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.
A few weekends ago, my husband and I went away for the weekend. It was the first time we have left Mea. It is also the first time that we had gone anywhere just the two of us, since our honeymoon.
We really needed that trip. It was good for us. Mea lived, and although she was super pissed that we left her, she had lots of fun with her big sister, E1, her niece and her nephew, and the following night with her Aunt and cousins.
We didn’t really do anything that we couldn’t have done here, but going out-of-town made us spend time together. It was all good. We ate junk food and drank in the middle of the day, we went to a movie that was rated R, and last longer than an hour and a half.
We had fun.
When we got home, we picked Mea up, and went home and started our normal Sunday routine. I got laundry started, went to the grocery store, fed my family lunch and dinner.
I did notice that the majority of the clothes that I had sent for Mea to wear while we were gone was still clean, folded, and hadn’t been worn. When she was at her sister’s house, she claimed she didn’t have any shirts (she had two in that bag) and when she was at her Aunt’s house she swore that I hadn’t packed her any pants, to which my sister just told her to wear the pants she had worn the day before.
I am a little surprised that the grown-ups didn’t question this a little more, but whatever. She had at least two full outfits in each bag. We left Friday night, and came home Sunday morning. I totally over packed her, and it was for no reason.
After dinner, I went to help Mea get ready for her bath. She was being silly, super squirrelly, and was forcing me to help her get undressed. I get her pants off, and look at her feet.
She was wearing the same socks that I had helped her put on Friday morning.
They were once white.
They were about ten shades of brown when I peeled them off of her feet.
I posted something on Facebook about it, just being my normal smart ass self, giving my sister and E1 a hard time for not doing a very good job of Mea sitting.
The next morning, my Mom told me that she got the biggest laugh out of Mea not changing her socks.
She said that once she had a seven-year-old daughter, (duh, it was me) who she dropped off for a weekend camping trip for Brownies. Apparently, this daughter wore the same socks, underwear, and undershirt the entire weekend. They had gone hiking in the woods, and it had been muddy. They did stuff around the camp fire. Apparently, she even walked in only socked feet back and forth to the latrine a few times as well.
As we were talking I could hear the smile in my Mom’s voice, remembering this silly story of her seven-year old daughter being a dirty little piglet during her first camping trip.
I, of course, do not recall doing this. I do remember camping with Girl Scouts plenty of times, but I don’t remember my filthy socks.
It’s the little stories like this that I soak up and savor so much these days. I have a hard time thinking about all of the stories that I don’t know, or no longer remember, and how they could someday just be gone because I was too young to remember or notice, and my Mom may not be there to tell the story to me. How one of my children doing something silly like not changing her socks will remind my Mom of something similar that either I did, or that my sister did at the same exact age.
I hope to hear more of these.
Actually, I hope to hear all of these.
PS. Guys! I am writing again. Words come out when I come here! Thank you for sticking with me.
Today, my Mom took me to buy a new outfit to wear on my first day of work at my new job next week.
Small things like this, are things that she has always done for all of us. New job, promotion, transfer, some sweet gift, surprise, or other kind of gesture.
She offered to buy me a new suit to wear to interviews when I lost my job. My first interview happened before we had a chance to go shopping. I told her I would take a rain check, and get something new later.
Today was the day.
Gone are the power shopping trips. Epic laps around the mall finding just the right thing.
Today, we parked in the closest handicap spot.
We got a stroller/cart at Kohl’s so she could have something to hold onto to keep her steady. It reminded me of my Nana, who had to get a cart if we were running into the store for a carton of milk.
I try not to think of her being sick. I don’t want her to be.
It is what it is, and some days it just hits you.
On days like today, my smallest daughter spending the afternoon and evening with her Nana and Papa, it hit me as I hung my new pants in the closet that there may not be all that many more days like today.
Even as she fights through this disease, it has a strong hold on our family. As much as she doesn’t want it to control her, and her life, it feels like it is slowly taking over.
Last night Mack and her boyfriend came over for dinner, and somehow we got on to the subject of our neighbor who passed away last year. Mea asks, “What made Judy die?”
I know that it wasn’t the right thing to do, but at that moment, I had to leave the room. Every part of me wanted to scream and cry.
Judy died of lung cancer too.
I could overhear Mack just say simply, “Judy was sick.”
Mea accepted that answer, and went on showing off for her sister.
Sometime soon, she is not going to accept that as an answer.
I don’t expect her to, and I know that here soon, I most likely need to actually talk to her about her Nana. I am still at a loss for words when it comes to this. Sometimes I cannot even process my own emotions, much less those of a seven-year-old.
So where days like today are a reminder of what has always been, it was also a reminder of what is to come. Tonight, I cry a little. Mourn what was, and how things should be, and am grateful for the moments that we still have together.
I feel like I have been missing in action from my online world. Without having a computer in my face for nine to ten hours a day, it has been easy to stray away from blogging, blog reading, and such. Things have calmed down some, so I am hoping to get a bit more focused in my blogging. (Stealing #hashtags from Jen.)
- I still am actively looking for a job.
- I have had a few promising interviews, and am in a bit of a waiting mode.
- Trying not to stress out about it.
- Each time my phone pings with a notification from my “professional” email account, my heart lurches a little bit.
- I am also trying to do some fun things with Mea while I can. We have been to the zoo, the amusement park, and are going swimming this week.
- My Mom had her last “big” chemo treatment last week.
- The symptoms hit her sooner this time, but they seemed to pass a bit quicker.
- Father’s Day dinner was a bit awkward, with C trying to act like everything was normal.
- I was cordial, but really that was it.
- At one point she was in the house, and the girls were all in the backyard, ages 4 to 10 playing on the swing set. I could hear the oldest granddaughter yelling, and went back to investigate. She was yelling at Mea, stating that Mea “stole” the swing from her sister.
- After asking all of them, this was not the case. Mea just got to the swing first.
- I told her there is 2 swings, and 4 of them and that I expected them to take turns.
- If they weren’t going to take turns they could go sit with everyone else and not play at all.
- She cut me a scathing look, and went and sat down with everyone else.
- This leads me to believe that her mother has been talking about all of the family issues in front of her or to her.
- I just don’t really know what to do about all of this.
- On Saturday, Mea had an outing with her Uncle, my BIL.
- He later posted something on Facebook about how great it was to be able to do things with his niece, and that he is so happy that we trust him with her.
- I am really proud of him in his recovery. He is doing an amazing job.
- Mea was requesting to watch Olde Willis the other day.
- It took me a full day to figure out what the hell she was talking about.
- I felt like a detective, asking a zillion questions about what the movie was about, who was in it, etc.
- I finally discovered that she was talking about Forrest Gump.
- There is no connection.
- Mosquito season is upon us with a vengeance.
- All the rain and flooding around here makes for perfect mosquito weather.
- I have been trying some less chemical filled options for bug repelling, and after bug bite itchiness.
- I hate spraying things filled with Deet on her, but up until recently haven’t really found anything else that keeps her from being bitten.
- I haven’t come to a conclusion yet, but there could be a post coming about what I have discovered after more research, and trial and error.
- My dear Mea has discovered lying.
- I had forgotten that age seven is the year of “liar, liar pants on fire.”
- “Did you spill the water in the kitchen?”
- “It wasn’t there five minutes ago, and now you have a glass of water.”
- “It wasn’t me.”
- Hopefully the lying thing doesn’t last long.
- All kids go through it.
- I finally broke Mea of saying “ain’t” after she picked up that gem from one of her sister’s and her children. (Not naming names, but she doesn’t have an E or M name.)
- It was a long couple of weeks.
- I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it through.
I think this is it for now.
Although, I know that kids grow up faster than fast, I still cannot believe that my littlest girl is now seven.
We had a birthday party for her friends, cousins, and nieces at the zoo on Saturday. The kids had a great time. It was a bit of a cluster, but they didn’t seem to notice.
The day started off by my middle step-daughter calling right before we left for the party stating that she and her girls were not going to be there. Her reason sounded pretty weak to me, and after our oldest daughter arrived at the party with her two kids, she basically confirmed that she thought that she just didn’t want to come. I am pissed about this. A week ago she called and guilt tripped me by saying that we hadn’t had the girls over much lately. When she has asked the last few times we had plans, plain and simple. I fed into the guilt trip, and had her girls over last weekend. Now, she has both her Dad and I annoyed with her. This is not the first birthday of Mea’s that she has missed. This is also the same step-daughter who we had the issue with last year.
I paid for a party at the zoo. We are members, so there is a small discount. When I signed up for the party, we were supposed to have two animals be presented to the kids to pet, and to learn about. Mea had her choice of a few different animals to have presented, she chose to have a baby alligator, and a hedge hog. As a “bonus” otherwise known as an attempt to shut the crazy mom up, they also brought a duck. They all liked being able to see the animals up close and to be able to pet them.
More than anything, the zoo party was just disorganized. From the website, they made it look quite structured, but it was far from that. Due to their disorganization, we didn’t even have time to actually go through the zoo.
The kids ate cupcakes and ice cream, rode the carousel, rode the train and feed the giant fish.
One of Mea’s friends came over to stay the night after we were done with the party.
Yesterday, on Mea’s actual birthday, we met Mack and my parents for breakfast. I didn’t tell Mea that they were going to be there. She was so excited to see Mack on her birthday, I thought she was going to cry. Tomorrow, Mack, Mea and I are going to go to an amusement park for the day.
We had my parents, my brother-in-law and his fiancée over for Mea’s birthday dinner. We bought her a 3DS, a few games, and a gymnastics mat. My parents bought her a practice beam (just lies on the floor) a new leotard with matching shorts, and a 3DS game.
Mea declared this the best birthday ever.
I will most likely come back to vent a bit about this situation with my step-daughter. I need to get some of it out before my head explodes. I didn’t want her lack of caring to ruin Mea’s birthday, so I let it go on Saturday.