The past two months since Squishy left me have been truly a learning experience. I learned that I am still strong, and I can make it through whatever life throws at me. It wasn’t easy by any means, and the scars still remain. But I have moved onto a better place, and I am comfortable.
I have started seeing a psychiatrist for help with PPD and life in general. She gave me a prescription to help me sleep, and I no longer need to self medicate with alcohol. I used to drink for fun, but it got to the point where I couldn’t sleep and had to be drunk to get even just four hours. I’m so glad that’s over.
I have finally made a connection with Little Hippie, now that he’s more of a child than a potato. I didn’t experience PPD with the other two boys, so it was very difficult to realize what was happening. Talking to friends who went through it, especially ones who specifically only went through it with their third child, was incredibly helpful. His dad sees him twice a week and every other weekend, and I am glad for that.
There were absolutely no plans in my head or my heart to start dating anytime soon. But I went out to dinner with a friend, someone I’ve known about two years, but had never hung out with. One night the ex’s girlfriend decided to text me from his phone and talk all kinds of shit. It was infuriating to the point where I actually vomited. At that moment, I wrote him off completely. There was no coming back from that incident. Because I was so angry, I needed to talk to someone on the phone to distract myself. I called my friend (let’s call him Hoss), and I told him what happened. He let me vent, and then proceeded to talk to me about everything under the sun otherwise. We were on the phone for four hours, and by the end of the conversation he had told me that he had been interested in me, but because I was attached, he never said anything. I was shocked.
The next night, he came over after work. It was wonderful. We watched a movie and cuddled up on the couch. I fit perfectly into his body, something I have never had before. From then on, we’ve been together. He stayed one weekend, and I joked that because he had a toothbrush here now, he must be my boyfriend. He agreed.
In the few weeks since that first dinner out, Hoss has treated me, and more importantly my two older boys, better than Squishy ever did, even at the beginning. Hoss seems to truly care, like lifelong care, not fairy tale romance care. He fixed my dehumidifier, and now maintains it of his own accord. He wants to cut my grass. He set up an antenna so I can get regular TV and watch Jeopardy! All these things that are the stuff of life that Squishy never did or couldn’t do or wouldn’t do. Hoss took me and the older boys fishing. He voluntarily had dinner in a real restaurant with them. Squishy wouldn’t even tolerate eating at McDonald’s with the kids! And you know what? They were SO GOOD with Hoss. He is patient. He is even keeled. He doesn’t yell at them or insult them. I never thought Squishy was that bad until I saw how good someone else could be. Hoss is already planning our holidays and birthdays. He changed my oil.
So, while I am surprised to be in a relationship so soon after tragedy struck, it is a good thing. It happened naturally, organically, without any pursuit or drama or whirlwind romance or whatever. That, I think, is what might make this be one of the best relationships I’ve ever had. I’m finally comfortable. It might sound cliche, but for once I actually believe that everything happens for a reason.
After Poke died, things were rough. I had to change my work schedule because I could no longer work weekends. I lost hours and income, as well as no longer receiving the child support I had fought so hard to get. Squishy’s job was going downhill fast, and he wasn’t going to get hired on. We were running on empty, financially and emotionally.
In late August, Squishy started a new job, hired on immediately, and he loved it. In fact he is still there to this day! Warehouse work isn’t for everyone, but he is really good at what he does.
By December I was incredibly pregnant, and Little Hippie was born just before Christmas. Squishy and I had some relationship issues around the same time, and made some much needed changes.
Found out at the beginning of summer that Squeaks has a milk allergy. It’s been very eye opening as far as products that contain milk but you wouldn’t think they do. Poor kid had to completely change his diet.
Finally, Squishy and I broke up. It was sudden, but not, because he’s been miserable for awhile. The changes we made helped, but couldn’t make it right. My heart is shattered, but I have no choice.
As of my last post, things were somewhat in limbo. My, how times have changed since then!
In late April 2017, Squishy and I got our own house. Renting, not buying, but at a great price in a nice neighborhood. A week after we moved in, I found out I was pregnant. It was a surprise, but not because we had an oops! We started trying to get pregnant at the beginning of April and apparently we were really, ie immediately, successful. It was awesome.
At the end of May, Squishy’s son came to live with us. We had specifically chosen this house to accommodate 3-4 kids plus ourselves, and it was a good arrangement. My kids went to daycare while I worked, and KS stayed home playing video games and doing whatever preteens do all day. Unfortunately the Brady Bunch dynamic wasn’t happening for us. I had higher expectations for KS than he was used to, as far as tidiness and courtesy. KS hated living with two little kids and having to “answer” to someone who was not his “real parent”. He’d had similar problems with his mom and stepdad, which is why he came to live with us in the first place.
Within a month, KS had been back to visit his mom and decided he wanted to go back and live with her. Squishy and his ex told him he would stay here for the summer and move back before school started. This would be his final move until age 18, as he had already moved back and forth between them three times. Everyone had had enough. In late August he went home to his mom’s.
As you may recall, Poke and I finally divorced in January of 2017. He was ordered to pay child support, and I spent all of February, March, and April fighting with him and his employer. It got to the point where CSEA was going to take both of them to court, and Poke was facing jail time. That was the final threat, and they began complying.
In June, Poke married some girl who lived in South Carolina. She was the ex of an acquaintance, and Poke and I once witnessed her bashing in the windows of our neighbor’s car at 2am. I guess absolutely insane was what he wanted in a wife. Anyway, I was glad that he was someone else’s responsibility now, and I hoped she’d somehow get him on the right path.
In July, JI turned six. As we were sitting at the Chinese buffet, just the two of us, I got a call from Poke’s brother. He informed me that Poke was in the ICU. Squishy came and got JI, and I ran over to the hospital. Poke was in a coma.
He had been drinking for nearly 18 hours with his ex girlfriend. They went to McDonald’s early in the morning, went back to her house, and fell asleep. At some point she noticed that he wasn’t breathing. The EMTs came, and it took 20 minutes to revive him. By the time I got there, he was on life support, completely, with all sources set to the max. He would not recover. Unfortunately Poke’s brother, mother, and I could not make the decision to remove him from life support; because he was married, we had to wait for a complete stranger to come from South Carolina and make the decision.
Poke coded three times during the night, and died just before 7am on the day after JI’s birthday.
I told JI what happened. He wanted to go see his dad, so I took him to the hospital. JI stroked his hair and touched his arm. The wife had arrived after 8am, and was there with her mother. They left us alone with Poke, and we cried. We cried like people in the movies, and I pounded on Poke’s chest. I was so angry for so many reasons. Angry that he’d not taken care of himself, that he’d left me alone with the boys, that he’d made such terrible decisions. Angry over petty things, like no more child support or health insurance for the kids. Angry that he’d broken his mother’s heart.
Over the next week, my angers retreated for rage. His friends were rallying on Facebook, and Poke became a saint. Everyone was “so shocked” by his death. At the service, folks got up and talked about what a “punch to the gut” it was to hear that he’d died. I wanted to punch them all in their faces. Where the fuck were they when Poke was losing his mind, attempting suicide three times in two months, twice in front of JI? Where were they when he tried a fourth time and his mother and brother had to call the cops to physically restrain him due to violent outbursts after drinking two bottles of whiskey, an assortment of other alcohol, and taking different pills he found? Where were all these people who allegedly loved him so much? Nowhere. They knew nothing of the real Poke. It made me sick to hear them prattle on while those of us who dealt with his demons on a daily basis were the ones who hurt the most.
It’s been awhile. A long while. So many things have changed, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll start with the new year.
January 5th, Poke and I were finally officially legally divorced. I could have thrown a party! It was the most wonderful day I’d had in a long time… until I had to take my van in to have the entire power steering system replaced, which cost me $270. Good thing there’s a Firestone credit card.
January 20th, a day that will live in infamy. I was so depressed all day, scared, worried, and had an overall feeling of doom about me. Politically, things have only gotten worse since then. I really don’t know what those people were thinking putting this monster in the White House, but apparently human rights, education, health care, clean air, clean water, etc etc etc mean absolutely nothing to them. Disgusting. I can only hope that he is impeached and indicted, because if he’s assassinated he’ll be lauded as a hero/martyr to the neo-Nazis that call themselves conservatives.
Next up, my birthday, which is at the beginning of February. I really don’t care about my birthday. This year I turned 3_, which is one step closer to 40. Per usual, my birthday sucked. I used to try and make it a good day, try not to get my hopes up, but every year I’d think “This will be the year that my mother doesn’t make a scene/cause problems/make me feel like shit” or “This will be the year that Poke actually remembers my birthday and gets me a card/gift/says happy birthday”, only to be disappointed in the end. It’s not like I need a lot of presents or anything, but having one day a year that is actually legitimately just for me would be nice. Unfortunately, this year was another bust. My mother was difficult at dinner, which was a huge disappointment even without her shit, and Squishy was so angry by the time we got home that he ended up going back to his place instead of sleeping over. I couldn’t blame him though, if I didn’t have the kids I’d have gone back to his place and gotten drunk as a skunk.
Luckily though, Squishy is an AMAZING boyfriend. We have been together for four months now, and things just keep getting better. He has been the most supportive, helpful, caring, kind, wonderful man I have ever dated. I don’t know what I did to get so lucky for once, but I am not going to question it. We are getting ready to move into our own place here in the next few weeks, which is the next exciting chapter in our life together. I can’t wait!
Both my sons love Squishy, which makes me life a hell of a lot easier. Poke has gone from mediocre father to terrible father, refusing to pay child support, didn’t do anything for Squeaks’ birthday, doesn’t call them or answer JI’s calls, and so forth. If I could cut him out of their life completely, I would in a heartbeat. He’s a shitty person, and I really don’t want them around him. However, it’s not up to me. I don’t say negative stuff about him to the boys, unlike their father who talks shit about me constantly. My goal is to let them find out for themselves what a creep he is, and I will be there to pick up the pieces when they fall. The only reason JI wants to go there is because he knows he can play the tablet the whole time. I don’t think Squeaks really cares one way or the other – he used to yell “Daddy! Daddy!” when Poke came to get them, now he is just silent. He loves Squishy though, and calls him by his name and by Daddy, depending on his mood. Squishy has a son, KJ, who is twelve, so he’s been through all this before, which helps me out.
Also, for once in my life, I have amazing in-laws. Squishy’s mom and dad are the best. The treat me like I am their own child, and we always have a great time together. I usually spend every other weekend at their place, because Squishy lives right across the street. (Yeah, he lives with his 95 yr old grandmother and takes care of her – awesome man, right?!) My 1st husband’s parents/step father were always kinda blah about me, Poke’s mom hated my guts until I birthed her first two grandchildren, now she hates me again, and the parents of my various boyfriends were never really anything. I honestly can’t even remember meeting many, if any, more than once or twice. But because Squishy and I plan to be married sometime in the future, it is so comforting to know that I already have good people who love me. They love the boys and the boys love them as well, so that’s an added bonus!
In mid-February, Squeaks turned two. He is a super crazy boy! I cannot believe how fast he is growing, both physically and mentally. Squeaks knows his colors, he can count to ten, he knows square, triangle, circle, and rectangle, and his vocabulary is off the charts. This kid is constantly talking. It is quite a different experience raising a neuro-typical child after having an autistic child. I remember JI being so chill, so easy, so “adult” and not needing much attention or supervision. Squeaks could not be more opposite! This child gets into everything. My bff, with whom we still reside, is pretty much at her breaking point with the two year old shenanigans. He’s a very busy boy.
My new job is great. It’s a very easy job, but the pay is good for being part time. I’ve even gotten a raise! My supervisor made me the customer service champion, which means I’m in charge of all the ways to make customers happier and make their time in our place easier/quicker. Since I’ve been there, our rating has gone up 2%, and I am really proud of myself. I used to hate dealing with people, but since I don’t have to deal with them more than 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes at once, it makes it a lot easier to be sincerely friendly and helpful. Plus I am working for a company that I had worked for years ago, and I absolutely love this place. Benefits are great, even though I’m not full time I get all kinds of perks, and the only thing I don’t get is health insurance.
Despite having a job, things have gotten beyond tight financially once again. With Poke refusing to pay child support, half my income is gone. I tried to get approved for government child care, but it was denied, so until I can get approved, I can only work 2-4 days a week. It is so rough. I am literally out of things to sell, having gotten rid of 95% of my furniture, baby clothes, and toys before/during the move, so I don’t know how else to make money. I am considering donating plasma, even though I usually vomit from getting blood drawn. It’s worth the risk of puking if it means I’ll have money for gasoline. All my money goes to bills, car gas, non-food groceries, and my roommate. I have absolutely nothing left. This doesn’t matter to my mother though, who constantly asks me for money. Yes, I do owe them some, but my dad makes almost $100K/year and I don’t even make $100/week right now. I told them I’d pay with my tax return, but that’s not good enough for her. She needs to harass me in the meantime. So, for now, I have cut off my parents. Once I send them the money I owe them, with instructions etc. regarding never asking me for money again, I will let them back into my life. But at this point in time I have way too many stressors to let their petty bullshit bring me down.
So I guess that brings me to present day. Tomorrow is the last day of February, a typically shitty month, and I’m glad it is over. Hopefully by the end of March things will have straightened out and I will be in a much better place.
I haven’t felt Christmas-y since 2013. In 2014 I was incredibly pregnant with Squeaks, in 2015 Poke and I had been split up for five months and I was dealing with JI’s behaviour, and this year we don’t have our own home and I don’t have any money to buy new presents for the boys or gifts for anyone else. It sucks. I’m so happy to not be homeless, and I am so happy that I have Squishy in our lives. I got a job and I’m only part time for now, but I am happy to be employed. Overall, things are fine. Nothing is terrible.
I feel terrible though. JI keeps asking why we haven’t decorated, why there is no tree, why we have no lights. He wants to know if he is going to get a lot of boxes on Christmas morning. This is the second year he has been interested in Christmas, and I feel like I am going to fail him. I know that it is not all about the gifts, but when I have practically nothing to give but some old hand-me-down playsets, I feel like a bad mother.
In addition to feeling badly about not having enough things for the boys, I feel bad for just not being in holiday spirit. I have been trying very hard, but things have been rough around here lately, and I just don’t have it in me to be jolly. I am tired and stressed all the time. I have $40 to last me two weeks. I have no idea when my first paycheck will come. I feel like I am hovering over an abyss that could suck me in at any time. It’s so frustrating. This headache hasn’t gone away for almost a month.
But damn, as happy as I am for the things mentioned earlier, it would be really nice to get a break. I’ve been busting my ass for these kids and my family and our lifestyle for so long, and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. JI tells me that he loves Squishy more than me, and he wishes I would go away. Squeaks went from being a great sleeper to some kind of 3rd shift monster. Very little of the furniture and stuff in the house is mine; I’m simply existing in someone else’s world. It hurts.
There’s nothing to do but carry on, so carry on I shall. Keep smiling, keep being cheerful, fake it til I make it. Right?
Late May of 1997, I met a really cute guy in the bleachers at our spirit day festivities. There was only a week of school left. I told my friend Sarah that I thought this guy was cute, and at the end of the day she and her boyfriend showed up at my locker, cute guy in tow. We ended up dating all summer, but when school started again he went to public school and I went back to Catholic school. It was hard to keep it going, because I was young and easily distracted. In the end, I broke up with him, and life went on.
On a typically boring Friday night a few weeks ago, Facebook suggested him as a friend. I added him and sent a message like, “idk if you remind me, we dated almost 20 years ago”. Saturday evening, he wrote back and we talked for awhile, and it turns out he’s always had me in the back of his mind. He’s been married once, has one son, has a good job, and apparently thinks I’m beautiful. We’ll call him Squishy.
One afternoon, Squishy and I went to Chipotle for lunch, and while we were standing in line a woman turned to us and said “We are starting a hug campaign, would you like to be first?” So I said sure, and then Squishy and I proceeded to hug five strangers just for the hell of it. It was weird, but it was awesome! People need to give and get more hugs! How was this my life?
I know that you guys might think I’m crazy, falling in love almost immediately. But when Squishy walked back into my life that day, it was like I had finally come home. I texted him, I talked to him on the phone, then I saw him in person… the last time I saw him was almost exactly 19 years ago. I was young and dumb. Things happen. I spent the whole time looking for someone who treats me the way he did – the way he does – and finally he’s back. He’s here. The only time I have felt this much joy in my heart was when JI and Squeaks were born, and when I reconnected with my birth mother. I feel whole. I feel happy. Not honeymoon, new love happy, but comfortable happy.
It’s been a long time since I updated, thanks mostly to my chromebook keyboard suddenly ceasing to work properly. I don’t know what happened, it just stopped working one day. Then a few weeks later, half the keys worked but there was no real pattern to it. So I finally got a wireless USB keyboard and mouse from my dad, and now I can use my chromebook again! YAY!
So anyway, kindergarten started off great. The first day was, in JI’s words, “Absolutely perfect”. I cried for about twenty minutes when he got home. Day two… shit hit the fan. My son JI was sent to the peak aka behaviour room. Day three, okay. Day four, his behaviour was so bad that I had to pick him up early and he was asked to not return. They wrote on the report that he assaulted a teacher. He’s five. He kicked her because she got too close. JI was off for the next week as we tried to find a spot in an ED classroom rather than the general SpEd/Autism room he was in the first week. We got a spot at a different school, and he attended half days at the original school for a week until the transportation was figured out.
He’s been at the new school for a full week, three days, plus Monday and Tuesday. Monday was his first rough day, but he got himself under control. Yesterday after lunch/recess, I guess he started melting down and couldn’t stop. The teacher called me at 2:45pm, and I could hear JI screaming. He said JI was throwing chairs, trying to bite/hit/kick, took off his socks and shoes and threw them, etc. He wouldn’t or couldn’t calm down. It wasn’t until they told him I wouldn’t be coming that he calmed down to get on line for the bus.
The problem is that he doesn’t act like this at home. He doesn’t get violent or aggressive towards me or any other people – and to be clear, he wasn’t at school either, not towards any kids or adults until the adults attempted to get close to him. If he and I have a disagreement, I either remind him of his choices or I tell him the consequences of not doing what he’s told. I’m frustrated because I’m not the special education teacher, I’m not the expert, but they expect me to tell them what to do. I don’t know what to do because he does not do this around me! There was a short period of time when he did, but we suffered through it and moved on. I merely held my ground.
Is JI trying to feel them out? Is there something about school that changes a kid’s personality? Will this eventually pass, or is my high functioning, highly intelligent, super cute, loving autistic child doomed to end up in juvenile detention or some kind of home?! I know it’s the first incident but the way things went at the last school, I’m really nervous. We had a conversation last night and this morning about how he should act when he’s upset or angry, and I hope it sticks.