Gratitude week 104

  1. Christmas! Attending church Christmas morning with my husband. Then having the kids over for lunch. Getting and giving a lot of awesome gifts. Another meal followed by watching old family movies.
  2. Cindy, although she has COVID, is doing really well and the rest of her family did not get sick so far.
  3. Having a low key Christmas Eve since our plans got cancelled because of COVID.
  4. A pajama day today.
  5. I found out that a favorite local Pink Floyd tribute band will be having a concert in a couple of months. I bought tickets to see them with my kids. I also purchased tickets to see a comedian I like who will be visiting.
  6. Looking forward to New Year’s Eve and the new year.
  7. Planning a trip to Wisconsin Dells with the kids to the indoor waterpark as a Christmas gift. As a quality time person, I really like to give experiences as gifts.
  8. We saw Arabella on FaceTime for Christmas which went really well.
  9. The kids will be coming over tonight for Paul’s famous homemade pizza. It’s so nice when everyone is getting along plus his pizza is absolutely amazing.
  10. Playing games with Paul, Alex, and his girlfriend on Christmas Eve.
  11. The pets made it through another Christmas with us.
  12. It’s been two years of having a weekly gratitude list. I’m really glad I started doing this because the last two years have been difficult and it’s important to remember the good that is happening as well.

Christmas Eve

And the saga continues…

My best friend told me she has had a head cold since Wednesday. I’m sure you can tell where this story is going… Cindy tested positive for COVID today so we won’t be heading to her house for dinner and the Christmas Eve service.

We decided to just stay home and have Alex and his girlfriend over for supper and games. I feel bad for his girlfriend because she doesn’t have a very good home life. She didn’t go home for Thanksgiving and she won’t be going home for Christmas either so we are pretty much all she has.

Tomorrow morning Paul and I are going to church. We will have our kids and their significant others over for lunch and gifts with the exception of Arabella who is still in Kansas. Angel is spending the day today with Dan’s family.

Other than that, it is raining and really foggy outside. It probably wouldn’t be fun driving later tonight anyway. The snow that fell yesterday has been washed away so we won’t be having a white Christmas this year. That is okay. Sunday we are getting more snow.

Our dog has been hanging in there. I bought him some moist dog food so I have been having better luck convincing him to eat. He is on 5 different medications now. It looks like he has one last Christmas in him. We have been blessed with 14 years of having the most wonderful dog. Our cat is 15 with health issues so it will probably be his last Christmas too. Again, I am happy to have such wonderful pets and made the commitment to provide them with a good home for their whole lives. What more could a pet ask for??

I am disappointed that plans fell through for the night, but I am thankful Cindy is not really sick. I hope the rest of her family stays healthy.

Other than that, I wish you all a merry Christmas in whatever way you celebrate the holiday.

Sad, angry, and less than perfect

I’m not going to lie, the last couple of days have been rough. It’s been hard to muster up the Christmas spirit.

Yesterday I was feeling triggered by so many different things it was hard to figure out what was bothering me. I think what has been the most upsetting is that our dog is dying. He has been getting worse since our vet visit last week. Besides arthritis and now congestive heart failure, the vet thinks the mass near his stomach could be cancerous as his appetite has not been the best. It’s hard to watch him decline and I’m afraid we might be faced with some tough decisions soon.

I remember when my husband brought our dog home to surprise our children with an early Christmas gift the December of 2007. He quickly became a member of our family. Every morning he would walk the children out to the school bus and wait for their return. He would run with Paul and I. Everyone he met just loved him. This will be his last Christmas if he holds on that long. Thinking about this makes me cry.

I feel a great amount of loss. My children are not children anymore. Angel will be moving into her own house next month. Arabella already left and she doesn’t want a close relationship with me. I feel abandoned by my extended family. At this point, I don’t even want to invite them to my daughter’s wedding.

I am pretty certain we are going to be leaving our church. I will miss some of the people we got to know. What also hurts is we spent a lot of time getting to know the pastor’s parents and they moved away without telling us they were leaving. We didn’t get a chance to say good-bye.

I miss my life pre-COVID before everything happened with my dad and before my daughter started showing signs of being seriously mentally ill. I miss when my grandma was alive and threw us the best Christmases to help us forget for one day of the year that our childhood sucked. My grandparents, Aunt Grace, and Uncle Harold all have been gone over a decade now. I miss them and the sense of family I had with them. Nothing would stop me from spending time with them if they were still alive. My family is gone but they gave me a great example of how to be that family for my own children and grandchildren someday.

Recently I posted something on Facebook saying we shouldn’t let fear stop us from getting together with family for the holidays because who knows how long any of us has left. Just something simple like that sparked a debate which caused me to be unfriended by a pastor we had a few years back. As if I am some sort of satanist or something for wanting family to be together. My bad!

He is the same pastor we invited over for Thanksgiving when he didn’t have any family in the area. His family of 5 stood us up. I cooked all this extra food and they didn’t show. Apparently someone gave him tickets to the Packer game. I never cared for the pastor after that. Good riddance!

I admit I was feeling angry and vindictive. I rarely want to cut a bitch, but man when I do. So last night I spent the evening having a couple of drinks, listening to my angry music, and doing some jagged crying. I did some slobbery sobbing that no one cares about me to the few people who actually do. They were worried about my sanity. (Long gone, people, long gone)… My best friend gave a check in call on the way home from work. I do know I have some really awesome people who care about me, even if some people who I thought cared don’t.

One of the best things COVID did do is weed the people out of my life who don’t care. I don’t have to waste my time on them. On Christmas Eve, Paul and I are spending the evening with my best friend and her family. I can do what I want without caring what others think of me. I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not. That is so freeing. I don’t have to try hard to please people who don’t give a shit about me. I can be myself around my friends.

One thing I can tell you is that I had a hell of a lot more fun with Tom and Lisa than I probably would’ve at the extended family Christmas party. Remember if your family sucks, friends are the family you choose. My best friends know my kids better than most of my family ever will.

Being triggered by all the loss, I really had to ask myself what was bothering me to get me so bent out of shape. What is upsetting me the most right now is that my dog is dying and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. Maybe I should grant myself the freedom to be sad, angry, and less than perfect.

Stable for the holidays

Arabella called me the night before the family Christmas party. She told me she started dating Will that very day. She said Will got into a fight with his grandma who he is living with and they needed a place to stay. I basically told them there was no room at the inn.

My brother Luke and his family arrived right before the snow started to fall. We weren’t sure if they were even going to be able to make the trip since snowstorm Amelia was on her way too. Thankfully Luke got out of work early and they were on their way before Amelia made her blustery appearance. All the bedrooms at our house were occupied.

I told Arabella no they couldn’t spend the night. I hadn’t even met Will yet and didn’t hear a lot of good things about him. I didn’t need the extra stress right before family was coming. Plus Paul and I promised each other we wouldn’t take Arabella back in unless we had strict boundaries with her. I couldn’t give in just because she was pleading and begging. Predictably; she started swearing at me, said she wasn’t coming for the Christmas party, and hung up. Later she apologized via text.

Snowstorm Amelia dropped a lot of wet heavy snow on us. Paul spent most of the morning plowing out the driveway. He wasn’t able to help me prepare for the party inside. We ate later than originally planned without Alex (he got called in to work) and Arabella who showed up late.

When Arabella showed up she was friendly and I thought Will was also very personable. The only one who was snippy was my SIL Carla who is always that way. Dan told her off when she started to get too bossy. We opened gifts. Arabella even got us all little gifts. When Paul had trouble opening the packaging on his gift, Will pulled a huge knife out of his pocket to cut it open. I almost had a heart attack, but he meant no harm. I could tell he truly seemed to care about Arabella so I felt more relaxed about him and their relationship.

Arabella talked to me alone for awhile. She told me she wanted me to stop telling people she was delusional. I told her I had no problem with that as long as she stopped telling people I starved, abused, and tortured her.

Arabella said Will’s grandma was angry with him for quitting his job because someone said something mean to him. Arabella said that was okay because now he can help her with her ‘social media’ business. He is a photographer and my mom gave him my grandpa’s camera. I was kind of upset about that. Wouldn’t you ask your children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews if they wanted the camera before giving it away to someone she barely knows?

I also heard from Paul that Arabella and Will think his grandma is spying on them and that she bugged his car. At first I thought it could be true. But who would want to bug their 21 year old grandson’s car? And how would someone even know how to do that anyway? I don’t believe a word of it. It’s sad to say this but I am happy she is not making accusations about me anymore. Now she is telling me she loves me again. Our relationship is better than it has been in months. I know that could change any day though.

Last week Arabella drove down to Kansas with Will to visit his family. They spent the night in a tent in Iowa on the way during a tornado warning. Will said he is a survivalist. One summer he spent half of it living in the woods sleeping in a hammock. But staying in a tent in December is just plain strange.

Arabella is going to be spending the holidays with Will’s family. A part of me wonders if they are even going to come back since they both don’t have jobs and have strained relationships with their loved ones at home.

Christmas Day will be quiet without her. Paul and I will be spending the day with Angel and Alex and their significant others. This will be the first time one of my children will be gone on Christmas Day. But at least right now I feel comfortable with where our relationship is at. Things are going really well with all our kids, or at least as good as it possibly can with everything going on.

I feel more at peace now than I did in a long time. Everything is stable for the holidays.

Gratitude week 102

  1. I renewed my WP account, so you are probably stuck with me for at least another year.
  2. I survived the family Christmas party!! Everyone was on their best behavior.
  3. I met Arabella’s new boyfriend and he seems nice.
  4. Thankfully, despite the snowstorm, my brothers were able to make the long trip to my house. Luke and his family stayed the night before making it over right before the storm started.
  5. I’m grateful the boiler worked for the party. The kids were able to swim and have fun. The heating/cooling guy literally fixed it and left as our guests were arriving.
  6. My mom totally surprised me with a record player for Christmas. It also has a CD and tape player. It was a lot of fun to grab my old collection of records and tapes to play since music means so much to me.
  7. I gave my old friend Lisa a call after I had a dream about her. It was great to talk and catch up. Lisa and Tom are going to come over next weekend. It’s been a couple years since I saw them last.
  8. Watching my favorite Christmas movie, The National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
  9. Feeling a lot less stressed.
  10. I cleaned out Arabella’s room so my niece’s could sleep there. It looks great!
  11. After the party was over, Paul and I played games and laughed with Angel and Alex and their significant others.
  12. I’m grateful for the new church we are visiting. The best part is that it’s literally two minutes from our house. The pastor has been meeting with us and answering the difficult questions I’ve been throwing his way.
  13. I’m grateful all my kids are in relationships they seem happy in. Not only that, but I think they are all in good relationships for them.

Fortune cookie wisdom #36

Remind yourself that ‘the lion while hunting doesn’t roar’.

Who can YOU trust? I always thought I could trust myself but I’m not too sure about that anymore. I am not an expert at life.

As I mentioned before, I live in a mixed vaccination household. What I think we can all agree on at our house is that vaccination should be a choice. I believe there are risks involved with both choices which creates a lot of uncertainty and fear.

I can’t imagine how terrible it must be for parents of opposing views to have to make these decisions for their children right now. It’s not as if that was a question we thought to ask a future spouse before 2020. If in the future there was a pandemic would you chose to vaccinate our future child. Why or why not? Can you imagine divorced parents dealing with this if they don’t agree???? Thank God my kids are all adults and can make their own decisions.

Honestly, I think the biggest threat right now is the division and polarity. It’s literally insane. My family cannot attend the extended family Christmas party because of our status. Certain family members think their shot will protect them from COVID but not against the unvaccinated. How does that even make sense?

Now I am not going to make this a one sided post. I’ve heard of the unvaccinated afraid to be around the recently vaccinated because of shedding. Now everyone is getting the booster shot in time for the holidays. We all better lock ourselves in our houses this holiday season because people might die.

Woah, I must’ve missed the memo where we can actually live without dying. Live people live before it is too late! Don’t make your family dead to you before they are. Pushing family away is the worst thing we can do at this time. Agree to disagree if you have to. Get tested. Wear masks. Do whatever you think works without compromising your beliefs. I absolutely HATE that families are being torn over this. I hate to break it to you but we are all going to die.

I have been feeling a certain sway of the unvaccinated to mistrust their doctors and all vaccinations now. Some people are paranoid they will be given the wrong shot. What is happening? I started to feel this way myself. I am not anti-vax. I am due for my tetanus shot in a couple of months. I was considering not getting it but decided I will.

Why would something I’ve never questioned before become something I question now? The thought scares the living crap out of me. Can I trust the decisions I’ve made in the past or am I too being swayed?

That’s not all that has changed. I’ve now become more pro-choice than I have ever been in my whole entire life. People should be allowed to choose what to do with their body. Period. I don’t have to agree with that choice. There are consequences for every choice, you have yours and I have mine.

I was experiencing cognitive dissonance. Why are some choices okay for others to make and some not?? Can we pick and choose and feel at peace with ourselves? If you are pro-choice but for mandatory vaccinations it might be time to examine yourself. What gives me the right to tell another person what they should do?

While I’m on it, there is something else that bothers me. People who protest outside of abortion clinics shouting words of hate and carrying signs with mangled bloody fetuses rub me the wrong way. Do you really think hating and shaming women is effective? Maybe it makes you feel good for your self-righteousness. Then when you go to church and see a single teen mom you judge, look down upon, and shame her for the choice you wanted her to make. Nothing but hypocrites.

If you are truly pro-life help families in need. You are not going to change lives spewing hatred in the name of love. If you want to be effective take the teen mom out to lunch, buy her some diapers and baby clothes, and be there for her because parenting is hard. Offer workable alternatives and solutions such as adoption as an option.

Being shamed at the abortion clinic is nothing compared to the shame of raising a baby as a single teen mom both for the mother and the child. I can say this because my husband was born to a single teen mom. His sperm donor took off, wasn’t even there for the birth. My husband was shamed for not having a dad as if it was his choice.

In grade school he got spanked by a teacher in front of the class who told him he needed a dad. No kidding?? Not only did he not have a dad, but he didn’t even have a grandpa to be his role model. Paul sucked at sports because he had no one to play catch with him. No one taught him how to be a husband or dad which can even be daunting for those who come from healthy homes. Something needs to be done to build stronger families.

That all being said, I am really concerned because I feel like COVID has really shook some of my core beliefs. Is it growth?? Can I trust what I thought before or now if my beliefs change? I’ve really had to examine my own thoughts lately about how much control we should allow others to have over our lives.

Always question. Listen. Love one another. Do we need to have all the answers to do that??

Wishes

I wish I could say my good mood has lasted but alas it has not.

I can’t pinpoint anything major just a general feeling of disappointment. Our furnace is still out, plus our boiler for our pool and hot tub are out too. We live in a big old drafty house. Something always needs fixing it seems. Thankfully we know what the problem is with our furnace and it is under warranty. We went from having to get a new furnace this morning to having to pay a couple hundred dollars to have it fixed this afternoon which is great. But I spent my whole day dealing with this and not all of the problems are fixed yet. I suppose it’s too much to ask for a switch that I can turn on to make everything work again.

I feel frustration about COVID and how it is tearing families apart for yet another holiday season. I’m angry about family attacking family over politics and vaccination status. If you don’t believe what I believe then you aren’t welcome to be a part of this family anymore but I still care about you bullshit. I’m so angry I want to cut some extended family out of my life forever. The sad thing is at one time I actually thought they might have cared.

I’m sick of hosting the family holidays. I’m angry that my mom never took it over after my grandma was unable to do it anymore. I’m angry I had to take on the responsibility in my mid-20’s after looking at my daughter that age and thinking about what I had to do at her age. I’m angry I never got to be a child or even a young adult without having to parent my parents who just never seem to be able to handle life without burdening their children.

I’m angry for the crime my dad committed. Tomorrow is the 2 year anniversary. I’m angry that some family members brush it aside as if it never happened. I’m angry that some family members harbor anger towards my daughter for turning him in. I’m angry my dad is so shitty of a dad and grandpa he will not be invited to my daughter’s wedding. I’m terribly jealous of people who have supportive parents. Neither my husband nor I have had that. I’m angry my husband and I have a hard time with relationships because no one ever taught us anything useful. What the hell is normal??

I’m angry that my relationship with Arabella is not what I want it to be. I’m angry she wants me to stop telling people she is delusional when she accuses me of starving, abusing, and torturing her. I’m angry that people feel they need to choose sides. I’m angry people question whether or not I’ve been abusive. I’m angry that I have to worry whether or not she will be alive tomorrow.

I’m angry my mom favors my brother Matt over everyone. I’m angry that he abused me as a child and I was never protected. I’m angry that my dad never taught me I was worthy of love and instead told me how stupid I was. I’m angry that I have to live with the aftermath trauma created in my life. I’m angry that I live in fear and am unable to trust.

All these things have been very painful for me. I’m this close to telling people off. I’m not sure what I need to do to get over this new bout of anger. I feel triggered thinking about family. I’m not sure what is wrong. Tis the season I suppose. I did say this time of year is hard for me.

Tonight my husband and I are meeting with a new pastor. We are thinking of leaving our church. My faith has been horrible the last two years since I found out about my dad and with my daughter’s mental health struggles. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten much support from the church. I acknowledge they are not responsible for my faith but at least offer me some guidance besides forgiveness of those who have hurt me.

If you can’t help me because you never experienced any struggles in life I can understand that as I am not an idiot. But don’t make me feel bad for something I didn’t do. I have yet to pray away my PTSD. Don’t say I don’t have enough faith to overcome my anxiety. Maybe, just maybe, I had to be this way to survive and now I’m trapped in it. I don’t know how to be any other way because I don’t remember life before the trauma started. I don’t have fond childhood memories with my parents and siblings. I wish I did.

I like the person I am but I am getting tired of the bullshit.

Gratitude week 99

  1. Because of my insomnia I was able to see the lunar eclipse. It looked like a big eyeball in the sky. It was one night I was happy to be up in the middle of the night. Who says good things can’t come out of something bad? LOL
  2. My 15 year old cat had a thyroid check up with the vet. Not only is his condition staying stable but he gained some weight.
  3. I got my haircut and I really like how it turned out. This is the shortest I ever went.
  4. I am finally starting to feel less depressed. Why should I allow other people’s bad decisions ruin my life?? Especially since I don’t have any control over it. Letting go is a process and I finally feel like I am accepting things the way they are. I am in a pretty good mood so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.
  5. I’m grateful for my husband. He has two days left of his month long detox diet. He did an awesome job with it. He is also willing to make some positive changes and compromise which I appreciate.
  6. Angel took me out to eat and to see a comedian Friday night. I’m thankful for a daughter I can go out and do fun things with. We spent the evening laughing and didn’t talk about problems.
  7. Yesterday I spent the day baking with my best friend. We made four batches of cookies and two batches of candy. We both made some new recipes. We aren’t much for baking but it was nice to spend a couple hours together chatting.
  8. I’m sitting next to a roaring fire while I write these words. I love having a fireplace on cool wintry days.
  9. I finished reading the first edition of my book and started the writing process again.
  10. I am getting excited for the holiday season. My husband, daughter, and I are ready for the race on Thanksgiving day. We will be hosting a small party at our house that evening. Then the following day we will be getting our Christmas tree and decorating the house.
  11. This past week Dan, Angel, and I met up with the DJ. All of the major things are now done for the wedding which is a relief.

A break

Compared to the rest of the week, Saturday was all puppies, unicorns, and cute cuddly kitties.

Just a quick recap of the week:

  • My daughter Arabella left home and I wasn’t sure where she was staying.
  • I tripped over my elderly dog and he could barely walk.
  • I got a call saying my brother Luke was on the way to the ER with a possible stroke.
  • At the same time as I got the call about my brother, a neighbor threatened to call the police on my son who was smoking across the street in the woods with his buddies.
  • My brother Matt’s cell phone was stolen by a caregiver in his group home. Not only one, but two caregivers stole money from him and his roommate. The police needed to get involved.
  • Arabella called in the middle of the night from the ER but wouldn’t tell me what was going on.
  • My husband left for a business trip.
  • My microwave started on fire.
  • The power went out.
  • Arabella was delusional and told people that I starved and tortured her. She threatened to dox me.

The week sucked so bad I came up with the idea of having an anti-gratitude list for everything that went wrong during the week. I still might do it. I mean it could be funny. People call me a pessimist anyway. But really, I think it could be a good idea. I could start a list of the good and the bad. On Saturday I could share the bad and on Sunday I could share the good. I will overthink on it some more but I like the idea.

But back to the story…On Saturday I went up north to celebrate my niece’s birthday with Angel, Alex, and his new girlfriend. I felt like I adequately warned Alex’s girlfriend about what she was getting into. I told her she still had time to change her mind about being a part of our family. Alex said his girlfriend has a crazy family too. I highly doubt she would win that contest.

But anyway, we spent the day up north at the family cabin. We went for a walk enjoying the fall colors. I took the scooter out for a ride. I felt so free and happy riding the scooter that I still think I might get a motorcycle license next summer. We played a board game inside with a fire in the fireplace to keep warm. We laughed a lot and for a little while I didn’t worry.

The best part of the day is that everyone got along. Angel and Alex were joking around and laughing together. It meant a lot to me because they don’t always get along. Everything went well with Alex’s girlfriend who also got along with Angel. For a short blip of time there was peace and harmony.

We did talk about Arabella a little. My other kids said I was a wonderful mom and they always loved me. I told them it was hard to understand Arabella’s hatred of me since I never did anything mean to anyone in my whole entire life. Of course, we laughed about the comment I made too. Maybe I was trying to take the wonderful mom thing too far…

I had a great day on Saturday with family. That night I had a great night’s sleep, the best sleep in years. I almost felt happy for awhile. But I couldn’t sustain it for too long. Why can’t it always be like that? Then I started to think about other families with envy. They have what I want all the time, a happy healthy family. It was just a taste of what it could be like.

It was in that moment I realized I left behind the rage I felt burning fiercely for most of the week and replaced it with a deeper darker melancholy.

Gratitude week 94

  1. I went to the eye doctor this week and will be getting new glasses. I was a little worried about my eyes because they are so sensitive to light, but everything is fine.
  2. I have been having problems for years doing the eye puff test. Any time I have to look into any of the eye machines my eyes start blinking and watering. About half way through I asked if I could cover one eye and then I was just fine. The lady thought I was having a hard time with the machines because of my sensitivity to light. I’m grateful to finally find a solution to the problem as it was really embarrassing and caused me a lot of anxiety about going to the eye doctor.
  3. Two family members ended up going to the ER this week and I am glad to report they are doing fine.
  4. Yesterday I went up north to celebrate my niece’s birthday with Angel, Alex, and his new girlfriend. We had a great time visiting and playing games. It went so much better than I expected.
  5. My daughter and son got along great too. I’m grateful for that because they don’t always get along. Angel got to know Alex’s girlfriend better. It was great to see them all talk and laugh.
  6. My son got the old moped running up north. I haven’t been on it for years and took it out for a ride yesterday. I had so much fun that I am seriously thinking about getting my motorcycle license next summer.
  7. My husband got wood from a tree that was down at my parent’s place. It was nice to help him haul wood along with our son. Afterwards, I took the 4 wheeler for a ride. It was also a lot of fun.
  8. Besides yesterday’s trip up north, the week has been incredibly stressful, but I made it through. I was even considering starting an anti-gratitude list.
  9. I slept really good last night for the first time in months. Maybe having fun and getting a break from the stress did me some good.
  10. My husband was out of town for work half the week. I will be leaving soon to pick him up from the airport and bring him back home.