The day that our social worker called us and told us that Mea would be coming home to us, I dropped by Mack’s old sitter Lois’ house to see if she would take Mea in her daycare once she was home.
At that time, Lois had quit taking babies. Two to three years old was the youngest she would take them.
She said she couldn’t promise anything but she would try it. She was concerned, she kind of didn’t think it would work with a “little” baby and the rest of her big kids. She said that if it didn’t work out she would let me know, and give me time to find someone else to watch her.
After the first week, they were two peas in a pod. Lois loved Mea, and Mea loved Lolo. It was an instant bond. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time saved up to take when she came home, and my Aunt was sick, so I had lots of “being away for work” guilt, so Mea started with Lois the second week she was home.
Lolo and her husband have been like a second set of grandparents to both of my kids. First Mack, and now Mea, they are forever bonded to this couple.
On November 20, Lois pulled me aside and said that she needed the week of Thanksgiving off. She told me that her husband had cancer, but they didn’t know where or how bad yet. The week of Thanksgiving was when they were doing the majority of the testing. The evening before Thanksgiving, I had a call from one of the other mother’s to tell me that Lois was done. Her husband was pretty bad, and she couldn’t do daycare anymore starting immediately.
I was a little hurt that she didn’t call me herself. (This is a post for a different day. We have visited and called since and it is yet another heartbreaking story to go down for 2013.)
In addition to her being Mea’s babysitter, she is my friend. I have cried all over her and her husband so many times over the years it is ridiculous. I gave them a little space, knowing just how much they were going through at that time, I just left them be for a few days.
Then the search was on.
No one can replace a Lolo, but I was determined to try.
Mea was adamant from the beginning that she did not want to go to Metrokids, the school’s before and after care program. I didn’t know why at the time she didn’t want to go, but she was so upset whenever I even mentioned it, I was going to try hard to find somewhere else.
I called all the centers all around us, and none of them had an opening for Mea’s school. It is a big school. One of the largest elementary schools in our city. Not one of them had room on their bus for before and after, or after school only.
I posted a few things on Facebook, looking for opinions or suggestions of friends.
I looked online.
We found a website for state approved daycare providers within our area, and called a few that were close. I set up appointments to go over to these homes, and interview the babysitters.
At the first house, it was clean. The girl seemed nice enough, a little young, but nice. Then she told me that she forgot that her own child had early out from school that day. She goes to a private Catholic school, that only does early outs every now and then instead of every week like Mea’s school.
But, you guys, she FORGOT HER OWN CHILD!!!!
While we were there someone from her child’s school brought her daughter home and another daycare child!
As I am talking to her she tells me that she picks up from another school that gets out at the same time as Mea, but what she will do is pick up from the other school first, and Mea could cross the street with the crossing guard and wait on a street opposite from the school until she gets there. It should only take her ten minutes.
ONLY TEN MINUTES????!!! My kid is not standing in the cold, on a street corner, away from her school while she waits for you to get there.
The next house. This house was across the street from the school. It looked okay from the street.
It looked less okay up close and personal.
It was awful. Mea goes tearing off playing with the kids. The babysitter asks me if I want to see the rest of the house, I agreed only because I don’t know if I knew what to say. It was filthy. If you knew someone was going to be coming to your house, wouldn’t you run the vacuum? Wipe down the counters in your kitchen?
But then again, from the looks of things, this probably was “clean” to them. She asked me if I wanted to sit down in the living room and I declined because the couch was so filthy I was afraid to sit on it. There were no legs on the couch or love seat. There were visible stains on both couches, that were almost “crunchy” looking.
Of course, Mea saw nothing wrong with this place. At all. She was so mad when I said that she was absolutely not going to go to either of these places. After the last one, I quit calling any in-home daycare providers.
We basically had no choice. It had been two weeks, I needed someplace for her to go. I told her that she had to go to Metrokids at the school, and if she hated it, I would do my best to find somewhere else.
The night before the first day, we had read some of her latest chapter book and were snuggling in bed. She says in her whining tiny little voice that she does not want to go to Metro. I asked her what was bothering her so bad about it.
She said, “Metro is in the cafeteria, and during lunch we have to sit and be quiet and not talk, or they turn the lights out. I don’t want to sit in the dark from after school until you get there Momma.”
Oh, my heart.
“Mea, just because Metro is in the cafeteria doesn’t mean that it is just like when you are in the cafeteria for lunch. At Metro they play games, they play with some toys and do crafts. They play outside when it is nice enough outside, and it’s supposed to be fun.”
She was still terribly nervous. I promised her we would go early and I would stay with her for a little while so that she could meet some friends. The lady who met us at the door was a little gruff, but nice enough, the other ladies inside were sweet and talked to Mea about some things. She saw a friend playing “restaurant” with some other little girls, so I took her over to say hello. They immediately asked her if she wanted to be a “worker or a customer” and brought her into their game. I stood back for a little while and watched.
I walked over to her after a few minutes and asked if it was okay for me to leave. She nodded her head and kissed me goodbye.
When I picked her up after I got off from work, she asked me why I came to get her so early.
I am turning into not a very nice person. The last year, has had an unfortunate effect of making me a bitter, crabby, bitchy person. This is probably not really all that true, but I just don’t know how much more I can take.
Mea has said to me, too many times to count, that I am always making a frowny face. Which is not good for my overall mood, not to mention that I am going to end up with permanent frown lines, and need Botox or something.
Let’s do a recap of 2013 so far…
My Mom diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
Fired from job of 10 years.
Unemployment for four and a half months.
More than one friend or friend’s spouse diagnosed with cancer.
One job offer, at a significant cut in pay.
Big daughter moves to Ohio.
House is broken into.
Small daughter’s babysitter quits with no notice right before Thanksgiving.
Big daughter calls crying as her work will not let her have any time off for Christmas, and she cannot come home.
This last one is just the icing on the cake.
Mack can’t afford to just quit her job, it took her 2 months to even find this crappy job she doesn’t really like, she had talked about just quitting and coming home, but this just isn’t really a reasonable thing to do. My Mom is just devastated. My heart hurts, I cried at work this morning. Blubbered all over one of my co-workers.
I cannot even begin to tell you what this is going to do to Mea. She is going to be crushed. She has said multiple times that she only wants Mack home for Christmas. Now, she’s not fooling me completely, she still wants a guitar (she’s getting that) a computer (not so much) a I-Pod Touch (nope) and a Nerf bow and arrow (yes!), but I cannot provide the one thing that she has asked for over and over again. It is at the top of each Christmas list. I have even heard her whispering it to Sparkle Heart….
“I want my MackamooSissy home for Christmas….”
This breaks my heart, not just for Mea, but for me too. I miss Mack like crazy. I have been good, I haven’t complained about her not being here, I was sad when she wasn’t here for Thanksgiving, and I had to suck it up a few times. I can only begin to imagine what Christmas without her is going to be like.
Every year, for as long as she has been alive, and old enough to actually “help” Nana decorate their house for Christmas, she has been the main “elf” doing all of the decorating. She told my Mom before she left for Ohio, that she understood that decorating couldn’t wait, but to please save the nativity for her to put out.
My Mom made the nativity scene with her ceramics ladies. Sanded, painted, and fired each piece herself. The nativity has always been Mack’s last duty in the decorating. Mom was saving it for her.
My Mom sent me a text that she can’t put it out. She had my Dad put the box back in storage.
We are going to pull everything together, get it wrapped so that I can get it shipped out in time for Mack and her boyfriend to have gifts to open. Some of her stuff isn’t here yet, so I guess she may end up getting some of her presents in installments. She has been making many of her gifts for the kids and grown-ups, so they are not all finished either. I told her I would help her with the shipping when she was ready and able.
We have been planning on going out to visit over Spring Break, and to be honest, March 14th cannot come soon enough for me. I need to see my girl. I need to be able to touch her and give her a hug. Skype is wonderful, but it’s not exactly the same thing as giving your big girl a snuggle.
I am over this year.
It has been awful, and I just don’t know how much more I can take.
I’m tired of whining.
I’m tired of not being my normal snarky, somewhat happy self.
Last night, I was pondering a few things that I would like to do once I do become employed again. New furniture, and a new bed are at the top of the list. Our furniture is getting tired, so is our bed.
Both are sagging in places they shouldn’t be sagging. Much of this is do to age, but it is also due to the fact that beds, couches and love seats are not designed to be gymnastics equipment. We have bought Mea a mat and my parents bought her a practice balance beam, so I am hoping that it will be safe to buy new furniture after we have her “gym room” set up.
After I started thinking of the new bed, it reminded me of this story….
When I very first started at my last job, one of my previous part-time jewelry store employees was my manager. It was one of the few things about going to the new job that I was concerned about, because she was a high maintenance employee, so I was really worried about what kind of manager she would be. I was right to be worried. I haven’t talked about her being a horrible boss, but I probably should at some point. No training, yelled at me in front of our employees, was never there, the list goes on and on and on.
One day when she was there, she was trying to sell her mattress and box spring set to anyone who would listen to her talk about it. She had cornered me, and was really trying to make R and I buy it, although we had a new bed, and I had no need for it.
It was practically new. She had only had it a few years. They needed a king size bed for the bedroom in their new house, the queen looked to small in their new master bedroom. On and on and on and on.
One of our employees was seriously considering buying it. She and her husband were just starting out, their bed was old and it seemed like a good deal.
I knew that I had to talk her out of it.
I had to wait for our manager to go to lunch before I could say anything.
Finally, she left for lunch.
I pulled Kim aside and told her why she couldn’t buy the mattress.
She practically jumped away from me after I told her.
Now, remember that our manager was my “high maintenance” employee when I managed the jewelry stores. There was always some sort of drama going on in her life, whether it was her kids, her parents, her husband, her siblings, the cloud in the sky, or a customer looked at her funny. She constantly had something going on, or some new drama she would bring to the store.
I had to pull her aside and talk to her on many occasions. I had to send her home after she came to work so distraught about stuff that was going on at home. Sometimes it was in her head, other times it may have been real stuff going on, but she was prone to exaggeration, so it was always hard to tell.
One evening at the height of Christmas time, she had come to work so distraught, and I was not getting anything productive out of her, she couldn’t even clean the glass cases correctly. I pulled her aside to have one of our talks, to see what was going on, and to determine if I needed to send her home, or if I could calm her down into actually working.
That’s when she confided in me.
It was so embarrassing, she had never told anyone.
She didn’t know what to do.
I had no idea what to tell her.
In fact, I was speechless. (That doesn’t happen often.)
You see, her husband wets the bed. Not just a little. Drowns the thing, almost every single night.
She clearly forgot about our “talk” from that night, when she was trying to sell that mattress to all of us at the office. When we had that talk, she was telling me how tired she was, she is up every night changing the sheets, and doing laundry in the middle of the night each night.
I will never forget. In fact, I see her husband and pretty much always snicker in my head. There are some things you just should not know about some people.
Her husband is now a pretty high up school official in our school district.
And I know he is a bed wetter.
Happy Friday, my friends.
I hope that all of my Momma friends had wonderful Mother’s Days, full of all the things that you like to do.
We had a really nice day.
Mea had a friend sleepover, and we had our youngest grandson overnight as well. They were both picked up by 9:30, and we headed over to my sister’s house for brunch shortly after.
I had printed the letter on nice paper and left it in my parent’s car as we were walking into my sister’s. I didn’t want her to turn into a puddle in front of everyone, and I know I would have been bawling too. My sister and I pooled together and bought my Mom a rosebush, and a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant my parents go to when they go out-of-town. Their 41st anniversary was on Monday, and they are headed out-of-town for a few days this afternoon after my Mom’s chemo treatment. (This is the weekly chemo, not the big one. Less side effects on this small treatment.)
They are excited to get away for a few days.
Mack, Mea and I spent a good portion of the afternoon together, playing, and shopping. It was a really nice day.
I had really nice messages from the big girls as well.
The past few days there has been some major drama going on with my youngest step-daughter and the baby’s father. To break it down simply, he borrowed her car, and messed it up. It is going to be costly to fix, and he is not working. I wish that these girls would learn from each other when dealing with their baby daddy drama, but I suppose it is something that they each have to learn for themselves.
Yesterday, the baby had a doctor’s appointment for his six month check-up. Little chunky man is doing well, despite the fact that he has a major cold going on.
While I was waiting for Mea at gymnastics last night, I sent her a text message asking how is appointment went, and if there was any news on what is going on with her car.
Her Mom has been working on getting the car fixed with some mechanic she and her boyfriend usually use. At some point she was talking to E, and her phone cut out so she couldn’t hear her mother, and her mom got pissed off thinking she wasn’t listening and hung up on her, then wouldn’t take her phone calls.
This makes me completely crazy.
These are our adult children. They are not teenagers, they are not children. Now sometimes they may act like it, but still. Then again, we all know how mature their mother can act.
We texted back and forth for the majority of the hour during Mea’s gymnastics class. She talked to me a bit about the drama going on with her baby’s dad, the issue with his mother (another grandma) doing daycare, and him holding daycare over her head if they get into arguments.
I talked her through it a bit, gave her my opinion, and offered to take the baby anytime she needed me to while I am not working. Due to this latest development with the car and the baby’s dad, daycare was going to be an issue for today. We agreed that I would watch him while she worked today, she had missed two days this week because of the car, and the baby not feeling well, in addition to the fact that he told her that she couldn’t bring the baby for daycare.
While Mea and I were in route back home, and stopping for dinner, E posted this on Facebook…
I’m so blessed to have not only one wonderful mom but two… Love you Kelly, thank you so much for being there for me!!
When I get these messages from the big girls, I cannot begin to tell you how happy it makes me. It was a long time coming. It took a lot of love, patience, and time.
This morning she sent me a text stating that her mom called in sick to work so that she could watch the baby, but that she may have me watch him tomorrow.
It is fine.
But at the same time, it is ignorant. I know that her mom took a paid day off from her job because it was going to be me that was watching him.
I sent her a text back saying that I would be happy to watch him if she needed me to.
My husband called a bit ago to see how the baby was doing. When I told him that I didn’t have him, and what I speculated the reason to be with his ex-wife, he reminded me that these reactions to things are part of the reason that she is an ex-wife.
I get it.
I just don’t really understand it. My husband isn’t jealous of her boyfriend of twenty years. He understands that he has been a big part of their lives. She is their mom. I know this. They are also grown-ups, and should be able to have adult relationships with anyone they want to have a relationship.
Sometimes it feels like she is constantly challenging me to some sort of weird better mother duel.
I am ever so thankful that she is not on Facebook. I have a feeling that the messages that I get from the big girls would either not happen, or the meaning and thought behind the messages would get ruined by this woman.
In the meantime, I will continue my internal dialog to myself, saying, “I am the more mature one, I will not do or say anything to ruin the relationship I have worked so hard for with these girls.”
I think I will silently hate her in my head for the rest of my life.
I spent much of the week going from store to store attempting to find the perfect Mother’s Day card. I could not find one that said what I needed it to say, so I thought I would write you a letter in addition to the card I did end up buying.
I would not be the woman I am today without having you here to guide me. You have taught me when to be strong, when to let go, when to stand up for myself, to be independent and to think for myself, and how to be an amazing mother to my own daughters.
We have been through so much, and I am sure that I have tested you in ways you never could have imagined that I would have done. For some of these tests I put you through I am truly sorry, but some of those tests brought us closer together, and created amazingly beautiful things,
You are the matriarch of the family. You are the glue that holds us together. You still settle arguments between sisters, make us kiss and make up, when we might otherwise stew and pout at each other for long lengths of time.
You are the keeper of records, and the one who journals all of our lives events. You are the memory keeper.
You are an amazing Nana, and there are four very lucky girls who are proud to call you their Nana.
You are the woman I aspire to be.
You are the wife, friend and mother that I compare myself to.
You have the strength of ten thousand people, and have the courage of a million others.
I am proud to call you my Mom, and my best friend.
The doctors and nurses called it when they said you are Super Woman, because you really are, in more ways than they could ever know.
I would say that I love you more than you could ever know, but I believe that you do know how much I love you, because you love me exactly the same way.
I hope that you have a wonderful Mother’s Day, and just want you to know just how much I love you.
To the Moon and Back,
I am a card person.
I keep them all. I have shoe boxes full of them.
I can almost always find a card that can say for me what I have been trying to say, or something with a hidden meaning that may only truly be understood by myself and the person that I send it to. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes I am drawn to the art on the card, but I can nearly almost always find just the one that I am looking for.
Some of you have even been on the receiving end of my card craziness.
I like to mail cards. Who doesn’t like to get a piece of mail that isn’t junk or a bill in their mailbox? Just a little something that can put a smile on your face, when you hadn’t really felt like smiling. Anymore with emailing, texting, and so many other ways to communicate, it feels like the art of writing a letter is going by the wayside.
For the last three days, I have been trying to find a card for my Mom for Mother’s Day. I have been to four different stores, and have yet to find anything that really says what I want it to say.
There isn’t really a section in the Mother’s Day card section that is specifically for your Mother with terminal cancer. (Someone at Hallmark should get on that.)
I bought one yesterday, but it still doesn’t feel like the card that I want to give her. I have come to the conclusion that I am going to give her the card that I bought, but I am also going to write a letter to go along with it. For her to open later in the day, vs. while we are at my sister’s house for brunch.
I have been pouring over my old posts and there are bits and pieces from many posts that I would like to actually share with my Mom. I am going to take these bits, and turn them into a letter.
My parent’s 41st Anniversary is on Monday. They are going to go out-of-town for a few days after her chemo treatment on Wednesday. My sister and I bought our parents a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant they visit in this town that they are staying in.
At this point, it seems like buying her things that she can use to have fun is a better option than a sweater, or a plant, or jewelry or any other thing.
Adding another memory for my parents, that is something really special.
Yesterday, we finally celebrated Easter with the family. My sister was out-of-town last weekend, so we had put off our Easter Egg hunt, and lunch. It was really nice.
My brother-in-law presented me with a very spoofty resume, and I finally gave my sister her birthday card.
My Mom was like a kid on Christmas. We had picked out special necklaces for all the granddaughters for their birthdays, but when they arrived early, and she fell in love with them she decided they were Easter gifts instead.
Something special from Nana, to all the girls.
When Mack opened hers, I saw the tears well up in her eyes. My oldest niece also gave my Mom a pretty instant serious hug. The little girls definitely thought the necklaces were pretty, but it was a little lost on them what the meaning was. It wasn’t lost on me.
Guess How Much I Love You came out when Mack was three. My Mom and I must have read this book at least a thousand times over the years. First to Mack, then P, then S and finally to a baby Mea. It is a book that I have bought for every new mom I know, for as long as I can remember. My Mom signs off texts to Mack with this all the time, and now she does with P, too.
Mack has asked me several times now to get the little nut-brown hair tattooed on me somewhere, so that she can get the big nut-brown hair tattooed on her. I have thought about it. Still thinking.
My Mom typically doesn’t go this crazy for Easter. She usually makes baskets for the girls, but of the normal Easter variety. She nearly always buys my sister and I a plant of some sort, that I promptly murder by either forgetting about it, or over-watering. Black thumb all the way. This year, she bought us rose charms for our Pandora bracelets.
A flower that I cannot kill.
A flower for every Easter to come.
All in all it was a really good Easter. Even if it wasn’t actually on Easter Sunday. Cancer didn’t get this holiday.