It Is Time

The decision to take action is never an easy one when it comes to family situations. I have allowed a family member of my ex-husband to belittle me and vilify me in front of my children long enough with no results when he has taken actions to stop it.

I trust that he has tried to address the situation with the family member on several occasions. This person just has no filter when it comes to their hate for me. Unfortunately they cannot understand that the hate that spews in my direction only goes straight through the boys first. As much as this person would like for it to be not true; they are 50% my children.

Hating their mother is hating a piece of them. A huge part of them. I think that is part of the issue, when people see them and hear them, it is hard to not see and hear me.

Last night I lost my ever-lovin’-mind when I heard what I heard. I called my ex-husband and screamed at him for a good five minutes. I screamed at my boys…

Ya, that’s going to help…not.

As I calmed down I told them I was hurt by those words and that they should never have to have my back when they are with their dad. They should be kids. They know this person is wrong, they know it’s inappropriate for them to be bombarded with the hate aimed at me.

They also know they are just kids.

And she is their grandmother.

I have prayed for so long for this woman. I have prayed for my own heart to soften towards her whenever I feel the hate rise. If she died tomorrow, I would be sad for my boys…and so happy that she is out of their lives.

That is how much hurt lies between us.

I have killed her with kindness at every turn. She cannot even look me in the eye. If she sees the boys and I out and about, she will do her best to not be seen. If they happen to see her before she can slip away; she cannot even greet me.

How much self loathing must she have to be so filled with such vileness. Can she not make eye contact because she is scared of what she will see? Will she catch a glimpse of the compassion I have for her? Will she see that I don’t truly hate her; that her opinion of me doesn’t matter? Will she catch a glimpse of the boys so in love with their mom that it is palpable wherever we go? What does she get out of hating so furiously?

I don’t know…I just know that when her arrows are shot at me, they hurt and I lash out. I feel the need to defend myself…fight or flight. My brain knows this solves nothing and only adds to the stress my children feel.

So where is the balance?

Today I sent a proposal off to our parenting time expeditor (ordered by the courts as we have 50/50 custody and can rarely agree on anything). I am proposing that all of her time with the boys be supervised.

I made it clear to the boys last night I don’t want to take her out of their life, only put a stop to them being in the middle.

Lord,

I ask for grace for my behaviour last night. It was less than stellar. My passion for these boys and their wellbeing is my priority. Remind me that hurt people, hurt people…and I don’t want to be one of them.
As my ex-husband and the expeditor read over my proposal today, soften their hearts to hear only my true concerns.
Jesus, be with this woman. I know life has not been easy on her and her ways are learned. Help her to be the grandmother my children need and desire in their life.
Help me continue to be gracious and fill me with mercy towards her.
I know Your plan includes lessons from this, help me see past the immediate nature of this and live in Your light.

Amen

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Sick, Not Real Sick

I woke up in the middle of the night and called into work. I was fevered, stuffed up and my body was aching. Yay for flu season, right?

Guess who hasn’t bothered to get her flu shot yet?

Anyway, now I’m laying in bed and I was thinking about how nice it will be when the boys get home from school. My older boy is the best caregiver in the world. At his very core is compassion and service. My younger one is a Mama’s boy…he would be the one to bring extra blankets, to fluff my pillows; while his brother would bring soup and care for the younger boy.

Then it hit me…

I don’t want them to see me sick. Even if it’s just a flu or a bad cold. I can picture my older boy’s agony to see his mama sick again. I don’t want that fear to ever enter his brain.

I don’t want the younger one to not be just a little boy, wanting Mom to take care of him in spite of her ailments.

Sure, their compassion is a life lesson that many will never learn. It will serve them well for years to come. I know the adversity they have faced through cancer have been wonderful lessons in faith, love, service, mercy, and grace.

They are always quick with grace when I am not well.

So where does this mom-guilt fit? It’s not like I ASKED for cancer, not like I planned to be sick today when they returned home for the week. I know it is the enemy who is working to break me down.

Screw him.

I’m taking care of me today. I’m just going to be allowed to be sick. I am going to let my boys care for me and allow my expectations to be NIL for myself this evening.

Just this once, I’m looking forward to my baby boy making me his favorite chicken noodle soup, to the older boy to be the man of the house…just this once…

And just this once, I won’t feel guilty. I won’t feel like a bad mom. I won’t beat myself up.

Dearest Father,
I ask for mercy that this illness be taken from my body today. I thank You for being louder than the enemy and that I know I am still worthy of love when I am sick.
Lord, Your love surrounds our home. Please Father, do not let fear enter here when they boys come home and see me so ill. Remind them in the deepest creases of their beings that You have beaten cancer for us and that the flu has nothing on You.
Amen

I am Blessed

A coworker suggested I mention to the head of maintenance at the school where I work that I am available to fill in as an evening cleaner. I gave the guy my number and said a prayer. Knowing their shift starts at 3 and I have the boys after school every day when they are at their dad’s for the week means I can’t start before 5:30 on those days.

It took two weeks but I was finally asked and I have now had the opportunity to work three separate evenings, ranging from 2 – 6 hours each. The pay is just a little bit higher than my regular job so every hour more than makes up for each our I miss due to inservice days.

It is very physical work. Last night, for example, I spent over 3 hours vacuuming. I spent one hour washing lockers…top to bottom. Sounds easy, and it truly isn’t difficult; just physically demanding.

The three shifts I’ve had so far will be on one paycheck. I’m excited to see it come at the end of November!

As loud and hard as the enemy tried to bring me down, it took only some time and rational thought and thorough budgeting to realize we’re going to be ok. God’s truly in charge and He loves me and my boys enough to see us through.

Lord,

I don’t know the plans you have for us and I get angry at myself that the evil one’s voice is sometimes louder than your love.
Your mercy and grace has been so prevalent throughout my life that I am always shocked to come out of a period of insecurity…shocked that I could ever question Your plan.
Forgive my insecurity Lord, my human weakness.
I want to be light, I want to be hope, I want to be love. I can only do this if I focus on You.

Amen

Just Enough

The two months ahead of celebrating the birth of Christ should be filled with an air of hope, love, and joy. Unfortunately for some families it can be quite different. We are now one of those families.

In the two months prior to Christmas both my boys also celebrate their birthdays. The American Thanksgiving holiday is in between them. It used to be a time filled with so much fun on top of everything else. We would shop for children on the Giving Tree; each child picking a child of their own age and going overboard buying them gifts. Friends and family would gather for food and cake and celebration several times. Often we would make at least one, but almost always two, trips to Canada to visit family.

Our new normal does not look like that anymore. Usually, I embrace the life we live and the blessings that have been brought upon us. Today though, I’m sad.

My kids are now on the giving tree as recipients. My kids no longer get to shop for less fortunate children because they are less fortunate. The thought of planning their birthdays no longer brings immense joy, instead it is sadness and dread. What bill do I skip paying so I can buy them each a gift? How much will each birthday party cost me?

They didn’t get to have birthday parties when I first got sick. I was busy running back and forth to Mayo Clinic and their dad just refused. The following year there just wasn’t any money. I cannot bring myself to force them to miss another party. Those are some great childhood moments, choosing who comes to your party and having your own day.

Between October and November (the paychecks that pay for the November and December birthdays/holidays) I have eight unpaid days off work for parent teacher conferences, in-service days, and holidays. I then have six unpaid days off in December followed by three in January. This means that I need to budget ahead for the shortage. I will not have a full paycheck between the end of October and the end of February.

While I get a bonus at work in January, it will go to pay for Little’s hockey fees. I get no assistance from his father and I received a gift in order to pay his USA Hockey fees and lease him skates so he can be on the ice…but I still have the $460 to pay. That bonus also covers the hours missed, so it’s not a lot of extra money, just enough to get through.

I get so beat up emotionally when it comes to this kinda stuff because it seems like I will never get a good solid financial foothold. Like we are always just barely scraping by when what I want to do is relax for ten minutes.

We are one mishap away from being homeless. We have no emergency fund, no credit cards to use for backup, nothing. I have enough to get by each month, and not a dime more.

Then Satan whispers, “If you worked more, if you tried harder, if you worked two jobs, if only…”  It is those whispers that leave me to suffer silently because my brain believes those things.

I have been selling items around my home and old clothes just to keep the internet on. I had help from a friend willing to sell a few of her things she no longer has use for. Instead of donating her items, she sold them and gave the money to my internet company. That was a huge blessing as we don’t actually have much of value to sell. But for a few things left, there’s nothing much more to sell.

Today, I’m beat up, feeling like I’m never going to be financially secure again. Having just enough is still enough. Just enough gets the bills paid. Some days though; I want more than just enough. And that’s a tough place to be.

 

I Don’t Wanna

I don’t wanna write today that Beth Caldwell passed away last night. I don’t want to write that her husband held her as she died. I don’t want to write that her children were with her as she took her last breath.

But it happened and my heart sank.

I had a feeling yesterday was going to be the day. I even stopped at Katie’s and said I wanted to find out from her…she has been following Beth’s story as well. Really though, I didn’t want to hear it from anybody. I didn’t want to face it.

I think back to something I wrote on my CaringBridge while I was sick…it was about my own mortality. I was writing about the dreams I have for my kids and all I wish for them to know, and be, and accomplish. I wrote that for them to be the people they are meant to be may actually mean I have to not be here and how hard of a reality that was.

That is Beth’s family’s reality. That her death is a part of God’s plan for who her children become. Will they also be advocates for the unheard and unseen? Will they champion her cause…their cause.

As I fell asleep last night, I prayed for The Hubs, The Boy, and The Girl; the nicknames she used on her blog for her family. I prayed for their peace; for God’s grace and mercy to cover them.

And then I cried; for me.

Today, my heart hurts; and I’m just going to let it. I’m going to let it be hurt and heal…it seems to know the routine. Today I am also going to just be held…by God.

This weekend it’s just me and the little one home. Big Brother is going deer hunting with Dad and won’t be home until Sunday evening. I have a feeling it will be a lot of open hockey and chilling. His birthday is in a few weeks and we have to make a plan for that. My “non-viable pregnancy” (when I first got pregnant), my “Inevitable abortion” (at 12 weeks 2 days gestation with I had a partial abruption with ruptured membranes), my preemie…he’s gonna be ten this year.

Lord,

I am so grateful that my baby’s story is a yearly reminder that You perform miracles all around us and people love to hear his story. We love to share it. I am so thankful for all you have provided.
As I get through today and the weekend with Beth’s family on my heart, I ask for comfort for them. I ask that you give them the space, time, and opportunity to feel Your love.
And God, thank you for holding my close and keeping me secure.

Amen

Can You Just Not…

I found out this morning that a person I know is back at Mayo for a work up…might be a recurrence of he brain cancer he had like 10 years ago (maybe not that many but enough to get passed the ‘all clear’ date that some cancers actually get).

I have the absolute heaviness over my entire body. Not just an aching heart; my body feels overwhelmingly heavy…like a weighted blanket, over my entire being. A fist around my heart, holding it hostage…or securely; I can’t tell. I know when I was sick and one of my hockey families gifted me with a weighted blanket, it was the most amazing gift EVER!

Maybe this is just God covering me…protecting me…forcing me to slow down, to not panic. All I know is that I hate cancer…and I am angry that his cancer might be back. I am angry and sad and frustrated.

The reality of ‘after cancer’ is that every diagnosis I hear about, every recurrence for a friend of acquaintance is devastating, numbing, and oh so hard.

God,

I know You work everything for your good for those who believe, but what about those who don’t? How are they supposed to see your good works when a man of God has a recurrence of cancer that for all intents and purposes he had already beat once?
How do I explain not being afraid of cancer anymore because the damage in my life has already been done so anything after this is chicken feed?

I know I’m not strong enough to deal with all these emotions, and am so thankful for Your grace. Guide me through this period of waiting for news from the man I know and from Beth’s family. (Beth’s husband posted on October 31 that it is only a matter of days for her).

Lord, this disease has so many faces and so many outcomes. I ask for every person hearing those words for the first time not turn away from You; that they come to find strength and peace in You.

Amen

October 30

Today I had my annual mammogram on my right breast. When I looked at the images, it looked no different than I remembered the last one looking. I looked up my images on the Mayo Clinic patient portal and as far as I could see; no changes. I’ll get the official report in a few days.

I started my Zoladex injections again. This is a huge needle that implants a tiny pellet of medication. I will get it every four weeks. I’m praying that I suffer no debilitating side effects (six of one, half a dozen of the other – help keep he cancer at bay and have a lower quality of life, or increase my risk of recurrence. Pretty crappy options if you ask me.

Finally, October is almost over and I made it!! Thank you…YOU.

Thanks