Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Three Worlds

I sometimes feel like I'm living in three worlds, but never firmly in any of them.

One is the life we had before the accident.  Three silly little boys with plans for at least trying for a fourth sibling, but happy with the family we had.  Two parents, muddling through work and family, but in sync with what we wanted for our lives and those of our children.  We often make decisions with this world in mind, not wanting our boys not to have the life we wanted for them.  No wanting them to hurt for decisions K and I made for our family.  Decisions they had no say in, but which affect them intimately. I wistfully linger in this world when I can.  Not very healthy.  Comforting in some ways.

Another world is a combination of the life we wanted for our family in the future, and one in which the girls merged into our life seamlessly without the pushing away by the girls or constant reminders of our loss.  Sometimes in this one, we feel like a "normal" family without tensions, grief and K, the boys and I feeling like our family isn't good enough.  This is certainly a fantasy world.  In it, M has no learning disabilities or ADHD.  E lets herself be loved by all of us, isn't so judgemental and relaxes her emotional walls.  Other times, the girls aren't there at all.  Another little brother fills their place at the table.  We still love the girls, but aren't responsible for their daily care and bearers of their pain and anger.

Then there is our present reality.  Two tired, tired parents.  Five active kids.  Life is busy and hard.  Something is always being left undone. The house is messy, disorganized and in need of repairs that we don't have time or money to fix. The logistics of managing our household is a nightmare. The kids are all so needy.  We are all still adjusting to what this new family is.  In general, though, the kids are happy.  We have many moments of joy and fun.  There is a lot of laughter in our house.  K and I work in varying degrees of effort on making our marriage work and being all that we can for the kids.  We are giving them a stable, loving home.

The stress of this life pushes my mind and heart into the other two worlds.  Drifting into those worlds makes accepting our daily life as our reality difficult.  Rather than giving me moments of hope, acceptance brings me dread and worry.  And sadness.  I'm working on finding ways to anchor me more in this world without keeping me mired in the stress and sadness.

I'm trying.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter 2014

Lots of words to share.  Not enough time to do it.  I liked this family picture from Easter Sunday and thought maybe a picture would scratch my blogging itch.  I actually have some thoughts about this picture that I'll share at another time...when I actually have some time.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I've spent the last two days in the hospital with A.  Just like his little brother last year, A got acute myositis from the flu B virus.  He was sick over the weekend, felt better enough to go to school on Monday, then woke up Tuesday morning unable to walk and in horrible pain.  Quick call to the pediatrician and we ended up at the ER and eventually admitted in the early afternoon.  His ck  numbers are still high, but since they were heading downwards, they let us go home last night.   And no, we did not get the flu vaccines this year--before you roll your eyes and criticize please try getting five healthy kids amongst their crazy schedules in to the pediatrician and get back to me.

Day one found me frantically organizing pick ups and rides pretty successfully. I ran home quickly that night for an hour while my mother-in-law sat with A, so I could pack a bag, make lunches and write out a list of reminders for the next morning.  A sweet cuddle with L was also nice.

Day two, by the afternoon, the wheels were coming off the bus and texts came furiously over my phone wondering where baseball uniforms were and what was for dinner.  All of this despite a very detailed email to K outlining what needed to get done and who was getting picked up when (all done from the hospital room).  Thank goodness for neighborhood friend who became the "hat whisperer" and found D's missing hat minutes before she was driving him to warm ups yesterday.

On the positive, it's nice to know that I'm needed and everyone was glad to see me home. M practically tackled me. On the negative...good Lord you'd think they were left on their own and there wasn't an adult in the house.  K basically did the bare minimum and actually got mad at me when I suggested Tuesday night that E go get everyone Panera for dinner, claiming we are going out way too much. Not that he was offering to make dinner.  Or anyone else for that matter. My mother in law was a huge help by grabbing the kids at school and then sitting with A so I could run home quickly.  But nobody in my family offered to bring dinner over, help with rides, etc. Lots of texts of "tell me how I can help" and "I hope A feels better" but no proactive steps to help with the other 4 kids. I guess we pretty much tapped out that source of support early on. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to always ask for help (it can be exhausting), and that those knowing our chaos surprised me with help without strings or the focus on the girls. That sounds whiny, but it's how I feel sometimes.

I came home last night tired to my bones and was hit with and onslaught of "Mommy/Aunt Peggy I need fill in the blank." D came home from his game crying because he had the last out in a game they lost.  A was still not feeling well and needed settling.  L was clingy and wanted constant attention. M wouldn't stop talking a mile a minute. The house looked like a typhoon hit it despite the fact the cleaning lady came that day.  Ugh.  Not a good homecoming after a night of no sleep.

A just woke up and wandered downstairs.  He's walking fine and still wiped out.  Typical A, he's worried about how much school he's missing.  I'm glad he's feeling better and we'll be back to normal in a few days.

Everyone, down the the cat, is simply happy we're both home.  I'm happy I slept in my own bed last night.  I'm afraid the minions would have staged a revolt if I stayed away one day longer. 

Friday, April 4, 2014


Quick update in bullet point.  Been really busy this week and haven't had time except at 11pm and that's be reserved for a book and my bed.  In no particular order:

--Baseball season has started!  D had his first game this week and sitting in those bleachers made it feel like all was well in the world.  With limited of number of practices due to bad weather (absolutely no infield practice at all), he was great.  2-2 at bat and one walk, 5 stolen bases and 2 runs scored. This is his last year in little league so it's fun to see him as the "big kid" in majors.  L starts machine pitch tomorrow and has only had one 50 minute practice and has never hit off the machine.  Yikes!  He's excited but a little nervous because those machines fling that ball in pretty fast.  He plays with his cousin W (and best bud) so he's mostly happy to be with him.

--Soccer is also back in full force.  We have 6 games this weekend.  Double Yikes!  Somehow we make it all work.  I know people must think that we bring it on ourselves having the kids do all these sports, but please remember that if it was just the boys we'd have it pretty easy. The boys were old enough that we couldn't tell them their sports had to be curtailed due to the girls moving in AND we inherited the girls' activities too.  My kids are also good athletes and developmentally they are all playing at the right levels for their abilities.  This means three in travel soccer.  K coaches A's team which makes things a bit easier, but it also limits our flexibility because I always have to handle D and M if there is a conflict...AND he's always coaching which means he can't help out too much with practices during the week.

--E is receiving an award at the senior night dinner for her swim club on Sunday.  It has been a really weird thing.  Her coach called to tell me Tuesday (in strict confidence and promises I wouldn't tell her), and it was a really annoying conversation.  First, it's the top award for her club.  This is shocking.  She is not swimming well.  She hasn't been on a club relay team in 4 years.  She bowed out of Nationals this year because she was so stressed out.  Seriously, she has been a basket case this swim season and not performed well.  The award wreaks of pity.  The girls she beat out for the award are much, much better swimmers one of which is going to Stanford and will probably swim in the next Olympics.   He has been a huge pain in my rear the last year with condescending conversations and acting like somehow we are "co-parenting" E. Talks with him always make me wonder what E tells him. In short, he drives me crazy.  This time he chastised me for not being excited enough.  My "that's great!" was followed with him saying, "No you don't understand this is amazing!" He also had to point out that it includes a $500 cash award.  Little does he know (which he doesn't need to know) that E has hundreds of thousands of dollars at her disposal for college, etc. and this isn't even a drop in the bucket.  I guess what bothers me is that E needs to learn that sports aren't about all the awards, etc. but just about doing your best and having fun.  She needs another award like a hole in the head and I honestly don't think she deserves it.  Also, not once during our conversation did he mention K and I coming to the dinner.  E told me in the morning that parents don't come, then magically in the afternoon she said I could come (K has a game with A).  Her coach's attitude is one of many in a long line of people (including some in my family) who don't act like we are E and M's parents now.  It is infuriating.

--M.  M. M. She is so trying.  We have had a really tough ADHD and anxiety week. Fake injuries, whining, excuses, argumentative, aaaaaah!!!  Needless to say, it's been rough..

--I have been in a really bad mood this week.  Short with the kids.  Snapping at them and limited patience.  Way too much yelling. I've been completely cognizant of this fact, but that recognition hasn't curbed the behavior.  I worry about how the cumulative stress is affecting me both mentally and physically over all this time. I actually thought yesterday that I can see how people become alcholics. Unfortunately for me, one beer and I'm asleep, so that's not gonna work.  That need for escape, though, sounds like bliss.  For now, trader joe's cookie butter with honey wheat pretzels and a diet coke seem to be a reasonable solution.  Pathetic.