Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Here I Am!!!

What an adventure!!! Got done with the carving out of my face cancer, (still working on the accompanying bills) and now I have another spot on my nose that I think I need to have the quack check. I don't think I mind, he's a great quack!

This month, Darrian will be 12, and I'll have 3 boys passing sacrament. Matthew will be 8, getting ready for his baptism, I'm glaringly aware that I don't have babies any more. How did they get so big? When did they grow so much? Who authorized this?!?

Nathan is learning to drive, and he surprises me with his knowledge of his own aptitude...(No, mom, you drive, I'm not so sure about left-hand turns at the light yet)...Gabriel brought home his very good friend yesterday...turns out she's my relative, but not his, and since they're only 14 and only hanging out with mom, not dating, I was thrilled to meet her!

Michael is my little sweetheart, always solicitous of my comfort and well-being, he and I share many teary-eyed hugs! (I prayed and prayed and prayed that he and Darrian would be in the same home room again this year. The school district discourages siblings in the same class, but since they have different last names they've somehow managed to be in class together since third grade. This year we didn't know who their teachers would be until back to school night, the night before school started, and guess what?!...They are in the same class, along with their cousin, Hannah, so they can all keep track of each other)!

Crystal is taking a year off from dance, and is using the time to play mother hen to the whole neighborhood! She really likes to be in charge, or participating in everything that's going on. So much energy, she is our angel!

I'm still taking care of my brother, and Reed is still working at the U...always busy and learning to keep up with everything! The kids keep us jumping and we're getting better at it all the time...I think!

I'll be back again, I promise!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Crazy Fun Time!

I have three funny spots on my face. Two on my forehead, one on my left cheek. They start as weird purple pimple looking spots, then get dry and flaky like a peeling sun-burn. Two of these spots have been frozen off with the admonition to have them rechecked if they returned, so this afternoon I went to have the biggest one rechecked!


Not being a personal fan of sun-screen (but knowing how important it is, so I make the kids use it) I've had three second degree sun burns on my face, and have been warned and cajoled about the problems this might cause later in life.

32 is later in life?...

I'm sure the biopsy will come back saying that, yup - there's skin on my face, and that'll be just fine with me. So the excitement?...I almost passed out!

I like to think that I can handle a lot, and have done so repeatedly, but for some reason when I'm the one in pain or under anesthesia, I have a consistent habit of passing out post medical procedure...I think of all the times I've blacked out, only twice has it been from something other than being a baby!

Girl scout camp at Cloud Rim during flag ceremony...apparently the altitude change did me no good...and in the vets office when I took my first and favorite rottweiler to have an injured paw stitched up, (and that was an adventure...stuck me in a snow bank to help me come to)otherwise it's always been my own weak resolve that's let me drop.

Today was such a minor thing, one little shot and a few minutes of feeling not a thing, one tiny little circle bandaid, and I stood up to find that the floor didn't exist. Knowing my predisposition for crumpling and falling, I hurried my behind into a chair where I sat happily waiting for the tracers to leave my field of vision, and the room to quit spinning.

What fun it is!...My record is three times in about 10 minutes following the removal of my right ovary. My mother and sister had me laid out on the kitchen chairs when I came to, I felt like I was at my own wake...after which the 3 Fotheringham boys all insisted on staying with me every night to make sure I was ok all night long!

What a wonderful tradition of warmth, caring, and me mumbling something before I fall to the ground. It's almost as much fun as the kids being as gross as they can to make me throw up right after meals!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm going to live!

Well, I've finally calmed down and listened to several conclusion is that Gabriel isn't trying to destroy my mind or me, he's just handling 13 a lot differently than Nathan did...and I need to quit taking it personally. I know, easier said than done, but I've got a strategy. I'm really clinging to my 'walk away' idea. I simply refuse to fight any more, I tried it (the "Gabe, I'm not going to fight" and just walking away...and it worked. I'm not going to assume that it's a cure-all, I am not that silly, but to have a way out, to not have to but heads or back down, is really liberating.

He's been hurt so deeply by other-mom, I refuse to add to it, and my personality just doesn't allow me to back out of a conflict, so I'm just not letting the fight start. I've also asked him a couple of questions that were hard for him...that he has to answer, but only to himself, not to me. I asked why he gets so mean to (only) me when he's in touch with his mom. I also asked why he can be so awesome to me when his friends are around...I told him he needed to think really hard, get on his knees and find the answer, but he doesn't need to tell me. If he'll find the glitch, and adjust his attitude, peace and harmony will follow.

Not being pious and haughty and trying to blame it all on him, I've been in attitude boot-camp, and have determined that how I react when he lashes out is half the problem...hence the walk away. If I won't take the bait, it gives him the chance to cool down, and hopefully we'll figure out how to get along without any bloodshed at all!

This said, I have hilarity to share...Listening to my ipod, I had one earphone tucked in the front of my shirt so it wouldn't be in my way, and I can still keep track of what's going on around me. I'd forgotten it was there, I felt something move in me shirt, first thought was, "Spider" and I nearly freaked completely out! Before I'd traumatized everyone by tearing off my shirt and removed the offending arachnid, I dropped my ipod, and the earphones and 'spider' fell with it. Thank goodness for the small moments of wonder that make me have a sense of humor about myself...Richard laughed about it too! It's been a good day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

...My brain's not operating right now...

I have a question...but I need to explain first

Still having a horrible time with Gabriel. I try, I really do. I talk to him, I hum and sing when I'm mad so that I don't yell. Instead of hunting him down and insisting he follow through with whatever he's left undone, I quickly and quietly take care of it to avoid a confrontation. (Much to the annoyance of all the other kids who have to do their own work).

He told me yesterday that he'd just given his mom his email address, I tried to talk to him about it, then I found this morning that he gave it to her a week ago...this explains a lot of his misbehavior towards me this past week...but Reed had helped him conceal this from me. Knowing how he treats me when he has contact with his mom, Reed didn't put the two things together, and I've been through hell and back more than I care to think about.

I want to keep him safe from her. The emotional damage is too great, and it confuses him so much, all this mess of hers, I feel very justified in sticking to the state guidelines and the judges ruling in parent-time that she chose to abandon. (She moved out of state, sent us a text after the fact, that's the measure of her devotion to her children. She's seen them once in the last year). She doesn't care at all that her talking to him builds his hopes, then when she fails him, which she has yet NOT TO DO, he spirals and vents his hurt and rage at me.

This said, my question is...
If I decide to do some extreme shopping for myself, should I go for the blue or the red dress?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The road or path to happiness

So I went ahead and had a really hard talk with Gabe last night. Told him how precious he is to me, how much I love him, and how his behavior towards me is breaking my heart. (I now know why my mom walked on egg shells through my teenage years, careful not to 'set Karen off').

We cried, he was a lot upset, and this morning he was the smilingest, sweetest Gabriel I've ever seen. Not naive enough to assume that everything is fixed, knowing that there will be many ups and downs to come, I am grateful for this morning of peace!

I explained how everything in his life will be directly affected by his attitude. His decision to sit and be miserable, or to lift his head and see what goodness is available to him will make him either an angry, miserable child, or give him the opportunity to feel joy and love.

I also told him I'm sorry he's been so hurt by his mom. I'm guessing this part was long over-due, but I didn't want to make him feel like he had to defend her. I explained that it was her choice to leave. Where she is now and her state of mind now are also her choice, and yes it's hard, and hurts, but the rage he feels toward her because of her neglect won't go away by taking it out on me. Careful in my wording to not lay blame, to impress upon him that his determination is what will be the deciding factor, I told him how sorry I am that she hurt him, how much I love him, and how I want him to have true happiness.

I sometimes wonder if all the years of struggle with Ryan were preparation to be able to help Gabe. We'll both of us live through his teenage years, and I will continue to encourage him to strive for a positive attitude...and if you have a minute in your prayers, I'd consider it a great work if everyone could offer up a prayer for my Gabey, that he can find peace, and know that he's not at fault for how things turned out with his biological mother.

Thanks for letting me rant and vent!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Where am I going?

As easy as Nathan is in just about every way; easy to talk to, easy to ask for help, easy to trust...I'm really struggling with Gabriel. He's not very truthful, he tends to ignore me rather than put forth any effort to follow the rules and guidelines in our house, and worst of all, he hates me because I'm not his mom.

Goodness knows I try to be patient and understanding and loving and sympathetic...but at what point does he get off his butt and contribute to our family?...Why does he think that everyone else has to play nice, but that he's exempt?

I recently explained that if he can't play nice, he'll get benched, and not get to play at all. I don't want to alienate him, but he's made me question my sanity on many occasions, and right now I'm all out of ideas! Why doesn't he want to understand that you don't have to be blood to be family?...everyone else gets it. He's outraged with me because I expect from him the same effort and to uphold the same standards as the rest of the makes me feel like the meanest monster mommy ever!

I hope he grows out of it soon, or I'm really going to build a dungeon in the crawl space to lock myself away from him!..for his own safety of course!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Christmas and Beyond

Catching up...Christmas was the hardest day of the year. Loading kids into cars and dropping them off with other parents nearly did me in. I used to call it a 'kid-free weekend' when they were all gone at once, and although I didn't like it, I lived through it. Christmas was hell.

3 kids gone for 1 night, 3 others for 2 nights, and I cried and whimpered and protested the whole time. I was unable to calm down, Reed tried so hard to console me, and all I could do was fight and rage against myself for what I felt was offering them up as a sacrifice to parents who, although active in these children's creation, have by their own choices forfeit the right to be the parents of these amazing little spirits.

There are moments of deep frustration when I'm overwhelmed and pray for a minute of peace when all the kids need my undivided attention at once, but I know now that I am unconditionally a mother, and will never be happy otherwise. With all of them gone I was completely ungrounded. No focus, no ambition, no desire to exist, just anxious for their safe return.

They did all return home safely and emotionally intact for the most part, but how I resented the fact that they couldn't just stay with me. Reed and I are moving our mountain with all our strength to ensure that these precious beings have safety, security, stability, and an eternal family. Perhaps I'm selfish that I want to keep them with me, but how else can I watch over and guide them?...I felt like I was throwing them onto a busy freeway, knowing that cars were coming, and having to trust that I'd supplied them with enough of 'the right stuff' that they could maneuver across without being harmed...right into a den of hungry lions...I've always said that to teach them of the dangers that are waiting to accost them, I wouldn't employ Jeffrey Dahmer to baby-sit, but that's exactly how it felt...and I was powerless to change it!

I should be grateful that it was the 1st time since March that all 6 had been gone at the same time, but I thoroughly resented their absence. I'm now afraid that the Christmas season will forever be marred by other parents. The one day of the year that they can be bothered to put on a good show and look like they are parents. I love Christmas, and I fear that now it will be a dreaded and terrible ordeal.

To get past this, I'm trying to take the advise of my husband, a man I love more than the air I breath, which is to trust in the Lord, trust in what I've taught them, trust in their intelligence that they will know how to be strong and look out for each other until they are returned to me. I could let it go until next Christmas and panic again, but other mom has promised to visit next month. The greatest thing she ever did for her children was to move out of state, and I fear her spending time with them. When all 6 are together they are so strong, when they're apart, they can be faced with indecision, they lack the comfort of knowing they have numbers on their side. Our ward and neighborhood has quickly found that if you mess with one, you have the entire BehlingBunch to answer to, and there are very few problems with bullies and kids being picked on...this said, other mom often makes promises that are immediately forgotten to her, so I can hope she doesn't come to Utah in March...but on the off chance that she follows through, I need to be ready for the anguish and apprehension that fill me when they're absent.

Now I should note that I'm fine when they are with grandparents or scouts, on school activities or with friends, these things they are prepared for, but how do I prepare them for the threat of a parent they love, but that will fail them at every turn, dash their hopes, and expect them to still be loyal and loving through it all?...I need to find solace, peace, being a psychotic wreck will do nothing to uphold them and fill them with confidence!...nor will it enable me to be a steadying strength to them.

...So I'll get off my soapbox...pray and plead and hover over them in the night when I think I hear one of them cough...I need to learn to give this particular hazard to the Lord...I'm doing all I can do, they are wonderfully smart kids and doing what they can do, the rest isn't up to me.
How I hate not being in control of everything...but that isn't the right plan, and so I must submit.

How I love each of them, I understand now why my parents said and did the things they did while I was growing up. I hope my own children won't resent my efforts, that they'll know it's love, not power, that motivates me!