Tag Archives: parenting

Fears & Tears.

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Fears & Tears.

I haven’t cried that hard in almost two months…and rightfully so when we had to say goodbye to my husband’s father…a man who loved me like one of his own. We all have shed a few tears or had utter meltdowns since that day, but last night…was rough.

It wasn’t about my Father-in-law…or maybe it has something to do with it. The crying, sadness, occasional fighting over the “why’s” and feeling lost at random moments, have added a new layer of stress to life…stress that cannot even be compared to what my Mother-in-law must be facing…

So last night.

I am sharing/writing this in hopes of maybe figuring this out or seeking help, and also to cleanse my soul.

Our son.

He is beautiful. He is brilliant. He is funny. He is tough.

But not last night.

Over the course of this month he has spiraled into one gigantic hot mess.

He was soooo excited when I took the Halloween decorations out at the beginning of October. He didn’t like some of them, but moved on.

We went out over the next few weeks to the drug store, or dollar store, or even a grocery store and Halloween was everywhere. “I don’t like dat” was his first comment when he saw some scary things.

Fast forward to yesterday in K-Mart, he sat in the cart, covered his face the ENTIRE time we were in the store, even after many attempts to reassure him we were far away from the scary stuff…He did peek at Christmas things, and then went right back to hiding.

We no longer can go into one of his favorite stores after he froze with sheer fear and panic at skeletons hanging from the ceiling.

AND to top all these very long, confusing, frustrating and very heartbreaking outings…there was last night.

We decided to forget cooking after a long week already, (and it was only Wednesday), and take the kids to a bar/restaurant that we haven’t gone to in a while.

A nice friendly Irish family restaurant in town…that had a few Halloween decorations as you entered the building.

PANIC. TREMBLING. SWEATING. CRYING. YELLING. FEAR.

Our son froze…our two daughters were shocked at his behavior but quickly stepped in to help coax him out of it with toys and coloring and even some French fries…

Nothing…

We contemplated leaving.

But what about the two kids inside who were so excited to go out to eat? And a flabbergasted husband who hasn’t seen this side of his son to this extreme…

I took him into the car, to cool himself and myself off((him-literally. Me-figuratively). He had been clutching me for about ten minutes and shaking and dripping with sweat.

When we returned, people from the bar came over to offer help and give him  lollipop or be funny…nothing worked.

We decided that the majority had to eat, as it was getting late, so we asked to move our table(we had been seated near the entrance and could see some of the decorations…and the waitress even took one down for him that looked the scariest) and quickly finish our meal. Our son refused to remove his body from mine and refused to remove his hand from his eyes and refused to eat or drink. He sat there for another twenty minutes, sweating and shaking…I tried to quietly tell him of all the things around him ( a window, a ketchup bottle, his napkin, his sister across from him)so there were no surprises when he chose to look around.

He refused.

We got him out to the car finally after my husband and girls quickly ate their meals.

He was fine…perfectly fine.

Once he was buckled in his car seat and we started for home, he exclaimed he wanted “Zert”. He cannot go to bed without dessert every night. We sighed and said ok, but you have to eat your dinner first  (that was kindly packed up by our very flustered waitress), and he said “ok, I am so, so hungry!”….

I couldn’t help myself.

Maybe it was because I was hungry, or had a cocktail before we had left the house for dinner…but I cried like a baby last night.

I acted like I was ok, and ran up to my room and sobbed.

Is this normal? Did we, as parents, fail him and not do the right thing? Should we have left immediately without trying to figure out what was wrong? Is there something wrong with him?

Or is just our beautiful, brilliant, funny, tough AND overly sensitive?

I am beginning to think maybe not.

I DO NOT want a label on my child. I do NOT want to pump him with drugs. I want to know if we are missing something, and maybe we DO need to be more sensitive towards his fears…I felt as if that was one of the first check marks on his list of moments that molded him forever, and will never forget it…

I feel like I failed our son.

But now as I write this I feel some relief knowing that someone might say, “he is fine” or “call the doctor”. NOW.

We have a Tot time Halloween party this morning.

My stomach aches to think of what may or may not happen. Last year, we had to leave before it even started.

Do I hide under his rock with him until Halloween decorations come down, and Thanksgiving one’s go up?

I am at a loss. My girls were fearful of all things scary when they were younger, but nothing like this…no way near this.

Trick Or Treating? I really don’t think so.

My kids told him he can use his Captain America shield to hide from the bad stuff so we can still go out…I am just not sure that will happen…but maybe we try? Or will that scar him even more?

He is our baby. I just don’t want  to do any more harm than good…

I want to be his shield of all things good and evil.

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My sweet baby boy.

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The Choice.

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The Choice.

Warning…many will take offense. Some will hate me. Or pretend they do not know me anymore. Some will even pity me…

That is THEIR choice.

It was about ninety degrees on June 1, 1991. It felt like 110 in the shade as I lay on the steaming hot pavement in my own vomit…retching. Sobbing.

I will never forget this day…ever.

It was a few weeks before I was barely about to graduate high school. I had just fooled them all at my senior prom. I could have kept up the facade for a little longer…but I didn’t have a choice, I was told this was the only way out…

As an adult now, I realize I did have a choice.

But when you run away from home, or get kicked out and are reliant on others…you feel like you have no choice.

I woke up on the table after being sedated, in the midst of it all…the loud noise, the lights, the people hovering over me.

I believe that is the moment that haunts me the most…waking, even groggy still from sedation, knowing what was happening. More so than the cowardly way I slumped in my chair in the waiting room before it began…wondering if the others were feeling the same way as me.

I cried myself to sleep in the back of the car, begging for fresh air to cool my face, covered in dried vomit and tears.

Somehow I managed to make it to my bed, and awakened hours later…pain so bad I could tear my own heart out…not physical pain so much, but because it was my heart that was aching…

And the empty feeling in my belly. I clawed at my stomach screaming to make this madness stop. To undo what had happened.

Next thing, I am given a Valium…out cold again.

I was in a dark place mentally back then…before this all happened.

It was literally my first time…and then I was pregnant. A senior in high school. An aspiring fashion designer. A child who just wanted her divorced parents’ love and for them to stop fighting.

Well, this got their attention alright. They found out a while later…they shed no tears for me…just more anger and pain. I was ashamed. I kept my story to myself… I was absolved of my sin by a priest after my family found out. Time to forget it forever…put it behind me.

SHAME.

I live with this every second of every day.

I couldn’t put it behind me. Even as life moved on.

But in no way shape or form, did life fill the void in my belly...in my heart.

Did I want a child at eighteen? No…I had no clue what I would have done. But there is not one day since June 1, 1991 that I do not think of him…I know in my heart it was a boy.

I swore God would never allow me to be happy again…my Catholic guilt growing larger everyday.

God was good enough to let me heal enough to graduate and temporarily mend things with my family…but I knew that he would punish me. The little girl in me said I would never be a mommy because of what I did that day.

Almost five years later, I was granted a gift. After almost losing my baby and  my life during my pregnancy, God gave us a beautiful baby girl…I lost an ovary through it all, but I felt like I had truly been absolved…that there was a God and that I had to suffer a little to finally appreciate what I had.

And I did. Life was challenging then, but I had this beautiful baby and thought I would never have any more after losing an ovary and all that my body went through to deliver her safely. And yet I was given a second chance… 

I had to embrace it.

Three more amazingly beautiful children later and almost nineteen years of a happy marriage with a husband who has heard this all and held me as I cried over and over, and I feel like God forgave me…but why am I still not forgiving myself? Is it that Catholic guilt or shame? Or simply because it truly wasn’t my choice?

I cringe everytime I read an article on this topic. I cry. I mourn. I had a choice. Maybe I made the wrong one, but my life would be very different today if I had fought back and said to them that  I had a choice in the matter.

He didn’t love me…and I didn’t love him.

Yes I was a fool…but I was just looking for love after years of being lost and made a terrible mistake.

I will never tell anyone to rid the world of abortion… There. I said it.

Abortion.

It is an ugly word. Our world has made it ugly.

But what about that girl who is raped or molested?

What about the girl like me?

What would I have done?

I would have been sent packing to live on the streets pregnant and alone…fearful of what my very catholic family would say…or maybe worse…maybe I would have killed myself or attempted to from the deep depression and shame that was setting in.

Or maybe turn to adoption…but that was never an option for some reason and I was too naive to think these things through as an eighteen year old fighting the world and everyone in it.

Do I believe that maybe I could have beaten the odds?

Found the strength to fight back and keep my child?

Found a way to finish school and pursue my dreams as an artist?

Make it work?

Hell yeah…I thought that an hour ago, and last week, or last summer when I almost had a nervous breakdown about the lie I have lived with for so long.

I know girls that did beat the odds and persevered alone with their child…yes, they have struggled to make ends meet and finish school and find love again while raising a child alone…

Some will say I gave up too easily.

Shame on me.

But even more shame for hiding it…it is part of who I am…he was part of me and will forever be my fifth child…my first. I ache for him, as any mother would over a child lost…even more so when I see how cruel life can be and take our loved ones away in an instant.

So why voluntarily do it?

My eighteen year old self said she did it because it was the only way out and because they told her to.

My Forty-something year old self says it was the shame and guilt that the scared girl couldn’t bare to face.

She did though. Faced all of it…

Took countless blows to the chin, and then when the dust settled, tucked her dirty little secret away…until now.

We all have choices in this life…and we have to live with the consquences each and everyday.

I feel that hot pavement from that day on my face twenty-four years ago like I  am living that moment now…it was a choice…one that will follow me like a dark cloud till the day I die.

Judge me, hate me, pray for me.

Do whatever you like. But I will not lie or hide this part of me anymore. My older girls know my story now. As a lesson to make better choices…but no one should make those choices for you…no one.

Today I honor the love that I lost, and all that I have gained…most importantly…

Truth.

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I smile today…I am owning this. My first ever tattoo…proudly wearing a badge forever of all my babies…four born, one lost, and one gained.

Control.

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Today is one of those days.  I am taking control again.  It may be coming off as brash or bossy or even a little selfish.  But I am speaking my mind and doing what is right for me, myself, and I…and a whole gang of children and a husband that need me at my best.  Not that I am at my worst, but I have definitely lost control. 

Maybe the right word is FOCUS. It doesn’t sound as harsh or serious…and everyone loses sight of their goals and responsibilities at times…so I am reassuring myself that I am indeed NORMAL

Whether it was yet another disappointing doctor’s visit, that scared me for no real reason, and gave no answers…or that my older daughters take any opportunity to take advantage of me and teach my little ones to do the same…or that I have people saying that maybe they could help me get control over my family…I have felt out of control, but here is where I found my focus again…

I am sticking with my new diet/life change and listening more to my holistic nutritionist vs. a very caring and friendly doctor that never has answers(probably because she needs to worry more about what insurance companies will pay for or deny and what new drugs will give a quick fix)…and realize that I need to search for the answers myself and count on my doctor for the basic needs like physicals and colds.

I am calling my daughters out on their behavior…I count myself as lucky that it isn’t a more serious problems with my teens, but enough to drive me insane at times, and that could lead to disrespect of authority in the future if I don’t nip it in the bud.  They are genuinely good girls making stupid teenager choices that we made as kids too…we are honest with them and listen, but need to be more consistent and firm.  It is all fixable.

Lastly, people butting in…I know it is out of love and caring…but unacceptable…and uninvited. I immediately get defensive  and rear up with the slightest suggestion that someone else thinks they can do a better job than me or my husband…not so welcome here. We are loving and devoted parents who make as many mistakes as the next parent, and learn as we go. We take pride in our accomplishments as parents and have worked our butts off to get where we are today.  We DO take kindly to hugs and asking what might be going wrong, or advice here and there.We stand firm on the belief that as long as we are here and present mentally and physically as parents,

                                                                          then no one else will do.

So with that, I feel better. I vented (again). I tried to make a whole lot of little negatives into positives in my foggy, overcrowded brain filled with dates and schedules and worries and lists and more worries. I feel like control can easily be lost…and my focus HAS to be this…that at least I know I went to bed owning my mistakes, apologizing when needed, and trying to make the most out of any bad situation.