What defines me?

Cancer , A Dozen Kids , Life, Struggle

You can’t even imagine how long I’ve procrastinated such a simple task like picking up the phone. Today my only real goals is to make three phone calls. One call to Lowe’s to find my missing toilet. One call to comcast to change my plan. Then one last call to my eye doctor for a new eye exam.

Two of those calls I’ve legit put off for months. Avoiding at any cost. Finding ways to claim to be just simply to busy to call. Pretending to forget them as if they were taunting my brain every moment.

Until the first call this morning even I didn’t realize how bad the anxiety had become. I’m on the first call. It’s just Lowe’s. I ordered a toilet that got lost in transit and need refund or a new toilet. Prepared with the order number, the shipping info and a big deep breath.

Soon as someone picks up after the endless computerized answers and pushing of the keys to match up my needs I am panicked. My breathing is so rapid it’s like I’m hyperventilating. The man on the phone doesn’t speak english well and he wants information that somehow I can’t remember any longer. Like my name spelling. Seemingly something that can’t be forgotten.

I try I genuinely try to stay on the phone but within a few more questions I am hanging up frantically. As if my life depends on me taking a breather I put the phone down. I begin to pace my room. I know exactly what I need in the moment. Trying hard to avoid picking up and texting Marc. Because lets be honest his high stress, high demand job is far more important than a text of me failing short on a phone call.

My brain is now telling me how seriously incompetent I am. This is my role in the family. As the stay at home mom these calls are my task. Marc makes far too many calls on his lunch breaks as it is. Yet it’s a monumental task and I’m not sure I’m capable.

Pacing more. Marc text me. Of his phone call to the shoe company he bought his boots from that aren’t working out for him. They are going to let him trade out the boots for the size he is needing. Now that’s my in to tell him of the horrible time I am having with my calls.

I feel like I can breath again as soon as I unload to him. The text sends and I feel relieved. Before he even responds I make the choice to go bake. Let go of some stress and breath through doing something I love. This will calm me for my second try at the calls. Of course I text Marc this wise choice too.

He responds with enjoy baking my love. Exactly as I knew he would respond. My heart smiles and I bury myself in my baking. A home made chocolate chip cookie batter and a cheesecake batter. To swirl together in some crazy conjunction I will call brownies.

During baking I think oh I can blog of this. Blogging will take more time and I can put off just a bit longer those calls. Win for me. Oh wait, here I am again stalling out these damn calls. How the hell did this become my life? How did I become afraid to speak? I must muster up all I have inside and just try again.

faceless woman walking with umbrella and suitcase

Remember the perfect vacation that I mentioned some very painful memories flooding me during? I’m finally ready to speak of it. Months later of course. At the field where Marc meet up with his buddies to fly rc planes there was a man there from my past.

At 15 years old my mom sent me to stay with my dad. To be honest it very well could have been my choice. I was already at my grandma’s and my dad was staying there as well. He was getting his own place and I happily was ready to be with him.

It was nothing like I expected it to be. Always had life been in poverty and I was accustom to that. But this was different. There was no Grandma Betty hooking me up with snacks to survive on. There was no food I could steal from babysitters. There was literally nothing to eat often!

My dad may have worked just directly accross the road from the home we were staying in but I never saw the man. He worked all day and his evenings were left to the women he dated. The one that sticks in my mind from that time hated kids. She had none of her own and no intention of ever having any. She had a convertible that I most certainly thought was the most expensive car in the world at the time. This woman spoke of cutting my neck even.

As a parent now, I can honestly say I would never in a million years be a parent dating anyone who spoke ill mannered to my kids. Threats to my kids bring out my pit bull instantly. However it was not the same for my father. In fact it was him who told me of the ill things she thought of me. She was far better at hiding her thoughts from me.

Anyhow getting off topic. Since he had little time for me. There was no cable or internet back then. The house was as country as it gets. It was miles to town and the town didn’t have much to speak of either. It was a farming community.

Not anticipating me being so lonely I ended up constantly on the house phone. Back then everything was long distance and I was racking up bills my father could never afford. If you had asked me at 15 I would have not cared. He hadn’t done anything to take care of me in my eyes what was a little phone bill?

Lonely and hungry, bored teens can certainly run up a phone bill. In fact one of the girls I meet at school quickly showed me that calling 900 numbers always give you someone to talk to. That was how we passed time. At 15 years old talking to grown elderly men on phone sex lines.

My dad found out about the bills. He busted in on me and my friends with guys in his home. It wasn’t even two months before he was fed up and giving up on me. He put $20 in my hand and that was it when he left me to fend for myself on the streets.

I couldn’t go home to my mom’s. No one wanted me. He didn’t want me. He was going to stay with the girl whom had wanted to hurt me physically. You truly don’t feel more worthless as a teen. As a female I thought nothing of myself or my body.

At a friends cousin’s. I went wherever I could lay my head for the night and I can’t even remember the cousins name anymore. I’ve strained my memory for years to remember that name. Thinking I could find her …. I could then face him and what he did….

At that cousins house the girls I were friends with drank. I didn’t. I truly was just so scared of things like drinking, smoking, and sex. I often just pretended to join and never actually partake in the festivities.

I went to bed first and in some toddler type bed. It was the cousins little siblings bed but they weren’t home that evening so they had told me I could crash in it. I was so short it was like the perfect fit for me. I remember everyone teasing me that night about it.

The cousin’s dad came home. I remember meeting him while I went to the bathroom. He was in the reserves and had just got home from that weekend away at that. I don’t remember much of the between now but he went in the room I was sleeping in when everyone was asleep. He put his hand up my leg and kept trying to pull me. I pretend to sleep so nervous and confused to what on earth could be going on.

He was persistent. Eventually pulling strong enough to pull me to the edge of the bed. He had my pants off with tears flowing my face before I even could gain my bearings. Covering my mouth and telling me shhh shhhh. Don’t wake anyone. Just be quiet. When he finished with me I cried and cried. What could I do? There was no where to go. These girls who he was family to were all I thought I had.

When I told my friend who I had been living with. That her uncle had sexually assaulted me. She was nothing but biterly angry. She believed the story I told her but only seemed angry I ever shared it with her. She didn’t want to bare the burden of knowing. Everything about the friendship changed. To her mom she went to ask her to get me out of the home.

When her mom came and said I couldn’t stay there anymore. That she had to put her own child above me even though it broke her heart to do so. I never did say why her daughter was mad at me. Why she wanted me to leave. I kept everything to myself.

At the flying field with Marc that man who did those terrible things stood right next to me. When he locked eyes with me I panicked. I had to race to the tent to cry to myself. I swear the man used his eyes to look straight through me the rest of the trip. Each time we went up to fly he would too. He would put himself right next to me over and over. Never taking his eyes off me. I felt violated all over again. Trying to bare through my pain so Marc wouldn’t know.

Painful and emotional the trip was for the next few days there. I couldn’t get the memory out of my head. I didn’t sleep for a couple days in that tent. Pretending to Marc it was the cold and noise. But it was the vivid details of my innocence being taken that kept my eyes soiled and open at night.

Honestly, I love that it’s just me the kids and Marc. The peace I have in that is unlike any other. For so long I had to fit in and had to have friends. Even though I knew that they didn’t know or even like me for who I was. Now I love the solitude of being alone and I enjoy the closeness I have with my better half and children.

Yesterday, Marc sent me to shop for myself. I truly suck at this task. So I’m deep in the boots section of Walmart snapping pictures to send to Marc. Never does it even cross my mind he’s at work without the time to help me shoe shop. Simply because I knew he would respond.

Snap snap, with a paragraph of Ebonics of how I’m struggling to decide. The pros and cons of each of the two boots I had. Instantly Marc responds with his don’t look at the price. Don’t let that play any part of the decision. He knows me so well.

So thoughtfully he tells me to get the best. The ones I like most. Don’t worry the price is said multiple times. He knows I need to hear that because it’s the only factor really in my head. Again, never do I think I wonder if his head is deep into ripping apart an engine? Or is this his morning meeting at work? I do not expect immediate answers. Knowing he is at work it’s not as though I expect those text to be quick. But I’d be lying if I said they weren’t.

It’s like he is super human and able to attain all my needs and work. From time to time my selfish ass will remember that his job is demanding and hard. It’s physically tolling to his body and mind. I’ll then try to text less trivial bullshit to him. However he is perfect and knows. He will pop up with questions of my day and sending mushy love me text that I simply adore.

He knows I need him and sincerely I think he enjoys being my everything even if it’s probably the hardest job he has. I sent text expressing my gratitude and leave notes in his lunch. Thoughtful things to let him know I see all he does for me and my mental health. No matter how much I do I can never show him how much he’s appreciated and loved. He’s saved me from the saddest life and provided for my every need. The life I have now is the one I thought was only in fairy tales.

Are we all not so excited that last year is finally gone? I don’t know about you but I am feeling a bit stronger after surviving that mess. Only can go up from here kind of attitude to take into the New Year.

New Years Eve there is no party to tell of. It’s just not really our lifestyle. We much rather enjoy snuggles and talks. Or binge watching some crappy series. When we were down with the sickness over the holiday we legit binged a series we both hated. So sick we lacked the energy to change it until we were so far in we needed to see how it ended.

We giggle of that awful series that we never turned. Snuggled to each other sick as dogs still finding a reason to giggle together. That’s our style.

I didn’t really give a resolution for the year but I am committing to paying off all the credit cards. As well as more vacations. All the time I want to vacation. Time away with the kids’ and alone both is what I long for. I enjoy exploring so much!

Twenty Twenty One was a long year the kids are often sent home from school to quarantine because they were close to someone who may have covid. Then I rush to pick them up separate them from the rest of the house and wait it out praying they don’t come down with it. So far no positives for covid. For that I am so grateful.

Seeing a new year come in brings in new hope. Things can change and we can adapt and have a better year. Looking forward to all we can achieve as a family this year. Truly the sky is the limit. Can’t wait to see the path my children take and how far they come in life. They are my reason for breathing.

Really not much of an excuse to dropping the ball in the moment like I did. She came to the house and tried so hard to patiently explain even though I was just flat out rude. You see she came with Eight hot cocoa bombs not seven and greedily with my selfish chocolate addicted I insisted the eighth was for me.

Repeatedly interrupting, it never crossed my mind she would finally refer to me as the mother of eight that I had always wanted her to. She had found the understanding in the open adoption choice I had made and I missed the moment. I missed the chance to have a connection with my mom because I literally could only think of these chocolate balls of goodness I had to have.

To my defense I made Marc spend a fortune and search high and low for those little yummy chocolatey goodness of cocoa. They are my favorite thing and even more so now. How though still does a chocolate cocoa ball blind me for such an important connection with my Mom?

I’ll probably be asking myself that for a minute. Obviously there is no going back and regaining the connection with my Mom now. However it does feel nice to sit in the emotion now. She counted your son. She gifted him and included him.

Maybe she sees now that this was the perfect adoption story and even though it wasn’t the terms or fit see seen as best. It was absolutely the best for Luke and I. Can’t imagine it any other way and it’s the most amazing story of love I’ve ever known.

Christmas was pretty peaceful although the entire day I continued to keep thinking of the next day. The day after Christmas my Mom would stop for a Christmas exchange. This hadn’t happened in years and it had been even longer than that that I had had her inside my home to visit. Most of her visits occur at the driveway and she never enters or even stays more than moments at a time.

It was an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Uncomfortable with what she would think of my home. Is it clean enough for her standards. Even the thought that she may call cps if it wasn’t came across my mind. Thinking very easily there would be a lot of judgement towards my home and life.

The night before I was up all night. What will she think of the animals? Will the fresh chop { the fruit and veggies mix for the birds) create flies the morning of and her get a fly to the face when she walks in? I couldn’t stop the thoughts in my brain and I barely slept at all.

It’s hard to swallow the judgement of your own family. To be honest I’ve only ever felt judgement. My mother could say to me a million times I was a good mother the history shows she doesn’t really feel that way. The struggles I had as a mother is all I felt anyone ever seen.

Too many times it was about what I wasn’t doing right. That has clouded any compliment ever given. I tried to just put the thoughts out of my mind. However when the morning of her arrival came I was insanely riddled with anxiety. The house was never going to be clean enough.

Her arrival was in the middle of me taking a couple puffs of cannabis to ease my anxiety. Yet, when she arrived during those puffs it was an instant great my mom will label me a pot head parent. It never eased for me. I was uncomfortable the entire visit. Couldn’t find words to have conversations. Everything made me uneasy. She handed me a blanket with this sweet saying and I love you message. For me it was another way to not have to say the words to me or give me her time. I couldn’t even see it for the positive it was.

The visit went fine and yet I couldn’t even enjoy it. Couldn’t let go of what was and couldn’t see her love for me or the kids. Kept going back to she doesn’t have the time to even give you. She volunteers close and yet it’s been driveway visits. She never plans time with us. It’s not a priority and when she is around my kids it feels as though she is parenting them instead of being nana. Like squats to learn to close a door… Can’t you just hang out and learn us. But that’s exactly what she is doing in this visit she is just visiting and yet my brain just fills with all the past.

I’m not sure I know how to change my mindset. To let go of what was and see what is now. So badly I wanted to enjoy the time we had but I didn’t. Instead I sat sulking in the negative feelings I have attached to her presence. 🙁 It’s a lonely place I’m sitting in.

Blanket From My Mother

Another Christmas under our belts. As always nothing went as it was planned and yet it went without a flaw. Starting Christmas shopping back in August left me with quite the stack. Eight hundred presents in all.

There was no tree as the solid month before Christmas we took turns passing around this awful sickness. For awhile I was pretty convinced that the covid had settled into my house and taken it and all of us over. However the test for covid stayed negative throughout. We all couldn’t do much through the sickness battle. It was hard enough to just not let the house turn into a giant trash can. So there was no tree or decorations this year as there has been years prior.

Instead there was simply a mountain of gifts and tons of excitement that just in time for Christmas we all felt better. For the months leading up to Christmas every time that mountain would grow I would feel a sense of accomplishment. My entire life revolves around the kids and my better half. Knowing I would bring them joy opening their gifts just lights me up from within.

This year Paytyn let me know he much rather prefer a lot of small things, even things that he needed to be wrapped over a few bigger items. So I wrapped literally everything. He explained being surrounded with tons of gifts and surprises that were all his was exciting. He felt spoiled by that and that was a good feeling. It was so much though I really couldn’t see what was being open or the reactions of the kids. It took us two and half hours just full fledge everyone ripping open everything at the same time.

Legitimately I was just pouring in sweat by the end of the passing out of the gifts. I had thought I could play Santa alone. Quickly enlisted Marc and Aaden to help sling out presents. I was calling names and tossing presents from one side the room to another in a rapid fashion.

When it was all over we hogged down some pizza from the local woman owned pizza parlor in my town. It’s absolutely the best pizza you can eat. Visiting with Marc’s family after pizza until dark with our bellies full and our hearts bursting is how we finished off the evening.

The parents left at bedtime and I quickly made my way up to my kids rooms. Planting myself on the floor and asking them about all their stuff. Seeing what they were most excited for and what color clothes I should skip out on next time. Marc made his way up to check on me and give me more time with them while he did chores and shower himself. I probably hung out another two hours upstairs hearing them rave all the things they loved that they got. I couldn’t have been happier with the day.

It’s always been a clear fact that I have had anxiety. Defining that a little further I would label it as social anxiety. Lately, I’ve felt it at a much thicker presence.

In Walmart, which as a coupon princess I can easily be in that store 6 times a day, the self check out stopped working. I had maybe four or more separate orders one to pay for the one behind it. Everything already all out on the belt in the exact order I wanted it scanned and bagged. Exactly the way my head needed it to be for it to all just make sense for my coupon needs. When the machine breaks it’s an instant panic in my chest. By the time the cashier comes to me I’m making circles in the palm of my hand. The words ” I need to get a manager” My hand is already red and raw in my circle pattern.

It’s like lightening speed I can spin those circles into my hand. I scan the Walmart for Marc even though I know he is most certainly at work and not with me. Knowing need him it’s instantly when the cashier walks away that I am texting Marc my situation. Even though it’s the last thing I should do he’s at work. It’s simply a machine down.

The manager can’t fix things. I’m sure everyone near can see the distraught all over my face. Three cashiers and the manager all within my 6 feet now. My panic turns to anger. Before I even can get a grasp they are touching my groceries and I’m losing my ever loving shit. Most of the cashiers see me daily. I’m polite above anything you typically see. If you move from my way it’s always ” thank you that was very kind of you, followed by you have a great or fabulous day. Yet, here I am just looking like a complete fool.

There’s no hope now. I’m letting them all know if they touch my items bagged or unbagged I will not pay for them and they can return it all. I need to do it all. I need to move unbag and re ring at another check out. Otherwise I will walk away and simply rebuy. I also demand 6 feet like a total lunatic. My breathing and speaking is in a complete hyperventilating state.

Text to Marc I am sure reflect the same emotional state I was communicating in the store. However he is responding as if he understood everything to a T. Telling me it’s not my fault. That he is available for me to call him or he is more than willing to call the store as well.

I moved and rescanned and bagged all my items. Listening to the cashiers gossip of me and telling myself I hope they never had anxiety to battle of their own. Thinking how would I look the next six visits to this same store.

Recently tried to communicate again with old friends. Honestly, I know that ship has sailed we just aren’t the same anymore but I lack the knowledge or even the atmosphere to have new friends so same ole same ole is how it stands. Getting sick put a damper on meeting up and then boom my kids dad is back working at the job I was swore by every angle he would not again. My brain said all those old friends knew and didn’t tell you.

Sides and lines drawn in the sand was instant for me. I knew he posted working to face book and all those mutual friends knew. I deleted everyone mutual. Then a step further to delete those who were friends with his friends. My face book tends to be a place to vent. Exactly what it shouldn’t be used for. But it does… and I can’t seem to change the habit to well so it’s best I just keep caution to who is on my list.

I told Marc if anyone I delete comes and asked why I deleted them. I’d be honest and heartfelt. Even if it sounded petty I would just be real. Then see where went from there. Cause a true friend would just understand my craziness and need to protect my kids. A mother would even more so. If any of them instead came simply asking about the gifts I spoke of doing then I would not communicate further at all.

The gifts were all ready and had nothing to do with my deleting I am a ding dong ditcher anyway… I would have still done such. I’m just sick. I have been sick for a hot minute and the kids have passed it about like crazy. Every time I thought I was on the mend it changed directions on me again. However either those deleted just didn’t say anything… Not even asking why I didn’t meet up. Knowing I had been sick for weeks before. Or they only messaged about gifts.

I felt the blow of all I had gone through emotionally to attempt to maintain friendships with these old friends. There isn’t anything reciprocated at all. Nothing is gained except more anxiety and uneasiness. The why do I put myself through this set in again.

Truthfully I rather enjoy it just being the kids and marc and I. It’s peaceful and what I know. I like the quiet life to myself so much I just am not sure I need to look for more or put that effort in any longer.

While in Alabama staying in that magnificent cabin I noticed a bird. I kept calling it a crane but truth be told I am really not sure what it was. When I perked up seeing us wind back into the woods where we would be staying. The “crane” like bird was right out my window sitting at the waters edge. I managed to see it between the tears and gasped in excitement. Marc missed this first viewing and it pretty much made me determined to see it again so he could identify it for me.

As we got closer I seen it again. Of course Marc still driving he did not. Unloading at the cabin and settling in left the crane far from mind. We were so tired that first evening wasn’t time for exploring. However the next morning as soon as I thought of the bird it would appear.

Across the way were a line of homes and docks. From my cabin porch through my binoculars was the perfect view of the crane. I would just watch and watch. Problem was it was always just far enough away that you couldn’t identify. Just be aware that the appearance was like a crane. Those huge wings span out each time it would notice me watching and off it would go.

If we left the cabin for a trip to the store or to dinner. I would ask to stop and see if my bird was at the water and of course that would certainly be the case. Each and every time as though he was waiting for me to get a glimpse of him.

Marc would pull over and I would tip toe my way to the water hoping to get a closer look. Camera up and snapping away each step I got closer. However I never got close enough to know. Videos and pictures just not quite close enough. Something would startle the large beautiful creature every time I was close. Lucky was I to see if soar away though.

Is it crazy to feel a bond with a animal you’ve never made it within 100 foot of? I thought this bird and I were one each time I went to see him just waiting there for me. Certainly he wasn’t flying from me just other noises that startled it.

Let’s talk about the outdoor part of my most fabulous vacation. This spectacular cabin I found and had booked for us had deeded lake access. About 100 feet from the cabin itself. Surrounding the cabin was thick woods it was the perfect spot for exploration.

We took off up what I called a mountain side but the locals were adamant was simply a hill. The incline was enough to quickly take my breath and leaving me with the need for a walking stick. Of course I was completely in winter attire in 77 degree weather. Trying to use my winter gear as a protective layer from the bugs of course.

I put in a plea to Marc for a walking stick to assist me with the climb into the woods. The perfect stick was in my hand in a mere seconds. It really did make the hike much easier from there.

On this woods exploration we were pleased to see a little box turtle. He was hiding under some leaves and I am not sure how Marc spot him but he has a great eye. The turtle was chowing on this big puffy mushroom. So much so that he has a white mustache when we find him. I never realized that they eat mushrooms so I was quite intrigued.

The next up was the spiders. They were some of the most gnarly spiders I have ever seen in my life. White and covered in this black spikes that look like that could easily take me out. I found myself often surrounded by more spiders than I cared to have in my vicinity. Really was quite brave of me to explore as much as I did.

There were so many different mushrooms. I couldn’t seem to get enough pictures of them and their colors. Even if it meant getting thorns all into my pants and legs. It was such fun to just be in such a new spot. Somewhere that Marc and I hadn’t shared with each other previously. Googling as we found things we new nothing about. Learning together seemed to be the best part of our vacation.