Category Archives: Parenting

Break…More Like Breakdown

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Awe to be back at the keyboard feels sooo good!! My break was very seriously more like a breakdown!! This summer has been one of the hardest I have ever experienced aside from the one after the murder of my dear friend Kay. I gave my heart and soul to the company I was working for I put in more hours at work in the last 4 months than I have in the last year. This summer Peanut girl spent her days with our family while I was away from home 12-13 hours a day. The emotional and mental toll it took on my was immeasurable. I had guilt for being away from Peanut that much as I had never been away from her that much in her entire life.

It all struck me very hard one day as we were driving down the road about 6 weeks ago, she said…we never go to the park anymore or do anything fun. I was like a shot to the heart and tears streamed down my face. Was my sacrifice all in the effort to “move up” really worth it?? The truth is I just kept getting more and more behind. For the first bit at the job I felt blessed I felt like every thing was inline and with that thought came peace. And then all the sudden nothing was what it seemed. I quickly lost my house, moved home to my parents house for what I thought would be a very short stent and then my world started crumbling around me. The job that I felt would pull me out of poverty was breaking me and ripping away my emotional and mental health.

The stress began to increase and though I loved the children and did greatly enjoy that part of my job but, the drama and gossip came to the forefront and started disintegrating my peace of mind at work. Granted I have to admit as much as I tried to stay away from the trap of it I found myself knee-deep. Then shoulder deep and in the end so deep that I was drowned by it and the people who I put my trust and friendship in. I admitted my wrong and for my part made a decision to no longer participate in the small bit that I was involved in but it was already too late. I do have to say this, never did I let the co-worker drama interrupt my dedication to the children yet somehow that didn’t matter. All the time sacrificed, hard work and love that I poured into my job became a liability for me.  And 2 weeks ago I received a text from my boss saying that she didn’t need me the next morning and that we NEEDED TO TALK. Wow, those 3 little words where like a blow and weighed so heavily on me. I had no idea why or what could have prompted such an ominous message as well as being confused as to why the message was not relayed in person. I was told that we would speak the next morning. I waited all day and all night with no call, text or email. That day my anxiety came on full force I paced I tried to distract myself I made several attempts to call her to then be told by a coworker that she was ignoring me on purpose. Not until nearly 10 o’clock that night did I even get a word or hint as to what was going on. She finally emailed me and as I was reading her words I was applaud. To tie it into a neat little bow I will say this, the situation was handled in the most unprofessional manner I have ever encountered. I have yet to even be informed of the details as to why I was released from my position. The things I do know are flat-out false. And I will always and forever stand on the fact that in my position I never did anything that would constitute the treatment I received, and I rely on the  fact that I have peace knowing that with God as my judge if there was a wrong on my part He will bring it to light. I think the thing that bothers me the most is that the organization calls themselves a faith-based organization and how they dealt with me and the issues pertaining to this situation the use of integrity, grace or understanding were plainly absent. That should not be how a faith-based organization conducts themselves. My prayer is that their errors bring them an opportunity to learn how to do things better.

Before and while dealing with all of this my ex-landlord literally single-handily took my housing voucher and figuratively tore it to shreds which made it impossible for me to use it because of his unwillingness to be fair and to have open communication about the remainder of what was owed from the repairs conducted after my move out. The details are arbitrary and unnecessary, but as a result of this I am right back where I was back in the depths of poverty, no home to call my own with my mental health all but intact.

The lesson of all this is still lost on me. I am grateful that I have a place to lay my head and that Peanut and I are safe but I feel as though at any minute I will just spontaneously combust and cease to exist. The glimmers of hope have grown weaker and all that I thought I was gaining was lost in such a short time it is shocking to me. Adding to the situation…3 Sunday’s ago as I was walking into church being that I was late the room was full and as I looked for a place to sit I was struck with my first public panic attack and it was frighteningly different from any I have ever experienced before. I promptly ran out of the sanctuary, I couldn’t breathe and I was shaking and then was immediately entrenched in shame, companioned with deep sorrow and panic. I found myself unable to move out from behind  the pillar I used to hide and support myself, as I felt I couldn’t trust my own legs. All I wanted to do was escape to the bathroom once I could move from my hiding spot behind the pillar, I took the 10 long steps to door. Once inside I saw myself in the mirror with makeup and  lipstick on and found myself screamed in my head…who do you think you are? Who are you kidding, as I roughly wiped the color from my lips. All the sudden I was no longer alone and had to retreat once again. I went outside tears washing off every bit of the makeup, I couldn’t gain control. I sat down outside as my walking was unsteady I made sure my back was to the church and just shook with sobbing hurt. I don’t know why but heavy deep seeded shame overwhelmed me and I could not shake the depth of the darkness that enveloped me. I don’t know how long I sat but it seemed like hours. I knew if I wanted to avoid the crowd I had to go get Peanut then and there. I collected myself best I could and went inside. I couldn’t speak and by the looks of me the children’s ministry workers knew what I needed with simple gestures. Once I collected Peanut I got outside as quickly as I could but I didn’t trust myself to leave with my own child. I sat and waited and tried to think rationally enough to make a decision that would be best for her. A friend then approached my car and I got out just enough to say that I wanted him to take Peanut to my parents who were inside the church.

She went in and was safely with my parents but I was still immobilized by my panic. The overwhelming shame was haunting me and I have yet to make any sense of it. While sitting in my car my mom rushed out to see what was going on with me she prayed for me and then went in to find one of the church pray warriors to also pray with me. I felt their sincerity and the depth of love as the tears of the prayer warrior Lanie wet my hand as she held it throughout the prayer. Still in the throes of it all I felt detached almost as if I didn’t deserve the love they were trying to pour into me.

I have talked recently about my seeming disconnect from my faith and God. But it has never been more prevalent or poignant than now. I am being frank in my prayers and trying to open the doors to understanding but I feel cold and like a barricade is standing in my way. I will say that I am trying to see past it and I have seen His hand on our lives. I made a promise to Mom and Lanie to try Celebrate Recovery (CR) as a means to figure this all out. I have been two times now, and though I feel like a foreigner in a strange land I do want to give it a chance. I want to see if I can start the process of unraveling the causation factors that have led to this last year being one of extreme lows and the instability that I feel has been a constant theme. I want to trust myself again and to come to a place of peace and mental wellness, so that I can once again stand on solid ground with some semblance of my sanity intact. Where to go from here is a mystery, one saving grace is the 5-year-old who calls me Mom…awe my little Peanut girl. She started kindergarten a few weeks ago and I have to get up every morning get her up ready for school and get her there on time. I have taken comfort in that routine. Her joy of learning brings a smile to my face and the stories she regaled to me daily about her teacher and school friends keep things interesting for sure. 🙂

One major thing that I find myself taking comfort in is that trouble and strife that have been an ever-present  thread in my life but, they have never been the end of me. I have never died from my panic attacks or the depression that has consumed my peace of mind. I think it’s a great thing that I can talk to God in a way that is real and honest and that the rawness of it isn’t judged. Other people seem to be overwhelmed by my intensity and pull away. But, my harsh feelings, angry words and cries in the depth of darkness are welcomed communication. He wants fellowship with me and it doesn’t have to be pretty words in a melodic tones. They just have to be words. I am asking Him to keep working on my hard heart, I am asking Him to show me what I can’t see and most of all I am asking Him to never let me go.

Jenness

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From My Arms You Flee

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From my arms you flee on your trajectory away from me toward the world and all it holds. What will you find? Will they see you as I do, beautiful from the inside out, smart and sassy, sweet and naughty, good and wonderfully, awfully independent? As you enter the world on your own there are a few things you should know. No matter what anyone says you have value, God created you for a purpose and finding that purpose should be your goal. Find your passions and work as hard as you can to soak up all the knowledge that your education can provide. And then learn some more.

I know that it is kindergarten but right now is a critical time the foundations of your educational career are being built and that is of great value my little love. Be persistent and forgiving, be honest and don’t let petty judgements and false pride be your guide. Listen to your teachers and glean from their wisdom the necessary tools that will last you a lifetime. Peanut girl please make sure to ENJOY THE ADVENTURE!!!

All my love,

Mommy

c/s

Busy…

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I have been so busy that I haven’t even considered sitting down and writing even though I have wanted to. Things have been interesting because I am at work more hours but I am working less. They have me working split shifts and in an effort to save gas I have been staying at work. On top of being busy with work I have to move out of my place in 10 days and I do not have a new home to go to as of yet. I may have to stay with family for a few days or weeks.

This is a point of frustration for me it has been very hard to find an affordable place that fits our needs and has everything I want in a house I have a list in my mind and I just can’t budge. Energy efficiency is a top priority for me I wont go back and pay high utility bills again. Of course Peanut has a list of her own in her head that includes a pool and a pool oh yes a pool. Awe to be young and single-minded again. 🙂

I think that one of the biggest stress factors for me has been the time away from my Peanut…I have been lucky to have been able to spend so much time with her from 0-5. So being gone from her for about 12 hours a day has been very emotional for me. I also am struggling because with all the time we have been spending away from each other she is never happy to see me when I go get her she immediately has an attitude change and starts whining and not listening to me…telling me how much she doesn’t want to go home. I don’t know if this is “normal” or common but it is very hard for me to not be hurt by. When I am working I miss her so much sometimes it hurts.

Today I didn’t work until 1pm so I was excited to have time with her this morning. But it turned out to be a crying disaster of a morning and all the things that I wanted to do didn’t happen. I had a talk with her about her attitude towards me and our time together but I am not sure how much of what I say really soaks in.

The next two days I have to work 10 hour shifts so I am off to get some rest if anyone has some Mommy/kid advice I would welcome it. ❤

Jenness

c/s

Changes In The Wind…

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Today marks some serious changed in the wind for my life. In the last 3 years I have had Peanut by my side at my job. I could just walk down the hallway if I wanted to see her little freckled nose and get a quick sweet baby kiss. But, today was different and as I was sitting in my classroom I looked out the window to see the big kids playing and realized that my Peanut was not among them. ( I made the decision to take her out of daycare and have family and friends watch her for the summer to save money.) My heart sank I missed her deeply…I felt silly for the strange feeling but couldn’t shake it. I knew she was safe and sound hanging with her cousins, Aunt Leah and Uncle Justy but the twinge of hurt was very real. Come August she will be in all-day kindergarten and I won’t see her during the day anymore. This marks a very momentous thing for me as a Mommy. My baby is not my baby anymore and she is entering the world. She is  entering a world that I have nothing to do with. Wow it scares me!! I have been so blessed that I have gotten as much time with her as I have. Most working mom’s are away from their babies for 8 to 10 hours a day.

Ugh it is so hard to think that this is now my reality. Maybe I am being a sissy about it but Lily and I though we have our issues (like all mothers and daughters) are 2 peas in a pod and to think of her growing up and starting the inevitable trajectory out my door to her own life and world away from me brings tears to my eyes. I keep thinking I need to hold her more and not get so angry at her naughtiness. My mind keeps going back to the days when I was so in love with this new little life that I had a hard time putting her down even when she was asleep and I had things to do. I am still that in love with her but reality hit quick that I couldn’t hold her all day. Also she is now 48lbs not the 5lbs 14oz. she was when she came home from the hospital, which makes holding her all day a bit more tricky. 🙂

I think the sadness and heavy heart is also due to me turning 35 this year…it is my cut off for having more kids. A bit ago I came to the realization that more babies were not in the cards for me and though I am at peace with it for the most part, a little part of me is grieving because I always envisioned having more children. A brother or sister for my little love. I have 2 sisters and a brother and we had such wonderful times, laughing, playing, fighting and growing up together. I always wanted that for my kids and I know that she longs for it. But, despite my melancholy over it I am firm that I will not be having more. Peanut asked me about it the other day and I finally told her that a sister or brother was not an option and her face fell. These things are so hard for her little heart to understand I know she wants a companion that isn’t an adult. I have thought about fostering which I think would be an amazing and wonderful way to use my/our life and home to help those in need. Hmm we shall see…

In the meantime I am going to cherish the minutes, hours, smiles, laughter and sweet baby kisses she still is unashamed to give her Momma while I can. And be excited for her to start her educational journey…I can’t promise there won’t be tears but there will be lots of love!! I mean come on who couldn’t love this sweet little Peanut girl??

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Jenness

c/s

 

 

Flying Solo…

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Over the weekend I was flying solo my baby was off with her Grandparents and the rest of my family camping. She loves to camp but moreover she LOVES her family!! I have always called her a cousin lover because she just adores them, it is so cute! I think that she thinks we go to church every Sunday just so that she can see them for a few minutes. ❤ For Christmas my mom had the ingenious idea of making her a love wall. So I painted picture frames and put pictures of all her loves in them. Each Family has a unique frame and she can see them everyday. I am grateful that she has my family and that my parents took her to play with them all for the weekend.

With that being said as a result of her absence this momma was a little lost. It is strange not having her little voice ringing through the house and my name being called a million times a day. It is so strange that I am now defined by being a mom and that I feel lost without my child by my side. From the day I found out I was pregnant the game changed. I was immediately Peanut’s mom, she will be six in October, a kindergartener come fall and I have no idea where the time has gone. I was a single mom from the beginning and amidst the mixture of fear and joy I didn’t realize what it meant to be someone’s mom and how much my world was going to change.

And, wow what a wild ride it has been. I have been in bad relationships, had friendships blow up in my face, and created enough of my own drama in my life to fill the television screen with years of soap opera material. I’ve experienced falling madly deeply in love and created lifelong friendships with great people. But hands down not one of those relationships have been as hard, rewarding or meant as much to me as the one I am building with the little person who calls me Momma.

This last week was a rough one for my Mommy heart…I found out that my Peanut was being bullied by a one of her adult teachers and all I wanted to do was rip my co-workers face off. Of course I restrained myself. But, I did respectfully give a full piece of my mind to my boss and had an hour-long conversation about it all and I walked away feeling heard but not settled. And perhaps my unsettled feelings have all to do with me because I was so mad about the situation. In the end I just have to put my trust in her that she would handle the situation. In regards to the whole thing I have this reoccurring thought in my mind  DO NOT MESS WITH PEOPLES KIDS!!

Not only am I a mother, but a child care worker, aunt and adopted aunt to many children and I have learned how very precious and tender children are. In my experience with all the lovely children I have had the pleasure of being part of their worlds I have seen how one thing can change the trajectory of their young and impressionable lives. Perhaps this is why I have been so emotional and just upset over the whole situation I have talked it with my parents, some friends and prayed about it and tried to just find a way to use this for good in the life of my daughter.

I think one of the major take a way’s is that I can use the hurt and frustration that she felt and help her see how others feel when she does things like this to them. As a parent I have feared both sides of bullying and I have heavily leaned on my faith to be my moral and ethical guide. Discussing with Peanut what God would want her to do and that we need to love people how he loves them. I also have been discussing the idea of turning the other cheek…mainly because my daughter has a heart full of spiritedness and independence. Which leads to her sometimes having a sort of righteous indignation. Being that she is 5 that doesn’t always end well with her friends or Momma for that matter.

I am trying to channel these feelings into solutions instead of anger and frustration, I want her to be a communicator who feels free to openly and honestly discuss issues and find positive ways to settle things. I realize that she is five and those lessons take a lifetime of learning but I really want the foundations of respect, kindness, God’s love, and treating people with dignity ingrained in her so that they can serve her well throughout her whole life. Sometimes I feel like I am talking her to death, sometimes I feel like I am too soft and then other times I see the tears of understanding in her eyes. In those moments like Thursday afternoon, I well up with tears and just hold her letting her know that no matter what my love for her will always be there through it all.

I am not a perfect parent I make mistakes all the time, I know that my daughter is not perfect but I am trying to keep the perspective that we are a works in progress. Motherhood is not what I expected and sometimes I have no idea what I am doing. But, through the heartaches and joys, through the frustrations and laughter I can see how I wouldn’t be me without her coming into my life. I love my daughter and will always be here advocating, teaching, listening and trying my best to help her navigate through her life with grace and purpose as long as God allows me to.

In my Peanuts words of prayer…Dear Lord help us to have prettier hearts. ❤

Jenness

c/s

No and other lessons…

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Working in day care truly highlights your strengths and weaknesses in ways that always leave me laughing, pondering, or super frustrated. Yesterday was the latter I was working with 1 and 2 year olds all day and it turned out to be an interesting endeavor. One of my kids is as stubborn as a mule sometimes, he just turned 2 and has learned the appropriate use of no to maddening perfection. The little cute toot simply thinks its hilarious to yell no about any request I made. I was getting more and more frustrated. With six little cherubs in my care for one to not listen and rebel against my authority makes it difficult to manage the class, especially while doing tasks like changing diapers or trying to round them up to go inside from the play ground.  

Every time I he no’ed me I found myself saying “no you do not tell your teachers no” after the 10th time (yes my learning curve is on the slow side) I thought to myself…how is he supposed to learn to not say no when that is all he hears all day. No don’t climb on the table, no don’t hit your friends, no don’t rip that book…Aaahhh NOOOO. At my wit’s end with this simple revelation I was at a loss as to how to move forward. I want all the kids in my care to have a healthy respect for authority and to be respectful to the adults in their lives. I believe it is never too early to be teaching these lessons…I also believe that children understand far more than we give them credit for.

With that being said the rest of the day I wondered how to teach the lesson that needed to be learned and model the appropriate behavior myself. How can I creatively say NO without saying NO? Many times as a parent I have faced this kind of challenge as well. How do you curb undesirable behavior without negatively reinforcing it or other behaviors along the path through your methods. I am thinking an pondering on my methods and would love some input on the subject. 🙂

Jenness

c/s

My Heartstrings…

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My heartstrings are all tied up in the little girl who calls me Mommy. She has been sick for far too long now, she struggles with asthma and allergies and has had a bit of a rough winter. Spring sprung and her asthma kicked into high gear and a lump under her chin appeared. 1 1/2 weeks ago she was taken to the doctor by her Poppy (my dad) new medicine was given and within days her asthma cough was essentially gone. And her sweet little freckle nosed  face went back to normal as the swelling under the chin dissipated, but the lump stayed it did get a bit smaller but was still present. She has been battling low-grade fevers and on Sunday morning she woke up swollen even more and the lump was back full force. My sweet baby was in pain and there was nothing I could do.

There is nothing worse as a mom than not being able to help when your baby is hurting. I took her back to the doctor on Monday things had changed and they decided to further investigate what was going on with her. They took her blood for testing and she didn’t even cry or whimper she was strong and very grown up about it…she did request that I sing her a song while they put the needle in so I keyed up Jesus Loves Me. As soon as the needle was in she turned and watched as they took her blood. They then scheduled her for an ultrasound I waited exhausted from our early morning and the stress of it all and at 4:40pm her Doc’s office called and told me that they scheduled her for a CT scan with contrast…meaning that they would have to put in and IV and run dye through her while they took pictures of the lump. They are looking for a thryroglossal sac cyst…do not ask me what that means. All I know is I don’t like it!! She is on antibiotics and with all the testing I am praying that they figure it all out.

My heartstrings are being tugged over all of this I am emotional and teary eyed when I think about it. Just like I was when she broke her arm last year and had to have surgery. Ugh this is the stuff of life that makes me realize how much it means to me to be her Mom. She is a precious gift from God. My reoccurring thought is how precious that little life is and how much I love and cherish her. When she was a tiny baby I gave my gift from God back to Him and dedicated her life to Him. I promised to raise her in His image and to try everything in my power to bring her up with God as the center of her life. For she is only on loan to me and belongs to my Heavenly Father. That is a hard pill to swallow sometimes and in the rush of life we don’t always remember that these little lives have a higher calling a God-given purpose. I want her to live out that purpose…but it is so hard not to just grab her away from His grasp and selfishly not trust that He is going to take care of her.

My emotions are all over the place and I am worried all I want is for my baby to be ok and for whatever is wrong with her to be a quick and easy fix. It is such a wonderful, beautiful, scary transition from just being you to being someone’s Mommy. To be responsible for this little life full of potential and promise. I wanted little more out of life than to be a Mommy and in the thick of sassiness, discipline issues and daily life you forget the precious gift that it is to be someone’s Mom. As a parent I am constantly surprised by her sharp mind and brave soul, overwhelmed with love and pride. Her wit, confidence and sass (the good kind and the bad kind ;)) keep me laughing and on my toes. I appreciate my gift from God and am grateful that this little ball of fire came my way. I love my daughter and can’t wait for the answers to her health concerns in the mean time I am trying to put my trust in the Lord and remember that He is in control. Hopefully tomorrow will bring much understanding and peace. Thank you to my family and friends for all your prayers and loving support that you always give to Peanut and I. ❤

Jenness

c/s