Eighteen Months Later

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.

…to be continued.

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Life is What Happens

Seeing people’s year in review posts on Facebook has inspired me to write my own. 2015 sucked. It started out with my husband in the ICU after a suicide attempt, and ended with two of my best friends kissing me and making me feel wonderful.

Horrific and horrible things happened last year, but also I got the best gift that any person could ever ask for; I filled the hole I’d felt my entire life. In April I found my bio mom, and subsequently my bio brothers and sister and family, and those people have absolutely made every shitty moment into a fine, okay, or awesome moment. Finally I have people who love me just because I am part of them. I feel whole, for the first time, despite my recent sadness. And that means a lot.

I lost my husband and eventually my marriage. He didn’t die, but he might as well have, considering the way things turned out. I lost my best friend, who also didn’t die, but simply disappeared from our lives like dust in the wind. I was left with his dog, who I had to rehome, and who is very very happy in her new place with her new owner.

I reconnected with one of my best friends from years ago, and she and her girlfriend are Squeaks’ godmothers. They helped me through the first wave of tough times at the end of my marriage. I successfully started a business from my home, and made enough money to sustain a comfortable lifestyle.

Things didn’t work out with Doc, and though it hurts like hell, I suppose it is for the best. Long distance relationships can be difficult. We’ll still be friends, and we never made things “official”, so that makes it a bit easier. I just hate seeing things crash before they get off the ground. I’m a person who always dwells on what could have been!

We finally got JI’s diagnosis, which has helped immensely in getting treatment. Now that he’s on medication, his behaviour has greatly improved. IF only I could get ahold of someone at the autism center to get this behaviour therapy started…

And, at the end of the year, I received a diagnosis myself – metabolic syndrome. It may be the root of all the mysterious issues I’ve had over the years. I have to switch to a low purine diet, which means no yeast, bread, beer, meat, and other delicious things, but I am allowed to have vegetables, pasta, cheese, and wine! Woo! Unrelated to the diagnosis, I will be having surgery at the end of January for a hernia. Fun times.

Overall, even though 2015 had some terrible moments and had a lost of loss associated with it, last year also had some very excellent and amazing moments.

Life Changes… Again…

Things have been going very smoothly the past few weeks. We put JI on Clonidine, a blood pressure reducer, and it has GREATLY improved his disposition. He no longer functions at 11, has had all green days at school wpid-20151119_170344.jpg(well, a couple yellow days, but no reds!), and is generally a happy kid. JI used to be so intense, so full of angry energy, so constantly irritated that he was almost impossible to control. It got to the point where I didn’t know if I would have to take him to the ER one day, because I could not get
him to calm down. He was physically and emotionally out of control. Luckily, an exam by his pediatrician combined with my oral reports and the reports from the autism center warranted the doctor to give us the medication for a trial basis. I cannot believe what a difference it made, and how quickly. For the first time in years, JI is truly himself again. It makes me happy.

On the Squeaks front, he’s growing like a weed, per usual. He’s already got six teeth, and two more are about to pop out in the next week. The last two came in between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning! He got an wpid-20151119_090745.jpgexcellent review at his 9 month check up: 21#, 12 oz, 34″ long. He’s in the 90th percentile, much like JI always was. I think Squeaks is going to be a football player (JI wants to play the tuba LOL). He crawls around like a crazy man, super fast, and is standing and cruising along the furniture. JI walked at 11 months, and I’m sure Squeaks will meet or exceed that timeline. If he didn’t have such a big head, he could probably balance better right now! He’s eating real food, doesn’t care for baby food much anymore, and his favorite foods are jalapenos, multi-grain cheerios, and MEAT. ALL THE MEAT.

Poke has seen the boys a few times since his mother pulled her witchy bullshit back in September. He has an actual job now, so he’s back to paying child support (per our agreement, not “legally”), but I wish he would see the kids more often. He says his only day off is Sunday… I don’t know whether to believe him or not. I’m glad that his mom isn’t getting to spend time with them, but I want the boys to know their father, even if he is an asshole to me. Just because he couldn’t handle marriage and family life doesn’t mean he was or is a terrible father. He was always a good dad until his mental health and substance abuse issues got in the way. It’s sad. What’s even more sad is that JI still asks about Seanatello, but rarely asks about his dad or his grandmother. Of course Honey & Poppy, my parents, are always #1 in JI’s mind! My bio mom and the rest of my bio family have been getting more involved in our lives as well, which will be wonderful for the boys as they get older

I was trying to get into the dating scene, as it is quite lonely and barren out here for a single mother. I am surrounded by at least two children 24/7. My only real life adult contact is when the parents drop off their kids in the morning and pick them up at night, when I see adults at the preschool, and when I go to the grocery store. I am desperate for adult human contact. The problem is, either the market is tapped out or my standards have gotten WAY more stringent than they were in the past. There’s nothing here for me, there’s nobody here that I’m remotely interested in, and actually, that’s fine. I’ve been talking with good friend of mine who lives out east, we’ll call him Doc, and things are going in a pleasing direction. We’re not going to commit, or rush, or whatever. Just take it nice and slow, and I like that. We’ve been friends for about 10 years, withwpid-received_10153767078034801.jpg some rough spots in between thanks to my relationship with Poke, but I’ve always had feelings for him in my heart. I always thought about him, but pushed it aside because I was married and that was supposed to be forever. Well, we all see how that worked out! So now I’m free to pursue what could be, and I’m excited. He seems to be genuinely interested in the boys, and JI talks about him at least a few times a day, even though they’ve never met. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

The Single Life

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wpid-wp-1444259775007.jpegWow. Being a single mom is absolutely nothing like being a single childless person. It’s awesome, because I am fully in control and I don’t have to worry about Poke fucking things up anymore, don’t have to worry about co-parenting or who is doing which chores, or if he’s cheating on me again. I don’t have to clear things with him, ask for permission, or wonder what effect my actions will have on him or our relationship. SO, basically, I’m acting like he did the whole time we were together! Ba-da-bup! But seriously, it is amazing. I am still incredibly happy, though the “honeymoon” – or anti-honeymoon – phase has ended.

I am glad that Seanatello was around for the six weeks that he was, because it helped me get through the toughest part of leaving Poke. If he hadn’t been here, there’s a good chance that on those long nights and difficult days when I missed Poke, I would have asked him to come back. But, because I was distracted with Seanatello, I never even considered it, thank wpid-wp-1444259589791.jpeggod. That would have been a huge mistake. Now that Seanatello is gone, it sucks to be alone, but at least he left his dog. *rolls eyes*

Being a single mom is horrible. Everything is on my shoulders, and I have nobody to blame but myself, ever. I never get any kind of relief, I am literally with at least two children 24/7 – during the day, it’s four to six kids, all boys! – and I have very little adult interaction in real life. When I need a hug, I have to get it from JI. When I am horny, I have to take care of myself. Well, that’s typical anyway, but as a single person with no kids, I could just go out to the bar and take my pick! And, because Poke and his heartless, evil mother refuse to take the boys on weekends anymore, I literally, literally have zero time off. Yes, you read that right, he’s completely abandoned his children, with the guidance or support from his mother. It’s disgusting, because Poke grew up without a father, so he should know better. Apparently he doesn’t give a flying fuck about JI’s feelings. Squeaks is too little yet, and hopefully will have no memories of this traumatic time.

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Speaking of trauma, JI has been absolutely fucked up by this entire situation. After Bitch Mother in Law came to my house and said, in front of JI, that she doesn’t want him anymore and that he is too bad to come over, JI has been a completely different child. He has had one green day, one yellow day, and FIVE red days in 7 days of school. Prior to her tantrum, he’d had only ONE red day, which was because he’d only gotten two hours of sleep before school. JI was set to have an amazing wpid-wp-1444259884824.jpegyear, and now he’s back on the shit track. I can’t control his behaviour anymore; he’s either angry or crying, clinging to me or being a bully to the other kids. He even hit two kids at school! Poke doesn’t care either; when I text him and tell him what is happening, he only has something snarky to reply or he doesn’t reply at all. What a fucking loser. In the long run these boys will be better off without him in their lives, but right now JI isn’t emotionally mature enough to deal with it, and I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to get him into counseling as a start.

…that’s it for now. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other, and so forth. Tomorrow I find out more information on JI’s autism (or not) diagnosis, so that’ll will hopefully be one less thing to worry about. Even if he does get an affirmative diagnosis, at least I’ll finally know.

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Homemade Teething Biscuits

Squeaks started teething pretty early, much like JI did when he was six months old. Now, at eight months, Squeaks has all four front teeth! The biscuits helped him for the month he was teething hardcore. They’re chewy, healthy, and super easy to make! These biscuits don’t dissolve like rusks do, so be prepared for a little mess if baby isn’t too good at chewing and swallowing!

Teething Biscuits

  • 1 cup baby cereal (I used oatmeal)
  • 1/2 jar baby food (I used applesauce)
  • 1 ripe banana, smashed
  • Water

Combine first three ingredients; add water as needed to make a smooth, thick dough – like play dough consistency. Spread on a parchment lined sheet, and bake at 400F until completely baked through, 20-30 minutes. Let cool, cut into rectangles. You want the bars to be large enough that baby will not choke. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Bio Family Update

The past two and a half months have been a whirlwind of emotions for myself, my family, and my bio family. Mostly they have been positive emotions, except on the side of my (adoptive) family. I have continued to build a relationship with my bio family, and I have never been happier in my whole life. I finally feel like I am somewhere I belong naturally, rather than somewhere I am forcing myself to try to fit in.

Back in May, the weekend after Memorial Day, with the help of my siblings, I drove to Akron on a very stormy Sunday afternoon and surprised my bio mom. I met BD, his wife, and Texas at the restaurant around 3pm, and Sissy brought mom once they texted her to say I’d arrived. I could see out the window into the parking lot, and when I saw them walking in, I thought I would faint. Sissy walked over to our table, with bio mom in tow. She stopped, and bio mom kinda looked around like “Why did you stop?” Then she looked over at the table, it took a second for her to realize who I was, and then she put her hand over her mouth and just said “Oh my god oh my god oh my god” over and over. I got up and gave her a hug, and it felt so comfortable, and in the back of my mind I was thinking that the last time she gave me a hug was 33 years ago. I wondered what it felt like for her, and I imagine she must have been thinking the same thing.

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Me and Bio Mom

We had a lovely meal, Mexican of course, and a good time catching up. We were at the restaurant for about three hours! Afterwards we went and visited my bio grandma (Gigi). She was very surprised to see bio mom, and even more surprised to see me. It was an interesting visit, to say the least. Finally we went back to bio mom’s place. We sat and talked with her housemate, talked about everything under the sun, and I finally left around 10:30pm. It was the craziest twelve hours in my recent history! Ranked right up there with Squeaks being born ahead of schedule!

Because they weren’t able to come to the baptism, bio mom arranged for the boys and me to go up to Akron for the 4th of July weekend. She came down and picked us up on Friday afternoon, Poke came up on Sunday afternoon, and we headed home on Monday.

Friday we got delicious authentic pizza, and Sissy brought her girlfriend to the hotel to meet us. JI acted like a maniac after the car ride, and bounced all over the place. After a couple of hours they left, and somehow I got the boys to sleep! Saturday was the big day – meeting ALL the family. Bio mom picked us up in the afternoon, and we headed to my aunt’s house.

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Clockwise from top left: Texas, Bio Mom, Sissy and Me, Gigi

Have I told you guys yet how big my bio family is?! It is HUGE. My family always consisted of me, Scrod, and my parents. My dad has two brothers, one who was never married, and one who passed away, but his wife still comes to family holidays. I have no cousins. My grandfathers died in 1977 and 1981, and my grandmothers passed in 2001 and 2007. So for the past few years, it’s only been the four of us plus Poke and the kid(s), and occasionally my uncle and aunt. That’s it. My bio family? Completely different! My bio mom has three sisters and a brother, and I have nine cousins. There’s also four spouses/fiances with the cousins, three of bio mom’s siblings are married, and bio mom’s mom is still alive as well. Not everyone was at the 4th of July party, but it was very much a culture shock.

Despite being in a totally new situation with a whole crowd of people I’d never met (except my sibs, bio mom, and Gigi), it was awesome. From the very first minute, I was completely at ease. My bio aunt was worried about JI, the first wee little kid to be around in a while, getting into trouble or in a dangerous situation. They live on a big plot of land with lots of holes and trees and rocks and dog piles, so I got it. JI had a blast though, playing with my youngest cousin, who is twelve. They chased each other around, they chased the dogs, and thankfully they stayed out of trouble! Everyone wanted to hold Squeaks, but he was mostly comfortable in bio mom’s arms. He didn’t even want me! While JI ran around like a crazy man and Squeaks charmed everyone with his flirty faces, us older kids played cornhole, drank beers, and ate tons of delicious picnic food (which just happens to be my favorite food to eat in the summer!). It was the perfect day, culminating in a huge bonfire at the end of the night. So happy!

Sunday Poke came up around 1pm, and we met up with bio mom for some different authentic Italian food…. unfortunately the restaurant was closed due to the holiday, so we ended up at a Chinese buffet. Holy cow, it was great! Poke and I used to take JI to all these different Chinese buffets around Columbus, but most of them have closed or the quality has gone way down. The one at Chapel Hill was so so so good – quality food and lots of variety. I could have stayed another hour! Afterwards bio mom drove us around North Hill, the section of Akron where she and my siblings grew up. I got to see the house where I lived for a month after I was born, the houses where my siblings lived/live currently, and a few other landmarks, including the hospital where I was born. It was really special, knowing that all these spots had a real meaning in my life.

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My brother is the one in all black

When we got back to the hotel, JI and I went in the pool for a little bit, and then we all headed out to watch BD’s volleyball championship games. He is really good! I never thought volleyball was interesting until I watched these amateur (professionals?) play. It was fast paced and really fun. Even JI, who hates sitting still, sat and watched most of it! We went simple and hit up Applebee’s for dinner, which was actually pretty tasty! I don’t think we’ve eaten at Applebee’s for about two years and their menu has changed a lot.

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The boys at the hotel

Monday was checkout day, and I was up by 9:30am to get everything ready to go. Poke loaded up the van while I got the kids ready. Bio mom came by around 10:30am to check us out, and then we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Poke had never been to a Cracker Barrel before! I love it; one of my favorite breakfast places. JI was a bit salty for some reason, and actually broke a plate when he pushed it off the table. I had to draw on all my woo-sah and calmly implement the 1-2-3 Magic system that we’ve been using. After a four minute time out, JI was back in business and ended up being a lot better after that. Kids are so weird sometimes.

I was sad to leave, but I had such an amazing time that I know I will be able to get through the next few weeks until I see my bio family again. JI’s birthday is coming up in mid July, so we will probably head up there to celebrate. I can’t wait!

I’m Still Here, I Promise!

Oh my gosh you guys, these have been the busiest two weeks I’ve had in awhile. Squeaks was baptised on the 28th, so I basically spent the whole week leading up to that preparing for the celebration, and the week before that was spent trying to get big projects in the house and yard taken care of so that I wasn’t doing them at the last minute. My backyard and house look great!

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I succeeded in pulling most of the weeds, yay, at least enough to lie down river pebbles and make a nice walkway in the back and fill in the bed in front of our large picture window. I also got the patio furniture painted and arranged, the sidewalk around the shed cleared of weeds, and the front sidewalk cleared of weeds. Inside I rearranged the living room so that the vents are cleared for the air conditioning to blow cold air out (instead of into the bottom of the couch and/or desk!), and cleared a lot of random junk off the kitchen counters and out of the drawers. Thinking back on everything I’ve done around here the past two weeks, I don’t know HOW I got it all done! I think I channeled my inner Wonder Woman.

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In between all of that, we hit up the zoo a few times, played in the pool, and I bought a new bathing suit. I had a one-piece that fits okay, but it’s a halter top with an underwire and it is impossible – literally – for me to get it on by myself unless I’m completely bone dry. If there is one drop of sweat on my skin, it’s over. I went to Lane Bryant and Torrid looking for a plus-size two piece; LB’s were way expensive and not flattering. Luckily I found these top and bottom separates on clearance at Torrid. Yahoo! I’m not afraid of a two piece, but I am afraid of not getting into or out of my bathing suit hahaha this sweet little number calms that fear! Squeaks had his four month checkup and has grown immensely, and even started eating real food – so far, just cereal and spinach, but he loves it. I promise, in the photo, he’s crying because I stopped to take a picture!

sbaptism

The baptism was a wonderful ceremony. We are Catholic, so it was a bit involved, but it went quickly. I ended up having about thirty people at my house (950 sq ft, thank you!) including family and friends. Overall, everything went off without a hitch and now Squeaks is officially in the Catholic Club.

Woo boy, this summer is going to be a crazy one!

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Trip to the Zoo!