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Posts tagged ‘stress’

Putting Thoughts Into Words

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Ever since this whole quarantine situation began, so many around me have been struggling. For many, it’s a financial thing. So many people have outright lost their jobs or have been laid off with an unknown return date. Even my husband is now facing a possible layoff situation. When you struggle just to provide the necessities for your family and there’s nothing you can do to change the situation, you find yourself freaking out. How can I feed my family?? How can I make sure that we will survive this???

For others, it’s struggling to deal with a lack of social interaction. Many thrive on being around others. Some, like me, can only handle so much isolation. Sometimes, one handles their mental health illnesses by going out and surrounding themselves among friends and family. Whether it’s going to bars to dance, sing, play pool, shoot darts, play bags, or just chat with friends, scouting out places to experience new things, going to concerts, checking out the newest movies, bowling league or just because, or often planning and hosting events for family/friends, it’s an escape from one’s own mind. Now that we are stuck at home, we can’t help but retreat into our own heads and that is a scary reality we can’t run away from.

Because of the ban on gatherings, many have had to cancel or postpone their weddings, kid’s birthday parties, baby showers, and more. After all of that time spent planning and preparing and money spent, it ends up being for naught. Flights canceled, deposits not returned, being left with a bunch of décor and such that can’t be used, and plans being canceled have left many heartbroken. Many are even unable to attend funerals for people they love and want to say goodbye to. While many of these things can be rescheduled, this means more money spent and competing with many others for venues and other vendors as many will have to reschedule at once.

There are some who still have to work and while in some ways, that is a good thing, it’s also a stressful too. They’re among others who could get them sick and if you have a weakened immune system, that is even riskier. Some who are immunocompromised are working from home, but not all. Think about the long hours too. There are professions that don’t get sent home to work or get told they’re laid off. Many are needed to make sure we don’t completely fall apart during this time.

Truckers are still on the road, as we need them to deliver goods so that our families can survive. The military still is out there looking after country.  Cops and firefighters are out protecting us from harm. The electric companies, water companies, cable companies, phone companies, etc are up and running. Grocery stores still need to stay open. Many restaurants have closed, but some are still open for delivery and take out options. The postal workers are still bringing us our mail. Medical professionals are needed to treat the sick and injured, transport those unable to get help on their own, greet the patients, do x-rays, and more. The list goes on. To keep this country running, there are a lot of people out working their tails off, subjecting themselves to countless germs.

The kids being off school has forced many to stay home from work. That goes with the first paragraph, creating financial issues. We may be getting assistance, but it’ll take time for that to go through and arrive. Now, add in you’re stuck at home with your kids, trying to home school them and many don’t have experience in this. The social interaction for your kids has ended. They can’t spend time with their friends. While it is easier for many adults to grasp the situation, many kids don’t understand and that is hard. Watching your kids struggle with this hurts. We would love to let them go play with their friends, but we can’t. Now many families are secluded with one another day in and day out, creating tension and more stress.

No matter what one’s situation is, I don’t think anyone has it easy. These points and more, we’re all struggling somehow and some are struggling on several fronts. Some are coming together to help where they can and that is great to see. It’s nice to know that some are looking out for their families, friends, and neighbors. It is also saddening to see that others have revealed their selfish and cruel natures as people are getting into fights over supplies. The need to provide for their families while we’re shut in has driven people to desperate measures. Some are simply trying to get through the week and others are hoarding enough to last for months. This whole mess has created mass hysteria. Panic buying is making it hard for others. Stores are trying to keep up with our needs, which has the truckers making more runs. I can only kind of fathom what stress this whole thing is causing others.

For me personally, I am struggling in ways I am trying to find words for. Writing has been an outlet for me since grade school. I need to put these thoughts into words which strung together, shall become sentences that hopefully convey how I feel. On one hand, my soul aches for everyone around me, especially those I am closest to that I know are struggling. I loathe that people I love are hurting. From being laid off at work to losing everything in a fire on top of everything else going on, many I love are in tough situations that I can’t fix. Anyone who knows me knows that other’s pain isn’t something I handle well within myself. Sometimes I take that pain and use it to help them, but even when I find ways to help the people I love, that pain and heartache still haunts me. Add in that I am struggling personally, I am a mess. So much pain, sorrow, grief, heartache, confusion, anger, stress…..

I run a small photography business. Due to a situation out of my control, my business account has over drafted. We don’t have the money within our personal finances to fix that. So, the longer I am without business, the worse shape my account gets in. I am so stressed right now. I had a couple that was going to sign me for their wedding, but due to the bride being laid off, they have to put planning their wedding on hold. Being me, I am dealing with conflicting emotions about it. On one hand, I feel so bad for them. My hubby and I talked about how I would handle it if I was the bride in this situation. Knowing me, I would be a wreck. I can imagine how she feels and I don’t like it one bit. I wish I could make it better for her. On the flip side, I am stressed because I needed that money to set things right with my account. I have never been in this position in all the time I have been running my business. I am, as Peg from Peg & Cat says, TOTALLY FREAKING OUT!!!

On top of that, I feel for my hubby. He is our main provider and if he gets laid off, even on a rotating schedule, it will hurt us significantly. He’s feeling the stress big time. We were already struggling, but now we’re hurting even more. He was driving Uber on the side, but now he’s stopped that so as not to be at more risk for getting sick. Part of that is, he knows if I get it, I will be in bad shape due to my weakened immune system and also because we have kids to consider. They are already stuck at home, don’t want them to get sick on top of this isolation business. Speaking of, this isolation business is not good for me at all. I am one who thrives on being able to see friends and family. I love hosting play dates, going to parks and the zoo with my daughter, making plans with friends, spending time with family, and just having the freedom to be out and about without worrying about ending up in the hospital.

I used to go out a lot when I was younger. It was one way I managed my bi-polar, though I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing until much later. I went out to escape my thoughts, to not be alone, and to fight my inner demons. The going out phase lessened over the years, especially to bars and clubs. Part of that was due to life changing and part of that was just me changing along with it. But even when you couldn’t find me out and about nearly every weekend and even on some weeknights, singing karaoke, dancing, and talking it up with friends, I still went out on occasion. When I got together with my now husband, we did go out a lot at first. Over time, that started to change. At least as far as bars went anyway, we didn’t go out much after a couple of years.

We do like to go out on date nights still, but not so frequently and when we do go out, it’s not been to bars. We go out to dinner, bowling, challenge our minds at an escape room, get some ice cream, go see a movie, check out a band we like, etc. (we haven’t been to bars in a quite awhile. I won’t say we’ll never go to one again, but it will remain a rare occurrence. It’s just not our scene anymore.) Sometimes we’ll get away for a weekend to go camping, explore a city, see family, etc. I also like to go see friends sometimes. There’s me trying to host bonfires, cookouts, game nights, and dinner parties too. All of that is now put on hold. I loathe it, deeply. Being confined is harder for me than I can properly explain.

Last night, my daughter looked me with her big brown eyes and said, “Friends come over to play???” My heart cracked and broke. I tried explaining to my three year old why that isn’t possible and she didn’t understand. That is one of the hardest parts about all of this. She doesn’t get why we can’t have people over, why we can’t go to the zoo or the park, etc. I try to make things fun for her, but it only does so much. She wants to play with her friends. Oh sweet girl, I know, I feel that way too. We may have to cancel her birthday party for next month and that hurts me more than I can say. In time, she will likely forget all of that, but I won’t. I wanted to make her day special. I hope this is over by then. If not, we will still do what we can to make it special for her. (a party of four and maybe see about creating a video chat for people to attend or ask people to record birthday messages.) I want her to enjoy turning four. We will do what we can no matter what the situation is.

I hope this is all over soon. I hope that this isolation ends up being worth it, keeping many safe and lessening the spread of it for those who do get it, so that the hospitals and clinics can keep up with this. I also hope that when it’s time to get back to normal, whatever normal even is really, that we’ll be able to recover and have an easy transition into our lives as they were before this hit.

I also hope that during this seclusion that we will find ways to get closer to our families. May we use this time to get to know one another in new ways, find out things we didn’t know and learn to appreciate one another more. Since we can’t change the situation at hand, we should make the best of it. That is much easier said than done. Personally, I am struggling with that, but I am trying and that’s all any of us can do. I will use this time to do what I don’t usually have time for, like this. I used to write a lot. That’s slowed down the last few years. Singing, writing, taking pictures just for me, scrapbooking, cooking new recipes, and much more are on my list of things to do or do more of. It seems like a good time to let my creativity blossom once more.

I am praying for the world, our nation, the state of Wisconsin, Washington County, our community here in West Bend, my family and friends, my kiddos and hubby, and even myself. I pray that we will, overall, come together and see that the best way to face and get through this is to stick together. Even when we can’t see one another in person, there are still ways to stay connected and ways to help one another out. I am working on getting care coolers together to give to truckers who are struggling with getting something to eat and have gathered things together from people in my awesome community to help my friends that lost stuff in a fire. Porch drop offs, being diligent about hygiene, etc all go a long way and make it so we can help others still. The world has shut down a lot, but we’re still finding ways to keep going. I hope you’re doing well and if not, I pray that things get better for you soon. Don’t forget to take care of you, you matter and please remember to also look after those around you however you can. Together, I am hoping we will make it through this!!

So much to say…

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I have a lot to say right now. I stared at this screen for a little bit, unsure of where to begin. I couldn’t think of a clever title for this, so it is what it is…

I meant to write more in 2019 than I did. There were several times where I thought to myself, I really should blog, it’s been awhile and then I got busy and forgot.

It’s now 2020… Alright, where is the Jetson life I thought we’d be living? Honestly, I’m okay without flying cars, robot maids, etc. I wouldn’t necessarily mind being able to push a button and have my food be ready. Though, with an instant pot, that’s pretty close. 🤣

2019 brought a lot of loss, heartache – both literally and figuratively, stress, and struggle. It did also bring some joy, laughter, fun times, and good memories made. Overall, in all honesty, I am happy 2019 is over. There are lessons and memories I’ll take from it though.

One of the biggest things that happened in 2019 was my son coming home to live with us full-time, for the first time in 14 years, I got primary placement back. At first, I was so happy. I had fought for this for so long. I remember the tears, the heartache, stress, sleepless nights, and fighting it took to get to this point and finally, it was over.

About a month or so in, the high wore off and our troubles began. In the 14 years that I had limited time with my son, a chip grew on his shoulder, one that has become a mountain.

He’s angry at the world. His dad didn’t listen, was there physically and yet not there for him a lot of the time, kept trying to turn him into something he’ll likely never be, pushed him away, and refused to give him the one thing he’d been asking for over 13 years – to live primarily with me.

I struggled with my mental health issues, still do sometimes, and I was sometimes mentally checked out. I was too soft on him, to try to balance out how strict his dad was being. I was trying to be what I thought he needed, but I think I missed the mark more than I ever meant to. I sometimes was too self involved. As he was growing, neither his dad or I were really what he needed, I just didn’t fully see that until recently.

He was picked on in school for being different. He eventually fought back and that led to trouble. Coupled with mental health issues that were starting to present themselves, feeling torn between Mom and Dad, and a host of things going on inside his head, he was going down a path that would lead him towards darkness, a darkness I’m afraid of.

Early on, he was acting out. He was crying out. His dad didn’t listen. I kept telling him bad things would happen if he kept ignoring our son’s cries for help and to be heard. The tall tales increased, stealing started, fighting in school/class began, and antagonistic behavior towards his step-mom grew to a frightening level.

Fast forward to 2018. He tried running away in January and then in May, he got to a point where he pulled a knife and held onto it, scaring his step-mom, who by this point now had two little kids of her own and was also babysitting for someone. After talking to them, they finally listened somewhat and took him to a behavioral health facility. He was there for roughly two weeks. They tweaked the meds he was on while there. At first, he refused to see or talk to his dad and step-mom. After I talked to him, he finally decided to open up and talk to them. He seemed to learn a lot in his time there.

After a month or two, things went back to normal and in time, got worse on all fronts. He was actively stealing often, in more trouble at school, was alienating the few friends he had, and things at his dad’s were getting dangerous, to all involved. In that time, I began the court process, once again, (As I had gone through it in 2007-2009) to bring my son home.

In November of 2018, the court said they would leave it as is until the summer. I would then get primary placement for a trial run and if all went well, it could stay that way. Things seemed to be looking up.

On February 7th, 2019, things reached their breaking point for my son, his step-mom, and his dad. Cops were involved on both sides. He was taken to shelter care. We picked him up and he’s been here since.

Like stated earlier, things were fine for a month or so. I was taking him to school over an hour away until the court made the change a little more official, about a month later. He started going to school here then. Within two weeks, he was already getting into trouble here.

After all the fighting we did to make this happen and him swearing to me he’d start making better choices and that this change would help him grow and mature, it hurt my soul to see he was continuing this self destructive behavior. He was still lying, stealing, fighting, etc. He was also beginning to cause problems with his little sister, problems that go beyond simple sibling rivalry. His outbursts became violent. He would break things when he didn’t get his way/was angry. Now, I knew this wouldn’t be a quick fix, but he wasn’t working at changing and it was hard to watch and deal with. Therapy started and meds were tweaked and at first, there seemed to be an improvement.

After getting through Summer school, he was enrolled in an online school. As public school hadn’t ever worked well for him, it was time to try something different. Again, he swore things would be better without all of the distractions.

At first, things were fine. And then… He started to slack off, bailing on classes and only putting so much effort into his school work. His issues with sister were increasing. He got in trouble for stealing, again. Things were reaching a boiling point.

Meds were tweaked again and again, things were a little better and then they weren’t. The stress levels were high on all sides. My husband loves my son, but then there’s our daughter to consider and he made it known that for him, she comes first. Feeling torn between my children, I was unsure what to do. I knew things couldn’t continue as they were though.

After all of court stuff for what he’d been doing, he was placed on supervision. Those every other week meetings generally went alright. But, this last meeting didn’t go well. It led to him storming off. He didn’t like the rules and said he couldn’t live here. Once shelter care was explained to him, he said that wouldn’t work either. He got dramatic and said he could either live on the streets or kill himself. We explained those weren’t viable options. We kept trying to explain why it’s important he take his school work seriously and that what’s being asked of him isn’t any more than what many parents expect. He didn’t care about any of that and left the room, stomping up the stairs to his room.

That left my hubby, who got home from work, the social worker, and myself to talk. She said she’d give us the night to think about things and would see what we wanted to do in the morning. I talked to his dad and to my husband. In the end, it was decided to have him taken to shelter care. The cruelty to his sister, disrespectful behavior towards my hubby and I, trashing things and taking off, the lies, the taking things from us, the bailing on school stuff, etc needed to be stopped and we felt helpless to help him. Everything we’d tried wasn’t working.

He left peacefully yesterday, but wasn’t happy. He fought with me on the phone, clearly not ready to change. He kept trying to bait me, as is his way, and eventually I hung up. They did get him to do school work, saw that by the emails I got from the school when things got turned in. I don’t know where his mind is at today, but he’s got court in a few hours. I just want things to get better for my son, for our family.

My almost four year old shouldn’t be afraid of my 17 year old. My brilliant 17 year old shouldn’t be failing in school. Our family shouldn’t be feeling such constant tension. We should be able to spend time together as a family. We shouldn’t have to lock our bedroom door. We should be able to trust him with our daughter. We should be able to trust him in general. This whole situation sucks.

I pray to God for healing, light on the path we should each take as individuals and as a family, peace, love to help us grow closer again, for the pain to stop…. My soul aches and I just want the ache to end. I pray that this is the beginning to better days.

This isn’t the only thing going on, but it is definitely one of the biggest. One thing at a time, right? Then maybe we can focus on our marriage, finances, health, time with friends, etc more? I’m trying to be many things to many people. Sometimes I forget to be what I need for myself. I’m working on it. I’ll always be working on it, as I’m sure everyone will be. Our evolution only stops, or should stop anyway, when we die. While we’re here, we’re growing as people.

I hope that I can become a better me all the time, ever learning and changing. I want to be a better mom, wife, daughter, friend, business owner, photographer, writer, singer, cook, camper, nature lover, inhabitant of this world, Christian, and overall person.

I want to be someone people love, respect, look up to and admire, get inspired by, and that will be remembered as someone who gave, loved, and lived her life the best she could. I want that dash in between my birthday and the day I die to represent a life well lived.

I have hurt and been hurt. My parents hurt me. My mom was hurt by her parents. My grandparents had their own tales, some good and some not so good. I wanted to give better to my kids. Have I?

At 17, my grandma was pregnant and eloped to another state to get married. She’d already given up a child for adoption. She was in love with a man who wasn’t so nice a lot of the time. She gave birth to my uncle. They worked to later raise three kids. She did the best she could, but her best wasn’t enough to protect my mom from her own dad or provide what her kids really needed.

At 17, my mom was ready to bail and did at 18, married an abusive jerk. She left. She had me at 20. She did her best. Her best led me to foster care when I was abused by her boyfriend. That led to years of pain for us both. If I’m being honest, I think that pain is with us yet. She made a certain amount of peace with her mom, but I don’t think she ever fully let go. I haven’t fully let go yet and I’m still trying.

At 17, I was bounced between my mom, old foster mom, grandma, mom, and grandma again. I was so angry, hurt, depressed, and scared. I was diagnosed with bipolar at 19/20. I had my son at 23. I was an absolute wreck. I think over time, I’ve grown. I’m still a mess sometimes, but I think I’m in a much better place than I have been before.

At 17, my son is at shelter care because of his anger issues, refusal to do what’s expected of him, his harming his sister, and his need to control everything. He’s angry, scared, depressed. He’s struggling. He may want to be a she. He isn’t sure what he wants. He is trying to find his way.

On one hand, I believe I’m doing the right thing… He needs help, help we couldn’t alone give him. This could be a good thing for him, probably not right away, but eventually.

On the other hand, I still feel so awful that it ever got to this point. Sending my son away is killing a piece of my soul. I’m trying to keep the first point in mind so I don’t lose my mind completely.

Thank you to anyone who’s made it thus far, for reading what I’ve had to say. I hope that it’s perhaps touched something in you. If you’re going through any of this, know you’re not alone. Somehow, I’m making it. I am holding onto my faith, that things will work out. Please, I pray you’ll hold on too. And now I take another step forward….

The Stars

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Billions of stars represent billions of hearts

Both alive and those that have gone before us

Which one would you say you are?

I’m THAT one, the one with extra sparkle

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star up in the sky

She’s up there singing a little tune

Watching me as I get my shine on

Her light still guides me as I learn

 

When our bodies die, our souls still live

It feels like they give the stars extra shine

When we feel extra sad or unsure of our paths

We can find comfort in the sky up above

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star up in the sky

Where are you on this cold night?

I need you more than ever right now

Can I hop on a cloud and see you?

 

Closing my eyes, I slow my breathing

Listening intently, trying to hear your voice

Willing the voices in my head to grow still

It takes great skill to quiet the noise

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star in the sky

Can you hear me as I call your name?

Is my voice being drowned out by your singing?

I miss singing with you and listening to your voice

 

I hear you, calmly telling me to let go

Let go and trust one we both love

The One that made these very stars I talk to

I feel her hands gently touch my hair

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star in the sky

I still struggle with worry and doubt

But I know deep down You’re with me

I think now I can finally get some sleep

 

Billions of stars represent billions of hearts

Both alive and those that have gone before us

Which one would you say you are?

I’m THAT one, the with the extra sparkle.

 

Treading Water

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Wading in, feeling the sand beneath her feet

Wanting to feel the water upon her skin

Mindlessly, she keeps walking further in

Until she finds where the sky and water meet

 

As the water rises, she begins to tread water

Staying afloat takes all she has within her

Wanting to go back, but feeling so unsure

If she doesn’t return, would they forget about her?

 

Part of her wants to slip beneath the surface

Just give in to the weight that’s pulling her down

Yet another part of her doesn’t want to drown

What she wonders though is, why stay, what’s my purpose?

 

Feeling like all she does is daily fight to stay above

Sometimes it just feels like a pointless endeavor

But then, she thinks about those in her life and the bonds no one could sever

She knows one reason she keeps going is because of a life that’s filled with love.

 

 

***picture taken on North Captiva Island in October of 2018***

I Want To Say Thank You

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Some stresses in my life feel difficult to defeat

But know that head on my problems I will meet

I will stumble, fall, & sometimes feel pretty low

But in the end, I will rise each time & be ready to go

 

Head held high, facing the challenges ahead

The struggles I face & the demons within will not see me dead

God, be my constant & my strength every single day

With You beside me, I know I will always find my way

 

Even during my darkest days, I don’t lose sight

Of all the hope & joy in my life that shines a great light

I don’t thank You nearly enough for all that I have, for all that You give

So right now, I would like to say thank You for the life You’ve given me to live

2013 In Review

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Today is the last day of the year. “Duh, Captain Obvious.” states a dull voice inside my head. Well, with today being the last day of 2013, I have decided to do my annual year end review. “Oh joy, it’s that time again.” another voice says lazily. And I say to both of you, “Oh shut up and deal with it.” 😉 Yes, my mind is an interesting place. If you ever want to take a sneak peek, be my guest, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about how strange it can be. “You didn’t actually warn them, genius.” teases the first voice. “Oh whatever, they get the point.” argues the second. Well with that….here we go. 😉

January 2013

I was taking care of my grandma, had been since October of 2012. It had gotten particularly bad at the end of November that year when she had a stroke. We later found out she’d had two prior, only not even she knew that. That did explain an awful lot though. Anyway, at this point, I was taking my grandma to a lot of doctor appointments and I was in complete and total charge of the household, i.e. cleaning, cooking, paying bills, etc. It was a very stressful time for me, but this was something I’d agreed to do, not just agreed to do, but volunteered to do. My grandma had always been there for me and I wanted to be there for her now. So sometimes I vented if the day was particularly rough, but I always got through it and one of the biggest reasons I did was because of the people I had supporting me. My biggest supporter was and still is my boyfriend, Doug. At that time, we’d only been together for three months. In those three months, so much had happened and I found that we’d become pretty close. January 5th is when he told me he loved me for the first time and I knew for the first time in my life with all of my heart that a guy actually meant it and that this wasn’t going to be some fling or rocky relationship. This felt real, solid, and wonderful and even then, I knew he was the one for me.

February 2013

I was going on interviews because I needed more money than what I had. Unemployment wasn’t much and yes because I was taking care of her, my grandma was helping with my bills….but I wanted more for myself and for my son. Things with my grandma were still stressful; she was refusing outright to use a walker and barely used the cane I got for her. She was still having issues with falling and it was really scaring me. In October & November of 2012, I’d take her with me to run errands, but at this point I was done taking her along because she would not use a walking aid. I was trying to reason with her, but it wasn’t working out so well. Doug was doing all he could to help me. A few times he was there when she fell and he helped her up. We’d been bowling league on Tuesdays with his dad, that was a lot of fun. Though I did stay home a lot to make sure my grandma was alright and sometimes that got to me, but I didn’t trust her to be home alone for too long. It was what it was.

March 2013

I was still going on interviews and still taking care of my grandma. In March I did make a breakthrough with her. First, we had her start physical therapy, which seemed to be helping. Second, she FINALLY agreed to use a walker. So, after her first session, I went to get her one. She didn’t always use it, but she did use it often, mostly because I nagged her to do it. I can be a persistent pest. 😉 Things seemed to be going alright. Sometimes her speech still faltered and you could see how unsteady she could be when she was stubborn and didn’t use the walker, but this was a part of the effects from the stroke. I did not give up working with her though. Things were still going well for Doug and I, five months in and I was still over the moon happy. My longest relationship prior to this was nearly three months. I thought, “Could this be it? You know, I think it is. I think I FINALLY found true happiness.” Though other voices chimed in now and then, causing doubt, but not in him…in me. I’d hear things like, “You know you’ll just mess it up like you always do.” or “You’re not meant to be happy.” Stupid nagging voices, well I always managed to shut them up. 😉 Zach was doing well in wrestling, his season ended in March. I saw him get his first pin that season, was so very proud of my boy. He was doing well in fourth grade, playing violin, getting geared up for another baseball season, and very happy about Doug. I was beyond happy that my two boys were bonding. 🙂

April 2013

Baseball season began for Zach, the practices anyway. A real relationship between Doug and my kiddo was forming. We started going to the park since warmer weather was finally beginning to stop in to say hello. I was still job hunting, going on interviews, and still taking care of my grandma. Things were a bit difficult, like when she refused to use her walker and sometimes when she ate. She’s had a problem with coughing since her childhood, but since that last stroke, it had gotten worse and sometimes she’d choke while eating. I monitored her pretty closely. I will also admit I was getting increasingly frustrated because she’d sometimes leave the door open, the sink on, or try to cook and then leave the stove on. Yeah, I began hiding knives, the glassware because she’d broken a few glasses, and had unplugged the stove if I wasn’t using it. Doug was looking at houses and now he’d been letting me come along to look with him. Mid month or so, it happened. We found one we both liked. I was excited, though unsure of how things would go for us with all of that. We’d been talking about living together one day. Things were so up in the air with my grandma, what would become of her, should she go into a home or at least assisted living because truthfully, I knew she needed help I couldn’t give her. Also, what about the house? My uncle wanted it, but couldn’t afford to keep it on his own. I just didn’t know what was going to happen for anyone.

May 2013

It was decided. My uncle would move back in and help with my grandma. When Doug moved into his house at the end of the month, I would move in with him. I thought perhaps my uncle had learned a lot from the year before and that he’d be able to care for her, at least until we had things figured out with nursing homes/assisted living. I was excited, though a little worried about my grandma. Luckily, where we live is only maybe 5-7 minutes away, depending on the traffic lights, when the weather is good. Zach was excited as well, this was huge for him. Baseball was going alright for him. He did earn the game ball at the end of one game. He had gotten hit in the back, so hard we all heard it. I freaked out, big time. But, after a couple of minutes, he shook it off the best he could and walked to first base. After that, he stole second and third. Then a teammate hit a ball sending my son from third to home. This was a big deal for my kiddo and well, for me too. When they gave him the ball at the end of the game, I cried. So much was coming together for everyone.

June 2013

My grandma was turning 75, so I arranged a dinner for her. My mom came into town, my uncle joined us, so did my cousin Jim and his wife, and also one of my grandma’s oldest and dearest friends. It was a nice evening. Not long after that evening, my uncle was leaving to go up North for the summer to work for a Boy Scout camp. I thought he was going to move back in, but this now meant he wouldn’t be at that point in time. So, when he left, I was going by the house to check on her every morning. I cleaned up after her, did her laundry, did her grocery shopping, was still paying her bills for her, took her to any appointments, etc. I also was going on interviews and then, on the 12th, I got a temp to hire job for Ryder. I’d be dealing with truck drivers all day. But luckily, I got done with work at 2:30 in the afternoon once my training was done, so I’d go by her every day after work. It was a lot for me to handle, working, caring for my grandma, taking care of my son, and so on. Luckily, Doug was very supportive and I also had great friends to vent to. Also, my mom was coming to town when she could to help. But, decisions needed to be made. So, we got the Dept. of Aging involved again. After a couple of conversations on the phone and then a couple of meetings, which even my uncle from MN made it to that first one, it had been decided to enroll my grandma in Community Care. They would send someone to check on her daily, make sure her medicine was taken, have someone do light housekeeping, etc. I still stopped in every single day while this process was going on. Saturdays were laundry, grocery shopping, and have lunch with her days. Zach was made to help out when he was with me. Doug helped a little, but I made sure it wasn’t much because I felt it was my job, my son’s, my mom’s, my family’s job…and while I considered him family, it just didn’t seem right to ask too much of him in that department. It was frustrating with work and everything else going on, but I managed.

July 2013

Unbeknownst to me, my job wasn’t happy that I wasn’t working overtime. They knew going in about my grandma’s situation. I told my boss that I wouldn’t miss too much time due to her situation and I didn’t. I didn’t miss one day due to that, though I did miss one day due to being sick, but just one day. But they didn’t like that I wasn’t putting in overtime and not once did he tell me had an issue with it. In fact, he only actually asked me to stay longer once and I did for a little while. The thing was though, till Community Care began stopping by daily, I had to stop over after work to check on her and make her take her medicine. Well, on the 19th, while on my way back from picking up my son when the work day was done, I got a call telling me they were ending my assignment. I’d only been there for five and a half weeks. I was a bit floored. Someone even stood up for me, but it didn’t work. They couldn’t wait two weeks for Community Care? Seriously? So, it was back to the drawing board. The plus was in those two weeks, I was able to properly care for my grandma. I was also job hunting again though. Things with Doug and I were still going great. Living together had proven just how good of a couple we really could be. Zach loved the house, his room, and was even making friends in the neighborhood. Things were going fairly well, except for the job hunt. We’d even gotten a kitten, named him Onyx. Come on now, you know your relationship is serious when you get a pet together. 😉

August 2013

Community Care finally began sending someone to my grandma’s home every day and when my grandma didn’t lock them out, they got stuff done. My uncle came home from working at camp and my mom said with all the drama going on to let him handle it now since he said he would take care of her and that he wanted the house. The stress was eating at me and everyone said what my mom was saying, step back, and take care of your own life…your child, working, your home, your life with Doug, etc. So, I stepped back eventually. On the 22nd, I met with Dave from Dave’s Welding and he hired me to be his Office Manager. On the 26th, I started and man was I excited. It felt good to be working again. I was working with a friend of mine and that was cool. It being maybe 5-10 minutes from home depending on traffic didn’t hurt either. 😉 Life was really beginning to shape up quite nicely. Zach was having a good summer, but dreading school and going back to our limited schedule. We did enjoy the time and nice weather while we had it. 😉

September 2013

My uncle wasn’t living there, but he had a bunch of his stuff there and was going there just about every day to check on her. I didn’t like how messy/cluttered the house was getting, but her needs were being met. Community Care was as frustrated as I was with everything, with her shutting them out, but my uncle said he had everything under control. When I would talk to my mom, she’d say, it’s on him now, remember to focus on you now. So, that’s what I was trying to do. Work was going fairly well, felt like maybe I’d found somewhere I could belong, like maybe I found a job that would last. Zach started football for the first year ever. He was enjoying that. I loved seeing my son in his uniform, though it made me a little sad to realize how big he was getting. It was a busy month! I had games to go to, my cousin’s wedding in MN, and Doug’s dad’s wedding to go to as well. It was a very exciting month to say the least. It was a month filled with family, good memories, and lots of love.

October 2013

Work was going fairly well yet, though I was beginning to see more and more of my boss’ temper. Some days were very difficult, though usually things were alright. Zach’s football season came to an end, but with it came the determination to do it again the next year. I was so proud of him. Fifth grade was starting out pretty well for him. I had to make plans for his 11th birthday. Seriously where does time go? Speaking of time, Doug and I celebrated our one year anniversary. It was an amazing year looking back, I thought to myself. Right before our anniversary, he and a few buddies got together and made a trip out to MD to see an old high school friend. During those five days he was gone, I watched some girly movies and spent time with friends. We both missed one another and it was definitely hardest for me, especially at night…but I knew, as he did that time away from one another now and then is healthy, especially when you live together. 😉 Things in that department were still going well, but it was still good for us to do our own thing.

November 2013

My son turned 11! I had a small party here, which went well. He also got birthday meals throughout the weekend and some video game time with friends. It was a fun time for my kiddo. Work was getting more and more stressful, but I was determined to hold on. The 17th marked the one year anniversary of Doug’s mom’s death. That was difficult, but with his family, they made it through. I had really seen in the last year just how close they all are, how wonderful his family is, and was thankful to be a part of it.

December 2013

It’s been a month full of stress at work, but otherwise life has been pretty good. I know that my job may be ending soon because business isn’t going so well and everyone is stressed out, but I will make the best of it while I am there. I am going to look for something else, because I need to be prepared, but like I said, while I am there…I will give it all I have. I got to see a lot of my family, spend time with friends, and have time with my son. I also turned 35 this month and it turned out to be a good birthday. We got a puppy from my brother, one of eleven. She’s the runt. We named her Lucy. She’s only six and a half weeks old and believe me, this has posed its challenges, but we’re up to them. She’s a lovable puppy and we’re determined to raise her to be a good, healthy, and happy dog. Her and Onyx play often every single day. Zach loves them both. He’s been helping, taking Lucy out now and then. His break is nearly at an end, but we do have one more day. Then he goes back to his dad’s and 2014 begins. What is in store for us all this next year? I am not certain, but I am ready to face it all head on, with my little family, and with my friends. God is good and I know that through the good and bad, we’ll make it. We’ll make more memories, share more love, and do what we can to make our lives good. I am not making any resolutions that can and will likely be broken, but I will say this….I strive to have a year better than the last. I pray this will be true for all of my loved ones, including all of you reading this. I hope you enjoyed my review and hope that you have had a good tale or two to tell in 2013. Well, adios 2013, it was nice knowing you! Bonjour 2014, I am ready to make your acquaintance!

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Let Love Win

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It takes a lot of energy to both love and hate, but only love gives something wonderful back to you. It isn’t always easy to love someone and certainly not always easy to forgive either, but it is worth the effort made. This is something to remember every single day we live, not just during the holidays, but many more become receptive to this kind of thinking during this time of year. Good will and peace unto all men, let us give thanks, give back, and give to one another, and hey Merry Christmas! This time of year can also be an extremely easy time to be stressed because of the shopping hassles, finances struggling even more than usual, traveling and hosting issues, missing people who have passed away even more than we normally do, and so on….but I strongly urge each of you who reads this to remember the goodness that comes with this time of year and not just now, but all year round as well. Don’t let hate, anger, stress, and sadness win. Give love and too, let it in. ❤

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