Friday, December 3, 2010

Been a long week

Wohoo! Got the translation into Hindi to stop, so that's good news. Geesh, you'd at least think it would have translated into Kanada or Telagu, the two languages from Ch's background but no, somehow I got it stuck with Hindi.

I had to have E admitted to the Psychiatric Hospital last weekend. Out of the blue, she came to me and told me a horrific story about hurting her baby brother. That wasn't the final reason we had her admitted technically though. She's been increasingly violent since summer. In addition to the bizarre story she told, she had attempted to beat up her Daddy that morning. She's been averaging assaults about once a week at this point. Given that she was claiming to have hurt the baby, we felt her lack of impulse control had finally escalated to the point of requiring the hospital. Her Psychiatrist agreed.

What we've learned in the course of this week is that she has NOT hurt the baby. Unforutnately, she is having intrusive thoughts, which are not unheard of with her mental health issues.

They increased one of her meds and gave her four days of intensive therapy services. Then, sent her home with a referral for intensive in-home therapy services for now. We withdrew her from public school. Technically, she's a homeschooler for this month. However, she's already registered to start a virtual charter school next month. K12 is a public school option in a lot of states, which makes it free, but its an online charter school. I think it will make a good balance to keep me from having to be her teacher, while not requiring her to be in the school buildings where she gets bullied and is struggling to function.

I dearly wish my little girl didn't have to face all of this. However, I know if we are proactive now, we can give her the tools to function for her future without struggling. with mental health issues, the better you teach them as children to fight it and contain it, the better their succcess at being independent and functional later in life. Since DH has mental health issues, its always been my fear that one of my children would inherit it. It became clear last year that E is the lottery winner on that front. However, at this point in her life its about helping her not go down the scary road DH went down before he started fighting to function and be healthy.

The greatest irony though is that my father is not speaking to me. He too struggles with a child with mental health issues and will NOT push for services, therapy and support. There is nothing I can do about his drowning in this issue. I've tried to support him for the last year and he continues to feel overwhelmed and not make significant changes. I won't apologize for making the proactive and correct choices for E merely because he lacks the courage to do the same with my brother.

I don't know what is going on. I called him last weekend to let him know she was being hospitalized. I haven't heard from him again. However, he called my sister to trash me and she put him in his place, assuring him that we were absolutely resopnding appropriately and this IS a big deal that we're dealing with. I haven't heard from him since. I don't even know if he's aware that she was released or not. Unless someone else in the family has told him, he doesn't know. Since my mother left him, he's never gone more than 3 days without calling me and we're at a week now.

I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to call him and face this head-on...or whether I'm going to wait for him to call me and assume he's trying to process and not ready to talk yet.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

रेस ऑफ़ सुन्शिने

I have NO idea why my title is converting to a non-Arabic based language there. It should say "Rays of Sunshine." Obivously, it does...not in English.

I'm realizing that my life is becoming easier to live. There are still hard times, to be certain. Yet, I'm not crumbling quickly. Sometimes I find I can even stand strong and survive when normally I expected to shut down.

II and I have had several long conversations about the Cub Scout lady. He really and truly does not desire to have an affair and has put lots of safeguards into place. Initially, I didn't trust he really intended to stand by them, but he has done so anyway. I feel less insecure as times goes on and he continues to stay on his guard with her. Its lead to some really honest discussions about his focus on entering medicine and the surgical culture specifically. He's not naive that the world he is trying to enter will have temptations for someone with his addiction. He feels so strongly about his desire to work with sick children and their families that we're both willing to work on safeguards an accountability. Besides which, traveling alone is a far bigger trigger for him and if he returns to the business world he will be rquired to travel alone. I still think he would fall down if he were to travel on business alone at this point.

II's contract IT job messed up his invoices. They misplaced the invoice that was supposed to be paid in November and accidentally paid the one due to be paid in December. That was supposed to cover December's rent. We're thinking we'll pay all of the bills forward a month, use the subsidy check to cover rent and by the time the bills come due/late again we'll be at the end of December and coasting into January. Plus, II starts his part-time job next Saturday so he'll have paychecks coming in before December which means we'll have a small chance of staying current on the bills instead. The company did find the missing November invoice and will pay it in December, so we'll also have that for bills in December. That's all good news since II failed the vein screen to sell plasma. Two technicians couldn't get the massive needle into his arm so he couldn't donate plasma afterall. They told him to drhink a ton of Gatorade and come back next weekend.

I have Christmas almost completed. However, the kids were going to be getting 2 gifts this year instead of their normal 3. An old high school friend offered to help with Christmas a few months ago. I was grateful but didn't want to push. She contacted me again this week because she's putting things together. That will bring the kids to 3 gifts afterall. We still cannot swing the sibling gifts. Several of the kids have been working on gifts they have made for each other. I'll help the others make gifts this year so they still carry the spirit but not the $150 price tag of shopping at Goodwill for them. Now, if I can find some way to swing buying several yards of flannel and t-shirts, I can sew their Christmas PJs and they won't know there's anything amiss for their Christmas afterall.

We have two birthdays to navigate in December, C and J. J turns two. He's easy. Daddy is going to make him a set of building blocks. They are actually quite easy, the biggest challenge is sanded the rough edges adequately. I'm a tad nervous. J has taken to throwing things, including seriously heavy things. I'm afraid wooden building blocks might turn out to be a dumb idea until that stops, but its still a good gift for a two year old.

That left C. In previous years, we did a HUGE blow-out birthday celebration for double digits. For A's 10th, we went to Medieval Times as a family, plus he got several games for his DS as well. E went to the American Girl store for her 10th and got to blow a lot of money on a shopping trip. C and Ch have been looking forward to their double digit birthdays for a LONG time. We have already negotiated that we're going to go on a camping trip to DC next summer as their big thing. We can do that on a shoestring budget and everything for entertainment in DC is free. That won't happen until summer, so at least they still get something big. However, a present worthy of double digits and in my budget...yeah, really not happening.

Untl this week. The same friend who offered to help with Christmas happens to have an ipod Nano. Its the old style, but trust me my homeschooled boy-o isn't going to know that difference. What he WILL know is that a Nano will allow him to put his audio books on it, and retrieve one book and a specific book. He'll no longer be tethered to a computer to work on his reading skills. He'll quickly discover he can put podcasts on there too, and I expect we'll have an equal balance of audio books and college podcast lectures that will populate his Nano. Its perfect for him. I could never afford it for him. In fact, I have no idea how to come close to matching that for Ch's double digits in May, but I'll worry about that when we get there.

Everytime I think we've hit rock bottom and we're going to drown, things start to look better again. One more time, we're still standing. When we get to the tax return, we'll be pre-paying the bulk of our bills through August, so the monthly funds we bring in will help give us breathing room instead of just keeping us from drowning.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The sweetest heart

C is a child who must have his rituals and routines. His doctors have long pointed out that he has OCD and offered medication. However, he has always been able to overcome his anxieties and insecurities with his high mental capacities. As long as he can control the anxiety and it doesn't control him, we are not doing meds.

However, he feels everything so intensely, and one of the biggest things that helps him cope is his routines and rituals. Of those, the holidays are THE most treasured by him. October is Halloween, then comes Thanksgiving and lastly his birthday and Christmas, and now his baby brother's birthday tied so closely into his as well.

When we moved, he spend months devestated and barely functional. Not only did he lose the home he loved, but all of his siblings went to public school and left him home alone. He didn't really start to get better until Ch and R came back to homeschooling.

Ever since we entered the holiday season, C has been talking about his birthay celebrations. The only problem is that C has a very specific way he celebrates his birthday. Every year since he was three, the family has gone to Red Lobster. Until last year, this was not really a big deal. II made good money. It wasn't the only time of the year we went to Red Lobster, but it was special because it was C's celebration.

Last year, we managed to pull it off. We had cashed in II's retirement funds to remodel the house. We had funs last Christmas. This Christmas, I don't even have enough presents for them. Red Lobster will cost $160 for the entire family to eat there. We just don't have that kind of money right now.

This very moment, both II and I are without health insurance. I have until the end of this month to find $210 to renew my health insurance, or my thyroid and clotting disorder become pre-existing conditions. As of this weekend, II is selling plasma to make ends meet. This is temporary. Mid-January, we get financial aid to live on. Shortly after that, we get a substantial tax return, plus once we file our taxes I can file an ammendment to my financial aid and will get substantial grants as well. So, once we make it to mid-January everything gets better quickly. We'll parsel out those funds to cover living expenses at least until August. Most importantly, II finishes his pre-reqs for medical school in May. He'll take his MCATS before June. At that point, he will get a full-time job. He'll give it until the next spring to see if he got into medical school. If he doesn't, then he'll launch a nationwide search to re-enter a career track position. Either he gets into medical school, where he'll have a living stipend that will help us live, and I'll be in Graduate scholol with another stipend. Or, we'll go back to where we were before all of this started. We won't be living in this abject poverty any longer.

That is not today. Today, we are coasting by on fumes. We've got to get to mid-January, and to get there, we have to make it through the holidays. There's no way we can pay for Red Lobster this year. And, even if we did find the money, there's too many other things that are higher priority. We cannot justify spending that kind of money for his birthday, and we don't have it anyway so it doesn't matter.

Today, when he started talking about how many days until his birthday and his Red Lobster meal, I finally took a deep breath and told him.

I felt awful. It broke my heart. Even worse, it hurt SO badly to watch him. Most of his siblings would wail and scream. Some of them would call me ugly names. C just silently listened with a look of the deepest sadness I have ever seen. Of all my children, he has embraced this season of poverty, accepted the limitations this has brought and tried so hard to be cheerful and not angry about this. I hated every moment of having to break this child's heart today.

He never got angry. I know he cried, but he hid it. We were heading to a friend's house for a playdate. He requested to be allowed to be alone and in private. So, we set him up in her master bedroom with Spider-man 3. He spent the afternoon there alone. I had offered that he and one parent could go to Red Lobster for his birthday, or we could wait until Spring and take the whole family--his choice.

When we headed home, he informed me that he didn't want to celebrate without his whole family so he'll wait until spring.

I hate this. I hate being unable to give my kids the basic things they have had their entire lives. There will be no trip to a habachi grill for Christmas this year, no trip to see a lights show, no trip to Goodwill sibling gifts, not even their annual PJs most likely. To have to take away this birthday tradition is heartbreaking. To watch C handle this with grace and love I doubt I would have in his shoes was probably my lowest point as a mother.

Honestly, if they hadn't been raised that way, they wouldn't feel the lose. They had addyllic and pampered lives. I enjoyed making their lives magical. Today, I can't do that. I have to be realistic and make it through this rough time to the other side.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My mother is dead

I'm not sure if she ever was truly alive. I cannot truly say I had a mother. I had a sister calls her an egg donor. She raised us. She submerged herself into the Patriarchal movement early in its inception. I'm 34. The movement was only beginning when I was a child. From the time I was ten, she begged my father to allow her to homeschool us. He did not give into this point until the second batch of children began schooling. I was nearly homeschooled for my senior year of high school. Except, I was raped and became pregnant. I had to be tossed out to hide her shame, so she abandoned the idea of homeschooling me and instead shipped me across the country to hide me.

When I tell people I have homeschooled for twenty years, they are greatly confused. They do not understand that by the time I was 18, I was the primary teacher of my younger siblings. I was still homeschooling them when my own children came along and I began refusing to be my mother's slave any longer.

My mother was a Narcissist. She entered the world of Patriarchy, dragging my Feminist father with her. He loved her. He did not believe who she was, and thus allowed her to do almost whatever she wanted with the family. I was her golden child. I was the one choosen and groomed to be her heir apparent. Everything she wanted and was denied by my father, I was to be. I was to be the perfect daughter. I was groomed to enter the world I entered from my earliest moments. I was isolated from any family member that might whisper disent from her teachings. I was truly alone.

After she stole my firstborn child, I realized who and what she was. However, I was still alone...and desperate to have some contact with my stolen baby. When I met II, I knew exactly what she was, but had no idea how to get away from her. II was my hero. He lifted me up, he supported me, he encouraged me, he believed me, he held me while I processed, grieved and ultimately healed. He took me away, became my sheild and protected me from her. He helped me find my voice and my strength and gave me unconditional love for the first time in my life. I didn't want rescued. I told him to take a hike if he thought he was going to rescue me. Yet, he did it anyway.

Last week, I faced the monster who calls herself my mother. I faced her for the second time in open court. Under oath and before all the witnesses present, I spoke of her abuse. I spoke of her behavior, her words, her deliberate manipulations. I spoke clearly and though timidly, I also spoke with strength. The lawyer for my minor siblings said my testimony was superb. She said that I showed my courage and strength but also the scars which are still healing.

As I drove home, secure in the knowledge that my father fully understands who this woman is now, and that my minor siblings are forever protected from the abuse I suffered, I realized it was time to bury her.

My mother is dead. My brother and sister reached that point of acceptance a year ago. I realized several years ago, after I cut all contact with her, that she would never be a decent mother, that my desire for her to be a good mother was my own dream and never based upon reality. This time, I realized her influence upon my life is gone. She is dead and I move forward motherless. Its a better place to be than letting her have any part of who I am. I am who I am now in spite of her, certainly not because of her. Though, I nearly lost myself down the path she groomed me to walk, with a husband as broken as myself hurting beside me and niether of us able to move towards each other and fully heal.

Life is different now. She is dead and I am alive. Henceforth, I remain vividly alive for myself and for the family I have created.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Too much work???

I swear, I am DONE with public school education!!!! I don't have a CLUE how to continue to build a future, but I won't have my children destroyed in this process.

E is failing Language Arts. E, who reads books voraciously, who has never struggled with language arts and who had a perfect A in her first grading period, before she was transferred to a new teacher, has a mid-70s in this class. And, her teacher thinks that is a perfectly acceptable grade for her.

She isn't doing the homework. E was honest when she told me that. However, the teacher will NOT do ANYTHING to help this situation for E. I asked if she would be willing to check that E is writing down the assignments correctly so we can know. Nope, that will make TOO MUCH WORK. She is not going to do anything that requires more work out of her. Yes, she said that--though when I called her on it she then denied it.

Why the F*** are you a teacher if you don't want more WORK???????? Last time I checked, teaching was HARD WORK. Get over it, or find a new professional witch.

She's changed how she's doing the homework stuff and that's solved the problem. Except, it certainly has NOT for E. Well, that's just not her problem. Okay, so can you please explain to me why an 11 year old who reads at a 10th grade reading level is making mid-70s in your class? Do you really think this is reflective of her capabilities?

E is distracted. She's told me so. And, having taught her for her entire LIFE, I'm well aware how easily distracted she is. Ever seen the dog on Up? Yeah, its squirrel EVERYWHERE for E. Trust me, she's distracted.

No M'am! I run a tight ship so children are NOT distracted in my classroom. She is NOT distracted. Okay, so again tell me why a child with her intellegience and capabilities is pulling off a mid-70s grade in your classroom? I'm asking if you will work with us to help E succeed.

Gee, isn't that what teaching is supposed to be about? Helping children succeed. Nope, not if it requires more WORK out of her.

She hung up on me! Literally. Declared she was using HER cell phone minutes to call me and she would not talk to me if I was going to be aggressive to her. I pointed out that I didn't get aggressive until she flat-out stated she would do no extra work, no matter what performance my child is having in her classroom. Told me to take this up with guidance cause she's DONE.

That's not even mentioning that I've been trying to communicate with HER for nearly a month now on this issue. Seriously, the first letter I sent her, the response she sent back with E was, "Well, she didn't put any contact information on here, so I'm not going to talk to her." Right, because writing me back a NOTE, as I wrote to her, would be more WORK. Yeah, now I get why E's failing her LA class. Totally, totally get it now. Trying to call the guidance office but no one is answering.

Honestly though, we were talking about pulling her at Christmas anyway. I'm ready to pull her NOW. You do NOT start a conversation with, 'I'm not doing any extra work.' Yeah, got that already--that would be WHY my child is failing a subject she should be able to do with her eyes closed, thank you very much for nothing there!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Breaking point

I knew when I started this journey that trying to balance family, a sick marriage, family of origin still in crisis and full-time college that the balancing act was going to be difficult. This week I am completely overwehelmed.

I had a major research paper and accompanying oral presentation due yesterday. I have another six page major paper due tomorrow. Then, yesterday I recieved two assignments in another class, both due tomorrow as well.

The problem? I have to drive to another state today. My parents ugly and contentious divorce culminates on Thursday. I have to be there to testify, just like I was 14 months ago when I came home to discover my world had fallen apart. The two homework assignments, the professor instructed me to email them to him.

My original plan was that I would turn the second paper in today before leaving town. However, the research paper took longer than I anticipated. Or, I should say I flat-out had to step away from it on Sunday because my children's need to have a mother participate in their lives and Halloween. That meant I didn't get the head start on the second paper that I needed.

In the middle of all of this, E is destabilizing. She failed English her first term at school, and what we can determine is that she isn't getting her homework done, none of it. Her attention focusing meds wear off in the afternoons and she absolutely cannot focus in the evenings. We've noticed that issue. What I didn't realize soon enough is that apparently a 6th grader has the same burden of homework as an 8th grader. So the reality that she wasn't working as much as her brother was not that she had less, but that she was not capable of accomplishing it.

I decided to test whether her mood stabilizer was contributing to her afternoon problems. It makes her drowsy and unfocused so perhaps her two meds contradict each other. Since her mood stabilizer took her from a petite little girl to the obesity category, I also hoped that the main hunger it triggers would happen in the night and would help stabilize her weight issues. All I did was switch her mood stabilizer to bedtime instead of mornings.

She does fine at school. And, homework is a breeze now. Provided she gets it done before the nightly freak out. Sigh. Going to have to call her doctor. What I didn't want to do was add an afternoon dose of her attention meds. I'm giving her until first of the week, but I'm guessing we're going to have to do exactly that.

Meanwhile, in the worst week I could be having, she assaulted me one night, and threatene to kill herself another night. Careful evaluation of the threat led me to believe it wasn't a serious threat...yet. Its only a matter of time with her.

Then, because my life wasn't spiced up enough, my mother, a diagnosed Narcissist, has leveled grevious but false allegations...again. Big surprise. Except, she's good. You have to get her credit. She may be bat-shit crazy but she's highly intelligent and knows how to play her manipulations to the very best she can. I've spent a great deal of the last week talking with my father, talking with various siblings and talking with the children's attorney.

I told my siblings' attorney that the behavior my mother was using to justify her claims was at least two years old. That's how long I was aware of it, and have spoken to little sis about it. However, I told her to talk to other sis who shared a room with little sis because she would know exactly when the behavior started. When did the behavior start? Well, start appears to be a misnomer. Its been going on since little sis came home from the orphanage. Supports my theory that it sounded like adoption related issues--a subject I'm extremely well versed in. Mom claims she JUST discovered this behavior last week.

Really, crazy dingbat, where have YOU been in the 9 YEARS you've supposedly called this child your daughter? Either you're lying now, or you're just a stellar example of motherhood that you never knew your youngest child was displaying some extremely disturbing but common adoption related behaviors.

Remember though, I still have a six page paper due today.

So, after a second night of no sleep, I knew something had to give. My arm still hurts from E's attack. My neck is locked up from the stress of dealing with last night's meltdown. This morning, my father called to let me know he called the police on my 15 year old brother. Little bro has similiar issues to E, kinda funny since there's no biological tie between them, but that's the reality. He too went manic last night and threatened Dad. Took runner bro and a cop to talk him down this time.

Oh, and because manipulation isn't working on anyone else, dingbat is now targetting runner bro. Last night, she informed him if he doesn't come to court tomorrow to "protect" her from Dad, that he's no man. And, he'll cause her to lose custody of the minor children.

Cause her to lose custody????? She already LOST custody of them. And, sis is going to be in court to testify tomorrow. Runner bro doesn't want to be there. Dad is by far the better parent. But, mom is paying him spending money while he's in college and working on a professional track career. His track scholarship pays for his college, but not spending money. He can't get a job and still run track. He doesn't run track and he has no scholarship. Mom gives him $90 every two weeks.

DUDE, runner bro---get some student loans. For $2k per school year, you can break her power over you entirely, have slightly more spending money and still have a managable student loan debt when you are done. But, of course, we came out of the ultra conservative Patriarchial movement. Student loans are the tool of the DEVIL. Its EVIL to take out those loans. Same morality apparently doesn't apply to the $100K she has in credit card debts, the two houses she deliberately put into foreclosure this summer nor the $25K she just has to reveal she stole from joint marital assets in preparation for court last week.

Still following me on that paper due TODAY??? Yeah, niether was I.

I emailed my professor. I very embarrassingly had to explain a lot of the situation to him because we had a test tomorrow that I was going to miss. He postponed the test for the entire class, but already had the details of my drama filled life. He actually offered to let me turn the paper in late and originally I refused. I HATE asking for special consideration and turning something in late.

Today, I've reached my breaking point. I cannot write this full paper. I can do the summation of the material. I can do the personal reflection. I cannot do the highly technical and academic portion of the paper that requires I relate the material to sociological concepts. Just can't do it.

I asked for an extension until Friday on the paper.

My professor's response was one of those moments that reminds me that I am not forgotten, nor forsaken.

I've been FORBIDDEN to write this paper until I return from court. He wants to discuss what a reasonable due date after I return.

Oh, no fear there. I'll have it finished before Monday, no questions about that at all.

It was his other comment that brought tears though. He informed me that I was the most mature student he had ever encountered and that he has never offered leniency to the level he's given me, but he has no qualms about offering me this, as he knows not only will I get the paper done but I clearly have a full handle on the subject matter in the first place.

Praise the Lord for mercy, even when it comes from my own embarrassment of having to be open about my life in a settign where I would prefer to be judged by my merits and not my history and experiences.

I'm now doing the two short assignments due, which I can email and packing to leave. I have a parent teacher conference at 3:30 today and will head out for a 6-7 hour trip after that meeting. Going to be a LONG night.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Once a cheater, always a cheater?

Its it true? Is it true that someon who cheats will always cheat? Learned behaviors can never be unlearned? Are we all condemned to forever repeat our pasts and never improve?

I don't know. That thought is always in the back of my mind. Is II capable of learning to be faithful? Once upon a time, he was a faithful spouse. He was faithful to our marriage for the first six years of it. I don't believe he lies when he tells that detail to me. Does that count as faithful if he jumped off a cliff never came back until he was caught? Is it relearning, or simply learning.

I can almost except the addiction issue. I can accept that he can stay sober and never go into the addiction again if he fights it--just like an alcoholic. Except...that workplace affair with his co-worker never fit the pattern in the first place.

I've asked him often in the last year why that affair happened. It wasn't annonymous. It wasn't a one night stand. It was a co-worker he saw every day. And, even after he stopped sleeping with her, he maintained an inappropriate emotional connection with her until the very day I caught him in all his lies. For heaven's sake, when my son was lying in an ER waiting to be admitted to the hospital, this man ignored my frantic calls for 20 minutes so he could chat with her. He wasn't still sleeping with her, but by golly he was still intimate with her. Yet, she was (and is) a self-centered primadonna. After the shock that he would have long-term affaird, who he choose to have it with was more shocking to me than that he even had it. Of all the women he could have had an affair with, he was able to conceal her from me because I never would have suspected an affair with *her*. She was vulgar, and still is. There is not one redeeming quality about her that I knew before the affair, and yes I met her face to face many times. Its not just his word that she was an unpleasant person, she just was.

While II has dug deep into his issues, his pain, his addiction, he's never come very far in understanding her. Its his belief that he was already so far gone in his addiction that when she offered the opportunity of free, consistent sex, he was more than happy to take it. I think there is some truth to that. Certainly financial and phone records to prove that she was the insigator. She financed the bulk of everything they did together. She initiated 99% of all phone and text contacts. And yet, its never been enough to fully answer the question for me.

In the last month, I've realized how that affair happened. I've realized because I'm seeing the potential for another one unfolding in front of my very eyes.

II is heavily involved in Cub Scouts with our boys. He always has been. The Cubmaster in the current Pack is a perfectly nice man with a perfectly nice family. He's also essentially a puppet for his wife who truly runs the Pack. She's a perfectly wonderful woman with two sweet boys and a powerhouse in the Pack. She has terrible hero worship regarding our family, but especially II.

I was taken aback several weeks ago when II took the Scouts on a camp-out and returned telling me that he thinks there has been infidelity in this other marriage. He began to relate to me the comments the wife has made to him when no one else was around, and yes they are fairly telling of infidelity. From his telling of things, she seems to be wracked with a lot of pain right now.

Except....she's not showing that to anyone but II. When she sees me, she makes an effort to come and tell me how wonderful II is...again, and again, and again.

She is calling II's cell phone at least daily now. Sometimes, more than once a day. Yes, its related to Cub Scouts. But, the fact that I can tell its her by the change in tone of his voice--instantly, is NOT related to Cub Scouts. His tone sounds like it did when we were dating and engaged, plain and simple.

This weekend, the two of them took 4 boys to a festival to attempt to sell Cub Scout popcorn. The sales were abysmmal. The boys played. And, she spilled her guts about her marriage to II.


That's how it happens.

I don't believe they have slept together yet. I don't believe they have had a chance. And, I'm not sure she has made a concious decision that she's going there. But, she's clearly going there, and II is going there WITH her.

We had a very LONG conversation Saturday night. The bottom line is that I don't trust him. And, I'm very angry that I had to point out to him where things were headed because he didn't see nor stop the brakes himself. He counters that its better than he's been for years, that he did feel something was inappropriate and wrong, which was why he was bringing it all to me, and he hasn't cheated.

He has agreed to some clear and stronger boundaries in this situation. We can't walk away from Cub Scouts. And, thankfully this family is moving next year--army orders. However, I'm not convinced boundaries and awareness will be sufficient. She is clearly attracted to him. Unlike the last one, this woman is a good person whose morals and values are things II admires in a person.

My deepest fear that he will continue down the path he is already headed on and end up having a relationship with this woman. Except, this time he won't find it so easy to walk away. He likes her. He likes her boys. They adore him. I could see him falling for this woman and leaving me. Quite frankly, even the thought ticks me off so badly that I can't see straight.

I don't intend to fight and fear this situation. I honestly am not sure I care. However, it has caused a lot of the healing and connection we have had recently to be heading the wrong direction. I feel like I'm just waiting for him to cheat and consequently just don't want him around me at this point.

He does seem to be aware now. He has problem solved his own boundaries to set up and cease where this is headed.

I don't know where this will end up. I hope it ends up a teaching experience for us, and we come out of it stronger. But, I have no control over his choices, nor hers. I can control ME. I won't live with a man who engages in active affairs. So if he does let this continue and sleeps with her, we will be finished. We will likely be finished if he continues to let this progress into a full-fledged emotional affair even if he doesn't sleep with her. Its been a good lesson in understanding what happened with the last affair. She too pulled at his hearstrings and trigger some strange "Knight in Shining Armour" response. And, I saw and felt ALL of the things then that I'm seeing and feeling now. The difference was that time I had blind trust that my husband would NEVER betray me like that. Seeing it start again, and not having that faith means I can clearly see where this can go. I can see the writing on the wall that would destroy everything about us, this marriage and my children.

Either he can also see that writing now, and makes a conscious and personal choice to walk away, guard his heart and put his marriage as the only thing that matters to him. Or, in a year I will be a single mmother of eight children.

I'll still be standing, no matter what he does. He gets to choose if he can buck the saying, or if he is condemned to never learn from his own past and actually be faithful to me this time.

At least, I no longer feel the need to ask why and how that last affair happened. Suddenly, I am seeing up close and personal all of those answers I didn't understand before.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I intended to write an introspective post on infant loss today. Yesterday was National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Day, where families who have lost children through miscarriage, stillbirth and infant deaths remember their lost children.

Instead, life takes over and I'll have to save that post for another time.

Of my eight children, I have two with serious mental health issues. M is my child with a dozen problems going on in his body and his mind. He had been in my home less than 2 weeks when he physically attacked me for telling him no and began screaming for someone to "call the police and take mommy away."

Other, wiser adoptive mothers emphatically told me to get him OUT of my home then and there. I was so overwhelmed with the knowledge that documing his violence would guarantee he would never have another foster home in the system. The last foster home capable of managing his medical conditions was the he had left to enter our home. She had clearly told the state that either they moved him to our home immediately, or they removed him as soon as the school year was over because she was DONE. We thought it involved his potty behaviors, his "tantrums" and his low functining ability. We figured out pretty darn quickly that we had a raging, violent child on our hands--the likes of which I had never encountered before in my life.

M was eventually diagnosed with both severe Autism and Bipolar disorder, to round out his low IQ he came home with. It takes heavy doses of psychatropic medications to control his rages and violence. We've had him in a good place for the last year, medically. However, he gets insufficient sleep while attending school now, and that frequently means that he's higher than a kite when he goes maniac on the weekends. Sometimes, we can get him to crash and sleep all weekend. Other times, the change in routine from school means he's simply out of control. Last weekend, he thrice went violent to our shock after having it under control for a year. I was prepared to call his Psychiatrist about a medication adjustment except the routine of his school week immediately brought him back to functioning.

Meanwhile, to my heartbreak and horror last fall, my oldest birthchild appears to be heading down the path of her father's mental illness. Combined with the normal hormones of pre-teen adolescence, she's stymies my understanding of how to reach her much of the time now. Normally, I try desperatelly to not engage unless absolutely necessary. I find options for her to participate in the family in ways she is agreeable to. I don't take the nonsense coming out of her mouth personally and simply walk away.

Today, I knew I was going to have to engage her. Today is Saturday, and on Saturday we do our chores. The most dreaded of chores is the kitchen. Last weekend, we were re-arranging rooms in the house so we didn't do Saturday chores, and the house has shown the neglect all week. Everyone in the house has known for two weeks that its E's turn to clean the kitchen this weekend. Everyone has been dreading today. Yesterday, I had the homeschoolers "pre-clean" as well as they could. Yes, it needs cleaned, but its not nearly what it normally is.

So, she decided to get up at 11:30am this morning. The first words out of her mouth were, "I'm not going to clean the kitchen today."

Le Sigh. I have a FIRM policy as a mother. I don't engage in a battle of the wills unless I'm absolutely sure its worth fighting. When I do engage, I don't back down. This is one of those battles that I must engage. I must because everyone else in this house is expected to do their Saturday chores, because this house cannot run with all these people if we don't all contribute as we can, and because her siblings are hurting knowing that she's having lax rules right now and they don't. This one, I will engage, and so I have.

What I didn't anticipate is that one mentally struggling child would cause the other mentally ill child to feel in competition. M was having a fairly decent day before E arose. He started having a nominally difficult day as she wound up for battle. However, when she went into full fledged melt-down, raging and screaming through my house.....he decided to join her.

At one point, I had the two of them in an acutal face off. I've known other adoptive mothers of kids with severe emotional issues who have had to bodily seperate waring siblings. The closest I've *ever* come to this scenario was when C and Ch would engage in fistfights starting at age 7. Those were fairly age appropriate and rather boyish responses. And, these days those two prefer to be the Hardy Boys--joined in adventures with arms around each other in love.

Today, I nearly got to bodily seperate two children. They wound up and were in a glare down while screaming at each other. I had to repeatedly remind E what the Psychiatrist has told her repeatedly--she is NOT M, she CAN learn to control her impulses and she does NOT have an excuse to resort to violence simply because she is struggling. Nothing reaches M but medical sedation. And, I work very hard to minimize that because every pill he swallows to allow him to remain safe in this home is another hit his dying liver must endure. He had his normal meds today but I'm not ready to sedate him simply because he is feeding off her mental instability and bringing it into his own.

Sure enough, an hour after she began, she is nearly stable again. And, he is stable because there is no more chaos for him to feed. She has *not* done her chore. But, I promised she could take her meds and eat first. Its going to be a LONG day, and I'm not sure I'm going to enjoy it. Yet, this is the life I live some days when the mental illnesses are front and center.

These two are no longer homeschooled. They both go to public school. He has an IEP and attends a special classroom. She's on the verge of having an IEP invoked. We, her parents and her school, are monitoring her functioning and stability carefully. At least sending these two to school allows me the opportunity to provide calm and effective time with the other siblings.

The biggest challenge about today is that they are both falling off the cliff of instability and I'm solo parenting all day long. II took the Cub Scouts to sell popcorn, and I am home with six chilren alone. Its not his fault, he's parenting as well, and I have the most helpful BIG BROTHER. However, when I am left solo parenting the higher needs children and their needs become front and center, I am always struck by something. Until last fall, I did ALL of this ALONE.

Its not wonder my health was failing and I shut down for the vast majority of J's pregnancy. No one can do what I was doing alone. I never would have admitted I was doing it alone. But, I was. And, since I wasn't about to let my CHILDREN lose out when something had to give. It was ME and MY HEALTH that gave. I think I *finally* this fall got my thyroid to stabilize from that nightmare. My blood pressure is still higher than where it needs to be and my asthma is far from being under control. Its really no wonder I had the rare phenomenon of developing anaphylatic allergies past the age of 30!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I hate myself now

My sister is a very successful and well off Pediatrician. When my mother blew through Dad's massive inheritance and my father could no longer financially catch my brother everytime he did something stupid, he started going to my sister as if she was an open wallet. She finally had to get really harsh with him when she purchased family heirlooms from him and he attempted to get her to purchase them twice before giving them to her.

Then, everything happened in my parents marriage and my mother deliberately used money to cripple my father. Once again, my sister had to rescue a family member. The financial support she has provided my father has been insane. And everytime she thinks its done, there is more. She has actually written a legal IOU that Dad's attorney has submitted in the divorce proceedings. If mom is not ordered to pay it back, then sis intends to rip up the IOU and not require Dad to repay her. However, legally mom should be required to pay her back since she has withheld all financial support to Dad and the minor children in the last year.

However, I have often heard resentment from my sister about the money.

Until today, I have never asked my sister for help. Until last December we were fine. II made no where near what she made, but we were comfortable middle class and were going to do FINE getting through on our own.

Today, I don't have rent for December. The astronomical electric bills on this house have eaten every bit of the my rent money for that money ($2000 in four months, that's insane). II works IT consulting. I do data entry. He also does programming jobs when he can get them. He hasn't been as deligient at hunting those down as he should be. He's spent nearly a month trying to get a minimum wage job, and he's overqualfied. He actually had to search online for what the "correct" answers to the personality tests are because he was answering them like a manager.

Yesterday, we hit bottom in fear. He went out and in an hour in person secured a job as a pizza delivery drivery. However, he can only work 3 nights per week. If he's going to throw away his grades and his dreams for a job, he might as well go back to his career and make far more than minimum wage. They hired him on the spot and did orientation without warning...and he missed a Physics assignment because of it.

So, we went with plan B today. He's going to devote hours to intentionally securing programming work and we're going to squirrel every dime he earns into the December rent account. In theory, if he pushes it, he shouldd be able to earn the $1200 we need for rent. Once we get to January we're okay again. If he doesn't secure the work...then we're homeless, plain and simple.

Today, I wrote my sister and let her know if we can't save up the rent in the next two months, I will ask her for help. I hate myself for asking. I know how she feels when people ask her for monehy. I know she thinks I don't have any purpose for her anymore, but the reason I haven't visited was because I couldn't afford gas money and refused to ask her to pay my way there--like my brother and dad still do.

I also know she has the money, and I would rather destroy our relationship entirely than have my kids homeless for Christmas.

We have to get to January. In January, we get financial. In February we get our tax return. By March we will have my Federal grant money that the school refused to award me at the start of school because I have to have an income tax return to prove my current income. They assure me that my priority date continues to be when I filed my FAFSA this year, so the priority for the grant money will be hire and I'll get everything I'm entitled to recieved based upon our below poverty income level now. In June, he'll be done with his classes and done with his MCATs. He can work full-time from there onward, even if he does have to take a minimum wage job. Its getting through December that is scary right now. So I did the humbling thing. I warned my sister I might have to ask. As much as I hate myself, we both know she cannot and will not let her nieces and nephews be homeless. I just hope she believes me that we're doing everything we can to avoid having to ask.

The biggest challenge is that I cannot tell her what II did. Without that HUGE piece to this puzzle, she doesn't understand why we walked away from everything and put ourselves in this position to begin with. And, she feels rather smug in being judgemental of what we're doing. She needs to support me because she loves me, not because she knows II nearly destroyed this marriage even though he was taking care of us financially.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Unexpected Anti-versary

Of all the things I expected to feel or desire as I journeyed through this week, a voracious desire to make love to my husband was not one of them. The urge to do bodily harm, yet. The desire to claw his eyes out, absolutely. The temptation to throw him out and file for divorce, definitely. But, the deep, primitive need to connect through the very intimacy he had betrayed--never.

My intention for "The Night" was to go to bed early, in a drug induced haze to force sleep upon my body. However, I remembered that this very night is the night I had wanted to watch Dave Letterman. Still, I thought I had sufficient time to get to bed before 1:07am fell upon me. The moment I realized I forgot to do homework due in the morning, I knew I was doomed. I finished the work at exactly 1:07...just my luck.

No medication was going to take away this confrontation. Instead, we lay in bed and reflected upon the year we have survived. Neither of us expected to be married today. The truth was when I went to bed that first night, I knew it was over. He wanted to know why I gave him a chance to try again.

I let him stay because of the kids. He assumed that meant because we had these children, I tried to save their family structure. That is fundamentally inaccurate. It wasn't because we have children. It was because of who he is to them. I have never known a father more attached, more enmeshed, nor devoted to his children. He isn't just a goo father, not even merely a great father. No matter what he did to me, he is the most amazing father I have ever known.

If he had been a lousy father, I would have walked away. If he had been a normal, decent father, I might have tried but likely the pain would have been too overwhelming. I knew in that first night, and again a week later when I learned the whole truth, one basic thing. Before I took away their hero, before I made them statistics, before I plunged them into poverty, I needed to be able to say I had done everything in my power before I walked away. That we had children did not give him this one chance. That the one thing he did 100% right was to love and father his children was the only reason I let him stay.

One year ago, the realization that I would walk this path with a sex addict was devastating. I could not fathom a lifetime of struggle, recovery, and sobriety. This was not my life, not my struggle. I was not an addict an I resented his bringing that into my perfect world and destroying everything with it. I gave him one chance and for six months he squandered what I offered him. He maintained his sobriety but he only displayed sporadic, sloppy, and inconsistent attempts to recover.

Until one day, he hit bottom. He realized he was an addict. More than that, he needed to fight for his health and healing. The day he hit bottom (really it was a process over several days), he started fighting for recovery. The truth is that for the last six months, he has continually put one foot in front of the other. It hasn't been pretty, he's often fallen down; yet, the fundamental reality is that he has worked his recovery for those six months.

It was in this realization that I understood today I want to be with him. I want to reach him in every aspect of our intimacy. I'm glad I gave him this chance. I don't regret fighting for this year. I don't regret that together we have fought tooth and nail to restore this marriage. Whatever the future brings, I will never regret that I gave my whole heart to this year, that I was totally vulnerable to the intimacy with him.

As we drifted to sleep, he said to me, "We have survive a year. Perhaps we will survive twenty more."

The only response I had for him was, "Let's just see if we can make it one more year for now."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This is very bad

My grandmother is coming to visit. There are simply no words to describe this woman. The best way I can truly describe her is that when I was thirteen, she once informed me that she had gotten too old to care what other people thought about what she said. She said she didn't have enough time left on this earth to be polite, so she would speak her mind and if other people didn't like it, they could just get over it.

As jaw dropping as the statement was, its even more flabbergasting when you realize two facts. First, she was in her mid-50s when she made this arrogant declaration. Second, this was not actually a new decision she had made. In fact, it was merely a justification for her behavior she had displayed for as long as anyone can remember her being alive.

Granny lives in Hawaii and spends 80% of her time in Southeast Asia now. For a 78 year old great-grandmother of 16, that's quite an accomplishment. Every two to three years, Granny breezes through the mainland to grace all of us with her glory.

This year's self invitation went like this, "I suppose you have outgrown me or just don't want me in your life anymore. But, if you want to see me, I'll be coming to the mainland on these dates. Please work the details of where I'll be when out amongst yourselves." This was aimed at my sister, my uncle and I. My brother refuses to play the passive-aggressive bullshit games and doesn't speak to her anymore.

I try hard to tolerate Granny's behaviors and remind myself that I actually love her. My children ADORE her for some crazy reason. Even so, the last time she came to the mainlain, M had been home merely a year and I flat-out refused to let her stay at our house. There was no way M could have handled her, and no way she could have handled him. The time before that, she rudely informed me that 3 of my children had SERIOUS speech impediments. One of my children has a speech issue. He has Childhood Apraxia of Speech and he's extremely sensitive to comments about it. Her rude remarks were devestating to him that visit. The other two children in question were normal and healthy. One of them was four and wasn't suppose to be fully intelligible yet. The other has English as his third language and was speech delayed from normal orphanage delays. You'd think someone who spends the bulk of her time teaching SE Asian English would have better sense AND manners. But, she doesn't. She truly does not care who she offends, hurts not demeans.

I was already dreading her visit this year. I'm not a stay at home mother anymore. I don't have the time to entertain her for a week. I don't have the tolerance nor patience to listen to her nasty poison. I don't want to hear one WORD about my parents' divorce from her, and I know that is all she is going to want to talk about. The worse though, will be holding my tongue while she fawns all over II and his parenting abilities while she acts like I don't exist and make NO impact on the lives of my children. This is NOT the year to have someone praise II.

Then, last night, it dawned on me. She's coming on September 17 and leaving September 23. Sunday will mark exactly one year since the last time my wonderful husband cheated on me--the day he blew off his daughter's birthday celebration to shove his body parts in some nasty stranger he found through an adult hook-up sight. The 23rd is my anti-versary.

She could not have choosen a worse time to come here. God help me cope.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dear Fellow Classmate

Please go away. No really, please go away.

My frustration with you began on the first day of class. I realize that the professor made concessions for a parking situation and expected straglers would be late to class that day However, you arrived 20 minutes late, well beyond even the latest of the our fellow classmates. You arrived reeking of ciggerette smoke. Clearly, even late you felt entitled to stop and have a last smoke before entering the building.

What truly set my opinion of you was not your tardiness nor your clear preference to char your lungs. That distinction was set after class when you insisted upon getting my phone number, in case you ever missed class. Having never heard of such a request on the first day of classes before, I was startled into comlpying with the request. You may feel free to lose my phone number now.

I don't miss class unless it is 100% unavoidable. That would consitute a medical emergency which I could not plan for, or a specialist's appointment that could not be scheduled any other time. Unfortunately, yes, my son's Heptalogist trumps even my coursework. Otherwise, I will be in class. So, no thank you, I don't need to participate in a mutal contingency plan. I don't plan on missing class, therefore I can find someone to assist as appropriately if the situation should arise and prove to be unavoidable.

You have now missed 5 classes out of 9 which have been held In case you cannot do math, that's greater than 50% of our classtime. Additionally, your syllabus clearly points out that 5 is the maximium allowable misses before being withdrawn by the professor.

I can only imagine that your continued sob story to the professor is the only reason you managed to drag yourself back to class today after not only missing all of last week but failing to complete both the first major paper and a take-home quiz. For the record, we had a student whose wife went into preterm labor the day the major paper was due. He managed to arrive to class and turn his in before rushing to meet his wife at the hospital.

I realize you have likely told the professor the same story you continue to pepper me with as you continue to request I provide you with all class notes and relevant information. You continue to insist that you are sick, that you have had doctor's appointments and that the medication you have been prescribed makes you sleepy.


Your story continues to change. You stated you missed one Thursday for being sick, and went to the doctor the following Monday. You stated you missed the next Tuesday because your medications made you sleepy, and then stated it was because of another doctor's appointment.

In every class you have bothered to grace us with your precense, you have reeked of smoke to the point that I find it nauseating and difficult to concentrate sitting behind you. You have been late every class you have attended. The real climax of your attendance record would be the day you honored me not only with your smoke but with your scent of stale alcohol. Were you drunk or merely hung over? I cannot say, and I truly do not care. You did not belong in class in that condition, and likely didn't belong driving either.

Here's the reality. You cannot possibly provide me with a sob story greater than my own life. You cannot woe me with your illness and your struggles. Firstly, I truly do not care. Secondly, I lost most of my compassion a year ago when my own husband desecrated my compassion for his own selfish behaviors. Thirdly, I have attended class with pnuemonia, with sick children, with my life falling apart around me. I attended class with a sprained foot, and with the persistent respiratory sickness that has plagued me for nearly a month as I gasp and struggle to cross campus when I forget my inhaler.

If you cannot commit to being in class, owning your own responsibilities and doing your own work, then please leave. Really, no one wants you here when you cannot pull it together to actually be here. We wish you luck, go reclaim your health and perhaps things will go better for you next semester. I will NOT provide you with every classroom note I have taken for every class period. I will NOT provide you with a full summary of the film you missed. I gave you the name, find it online or at the University Library. Is it your responsiblity to find the film and watch it on your own. Perhaps you truly are sick, though I deeply question the legitimacy of your story given all of your other behaviors. I am not your personal assistant. I come to class to LEARN. If for whatever reason you cannot do the same, then please either face the failure you will surely face...or withdraw from the course.

With deep frustration,
Your grossed out and sincerely irritated classmate who was shocked to see you show up after 5 days absent.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Roller Coaster

Recently...okay, most of the summer honestly, I've been ready to give up on this roller coaster that is supposed to be a marriage.

I'm weary. I'm coming into the anniversary of when my world fell apart and too often its like he still just doesn't SEE me. If I get upset, he's still standing around not understanding why I'm upset. There's only so many times I can once again try to explain what I'm thinking and feeling without him hearing me. I'm so tired of him admitting he's clueless but not doing anything to change how he interacts with me.

A few weeks ago, he regressed. He went back to ordering me what to do or how to behave. That went over well for him. Actually, it resulted in my informing him he should just go somewhere and die.

I don't often wish him dead anymore. I tell him so even less frequently. However, ordering me how to behave or feel is a very deep trigger for me. I spent years being told what was acceptable behavior and how I would destroy his life if I behaved in an unacceptable manner. Do NOT subvert me ever again. It ends with me wishing you dead...again. Hey, at least I haven't reverted back to praying for his death, which is what I did for months after I found out what he had been doing.

Anyway, I really started visioning how to seperate, how to split this family and how to walk away. Its an exercise I haven't honestly permitted myself to have before now, for fear I would take that route and never give this a fighting chance to be restored.

I thought I was done by this weekend. I'm just tired. Tired of fighting for us. Tired of hurting. Tired of waiting for him to get better. Except I went back to reading about recovering from addiction, recovering from infidelity in a marriage. I'm not supposed to feel better at a year. Nope, it takes 2-5 years to get to a better place.

I don't WANT to take another 1-4 years. I want out of this nightmare NOW.

Yet, the way to walk away involves simply going somewhere different for Graduate School than where he goes. That involves at least one more year together.

If I'm stuck here for at least another year, and we really have set everything here up to be interconnected, then what have I lost by waiting until I start applying for Graduate programs to decide where I'm going? Nothing except a bit more of my sanity and self-worth. But hey, my husband slept with 40 other women and I didn't skin his hide to make a lampshade, so what self worth can I possibly have left now?

At the end of the day, I have to look eight children in the eye. I have to look at them and tell them that I didn't everything I could to keep their world safe. I need to be able to tell them that I gave everything I had to keeping their family intact, and their beloved father in their lives full-time. If the end is coming, and I'm not sure whether it is or not still, I need to know that I only walked away when staying was something I had not one more moment I could put towards that effort. I need to know I gave everything I had, and everything I didn't know I had to this effort.

So, my anniversary "gift" to myself is one more year on this roller coaster ride. For better or worse, I've made the committment that baring something significantly egregious (like cheating again), I am taking the idea of walking away off the table for one more year. If I get to the end of this next year and things are no better and I'm no less hurting and weary, then I have decided it will be time to walk away from this. Until then, I'm not going to live with one foot on each side of the door. I know I can walk out, but I'm going to commit to staying and giving this one LAST effort.

He is better. He hasn't cheated on me again. He gave up all addictive behaviors and never looked back. While he stumbled several times in his recovery, he IS in recovery for his addiction. He's in a 12 step group. He's made far more than due deligience to find a therapist without luck, and he's accessed all the help he can find through other sources to get through this. He's facing himself and his past, and he's starting to heal himself. He's just no closer to ME than when we started. Absolutely everything I've read about addiction recovery says the addict cannot work on relationships with others until they have worked on themselves, and getting to that point in their personal recovery usually takes about 2 years.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Shades of Strength

Two things happened this week that have made me pause and realize I am finding myself again.

Yesterday, I attended an informational meeting for Graduate School. I miss teaching. I still teach my elementary schoolers some, but I miss full-blown, die-hard teaching. Consequently, I've made the definite decision that I'm going for the PhD in Sociology. May the good Lord have job opportunities available as I'm coming out of my education and training because I'm never going to get paid anywhere near worth what it will take to get there. However, going I am, and I'm dearly excited my future and my prospects with this.

Even so, I have some questions and some concerns. When I saw the Department was holding an informational meeting, I knew I had to be there.

Turns out, there were 2 Professors and exactly 3 students. Since Criminal Justice and Social Work are headed by the Sociology Dept, there was obviously room for variety in the room. Of the three students, one girl is looking for a Masters in Social Work. The other is thinking about....maybe considering...either Masters in Counseling...or Criminal Justice...or hey listening to others talk about PhDs in Sociology interests her as well.

I was there on a mission. I know what is required. I've talked with at least a dozen different PhDs in fields from Theater Arts to Biology to Music to Rhetoric and even Sociology. I was a teen when my father earned his PhD and had the privilege of being his research assistant on his Doctoral Disertation. Okay, I was unpaid but the experience he gave me was invaluable for me.

Still I have questions. And, those questions led to myself and one of the Professors talking long after everyone else left the meeting. It led down the path of both of us talking about our personal lives. Turns out he and his wife(female partner, not sure if its legally marriage and didn't pry) intend to adopt in the future.

Seriously, this man was a kindred spirit. He went into PhD not for the research opportunities but to TEACH. And, that is exactly the path I feel motivated to pursue. He was 30 when he went back. He's been out for 4 years now. He did his training in the same town we lived in 5 years ago. I actually already knew that because I looked at the program in that town and discovered he and his wife had moved from there to here.

It was just a really motivating and inspiring conversation. What truly hit me was when it came to a conclusion. He informed me that in just our short conversation (nearly 2 hours), I struck him as one of the strongest women he had EVER encountered. He said that people like myself, but especially women, usually have no problems building the career I want, even if they start later and are a non-traditional student. He thought I will do marvelously as I go along this path and let me know if he can help me in any way to let him know.

Actually, he sponsors both Ki Delta Kappa, the Sociology Honors Society and the Sociology Club. So, I sent him an email asking how to join both of those. I also checked my schedule for the spring and I'll be taking Theory from him this spring.

Strength. In two hours of conversation with me, someone called me strong. Its something I've heard in the past. I've often never been quite sure if it was a compliment or a passive way of calling me a witch to my face. This time, I knew it was a compliment and that its a character assessment I will happily embrace.

Today, I prepared for battle, polite battle but still battle. Our Pediatrician fired off a letter to fire us 2 weeks ago, exactly one week after his partner treated baby J for Rotavirus and we admitted we don't vaccinate our children before the age of two.

This isn't a vaccine diatribe. Our reasons for delaying and selectively vaccinating are ours. However, this was disclosed upfront with this doctor. As a matter of fact, this doctor came on recommedation from a non-vaccinating friend as being tolerant and respectful. Imagine my shock and surprise after 8 months of a respectful and friendly relationship to recieve a letter firing us for vaccines. Imagine my greater surprise when the doctor cited the unvaccinated status of ALL the children as the reason for firing us.

The ONLY child not vaccinated is baby J. There are a few vaccines we don't get, but for everything else, all of the children are fully up to date on their vaccines except L. L needs one series of vaccines. We disclosed that when we started coming. Our last doctor didn't have it in stock whenever we went and we moved before it came in stock. Because of L's extreme adjustment issues to new people and especially new doctors, we all agreed she would start that series on her next visit. She hasn't had another visit, since she's one of my healthy normal kiddos.

Three months ago, getting a letter like this would have left me turning tail and crying. This time, I got MAD. I knew what was behing the threat. I knew it was the partner. I knew it was J's Rotavirus. I suspected it went against the preferences of our doctor based upon the relationship we've already been establishing this year.

I won't tolerate bullying. I didn't tolerate it in 5th grade punks who targetted E last year. I won't tolerate it in grown men who have been Pediatricians for 20+ years and think they have the right to FORCE their opinions on their partner's patients.

It appears we have worked out the issue with our doctor. Time will tell, but he set us up for follow-up appointments well beyond the effective date of our "firing" so I have to assume he means it.

Before we left, he humbly and honestly admitted to me that this family overwhelms him.

I can understan that. There are eight kids in this family, and half of them have significant medical conditions. Far more than that have extremely unusual and convoluted histories. Three of them come with HUGE gaps in their medical history that cannot ever be recovered.

What he also cited as overwhelming him though, was a strong and knowledgable mother caring for these children.

My first response to the word strong he alluding to a witch here? Then, I remembered that it took our last doctor, our beloved family doctor that I miss so dearly, nearly a year to iron out how to manage the medical aspects of this unique family. He too was overwhelmed by the children. He was also intimidated by me. My strenght and assertiveness initially took him off guard. As he learned to handle the kids issues and began to see that strong meant I expected a partnership--not a dictatorship from either side, he learned that I'm a perfectly reasonable person...and a kick-ass advocate for my children.

Today, the new doctor saw the same qualities. I am strong. I'm also rational, logical and easy to get along with. I stand my groun when I need to, but I also choose my battles.

I realized, if this doctor sees that strength, then I'm getting stronger. I haven't felt strong in a LONG time. And, I haven't felt capable of protecting myself, my children, my family. I'd like to say I did it anyway, but I don't think I did. I let 4 of my kids get seriously hurt by the school system last year. And, I didn't do some necessary medical battles just because I couldn't.

I'm getting there again. I see glimmers of strength and I'm starting to realize that other people are seeing it again as well.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Life changes

When life leads you astray
accept the detour

When you feel your dreams are shattered
find new dreams

Sometimes the details aren’t the point.
Sometimes the sadness is worth it for the change
Sometimes the things you left behind can be found
in the strangest hiding places.

I never meant to walk this path
I never meant to feel this pain
I never thought this would be my life
I never saw the rain that came

Yet even in the sadness,
good still things learn to bloom,
babies laughter fills the ears,
and children soar with joy.

the worst already happened
the shadows swallowed the monsters
the devastation has passed along the path..

There is joy still left on the path.
Do I have the courage to embrace it?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Its been a rough month

For reasons outside of his ability to control, II missed recovery group for a month. There was no deliberate intention of missing. In fact, one week he went and it was cancelled, despite being told previously that there is only one week a year when recovery group is cancelled and it was NOT that week.

In addition to being out of recovery group, II took it upon himself to start digging for answers to his past. I don't know why. Its not that he doesn't need to know those answers. It is that every attempt he has made to secure individual counseling has been a dead-end and he's out of ideas until he can get into medical. I personally read the email from the University informing II that his issues were too complex for the student counseling center to work with him, so I know he's not lying.

Without individual counseling, its best to not address his past and what he refers to as his "mommy issues." We've clearly established that his mother has lied, manipulated, abused and used him his entire life before she disowned him last October. We know she was the source of his abuse and pain that left im vunerable to addiction issues. Right now, without a safe avenue to delve into that complex history, I thought we were in agreement that he would work on recovery and marriage restoration but not confronting that past...yet. Its there. It has to be dealt with eventually. It should not be ignored or denied. But, stirring the hornet's nest can cause a lot of behaviors and problems without competent support.

For us, it caused him to emotionally disengage and become downright mean to me. Without recovery check in to even attempt to keep him balanced and healthy, he went right back to the dry drunk phenomenon. And, after a year of this journey, my emotional reserves to even stand disengaged when he gets that way is GONE. My reserves are completely wiped out.

A week ago, I was done. I told him to move out of the bedroom, permenantly.

Then, my period came. I made concessions that my own hormonal imblance might have contributed to my frustration and willingness to throw everything way. I did not decide that I was wrong, that he was a nice person, nor that I won't still get there. I am willing to try one more time, while not overly sensitive and irritated about my body returning to a state of nature I am simply not accustomed to managing anymore.

So, this week, he's been trying hard to reconnect, to shelf his obssessive desire to find every answer about his past NOW, and to invest in us again.

I put all of my stress into my neck now. I know, how very old of me. Over the last month, I have had a kink in my neck that has reached epic proportions. If I couldn't feel the actual knot myself, I would think this was neurological at this point. Its bad. My neck is on fire. My shoulder and arm have nearly reduced me to incapacitation. And, I have not felt safe to do anything that would leave me vunerable to address this. Lots of heat, lots of ibprofen and rest when I've been able to get it.

It is simply not working, and the pain has become significantly worse. Today, I finally felt safe enough to take a muscle relaxer. I hate taking muscle relaxers, or any other medication that alters my mental processes. However, I was desperate to halt this stress injury and I simply don't have the finances to find a good Chiropractor--the best solution to the problem.

Sometime after taking the medication, I was forced to sleep. While sleeping, I dreamed I was back in Virginia, the state where my father was born and raised. I dreamed I made an Old Colonial gingerbread recipe developed by George Washington's mother and once served to General Lafayette.

It is a testiment to II's renewed committment to connecting with me that he dug up that recipe online. He then proceeded to bake one of the most complicated gingerbread recipes I have ever seen to exist. Its cooling in the kitchen for dessert tonight. He certainly wasn't going to trust ME in the kitchen baking tonight. When I came down off the meds, I apologized for the insanity of that recipe. Its wonder I didn't dream of making saffron rice or something. Saffron would have taken a huge chunk out of the grocery budget and he probably would have made it just the same.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Reflections on what went wrong

We're rapidly approaching the anniversary of when I lost my life as I knew it. I'm finally to a point where I feel strong enough to boldly face where we went, what went wrong and what we messed up so very badly. We fell down the rabbit hole of Patriarchal matrimony. We didn't necessarily mean to do so. And, we certainly never thought we were down so far as we truly were. We thought we didn't fully believe in wife-only submission. We thought we never believed that the wife's salvation is based upon the Husband's favor. In more ways than I ever understood until the journey of this last year, we did fall into the trap.

Just in case anyone is wondering what my opinion on Patriarchal marriage is now, let me make it VERY clear what my opinion is and why.

Patriarchal marriage is dangerous. First, there is NO accountability to the husband. If the husband is ungodly or inappropriate, then you are to wait for God to deal with him. So basically, a husband can tell his wife to do ANYTHING he wants. The potential to abuse this authority with NO consequences is massive and scary. Only a very few men would not become abusive in some manner or another. There is no safety for a wife if her husband becomes abusive. There is no real accountability for men.

Patriarchal leaders are very open that a wife should never, ever concern herself with what accountability or oversight might exist for a husband, because that would be dishonoring his godhead in her life to do so.

Now, that was not the aspect we accepted. Even at our most consistent with Patriarchy, we were a poor example because we rejected that my salvation came through II. It was easy for me to see the fallacy and danger in this concept from the start. However, we did believe it was the husband's job to provide for his family at all costs, and the wife's job to maintain the home and support the husband at all costs. And, in embracing this, we not only lost accountability for both of us, but we diverged and lived parallel lives rather than being truly joined as one.

I carried the full burden of the household. I maintained all of the schooling, all of the care for the medical needs, all of the behavioral issues, all of the feeding and cleaning and maintenance of a large, special needs family. It was a lonely an stressful world. And, the babies kept coming, knocking my ability to manage everything off at the feet yet again. But, the final blow was the Autistic, Bipolar, VIOLENT Cystic Fibrosis child who nearly KILLED me in the last pregnancy.

For his part, II was expected to shoulder the full financial burden of this ever-growing, special needs family. when he had jobs that were unhealthy environments, he was not free to leave them. When finances were struggling, he was responsible for it. He had no one to help with this burden, no one to talk to, no one who began to understand. Isolated an feeling like he could fail his family at any moment, his burdens combined with his mental health issues and his childhood abuse led him down a path where he medicated his stress and fears with an addiction. That addiction nearly destroyed our family and our marriage.

There never should have been a his versus hers in the marriage. His happiness should not have been my burden The selfishness and isolation of Patriarchy should have never existed for him. But, he also should have been able to carry worth in the family beyond his paycheck. He was a lonely and forgotten monarch. I was a beaten down and exhausted serf. And, because Patriarchy told me to put a smile on it, and never burden him with MY failings, there was no checks and balances for either of us to truly love the other unconditionally and freely. There was no opportunity for either of us to truly support an love the other as we should have been able to do.

I was the PERFECT wife. I put his needs before mine always. I hide the challenges and struggles of actually providing for the emotional needs of this family far away from him. I structured the family around his career. I sacrificed myself in every way I was told to do so. I was the picture perfect wife. And, the world called me blessed.

If my DH had gone the normal route, he would have been abusive or simply dismissive, which is almost guaranteed with this marriage outlook. He was fundamentally a decent man and went down the road of self-destruction and addiction in his own efforts to control what this dynamic brought to him.

Neither of us was more valuable than the other. Neither of us should have sacrificed permanently, nor carried an expectation that we could do whatever we wanted. We should have been fully partnered, fully accountable and fully joined with each other in all things. We should have both put each other as the priority of our lives and honored and respected the other while also holding onto our own person hood as just as valuable.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Everything changes

So, the potential job interview last week sent me for a tailspin. The mere thought of doing what I do every day for minimum wage sent me into tears. I cried out to the Lord was there really NO way I could salvage my nursing training and credentials? I've been practicing Pediatric Nursing in my home for YEARS. I actually sat down and calculated the level of direct nursing care I provide in a given week and added up 50+ hours. That's not counting that last week I was managing a case of Gatroenteritis so severe no one was sure the baby wasn't going to end up in the hospital or not until he finally, dramatically turned the corner one night. AND, I'm currently managing a third degree burn situation on E. She's got skin grafts, a new one for me this time, and requires every other day dressing changes, as well as assessment of her burns to make sure its all healing properly. Some of the things I do, any mother would be able to do. Some of the things I do, doctors only permit me to do because they KNOW I'm a nurse. I've tried to hide it before. For some reason, I can't hide it very well. Ten minutes speaking with a new doctor and they insist upon knowing my background.

When we moved to this current state five years ago, I made a decision to let my RN licensure lapse. I regretted it almost immediately but there was little I could do to reverse it. At the time, gaining licensure in this state was a simple process if I wanted to renew my licensure, so I contented myself with knowing I could get it all back if I wanted it.

Three years ago, this state changed their laws and it appeared I lost it irretrievably at that point. For the last three years, I have looked at this equation from EVERY angle I could think of. Even as recently as June, I was in communication with the Director of Nursing at my U to see if there were some way to save all of this.

Its a long, complicated, beaucratic explanation to the situation. However, when I got the call for this job interview, I looked at this equation one LAST time...from a new angle. And, suddenly, what was impossible became quite possible.

In fact, by Thanksgiving, I will legally be a RN again, in the state I went to nursing school, not the state I currently reside in. However, once I renew that licensure, there IS a process to transfer my licensure to this state. It involves taking a nursing refresher course. But, its 3 months I'll gladly give for the opportunity to have my degree and credentials restored.

In restoring my training, it clears the path for the medical practitioner balance I thought I lost. I went to nursing school with a specific goal in mind. I was going to work my way through my Bachelors, work for a year and then obtain my Nurse Practitioner degree.

I guess if I had known about Oestopathic medicine way back when, I would have opted to go that route. At the time, I didn't. I knew medical school and I knew the nursing model of medicine. I felt nursing was a more holistic and naturally minded approach to medicine. Its still a holistic approach to medicine. And, its an approach that would all me to practice but balance the needs of my children.

I have an appointment with a nursing advisor at my University next Thursday. I've been communication with the only refresher course offered in the state. I can do my practical work online. I just need to find a local preceptor to do my clinical work under. I'm hopeful if the refresher course doesn't have those connections locally then the University Department will.

With any luck, I can have my licensure free in order to start my RN-BSN this summer, which would allow me to have my Bachelors completed at the same time I would have a Bachelor's in Sociology finished. I would work the first year of II's medical school to get in-state residency and then going full-time for either my MSN or DNP.

Now begins the soul searching again. Masters or doctorate? Family Practice, Pediatric or.........Nurse Midwifery.....

I'm thinking DNP is its an option, though I would settle for MSN at first so long as everyone understands that its a stopping point towards my DNP. My initial thought is not Family Nurse Practice. That leaves Pediatrics or Midwifery. There was a time and place that would have been no contest. I was young and idealistic back then, I'm cautious about midwifery now out of concern for what that would mean for my family....and the knowledge that I could LOVE Pediatrics.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I thought I was going to write a peotic reflection on sending children into public school for a new school year. I thought I was going to reflect on the deliberate choice to move away from homeschooling, to change the fundamental structure of our family, and to consider that the end of a season is within my sight now.

Except, life overwhelms such plans. It is very odd to find myself sending children off to school not because I am broken and unable to school them, but because I have made a concious decision that this is what is the best choice for them. I once thought I would homeschool all of these children until they were ready for college. I know now that the only homeschooling I will continue in the future is establishing a strong foundation of learning for my children. The one who will never conform and yeild to brick and mortar school will always homeschool. The others will build their foundations at home, and when they are ready, I will send them out one by one to the school system to finish the work I have begun with them.

Instead of prose, I find myself in chaos. Its the standard chaos of living in a household of ten people. Its the insanity that comes with cordinating special needs, special accomodations, special school programs, and simply the uniqueness of eight children.

Three children began a new school year in the public schools this year. One went to the district middle school until she can be admitted to the Fine Arts Academy for next fall. One returned to the ESL campus where he is being integrated into regular classes this year. One has been moved to a moderate classroom where he will focus on life and functional skills. His academic goals for the year involve learning numbers 1-20 and the first 10 letters of the alphabet. He's struggling with the new, reinforced requirement that he simply must EAT. We have one who is driven to school and two who are supposed to have door to door bus service. That would work better if the transportation department had assigned them the correct bus number and someone told the bus driver they were supposed to pick up and drop off.

Two days into this school year for the public schoolers, and the phone only stops ringing in the middle of the day. Once afternoon arrives, the chaos returns. One is taking standardized testing this week in his homeschool program, requiring accomodations for dsylexia. And, I'm frantically trying to organize the fall school schedule for the homeschoolers, the childcare sharing between II and I, and our own full coursework at the University which begins next week.

The toddlers are both recuporating from signficant illness and have choosen to scream and wail most of the time this week. I'm exhausted, stressed and chasing my own tail.

There's no time for prose and poetry. I'm too busy chasing leads for my own future that have left me shifting my entire fall course schedule twice now. I sincerely hope things are on the verge of settling down. I'm hope just as sincerely that my current class schedule is the last. The campus bookstore is going to grow weary of seeing me and my wild toddlers constantly if I have to keep shifting my books and supplies as I shift my choices for the future.

I'm excited. I see good things bearing fruit for all of my children. I see good things bearing fruit for my own career and future. I see II having the opportunity to embrace his dreams, while recognizing that doing so is ultimately his choice and responsibility. I'm deeply relieved to see my current career choices which will leave my future path flexible but independent of his future if necessary.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Baby J is crazy sick

This, ladies and gentlemen, is EXACTLY why I avoid hospitals unless absolutely, unequvicoably necessary.

Exactly six days after the resident stuck his hands in J's mouth to inspect the gum peeled off the skull situation, baby J started puking and having diarrhea.

Yeah. Great. Gastrointeritis, clearly from the hospital. He rarely goes in public, its summer even the non-homeschooled kids have been home, and J was the first to get it.

Yesterday, he appeared to be on the mend, hadn't puked in a day and the diarrhea was slowing.

He started PURGING in the night. I nearly had him to the ER for admission at midnight and again at 1am. He was still peeing and still had spit, so I opted for the wait-for-the-sun-to-see-his-doctor rather than take-the-un-vaccinate-toddler-with-clear-Rotavirus-symptoms-into-the-ER-as-a-random-patient thing.

Our doctor wasn't there today, but his partner confirmed what I already knew. Baby J has 2-3 more pukes before he MUST be admitted for IV fluids. He's still got tears and a little pee, but not much, not nearly enough.

I talked him into giving us a Zofran script to try and stop the vomitting. But, we're on specific orders that if he pukes 2-3 more times OR simply isn't better by evening, we're to take him to the after-hours clinic and he's going to be admitted to the hospital.

I swear, my life is a revolving door of drama yet again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A job

I have a job interview tomorrow at 10:30. Its the nurse aide job I applied for with an employee recommendation back in June and never heard back for. The manager just called and is very interested in me. Its 10-20 hours per week, weekends and evenings.

I don't even know what to wear to a job interview anymore! I guess I'd better figure it out this evening because I need to be there bright and early. I've decided that I'm not going into medicine afterall. However, I still have the skills and ability to do Nurse Aide services.

The big thing about this job is that the home health agency does not require CNA the way the hospitals now do. However, they will pay for me to take the CNA testing. I don't need to work hard to pass the CNA testing...maybe a quick booklet review. I didn't lose my nursing knowledge just because I let my licensure expire. CNA is someone who helps a nurse, everything on the CNA testing you learn in the first 6 weeks of nursing clinicals. Its not that hard for me to pass. Its a LOT harder for me to get my foot back in the door, pay for the testing and get experience back onto my resume.

If I can get this job, I can get my CNA certification. If I can get some experience on my resume and the certification, I can get my foot back in the door in the hospitals. I much prefer hospital settings for nursing. If I can get PRN work at the hospitals then I can get higher pay and more autonomy over my hours. If I can get this job, I can bring in income, take us off the chokehold we're in, and keep us floating as we fight for our dreams.

II has tried and tried to find work. He's testing GMAT tests for $9/hour for heaven's sake. Its certainly not for lack of trying on his part. He cannot get minimum wage positions because his education and experience is too much. He can't even get callbacks on most of them. He piecemeals IT work and consulting jobs to bring in the money we don't have at this point. But, its not enough. Getting a part-time job for me would help us tremendously.

I guess we'll see tomorrow how this goes. I always interviewed well in the past. But, that was a decade and 100lb ago. Pray I still do well and that I can land this.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Another step closer.

Just had a very positive e-mail conversation with the History Dept Chair at the U. I have to give this U credit for this one. Except for the English Dept Chair, whom I've heard from U employees is considered a very nasty person in general, this U has bent over backwards in kindness as I've worked towards my degree.

I know I'm definitely not what they normally see. I know my transcript is still an absolute mess. And, I cannot do things the way their students traditionally do. However, every contact I have made with departments other than English has been met with helpful assistance and friendly suggestions.

So, the word from the History Dept is that my senior level history course from my previous U *definitely* counts as a senior level course at this U. That means it counts as one of my five cross-disciplinary courses towards my degree.

There is a senior course called State History (assume you know my state and its actually my state history). This class will meet the state's history and legistlation requirement. Or, there is what he referred to as a 'baby' test which mets the same requirement. I can take that through the testing center.

Decisions, decisions. I do love history and history courses. I also am terribly interested in taking Abnormal Psych. If I take this history class, then I will max out my cross disciplinary courses and cannot justify taking Abnormal Psych when all I will need left to take is Sociology courses. I have until next fall to decide. Maybe I'll look into that test next summer and consider just taking the Abnormal Psych course afterall.

We had a financial snafu that we have to clean up. The solution is now involving re-arranging my entire course schedule so that II and I share childcare and don't pay a caregiver for the children. Its going to mean he takes classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I take them Tuesday and Thursday. However, it also means I get to take History of Africa, along with more Sociology classes. Next fall, I'll have to pick up a lab science class. Since I've definitely dropped the pre-med foci, that's not a problem. Next year, II will be done with his classes and waiting to matriculate medical school.

I'm so excited to see it starting to come together.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Am...or not?

Through all that has happened to me, I still believe in I Am. I believe Ywh is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I still believe he lives, he came to save and he still intervenes in the lives of those who follow him. I believe in the Apostolic an Nicene Creeds. I don't trust the modern church, but I still believe in Ywh, in Yeshua and the God of my forefathers.

II did not hold onto his faith. He calls himself an Agnostic Diest now. He believes there is something beyond nature and human matter. However, he does not believe there is a personal god who responds to those who believe in him. He believes in an intelligent design in the creation of this universe, but not in a diety still alive and active within the universe which was created.

So the deity II does not believe did not once again reach down into his life today. It was mere concidence that baby J fell off his brother's loft bed and manage to peel his left upper gum entirely off his skull. It was merely happenstance that II had to take him to the ER and encountered yet another doctor in this town touched by II's story and dream of going to medical school.

This particular ER doctor happens to have been on the medical school admissions committee until 4 months ago. She was so touched by his story that she kept baby J in the ER for an hour beyond necessary while she set up the necessary contacts to clear II to shadow in the Children's ER. She's going to continue with her contacts. And, she flat-out stated to II that they LOVE non-traitional students on the admission board because they know that while they may come with less than stellar school records (gee, just like II), they also come with maturity, experience and committment to their dreams that is unparralleled in traditional medical students.

Nope, no personal god accomplished that feat. No diety would have reached down and touched II's life to make things work for him, even after he simply gave up on the idea of trying for the local medical school because of his less than stellar undergraduate GPA.

And it certainly wouldn't be that same personal god who guided the heart of this very hurting and broken wife in the idea of giving this very imperfect and failed man into another chance to restore this marriage he made a mockery of.

I'm so glad that God doesn't require II's belief to still act in this life.