Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lost & Broken ..

My world is shattered and broken
into a million little pieces.
Life still goes on
from day to day progressing
and yet
I am lost.

There aren't many people I truly look up at and admire. I mean, truly from the depth of my being look up to with respect and admiration. My grandparents were among the people that I did look up to like that though.
On Monday February 7th my grandfather, Dandaddy, was found by his housekeeper. Sometime late Saturday night (the 5th) he had gotten up, gone into his bathroom, and killed himself. My mother called Justin who came home and broke the news to me. I rushed over to his house, where my Mom and other family members were, while Justin stayed at home and watched the kids.
I actually admire him for ending his life. My grandmother, Baba, died of Alzheimer's. It took her so many years before she finally died, many years where she just laid there a shell of her former self. My step-grandmother, Evelyn, died of cancer. Thankfully that went quickly. Then my Uncle Jimmy, the oldest of the siblings, passed away last Fall due to a form of dementia that (I think) developed into Alzheimer's. No man should have to bury so many loved ones. No man should have to bury his own child.
Dandaddy was lonely. He had lived a full life, come to terms with death and was ready to die. That much he said a couple years back and had repeated a couple times since. His body was beginning to fail him though his mind was sharp. I can't begin to image how awful it must be to come to that point where you are at peace with death but yet have to continue to live on for years as your body begins to fail you, yet your mind remains sharp.
So I admire him for the strength and courage he showed. I know he wasn't sad when he did it, I know he was likely angry at his body for failing him. I admire his courage to say "fuck it" and do what he did.
But to say I am lost is beyond words. I am lost without his smile. His hugs. The number one priority in his life was family and I am simply lost now.

Since his death things have headed downhill some. Justin's grandfather has leukemia. I don't know many details but I know he's in pain. And my heart breaks all over again.

There are other things too, but suddenly it feels inappropriate to write about them here. As much as they hurt me, to compare them to family is nonsensical.

My mind is full of questions
and my heart is full of pain.
I am not certain where my path is headed
or even where my next step is.
Broken and lost I will carry on
until ...

Until when?
When the path becomes clear once again?
When the fog lifts?
When the happiness of today
replaces the sorry of yesterday?
When a Spirit comes to guide me through
the briars and thorns and
back to the meadow?

I don't know.
Maybe just UNTIL.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Battle of Wills

Parenting moments are wonderful. They are full of these battle of wills. If you're a strong-willed person, and especially if your kids' other biological parent is a strong-willed person, it is very likely that you have one helluva strong-willed kid.
Which is kind of a silly statement to make since I firmly believe that most all people would consider themselves strong-willed about one thing or another. I mean, someone comes up to you and asks "May I kill you?" You say "no." They start pestering you about it, asking if you're really sure about that, you hold firm and say "no." ~ See, strong-willed! And the person who gave in and said yes?? Proof of Darwinism or something?? But I digress.

Battle of wills in parenting worlds are amazing. It's amazing what you will lock horns over. What initiates that inevitable Mexican Stand Off.
And these stand offs aren't just any stand off. They're EPIC. Your hold world suddenly is careening out of control as you try to hold your ground on this ONE ISSUE!!!

Today's Battle of Wills is happily brought to you by the most terrifying & trouble-making source in your entire house ..... the toilet.

The toilet is evil. It alone is EPIC. It is Kilimanjaro. It is hundreds of dollars spent on how to use the damn thing. Libraries created for this sole purpose, dolls to re-enact the act, videos to show how happy it is, therapy sessions later to console the now grown child over that horrific time in his life.

My kids will use the toilet. We are past that battle. But Tristan, ahh Tristan, Tristan is locking his horns with me over wiping himself. Tristan, although he desperately wants to be a big boy and do big boy things, is just as desperately clinging to the role of 'baby of the family.' I mean, that's HIS role. It's HIS THING man!!!

And so we stand. Well, actually he's more sitting and I'm standing in the doorway. But we've got our stances wide ala John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and all other serious guys who are just made for battles of wills and standing their ground.

Tristan refuses to wipe himself. I inform him that he can do it, that I've seen him do it, and so therefore, he can do it again and I will be oh so proud of him for being such a big boy.
He informs he he can't because he thinks he has a little diarrhea. (Yea, I'm writing about this. It's part of being a parent, deal with it)
I check, he doesn't, and so I inform him of this. Then I tell him that even if he DID have it, because he's still insisting that he does, he can still wipe his own butt. It's just the same thing.
He refuses.
I inform him that, fine, he can just sit there all day.

Now here is where my day steps in and says "REALLY????" Because I have somewhere I have to be at 1pm. And even though this battle of wills started at noon the countdown is louder than ever in my head.
The errand I need to run is literally a block away. I could literally be back in approximately 5 minutes.
Do I leave him here, sitting on the toilet?? I mean, if he's on the toilet, what could happen to him?? He decides to wipe and get off the toilet?? He decides to rub the nasties all over the wall?? A kid-eating alligator suddenly comes up from the pipes and snatches him, butt unwiped and all from the toilet, dragging my poor baby down into the depths of the sewer never to be heard from again (but sure to live on in infamous lore)???
Should I leave the 7 year old here with him? Well, that would be an obvious yes. Just in case that alligator showed up.
I could just wipe him, but then he knows I can be waited out till he gets his way. And let's face it, he's just sitting there.

So, I think fast. The dog loves to check on Tristan so I put the dog in the bathroom with him. That should get him wanting to leave the toilet!!!
Of course the dog isn't willing to cooperate and doesn't see what epic proportions this battle has reached. He is more interested in the peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and the fresh loaf of bread that are all sitting on the kitchen counter. He sits at the bathroom door and whines to be let out.
Instead of Tristan screaming about Foster being near him he is hollering at me that Foster wants out.
Cussing under my breath (that's a change for the better there folks, isn't it??) I let the dog out.

Time is ticking away. I have no allies to call in. I go back in there, leaning against the towels several feet away from him. I explain the process once more. I refuse to do it for him. I assure him that he can do it.

And he does.

I emerge from the bathroom exhausted. It could've been days, time has come to a stand still. The clock that has been so loudly ticking down has suddenly stopped like the bombs in the movie with 2 seconds left before life as we know it is over.

The war of the toilet is not over. But today's battle has been won. I have earned another parenting medal and my child has earned another badge of honor: he can do it and I can let him do it. We are both winners.

It was epically awesome.