Wise Fool

He can’t tell a joke to save his life…I’ve been known to say “stop sweetheart, Keylime’s the funny one.”
But I gotta say, I don’t know what I did to deserve such an amazing kid.
As a toddler, he never got into too much trouble because some things just never occurred to him to do.
My happiest pregnancy was with Boo, I got nauseous a couple times, but never threw up.
Got gnarly headaches and was fired from my job when I was 5 months along, but it ended up working out.
My job would’ve just paid for daycare anyways, so I got to be a stay-at-home-mom.
He’s dealt with being bullied, being the only non ADHD/ADD (I wondered from time to time…but he eventually calmed down) kid among several friends, dealing with Moose’s relapse from ages 6-10, having his parents almost split up, having a psycho grandma who tried to have him taken away, dealing with an emotionally abused cousin who stayed with us in the midst of Moose’s relapse, being accepted and then rejected by his sister, and gaining an Aspy Brother.
He had a couple emo years around 12-13, but in the end he communicated his problems and we were able to work through them.
He’s about to end his sophomore year of high school.
I had a teacher who would always go on and on about how “sophomore means wise fool”.
But I don’t see any of that in Boo.
He’s typical in that he likes to sleep, he lags on his work occasionally, there’s occasional bouts of low self-esteem, he’ll mouth off and/or antagonize his brother, and he cusses like anything.
But there’s a drive to him, a self-awareness that I wish I had at 15.
Having seen Moose’s relapse there’s no romance to drugs and alcohol for him.
He sees the kids that he remembers from kindergarten drinking and doing drugs and it breaks his heart.
He’s got talent for miles but isn’t conceited about it.
If anything, he needs to be reminded that in his Community College Art classes that he’s 15 years old keeping up with people between the ages of 18-35.
He writes amazing short stories and drawings to go with them.
Any drawing task I set to him he accomplishes.
He takes seriously the advice he’s received from Pixar and Disney Animators that he’s been lucky enough to meet, and the advice from his professors at the CC.
He takes his DeMolay responsibilities seriously, and even though public speaking is his hard for him, he does it to the very best of his ability.
He understands that we don’t always have the money for him to do things or get the latest “what’s it”, and his tastes stay pretty realistic.
I think it helps that he goes to such a small charter school, but he’s said on more than one occasion that “high school is just something to get through”.
He likes the girls much better at the CC but won’t ask any of them out because he’s 15, and the one he particularly likes is 19.
He thinks he’s too young for her.
He’s looking forward to college.
The other day I was going through grad requirements/his schedule for the next two years.
He’s going to be doing everything but art classes here at home, and he’s going to be taking 2 art classes each semester…and that’s just to have the portfolio he needs to get into the school he wants.
I showed it to Moose, and Moose’s face fell.
It hit him that we’ve only got two more years with this brilliant kid before he goes off to college.
He’ll turn 18 right before he starts his Freshman year, and then he’s out of the house.
We’re excited for him, terrified for him, and absolutely amazed by him.
When he was born I considered him my second chance.
I got to be the mom to him that I wanted to be to E.

Why I’m Pro Choice

In light of all the anti-choice legislation lately, I’ve decided to share the story of my teen pregnancy.

I knew the minute it happened.
Yes, I know scientifically there’s no possible way for that to happen in the middle of sex, but I knew.
I looked at him when he finished and I said “I’m pregnant.”
He shook his head, lit a cigarette and said “god I hope not.”
It was the summer between my Junior and Senior year, I was 17.
He was my boyfriend of almost two years, my best friend prior to that-we used to pass ourselves off as brother and sister…something we laughed about after we got together.
I was spending most nights with him in his trailer, my dad was in Florida for the week with his pregnant girlfriend and her family and I didn’t feel safe in our house by myself.
My boyfriend refused to wear a condom “they’re too tight”, and I was woefully ignorant when it came to sex ed…so it really was inevitable.
I developed what seemed like a bladder infection, and was desperate to get on the birth control pill just in case I wasn’t pregnant afterall.
A friend drove me to the naval clinic where the doctor proceeded to tell me that I was too young to be having sex (at 17 I was old compared to most girls I knew, plus I’d only ever been with my boyfriend-I’d made him wait until we were together a year before I’d have sex with him)…
Then she gave me the news: I had a bladder infection and chlamydia.
WHATTHEFUCK?!?!?!?!
I knew my boyfriend had cheated on me twice, but to give me an STD?!?!?!?!
I was told to take the meds and not have sex.
She also gave me the birth control pill and told me I had to wait until I started my period to take it.
I took the chlamydia meds once and stopped.
Something wasn’t right.
My boyfriend swore up one side ad down another that he hadn’t cheated anymore.
I quit smoking pot and had no taste for alcohol.
I started craving pineapple and other citrus juice.
When my period was two weeks late I finally said something to my dad’s girlfriend.
It felt like I had another bladder infection.
My dad took me to his girlfriend’s gyno.
The room they put me in was freezing and super bright white.
I peed in the cup and was left alone for what seemed like forever.
At one point the nurse poked her head in the door and said “Your test came back and it’s positive.”
“For the bladder infection?”
“No sweetheart, you’re pregnant,” she said and closed the door leaving me alone in the freezing overly bright room.
I had just really started entertaining the idea of going to college, I knew I wanted to be an illustrator, I wanted to go to the Savannah College of Art and Design.
I wanted to work for Hallmark Greeting Cards.
I suddenly felt very, very small, and I watched as every dream that had just started looking like it might be possible turned to shit right there in that overly bright white, freezing cold room.
I felt trapped, and I was terrified to tell my dad.
“Dear God, please let me have a miscarriage.”
In that moment, I knew that I would never, never ever wish another girl in this position.
In that moment all that “pro-life” crap that I’d been fed, all the brainwashing about “god blessing a woman with a baby” fell to the floor in pieces around me.
I knew deep down that I was still too brainwashed to have an abortion and just get on with  my life though I longed to be that girl.
The doctor eventually came in, and he did an ultrasound to see how far along I was.
I told him about the chlamydia diagnosis, and he told me there was no indication that I had ever had chlamydia.
We briefly discussed my options and he handed me some pamphlets, a prescription for prenatal vitamins, and sent me out to the eerily quiet super crowded waiting room where my dad was sitting.
To my ears his voice was incredibly loud as he asked
“So, how’d it go?”
I responded quietly as I tried to hurry him towards the door “as well as can be expected.”
The waiting room was small, and I couldn’t understand why he was walking so damn slowly and being so loud.
“Well what does that mean?”
(Lord dad, must you shout?)
“It’s as well as can be expected dad, please c’mon, let’s go.”
It seemed like forever but the front door finally closed behind him.
I faced him and said “Dad, I’m pregnant.”
And I saw my vision of my life turning to shit replay across his face.
(Unfortunately, 21 years later he still sees my life that way)
When we got in the car he asked me why I hadn’t used a condom, I shot back “why didn’t you?”
His girlfriend was two months along, and he’d told me that at first she’d considered having an abortion.
He asked me what I was going to do.
I said, “well, I could have the baby and keep it, put it up for adoption, or have an abortion.”
He said “Abortion is NOT an option.”
I said “as long as it’s legal it’s an option,”…though deep down in my heart of hearts I was still hoping to miscarry.
At this point my dad and brother were pretty much living with his girlfriend at her house while I was still living in our old house.
That night I stayed at my dad’s girlfriend’s house.
I called my boyfriend and told him “I’m pregnant.”
His response?
“Oh shit.”
I was leaning towards adoption and told him that.
He said “I won’t allow it, no child of mine will be put up for adoption. I will fight you, and then I’ll never have anything to do with you again.”
…this from the guy who claimed he never wanted kids.
I also knew that he’d just pounded the final nail in the coffin that was my future.
I knew he was completely irresponsible, and there was no way in hell I’d trust him to take care of a plant, let alone a child.
No abortion, no adoption.
Unless I miscarried I was going to be just another teen mom.
My dad was going to be marrying his girlfriend in about a month, and he’d be clearing out our old house.
I had to decided what I was going to do with my senior year.
Stay at my high school where I had my friends or move in with my dad and begin my senior year at a school where I didn’t know anyone as a pregnant girl.
I knew that despite all his big talk about “my baby” that if I moved in with my dad my boyfriend would never come see me and the baby.
So I moved in with him.
I got sick every morning my first trimester, and the roommate we had (until we moved into our own place)would always ask if I was okay.
No, I really, really wasn’t. But I couldn’t say that.
My boyfriend would yell from the bedroom for me to puke quieter, he was trying to sleep.
I got $200/mo from Social Security after my mom died so I was able to contribute to the bills.
And as I got further along I knew I loved my baby, but I also looked around our crummy trailer, at my boyfriend who always had a case of beer in the fridge and never ran out of cigarettes (no matter how low on food we were), and always had pot…and I knew my child deserved so much better.
I brought up adoption a couple more times to my boyfriend.
I begged him to be realistic, to look at what was important to him and quoted back his own words of never wanting to have a kid.
But his mother wanted a grandchild-this baby would be her first.
Nothing I said would sway him, and I knew he would fight me, I knew his mom who I loved and adored-who filled the empty space since my mom died-would fight me…
and I didn’t want to lose her.
College recruiters who’d been sending me stuff in the mail ignored me when I walked up to their table with my pregnant belly.
The SAT’s came and went and I started thinking about baby names after I’d finished my homework and was in the middle of cooking dinner.
We talked about getting married.
What else was there to do?
We decided on the St. Patrick’s Day after the baby was born (I was due in May).
I started looking at wedding dresses while watching Dr. Penelope Leach’s show “Your Baby and Child”.
When I started showing at school my previous year’s history teacher said to me “I thought you were smarter than that.”
I knew she didn’t mean it to sound harsh, I knew she thought I would make something out of my life.
I knew she was disappointed in me, and truth be told, so was I.
My principal, and the superintendent (who’d been my middle school principal) both told me that if I needed anything to not hesitate to ask either of them.
When it came time for Lamaze classes my boyfriend outright refused.
He wanted absolutely nothing to do with the birthing experience.
He was already pissed off that our trailer’s second bedroom-that he’d been using as his smoking room/guitar room was going to have to be given up and turned into the baby’s room.
Luckily, my friend who’d originally taken me to get birth control was willing to be my Lamaze partner.
Still, I felt the eyes of all the other couples on me in class.
I saw their looks and did my best to ignore them.
I loved my baby, who I now knew was going to be a girl.
I was trying desperately to do what was right for her given the choices I had.
There was a day in my Gov’t/Econ class that I just wasn’t feeling right.
My friend walked me down to the nurse’s office. My dad would be picking me up for a doctor’s appointment that afternoon, so I didn’t see any reason to call my boyfriend (this was 1992/3).
The doctor said it looked like I was just having an anxiety attack.
When I got home my friend had left me flowers and the phone was ringing.
My boyfriend’s brother was in my Gov’t/Econ class, so he’d gone home and told his mom and stepdad that I’d gone to the nurse’s office.
The stepdad was screaming at me through the phone about how worried they’d been and that if my boyfriend yelled at me I better realize that I deserved it.
He was mad when he got home, but he’d bought himself a Sega system so he took his frustration out on Sonic the Hedgehog.
And drank a beer, and smoked some pot.
And wondered aloud why he had to have so much responsibility.
Senior trip came and went.
I was so far along that the school was sending a teacher to work with me at home.
She didn’t realize that I’d been living on  my own and going to school all this time.
One night my daughter kicked so hard that the outline of her foot shot up from my stomach.
She caused a high leak in my amniotic fluid.
But I didn’t realize it til the next afternoon.
I made a sure I called everyone involved, and my Lamaze partner came and picked me up.
We were the last of the group to show up.
I got yelled at again…or at least he tried to.
I was scared shitless and asked the doctor how bad it would hurt.
She was pregnant herself, she was actually scheduled for a C-Section in two weeks and I really, really didn’t want her anywhere near me.
She started an epidural before I’d dilated at all-and it only served to stop any labor that wanted to start, then gave me the medication to bring on contractions.
After eight hours my dad left to go home and be with his wife and their newborn-a fact that my (obviously now ex) boyfriend’s family is STILL harping on almost 21 years later.
Frankly, I really wished they’d leave.
The only people I wanted in that room was my boyfriend (who spent most of the time down in the parking lot with his buddies drinking and smoking, poking his head in occasionally then walking back out) and my Lamaze partner who thankfully never left my side.
Around one in the morning they broke my water…
Nothing.
They wheeled me in to have a C-Section giving me no option about staying awake.
I started crying when they put the gas mask on.
My daughter was born at 3:14am, a Saturday.
She was 8lb 9oz
Things got worse between my boyfriend and I after she was born.
The prom was two weeks after, I went stag because he couldn’t be bothered.
His mother watched E.
She was also nice enough to watch her while I finished the final month of my Senior year.
On graduation night my dad watched her so I could go out and have some fun.
Most of the clubs let you in a t 18 and I wanted nothing more than to go dancing, and I had a little money to do so.
My boyfriend drove us home where he and his brother proceeded to get plastered.
I was furious.
At this point, though he’d never done it (he punched a wall above my head) he started threatening to hit me.
He would spend all day at his drug dealer’s house-where I wasn’t welcome, and party leaving me stranded at home with the baby.
When she was 2 mos old she was hospitalized with a bladder infection.
I stayed with her the whole time, he never visited and only called once. We were there for three days.
We were fighting constantly, he was wasted all the time, and I knew there was no way in hell I’d allow my daughter to believe that this was all she was worthy of.
We left him when she was 3 months old, after he told me that if I left him it’d be the last thing I ever did.
I had never listed him on the birth certificate and never officially gave her his last name.
We fled the state and I had to give up everyone I knew.
Looking back, I know I was completely depressed.
My mom wasn’t even dead three years yet, I had a baby, I was living with relatives that I’d only met once when I was 8 and then at my mom’s funeral…
It was a recipe for disaster.
When my daughter was a year and a half I was so completely beaten down that it was easy to believe I really was the worthless piece of shit my Aunt M kept telling me I was.
It was easy to believe that I was completely unworthy of raising my daughter.
That I’d never be better than some minimum wage earning welfare mom.
It was easy to allow her to throw me out and when I was given the choice of my daughter being adopted by a stranger or given to my father and his wife I at least thought that if my father raised her I’d get to see her.
I was 20 years old and praying every night to die so that my life wouldn’t be a burden to anyone anymore.
When people say “If you could go back and change anything in your life”…
I’d never say it out loud, but I know exactly what I’d change if only for the briefest glimpse of what could’ve been…
But here’s the thing, if I did that, I would negate the existence of a human being and undo everything they’ve done, all the lives they’ve touched, all the lives they will touch…
It’s hard for me to think in that “what if” even for a moment, and for my own mental health I have to believe that “everything happens for a purpose”.
But that’s also precisely why I will always defend a woman’s choice.
This is why I’m 100% in favor of a minor having access to birth control with or without parental consent.
That’s why I believe the most unhealthy thing one could ever do to their daughter is make her believe that her body isn’t her own.
This is why I’ve always encouraged my boys to think ahead to the future, and Moose and I have always been very (age appropriately) frank about sex with them.
I don’t ever want another girl to have to sit in that overly white freezing room praying for a miscarriage.

Things that make me want to hurl…

I’m just gonna say it…seeing the American flag in places it really shouldn’t be makes me cringe.
Seeing the word “patriot”, or hearing someone blather on about being a “patriot” and being challenged to PROVE that I’m a “patriot” straight up makes me want to fucking hurl.
Lynn Cheney wrote a kid’s book about Washington crossing the Delaware.
It’s billed as a “Wintertime story for young patriots”…
Guess whose kids won’t be reading THAT book anytime soon.
Or the dumbfucks who have to fly the BIGGEST fucking American flag they can find from the back of their faded red pickup truck (like the numbnuts behind me today) with a “don’t tread on me” sticker.
I’m betting he thinks he’s a patriot too.
Let’s be real, and get down to brass tax…none of these idiots would be doing those things if the President was a white Republican.
“Patriot” wouldn’t be as nauseatingly overused as it’s become, and people could sit quietly in their homes praying to Jesus to make them rich so they can go on a cruise…because don’t you know?
Jesus WANTS you to be rich.
Jesus WANTS you to have stuff, and MORE stuff.
And while you’re buying stuff, don’t forget to buy GOLD and GUNS…(because once you have STUFF the government is going to try and take YOUR STUFF through taxes and give it to those lazy no account poor people.)
But that’s okay, because God made sure that you were born in the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!
And don’t you dare believe that Thomas Jefferson was an atheist, or that the Founders believed in religious tolerance.
Don’t trouble your head with all that sciency stuff.
Jesus rode a DINOSAUR into Jerusalem.
He was killed because he had the audacity-just like you to believe that a man should keep the money he earns through hard work
The poor aren’t poor because there’s no jobs, they’re poor because their lazy!
And Jesus says you are ENTITLED too keep your gold and guns and Bibles because damnit YOU ARE AN AMERICAN.
You’re better than the rest of the world!
And America is a Christian Country!
And don’t you be ashamed to call yourself a Christian, because even though those liberals, and homosexuals, and atheists persecute you…hell, even if they KILL you, go right ahead and rebuke them in Jesus’ name because you’re going to live in a mansion made of pearls and walk down streets paved with gold when you die.
…Right?
…Right…
What better way to get the masses to willingly suffer…while assholes like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh and every single televangelist becomes a millionaire several times over…
They’ll live in a mansion for all eternity, what’s 70 years of poverty and struggle to make ends meet between friends?
Give ‘em a flag, tell them the Black Man who may or may not be from this country (you’re really not sure after all) is coming for their guns.
It’s really that easy.
And it all started the first time the first state government started digging into public education.

8 of Wands

I haven’t picked up my tarot cards for awhile, I’ve been favoring a beautiful pack of Animal Spirit Guide ones (by Steven D. Farmer) supplemented with Runes lately.
But I gotta say, there’s no other way to describe the past several weeks for me other than the 8 of Wands.
There’s been a rushing, a moving forward, a no longer willing to accept the current situation, a shaking off the constraints, a gotta MOVE feeling lately…all good things mind you.
Family’s intact, it’s actually a mutual feeling among us.
It’s a super large dose of HOPE, of Possibility, and the mediocre is no longer wanted nor accepted.
On a small scale I’ll use Boo as an example.
In order to be an animator, in order to get accepted at any of the colleges he wants, he has to have Life Drawing in his portfolio.
Because he’s at a charter school he has the opportunity to take classes at our local Community College-which, coincidentally enough closes it’s art program during the summer.
Last semester he had to take a prerequisite class for Life Drawing which ended up being an awesome experience for him and he had a really brilliant Professor.
This (Spring) semester he signed up for Life Drawing and was put on the wait list, he was #4.
(He got into another art class, but after we paid the fees, we found out it wasn’t a drawing class and he dropped it. Got on the LD wait list and in the event he became officially “enrolled” the fees would transfer)
Now mind you, EVERYTHING moving forward depends on his taking Life Drawing, so being wait-listed was no small source of anxiety.
Last night I went online to check what was going on, not really expecting anything…
And under Spring Semester Life Drawing it showed ENROLLED!
Fees had transferred, no longer wait-listed, ENROLLED!
Happy, Happy, Happy Dancing all over the place!
It’s that kind of positive momentum that breathes life into a person and allows them to see the possibilities before them.
Moose and I have begun to allow ourselves to dream about what we want out of life again.
It’s been five years since we lost our home, very, very dark times for our marriage and our family.
But slowly, we’ve been able to crawl out of the hole.
Bit by bit, little by little, we’ve repaired our relationship and our family.
With Keylime’s Aspergers diagnosis things started making sense and we’ve been able to change things so that they work for him as well as the rest of us.
The longer Moose has stayed clean and sober the more family-centered his decision making has become, and he’s really understood how choices he makes affects more than just him.
I hesitate when he uses the term “therapeutic relapse”, because Keylime, Boo and I really could have done without it…
But he did grow and change from it, in ways I never thought possible.
I’ve been able to fall in love with my husband again, and even more important than that, LIKE my husband.
And truly, that’s a gift.
I don’t know what the New Year is going to bring, but I want to greet it with open arms and an open heart.
This time it’s more than a “please, please let this year be better than last year”, it’s a “let’s go, let’s keep moving forward!”
I’m ready, I’m willing, and I hope the rest of yal are too!
Happy New Year!

 

Simply Musing

I was talking to a mom-friend today and she said something that I’ve felt (known-and even voiced out loud a couple times), “If I dropped dead they’d all be screwed.”
(To be honest I always used the word “fucked”…)
And it’s true.
Honestly, I don’t know any mom who does the “Mom Job” with any expectations of gratitude or glory. Most of us I think would just like to turn out adults who don’t end up in the newspapers with people blaming his/her mother.  Really, truly, I think a good part of what goes through my head is “what are the possible repercussions of this action/event/mental breakdown…”
Nonetheless, sometimes the nurturer needs to see that their efforts haven’t been wasted, that in the unlikely event that something should happen to them, that dinner would still get made. Laundry would still get done, homework would be completed, the animals’ water bowl would be filled, dirty dishes would make it to the sink…
Woe unto the mother who gets the flu.
Most times, even after she’s feeling better, a mother would do well to fake it a few more days-at least until the family runs out of clean underwear and is forced to do laundry if nothing else.
It really is disheartening, so I make a point to not allow myself to get sick until summer when nothing is necessary.
And I mean that most sincerely.
It’s not worth the aftermath to get sick-for me at least.
I will scarf wasabi peas until my mouth is on fire, drink honey-lemon-cinnamon-cayenne until I can’t feel my tongue in order to not have to deal with the laundry after I’ve been sick a few days.
And let’s face it, you almost have to be on death’s door to not still be the one that has to referee fights, find shoes, help locate a belt…
When you break it down, a mom’s job can almost essentially be called a “Glorified Security Blanket”…

Pro Choice

About nine months ago I stopped eating mammals of the four legged variety. I did it without any announcements, or vows, very quietly I came to a decision for myself and left it at that.
I still eat poultry and fish…at some point I’m planning to give up the poultry, not sure yet about the fish.
The only people really affected by my decision are Moose and the boys because if I don’t eat it I don’t buy it (same for onions and green bell peppers) and therefore don’t cook it.
I don’t stop them from their choices, Moose can buy and eat steak if he wants to cook it, they all eat beef or pork of some kind when we go out.
Thing is, I don’t make faces or lecture them as to why they shouldn’t. I don’t guilt them for their choices and I refuse to impose my choices on them.
They know why I stopped, they support my decision, but they don’t share it.
That’s fine.
…and I’m not gonna lie, occasionally I really want a corned beef reuben slathered in dressing, sauerkraut and cheese or a lamb gyro…
The thing is, people need to come to their own decisions.
And they will through their own life experiences and interactions.
If someone asks me about my decision I’ll tell them why and leave it at that.
If I plant a seed, cool.
If not…well, that’s fine too. We aren’t walking the same path and we have different life purposes.
I’m a firm believer in choice.
I don’t walk in your shoes, I can’t make your decisions for you.
If you want my opinion I’ll give it to you, but that’s exactly what it is…my opinion.
I don’t pay your bills, I’m not the one who has to live with your decisions.
You do.
To thine own self be true, if it offends your soul, don’t do it.

In search of

Every now and then I see the photo posts on FB “I was born on such-n-such date, in blah blah town. Looking for my birth mother. Please help.”
Or “I gave birth to a boy/girl on such-n-such date in blah blah town, looking for child. Please help.”
Most recently, here in SoCal there was a case of a boy who had been abducted by his father and taken to Mexico. Just recently, (30+ years later) was reunited with his mother.
It makes me wonder about E.
I always made sure that my address was printed clearly on the envelope of every birthday card, Christmas gift, and then included again along with my phone number on the inside.
She never had to wonder where I was.
But I never heard from her until one drunken phone call over a year ago.
I could tell she didn’t get/didn’t read quite a few of my letters, because all her questions had been answered in my letters.
I wonder if any of the people on FB find their child/birth parent.
I wonder if it fills a missing piece within them, if they’re happy.
Or if the person they discover is no one they would ever want to associate with.
I know of a few instances particularly in the case of the birth father-that he wants nothing to do with the child.
Sometimes they didn’t even know the mother was pregnant.
Sometimes they knew and didn’t care.
Sometimes they have money and a reputation to “protect”.
I imagine, I sincerely hope, that no matter what the outcome, that the person looking at least finds the answers they’re looking for.
The boy who was abducted was told that his mother abandoned him for America.
E was told I abandoned her for California.
I promised her that I wouldn’t bother her any further.
Boo and Keylime want to send her a Christmas Card with their school pictures in it.
I told them that was fine…
They’re going into this knowing full well that they won’t get a response.
They’ve never gotten a response from her…
and personally I find that incredibly rude, that kind of behavior would never fly in this house.
Which almost makes me wonder if she’s anyone I would want to associate with.