All Bark and Some Fight

There were a rough couple of days here. Although the house was finally warm and soot-free, there was some drama from outside that caused some depression and therefore erased the desire to do things.

CJ and MJ went on a rock climbing adventure, but all I could muster up was some nail painting with Q while EM was napping. Don’t get me wrong, Q and I had a nice time (and who doesn’t like pink and purple toes), but I just wish we did something more.Then, to make matters worse, yesterday the neighbor’s dogs got into our yard.

I would like to make it clear that I am much more of a dog person than a cat person. But even then, big dogs scare me. Like, a lot. I was attacked by a German Shepherd when I was little and had a bad experience with a Boxer. Unless it’s a dog I have known since being a puppy – like our chocolate lab – I don’t like ’em big. And even our lab was the runt of the litter. Many people comment on how small she is for her breed.

Anyway, there are grapevines on the one fence between our yards. The neighbor apologized for her dogs, saying that when they moved in, since the grapes were full, she didn’t realize there was a space between the bottom of the fence and the ground. Since it’s winter, the space is there and obvious. So instead of taking her dogs out on leads because of the hole, she just lets them run.

When her dogs saw my kids out in the yard, they decided to come over. The first one over was the Boxer. It promptly started chasing MJ. The neighbor yelled to stop running as that would only “make it worse.” I immediately assumed he must be a biter because with my personal experience, what else could she have meant? Once the Boxer had distracted the owner, the other dog made his way into the yard. He was a great big Rottweiler. Huge. Beefy. Scary.

I did my darndest to at least look calm because I didn’t want the kids to freak out anymore than they already were. The dogs fought with each other and ran around our yard. The neighbor pulled the Boxer back twice, but it kept on coming. I rounded up the kids to get them back into the house, hoping that without them, the dogs would leave. Instead, the Boxer ran up behind us and tried to push his way into the house. I had to body block the dog while getting the kids in the door.

During all this, my own dog was freaking out. She made sure CJ took a break from working to go check on her Mama. The kids had all tumbled into the house, shedding shoes and coats along the way, but I was still pinned to the back door, shaking. Once I saw CJ and knew that it was finally okay to, I burst into tears. It took awhile to calm down. It was not the best day.

So far, this week looks promising. Then again, it’s only Monday.  🙂

 

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My Furnace Blows

I know, I know. I post a schedule and the very next week I don’t follow it.

In my defense, when we got home from preschool on Monday, the air in the house was cloudy. CJ and I spent the evening trying to figure out what was going on and trying to do some cleaning because many things in the house looked dirty all the sudden. Tuesday, we were all sick-y, so while the boys spent their days at work and school, the girls and I went to my sister’s house to get out of the cloud that was still in our house.

While we were gone, we opened up windows to air things out, but it being winter and all, it got super cold in the house. CJ called around and found a heating and cooling place that said they would come out Tuesday night between 8p and 11p. Around 10:30p, they called to explain they could no longer send someone out because the oil furnace technician was unavailable. Glad we had stayed up late for that.

The heating company did come the next day, but as we had the furnace off as to not blow more soot into the house, the girls and I were freezing. And it’s not like I could go anywhere else when I had to be there to let the man in and to pay him. We were all in multiple layers, as it was about 52 degrees in the house, and were snuggled under blankets.

As seems to be the case, the first thing recommended to me was to finance a new furnace. LOL. I opted for the clean up and repair. The furnace was fine; it just needed some love. The technician even ended up being impressed with the beast by the time he left.

So…does this craziness excuse me? It should. The soot was everywhere. When we went to my sister’s, we looked like street urchins. The shampoo I used turned black. When I bathed the girls, I had to drain the water halfway through, refill the tub, and wash them again. Even laundry had to be rewashed because the machines are in the basement, right next to the furnace.

But now, all is well and here I am to deliver my (albeit late) update. Hopefully there will be no more big ticket issues for a while and the furnace will continue to only blow hot air.

I have taken too long a break from my writing. I have not worked on my novel since Riley died. I have not posted here in weeks. I have wallowed in this depressive funk and made no real efforts to get better.

I didn’t realize just how bad it had become until CJ thanked me for performing a mundane chore before his parents arrived for Q’s birthday.  It had unknowingly gotten to a point where my husband felt the need to thank me for doing my job as a wife and mother. It’s hard to come to terms with that.

Progress, by definition, requires effort. I have been allowing CJ to put forth all the effort while putting forth none of my own. I have taken solace in my obsessions and compulsions. I apologize to my family for this.

It has become clear that my “coping mechanisms” were grossly inadequate. Writing however, seems to be the one outlet that has never failed me, yet I have failed it. Why do we avoid things that can help make us well? Why not dive headfirst into the things that can make us happy?

So, here’s the schedule. Mondays will be for updates. Thursdays will be for reviews. Surprise posts are always an option and are free from restriction. Editing will occur at least three times per week, for however long I can dedicate to it. I hope that giving myself these deadlines will help. I am a queen of procrastination, but I like a good due date. I will read more. I will continue therapy. I will do my job. I will strive to be able to return the extraordinary care I have received. You can count on it.

Today

I have been having a difficult time the past few days.

Of the [quite a few] women I know who have recently had a baby, almost all of them have returned to work. Their Facebooks have been full of baby pictures and messages of regret in having to leave their child in order to return to work.

These messages upset me. I mean, at least they have a baby to leave. I don’t have my baby at all. But even that thought right there – the one that came unbidden – makes me feel horrible. Am I being harsh and unjust to these other mothers when they are just bragging about their beautiful new babies? And does this mean I am ungrateful for what I already have?

Am I cherishing my other children less because I cannot cherish their sibling enough? I find myself torn sometimes in moments of joy because I think about the one who will never participate in these moments with us. Will that always be the case? I know they say things will get better with time, but as I have no experience with the death of a close loved one, I just can’t help but feel that I am forever altered.

As my OCD has been exacerbated in these stressful and painful last few months, I find myself withdrawing from things I do want to do/participate in as an effort to avoid my triggers. CJ and I keep talking about things we would like to do once I reach what we refer to as my “baseline,” but I’m worried that may not be the same anymore. And I don’t know how to cope with that. I don’t want to become a recluse who stops living their life and not doing things they enjoy. I want to feel the desire to play, write, even just be helpful around the house.

Before, my bad days were few and far between. Now, as there have been so many gathered together, it’s hard to see that it won’t always be like this. It’s difficult sometimes to convince myself to continue pushing through. But I am a strong woman. I am intelligent and occasionally, kind of funny. I will try my best to keep smiling until the day where it’s not pretend anymore. Starting today.

Dear Riley

Today is your due date. But you’re not here.

As I was early with all your siblings, I assume you would have been here by now. So all I can think about this cold, rainy morning is how all of us would be bundled up and snuggling, enjoying the fullness of our family.

Instead, today I will be visiting you elsewhere. I will go to the little plot where the grass has just begun to grow. Where instead of family, you are surrounded by other stillborns and children gone too soon. And instead of holding you, I will miss you.

But remember, my Riley – I will hold you in my heart, until I can hold you in my arms.

All my love,
Mom

My insomnia has been the boss of me the past week or so. It’s hard to accomplish anything when you’re operating under a caffeine fueled fog. CJ has been majorly supportive even though I know he’s been really frustrated. I was doing really well with sleep for a while, but the closer we come to the baby’s due date (October 12th), the more trouble I have. I think the earliest I’ve gone to bed in the past few days was three in the morning. This past Friday into Saturday, I didn’t go to bed until six Saturday morning. No matter what I tried doing, nothing could settle me enough for sleep.

My hope is that if I push though these next few days, even though that one day will be catastrophic, everything will be better afterwards.

On a brighter note, Q is a rockstar. I firmly believe children need to be able to test their limits. I don’t hover on the playground or in the backyard. I will occasionally remind them to be smart if the situation arises, but I want them to learn to trust in themselves and their capabilities. When one calls out because they have climbed too high and are scared, I will stand by just in case, but I don’t help. I encourage. I remind them they got up there by themselves so if they stop to think about it, they have the ability to get down themselves as well. Once they are calm, they come back down, unassisted.

We have a tree in the yard the kids love to climb. They are in it at least once per day. They know their limits and where they feel comfortable in it as far as how high they can go. A few days ago, Q decided to push herself and climb a little higher. It ended up being too high for her and she panicked. However, with guidance and a calm voice from mom, she was able to climb down all by herself. Rockstar.

After having survived visiting both sides of the family in a single weekend and numerous hours in the van, we still had plenty to get ready for at home. We had the beginning of school for MJ and Q, the end of my job at the hospital, and the beginning of babysitting for one of my girlfriends. We have been an exceptionally busy household.

Most days, it’s been the level of busy where you feel really accomplished by the end of the day, but you’re too tired to do anything else other than binge on DramaFever before bed.

There have been a few highlights since school has started. One of the things I loved was one morning while driving to school, as we passed the cemetery, Q waved out the window and said, “Hi, Baby Riley.” It was just that simple; just that sweet. And now they always do it. It makes me both happy and sad at the same time. The other thing has to do with MJ. One of the other mothers was in his classroom for a birthday. She pulled me aside at pickup later that day to tell me how impressed she was with how well-behaved and polite he is. I was shocked. And so excited. I can deal as long as he’s only naughty at home lol.

So today begins my attempt at a better, more structured writing schedule – squeezing it in between life and everything else. Hopefully I will be as successful as I would like to be.  Wish me luck!