Look At What You Have – Quote 2

Look At What You Have – Quote 2

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” -Oprah Winfrey

I personally love this quote because I find it to be especially true.  The way I interpret it is if you are not happy with what you have, you’ll never be happy with more.  My husband and I both come from humble beginnings.  When we met we both had our own one bedroom apartments and we were as happy as clams.  As our relationship grew serious we decided to move in together.  We settled into another one bedroom apartment and we felt so blessed to have the little things we did.  As time went on we bought our home and started a family.  We have always been grateful for the things we had in the moment, not thinking it would increase with time.

The opposite is true for my mother.  I have often explained to her that she is impossible to satisfy.  She is only temporarily happy with the things she obtains.  She is always pining to go on vacation or get a bigger home.  Our conversations are almost always related to money in some way, shape or form:  how she doesn’t have enough or wants more of it.  The stress of not having enough always drives her to ask to go on vacation so she can forget her financial debts.  Or she is asking for a bigger home when she complains about having to clean the house she has.

One of my life goals is to teach my children to enjoy and appreciate what they have instead of focusing on what they don’t.  I want them to be successful, yes – but above all, I want them to be happy human beings.

Untold Truth – Quote 1

Untold Truth – Quote 1

I know I’m late but I would like to start this post by thanking Ana (momlifewithchiari) for nominating me for this challenge.  These are somewhat difficult for me to complete for reasons still unknown but I will put forth a concerted effort.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  -Maya Angelou

I have carried a weight for a better part of 24 years.  For almost a quarter of a century I never told anyone I had been sexually abused as a child.  This may not be the kind of story Maya Angelou was talking about but this quote speaks to me in that there is hidden pain associated in the secrets we keep.

It was an evening in early spring when I finally said it out loud to my husband.  The release wasn’t immediate, it came gradually.  In Psychology I learned victims of abuse will sometimes subconsciously block out trauma from their memory as a way of self-preservation.

When I was seven I would walk to and from school by myself.  A mile and a half, most of which was lined with abandoned manufacturing buildings.  I was too young to understand the eerie presence of silence.  My mother worried enough to seek out a “sitter” — roughly translated:  someone who would make sure I stayed alive after school until she was able to pick me up after work.  She found a woman who was willing to walk me to her home everyday.

At first, I didn’t mind it.  I welcomed the conversations between the woman and her daughter who was a year younger than I was.  The woman fed her daughter and told me I could do my homework at the table while her daughter ate or in the living room.  I grabbed my backpack and went into the next room.  The rust-colored carpet had seen a few families migrate through that apartment.

Eventually, her daughter would join me on the carpet and began tracing letters in her workbook.  She would talk to me in Spanish but I didn’t always understand what she was saying.  Soon after she would turn on the TV as loud as it would go to drown out the news echoing in from the kitchen.  He walked in soon after that and went straight into his room.

A couple of weeks went by and I was set in a routine:  listen to the woman and her daughter talk, make my way to the old carpet and start my homework.  One day her son walked in and said I needed to be comfortable to do my work, he invited me into his room.  I looked back into the kitchen.  The woman was in the middle of cooking dinner, her daughter had stopped noticing me.  I lowered my eyes into my book and didn’t say anything.  A few minutes later he repeated his invite, walked over to me, grabbed my backpack and set it in his room.  I was safer walking through a graveyard of deserted buildings than what my parents were paying for.

The woman didn’t care that a seven year old girl had disappeared from her sight, nor was she alarmed when she tried to open her son’s door and it was locked.  When he opened the door to let me out his older sister confronted me and asked why I had been in her brother’s room.  She never asked him anything.  At seven I was somehow responsible for what her high school age brother did to me in their apartment.  My eyes welled up and she pushed me into the living room and told me to sit down and wait for my mother.

The next day he tried to get me alone again and I told him I would tell my mother.  He laughed at me and told me I was stupid, that no one would believe me.  That day I tried to tell my mother what was happening, what he was doing to me but instead I blurted out that he had called me stupid.  She was livid.  She walked back up the stairs, knocked on their apartment and confronted the woman.  I stayed in the car, paralyzed.

I was so nervous before the final bell rang the following school day that I was sweating and my stomach hurt.  The woman acknowledged me with a smile and a wave, her youngest daughter was emotionless.  When we got to their apartment her oldest daughter glared at me like I was the scum of the earth.  I sat on the orange carpet and began to take my workbook out when she came in.  How dare I lie about her brother?!  Did I know what this could do to their family?!  If their father found out it could affect his health because he has heart problems!  How could I be such a horrible person?!  I needed to apologize for lying!  My chest heaved violently, I sobbed.  Not only did I not understand what the physical abuse he imposed on me meant, now I was being berated by an eighteen year old.  She told me crying was proof of my guilt.

He continued to violate me until the end of the school year.

His mother and sisters never tried to help me, only themselves.  My personal hell was a product of their selective blindness.  The innocence of my childhood was gone.  I was never able to tell anyone about this until a couple of months ago when I told my husband.  In a way, I still felt overwhelming shame that this happened to me.  I still recoil whenever news of this nature comes across the TV.  My body physically reacts because it feels for these children, and my heart breaks for them.

It’s painful to live with something you simply cannot say.

Aisle 12

Aisle 12

I went grocery shopping by myself this weekend, I usually have D or Baby A with me but this time I was alone.  It wasn’t the first time I had this opportunity but I always feel like I’m missing something when I don’t have them with me.  The upside:  I was able to focus more on what I actually needed to get instead of herding kittens.

I’m past being embarrassed by, “Sto-” “C’mere” “No” “Wai-” “Get dow-” “What are y-” “Don’t”, etc.  It felt strange to think in full sentences.

I pushed my cart to a checkout lane, acknowledged the cashier and bagger when they greeted me and typed in my reward card information.  I noticed the young man waiting to bag my groceries was not picking up the items as they came down the belt to him.  He finally leaned over the pile, almost parallel to the floor, and began stimming.  It was a sort of rapid wrist twist that caused his fingers to make a popping sound.  It lasted about 20 seconds and afterward he stood up and seemed fine.

He looked into the distance and was not putting the groceries in bags and I made it a point to wait until he started to ask if I could assist him.  He never made eye contact and simply replied, “Sure.”  I began bagging my items alongside him and remember thinking that I was so proud of him.  This is someone I’ve never met before and yet I feel like I know a tiny bit of his struggle.  As if this somehow connected us on a non-existent level.

When I finished loading my truck I sat and thought about him.  I hoped he was being respected by all the customers he came across.  That they be understanding, kind and without judgment toward this young man who was working harder than they could know.

It gave me hope for my son also.  A reassurance that he will exceed all expectations.

ARD Meeting

ARD Meeting

Last Monday was rough. I had D’s ARD meeting, if I remember correctly it stands for Annual Review/Dismissal. There is something about these meetings that raises my anxiety but I haven’t quite figured out what that is yet. I still have mixed emotions about how it went.

It started out by highlighting his goals and accomplishments for the past school year. The speech pathologist went over how much progress he’s made and what his areas of improvement are. His compliance needs work, that’s not to say he doesn’t work hard but he only works when he wants to. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

The occupational therapist went over how he is mastering vertical and horizontal lines and that he likes taking turns with her. Currently, he is working on drawing a circle. Same comments about compliance as the speech pathologist.

His teacher had nothing but praises and again brought up compliance. She also brought up an assessment, one of a million that I can’t remember the acronym for, and stated that his communication is equivalent to 0-18 months still. I couldn’t hear anything she said after that for ten seconds. Her lips kept moving but nothing comprehensible made it to my brain. If I’m being honest, that’s not what I wanted to hear.

When I was able to focus again, she was saying that D needed to be in a PPCD 2 classroom next year. Another ton of bricks. He would benefit greatly in a classroom with peers that were on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, this was her reasoning. When I caught my breath, she said, “it’s a good thing.”

In all reality, it probably is. I just need to learn how to reign in my anxiety as an autism parent and learn to trust professional opinions.

Party of Five

Party of Five

WARNING:  I got into some graphic detail about human bodily fluids in this post.

There was a pain in my left underarm last Saturday, I was mildly concerned about it but too busy to care.  It was gone by the time I woke up the next morning so I forgot all about it.  My cycle had ended two days before that so I figured it was related.  I got a surprise later on that day, I had what looked like a dark brown discharge.  I recognized it as the discharge at the end of my period, only I had just had it.

After a few days I searched the internet (the best place to go if you want to be misinformed and then fear that you’re dying) and saw some posts on a parenting forum that described the bleeding as normal right before mothers found out they were pregnant.  This wasn’t the case with me though, I mean I’ve already been pregnant twice before so I would know what the indicators are, right?  Later that day my husband bought me a pregnancy test.  I knew it was going to be negative, until it wasn’t.

As the urine soaked up through the “stick” I looked at the window.  The horizontal line was creeping toward the middle of the window and I thought I saw a trace of a vertical line.  What?  My only instinct in that moment was to close my eyes and wait three seconds, when I opened up my eyes the hazy vertical line was now almost solid blue against the horizontal line.  I set it down on the toilet roll holder, washed my hands and walked out of the bathroom.  The box said I had to give it three minutes for an accurate result, and that’s exactly what I was going to do.

Needless to say, three minutes later that plus sign was still there.  I still can’t understand what exactly washed over me in that moment.  I think I was too terrified to be happy because my husband and I will be officially outnumbered in less than a year.

Initially, it didn’t go over so well with my husband.  It took him a couple of days to grasp what was about to happen.  I took a couple more tests from different brands and they all confirmed what the first had said.

I feel like I climbed a mountain only to see the rest of it reached into the clouds.  I was worried when we found out we were pregnant with Baby A but this is different.  This is surreal to me.  It’s still too early to know anything other than implantation is complete, the oxidized spotting and cramping have stopped.  The placenta is forming in my womb and my uterus is getting ready for expansion.  Here we go.

It’s Not Personal

It’s Not Personal

I work for a government contractor in a building with no windows.  It took some getting used to at first but I have resorted to getting my daily dose of Vitamin D on the walk to my car.  It’s a good job though, I can’t complain.

About a year ago my manager approached me and asked if I wanted to be a supervisor.  She wanted to do an “in-house” promotion but was told by her supervision that she would have to post a job opening internal to the company.  When the time came, I submitted my resumé and was called back for an interview.  Half of our team interviewed for the same position.  A month later we still hadn’t heard anything from HR.

While we were waiting, people started to talk.  In particular, one person was going around saying that if I got the job he would never work for me.  I’m not sure where this stemmed from, I hadn’t had any interaction with this person outside of a professional conversation in the years I worked there.  By the time this got back to me I had received and signed my offer letter.

He was visibly furious after my manager made the announcement at our team meeting the following Monday.  This person is not very well liked in the team so when he began saying that he was doing us a favor by staying, my manager heard about it fairly quickly.  The icing on the cake was she made me his direct supervisor.  I kept it professional but I knew he would try to retaliate at some point.

After the new year there was a clear shift in his attitude.  It was reflecting on his monthly metrics.  Out of 155 hours of production we are required to maintain month to month, he clocked in six.  One digit.  He did better the following two months but once again he fell down to thirty hours.  What really put him under the spotlight were his timekeeping violations.

He has repeatedly ignored my emails for status updates on work we have a hard deadline on and constantly trying to undermine me.  This week he did not show up to work on time and I sent him a text asking him if he would be in.  He replied that his meeting with the “drafter” for his new house ran long and that he would be in.  After months of trying to work with him, my manager decided to have a sit down with him to discuss his behavior.

I hope it has gotten through to him that he is not as indispensable as he thinks he is.  Then again, his actions have put him in his current situation.  My point:  this person is about to lose their job and for what?  Because he doesn’t agree with a decision someone else made?  His blatant disdain for me?  I have no issues with my other subordinates, I am as professional with them as I am with everyone else.  It’s not personal, it’s just business.

Health

Health

Our anniversary was a couple of weeks ago and I think we got through the first year fairly unscathed.  We were able to get a baby sitter for a few hours and went to see a movie.  This is a big deal for us.  We don’t really trust anyone with our kids and we haven’t been to a movie in over a year, I’d guess closer to two.

We decided to treat ourselves to a nice theater where we could have reserved seating, dinner and a movie.  I ordered a Dr. Pepper and popcorn because it was a special occasion.  Right before the movie started I ordered a turkey burger.  This was a two and a half hour movie so I wanted to be sure I didn’t get the munchies halfway through.  It was acceptable as far as turkey burgers go.

About an hour into the movie I noticed my left heel was starting to go numb, I chose to ignore it because I didn’t want to un-recline my seat.  After 15 minutes it became unbearable and I felt the same happening to my right heel.  My circulation was strained.  It was there in the middle of a movie theater that I realized the extra work that I was putting on my heart.  I could visualize it struggling to pump blood to my extremities.

I know my body will not hold up for much longer if I don’t take action now.

It doesn’t help that what’s constantly glamorized is women giving birth and fitting into their pre-baby clothes a week later.  That wasn’t a direct Kate Middleton reference, but if the stiletto fits.  As if I’m the only woman in the world who isn’t on speaking terms with her abs.  Between the stretch marks and loose skin, we may never meet again.

Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed every step of the journey that led me here but it’s time to find a way back.  Not necessarily back to what I used to weigh or look like before I had my children but somewhere sustainable.

The point is, I have to get this weight off of me.  I need to find time to get healthy again soon.  It won’t be easy, but admitting there is a problem is half the battle, right?