Tears, Fears and an Education

The girls move has hit home.  For both of us.

I’ve kept very busy (job hunting, cleaning, catching up with friends, etc).

The girl has made a lot of great concessions and continues to grow through this adjustment.  Forgive me mom, but it “ain’t” been easy the last two weekends.  I’ve had an incessant amount of calls the last two weekends.  And by incessant, I’m talking literally 43 calls of Saturday.  No, I didn’t speak to her 43 times, but she tried to get to speak to me 43 times.  Most, I missed quite accidentally but I will confess, a few I just didn’t pick up.

I’m walking quite a tight rope, right now, as is she.  She’s doing the best she can.  Yet, some of her more “challenging” traits are rearing their ugly head.  She’s obsessing over little things, well, big things, to her.  The past two Saturdays, she’s called me in tears, begging me to come and take her out of “here.”  I know why and I assure you all, she’s not in any danger.  She’s missing some structure to her weekends and it’s not a good thing for her.  She does better if a plan is in place and we stick to the plan.  It’s caused the obsessiveness to take over control.  We’re trying to work through it.  I try to explain things to her.  I try to redirect her.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes, it doesn’t.

She goes from being very happy and content there to very being depressed she is there, even though she likes the other clients, most of the staff, her room and the food.  Her basic needs are being met, although, it will never be like home.  There are things I’m trying to work out with the home that I think will make things better but as with everything, it’s  a process, and one that is often too slow for my liking, or the girls.  I’m afraid she learned that from me.  Mom likes to have a plan and to “get ‘er done.”  Doesn’t always work out in the big world.

All the while she’s bouncing back and forth, I’m trying to remain a constant, reliable adult. A lot of days, I just want to turn in my parent card and stop adulting.  Anyone else with me?  If she only knew.  If all of our kids only knew that when they flail, we flail.  I go back and forth on knowing what I need to do and feeling guilty about it to feeling guilty for not bringing her home.  It’s not an enviable position.  It’s emotionally draining.  I’m constantly questioning myself.  Am I just being selfish? She says I am.  Am I doing the right thing?  She thinks I’m not. What else can I do?  Bring her home, she says.  Can I do better? Yes, she says, come and take me shopping.  I know I’m not alone in this.  Every parent faces these trying times in one fashion or another.  I remind myself it’s just my turn.

I’ve always been one to second, and third, and fourth and fifty times guess myself. I wear myself out.  I’m the adult.  I’m supposed to have the answers.  Maybe one day I will but I’m not counting on it.  I just keep telling her and myself that this is a process we both have to go through.  That we both have to deal with things we don’t like.  I promise her things will get better.  I pray I’m right because I really try not to lie.

To every parent struggling out there, join me in hanging on.  I’m sending you all a high five. We’re all doing the best you can and that is a pretty big thing!  How do I know that?  I know because we love them and they really do love us, no matter what they may say.

She’ll be OK.  I’ll be OK.  You’ll be OK.

Shine On!

Jill

 

 

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Blueberry Pie, Elvis and a Kidnapping

If this title doesn’t get your attention, nothing will!  Believe it or not, they are all connected.

Sometimes, I really wonder about me.  Today is one of those days.  Even more so than others.  Let me explain.

They say dreams are our way of working things out.  I’m a bit concerned about exactly what my subconscious is trying to deal with.

A few nights ago, I was dreaming I was trying to make a pie.  Specifically, a blueberry pie, for my dad.  The first problem with this is that I don’t even recall my dad being a big blueberry pie fan.  Secondly, I was trying to make it in one of those giant plastic tubs.  You know, the ones that are used for storage. I was painstakingly trying to do a very fancy top crust and was crushed when I couldn’t do it.  The “pie” ended up being a huge mess but I was determined to bake it.  What kind of an oven I planned on using, I have no idea, as I woke up.

Last night, I dreamed I was reporting for a “new” job.  As I entered the hospital, I was greeted by my current boss and informed that I had a special assignment and that I was to report to room 2209 to meet my patient.  I was a bit perturbed as I had not received any training, thus far.  It was important to me that I get busy though as my girl was going to be either kidnapped or used in a sting operation later that evening. The details are a bit fuzzy.

Imagine my surprised when I entered room 2209 to discover my patient was Elvis.  Yes, that Elvis.  He was alive and for the most part, very well.  It was a relaxed, casual introduction.  The first order of business was to draw the blinds as his presence was not to be discovered.  He was very kind, open and unpretentious.  It was a long dream but the essence was that we became fast friends, he was very supportive of the situation I was going through with the girl and wanted to watch TV together and offered a shoulder to lean on.

The dream went on for what felt like several hours .  I was exhausted when I awoke this morning as I tended to his medical (minor) needs and occasionally had to leave the room for supplies and would encounter some “bad” men that were a threat to my girl and I had to “take them out.”  Turns out, I’m a pretty good fighter.  lol!

I am not sure if I should be more concerned about my dreams or that I’m sharing them with you!  ha!  In reality, I have a good part of them deciphered.  I just can’t figure out the blueberry pie.

Hope your dreams are sweet and make you smile!

Shine On!

Jill

May Losses

What a fast and crazy month May has been!  And as you all are aware, it’s been a hot one!  I ventured out in it as much as I dared but I will gladly disclose that it was mostly for watering flowers and well, just plain sitting.

The last day of school was May 24th.  Graduation took place the next evening.  As always, it was a very nice program.  There were tears, of course, as this year, many of the graduating Seniors had garnered a special place in my heart.  Seeing them over the years as they struggle, giggle, cry, smile, err, and grow is always a blessing for me.  Working with the youth makes see more of the world, they keep me a little bit younger and they make me hopeful.  I’m repeating myself when  I tell you that there really are some nice young adults out there.  They have so many challenges today and I admire the ones that persevere.  I have the utmost respect for the teachers and paraprofessionals that support them through their endeavors at school and then some.  There are people working in schools today that give their all to these students.  By all, I mean blood, sweat and tears.  I challenge anyone to tell me these people “only work 9 months of the year and get a yearly wage.”  I’ve got a few words for you if you’re up for the debate.

One of “my” students graduated this year.  In a way, it’s a downside to what I do.  I spent every school day with this young man for the last 4.5 years.  I have seen him spread his wings and grow, even though he didn’t think he wanted to.  I’ve seen him have fun, when he didn’t want to.  I’ve seen him make friends, when he didn’t want to.  I have seen him hug people, when he didn’t think he wanted to.  I have seen him become independent, even though he didn’t want to.  I have watched him walk across the stage when he has received awards, as red as he could be, not wanting to be there.  Last Friday night, I watched him, again, with a crimson face, receive his well earned high school diploma. The pride and joy in my heart ran over as the tears welled inside at the thought of that final hug good-bye.  He came to us as a wonderful boy and left us as an admirable young adult.  I will never forget him or what he brought to my life.

There were several past graduates in attendance.  Some I spoke to, some I didn’t.  But they all struck me in the same fashion.  They are all ADULTS now!  The changes in their physical appearances was staggering!  Sure, I could tell who they were but they were now adult versions of the kids I do fondly think about.  It was a very special night.

I didn’t stay long after the ceremony.  A few hugs goodbye. One sweet girl began crying when I hugged her as she whispered in my ear “I hope you don’t mind me saying this but your perfume reminds me of my grandma and I lost her not too long ago.”  No, honey.  It didn’t bother me.  I was honored your grandma let you know she was there with you, through me.  She must have loved you a whole bunch!

I had thoughts of doing something after the ceremony but I made a better choice and came home to the stillness of home.  Martha (the cat) was glad to see me.  She curled up on my lap and we just sat.  She, thankful for a warm place to lay, purring the entire time.  Me?  Thinking.  Smiling, laughing and crying over everything I had gained and lost, all boiled down into a single night.

I’m a better person because of these students.  I thank them and I wish them the best that life has to offer.

Shine On!

Jill

Half Way

It seems trying to go things half in and half out are catching up with me.  Due to the lack of communication with my son or his staff at the group home, things are crumbling.  I often talk about the amount if paperwork and the multitude of entities I deal with. Often times, they call on me to provide well being and/or financial information regarding the boy.  I have been supplying what I can and things are falling a part. I will, no doubt, be the one that will be held accountable, even though I have no one to assist me on the information the “other side” is responsible for.

I’ve also been “getting in trouble” for not answering emails from the home.  Emails that I have never received.  Not in spam, inbox or anywhere else.  Apparently, I’ve not recently not responded to two of them asking for me to give the home permission to handle his finances.  Wow.  Haven’t I made myself clear on that point already?  Multiple times?  They are concerned that the boy can’t handle doing it himself.  I trust him a lot more than I do them.  In addition, if the county would hire a professional guardian, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

I just wrote to the county regarding some of these issues.  I confessed to them that I am completely overwhelmed at the differences in the operation of the boys group home versus the operation of the girls group home.  Thus far, they are miles apart and I can’t understand it since they BOTH, by state law, operate under the 245D rules.  I’d never know it.

Putting that aside, tomorrow marks the last week of school.  It’s an exciting yet emotional time.  I’ll have to say goodbye to some students I have grown so fond of.  It’s always hard.  When you have a big heart, it’s like sending your kids off to college or otherwise, again and again and again.

I’d applied for a new job.  One that I was confident I would not get and I didn’t.  It’s the first job I’ve ever applied for that I didn’t get the offer.  I’m OK with it though.  I learned a lot from it and again, about myself.  Self reflection is a good thing.  Back to the drawing board this week.

I cleaned the garage and purged a lot.  Freeing up my mind for new things ahead.  I hope you are looking forward to the days ahead too.

Shine On!

Jill

The Apology

The girl has gotten into the upcoming nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. So much so that she has made two calls to me to specially and excitedly tell me Meghan Markle is a famous actress.  I have,  in the kindest way I knew how, to inform her that she’s mistaking.   It’s made me giggle at her insistence.  So much so, that I was sharing the story with a couple of co-workers at work today.  As I laughed, the two gals, in unison said “She is!”  I said “What is she?”  They both responded, in unison again, “She is an actress!”  I asked, in a stunned voice “Are you kidding  me?”  They assured me the girl was right and I was wrong.  I immediately double checked with Google, still thinking I was right.  Well, low and behold, I learned something today.  Meghan Markle IS AN ACTRESS!  I never knew!  Apparently, I’ve never seen anything she has been in.

I just want my co workers and all of you to know that I did speak to the girl tonight.  She was quite pleased with herself when I apologized and told her that Meghan Markle is, indeed, an actress. I could only smile.  It’s pretty fun when the girl knows more than this old mom does!

At this time of year, I can’t make a post without reflecting on a portion or two of my school days. We’re down to the last five.  I have not spoken about one particular student very often here.  It doesn’t mean I don’t care for him as much as my other students because I do.  I think I’ve been hesitant because he is much shyer than the other. I have worked with this student for four years. He is a wonderful, caring, intuitive young man.  For four years, he has stood back and watched as another student generously gives hugs to the staff.  When asked if he’d like a hug, he’d quickly and repeatedly shakes his head no. But, out of the corner of my eye, I’ve seen him watching.  For four years, I’ve seen him watching.  He’s graduating this year.  In fact, in six days.  Therefore, a few co workers and I have been telling him for the last few weeks that we WOULD give him hugs at graduation.  He’d turn red and we’d all giggle.  Last week, a wonderful, amazing thing happened. He came up to me and asked me if I wanted a hug.  No second guessing required for my response.  It was one of the most innocent, sweetest hugs I have ever had.  And you know what?  Since that day, he’s asked other co workers and myself if we’d like a hug.  We all, always, say YES!

I’m so proud of this young man.  I have seen him grow by leaps and bounds.  I’ve seen him spread his wings, even though he’d rather stay in his safety zone.  I’ve seen him accomplish more than he ever thought he could or want to.  I’ve cherished the last four years with him but I’m really going to treasure these last five days.  I’ve learned so much from him.  I’m going to miss him.  Enormously.  It is, my job to prepare him to move on.  It’s a very rewarding yet challenging time for me.  It’s not unlike sending one of “my” kids off into the world.  I’m so thrilled for him yet I am sad for me.  I will miss him.  Each and every day.  I will miss him and remember him in fondness.

 

Shine On!

Jill

Ring, Ring, Ring…

Remember the worry I had about the girl not calling me?  Boy, was I wrong!  She is calling and calling and calling and calling.  Please don’t get me wrong.  I love hearing from her.  But here lies the problem.  If I don’t answer, she will just keep redialing.  The highest count I’ve had so far is 11 calls in a row.  I’m not avoiding her.  I just might be away from my phone or on it.  We are working on this as I can’t take it anymore!  ha! I’m not sure what it says about me when she’s constantly calling and the boy hasn’t called me  in over seven months.

No, I did not get “the ring” for my birthday.  I told you all I asked “him” not to get me anything shiny like he wanted to. Thankfully, he respected my wishes.  We did replicate our first date two weekends and I had a wonderful time! We had good food, met some nice people and listened to some GREAT karaoke, including from “my” guy.

I brought the girl home for a few hours on Mother’s Day. She was eager to come to visit her kitty.  We did a few errands and just hung out.  It was great to have her home.  I was a bit concerned it would be very hard for her to return to “her home” but she handled it without any hesitation.  She likes it there and they like her.  Yes, there have been some issues but none were unexpected.  She calls me early every morning.  That gives me a special warmth in my heart as I always did that with my mom.  The girl has no idea that she is carrying on a family tradition.  She’s still calling other times of the day, a lot, but not as much as the first week.  A friend rode with us when I took  the girl home.  Bless her heart, she hooked up her TV and DVR player.  The girl had been patiently waiting for someone from the home to do it for two weeks.  While the friend was doing that, I rehung all of her clothes.  For some reason, after all of these years of teaching her how to do laundry, she still hangs everything inside out.  It clearly doesn’t bother her but it’s one of my pet peeves.

I’ve been remiss in writing.  Perhaps you enjoyed my absence but I need to be back.  One would expect me to say things are winding down at school but it’s anything but.  I find the last weeks of school the most taxing and I am not alone.  Senioritis has sent in.  And summeritis for all of the others.  It’s a delicate balancing act as the students are filled with emotions trying to wrap up all of their school work,the seniors trying to figure out the rest of their lives and everyone longing for carefree summer days.  Staff has their hands full helping so many teens learn to control their emotions.  Sometimes, it gets to be exhausting for all.  But, I wouldn’t change it for the world and I know most, if not all, of my co-workers would agree.  Although, I will confess.  There was a day last week I might have suggested they change out the water in the dispenser of the refrigerator for white wine.  Hey!  Don’t judge me!  I was joking.  Really!  I swear it.  I promise!  I didn’t mean it!  No one can prove anything!  I didn’t really say that out loud did I?

Six more days.  We will fill the halls of school with as much laughter as possible.  Staff emotions are running high too.  Today, the Seniors dawned their caps and gowns and walked the halls.  I saw more than a few goosebumps and tears being held back as I swallowed the lump in my throat.

 

Shine On!

Jill

And the Beat Goes On

In less than a week, I became an empty nester and I turned 60.  I’m not sure which is worse.  Well, yes I do.  I don’t feel 60, I don’t know how to be 60 and I refuse to act like I’m 60!  So there!

The girl has been doing very well.  She goes in spurts with her calling.  I get any where from 2 to 8 calls a day.  I had to “rush” something over to her on Tuesday as she was going to a dance.  Once I got there, I had a private moment with staff and I’m happy to share with you what she reported.  She said the ladies are very happy to have the girl there!  She went on to explain that the ladies used to get home and all go their separate ways.  Since the girl has moved in, they have all been converging in the living room to watch TV and/or movies.  She has been a positive addition!

She’s been busy!  The first day, they went to the thrift store.  They immediately learned what an extreme shopper she is.  I hadn’t shared that.  I thought it best they learn it on their own and learn it they did!  She has gone out to eat, walking, shopping and dancing.  When asked if she danced with girls or boys, she told me, impatiently, with boys, mom!  The next night, they invited over another home (all boys) for dinner and a fire out back.  She called complaining that she didn’t want to go to the fire “with boys!”  I couldn’t help but chuckle when I told her that the night before, she was happy to dance with boys.  She told me that was different!  I strongly encouraged her to give it a try.  She agreed, only to have the fire canceled.  We’ll see what happens next time!

My girl is used to a regular schedule, especially when it come to sleeping.  Staff reported today that she’s had a few little “crabby” moments.  It doesn’t surprise me as I know she’s tired.  But over all, she is doing splendidly.  I couldn’t be prouder.

My birthday was yesterday.  My heart swelled when she called me at 6:10 a.m.  She was the first to wish me a happy birthday.  It was so very sweet.  I know some of you are wondering if I heard from the boy.  The answer is no.  I wasn’t expecting to (although, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping to) so I was OK.  I was showered with love and flowers by many and I know how blessed I am.  I finish celebrating this weekend with the man I am seeing as we also celebrate 6 months of seeing each other.  Where does the time go?  We are going to duplicate our first date.  I gave him other options but he insists this is what we do.  He is a kind, loving man.  “My kids” at school were wonderful, as always.  They sang to me multiple times and I collected several hugs.  I even got a hug from the one that “hates” hugs and a bump on the arm from my little “tough” guy.  I’m truly a fortunate woman.  I never take any of these signs of affection for granted.  A sweet friend took me out for supper too!  I had many calls and texts and it was a lovely day.

I guess I’m proud of me too.  I’ve only cried one night (so far).  It has surprised me.  But on the other hand, I’ve been so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open during the day.  My house has suffered.  I spent one night shopping.  For me.  Alone.  On one hand, it was pure joy not hearing the girl yell across the store to ask if she could buy this or that.  On the other hand, it was disturbing as I was afraid I’d lost her in the store.

I finally came home after grocery shopping today and actually got some cleaning done.  It’s a far cry from the deep cleaning I need to do but I can now see the kitchen table and counters and the cat hair has been vacuumed up.

Tomorrow, is our field day.  The entire high school goes to soft ball fields for the day and we have softball playoffs.  The seniors will play against any willing staff for bragging rights. It’s going to be a beautiful day in the sun.  We’ve had “our group” out practicing for two class periods this week and they have done supremely well!  They are determined and they are sluggers!  We all got a good laugh when the teacher got a little tongue tied when she announced that one student hit a foul bowel!  We always laugh and it’s so good for us all!  I’ll be tired when I get home but it will be a good tired.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Shine On!

Jill