The squeaky wheel

Last Wednesday my mom came over. She walked in saying she told my dad she was going to move back into my house if he didn’t take a shower. In an instant I felt more stressed. She lived with us I would guess somewhere around 4 months. My dad showering was always a fight. If it was up to my dad he would never shower again. One time he didn’t shower for a whole year. It is a topic of marital conflict that I would bet most of your parents never have had.

It wasn’t long after my mom showed up that the police called her. She found out not only one, but two of my brother Matt’s caregivers in his group home stole money from him and his roommates. It broke my mom’s heart because she really liked one of the caregivers because she was good to Matt. Not only that, but my mom found out that someone most likely a caregiver stole my brother’s cell phone. My mom got a cell phone bill for hundreds of dollars on Matt’s phone for texting and data. My brother doesn’t read nor write. He said he couldn’t find his phone for the last couple of weeks. No wonder why, it was stolen.

This was very upsetting for my mom. She is going through so much. Sadly, it’s nothing new. From what I heard the police were going to arrest one of the women as they have a low tolerance for people that steal from the disabled. My mom needed to go to the police department the following morning to sign a subpoena to get the cell phone records. It never ends for my mom. The week before Matt was exposed to COVID and his roommate had pneumonia.

As my mom was dealing with some major problems with her special needs child, I was dealing with some major issues with mine. I knew that my mom was not as concerned about me in that moment as she was with everything going on with my brother. I spent my whole childhood pretty much used to that. My mom always said the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Some way or another, Matt was always that squeaky wheel. The other three tires never made much noise in comparison.

The last year and a half Arabella has been that squeaky wheel. Lately, she is all we ever talk about. She was sending me upsetting texts while my mom was busy with everything going on with Matt. Lately Angel picked her maid of honor for her wedding. She was excited because she was also picked as the maid of honor for that friend’s wedding. We were happy for her, but then the conversation quickly switched back to the problems we are currently having with Arabella. Angel said it wasn’t fair. She was doing great but no one ever focuses on her.

I understand totally as a special needs sibling. Tonight Paul and I are taking Angel and her fiancĂ© out to eat to thank her for keeping a good eye on the house and pets while we were on vacation. We try to celebrate the good, but in all honesty everything going on with Arabella is bringing us down. There isn’t a lot of joy in my life right now. On a scale of one to ten I would list my joy rating at a zero. One of the only things that is keeping me from jumping off a cliff (or should I say the Kennebunk bridge) is looking forward to my daughter’s wedding.

Arabella’s time at the hotel was running out. She wanted somewhere to stay and didn’t want to stay with us or with my parents because the environment was way too unhealthy. She wanted to stay with my best friend’s family. Cindy has an 18 year old son living at home. I told my best friend not to let her stay there. If my daughter makes false allegations against her son, or husband for that matter, it could ruin their lives and I couldn’t live with that. Would she end up living in a car? Winter is coming. Then she ‘accidently’ sent me a text conversation she had with someone which detailed her overdosing. Maybe I’ll share that tomorrow. It’s hard to read though as a parent. Every day I expect a phone call telling us she is dead. That’s my life right now.

She doesn’t want anything to do with us, she said. But then she asked me if I would take care of her frogs. I have been but I don’t want to. I feel sad because every time I look at them I think of how they were a gift to her to show her how much we care. I don’t want her to take them because I am afraid they will die because she can’t even take care of herself. As I went to the pet store last week for more crickets, the guy who worked there forever commented to me how happy he was to see pets in good homes like mine. I almost started crying. I have a good home?? It’s so easy to doubt that anymore. I’ve been told how awful I am that I am almost starting to believe it or think that others see me that way.

How do people view me? Am I still the kind calm person with a sad smile? Or do people just see me with the weight on my shoulders that brings me down? Do they see the angry lady who beats her fists against the walls? The sad lady that almost cries in pet stores? Or do they see the real me in there somewhere? The me I can’t even see anymore. I’m so beyond broken at this point. Dealing with this stress day in and day out is killing me. But I’ve been through hell before and kept on going.

Goal 2: Spiritual growth

As I mentioned recently, a few months ago we left our church and started attending a new church. I noticed my ruby ring was stolen the morning I left to go to church right before Christmas. The following Sunday we sang a song stating that God was the God of miracles. I thought in my head, yeah I believe in God, but I don’t believe in miracles anymore. I was seeing more tragedy around me than restoration. Even in my own life recently, a precious gift from my mother was stolen.

We didn’t know who took the ring, we just knew that it was missing. We allowed my son’s friend back into our lives after I got a lock box for the remaining precious gems. We didn’t think it was the friend that took the ring. We honestly thought it was another boy whose mother told me that her son stole from her. This second boy was in our house over the time that the ring went missing along with the first.

We took the first boy back into our house. We told him that we trusted him. But through our misguided trust, I started treating him like he belonged here again. I cooked for him and did his laundry. It was through this act of trust that I discovered my stolen ring in his pocket when I was doing his laundry. A miracle occurred. I never thought I would get my ring back and I never thought I would catch the person who did it.

After talking to my son about the betrayal of his friend, I sent a message to the other boy’s mother telling her that the ring had been found. I couldn’t imagine the agony of thinking that my child victimized another parent, a friend.

A miracle happened, but I no longer believed in miracles. I didn’t trust God. Instead I put my trust in someone that intended to hurt me. How bizarre is that!?

I was betrayed by someone I considered to be a best friend many years ago too. But hey, so was Jesus. Right? I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. If I didn’t trust the boy, I never would’ve gotten my ring back. I learned a lot in the process.

I am a pretty good person. I live with few regrets. I’ve been hurt more than I have hurt others. I’ve even read the Bible from cover to cover, but I’ve never truly trusted God before. I wanted to do things my way. I wanted to be in control.

Then yesterday a big miracle occurred. A most precious gem was stolen, a child by the name of Jayme Closs. She is a 13 year old girl in our state of Wisconsin that was kidnapped after her parents were brutally murdered. She was missing for almost 3 months without a trace. Just gone. Yesterday she was found. ALIVE!! What a miracle!

I no longer believed in miracles, but I do now.

Now I have to wonder…What more can God do??

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Aren’t miracles precious and beautiful? Are you looking for a miracle in your life??

Lost, but found

A miracle happened today.

The year of 2018 was probably the biggest year of change in my life. I’m going to spend the next couple of days talking about change, future goals, what have you with the introduction of the new year.

But as of today, a miracle happened.

One change that happened in 2018 was that my son’s best friend, the boy with the face tattoo, got kicked out of his house. In June we bought a bigger house and pretty much right after that, the boy moved in. We talked about having him live here full-time as a foster child. Paul and I were talking with him about getting his face tattoo removed, helping him finish high school and get a job, and working with him on getting his license. We were making him meals and doing his laundry.

There were signs that were unsettling, but we ignored them. After my ruby ring was stolen, we were convinced it wasn’t him. I bought a lock box for my valuables and within a week the boy was living with us again. We told Alex we trusted the boy. Alex’s relief over this was visible. He was Alex’s best friend since the early grade school years. We just didn’t believe he would steal from us since we have been doing everything we can to help him through a hard time.

This morning I found my lost ruby ring. It was a miracle since I never expected to see it again! But I found it in the pants pocket of the boy with the face tattoo when I was doing his laundry. I felt a great elation and sadness. My ring has been returned to me, but my son’s best friend stole the ring. He will never be allowed in our house again. I haven’t told my son yet and this is really going to be hard on him.

Why did we ignore the early warning signs?

This past year we also left our church which we have been members of for 10 years. There were signs over the last several months that it was no longer the right place for us. It took something big to finally get us to leave. Now we found a new church that is a better fit for us.

I think that most people know when something is over. I think we knew, but we didn’t do anything. We tolerated instead of taking action. Why does it take something big to move us from something we know?

For me personally, there has been so much change in the last year that I have been trying to avoid change. I have been clinging to everything that I have known and watching as it slips away. But sometimes change is for the better. I have to trust that God has a better plan for my life. I have to learn how to let go. I need to know when it is time to let go (before something valuable is stolen). There is also a price for not accepting change. I didn’t really realize that until now.

To be honest, I feel a tremendous amount of relief. I have the tendency to be overly responsible and want to fix things. Having the boy here was a big burden for me. I wanted to save him. I wanted to take the bird with the broken wing into my nest. I wanted to do something even his own mother was unwilling to do. Now it is over.

I got my ring back and that truly is a miracle!

 

 

The radiant red ruby ring

I noticed it was missing right before we left for church on Sunday morning.

The ruby ring was a very special college graduation gift from my mother. It had a large rectangular radiant cut ruby with 4 small rubies and 8 tiny diamonds on a gold band. I wore it last to a Christmas party a week and a half before.

It was gone and another ring was put in its place. I searched the whole jewelry box, but it was still missing. Stolen, I believe, with a painful realization on the way to church. Paul, Luke, and I went to church while the rest of our families slept in. I was planning on going to a Christmas Eve service with the rest of the family at another church the next day.

The church service started out with Joy to the World, but I wasn’t feeling much joy in my world as the tears quietly slipped from my eyes. Someone stole my ring. When we got home, my nieces wanted to play detective and solve the mystery of the missing ring. They left to go home after lunch. I felt relieved when they left. It was hard to hold it all together. I felt very low and was rather snappy.

I wasted the day with my grief…grief over losing my ring, grief over losing my job. I felt like it was one of the worst Christmases ever. I knew it would be a hard week with my employment ending on Friday. I had planned on going to the gym on Monday and running 10 miles. I also planned on going to the candlelight Christmas Eve service. I woke up with swollen eyes and decided I wasn’t going to go anywhere. It wouldn’t have worked out anyway. Angel had a Christmas party with Dan’s family, Alex was with friends, and Arabella had to work. My kids were gone too.

Instead, I spent the day scouring the internet looking for my ring. I called a local pawn shop which was very helpful. I tried to get an idea of how valuable the ring is.

I checked all of my jewelry to see if anything else was missing. Nothing was. I checked all of my pockets on all of my pants and coats. I took everything out of my jewelry box. Did I misplace the ring? Maybe if I check everyday, then one day it will magically be there.

Who was at our house since it was gone? I counted 16 people outside of my immediate family. It could be anybody. At first we put a lot of blame on the boy with the face tattoo. He has been living with us off and on for the past 6 months, without incident though. We just don’t think it was him.

I also called the parent of one of Alex’s friends who was over. She admitted that her son tried to steal some of her jewelry. I think it might be him. As of yet, I haven’t filed a police report. I’m not sure what to do. I hate to cast blame on an innocent person. I just want my ring back. It was one of my most expensive and favorite pieces of jewelry. It was a special gift from my mother for a big accomplishment. So it had high sentimental value as well.

I don’t have any pictures of the ring. Big mistake, but you know what they say about hindsight. My mom has the original receipt with the description of the ring. I haven’t had the heart to tell her that it was stolen. She is so much more sentimental than I am. She just threw out my brother’s baby blanket a few years back and he is almost 40.

I feel stupid for not locking up my valuable items. Who would’ve thought that someone would go into my bedroom and take jewelry out of my jewelry box? I never had anything of any value stolen from me before.

I also visited a used jewelry store. I talked with them about my stolen ring. The next day I went back and bought myself another ruby ring. I also bought a lock box to store my valuable possessions in. I have to somehow let it go. I will probably never get it back. But I’m going to do everything I can to make sure this never happens again.