Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Unknown Path

The next few pages in my journal were mixed with both positive and negative aspects.  The positives were, Jordan mentioned she realized we (well mostly Adam, because I was a bit of a hot head) helped her get through her down times, and understood this wasn’t how it was “supposed to be”. Impressive introspection, right?  This was absolutely necessary before she could accept and benefit from professional help. Not bad timing since I finally made my first few calls to therapists, and was anxiously awaiting a call back.  Woohoo!

Now for the negative aspects. You know when you haven’t seen a special relative in a long time, and you’re excited to “show off” your awesome kids? This particular relative watched me grow up, then raised two adorable kids, and now I was a mom.  Well, we were all invited to my cousin’s high school graduation party. (He was one of the two adorable kids I was talking about). I couldn’t wait for these significant people from my past, to meet my family.

For whatever reason, Jordan couldn’t pull herself together enough to go to the party. I explained to her that these people already love her, and can’t wait to meet/see her. I asked her to please go, because it was important to me; “If you can’t do it for yourself, please do it for me.” But she couldn’t, and she didn’t.   And I was hurt.  Angry and hurt.  What do you tell people when you get to a party with two of your three kids? I guess I could have lied and said she was sick, but I didn’t. I briefly explained that she was struggling and I couldn’t make her come. Talk about emotions getting stirred up.

Adam stayed home with her. This was another last minute change, equivalent to a hard kick in my gut, but we weren’t comfortable leaving our struggling, confused thirteen-year-old daughter alone all day.

Things were rough, but at least we were slowly getting ourselves on the right path.  That's something.  Plus, Kayla, Kevin and I had fun, and by the time we got home, I had recovered, emotionally.  Jordan was so apologetic, and I was sorry she missed out on a special day filled with unconditional family love.

We knew what our job was. We needed to stay focused and continue searching for a path that was best for Us.

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Squeaky Wheels


One night Kayla asked me to help paint her nails so they would look like basketballs. I told her I would after Kevin was done with his homework. Kevin struggled with spelling, writing and staying focused, so I sat with him each night.  Although it was frustrating, because he was a fourth grade boy forced to do tasks that were difficult for him, it's what we did.

When Kevin was done, (and me too, emotionally) I went into Kayla’s room. I sensed that she was already frustrated because it took me so long. but I attempted to paint the black lines on her nails. I messed up on the first try, which isn't surprising because painting nails was not my thing. So now I’m annoyed and pushed to my limits, and she started crying. When I felt pressured and stressed I tended to verbally spew out everything on my mind, and that's what I did. I went on about how I had "had it" with all of their needs, and how homework does, and will always, be more important than nail painting…

Even through her tears she spoke so eloquently about how I upset her and how she waited patiently for me. She was beautifully honest. In her opinion I needed to help Kevin with his homework way too much, because “he must know how to spell those words”. He struggled academically in a way she couldn’t understand.  I instantly calmed down and began listening to her, because I had to. She was right. With all the drama going on with Jordan and Kevin's nightly homework episodes, she tended to get overlooked.


I apologized and explained how when I was angry, I tended to lash out and say things without thinking. I told her I was proud that she shared her feelings with me, and how grown up and mature she behaved. She was eleven, and she amazed me.  It was at this moment I decided we would stay overnight for her next basketball tournament, so we could go to Dorney Park with some of her teammates. We had planned to go to the games, but not stay overnight. I wasn’t comfortable going without Adam, especially since the other parents who were staying overnight were all men. Picture me with three other dads, riding on the coasters. I was out of my comfort zone, but I did it, and Kayla and I had fun. Plus, she made a right handed layup in one of the games. :)

Sometimes kids really do make the best teachers.

Thank you.

Us Too

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's Never Just About a Shirt

For those of you who may be traveling this winter, I feel for you especially if you have strong willed kids. Spending the holidays with family is a time to be cherished, it's how traditions and special memories are created. That's the Hallmark version.  It can also be a time when blood pressure has the tendency to sky rocket, fingernails are reduced to stubs, and quite frankly, the caloric intake reaches sickening levels      What??  Isn't this how everyone reacts?

Obviously kids aren't the only ones who feel the stress of traveling.  Moving in with another family, even for a short time, can be tough. It's hard not to notice different parenting styles when you're all smashed into one living space.  At home we tried to keep our lives as predictable and orderly as possible, because when you have one child who gets thrown off by any unexpected change, you get amazingly efficient at scheduling. But when we traveled we tended to acquiesce to the rules of the household we were visiting. What choice did we have? Tell Jordan to go to bed earlier than the others, because "You know how you get"? Yeah, that would have gone over real well.

Our kids only have four first cousins. Two boys live five minutes away. The other two boys live seven hours away. We tried to make the longer trip at least every other year when the kids were younger. The cousins were good friends and have been getting together yearly since they were born,
so in theory, these visits should have been a blast. Don't get me wrong, when we look back at the trips, we all smile. That being said, there were usually moments of intense emotion because Jordan was pushed to her limits.

On one particular trip, Jordan missed the first three innings of her cousin's baseball game because Kayla wouldn't let her wear a shirt that was brought by, and belonged to, Kayla.  Picture four loud kids and five adults all trying to leave the house at the same time, while one child is locked in a room unable to break herself out of the cycle of despair and anger. Eventually everyone else left, and I stayed back with her. I'm sure initially she and I were both feeling angry and embarrassed, but we talked it out like we always did, and made it to the game.

This was by no means the first time a situation like this evolved while spending time with family, so no one was shocked by her behavior. That being said, inevitably someone would ask where Jordan was or what was wrong with her. It was difficult for me to explain why she behaved the way she did. Keep in mind she wasn't diagnosed yet, so what could I say to help other's understand?  I didn't even fully understand myself. I usually explained it this way: This is just how she is, she really can't help it, and she isn't trying to mess up anyone's plans.  It usually ended with a sentence that helped to reassure the person affected, (this time it was her baseball-playing cousin) that it had absolutely nothing to do with him. 

For every heated moment we were faced with, there were hundreds of beautiful, loving moments too. Jordan was (and still is) a wonderful, smart, caring, funny, passionate girl, who has a million gifts to share.  I'm not sure why, but I felt the need to say this. :)

Thank you.

Us Too

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Much Needed Positivity

Jordan returned from a three day, two night school-sponsored trip to Cape Henlopen, and she had a blast!  I couldn't have been more happy for her!!

I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned before she left, especially since worrying, preparing and packing took her longer than the duration of the trip.  I would also be lying if I admitted that the two nights she was away, didn't feel like a much needed respite. (Hmm... I wonder if this also held true for her.)

But Jordan did it, and she enjoyed it!  My baby was spreading her wings and learning to fly.  :)

Thank you.

Us Too