Thursday, November 5, 2015

I got dumped.

Yes, I got dumped. By my "best friend" of 18 years. The person who told me on my wedding day that she was happy that our kids would grow up together. I guess they did, for 4 years.

I am not really sure when it started exactly, probably about a year ago. I remember last summer she gave me a hard time because my husband wasn't working and that I "put up with too much"with my husband. I don't know how she can determine what I "put up" with, but she had it in her head and there was no changing her mind. To me, "putting up with" something means something is bothering me and I don't stand up for myself. But him not working didn't bother me because I didn't feel like he should have been working. I landed a job that paid me enough to support my family and let my husband stay home. I wanted my husband to stay home, he has a back injury and daily pain and this was something she couldn't understand. She had the same back surgery and she recovered. My husband injured his back and did not recover. She'd compare his pain to the pain of people she knew and still worked. It was like she did not approve of my husband not working even though I did.

The last time I saw her was about February. I remember we debated on a few things, one being my husband and the other was the fact that I did not send my son to pre-school (see post here). I don't know why she has/had a hard time with the fact that I was making decisions she didn't agree with and I certainly don't know why this would end our friendship. She never told me our friendship was over and neither did I, but I can take a hint. I spoke with her a few times over the phone, a few times over email and a few texts. In every one of those, she mentioned to me how busy she was. I didn't take it as a brush off until July. I sent her son a birthday card and gift because I never got an invite to any kind of party (which I have always been invited to all of her kids birthday parties). I received a Thank You card in the mail from her thanking me for the card and gift. There was no mention of any kind of party and at the end of the card it stated, "We've been so busy!". Ok, you are busy. So busy that you haven't been able to call me in the past 3 months? That's fine. I'll wait until you are not as busy. I am still waiting, now it's been 6 months. I gave up, I can take a hint. I've been dumped.

It's ok. My Mom reminded me that she was never that great of a friend anyway.

Monday, November 2, 2015

No Pre-school? Read.

To those people who told me not sending my son to preschool was a mistake? My son DOES NOT have any behavior issues that disrupt class, in fact, he comes home with good behavior reports every week. He was also moved to 1st Grade reading, so on Tuesdays and Thursdays, he goes to the 1st Grade classroom for reading. So proud of my boy.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

No Pre-School?!? How Dare I?

A "friend" of mine said something to me that really struck a nerve. I am not sure if this was her way of telling me something without actually saying it. She said that there were 5 or 6 kids in her son's kindergarten class that "ruin it for the rest of the kids". She went on to tell me that these 5 or 6 kids are inhibiting the other children to learn because of their misbehavior because "they didn't go to pre-school so they don't know how to behave in a classroom". I couldn't help but think that this was her way of telling me I should have sent my son to pre-school. But I ask myself, how does she know those children who are misbehaving have not been to pre-school? Did you talk to all of their parents? Did the teacher tell you (which is totally against the law) or is this an assumption that you made? Maybe you came to this conclusion when you were speaking with other parents (or gossiping)?

First of all, pre-school is in no way required. I am sorry you chose to send your child to school early and I didn't. That was your choice and my choice was mine. Our two choices are different and that's ok in my book. You made your decision based on your child and your situation and I based my decision on my child and my situation. Maybe you chose pre-school so you could have a few hours of the day to yourself for some quiet time, or to get the shopping done. Maybe your child needs to learn his ABC's, counting or social skills with people other than family. There's nothing wrong with that. Does that mean one of us made the wrong decision? Absolutely not. But I think my "friend" thinks I did.

Here's why I made the decision I did.

  1. Pre-school is expensive. Not nearly as expensive as daycare, but still over $100/month. If I am going to be spending $100/month, why would I send my child to a place where he already knows the curriculum? He knows his ABC's, he can count well past 100, he's reading and writing, he's good at problem solving and has been to daycare so he is socialized even though he is an only child. We found that ABC Mouse is a great tool, we have my son do daily lessons and it costs $8/month. I know the computer/internet is not a replacement for school, but he spends an hour a day, he is in fact learning from it and he has fun doing it.
  2. He's a kid. Once he starts Kindergarten, he will be in school for the next 13 years. Why rush it by going to pre-school? Aren't there better things a kid can do and learn about the world by NOT being cooped up in a classroom?
  3. My husband is a stay at home Dad. Again, why send him to pre-school when his Dad can teach him. This gives them more time to spend together having fun while learning and letting my kid be a kid. Pre-school is not required, I ask myself, why would I send him to pre-school if I don't have to?
  4. My son is enrolled in sports, camps, and educational classes through the park district. He gets plenty of socialization. In fact, there are 2 camps he's in this summer that "prepare children for school".
I spoke with some other friends who are in the same school district as me. They have stated to me that the teachers do give individualized attention whether it's to help an advanced child succeed and not get bored or if a child is having a hard time adjusting to a classroom environment or if a child needs extra help to learn the basics.

I know I don't need to justify myself, but other people may feel like they are being criticized too and you are not alone.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Til Death Do Us Part

I have been reflecting a lot on my life lately. I'm turning 40 this year. My son just turned 5 and my husband and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary.

Ten years married to this man. TEN years! Our wedding day doesn't feel that long ago, but I guess that's because we went through hell and back to get where we are today. Almost seems like it should feel like forever ago, but it doesn't. Going through all the hard times we went through together just made us stronger. When we married we altered the vows slightly. Instead of two becoming one, we decided we wanted to stay two and just join paths. We wanted to maintain our individuality, we wanted to stay true to ourselves.

We took our vows seriously, but not too seriously. But we both knew that this wasn't temporary, that we were in it for the long haul. In the past 10 years, we have maintained faithful to each other, supported each other in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, we love and cherish and have no plans to change that until death do us part. We are in it for the long haul and we knew that when we made this commitment to each other. Many marriages don't experience all of these things, but in 10 short years, I can honestly say that we have experienced every single one of them together. The most important thing in marriage that's somehow not mentioned in vows is to trust one another. I cannot stress how important that is. when there's trust, you don't have to worry about betrayal and faithfulness because there's trust. You don't have to worry about what happens in sickness and in health, because there's trust. You don't have to worry about if they will be there in good times and bad, because there's trust. Vows are in no way questioned because there's trust. When the trust is gone, there's a problem. That doesn't mean it's forever, trust can come back, but it usually needs to be earned, and that can be a VERY tricky process.

I see people divorce all the time. People close to me and people not so close. I know what couples fight about, we've had our own fair share of fights, but we don't let them tear us apart. We still have trust. The people that divorce are the people who have likely broken a vow, have a lack of trust or have lost faith. The most recent marital problems I have seen lately are lack of faithfulness, lack of trust and lack of support. It makes me sad. One of these marriages lasted a mere 2 years while one of the others ended after 15 years.

Paul and I had the perfect recipe to come apart. After nearly 5 years of marriage, things were going good. We were both employed, not the greatest jobs mind you, but enough to get the bills paid and still be able to enjoy life. We bought a house together and had nice cars. There had already been some financial bumps in the road, but nothing major. In 2009, everything changed. My husband had an accident at work, a sofa fell on him when he was unloading a truck. After that, he was taken off work and a workman's comp case was opened for him. A month later we discovered I was pregnant. As the first few months of my pregnancy, our comfort zone diminished. His income was gone and replaced with a check that was 2/3 of his reported income. This did NOT include tips. Tips were a large part of his income, but since they were never reported, work comp does not compensate for that.

My husband was getting treatment for his back. He had 6 herniated discs. The doctor gave him injections for the pain, but they weren't working. In February of 2010, my husband underwent his first back surgery, a microdiscectomy. I was 7 1/2 months pregnant. It was stressful, but I needed by husband back, we were about to have a baby. A month and a half later, we did have that baby, my son Jesse. We were expecting a healthy, happy, beautiful baby boy. On the day he was born, he shocked us. He was born with an unexpected cleft lip and palate. I was very uneducated about his condition and it devastated me. I don't think my husband had a chance to experience his own emotions because he was spending his energy keeping me afloat. In the months to follow, things were hard. We had to dismiss everything we knew about babies and learn again. We had to accept that our son had a facial difference. We had to visit doctors we never thought we'd need to see for his care. We had to learn how to feed him so he could thrive. We had to plan a surgery for him when he was 3 months old. We succeeded in these tasks.


During all this my husbands back wasn't any better. He had been suffering for many months. The next step for him was a double spinal fusion. This one was not going to be easy. He underwent the surgery, spent 4 days in the hospital and would be in a body cast for 3-4 months. This was literally the hardest time of my life. I had a new born baby who needed his own surgery, now this? It was an extremely trying time for me, but we managed to keep going. as my husband is barely healed from his surgery, we needed my son's cleft palate to be repaired. This was done when he was 10 1/2 months old, February 2011. His surgery was a success and life went on. Of course not without struggle. My husband needed physical therapy, my son needed speech therapy and I am pretty sure I needed therapy too, but I hardly had time for that. My husband then had 2 more surgeries to help manage his pain because at this point there was extensive nerve damage. He was also addicted to the opiates he's been taking for years. We still had many struggles ahead in regards to his condition.

Time went on and my job changed to part time. I picked up another job, as a waitress. I like this because I was able to spend more time with my son, but the bills were barely getting paid and eventually that came to an end when the restaurant closed down. I was able to find another part time job. Then my other job, the one that I'd had for 10 years, let me go in October of 2013. My income, that was supporting my family, was now gone. My job security, gone. I had the choice of letting this consume me, but I chose not to let it. I needed to be brave and fight to keep the roof over my family's heads and food in their bellies. I found another part time job and worked my butt off. Once again, it wasn't enough. We were barely getting by, bills were always late and it was just a matter of time before we'd lose everything. I got back on my horse and looked for something better. After several interviews, a few less than desirable job offers, it happened. The job I wanted and needed, for the income I needed and deserved. It took perseverance and determination, but it happened and I couldn't be happier.

Now here we are, my husband is a stay at home Dad and I am a working professional supporting my family. Sure, sometimes I'd rather be home with my son than sitting at this desk, but at least I know he's in good hands being raised by his Father instead of a day care provider. We are happy. My son is so incredible smart and full of life. My husband still has to manage his pain, but with the major hurdles in our past, his stress levels are down and his pain has decreased. He still has physical restrictions, but he can still be a great Dad and husband.

There were many times I lost hope. I thought this little black cloud was going to follow me around forever. I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, I was sure that there never would be an end to our struggles. Paul's work comp case eventually closed (and not without a fight there too), I landed the idea job, my son graduated from Speech therapy and is starting Kindergarten in the Fall. We are caught up on bills, even bought a new car.

We couldn't have done all of this without each other. We stayed by each others sides even at the darkest of times. Instead of letting the bad things consume us and tear us apart, we instead let it bring us closer together. We never gave up. We stayed strong and brave with whatever life wanted to throw at us next.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Glove

I have not posted in a while, but that's usually a good thing. I tend to post more when I need to vent or something is bothering me. I almost wish I could post the happy things, but sometimes I just want to keep them to myself.

I am posting today for both reasons, I had quite the range of emotions last night......
Jesse had his first t-ball practice at 6pm. He just turned 5 and is in the 5-6 year old T-Ball. Since he literally JUST turned 5, I am guessing he's one of the younger ones, but most of these kids have never played before on a team. I got home from work at 5pm, as usual. Thinking ahead I ask Jesse and Paul where his glove is. Last time I saw it was when I brought it in the house from the truck after the t-ball meeting last Thursday evening. Neither of them know where it is, so we all start looking. Our house isn't very big, so it didn't take long before we looked literally everywhere, we begin going back to places we've already looked. It's now 20 minutes to 6 and we need to leave in 5 minutes. I am about ready to run to Target for a new one and Paul is telling Jesse if he doesn't find it, no T-ball and he's taking the Wii away until next winter. Now I am getting upset, because I really don't think that's fair, but understand my husbands frustration and feeling the need to punish. by 5:45, I had officially given up looking. I am telling myself that I can talk Paul out of cancelling t-ball for Jesse. There's another practice on Friday, we can get him caught up. The kid just turned 5, kids can not be trusted at that age.

"I found it!" I hear my husband call from the other room. "Oh, where was it?"
"Under the sofa cushion."
I scan back through my memory of Thursday night, I recall my husband telling my son to sit on his glove so he can catch easier. He admits he put it under the couch cushion, but said he took it out and that Jesse must have put it back. I find this hard to believe. I think he's saying that so he's not the asshole (which now I am thinking he is). We leave for practice and arrive 10 minutes late. It wasn't an issue and I am happy t-ball isn't being taken away from my son. He's only 5 once and I don't want to take these things away from him. Taking the Wii is one thing, I am ok with that, but children need sports and other activities so they can be kids.

Practice started and I see my kid goofing off. Great. I have the class clown. I yell at him once from the sidelines and my husband reminds me to not be that parent. I back off and keep my mouth shut. I don't want to be that parent, so I welcomed the reminder. It becomes Jesse's turn to bat and I am telling myself, "Please listen to your coach and pay attention." Much to my surprise, he does..... then hits the ball out of the infield! What?!? Did that really just happen?? Yes, yes it did. The other parents on the sidelines are cheering. My heart is filled with pride. Next ball he misses. Then he hits another one! A pop up to the outfield, the parents all cheer again! The coach is letting every child get 2 hits, so this meant his turn is over. The coach puts him at short stop. The next 2 batters hit their balls directly to him. He fumbles a bit, but gets the ball over to first base. He starts goofing off again and now he's making all the parents laugh. Ok, I am glad he's amusing, I just hope this goofing off doesn't last. If he's not paying attention, the kid's gonna get hurt.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pills are Bad

This past weekend was an absolute nightmare. I don't even know where I should begin. I can't start from the beginning because the outcome may seem obvious, but it's certainly not obvious when you are living it.

The story begins on Monday, but I will start on Friday. My husband and I purchased tickets to The Great American Nightmare for opening night. A favorite of ours, Rob Zombie, designed 3 haunted houses based off his movies and was playing a concert for opening night. We had been looking forward to this since we bought the tickets a while back. I hadn't been feeling well most of the day, but I wanted to have a good time, so I tried to get past it. We headed to the venue.  We got there with no issue, parked and got our wristbands and free t-shirts. We went back to the car to drop the shirts off and tailgate a little, then got in line. I only had one beer prior, because I wasn't feeling well. We weren't sure of the order of things, if we do the haunted house first or the concert, none of the information we got stated this. We got inside and were filtered into the concert area, so that answered the question of what came first, clearly it was the concert. Paul asked me to ask someone what was going on, but I thought it was pretty clear. I found a spot I liked but Paul wanted to walk around. I told him to go ahead since I wasn't feeling well. He didn't want to go without me. He insisted I leave my spot and venture around with him. I complied since we had been there for a while and nothing was happening, except for some crappy DJ guy. He asked me again to find out what was going on and my reply this time was if he wanted to know so bad that he should ask someone himself. For whatever reason, he wasn't going to ask. We found the outdoor bar and smoking section. I must say this was nice since it was starting to get hot inside as the people filed in.

While we were outside, he asked me again to find out what was going on. At this point I am annoyed because I was just going with the flow. He was being a bit paranoid about knowing what was going on. He made some small talk with a biker guy, yet didn't ask him what was going on. Then we heard Rob Zombie start, so it became even more clear, what was going on.

I enjoyed the concert once I found a spot I could see from. Paul was bent over the fact that people were taking pictures and videos from their phones and that they weren't as into it as he was. Rob Zombie put on a great show as always. After the show we retreated back to the outside area to cool off. Again, I was asked by Paul what was going on next. I told him we need to get in line for the haunted house. He asked what line. To me it appeared there was only one line. After a beer we went back inside where this line is. The place was a mess, most people didn't know where their line was because the initial line to get in was separated by GA, VIP 1 and VIP 2. At this point, it was just one line, so I got in it. Once again, Paul wants to know what's going on, this time he's pretty angry. I tell him to just get in line, he's refusing. He begins to yell at me. I don't even remember what he said at this point because he was literally humiliating me in front of a crowd of people. This is not something he does, this was not my husband. I saw an evil look in his eyes. He made a threat to leave. I walk away and ask the security guy what's going on and where's the line to the haunted house. He points to the line I just stepped out of and says he really doesn't know what's going on, that this is a total mess. Exactly what I thought. I turn around and Paul is gone. He sends me a mean text and says the keys are at the car.

My husband left me! I was in shock that this was happening. He's never left me anywhere. I got back in line, hoping this was just a threat and he'd come back. I wait and wait. I text a mutual friend, he hasn't heard from him. I text Paul again, nothing. I'm not leaving, I paid for these tickets and I am going to at least use mine and not let Paul ruin my night, even though I am now alone, in line to go through a haunted house, alone.

I made it through the haunted house with some people who took me in, they were actually cool people. I head to the car, hoping he's there. I see evidence that he was there, but alas, he's gone. I'm not shocked, but more disappointed. I have no idea where to even begin to look for him.

While I was in line waiting for the haunted house, I had nothing but time to think. The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is the new meds he's on. The previous Monday, Paul started taking Chantix to quit smoking. There are warnings that this drug can make a person have mood changes and irritability, specifically when there's a history of mental disorders. Paul has never been diagnosed with anything like that. He's had depression and anxiety in the past, but it was always situational (meaning that this is the result of a specific situation or occurrence). This had to be what's going on with him.

It's 1am. I pull out of the parking lot and start to look for him walking and start making my way towards the highway. I don't see him anywhere. I drove through a few gas stations, late night restaurants and even the bar we talked about going to after the event. No where to be found. I text him again offering a truce and a ride home, nothing. I call, nothing. I get on the highway in direction of home. As I get close to home, I am hoping he took a cab and is there. Even if he's mad, I don't care, I just want him home safe. It's almost 2am, I pull in, he's not there. I call our mutual friend again to talk about the situation. He did hear from him, Paul mentioned something about a hotel or a taxi. At least I know he's not wandering the streets aimlessly and delusional. I send Paul another text offering to pick him up, nothing. There's nothing more I can do, so I go to bed. At 4am, I get a text that he's home and going to sleep in the garage and not to bother him. At least he's home and I don't have to file a missing person's report the next night.

I go to pick up my son from my sister's house the following morning and I get another text from him that states, "I won't be taking that medication today. Clearly it is affecting me and I can't handle it." Thankfully he recognized this. I was afraid I would be the one telling him and feared that he wouldn't believe me. After I got home he told me he took a cab home after going to a bar and trying to find a hotel room (most hotels were booked in the area due to the event). He was manic the whole night and this turned into a full blown psychotic episode. He has chunks of time missing from his memory. He said he got home and was hallucinating. Lights were flashing and tarantulas were crawling up his legs. Something in him was telling him to kill himself, but his conscious was fighting him not to. I thank God that he had conscious to tell him not to.

We are lucky to have come out of this unscathed. It could have been disastrous. I could have lost my husband and the father of my child because he was trying to better his life by quitting smoking. If this reaction happens to people, should doctors be writing scripts for this so freely? Maybe there should be a mental evaluation first? Do people really commit suicide because they are taking this medication? Yes, it does happen and I was lucky that it didn't happen to my husband and our family.

I read an article today from November 2013 that states, "In the last five years, 544 suicides and 1,869 attempted suicides have been reported to the FDA as “adverse events” in connection with Chantix, according to documents obtained by America Tonight under the Freedom of Information Act."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Working Mom

Being a Mom isn't easy. Every Mom knows this. Being a working Mom is hard, really, really hard. Last March I took a job that I wanted and desperately needed.

I lost my job the previous October. That job was going downhill anyway, a year and a half earlier my schedule changed to part time. I picked up a waitress job to make up my lost income. Surprisingly, this was a good situation. My once full time job was continuing my insurance and since the waitress job was mostly weekend nights, it gave me extra time with my son. Last July the restaurant closed and my nearly perfect job situation came to an end. I picked up a part time office job. Then in October the company I worked at for 10 years let me go, so I was back to one part time job. I then got another part time job doing Photography, but these 2 jobs weren't getting the bills paid as well, but we were managing. In January of this year, my husband stopped getting work comp checks, so something needed to be done. I started my job search again, in the industry I had been working in for 10 years.

I had several interviews and no job offers that were really worthy, until this one. I now have a great full time job, awesome benefits, paid time off, 401k, good insurance, the works. Only problem, it's 30 miles away in heavy Chicago rush hour traffic. If you've ever been to Chicago during rush hour, you know what I am talking about. Basically, it can take 1-3 hours to get anywhere and no part of driving between 3pm and 6pm is easy. My commute averages between 45 minutes and an hour. I start at 7am and I am done at 4pm, so therefor I am gone from 6am to 5pm, 11 hours a day.

My husband doesn't work, he can't work due to his back injury. He's been a stay at home Dad since he recovered from his last surgery that was in March of 2013. On the outside this seems not far out of the ordinary in this day and age. A child is home with his father, instead of his mother. He's home with a parent. Yes, this is true. But a child has a different bond with his Mother than with his Father. I can't really explain the difference, I just know it's there. Maybe it's because he grew inside of me, maybe it's because a Mother has more nurturing qualities, I'm not sure. Also, my son was small when I was working full time before and was less conscious of my absence on a daily basis. All his needs were being fulfilled. Now, I see my absence effecting him, plus, he tells me. Sometimes before bed he looks at me with his beautiful big blue eyes and says, "Mommy, I don't want you to go to work tomorrow. I want you to wake me up in the morning." When he says this it seriously breaks my heart to pieces. But what can I do? My husband can't work, so I do. I make enough money to get our bills paid. I support my family. I am proud of this accomplishment. Not a lot of families can be supported on one income these days, but I am doing it.

I cherish my evening and weekend time with my family. Sometimes I wish things were different, but this is what it is and this is what it needs to be for now. Paul has some job opportunities on the horizon. I am not sure if anything will pan out or if his body is even capable, we will see how the cards unfold.