there's no next time, but I know it will come again.
Recently, I've been thinking about different types of parenting.
Well, let's be real, after what should have been a private email conversation posted directly to me on a blog, "hippie shit parenting" was used to describe my parenting. What exactly is that? Definitely not in any book I've read.
After I was through laughing about it, it prompted me to think: how would I describe my parenting style?
Traditional. Certainly a word I'd use, but I recognize that's a subjective one.
George and I are both conservative in our beliefs about children. We believe in the Golden Rule.
Our goal is to raise positive, happy, mentally & emotionally & physically healthy children. We filter what our children watch on tv, the video games they play, when they can play them, we get them involved in activities to build confidence, develop social skills, teamwork, offer life experience away from us.
We give them responsibility and teach them there are consequences for their actions, we have rules that have a reason behind them (not just for the sake of having rules), we teach them to problem solve on their own, we offer them guidance as they struggle with situations at school, we remind them that their character is shown as they handle difficult situations or people.
More times than I can count, I have had adults tell me how polite and kind and what a good boy, my son is. I watch him hold open doors for strangers to allow women or elderly go in before him, and ensure pleases and thank yous are used. I am proud of who he is when no one's looking.
Granted, he's still a kid and makes mistakes both at home and school---which are absolute teachable moments. And he knows there are consequences for each choice or behavior.
We have 3 children in very different stages--an infant, a new school-ager and a young adolescent. Each age with amazing rewards and its own set of challenges.
As a result, everything is not equal across the board. They have different responsibilities and different privileges. Yeah, we sometimes get the "that's not fair" or "well, Idon't get to do...", but we explain the "whys" and communicate with them. We believe teaching children communication skills actually benefits them.
They don't always like our decisions, but it's also not our job to be their friend. We're their parents, not their buddies. While it's not always easy to say no or follow through, it is the right thing to do...as their parents.
We also don't get caught up in labels in our family either. We are moms and dads and brothers and sisters. No step or half. Believe me, pounding into a kid's head that I am ONLY a "stepmother" doesn't make my role any less valuable. I've heard my kids talk to their friends, coaches, teachers etc. and simply say, "My parents."
I don't want perfect children. Rather, children who are capable of independent thinking, treating others with kindness and respect, appreciative and thoughtful. I'm fortunate to see our parenting at work in these amazing young people everyday.
While I don't know that there's a singular word to describe our parenting style, we are blessed to have wonderful children who benefit from our parenting.
And I know I am a good mother to all 3 of them. It's one of my strengths.