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What If???

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What if I never met him?

What if I decided on a different career?

What if I didn’t have a mental health disorder?

What if my mom and dad stayed together?

What if I never signed placement papers?

 

Him? Which him? Hmm. What if I hadn’t met Jason? Hmm. There would have been a lot less heartache and stress. But. Then my son wouldn’t exist.

Different career? Like what? Accounting perhaps or maybe a career in law? Yeah. Maybe. But. No. I don’t think it would’ve suited me, in all honesty. But. Maybe. If I would have found a different path and stuck to it, I wouldn’t have met many of the people that I have. I have made some great friends doing what I do and it’s changed my life in ways I can’t explain.

What if I didn’t have a mental health disorder? Well. I think sometimes things would be a lot easier. But. Sometimes I think then I’d be someone different and I’m meant to be who I am. Maybe if I didn’t have the mental health issues I do, I would be a decent person, but maybe I wouldn’t. I’m guessing that a lot of my creativity wouldn’t exist, at least not the way it does. I don’t know in all honesty who I’d be, but I know I wouldn’t be me.

My mom and dad together? I’ve never known that. I don’t know that I want to. If they had, there’s no guarantee it would have lasted long. If it had, there’s no guarantee they’d be happy. What I do know though is that I wouldn’t have my brothers and sister. I wouldn’t undo their existences in my life or period. My parents didn’t make it. I used to wish that they had. That dream died years ago and I’m okay with that.

What if I never signed the placement papers? Maybe things would have gone better. Maybe all the heartache and struggles wouldn’t have happened. Maybe my son would have had a better life. Maybe. Maybe things would have been worse. I don’t know.

The truth be told is, there are many what ifs we can ask ourselves. I decided years ago that I don’t like the what if game. What if doesn’t really matter. Things happened the way they did for a reason. Going back to old events and imagining them differently won’t change how things are now. Even if they could change, I don’t think I’d want them to. What if? Well, maybe I just don’t want to know.

 

**picture taken of the view from my front porch**

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Slow & Sometimes Steady….

 

 

In November of 2001, I met a fun, charismatic, intelligent, and very good looking guy at a club in Appleton. He came up to me and put his arm around me and said, “Jenny?”. I was puzzled. My name is not Jenny or even remotely close to that. I told him so and he pointed to his friend by the bar and said that his friend said he knows me and that my name was Jenny. I told him his friend was mistaken and then told him my name. He seemed to feel embarrassed, but I told him it wasn’t a big deal. I was too attracted to him to really care.

We chatted, danced, and had a great time that night. He gave me a piece of paper with a phone number on it that said Jay on top. I waited a couple days and then called. It was his work number. We talked a couple times over a couple of weeks.

One evening, he was coming to Milwaukee to help his brother take stuff to his apartment/dorm and called me to tell me they’d be in town. They came by and chatted for awhile. Then we all went to his brother’s place and took his stuff in. Later, Jay and I drove separately to Appleton, to the club we met at. It was a fun night. At the end, he’d clearly had too much to drink and threw up a few times. Between all of that, we chatted. For awhile, he was fidgeting with his pants straps. I asked him if he had anything better to do than that and he responded by kissing me. Yowza! I was giddy, so what if he tasted a bit like puke. I really liked this guy. I don’t know why, but I just felt so drawn to him.

A few weeks later, I saw him again. This time, we left together at the end of the night. It was a fun night. I remember wearing nothing but Mardi Gras beads around my waist at one point. I was that thin once upon a time. I remember loving how it felt to be with him. The next day, he was still sweet. I remember thinking that maybe there was some sort of future for us.

We didn’t hang out or talk much for a few weeks. I still really liked the guy though. I liked him so much that when a friend I made in Appleton offered me a room in her apartment, I took the opportunity. Jay’s main reason for not being ready to date was that we lived an hour and a half apart. Well, now I’d be in Appleton, so that would fix that, right?

We hung out a few times while I lived there, but when I mentioned dating again, he said he wasn’t ready to date at all. He said his last couple of girlfriends had cheated on him. My heart was broken. I felt like now I moved to Appleton for nothing.

There was a guy that I’d met up there that was real cool for my friends and I to hang out with. My friend, coincidentally enough, named Jenny told me she thought he and I would make a cute couple. (Jenny and Jay were later flirting. I was mad.) We both blew off that idea, until the night Jay told me he wanted to remain single. Drunk and vulnerable, when Zack told me I shouldn’t drive and just crash by him, I went willingly. He was right, I definitely shouldn’t have driven, glad I didn’t. We connected even more that night and after about a month of just being friends, things changed.

I was hurting over Jay’s rejection, yes, but Zack really was a great guy. He treated me like more than someone to hang out at the bar with or bring home for a night. We went to dinner, watched movies, and just hung out sometimes without drinking or even having sex. We went on real dates. He treated me with respect and care. Maybe I didn’t move to Appleton for nothing after all??

I left my friend’s apartment at some point and moved in with a different friend and her family. I got a job. Things were going pretty well.

It was shortlived joy though. After almost two months, he was getting distant and I was starting to feel different, physically and mentally. At some point, I realized I was late on getting my period. I had just gotten paid. My friend Wendy told me I should just get a pregnancy test. I got one and sure enough, when I took it that night, it was positive. Now what??

I went to the club where Zack (and Jay) and I had met and often went to. The dj, a friend of Zack’s, told me hadn’t seen him yet. I told him when he does to come find me, that it was important. He said he’d pass on that message. Later, Zack did show, as usual on a weekend evening. We ended up going to his place to talk. When the time came, I didn’t have words. I just handed him the pregnancy test. Zack said, “I hate it when I’m right.” Apparently he’d noticed the changes and had actually been planning on ending things, but never got the nerve to. My heart sank. He told me he wasn’t going to be there for me. We argued. He said he’d need some time to think.

I got tested again and yep, another positive test. We did talk a few days later. He said we should get together to chat. When we met, he told me he didn’t have a lot of money saved up, but could afford an abortion. Then we really fought. There was no way I was considering that. Another day, he asked me why I was against it and I told him I’m pro-life, that to me, abortion is murder. He told me not to apologize for my feelings on that. Then, we talked again and he gave me an ultimatum, said that if I didn’t get an abortion, not only would we not date anymore, we’d no longer be friends either. I was a wreck. The weather was bad and I spun my car on ice. I didn’t hit anything, but I got pulled over and got a ticket. That was a bad night.

I started calling WIC and other state services. They needed to test me again to verify my pregnancy. At first, I was given a due date of November 20th. But then, with the OBGYN, it was changed to November 9th. With the math done, I realized it might be Jay’s baby. Oh boy.

I told Jay. His response was that he wouldn’t push abortion, but what about adoption??? He told me he was also not ready to be a dad. He was 21, in college, working a couple jobs, etc. He said if I kept the baby that I’d be on my own. I felt like things were just getting worse.

I went through my pregnancy feeling so very alone. Once Jay realized I wasn’t lying, months later, he stopped talking to me period. Zack was also quiet. At about month eight, Zack and I talked. He apologized about the abortion stuff. He said since it might not be his, he had no right to suggest it. He then firmly told me he still didn’t want anything to do with my baby if it was his. He said he’s just not ready to be a dad and maybe he never would be. I left in tears.

With three weeks until my due date, I got sick, but originally mistook it for early labor. I went in and found out I had a UTI. (That was my third during my pregnancy.) Contractions stopped, but they kept me overnight and gave me antibiotics. The 9th arrived. Really early that morning, I saw I’d lost my mucus plug. I just knew my baby would be coming soon. Labor started at about 9pm that night, was feeling off starting at about 8pm. My mom, old foster mom and then friend of my mom’s, one of her girls, and I went to the hospital at about 9:30pm or so. It was going to be a long night.

I was made to walk to further labor, but I ended up crawling after awhile due to the pain. They eventually gave me an epidural, broke my water, etc. I went from 4cm to 7cm pretty quickly after my water was broken. I hovered at 9cm for a long while. Every time they had me push, my child’s heartbeat raced and my blood pressure dropped. Eventually, they stopped making me push and just let the epidural stay kicked in. After 14 hours of labor, my son was born at 11am on the dot, on the 10th.

After I had him, I got very sick. They also had to give me blood because I lost a lot. They had to use forceps to get my son out. He was 8lbs, 14ozs and 22 inches. He was not tiny!!! They didn’t catch what was wrong with me until after they’d released us. As I was at my son’s first pediatrician appointment, the doctor noticed I didn’t look well. After checking Zach out, basic vitals were done on me and then said I needed to go back to the hospital. Ugh. They called and informed the hospital I would be back.

While there at the hospital, they discovered I had an infection in my uterus. Oh joy. Post partum depression was already kicking in. They insisted that I make an appointment with a psychiatrist before they’d release me. I was a wreck physically and mentally. When I was released, my son and I went to my mom’s. I stayed for a few days and then she sent me to my former foster mom’s. During that time, I was really falling apart. What was I going to do??

I’m single. I was recently diagnosed with bi-polar. I didn’t know anything about being a good parent. Neither my mom or dad had shown me the way and I just didn’t know if I could do it. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced I was going to fail. Maybe I’m just not meant to be a mom. I considered giving Zach to my old foster parents. Then, I thought, maybe I could do it. Looking at Zach filled me with such joy. Then I was unsure again. I was all over the place. In the end, my mom decided she’d take him until I was ready.

I left for Milwaukee and went to stay with my grandma, again. She took me in a few times from 17 through 28. That woman did so much for me, more than anyone. I was trying to stabilize my moods, myself. I made some efforts to see Zach, but my mom was definitely the primary caregiver for my boy. It broke my heart. More and more, I felt like a failure. Maybe I really wasn’t cut out to be a mom….

In that time, I had Zack tested, as I knew how to reach him, first. Zack was not the dad. Oh nuts. I really had loved him and wanted my son conceived in something more real. Well, that’s not how it turned out. I called the only number I knew where I may reach Jay, his work. After a couple of failed attempts, Jay and I connected. We chatted online and the phone for awhile. In early conversations, he was making lame excuses about not being around. As angry as I was with him, I was angry with myself too. Neither of Zach’s parents were there for him. I broke every promise I’d made before becoming a mom. I am a failure.

Little by little, both Jay and I were becoming more involved in Zach’s life. Jay was definitely on track faster than I was, but I was getting there. When our son was almost two, my mom’s role was becoming more of a grandparent one, though she still helped us quite a bit with things like transportation, as one or both of us were dealing with car issues. We were trying though and getting there more everyday. We didn’t have many issues with working together, yet.

When our son was about three, Jay brought me court papers. Court papers!?#?!#;&! I didn’t know he had a lawyer. He was asking me for temporary primary placement, just until I was more stable. He assured me I could see Zach often. He also said he’d not ask for child support at this point because he knew I wasn’t in a great position financially. After looking at the papers over and over, I decided to sign them. I should have said that I’d think about it. I should have consulted a lawyer. I should have waited. I naively trusted Jay. Zach paid for that and so did I.

At first, we worked together okay. I saw Zach a decent amount. It didn’t take long before he started breaking our verbal agreements. He’d keep our son from me for days and then weeks longer than discussed. At one point, I was tired of waiting weeks and called the cops to make sure Zach was okay. Jay called the next day. I was often met with either lame excuses, no excuse at all, or attitude. It was getting old quick.

When Zach was three and a half, we verbally agreed that Jay would have Zach primarily for six months and we see how he does and then I would do the same. After, we’d review and decide where Zach would go to school. It was my idea and I should have had a lawyer and also put something in writing, but once again, I believed Jay would honor our agreement. I was an ignorant fool.

After his six months, Zach was four. Jay told me he’d already enrolled Zach in school. He didn’t consult me, just did it. I was furious. In that time, Jay did ask for some help, so we agreed that instead of formal child support, I would drive to Appleton to pick Zach up and also to drop him off. That was draining, but I had no problem doing it, except when I’d find he wasn’t home or had fallen asleep and wouldn’t wake. I waited in the parking lot with a four year old for a couple of hours a few times. During these times, I took Zach back home with me. His dad got mad. Yeah, well, then be home and be awake. I was getting so angry. He could keep Zach from me when he pleased and yet often showed me zero respect.

In late March of 2007, I had enough. A friend of mine told me that Jay wasn’t likely to change and that if I wanted more rights and time, I’d need to get a lawyer and fight. I did just that, got a lawyer and got the ball rolling. In April, the only way Jay would let me see Zach is if I came up to visit/stay at his place in Appleton. At first I was mad, but I caved because I hadn’t seen my son in weeks.

Those two visits were awkward. His dad could get drunk, have loud sex with his girlfriend, take off to see friends, and come home late while I was pretty much treated like a glorified babysitter. I hated being judged and treated poorly and yet he could do as he pleased.

I finally got to bring my son to Milwaukee for Easter weekend so Zach could spend time with my family. That was nice. A couple of weeks later, I moved into a townhouse in Waukesha. Then, I got to take Zach to see my new place. He got to see me regularly for about a month and a half or so. That changed at the end of June. More issues ensued.

He called me two hours before I was to drive to Appleton and told me he was going on a work trip out of town and that his mom had our son. He didn’t give me a time frame. I mentioned the Fourth of July and he said his mom had plans with Zach. I then mentioned that my mom was due for time with him. He told me his mom would call. She didn’t call. I waited until the fifth. I called and left a message. I called again on the seventh, twice. They answered the second time. Jay’s mom was talking about Jay being in Japan. Japan?!?! She thought I knew. He didn’t say he was leaving the country!! (Around that time, I also found out online through his girlfriend, now wife, before he blocked me on MySpace, that he was going to be gone for two weeks.) His mom did let me talk to Zach and told me she after that she felt bad for me, as a mom. Then though, she told me, as Jay’s mom, that she wasn’t butting in and she wouldn’t let me have Zach. I should have said I’m coming to get Zach and as his other custodial parent, she can’t do anything to stop me, but I didn’t. There’s so much I should have done and didn’t….

He took his sweet time calling me once he got back. By the time he called me and I saw Zach again, it had been a month. Yet, he acted like everything was just fine. Obviously, I simply don’t have a right to be upset. My lawyer found out about that. It was the end of July or so. I kept Zach a few days longer than agreed, not that Jay was unable to pick him up, but I wasn’t driving to Appleton until car stuff was dealt with. Jay chose to wait.

We had a Child Caught in the Middle class to attend in August. After, I was to get Zach, but Jay didn’t let me get him. He punished me for keeping Zach a few extra days. Hmm. He punished Zach with that too though. He kept Zach from me until I took him to court and mediation was ordered. By the time I saw Zach again, it had been two months.

We had mediation and I reluctantly ended up agreeing to every other weekend at our last session. I did make sure that I’m to be given the first right of refusal if Jay were to leave on a work trip. That went okay for awhile, but I was still going forward with our fight for placement. Zach had asked his dad outright that year if he could live primarily in Waukesha with me. That wasn’t dealt with and with as unhappy as Zach was, I knew I had to fight.

A Guardian ad Litem was appointed. I met the GAL the day I found out my grandpa died, August 29th, 2008. Despite the grief I was trying to process, I decided to keep the appointment. I thought it went alright.

In October, we had our court date. The GAL recommended he stay with his dad primarily as he’s in school now and didn’t want to disrupt things, plus Jay was more stable. Oh joy. Now what? The judge told me I could fight it. I talked with my lawyer and decided to do so. My lawyer dropped me though and said he fully understood why I was fighting, but couldn’t represent me anymore. I found a lawyer in the Appleton area this time. Zach was begging me to bring him home. I was getting ready to fight.

In early January of 2009, I asked Jay if I could claim Zach on my taxes, as I had only claimed him once and really needed the money to fix my car. My Mazda needed a new transmission, again, and was going to cost roughly $2,000 since we were going to use a more reputable shop this time. As my form of support, I was still driving to Appleton to pick up and drop off Zach. I needed my car to work to get Zach, to work, pay bills, etc. I told him I’m living paycheck to paycheck and really needed the help. Jay’s response to my request was to take me to court for child support, just a few months before our April court date. He’s known money has been something I struggle with and tightened the screws to help his case.

We had a case study that was ordered through all of that. I thought that was going well. I didn’t know how it was going for Jay.

April 20th came. I was the only one to speak for myself. Jay had his ex, his mom, his now wife, etc testify for him. Even my mom seemed to be against me when she wrote a letter to the GAL. (My mom wasn’t against me. She was and still is pro Zach and at that time, she’d felt I still needed time to get on my feet more.) At the end of it, the GAL, case worker, etc recommended still that Zach stay primarily with his dad, didn’t want to disrupt things. Zach was struggling in school and at his dad’s, but that didn’t matter.

The judge did say though that we have joint custody and should be working together and that we should make all major decisions as a team. The case worker did at least recognize that Jay wasn’t keeping me informed or allowing me to help make decisions. The judge wanted to see that change. He did also state that if I moved to Appleton within 18 months, that we’d have what amounts to a 51/49 split. Jay didn’t contest it, but then I’m sure he didn’t think I would move to Appleton.

I did apply to some jobs in Appleton and even had a few interviews. I didn’t get any of those jobs. I did at least keep working in Milwaukee. In late July of 2009, I drove drunk and paid the price by getting an OWI. I stupidly didn’t pay my fine. I got caught a year later and paid that price too. I sat in jail. Talk about humiliation. After I got out, I went to the classes, got my license back, and have since stayed out of trouble. I didn’t ever want to risk being the cause of someone else losing their life because I was drunk and had no business being behind the wheel.

I also had more job interviews in Appleton. I finally landed a job on September 7th. I commuted for awhile. Then I stayed with a co-worker and new friend until I found an apartment. Just days before the 18 months was up, I signed a lease and got keys. I went to Jay. I tried to work out our schedule. He contested it then.

I sunk into a deep depression. I left behind my friends, family, boyfriend at the time, and life that I had for more time with Zach, to have a pretty much equal split and then it got ripped away from us. Zach was looking forward to it and when it didn’t happen, he struggled more. I felt like a failure again.  I spent a lot of my free time either in Milwaukee or crying at home. Friends and family were calling often, even people that really aren’t phone people and messaging me because they were genuinely afraid I might hurt myself. It got bad.

In mid February of 2011,  I started the process to move back home. I stayed with a friend for a few months and got a job. I stayed with another friend for the final two weeks before I got keys to my place in Waukesha in the spring of 11. I worked at my job until the summer of 2012.

In the summer of 2012, my grandma wasn’t doing well. My mom and I dealt with the Department of Aging. Grandma was hospitalized. During that time, we had the city out to inspect the house to get it locked up, as it wasn’t safe for her to return there and we couldn’t stop her any other way. I lost my job during all of that.

My grandma briefly stayed at an assisted living place and then with my uncle in MN while my mom, myself, and now and then others worked on making my grandma’s house livable again. My uncle and aunt took her in to save her money. My job became working on her house and then taking care of her once the city gave us the green light to move in.

It was three months to the day since grandma was taken from her home that she returned. On October 23rd, 2012, I started taking care of my grandma. Zach helped some when he was home. In that time, I also started dating my now husband. A lot changed so quickly.

My grandma had a stroke on November 27th, turned out it was her third, but no one knew about the other two, including her. I continued to take care of her. It got really hard. We did try to get some in home help. Grandma was very resistant to that. I worked hard to keep her at home.

In March of 2013 or so, my boyfriend was looking at houses and I started looking with him. My mom told me to have my uncle in Milwaukee move back in and to focus on my son and boyfriend. I hoped my uncle had grown and would be able to take care of her and keep up with everything, including cleaning the house. Between them, they’d destroyed the house before. That’s why I insisted he not come back when the house was deemed livable again. I said I’d take care of her on my own and so I did. Even when my hubby and I moved into our house in West Allis on May 23rd, 2013, I still went by my grandma daily. My uncle didn’t move in for months, kept making excuses. So, I made sure she had easy foods like sandwiches, made her take her meds, cleaned her house, ran her errands, scheduled and took her to appointments, paid her bills, did her laundry, etc, just as I had before. I did this until mid August. I started an office manager job later that month.

My boss was a tool. I left in late January of 2014. I started a new job in April. At this point, my son was really struggling at his dad’s and still begging me to bring him home. I tried to talk to Jay, more than once. We all gathered together at one point even. His dad wouldn’t budge, even though he claimed not to have an issue with the idea. Things were spiraling out of control.

Zach was nearly expelled from elementary school at one point and still, Jay wouldn’t give the idea a try. It didn’t help that Zach was being pulled off his meds every weekend, causing withdrawals every time. Yet, it was my fault if Zach was extra difficult on Monday, even on his weekends at his dad’s. I called my lawyer more than once. In the end, I kept trying to work with Jay.

On June 21st, 2014, Doug proposed. On May 16th, 2015, we got married. It was an incredible day! Now that we were officially a family, Zach was hoping even more for the switch. I worked on getting proof that Zach being on and off his meds is a bad thing. Right after I called his doctor for an updated letter, Zach was suddenly on his meds everyday. Well, at least that did something. Zach still was unhappy though. Will things ever change?

I got pregnant with my daughter in July of 2015 and found out on August 27th. Now we would need to find a bigger home. Also, if we’re going to try to bring Zach home, we need to live in a better area. During my pregnancy, I got really sick and left my job. We decided I’d stay home with our baby.

In January of 2016, we put our house up for sale. On April 19th, my baby girl was born!!!! She was born at 5:34am and was 7lbs, 2.5ozs. Her birth story is for another day. In May, we got an accepted offer and then we stepped up our own search. We found a home in West Bend and closed on July 8th. (Jay’s birthday!) We moved the bulk of our stuff on the 9th. There were so many changes and we weren’t done yet.

In August, on the 27th, I did my first photo shoot and started my photography business. It was a cash only and not a serious thing at first. I wanted to see if I had a future in this. By May of 2017, I turned it into an official business. It became an LLC on May 8th. During this, Zach was still pushing heavily to move by us primarily.

In the fall of 2017, right after Zach turned 14, I told my lawyer I wanted to push forward and so, we did. We were supposed to have court in January of 2018. A week before court, Jay’s lawyer asked to reschedule. In that time, Zach tried to run away, even though Jay claims otherwise. Zach developed a history of lying and stealing over the years and Jay claimed Zach was trying to avoid going to his dad’s and was mad about stupid stuff. We did find out Zach was really trying to run away. Still, Jay wouldn’t listen.

We had court in February. A GAL was appointed. We each met her within a week or so. When I met her, she told me she’d meet with my son within two weeks. We met on March 8th. She didn’t meet him until late June. She wasn’t returning my calls or my lawyer’s calls even. In May, my son ended up staying two weeks at a mental/behavioral place. He had an incident with his step-mom. Things were getting bad, but the GAL couldn’t be bothered to listen.

Court was to reconvene on July 3rd. Due to Jay’s lawyer asking to reschedule, again, a week before court and the GAL meeting with Zach so late, it got pushed to July 31st. When we met, the commissioner tentatively went with the GAL’s recommendation to leave things as is for next school year and then give me primary placement over the summer. (The GAL still had one of Zach’s doctors to talk to. She’d had months to do this!) I definitely was challenging that. Court was scheduled for November 27th.

The judge said she’d go with the GAL’s recommendation, but also stated that if things go well, that when we meet in August, primary placement could stay with us. That sounded good. I figured Zach should finish the school year in Appleton by that point anyway.

In January of 2019, Zach really struggled with some mental health stuff and on February 7th, he and his step-mom had another incident involving the cops. I think that was at least the fourth, but the second where it got this bad. Zach felt threatened and went overboard. Apparently he’d been getting abused and it had been going on for years. He’d finally fully snapped. He was taken to shelter care. I picked him up instead of leaving him there, after clearing it with them, as it was my weekend with Zach starting that next day anyway. He’s been here ever since.

I was told on the 9th that he’d remain here at least for a bit. I then decided to take Zach to school in Appleton so he’d still get an education. We’ve been getting up really early to get him there in time. Dealing with a toddler that wasn’t napping much due to that has made it harder. Since though, he’s been working on getting caught up with a lot he’d blown off before. We played the waiting game until the 26th. Then, answers arrived.

Our lawyers spoke and decided to flip the placement schedule now instead of waiting for the school year to end. Jay and his wife don’t want him back at this point and Zach doesn’t wish to return either. So, that being said, I confirmed it with Jay. I got the go ahead to start Zach in school here next week. After many years of headaches, heartaches, and fighting, here we are.

Along the way, I’ve grown. I’ve struggled, made progress, made dumb decisions, learned, kept growing, and this is where I am today: A wife to Doug of almost four years, a mom to two beautiful kids, a business owner, home owner, and one who continues to learn and grow. It’s been a slow and sometimes steady process for me. I’m proud of who I’ve become though and of who I am becoming.

A Heavy Heart Opens Up

I am one who is known to talk a lot, but there are things, believe it or not, that I keep to myself. Sometimes I don’t know what to say or how to say it. Sometimes I am afraid to speak and other times, I just feel silly or ashamed for how I feel. Sometimes I don’t want to burden anyone with what’s going on. Either way, after awhile, it becomes too much.

I am fighting for my son. Many know this, but no one really knows how all of this has been effecting me. My son begged me to keep fighting for him, so that’s what I am doing. However, it has not been easy for me. Mentally and physically, it has been wearing me down. Between the fights with his dad and step-mom, a Guardian ad Litem who won’t return my calls and still hasn’t met my son when she was supposed to do so months ago, playing endless phone tag with my lawyer, my son breaking down and ending up in a behavioral health center, and so on, I have been stretched thin.

This struggle has been going on for years, but now it is all coming to a head. We finally have a court date, I am hoping that I will get placement back. It was supposed to be temporary placement, but that was 12 years ago. It’s really about time that it be returned to me. My son has been asking for this for years and I got tired of waiting for his dad to give this a chance. I did the right thing 12 years ago, made the sacrifice for my son’s well being. It’s time that his dad do the same thing. It really bothers me that he hasn’t been willing to at least try it out, that there’s always been an excuse. Our son has told him over and over that he’s unhappy there, that he wants to come stay with my husband and I for school, but his dad dug his heels in and has refused to budge, not even willing to do it on a trial basis.

After a huge blow out fight, we said we were going to find a way to work together and that since we simply can’t agree on placement, that the court will decide and whatever the court decides, we’ll make peace with it and make it work for our son. Our son said he would accept the decision and do the hard work that’s ahead of him to straighten his life out, no matter where he is. I hope he means it. He is a smart young man, one with a lot of talent, that could do so much. As angry as I have been with his dad, the truth of it is, right now, a lot of what’s been going on rests on his shoulders. He is 15 and knows better than to pull the things he has. There is no excuse for not turning in homework, stealing, telling tales, saying hurtful things to others, and so on. Unhappy or not, he knows what is expected of him and do his best to follow the rules. He has such lofty goals, ones he won’t accomplish if he doesn’t straighten his life out.

It is infuriating, all of it. For nearly 16 years, it’s been one battle after another. I just want peace. I want to be done fighting with my son’s dad and step-mom. I want my son to behave, not be perfect, as perfect doesn’t exist, but to turn things around, to do better than he has been. I want him to do his school work and not a half assed job, but really putting effort in. I want him to respect his teachers, peers, parents, step parents, and just others in general. I want this all to work out. I am so tired of crying, all of the misunderstandings, pleading to be heard, being ignored, not being fully included in on everything that goes on with my son, and the list goes on. My heart has been put through the wringer and I just want things to work out.

I am also dealing with grief that I haven’t been able to fully process. My grandma died at the end of January this year. She was my last living grandparent. I knew that I would take hers the hardest out of the four, as she was the one I was the closest to. I barely knew my dad’s parents, especially my grandpa, as I had only met my dad and his family when I was 10 and was 14 when he died. I hadn’t gotten to spend much time with him at all. The hardest part about losing him was regret from barely knowing him. Even though my one grandma lived for years after he died, I didn’t know her very well either. We spoke here and there, but I wasn’t really close to her. It really hurt when she died, but again, mostly out of regret from not knowing her as well as I should have. I did end up honoring her memory though, by naming my daughter partly after her. My mom’s dad and I used to be close, until I was about 11 and then things started going downhill. I was sad when he died, but it was mostly from missing what we’d had when I was a kid. My mom’s mom was a completely different story. She become a second mother to me when I was 17. She was someone I grew really close to. As a little kid, I was closer to Grandpa, but throughout my later teen years and adult life, it was her I’d grown super attached to.

My grandma took me in, more than once, when I needed somewhere to go. She let me live with her rent free, helped pay for my expenses many times, and yet still spoiled me by buying me and later my son random things because she knew we’d enjoy them. She let me use her car over and over when mine fell apart. She did so much more than all of that though. She listened to me countless times, whenever my son’s dad and I were fighting, when I would beg to see my son, when I was angry with my mom, upset with my dad, depressed, needed advice, or just wanted someone to talk to. We had so many inside jokes and often made up silly stories just because. I could confide in her anytime, about anything. I miss her, even watching QVC for hours with her. I miss her voice. I miss seeing her. And I feel so unbearably guilty for not being there more in the end. For so long, as she was aging and we could all see it, I took care of her. On my own, I took care of her, her home, her bills, and made sure everything was alright. After awhile, it got to be too much and we got help, only my grandma wasn’t happy about it. So, even after I moved out, I still went there daily to check in on her and be there for her. Eventually my uncle moved in and my role as caretaker ended. After that, I saw her less and less. At the end, I had barely seen or talked to her. I did try to call many times, but no one ever called back, not her or my uncle, but I feel like I could have tried harder. Knowing she was spending her last days in her room, barely doing anything, couldn’t even read anymore, it is a lot for me to handle. After all she did for me, I feel like I should have done more….

A little over two years ago, my friend Aimee died. That still hurts a lot, far worse than most deaths I have dealt with have. Only one hurts worse, my grandma. Aimee was my best friend for so long. The last few years she was alive, we weren’t as close, but we were still connected. She sang at my wedding three years ago, which still means so much to me. She never did meet my daughter though. She was in the hospital when my little girl was born and only immediate family was allowed to go see her. She had been in a coma, after surgery didn’t go well, was that way for awhile and then finally, she made it out of that and was recovering. Then one morning, I wake and look on Facebook, as usual, only to find out she’d died. No one saw it coming. She used to joke that she’d be lucky to make it to 30. She had a lot of health problems and had made many questionable choices, but somehow she made it through all of that. Then one day, she was gone. Some days, I forget she’s gone, sometimes I want to call her and then I remember. She touched my life in many ways. She inspired my writing, my music, and so much more. She helped me feel good about myself. She encouraged me, believed in me, and despite our issues here and there, was such a great friend. I miss her more than I can say. Some days are really hard, but I can only imagine how her family feels. She is missed so much….

I feel frustrated. I am trying so hard to build my business and some days, it feels like things are going well. I booked several weddings, events, family sessions, and more this year. I just got my business accredited by the BBB. Little by little, I am getting my name out there and it feels great. My clients are amazing and I love what I do. Capturing precious moments and then turning them into forever memories for others is a gift. Sometimes though, others make me feel awful. Now and then, I get a crazy client who tries to pull some shady stunt or another photographer trying to undermine me or steal my clients. I know it’s all a part of running your own business, but sometimes it can be difficult. I am making more than I thought I would be, but still not nearly enough to really feel like I am providing for my family. I know I am still growing my business and have a lot of learning to do, so I am trying to be more patient. Some days it can be difficult to keep perspective and stay positive.

Sometimes I feel like I am not good enough for my spouse or his family. Sometimes I feel like his family judges me. Sometimes I feel like he could have done better. I know I am a lot to handle and am thankful every day that he is by my side, that he loves me. He loves us, what we have, as a couple and a family. He is so good to my son and has sure put up with a lot. That man has so much patience and I am definitely one who requires a lot. I know I bring a lot to our relationship, that this is a two way thing. Some days I do feel like I am good for him. I keep him organized, on time, am the calendar, make him laugh and smile, help him raise our daughter, get him to eat better, and so on. I just come with so much baggage and sometimes I feel like it’s a bit much. No one has ever been outright mean to me, but sometimes the way some look at me or make me feel, I feel like maybe they wished he’d picked someone else. Paranoia set in, maybe, but either way, I hate how I feel sometimes. Sometimes I feel like he deserves more than I give, more than I am. I struggle with insecurities almost daily. I know many do, as we often our own worst critics. I am trying so hard to be kinder to myself. I am a work in progress.

I needed to get this all out, sometimes keeping things to myself or even partly to myself can be draining. I hope that anyone reading this got something from it. Maybe you’re in my shoes with parts of this, maybe you are grieving, feeling less than, or fighting for your child’s well being. Maybe you’re not in any of those situations, but are struggling in your own way. Whatever the case may be, I hope you find whatever you’re looking for, your peace, sense of worth, purpose, or some inspiration. I hope that you got something from this, that is why I share my thoughts, poetry, photography, feelings, and more. I share it so that those reading this will learn more about me, get inspired, leave comments, want to know more, become a friend, share words to inspire me, and to just connect. On that note, I wish you all a very good night, weekend, and here’s to our amazing community of artists. We write, draw, make music, and more. We create and share it with others. I love it here. Thank you for making me feel like a part of something.

Another year gone, another just beginning…

2017 is over, wow. I remember the 1980’s, how is it 2018 now? *shakes head* Last year was a roller coaster of highs and lows, as I suppose is true of every year.

My son has been struggling. He’s been getting into trouble, so much acting out and defiance. He’s unhappy at his dad’s, which I know is part of the reason he’s been in trouble. I think he’s got mental health issues, which his dad isn’t dealing with. Part of it too is he’s just not making good choices. We have court soon to try to switch primary placement back to me. I’m hoping the judge sees that a change is needed, that him coming home is what’s best for him. In the end, I think it’ll be what’s best for everyone. I’m tired of watching my son suffer and I’m tired of watching him throw his future away. I hope 2018 brings change for the better for him. He’s a bright young man that can have a wonderful future, but things need to get turned around somehow.

My daughter turned one last year and now she’s nearly two. She’s grown, learned, and changed so much. She’s so inquisitive and I love watching her figure things out. She’s gotten sassier, those terrible two days have come. But even with the challenges, it’s been a great year with her. I love spending my days with her. Her laugh is contagious! When she smiles at me, wants to cuddle, plays with me, shows me she’s understanding what I’m saying, or does something new, it makes my day better. I can hardly wait to see how she grows and learns this year.

My marriage hit a couple of bumps, as have our finances, but we’ve tackled everything head on, together. We’ve faced loss, the death of his grandma hit his family, the death of my aunt hit mine and I’ve lost friends. It’s been hard, but we’ve helped one another get through each day. Marriage, parenthood, and all relationships are maintained one moment, one day at a time. I think 2018 will be better, because we work to make it so.

My first year in business went far beyond my expectations. I met so many wonderful people, some of whom became friends. I’ve learned a lot and aim to continue learning. I expanded my studio, so I can accommodate bigger families. I started doing weddings, newborn sessions, cake smash sessions, adult milestone sessions, etc. I hope to add more styles/types of sessions to my repertoire. I’m excited to see where 2018 takes me and my business.

Here’s to an incredible year we’ve left, may the lessons we’ve learned and great memories we’ve made stay with us. Here’s to a great year ahead, may we continue to learn, grow, and enjoy life while we can.

Time flies…

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I realized the other day that it’s been awhile since I have posted anything. I keep meaning to and then I get busy, forget, and sometimes have just been too lazy. When I first started writing on here about two and a half years ago, I posted often. There were days when I posted several times a day. My friend had urged me to join this site when I was going through some rough times. She told me that I should do it so that I could inspire and encourage others. I feel bad that I haven’t been real active on WordPress as of late.

I have a rough day or even a few in a row now and then, but overall my life is going fairly well. I have a great son, wonderful fiance, terrific job, amazing friends and family, and so much to be grateful for. My wedding is in 79 days, been busy with planning that on top of everything else. My son has wrestling meets and as that ends, soccer will begin, I just joined our church worship team and so soon I’ll be busy with practices as well, lots to do at work, etc.

When we get a night or two to just relax, we try to make the most of it. Sometimes we just get so busy that it feels like we don’t really have time to just sit, watch a movie, play a board game, relax, play with our pets, etc. There’s often so much to do with church, family, friends, around the house, etc. And with the wedding being less than three months away now, there’s so much to do. So, sometimes I feel overwhelmed.

I am beyond excited to marry my best friend. I have been counting down the days for a long time. Sometimes the planning is a lot of fun too. I love spending time with my girls, picking out pretty things, and seeing it all come together thus far has been great. We have so much done, thanks to me being a hyper planner. 😉 Now and then though, I feel like it runs my life. Over the next 11 weeks, I have something wedding related almost every week. Worrying about finances has been the biggest struggle. My family isn’t helping. His dad told us he wanted to help and is giving us a bit, which we’re using for the hall and catering. Mostly it’s us paying for this though. I know it will all be worth it. Wearing my dress that makes me feel like a princess, seeing my girls look absolutely beautiful, having my son who will be dressed to the nines in his tux walk me down the aisle towards our future, uniting before God and making it official and doing this in front of so many we love will be wondrous. And it’s about so much more than that one day that will arrive before I know it and then be over….

It’s truly about what comes after our wedding day. It’s about our journey together as husband and wife and about him, my son, and I as a family. We have so much we want to see, do, and achieve separately and also together. Excelling at our current jobs for the time being, but then starting a business, finding a bigger home someday, renovating our kitchen in the meantime, maybe extending our family, vacations, and much more. We work well together now, but there are always ways to improve and we must not forget that it’s always going to be a work in progress. All great relationships are built on trust, respect, love, communication, loyalty, and yes…hard work. Wonderful relationships are wonderful because couples work on keeping them that way. Friendships are the same way; they need that same devotion and maintaining. All relationships in life that are stable really need that.

I have some great people in my life. I hope I continue to do my part to keep those relationships happy and healthy. I am trying to do that right now. I have missed everyone I talk to on WordPress. I hope you’re all doing well. I hope you have great plans, big dreams that you’re chasing, and lots of love. I shall have to stop by and read my news feed so I can see what people are up to. Well, here’s to a great weekend ahead for us all. Thanks again for your continued love and support. YOU ALL ROCK! Much love always! ❤

Love & Marriage

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A friend of mine posted something on Facebook today and it really made me think. It was a link to what someone else wrote actually. It was about people doing more bragging about being engaged and their wedding plans than focusing on their relationship and why they’re getting married in the first place. Now the one who posted the link is engaged himself and he said he totally agrees with what this other person had to say. It touched also on people who spend more time bragging about their relationship in general than actually enjoying and maintaining it.

I have to say that I too agree with much of what was said in the article. I will admit that sometimes I talk up my boyfriend, but that is only because I do want the world to know how amazing he is. He puts up with me ha ha. Well that and I have been down some dark paths and to finally be where I am, I don’t mind if others know. I am not doing it to brag or show anyone up, but to let the people in my life know I am happy and also to give others who are where I used to be hope. I see so many wearing the shoes it took me so long to get rid of. I believe that if someone like me can find happiness and hold onto it, then it’s possible for everyone in my life that is searching for it to find it themselves. Skepticism is very understandable, been there myself, but that’s just it, because I have been there…I want others to know they’re not alone and also to know that real love and happy relationships do exist. But….there must be a line drawn. One doesn’t need to share every detail of their relationship with Facebook or anyone at all really. The relationship should still be about the two of you and not become everyone’s business.

And when it comes to love, engagements, marriages, etc….I think many have lost sight of what all of that means. First of all, people misuse the word love a lot. It’s gotten to the point that many don’t even view it as having meaning anymore. Too often, it gets said without even thinking about what it really means, how those they say it to feel about it. Love is such a powerful emotion, one that people use as a weapon or use as a means to getting what they want. It is something that should be treated with respect and care. If you really love someone, then by all means, say it. But let me add this….show it too. Words don’t mean anything if you can’t back them up with how you treat them. And please, if you don’t love them or you’re not sure how you feel, DON’T SAY IT! Don’t mess with someone’s heart that way. I, personally, do use the word love a lot, but I also mean it every single time I use it and do my best every day to show those in my life how special they are to me. I encourage more people to do that: Don’t waste time on pretenses, be honest, love, and let love in.

Engagements/weddings are supposed to be wonderful. When you’re engaged, it’s supposed to mean that you and the one you’re with have decided to spend the rest of your lives together. It’s a wonderful time in your life and you have the right to celebrate it. However, when it becomes more of a bragging fest, a cause to compete, and you’re spending more time posting on Facebook/Pinterest/etc than you are celebrating your love, cherishing the one you’re with, and working on keeping a happy and healthy relationship….well…you’ve then lost sight of why you got engaged in the first place. Something else about engagements that get to me is when people brag about the number of times they have been, seriously, like it’s something to brag about. That also means you have had how many failed relationships? People often, it seems, get engaged/married just to do it, to not be alone, to be cool, to brag, for the kids, etc and not because they’re madly in love with one another, ready to spend the rest of their lives with one another. I don’t think some realize at all what a real marriage is supposed to be. At the first sign of trouble, people are breaking up instead of working it out. Some people change their relationship status so often that it makes my head spin. Divorce/ending relationships are popular and it shouldn’t be that way. Some go into relationships/marriages now thinking, “Well, if it doesn’t work out, we can just break up/get a divorce, no big deal.” It’s really such a shame that many act like this. I know that there are a fair amount of people out there that know what a happy and long lasting relationship looks like and are able to maintain theirs, how to be a loyal friend, how to cherish life and not always be in competition with one another. So many have their priorities straight and know what they’re doing. But, sometimes it just seems like we’re the minority.

About the actual wedding itself, my feelings have changed over the years. When I was young, I wanted to have a big, fancy, expensive wedding. I wanted to be a princess for a day, no matter what it took. But the older I have gotten, the less I feel I need to have that happen. I still want my wedding to be beautiful and special, but not overpriced and overdone. I want it to be a day where my family and closest friends get together to celebrate our love, a day we remember for years to come, but I don’t want it to be the fancy stuff people remember. I want them to remember the joy, the love. Why spend so much on one day when you have a life ahead of you together to focus on? Save the thousands upon thousands of dollars on the wedding and use it on the future you two will share. Getting married isn’t or it shouldn’t be about the fancy/expensive dresses, big churches, caterers, dj’s, flowers, decorations, invitations, etc. It should be about marrying your best friend and showing the world how happy you are together, about going forward as a couple that is ready to face the world together, through the good and the bad. I know that within the next year I will be planning my own wedding and something both my boyfriend and I agreed on from the beginning is that we’d make it lovely, but simple. We want it to be memorable and happy, but we can do that without spending a fortune. Hey, if you have a lot of money or maybe your family is rich and wants to give you a fancy wedding…cool, but I still urge you not to lose sight of why you’re getting married in the first place. It’s not about how beautiful everything is….the ring, the dress, the hall, etc. Look at the one you’re about to marry and know that without a doubt that this is the one you want to grow old with. Know that you will disagree, go through hard times, face loss together, struggle with, and that it’s all going to be worth it. Know that this is the one who will wipe your tears, stick it out when you’re not easy to be with, but that they also are the one that makes you laugh even when you’re not up to laughing, gets your humor, makes you smile just by thinking of them, is your best friend, the one who will celebrate with you and encourage you, and will love you as you love them always. When you have found that person and you’re both ready….really ready, not just tired of waiting or think it’s the best you’ll do or that you should because of the kids or all of your friends are already married…..but truly ready….take that step, make that day beautiful, and fill it with more love than the money that is spent on it. True love is so precious, once you have it, don’t take it for granted and do your part to make it last.

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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