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.


  1. Wow, what a great little boy you have on your hands. He must have inharited some serious strength from his mama (not sure if C is adopted, but still)You should be proud of your little man!

    Ive been reading your blog and just havent had much time to respond. It sounds like you are going through a whole lot and your strength in it all is amazing! I also had a question about your last post...Did you ever get your child back that your mother stole? If not, does this person who was presumably raised as your sibling aware that you are thier birthmother? Im so sorry you went through that. I cannot imagine the pain. Hugs and prayers for you!

  2. My birthdaughter is now my adopted sister. She is aware that I am her birthmother. Twice in the mess that has been this divorce, my father has expressed that if it was best for her, he would assist me in getting her back. However, she is 16 and a total Daddy's girl. I am here for her, but it would not be in her best interest to take her away from her Daddy. She earned the right of refusal to have any relationship with my mother immediately after the divorce was filed for. She has had nothing to do with my mother since the start and has no intention of having contact with her at this point. I am there for her as much as she wants me to be, but no more than what she wants.

  3. Now that I'm an adult, I'm very thankful for the times we had absolutely nothing. It taught me to be grateful for the small things - and to be content with what I DID have. Hopefully your children will see that too, though it's obvious you're doing a wonderful job with conveying that.