Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Year of $%#! and Bad JuJu

From recent social media posts, I gather that many of you are feeling the pressure and strain from the passing year. I definitely share in the sentiment that 2016 was a rollercoaster of a year filled with ups and downs. As I think about all that has occurred over the past year and where I was 12 months ago, I can’t help but feel like 2016 was the year of bad juju.

In my life if there was one word I would use to describe the year, it would be transition.

Professionally, I moved into a new role which has presented many challenges but also great opportunities. I am grateful for those that have supported and encouraged me and for the amazing group that I work alongside each day.

Personally, where to start? There is no way to sugar-coat this so here it is. I got divorced. I hate that word, divorce. It sounds demeaning and depressing. Ugh! But alas that is what occurred. I will not go into specifics because to be blunt it is no one’s business, except ours. I will share that there was no one reason, or some scandalous occurrence just a decision we reached together. When we made the decision in August we vowed to end our marriage together. I’m sure that sounds odd to many, but we entered our marriage together so why wouldn’t you try to help each other through its end? In a way, he is the only person that knew what I was feeling and going through. Divorce is awful, whether it is mutual or not, we just didn’t see a need to make it worse for each other. One vital  aspect is that with every decision, we tried to always put our son first. I am proud to say we have done just that. We have seen too many bitter and nasty divorces where children are involved. Brody was and remains our top priority. We are both thankful for the friends and family that just supported us and didn't question an already very difficult decision. I know some may be shocked to learn our news and although it was not a secret, Bill and I have been very protective of each other. I even let him read this before posting out of respect. From going through this process, which included moving to a new home, it has been emotionally draining. But we have done the best we could with the situation and as Forest Gump famously said, “That’s all I have to say bout that right now.”

So 2016…you kinda sucked. Please move along and take your bad juju with you. I am welcoming 2017 with open arms. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Day Suicide Changed My Saturday To-Do List

People that know me well know that I am a planner, and yes some may even say I am a bit of a “control freak,” which I suppose is totally true. I am admittedly much more of an action, than a sit back kind of person. I believe Vanilla Ice said it best in his 90s masterpiece of a ballad, “If there was a problem, Yo, I’ll, I’ll solve it!” 

Moving on…

One year ago yesterday, I was visiting my father who was going through a divorce. The purpose of the visit was for me to help him “replenish” his home with decor that he wasn’t swift enough to negotiate for in the litigation and also just to make sure he was doing well. I had already been up early on a ladder cleaning and decorating bookshelves when I realized I needed to hurry because I had a list of antique stores I love to visit in his town where I knew we could find some cute items. I had a plan for the entire day everything from shopping, lunch, playground to a much needed one on one “choose wiser next time Daddy” therapy session by yours truly later in the afternoon. Apparently life had a different to-do list in mind for me that day.

I had barely gotten out of the shower when Bill started knocking on the bathroom door, telling me my dad was on the phone and that he thought something was going on. At first I didn’t think much about it because every problem can be solved so much easier after you have applied a little mascara and lipstick. A few minutes later Bill came back and told me he really thought I needed to come out but he wouldn’t tell me what was happening. So I quickly got dressed, and as I marched out I mentally thought “what in the world could be going on now?” My life was already in a whirlwind, less than two months prior Brody had been diagnosed with ASD and here I was helping my dad with a divorce, so what problem could be occurring now? I turned the corner and made eye contact with my dad and knew that it was probably something serious by his expression. “Sweetie, your mother’s died.” I went into my “fix this” mode. A little side note about me; whenever there is a crisis I tend to function at my best, in some capacities I sort of emotionally shut off in order to do what needs to be done. My first priorities were speaking to my sister and brother and making sure they knew and were ok.

I’m going to fast forward through details of the next hour and half of absolute utter confusion (seriously no other word can describe it), but my dad, the amazing person that he is, agreed to drive me to my childhood home while Bill stayed in Fayetteville with Brody. When we arrived and I saw the amount of cars and the sheriff’s office parked out front, my immediate reaction was small town dramatics. I thought to myself someone had passed away so why in the world did we need all of this? We parked and I went to my sister and brother and then they told me that my mother had committed suicide. 

I won’t disclose the details of what occurred as there are things that are private and also this is my first time writing about this experience and it feels a bit awkward doing so on a place that has an address of “blogspot” in it. 

I had not seen my mother since my step-dad’s funeral when I was 8 month’s pregnant about 4 year's prior. I had made a decision to no longer have my mother in my life. This was not an easy decision and I know to some in her life it was viewed as a selfish decision. I knew I could no longer continue with the battles and knew that no matter what argument or ultimatum she was given things were more than likely not going to change. Once I knew I was going to become a mom, I did not want my want my child to see what I was and had experienced so it was a decision I made and I own it and take responsibility for it. And yes, I struggle every day with the guilt of my decision. 

Obviously, my Saturday to-do list changed drastically. Instead of antiquing and solving my dad’s feng shui problems, we were sitting in a funeral home planning my mom’s funeral. It’s crazy how in a moment your life can totally change forever. I never thought suicide would be a word that would be in my vocabulary. 

One of my dear friends has a perfect phrase she said to me. Excuse the language, “Everyone has their shit.” When you think about it, isn’t that statement one of the truest statements ever made? Although social media is great for scrapbooking life’s happy and fun moments, we truly never know what is occurring in people’s lives. No one’s life is perfect, no matter how much you think “they have it easy” or “they have the perfect life” it simply does not exist. When things like this happen in your life you will see some amazing people that show you love and kindness that you never expected. You will have people that drive for 4 hours to not speak to you but just so you see them sitting in a funeral pew. You have people that will come to you when you need it most and sit with you and cry with you in anger and eat an entire strawberry cake in your living room floor. You will have people that know to leave you alone because a lot of times that’s what you need most. Ultimately, when awful crap happens you have to focus on the examples I mentioned above because that is what will get you through.

I'm not entirely sure the purpose of why I am writing this post. Maybe just to say you just never know how life’s to-do list can change. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Letter to My Mini Human

Dear Brody, 
It’s been a year since the word Autism was added to our lives. You don’t know what the word means yet but to me it is the most beautiful and terrifying word I have ever heard. It is beautiful because Autism is a part of you, and you my precious baby boy are beautiful but it also terrifies me as it holds so much unknown in our lives and I have seen how it makes you struggle.
Mommy is so proud of you and all that you have done this year, my mini. I know it was hard having to change schools, it was hard on Mommy and Daddy too. Each week you go through so much, at school you have 2 group speech therapies, 1 individual speech therapy, occupational therapy, then two mornings before school we go for extra speech and occupational therapies. Then at night we work on homework that the teachers and therapists think will help you.  You are amazing. 
I’m sorry you sometimes see Mommy cry. It makes me laugh when you say that my eye color is either black or red - for the record Brody my eye color is Blue like yours. :) Please know baby boy these tears are nothing you caused but just from frustration in not knowing how to help you more and roadblocks we encounter in trying to help you and sadness in seeing all that you have to endure at such a young age when other 4 year olds are able to be kids. 
There are so many aspects of ASD that I don’t understand and I wish you could explain to me. I don’t know why a certain commercial on the Disney channel makes you turn around and cover your ears. I don’t know why you need to clinch your shirt and pace back and forth each night. I don’t know where you go when your little eyes get lost. I will keep searching for you my mini, to understand and to help but I want you to know, that Mommy loves you and is proud of you. 
Now let’s turn up the Uptown Funk and dance because it is time to start a new day.