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4th quarter status report December 27, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, life, lyrics, marriage.
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Did I ever tell you guys that my husband had actually found a job? He had interviewed with an alcohol and substance abuse treatment center back in November and was offered the job the next day. He does outpatient groups and is under supervision for his CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor). Yay for employment!

Then last Thursday he was making a protected left turn at a stoplight and a little girl in a big SUV blew threw the red light at the intersection, hitting him on the driver’s side front quarter panel at about 35 MPH. The witnesses told the police what happened, and they determined she was clearly at fault, so her insurance is covering our rental car. Here’s the not-so-good-part: they have also told us they plan to total our car instead of fixing it because it has such high mileage on it, and will get back to us soon with an amount. Naturally, we are upside down on the loan and may not get enough to pay it off. *sigh*

What a year, huh? I read back over my posts and my first thought is, “what a sad story!” 2006 has been a chronicle of job loss, extended-family issues, various accidents and numerous other crises both major and minor. On the upside, this year I also made an internal commitment to a process of spiritual growth. I found the courage to share with others that I believe God is calling me to deeper relationship. I sought (and found in JP) a guide for the journey I’m preparing to undertake. I found the RevGals. I learned new ways of praying, and I began a new job as a social worker that has brought me new insights, though I recognize that I still have much to learn. I stopped taking a lot of things for granted – when I had to be away from my family for training, I learned about the ache of being separated from them and the joy of reunion when my son runs for my knees and screams, “mommyMommyMOMMY! Kiss, Mommy! Want kiss!” In spite of many obstacles, this year I have become a better wife, a better mother, and a more thoughtful Christian. What more did I want, REALLY?

Not a dang thing.

This is an insight
into my life
this is a strange flight
I’m taking
my true will
carries me along

This is a soul dance
embracing me
this is the first chance
to put things right
moving on
guided by the light

And the spirit of love
is rising within me
talking to you now
telling you clearly
the fire still burns

Wisdom of ages
rush over me
heighten my senses
enlighten me
lead me on
eternally

And the spirit of love
is rising within me
talking to you now
telling you clearly
the fire still burns

I’m talking to you now
the fire still burns
whatever you do now
the world still turns

I’m talking to you now.

-Depeche Mode, “Insight”

Since we live within 3 hours of both our families… December 27, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, life, The Princess, worship.
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…we were able to spend a part of Christmas with both of them, as well as have some nice private family time at home. In light of recent events, I was a bit subdued and not my usual exuberant Christmas-time self, and who can blame me? None of the RevGals, obviously, who have given me many warm wishes, prayers and lots of virtual hugs, for which I am so incredibly thankful. {{{RevGals}}}

Since we passed through the town where husband’s parents live on the way back home from visiting my family, we attended the Christmas Eve Eucharist at St. P’s, where midnight Mass now gets OUT at midnight instead of STARTING at midnight (brilliant!). I saw that some changes have been taking place there – the church’s voicemail said that they had a children’s service at 5:30 on Christmas Eve, which was a pleasant surprise for a church that only has about 10 children. I wish we could have gone, but just because I can quite happily spend all day and all night in church doesn’t mean my family can! They also welcomed visitors with hot apple cider in the parish hall afterwards and passed out free copies of Those Episkopols, by Dennis R. Maynard. It made me homesick for that church. Our new parish in Even Smaller College Town is so very tiny, and in spite of that I’m having a hard time finding myself! I’ve always been more comfortable in mid-size parishes where I can participate without having people ask where I was if I miss a week. In any case, husband has joined the choir, and I’ve gone once to a Benedictine spirituality class that the rector holds twice a month, but then we had some snow and ice and it hasn’t met this month, so hopefully that will start back up in January.

I think I need to accept that even though The Princess was only with me for a few days, I have indeed experienced the loss of her all over again, very similar to the loss the first time around all those years ago when my parents stepped in, and I’m going to need to grieve it. No problems there – every time I think The Princess’ name, tears start to well up and I feel pissed off all over again. I made a valiant attempt to try to work out some kind of overnight weekends visitation schedule, but was told that needs to wait until my parents figure out what weekends my dad will be coming home. On the bright side, they sounded agreeable to it, and mentioned that the weekends he comes home would be good weekends to send her to us so they can be alone, but on the down side, they still wouldn’t COMMIT! ARRRGGGGHHHHH! THEY WILL NEVER FREAKING COMMIT!!!! If we haven’t managed to work something out by the end of January, I will in all likelihood have to take a more drastic step that I really don’t want to think about at this time.

Santa Claus brought Boy-o more toys than he will be able to play with for the next two years. His favorite was a set of toy cars that included an ambulance, 3 fire trucks, a police car, tow truck, dump truck, and snow plow. He also got an animatronic T-Rex from my sister, and he spent all morning yesterday pushing the button that makes it roar and telling it “Don’t eat my trucks! Don’t eat my toys! Don’t eat my computer!” (AKA his My First LeapPad) It was almost (but obviously not quite) too cute for words.

I should have known it was doomed from the begin… December 21, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in The Princess.
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I should have known it was doomed from the beginning.The trouble is, there are so many different angles to approach it from, and being smack in the middle of the situation means that my perspective is, shall we say, a wee bit skewed. I’ll try to count my blessings and understand how fortunate I am to have SOME insight. In other words, I understand that I don’t understand anything – that’s going to be the only thing that gets me through.

SO – where to start.

Well, the brief experiment that had The Princess finally living with me has ended, and far too abruptly to allow me any peace with the situation.

A quick recap: I was a 17 year old kid when I had her, I had given her up to the care of my parents so I could go to college, I ran around and had A LOT of fun in college, and by the time I finally graduated she was well and firmly planted with my parents and didn’t want to live with me. My parents took me to court and obtained joint custody, and I went along very grudgingly, not knowing at that time that I should have opted to have them appointed temporary guardians instead. The final order says that we are joint managing conservators, but that they will have the exclusive right to determine The Princess’s domicile. I have the right to consent to medical treatment, and they got everything else. The more time that went by, the less it hurt, but it has never stopped hurting completely, mostly because I know that things turned out the way they did because of my poor choices and I feel guilty. However, I had no choice but to accept things as they were, and so that’s what I did. I’ve accepted it on the surface, but always hoped she would decide she wanted to live with me when she was older.

SO, she turned 13, did some things that got her in some trouble, and my parents were angry and felt betrayed, and asked if she could come live with me. I said yes, absolutely, and within days I had it all arranged: I enrolled her in school, made arrangements for after school care, made an appointment for an intake with a very reputable counseling program, cleaned out the closet in the spare bedroom and bought linens and bathroom supplies for her, made out a new schedule for how everyone in the family would get everywhere they needed to be, told everyone in Will’s family that the long-awaited for day was finally here, and planned a welcome party for her. The day before Thanksgiving, The Princess and her stuff were brought to my workplace, and from there I took her home. I told my mom there was no going back, that if this was for real, she was not going to be able to decide she was tired of my house and move back with them, and Mom agreed. The four of us – husband, myself, Boy-o, and The Princess celebrated a joyful Thanksgiving with husband’s family and told everyone she was here to stay.

A few days later, the whole deal was off. Mom wanted The Princess home, and The Princess wanted to go home and finish her school semester and take part in the choir performance she had been rehearsing for. I asked if she would be coming back, and Mom said yes. And then…radio silence. After several weeks of daily conversations with Mom about The Princess’s problems, all communication ceased. I would call both the home and cell numbers, and no one would answer. It felt as though my calls were being screened. Finally, I got through, and was told of an appointment that The Princess had with a counselor she had been seeing, an appointment at which recommendations would be made about how to proceed with her. I asked point-blank, “Is she going to be coming back here or not?” Mom couldn’t – or wouldn’t – say. I called the day of the scheduled counseling appointment to find out what happened, and the next day, too. No answer. 4 days after the appointment, I receive a call from my dad. The decision has been made – The Princess will be staying with them, purportedly on the recommendation of her counselor who has already built a rapport with her and would like to see her treatment through to its completion. No argument from me there – I know how important rapport is in the counseling relationship, and I was willing to make this sacrifice for The Princess’s good. I had located a reputable counselor here, and I was willing to do whatever it took to address her issues here, but she already has a relationship with this other person, and I respect that. “But”, I asked, “Can she come live here when she is finished with her treatment?” There is much hemming and hawing, and no real answer.

I drive down to meet my mom and The Princess one afternoon shortly after, and I hang back and listen as they talk with each other about her future, and it is apparent that they have already made a very important decision without consulting me. When The Princess finishes her treatment, she is to move to a different state with my parents, where my dad’s job has been transferred. I lean over to The Princess, and I say to her, “You know, it was very, very hard for me to go into your room and pack up all the things that you had left to bring them to you today. I really thought you were with me to stay. It made me really sad.” I steeled myself for her response – I knew the tone of it would shed some light on what had really happened during those days of radio silence. She wouldn’t look at me, and she used a smart-aleck tone as she said, “Well, I’m SORRY!”

So, The Princess was supposed to live with me…am I okay with her staying with my parents? I can stare myself down in the mirror and manage to say without crying that if The Princess’s needs can best be met by her current counselor, then I am okay with that. The real question is, am I okay with her moving with my parents to this other place when her treatment is finished? I am absolutely NOT OKAY with this, nonetheless, I can bite my lip, stare at myself again and say, “Yes, as long as I have visitation.” I say this because The Princess’s tone in response to my telling her how I felt had given me a different idea. I had thought that my parents had used her as some type of pawn – they were angry with her, so they sent her to me, they got over being angry, they took her back. But perhaps it was The Princess who backed out of the idea of living with me, not my parents…and since all I’ve ever wanted was for her to be happy, I suppose I’m right back at square one, having to accept that decisions that affect me have been made without me once again.

But, oh HELL, does this hurt. I’m crying right now, and if this were paper, the letters would all be smeared and unreadable.

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Adventually December 1, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives.
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Here are five questions about Advent for this first of December:

1) Do you observe Advent in your church?

Yes! However, in the 4 years since I was received into the Episcopal church, I have experienced some confusion over the candle color. I grew up Roman Catholic, with 3 purples and a pink. No confusion. The Episcopal church I was received into used 4 blues. Then we moved from Dallas to Fort Worth and I joined a church that used 3 blues and a pink. Then we moved again, this time to Oklahoma, and that first church used 4 purples. Our latest move, to the town where we shall reside until my husband finishes grad school, has resulted in our 4th parish transfer in 4 years, so I suppose I’ll find out on Sunday what colors THIS church uses!

2) How about at home?

You bet! I actually anticipate Advent, as opposed to Christmas! About a week or so into November, I start saying, “Is it Advent yet? Huh? Huh?” When putting away the Christmas decorations from the previous year, I always make sure the Advent wreath goes on top so I have no trouble finding it the next year. Candles: I use 3 blues and 1 pink, because I like that the season has it’s own color and doesn’t have to share purple with Lent, and because I need that little spark of pink brightness in the middle of what can sometimes seem like a long journey.

3) Do you have a favorite Advent text or hymn?

“O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear. Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel will come to thee, O Israel.”

4) Why is one of the candles in the Advent wreath pink? (You may tell the truth, but I’ll like your answer better if it’s funny.)

I just can’t beat QuakerPastor’s answer. “Because God was hoping for a girl.” Classic!

5) What’s the funniest/kitschiest Advent calendar you’ve ever seen?

I’ve actually never seen Advent calendars, but I grew up doing a Jesse tree during Advent and was so excited that the hospital I worked at last year had one up in the lobby during Advent! Each department would contribute ornaments to it every day during Advent. I haven’t actually done a tree with my own family, but I think this year I will try to read the Jesse tree scriptures as bedtime stories to Boy-o.