Wednesday, December 28, 2011

If a tree falls down in the forest but no one hears it does it make a sound?

The truth is killing me. Several months ago I had a conversation with a woman in our town that was just unbelievable. The only witnesses were our children. In the conversation the woman told me that she had watched videos on You Tube and learned how to burn down her house and still get out safely. She had this whole thing planned. She and her daughters got some cats so that the cats could burn in the fire. She was timing it for just before Christmas vacation. Her lease was due to expire on December 31st... etc. etc. etc..

I never told a sole about the conversation. Eventually she stopped herself and realized she had spoken out loud. Of course this was months ago. What could I do? I figured she would deny it if I went to the police, and who would really set their own home on fire with 2 little girls inside? This was just crazy talk or something!

Well she did it. I have no documentation. I have no memory of exactly WHEN the conversation took place. However I know the truth. Her plans worked exactly as she predicted. It looked like a holiday accident. The tree was too close to the fireplace. The cats died. The town and the school felt sorry for the family and donated and donated and donated. They opened their wallets and their homes to this family. Now it is school vacation. Who knows where they will be when school opens up January 3rd?

I thought the fire department would recognize the fire as arson when it happened. I thought for sure she would leave some clue, do something wrong, but everyone just took her as a "dumb blonde" and she seems to be getting away with it.

What can I do? I feel so much guilt for not reporting her months ago. For not doing something ahead of time. I hate the fact that I am possibly the only one who knows the truth.

I did finally send anonymous emails to the police, the fire, and the school. I don't know if it's enough though, and it might be too late. This town is too nice and trusting. She knew that. She played this town exactly right.

I think this is going to haunt me for the rest of my life now. She has that kind of power.

Sorry.. I wanted to post a "Happy Holidays!" message but I just had to get this out there.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I posted this on my blog on 

I am not one to post about gratitude every day. I have it, I just don't post it. This morning though I thought I would share with you, in the spirit of the holidays and all.

1. I am grateful that I can afford to send out xmas cards to my friends and family. I know that not everyone can do this. Stamps and cards are expensive and it is outside of many people's budgets to send them.

2. I am grateful that we can afford to have a SHELF full of cereal at our house, okay 1/2 a shelf now but a few weeks ago we bought stuff on sale and we had SEVERAL boxes of the stuff. We still do have quite a bit. 20 years ago I was lucky if I had a single box for myself. Now my daughter has 3 or 4 boxes to choose from in addition to frozen waffles, eggs, and pancakes. I know she will have a healthy breakfast.

3. I am grateful that I have health insurance and that I can afford the copays to see my doctor when I am sick. I have been going back and forth for a few months now trying to get my asthma/breathing situation under control. I know that not everyone could do that. Many people would just "live with it" as long as they could.

4. I am grateful that God, or a higher power, or whatever forces in the universe there are..whatever you want to believe there.... brought my husband together in 2002.

5. I am grateful that my husband was accepting of who I am, faults and all. I am also grateful for his family being accepting too. I am not a saint. I had a life before him and it wasn't all roses.

6. I am grateful to have a full-time job, with flexible working hours and paid time off.

7. I am grateful for the internet. ;-)

8. I am grateful to see my daycare bill this month and see that it is only 3 digits  instead of 4. It wasn't so long ago (July) that it was 4.

9. I am grateful that both of my parents are still alive.

10. I am grateful to have found my long-lost foster sister on Facebook this year. That is probably one of the best things to happen to me in a long time.

11. I am grateful for my daughter.

12. I am grateful to be the kind of mom that will sit down on a dirty kitchen floor and do an art project with my daughter until we run out of paint!

13. I am grateful that my ears work so that I can hear things like "Mommy, I know we have the prettiest Christmas tree in the whole world! No one could possibly have a tree as nice as ours."

14. I am grateful for my Spark friends.

15. I will add... I am grateful for my readers here, whoever you may be. I hope you all have happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Easy come, easy go right?

So my writing got published yesterday on Band back together. I'd been almost counting down the days. I'm not sure what I expected but somehow I expected more "love", more feedback from the audience, more.... more validation I guess. I'd seen other writers get immediate feedback and a lot of it was really touching. SO I guess I was hoping to get some of that myself.

It didn't happen. This morning I checked and there were about five responses to it. Better than none I know, but still I feel let down.

Now I'm torn about what to do next. On the one hand I could write another post and submit it, and go through the process again. Or I could wash my hands and move on. I haven't decided yet.

Meanwhile I am trying to National Novel Writing Month and I am terribly behind. Having a full-time job and spending time with my husband and my kid it's really hard to find the time and energy to write every day. So really if I'm going to write at all it should be there, and not on something new.

I don't know. Hope the blogger world is doing okay. I know I've been behind on reading all of your posts too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

just checking in

It's been about 3 weeks since my last blog post here. So let me tell you what is happening.

I wrote that post here, there, and everywhere. Then I submitted it to a group blog called "Band Back Together" ( has a lot of mental health, recovery, and other survivor type stuff on it. They accept submissions but then they edit them and choose when to publish them. So I submitted, and then waited..and then I saw that it was being reviewed and edited... and now I have a date. It will be published on November 8th. The editor emailed me with the news and after some back and forth she said I was a "good writer" and that she didn't have to edit much. Really what she did is add some formatting for emphasis, like adding italics and things like that. She said she could have put it up for publication sooner but it was so good that she wanted to put it in a PRIME TIME. Oh.... :-)

She got me in the ego. Yup! Loved hearing that. So that was really nice.

The scales have been smiling for the last couple of weeks too. I dropped a couple of pounds, and a co-worker complimented me on my weight loss and my new jeans. Sweet!!

Feeling good about yourself is not a crime, just in case you ACOAs need a reminder. I am not a selfish person for feeling good about my accomplishments. I have worked for a long time, and I have worked hard to lose weight and to be a good writer. I did not do these things overnight. They have taken effort.

Now I am taking a couple of more steps.

First of all I have slowly been building a following on Twitter. I am not in a hurry to build myself but I am determined to do it. Twitter is helping me to find my voice. It is helping me to figure out what is important to me and figure out what my opinions are. Like many ACOAs I have not really felt like I had a voice most of my life. Twitter is really helping me to define myself. There is a site called Klout,, which identifies how much influence you have, and what topics you seem to know about. I find this very helpful too.

Second, I am joining NaNoWriMo which is just insane. NaNoWriMo is the idea of National Novel Writing Month... somehow I am supposed to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Yeah, right. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 7, 2011

More on finding my former foster siblings

I posted this somewhere else but I thought I would share it here too..

It's Mental Health Awareness week. Did you know that?

My mother is an alcoholic. I can say that now. When I was growing up it wasn't allowed. She's been married and divorced 3 times and has been "single" now for many, many years although she almost always has a boyfriend around somewhere. She can't stand to be "alone".

When I was growing up she was married to my step-father (now ex-step-father) for a few years. During that time they tried to have kids but my mom kept having miscarriages. So they decided to do foster care. We got a 4 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. My parents still wanted a baby though so when I was 9 years old (3 years later) they got a 3-month old baby boy who they eventually adopted.

The foster kids stayed with us for 4 years. During that time my mother abused the girl. When the social workers finally caught on to the abuse the kids were pulled out of our home immediately. I pretty much never saw them again.

Flash forward 30 years. Last week I found their names on Facebook. They were connected to a friend of a friend.. the girl has changed her name thanks to adoption and marriage. The boy has also changed his name because of adoption. However after figuring out what I could I solved the puzzle.

So after 30 years we are getting the chance to catch up. My mother is in Florida and I haven't told her. I might soon, but so far I haven't. My adopted brother is 31 years old now, and still in touch with my mother and my step-father. He doesn't remember the foster kids at all I think since he was only an infant when it all happened. He's 9 years younger than me so he had a different experience with this all.

Still I think what is amazing is that I think the girl thought she was the only one to be abused, and while I knew that my mother hit her once I did not know much of the other stuff. The words that come into my head are "You are not alone." I think we both thought we were alone on this, and turns out we weren't.

Many ACOAs feel they are alone. I know as a kid I wanted nothing to do with group therapy because I didn't honestly believe that anyone else had a crazy mother like I do. I know better now, and sadly I have heard stories far worse than ours as the years have gone by. Still.. it's a good thing. Very traumatic, but a good thing.

I've done a lot of writing in the past week, and this is more of it. I think writing it down helps make it real, and helps me process what can best be described as "grief".

Thanks for reading my story.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Yesterday I had the chance to make amends. I am still blown away by how welcoming and calm this woman was. She "forgave me" easily because she was never really upset with me to begin with. My mother is the one who harmed her, and I will not defend my mother's actions one bit. So the tears keep coming. I feel like I am maybe experiencing some PTSD. Since I work in a library it was easy for me to go up to the stacks today and browse. I went through the ACOA stuff again, and picked up familiar books and then put them back again. Then I went to the non-fiction stacks and picked up some books at random. I found myself led to a few and then others I just let find me.

Later today I will see my doctor about my asthma. I am confused whether I should mention the PTSD or not. On the one hand I feel like Al-Anon has giving me the tools to cope with these flashbacks, but on the other hand I am not sure of my own stability. I also worry a little about the "what ifs"... what if something bad happened in my life and I lost my balance. Would I end up back in that horrible place in my head? Even though I feel like I do a good job of staying in the present, it seems like I was pulled back into the past pretty easily.. well maybe not so easily. That was a pretty well buried skeleton that just got pulled out of the closet.

So today I am going in circles. Trying to use my Al-Anon tools to cope with my PTSD and all the ACOA stuff. I am also reminded of the FOG that I think I blogged about some time ago.. Fear, Obligation, and Guilt... I am never really free of the FOG I guess. I just somehow MANAGE it, and cope with it as best as I can.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A chance to make amends

Today I had the chance to make amends to someone I felt I had harmed as a child. For over 25 years I have carried the guilt around with me that I had not helped someone when I should have. I felt responsible for my mother's actions. I know that honestly it wasn't my fault that my mother abused this child, who is now a woman, but I carried the guilt with me. Therapy could never really erase the guilt. It has simply been part of my baggage tucked away in the closet somewhere.

 Today, thanks to the wonders of technology and some searching on Facebook, I was able to reconnect with this woman. She was kind enough to let me into her life and I was able to send her messages telling her how sorry I was for all that I had done. I hope that I was also able to share with her that the abuse she suffered was not her fault. She was one of many in a long line of victims. It is unfortunate that my mother has victimized so many, but I hope that my words today let this woman know that it never was her fault and that I have always carried her in my heart. It may have helped me therapeutically more than her. I don't really know, but I am glad she messaged me and that we were able to communicate. Maybe now I will finally be able to let it go after holding onto it for so long. I don't know.

Today I am grateful to my Higher Power for the chance to make amends with this woman. No one will really understand just how I am feeling today. The tears have flowed over and over again. I know there is some PTSD mixed in with all of this too, but wow.... thank you God/Goddess/whatever higher powers that there are... thank you for today!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Letting go of Expectations

I have always "known" that when I had a child (or children) that I would send her to Sunday School. I went to Sunday School as a kid. It was the "right" thing to do. I went until about the age of 12 when things started to fall apart and I was allowed to make choices on my own. As a teenager I realized that I didn't believe exactly everything I had been taught. My minister was okay with that though. As I attended the adult church his sermons spoke to me. He would substitute "person" where something might have said "man" before. This was just the beginning. As a teen my biggest issue with the church was the sexism.

As an adult I found the Unitarian Universalists. This suited me much better. A sort of mix of things, that kind of lets you believe in whatever you want to believe as long as you believe in something. It's tolerant, it's accepting.... but is it Christian? I don't know. I don't usually care.

A few years ago I married the man of my dreams. This man was raised without religion. He was raised by parents who were professors. His mother later became "Born again" or something, but as a youth this man had no religion. He found it on his own. He found it on late night television. He read the Bible on his own. He never went to church. Still, he found God and he feels that God has spoken to him.

So here we are with a five year old child. The time is finally here when I have always "KNOWN" that I would send her to Sunday School. I have spent the past year researching the local churches. Searching websites, sending emails, visiting Sunday School classes, talking to neighbors and other parents... trying to find the right place. After all I have been PLANNING this for years...

so now.. guess what? I have to LET IT GO! Yup. We might have found ONE that MIGHT work, but my husband isn't interested in it, and my daughter doesn't really want to go. I found one that I liked, but it was a Unitarian church and they don't teach the Bible stories like my husband wants. Many of the churches near us are Baptist. They are against homosexuality. Neither of us can support this point of view so those churches are out. The list goes on as to why each church fails to meet my criteria.

Doesn't matter what the reasons are though. It all comes down to this... we will teach her about God ourselves. We don't need to send her to Sunday School for her to learn religion. This is a tough message for me to swallow. I don't always trust myself, or trust us. I am not sure if we can do this, but I know somehow we will.

I am Letting Go of my Expectations. Everything will be okay. I am Letting Go and Letting God.

Peace be with you.
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

keeping the focus on myself... transitions

"She laughs so she won't cry"... I have been going through the motions for the last couple of weeks getting my daughter started at kindergarten, changing my work schedule, and seeing my husband less and less. My daughter misses me. She won't eat during the day and when I come to pick her up after school she is a wreck. She yells at me, cries, and nothing I can do is right. Meanwhile I rarely see my husband anymore. I guess this is how MOST marriages are normally. This is what "NORMAL" is. I'm just not used to it. 

We used to carpool so I would see him in the mornings, then we would drop daughter off at preschool and I'd have him to myself for a few minutes while we rode to work. I'd see him again for the ride back to pick him up and the three of us would go home together. That's not happening anymore. There are days when I wake him up at 6am and then I don't see him again until 12 hours later. 

Yesterday I stopped by his office to bring him breakfast but he hadn't come in yet because he stopped to get his own somewhere. So I tried and failed. I'm tired. I'm supposed to be enjoying the new "me" time but I'm lonely. 

Lonely...tired... frustrated. I've been frustrated with my marriage for a long, long time... but the tiredness and loneliness just make it worse. I don't have ANY close friends. Blame it on being an "adult child of an alcoholic" or whatever.. but it doesn't change the fact that I'm a 40 year old married mother of one with no close friends... and I could really use a shoulder right now (like a best friend)... and it can't be my husband because he's already stressed and doing everything he can do. It's not his fault. It's not anyone's just is. 

Instead of feeling sorry for myself I am trying to exercise more, eat better, focus on myself somehow. I want to do some writing but I'm scared to do it because I just feel like I have so much bottled up right now... ugh. I know we will get through this. I'm just tired of it all right now. 

I got some new clothes, I ordered an exercise dvd, I am talking to my husband as well as I can.... I am doing the "right things" so save the advice. I just needed to vent a bit I guess. I can't change my husband, my daughter, or our situation so I am trying to focus on myself and do what I can for myself. That's all I can do.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

practicing in all our affairs

Many thanks to the blogger over at Calm Acceptance today. Patty gave me the words I was looking for a few days ago. I am trying to use what I have learned in Al-Anon by "to practice that principle in all my affairs"..

Thank you Patty!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Keep Coming Back"

"Keep Coming Back". Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep showing up. In AA it's one day at a time and you put those days together. In Al-Anon we keep coming back. I went to one group one day when I was in a crisis mode. I think it was my first ever Al-Anon meeting. The topic that day was "balance" and I cried. I couldn't always get to that meeting, but I've gone off and on since to that group. I might try to change my work schedule AGAIN when things settle down a bit with my daughter so that I can go to that meeting again some day. The trick is in figuring out how to get it approved with my boss. Hmm... something to think about.

Anyway, I have been applying the "Keep Coming Back" thing with my weight loss. I use a website to track my calories and fitness. I participate in "teams" and I try to check in daily on the "chats" and "huddles". I "keep coming back". Some days I go over my calories. Some days I don't do my exercise. Some weeks I don't lose any weight (I even...gasp.. gain weight occasionally)... but I KEEP COMING BACK. I've been doing it for a year now. I'm not where I had hoped to be, but I've lost about 30 pounds that I've kept off. So I know that for me it works. If I skip a day or two I feel "off". Consistency matters more than perfection.

This is something that I learned in Al-Anon. I may not be perfect, but if I keep going back I will get better.

one day at a timeImage by happy_serendipity via Flickr

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

I think I might be back here for a while...

Hi everybody!! I hope some of you are still with me. It's been a few months since I last posted.

If you've been in a 12-step program like AA or Al-Anon for a while then hopefully you have figured out that this 12-step stuff follows you EVERYWHERE!!! At least I hope it does!

I thought I would end this blog when my alcoholic parent moved away. It's a lot easier to maintain boundaries and detachments when I don't drive by her apartment on a weekly basis. However I have been aware that the concepts I learned from Al-Anon are helpful for me in other parts of my life as well. So I've decided that I am coming back to blog some more. You probably won't see me posting as much about my mother as I used to, but hopefully I will be able to post about how I am using the coping skills I learned from Al-Anon in other parts of my life such as my marriage, my job, parenting my child, losing weight, and whatever else I feel the urge to tie in.

A week ago New England, and elsewhere along the East Coast was hit by a storm named "Irene". I was fortunate. We had been camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire before the storm hit, and decided to come home Saturday evening. We drove through Vermont and came back to Western Mass. The rain was already starting when we pulled into our driveway. We never lost power although we did lose internet for a while. From the comfort of my living room I learned of the devastation that hit near and far. Campgrounds that we had camped at last summer, covered bridges that we had photographed in July, the highway that we had traveled on just two days ago... and then closer to home, Shelburne Falls and the Bridge of Flowers nearly destroyed, my old apartment building in Greenfield, MA flooded! The current tenants are in a hotel now I think.... but I was spared. I said the Serenity Prayer a lot. There was little I could do. I was told to stay home, stay off the roads, and stay out of the way. I still haven't gone to see the damage in person. I'd like to, but I am also trying to be respectful to those who are doing the work and those who have lost their homes, businesses, farms, and streets. Although most of the power is back on there are still many who are homeless, and many roads that are closed.

My husband has detached. He knows he is powerless. I know I am powerless too, but I am still saddened by what has happened, and quite a bit awestruck too. I want to help. I want to get to those places and take pictures to show my child for when she gets older. I am curious... but it's not my problem. I can't control it. I can't fix it. I am remembering my Cs... so I am staying out of the way for a little longer. These things will take months to rebuild. There is time later to talk to folks and in the meantime I say my thanks and say my prayers to my higher powers.

Next week fittingly enough I plan to go to a church service. The congregation is doing something on water. It will be 9/11, but the focus won't be on that history for that service. The focus will be on coming together as a community because they have all been on a summer hiatus for a few weeks. I will bring my daughter and introduce her to new people. I hope that she likes it and will want to return in the weeks that follow. In doing this I hope to introduce her to a greater sense of a higher power. I know she has a small one, but I want to help her build on that now that she is starting Kindergarten. So maybe I will have something to say about all of that some time too.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Multiple Identities and staying in touch

I went over to Twitter and I saw that Syd was there. Syd has done a great job of being Syd in so many places. I haven't mastered the art of acting quite so well. I find that I am "Tari" here, but someone else on Twitter, and someone else in email. I'm confused about what to do next. Google has come out with Google + which makes it easier for you to be selective about who sees what and Blogger has a way to do multiple pages on one blog now. Some bloggers are using that to have different pages for different blogs basically. They can blog about politics on one page, and music on another. Or they could blog about recovery issues on one page and blog about family or job stuff on another or whatever...

So I'm unsure what to do. A part of me wants to unify myself. To take these pieces that are scattered all over the web and unify them and claim them all. I want to say This is me, and this is me, and this is me... and all of this is ME....   and then I get scared. Why fix something if it isn't broken? And 12-step stuff is supposed to be anonymous... so maybe I should just keep this thing here, and keep my mouth shut about my Twitter account, and not fix anything that isn't really broken.

Comments? Helpful advice? I'd love to hear it...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I need to hear from my readers- that means you!

I need to hear from you out there. Now that the major addict in my life is further from my physical proximity it is obviously easier to maintain our boundaries. The chaos in my life has diminished considerably. Tonight I called her with some sad family news. She didn't really listen to what I had to say. She wanted to ramble about something else. It was on my dime (and now phone calls cost money, not just my time). I told her my daughter was calling for me in the background and hung up the phone. No drama, no guilt, just done.

So now what? As an adult child of an alcoholic I know that I am not cured just because I am no longer living with her and her disease. I am still afflicted by what has happened to me in the past. Try as I might I will never be unscathed by what has already occurred. I can only do my best with what I've got now. Do you, my readers, want to hear about that? The daily grind (or weekly grind or whatever) of just living the life? Or is that not dramatic enough?

Blogger tells me that there are people all over the world who are reading this blog, or at least I'm getting page views from lots of places. I'm not quite sure how it all works. I know that I have a few followers, that I'm on a few blogrolls, and maybe in a few people's readers. I appreciate that. I really do.

Now that the "crisis" is over should I continue writing or should I quit? Please let me hear from you.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The end of this chapter in my life has come

My mom called me last night from inside her new apartment. She is on the 3rd floor of a 6 story building. Looks like a big place from the picture I found online. She has hired someone that she met at a Salvation Army store to help her unload the truck today. Tomorrow she will return the truck. She doesn't have a land line for her phone yet, but will probably get one next week.

She told me about some of her driving- running over curbs, knocking over a sign, etc. I will be truly glad when she has handed over the keys on Saturday and I don't have to worry about her crashing anymore. However I am breathing a little bit better just knowing that she is IN her new place and finding her way around etc.

With her back in Florida our lives will change again. Things will never be as they were before. She has left a footprint on us all of course. However the day-to-day dramas will be easier to handle because I can always hang up the phone or throw away the letter. I can much more easily keep her from hurting myself or hurting my daughter.

I'm not sure what will happen to this blog now. This could be my last post. Or it might not be. It's not that my mother is dead. It is just that with the distance it is easier to live with her disease, at least that's been my experience in the past. I'd love to hear any feedback from anyone reading this.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

She's gone

I know everyone is celebrating Easter today, and I do wish everyone a Happy Easter. However this blog has never been about that. Today's blog is about my mother, and myself of course.

Yesterday was Saturday. The day was mostly consumed with my mother's departure. My hubby went over in the morning to help her load. He saw my uncle there and had a chance to get her perspective. Then hubby came home and hubby, daughter, and I went back to see my mother again. We all had lunch together and then went to her place. I won't go into all the mundane details of it all. However what I want to say is this- I did my best to listen and let her speak her piece. I certainly didn't agree with her point of view but I did my best to let her voice it. I did not shut her down even when she hurt my feelings and said things that I felt were outright lies. I let her talk. She saved the insults and the put-downs for when my husband was out of the room. She really is a master at this stuff. He would come back from doing something and see my silently shaking my head or whatever and not have any idea. I couldn't say much because my 5 year old daughter was there. Anyway she got to say her bit and I listened. I did my best to be positive, loving, and supportive. I did remind her that leaving was her choice. She didn't want to hear that but I did have to say it.

Somewhere between 8pm-2am she left. She's on the road now and won't move into her place in Florida until Thursday. As I told my daughter this morning all I can do is trust God and the angels to watch over her. It's not easy but I am powerless to help her now.

Finally today I got a chance to talk to my husband alone. I told him some of the things that my mother had said. He reassured me and gave me the piece of mind I was looking for. Yes we had some boundaries and yes we maintained them. We agreed on those boundaries for the well-being of our family and it was the right thing to do. We did not neglect her but we didn't allow ourselves to be her enablers either. Some of her comments were outright ridiculous. My brother was hurt that my mom didn't answer the phone when he called. She didn't answer the phone when I called either but she'd always be upset if I wasn't home to answer her calls. She didn't thank us for our help. She didn't say she would miss us. She just talked about herself and her problems and what she was going through.

At the end of the day my brother has his friends and family, and I have mine but my mom will probably be alone. Her choice. May god and our HPs watch over and comfort us all.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm not crying I swear!

I'm 40 years old and I'm not going to cry, not going to cry, not going to cry!!

okay... I'm not going to cry where anyone can see me because no one understands anyway, not even my husband.

Dear Daughter I promise I will never abandon you. Never ever. I will never leave you and then make you feel like it's your fault that I am going. I promise.

No one can make you feel guilty unless you let them. I know. I know. It's her choice that she's going.

This would all be better if it was June and work was slower instead of April when I am so busy. Right? It's her fault for the lousy timing. She doesn't want my help anyway. If she did then she would do it my way. She'd listen to my needs. Why does everything always have to be about her anyway. Now I'm getting angry.

Dammitt!!! Why does it have to hurt so much? Every time she leaves me I take it personally. I know it's not personal. She is just living her own life. I just don't like it. I thought I was doing a good job of detaching but not today. Today everything is all twisted up. My husband wants to know when he'll get his wife back. Hopefully by next Saturday.

How do I explain leaving to my 5 year old?

I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry. I'm not going to cry. I'm just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other.


Saved Photos-135Image by jimmy_ray via Flickr

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Monday, April 18, 2011

the count down is real this time

The count down has begun. My mom is scheduled to pack up on Saturday. My husband will help load the truck. Afterward we'll have some sort of goodbye lunch or something. Not sure exactly. Suddenly it doesn't seem real to me. I'm going into shock or something. It's so strange.

This is not the best timing for me. Is change EVER the best timing for us? I've got a busy week. So Saturday is just going to BE there. I had thought about trying to see her today but I didn't have the car and I knew she had other plans. Tuesday-Friday I have work. Thought about trying to get a day off but really I can't. I'll be doing well if I manage a long lunch some time to do some shopping for the Easter Bunny. So Saturday is just going to HIT and that will be it. On Sunday it will be Easter and we'll be doing that. Then the next week I'll be on edge waiting for word that she's safe. I don't think she'll have a phone. She hasn't given me her new address yet. And then it will just be. Just be putting one foot in front of the other like we always do, living our lives. God I hope she doesn't screw up and end up homeless down there. Hope she doesn't crash on the way. Hope... fear..... Let go and Let HP. Serenity Prayer. Let go. Let go. Let go. Let go. Let go. Let go. Let go. Let go. Let go. Let go. Let go. Dear god please watch over her and everyone who comes in her path. Please, please please.

So unreal.

Monday, April 11, 2011

the Dance of Detachment

Watching the dance of Detachment play out is really interesting. As my mother prepares to leave emotions are running high for all of us. My brother, my husband, my daughter, my mother, and myself are all reacting differently to the clock counting down to when she will be in Florida. My mother and my brother have been arguing. My brother wanted paperwork for something and my mom wouldn't hand it over. However when I talked to my brother (on Facebook admittedly) I got at what was really bothering him. He doesn't want her to move. He's worried about her being alone down there. He's mad at her because he cares. I respect that. I am worried too. I tried to tell him that we couldn't change her. She's an addict who always puts herself first and nothing we can say or do will change her. Later I called my mother and told her that he and I were on the same page. She got angry. "I thought you supported me on this..."  Mom, I support you in being happy. I know you have to live your own life. I wouldn't choose this for you but I'm not going to stand in your way.

And so the dance goes on. She went to my daughter's art show but she went when she knew we weren't going to be there. She saw the art and the photos but not the performance. She met a teacher and chatted. I can only imagine how that went.

So the calendar is set for Saturday, April 23rd for her to load her truck. She hasn't paid for the truck yet so there is still a chance that all of this may be for nothing. This could still be a lot of build-up for nothing. Her move-in appointment at the new place is set for Thursday, April 28th but again who knows?

Nothing in life is set in stone. Once when I was a child, in 5th grade, she was getting ready to leave my step-father. We visited my new school, saw the apartment and toured the neighborhood. We loaded the moving truck. Then they talked it over and we unloaded everything. A few months later we loaded up again. This time I did not get to see my new school or the new apartment. That time it was real. We went and I never spent another night in that house since although my step-father is still there. So I know from painful experience that nothing with my mother is finite.

I am watching this dance, and playing my part in the dance, and crying on the inside mostly where no one can see me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

more about things with my mother

We compromised on our birthdays. She ended up having her tag sale again on March 12th. So I brought my daughter with me and we visited the tag sale and delivered a birthday gift. I let my daughter have anything she wanted from the tag sale but I paid my mother for it all. My daughter especially wanted the glass stuff. She's not used to being allowed to have real glass and thought it was very special. I didn't argue.

I saw my mother again a couple of weeks later. She said she needed to clear out her safety deposit box at the bank and turn in her keys. I think I posted here that getting the keys was HUGE drama between us. This time I went alone, and did not bring my daughter. We went to the bank and lo and behold, my mom had cleared out the box the day before. She really, really did not want me seeing what was in there. We turned in the keys and signed all the forms etc. Went back to her place and talked for a bit and she loaded me up with more stuff she doesn't want. I did get a big box of old photo albums which is nice. I am eager to look at it but haven't had time  yet. I thought I was going to bring home the final piece of furniture that I was getting from her but I couldn't move it myself. I had to send my husband back for it later in the day. Still, it's done now. That piece is in our living room now. I have another piece still in our basement that I want to move upstairs now that we have this and then we are DONE with furniture from my mom I think. Settled. She is taking some stuff to Florida that I may want some day, however I told her it's her stuff. She's alive and using it and that's the way it should be. I am not out to take away all her stuff. I'm just taking the big stuff now so that I don't have to rent a big truck for it later. I can put boxes in the trunk of a car easily enough in 10 years or whatever. That's no problem.

The strange thing is... I really don't know when I'll see her again once she goes down there. My daughter is already talking about visiting but when I mention it to my husband he is always like "Why? I hate Florida. It's hot there...." His mother is there too in a different town than my mom will be. Maybe daughter and I will go without him sometime. I don't know.

The three of us did go down a few years ago in September 2008 when my mom was still there. Then in July 2009 my mom came back up here. Our daughter doesn't remember 2008 though. All she remembers is the last year or two I guess. The joys of being a preschooler! This will be different for her, having grandma be away.

I think I'll be seeing my mother at least once more because daughter's birthday is coming up. Then after that it is all a question mark still. Maybe 2 or 3 times that I'll see her at most I guess. It looks like April is going to go fast and then she will be gone. There is a lot of relief that will come with this, but nervousness too. When she's here I worry about the harm she will cause to me. When she's gone I will worry about the harm she is causing to herself or others. There really is no perfect solution I guess.

Ah well. I just have to keep handing it over to my higher power. Hopefully someone somewhere will take care of her and keep her safe. In so many ways she's like a child or maybe a teenager. She needs someone to keep her out of jail. I hope she finds him/her soon.

Live and Let Live.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's all about the boundaries folks

I haven't posted lately in part because I don't have anything good to say. My mother has been pushing, pushing hard to keep me away. She is selling off her stuff because she needs money to move at the end of April. A week or so ago she told me NOT to come to her tag sale. She started a huge fight with me on the phone while I was at work (I had called her to see if she needed more boxes). Then she called my house and left a NASTY message on my answering machine. So glad my daughter didn't hear that one! Sheesh.. I wanted to call her back so badly, I literally stood looking at the phone holding my hands behind my back. I just stared at that phone and let the voices in my head sound off. But I didn't pick up the phone. I kept my Al-Anon going and I knew that making that phone call would not be NICE. It would not improve anything and it was not necessary. I left the phone alone. She hasn't called me since. Now our birthdays are here. She sent me a card and some cash. Hmm... an expensive card for someone claiming to be broke, and why did she send cash?? I plan to deliver her card on Saturday (her birthday is Sunday). I will return the cash she gave me in her card and I'm also going to give her some girl scout cookies. Nothing fancy. No taking her out for a meal or for ice cream. Just going to drop off the card. She may or may not be having her indoor tag sale again this weekend. If she is then she'll be home and dropping off the stuff will be easy. If she's out then I'll just leave it in the mailbox.

However I'm not using the birthdays as a "all is better now" thing. Just because she sent me a card and a gift does not mean all is forgiven for her rotten behavior on the phone concerning the tag sale. I understand that she is probably selling stuff I don't want her to sell and she doesn't want me to see her doing that. It's her stuff she can do what she wants. I am being respectful by not going to the tag sale. I am respecting her boundaries there. However it's too bad that she has chosen to be this way, and it's too bad she was so mean and nasty to me on the phone.

I feel badly for my daughter. She is getting cheated out of good grandmothers. My father's girlfriend helps sometimes but she has 5 other grandchildren of her own. She doesn't really need a step-grandchild very much. Oh well.. now I'm rambling.

Boundaries... and the serenity prayer are keeping me going these days and I'm still working that stuff every day.

Boxes of the two most popular Girl Scout cooki...Image via Wikipedia

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just another Sunday afternoon

I was sitting in the kitchen, writing out the checks to pay the bills. My daughter was in the living room playing with her Barbies while my husband sat nearby surfing the web. I had just written out the check for preschool. It's THAT check in our budget that we cringe every time it comes around. It's bigger than our mortgage and we are counting down the months we have left on it.

Anyway, I had just written out that 4-figure check when the phone rang. We got rid of caller-id last year to save a few dollars so I always end up answering the phone. My mother was on the other end.

She started with a story about how she had gone to visit her safety-deposit box and some of her money was missing. Well she did give me a key to this box, but I have never used it. If I had used it I would have had to sign myself in and out. So she knows that I have never been there. Still the accusation started. When she failed to get me upset she moved on to a story about my brother. My brother is 30 years old now. He is deeply in debt with child support payments to four children. So he needs money. He had asked her for $100.00, then he cut it down to $50.00 a few days later. Would I help him out since she was running short? No, I would not. He is old enough to pay his own bills. Then she went back to her own story. She might not have enough money to move since she is coming up short on her savings. Um.... if my brother is old enough to pay his own bills at the age of 30, and she is 60 years old....   Yeah, she didn't get a nickel out of me. I politely told her I had bills of my own. I let her ramble and rant, but I didn't raise my voice.

When she had run out of steam and hot air, she hung up. Simple. So Simple. So glad I had my serenity in that moment. Thank you HP for helping me with my boundaries in that moment!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Keeping the focus on myself

In Al-Anon we learn through the serenity prayer and our meetings to keep the focus on ourselves. We can't... er... *I* can't.. change the addict(s) in my life. I am powerless over them. I can only change myself. God (or Higher Power) give me the courage to change the things I can.... and the wisdom to know the difference... 

2011 is all about change for me. It's about positive changes. I'm really trying to focus on the positive and BE a positive person. It's not easy and I don't do it well, but I am trying even if no one notices. The most obvious positive change is trying to lose weight. I started in September and I'm having some trouble in January but I'm not giving up. My next thing is giving up a message board that I've enjoyed for several years. I like it but it has it's negative moments and I think it's better for me to let it go. Like a relationship where you really love the other person but you know you'd both be better off with some more space. Will I be able to keep the online friends I've made there? I don't know yet. Too soon to tell I suppose. I've taken my first steps though and am willing to risk it.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change....  I cannot change my mother. She will either stay in the area or move back to Florida. Nothing I say or do will make a difference. I know that in my heart. Today she may try to twist my words and get me to say something I did not say. She may try to blame me for her life, but really I am not getting involved. I will help when I can if I am asked but I am not doing this for her and I am not preventing it either. She will be 61 this year. 61 going on 16, but still 61.

I heard a story last week or this week about a 15 year old killed in Florida. He and his buddy were walking back from Taco Bell and got hit, maybe from behind, by a driver who didn't stop. The buddy lived and managed to call for help. The other kid was not so lucky. The police managed to track down the driver, a 50 year old named Kim.

This is the kind of phone call I fear I will get some day. The driver will be my mother, if she is fortunate enough to ever get a car again. I can't imagine how I will respond, but I don't need to imagine it either. I am not going to live in fear. I am grateful that for today she does not have a car to use as a weapon. I must have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and I must Let Go and Let God do whatever will be done. I cannot save the world from my mother. I can only save my family as much as possible.

I'm rambling here and I am sorry. I hope that whatever happens in her life in the next few months is good for her. I don't think she will ever have peace, but I hope she gets answers as to where she will be living, and I hope she can rest again soon. In the meantime she's packing. Destination unknown. Departure date unknown.

And I am home with my husband and daughter, and counting my blessings and being grateful for what I have. I have the wisdom to know the difference. I have the desire to change my life for the better. I will walk away from drama with my mother and I will walk away from drama with my friends and I will be a better person because of it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

celebrating sobriety

An online friend of mine is celebrating a year of being sober. She posted about it here--

Feel free to drop her a line and lend your support.  :-)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gotta get rid of that Stinking Thinking!!

My goodness! If there is one thing I can do well it is definitely go on a self-pity trip. I have been whining and feeling sorry for myself all day, probably even longer than that.. maybe even for the past two weeks. Sheesh! I really caught myself today. "I want... I can't afford... I don't dare ask .... I wish I could but I can't....."  wow! What a mess this woman is! I feel bad for some of the people who heard it, but I also know that I said it to myself louder than I said to anyone else. At least today I heard it. I am more aware of it today. Maybe I can stop it. I need to be practicing that old Serenity Prayer... courage to change what I can and wisdom to know the difference.... yeah. I need to be doing that. Need a little courage and a little wisdom to help me through it. Marriage and money are not easy things. So I just need to suck it up and get through this. January is never easy on so many levels but it's only got 10 days left. Let's rock the rest of it out and move on!

Serenity prayer, extended version: serenity, c...Image by gumption via Flickr

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Monday, January 17, 2011

We have a date!

My mother called the other day. She has given notice on her apartment for May 1st. That is the date she will be out of her apartment. She is hoping to move to Port Richie, FL but the place in FL told her not to apply until March 1st so now she's in limbo. She's trying to sell her furniture already. I thought the date was pretty firm but when I talked to her today she started wavering again. So I guess I can't really put it on the calendar after all. In her phone call today she started talking about some of her fears regarding her felony and misdemeanor charges from a couple of years ago. I cut her off. She has lied to me so much about that stuff that I didn't really want to hear anymore.

I thought I'd be happy to have this date on the calendar but I'm a little sad. That surprises me. I have such mixed feelings and that is catching me off guard. I know in the long term it is good for everyone and I will be thankful during the holidays etc.

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's so sad to watch it happening....

I have known it was going to be like this, sort of, for a long time. My mother has been an addict for so long. My grandmother always bailed her out. My grandmother gave her money, gave her cars, pretended not to hear about the arrests and all the bad news... a lot of times of course my mother didn't give her the bad news. My grandmother needed to be "protected" because too much bad news would .. anyway... my grandmother is gone now, has been for over a year. So here I am watching this unfold sort of... my mom has a brother who is a few years older than her. He has fought his own addictions but he has lived a married life, raised 3 children, has stayed "stable" in spite of whatever demons he was fighting. My mother meanwhile did not stay in one place and ... well I was reading a description the other day and I thought it fit her pretty was a description of antisocial personality disorder. Now my mother is a pretty social person however she is also a star at manipulation and can have charisma when she chooses to turn it on. She knows how to get what she wants, how to play all the games, and how to lie, cheat, and steal to meet her goals.

So where am I going with this? Her enabler is gone (my grandmother) and my mother still has her diseases and disorders and is not going to get better. At Christmas she was trying to take it easy with the cigarettes because she wanted us to visit us, but when I saw her New Years Day she admitted that she'd had a bottle of rum and a pack of cigarettes on New Years eve. Not that she needed to confess to me or anything she ws just telling me that she was feeling wrecked and hung-over I think.

Now she is trying to figure out where to live again. She never stays anywhere for more than a year or two and the process of relocating is a constant stress in her life. Her apartment didn't pass Section 8 inspection and she's not sure if the landlord is motivated to try to get it to pass so one way or another she will have to move. The question of course will be "where?" I am not giving any opinions. She seems happier in Florida. She likes the weather there. Okay, maybe I am giving an opinion.. she should go where she is happy. I do not know what will happen to her there though. I fear that I am going to get a phone call from a police officer or a doctor... she'll be in jail or in a hospital... and then what? Will I bail her out? I think she knows better than that. Still it's hard to watch. I hope she doesn't become homeless. That would be really, really tough. No one wants that for their loved one. It seemed like she was on the verge of that a few years ago when she almost got busted for drugs. I forget what magic she worked to get out of it. I think she plead down to a lower charge or something. She never did tell me the full story. Anyway, it's sad.

I was hoping that she'd grow up some day. That some day she'd be the adult, be responsible, and beat her addictions. She's 60 now and it's obvious to me that it's never going to happen. Both her parents are gone, her brother has fought cancer, she's a grandmother herself, and none of that matters to her. She still lives the life of addict who doesn't want help. It's hard to explain to my preschooler.

I really have to let go and let HP work because I am powerless and I know it. It still hurts to see it though. I wish I could wake her up and change her and yet I know I never can.
GrandmotherImage via Wikipedia

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