Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Own Blindside

The last two days have been probably among the most heart-wrenching I've had to deal with so far. I don't know quite how to begin explaining it, so we'll start with the tantrum to end all tantrums.

Yesterday, Doug took the kids overnight so I could have some time to study for my sociology midterm. I'd been making cakes all day and didn't really have a chance to study in depth. When the kids came home from school, we were decorating cakes and Doug came by to help. As kids were finishing up, he asked them to pick out clothes and PJ's to pack for his house. The kids all obliged except for Carter who had a tremendous meltdown. At first he said he didn't know what to pick out and Doug told him to just get pants and a shirt, like always. He came into the kitchen, furious and told me that his dad wouldn't help him. I told him that wasn't true and if he needed help, I would help him after I finished helping Ethan. Carter then got completely unreasonable saying that when he asks for help, no one helps him and stormed off into his room and proceeded to have a crazy, stormy tantrum.

I was busy helping the other boys and left Carter in his room, passing the tantrum off as just a fit he was throwing because he was tired. He often gets belligerent when he's tired. He eventually calmed down a little and came downstairs. He wasn't totally calm, he was still crying and refusing to get his clothes for his dad. I asked him what was really wrong and he said that everyone was making him mad. I asked him how I was making him mad and he said that I was making him go to his dad's and he didn't want to.

This is not a normal response for Carter. He loves to go to his dad's house. I assumed he didn't want to go because it wasn't a normally planned day to go and he doesn't do well with schedule changes, and I hadn't had time to explain to him why he was going.

Then he said "If I go to dad's I can't see you and if I stay here, I can't see Dad." Doug and I were a little stunned and tried to fumble around for something comforting to say. I offered to let him stay home with me, but that seemed to make him even more upset and he stormed off to his room again.

I followed him to his room and laid down on his bed with him. He didn't want to talk to me at first but finally started to open up after I tickled his back for awhile. He started talking about how he wanted to sleep in his own bed, and wanted his dad to live with us, and how he missed me when he was at his dad's. Doug came in while Carter was talking and all we could do was say we were sorry for our circumstances and that we both still love Carter so much and we're doing the best we can.

Doug promised to bring Carter over in the morning before school so he could see me and I promised to check him out of school so he could spend time with just me. Carter perked up enough to make it to the Blue and Gold Banquet. Doug said Carter fell asleep on the way to his house and everything seemed to be fine this morning when he came to see me.

Today I took Carter to McDonald's for lunch. He asked if his dad could join us, so we picked up Doug on our way. We had a pretty good time, talking about math and stealing each other's fries. After we dropped off Doug and we were on our way to take Carter back to school, I felt like I needed to remind him that it's ok to be mad or sad about the divorce and that if he needed to talk to us that he could. Then we had the following conversation:

Mommy: "It's not your fault that we're divorced."

Carter: "It's not?" (and he starts to cry and then I start to cry....)

Mommy: "No Baby, it's not. Do you know why Daddy and I are divorced?"

Carter: "No."

Mommy: "We just fought too much and we thought it would be best for everyone if we lived apart so we didn't fight as much. It's not because of you or your brothers or sister."

Carter: "You fight about me."

Mommy: "We don't mean to fight about you. What we're really fighting about is stuff like money and schedules and stupid grown-up stuff but we're not fighting because you make us mad."

Carter: "Ok."

I think at that point in time, my already very broken heart broke into a million pieces. My beautiful 6 year old baby boy has been carrying around the burden that this is his fault. I'm his mother. I'm supposed to fix the pain, not cause it. I'm supposed to soothe it and take it away, not be the source.

When we got back to the school, I asked him if he knew who the most important person in the world was. He said: "Me. And Garrett and Chase and Ethan and Mckenzie too, I guess. I know that, Mom."

At least he knows that. But it's little comfort at this point. Of all the casualties and fatalities of this divorce, I was not prepared for this. I thought Doug and I were making our best effort to help the kids feel secure. I just wasn't prepared for the blindside and the ensuing agony. Last night, every time I closed my eyes, I saw Carter's precious face as I laid beside him on his bed. His big eyes looking at me as he told me why he was mad and begging me to fix it. I wish I could fix it the way he wants it. I'm so sorry for these circumstances and making my children victims of this mess.


Cakes, cakes, cakes.... The Scout's Blue & Gold Banquet was tonight and we made 3 cakes. It was a little stressful on Mommy, but it ended up being pretty fun.

Chase's cake was a Camping by the Lake cake. It had a lake made out of blue Jell-O and trees made out of frosted ice-cream cones...

Garrett's cake was a Fort. We named it Fort G. It was pretty cool with lots of Oreo stix as trim and army men guarding everything...

Ethan's cake was a tank. It had Oreo wheels and an Oreo stix cannon. It also had Army guys ready for a battle....
We had a really great time and made a HUGE mess decorating. I'm sooooooooooo happy the Blue & Gold Banquet only comes around once a year. Especially now that I have 3 boys in Scouts. Wow!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Words to Describe Carter... By Carter

Oh my goodness... I just had to put this in before I forget. We were decorating boxes tonight for the kids' treasures. Mckenzie has Littlest Pet Shop toys and the boys all have Pokemon cards. Mckenzie had me writing all kinds of things on her box, like she was sweet and sassy and things like that. Carter hands me a marker and asks me to write some things for him. I get ready to start and ask him what he wants and he says the following: Cuddly, Strong, Ticklish, Cute, Pretty Eyes, Lovable. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I was trying not to smile and be as serious as I could because, you see, this was a serious task he was asking me to undertake.

We then were getting ready for bed and he noticed an Old Navy bag on my bed. He looked inside and saw that I'd bought myself a pair of jeans and a shirt. He said, very seriously, "Mom, you should wear this tomorrow because you'll look very cute." (He was holding up the shirt as he said it.)

He is so adorable. It's hard not to just squeeze him and cover him with kisses all the stinkin' time!!

The pics above are of Carter "stealing" Chase's cake batter. We were baking cakes for the Scout's Blue and Gold Banquet and Carter just couldn't help himself. I walk back into the kitchen from taking out the trash and this is what I see. Sneaky kid. He was just giggling and having a grand time.

What do I start with?

There was a man who had the opportunity to visit both heaven and hell. His guide took him to visit hell first where he saw banquet tables filled with every delectable food you can imagine. The tables were beautifully set and the aromas were mouthwatering. However, as the man looked around, the inhabitants of hell were emaciated and frail. He noticed that although the inhabitants had the ability to pick up the food, their elbows did not bend so they could not put the food into their mouths to feed themselves.

The guide then told the man they would now be visiting heaven. But when they arrived in heaven and the man looked around, the scene that met him was quite similar to the one he left. The extravagant banquet tables were filled with delicious foods. In looking at the inhabitants of heaven, he noticed that they also could pick up the food but they could not bend their elbows to put the food into their mouths.

Perplexed, the man questioned his guide; "Is hell the same as heaven?"

The guide simply shook his head and directed the man's attention toward the inhabitants of heaven. They were happy and exuberant, healthy and well fed. The man didn't understand. The people could not feed themselves.

"How is this possible that they are so happy and not starving? Is it magic?"

The guide shook his head.

"Notice," said the guide, "they feed each other."


This story was in one of my sociology books in reference to support groups. I have been thinking about it non-stop since I've read it. I had a former friend compare me to another friend who has recently found herself single through circumstances she couldn't control. The former friend asked me why this single friend found it so easy to cling to the gospel and why I was having such a struggle.

For awhile, I didn't have an answer to that question. Maybe I'm weak. Maybe my faith isn't that strong. But in really evaluating myself and my faith and my belief system, I have decided that it isn't true. Here are my thoughts....(some of them aren't pleasant, so bare with me)

My faith has not changed. My belief in God and my Savior is still as strong as it ever was. My spiritual intelligence has not dimmed. I heard my bishop once describe someone as having the light of God or the word of God written on their heart or some such nonsense because that person was strong during a crisis. I think if you have a relationship with God and the Savior, you have "the word of God written on your heart." No one can take that away from you and no one has taken that away from me. I know who I am and where I came from and ultimately where I'm going. My goal in life is to teach that to my children.

I am not weak. Through out my life, starting at a very young age, I have found the ability to dig very deep for the strength to not only survive a situation but to learn from it. When skin in wounded, especially deeply, it heals from within and leaves a scar that is made of tougher skin. I have a lot of that tougher skin. The key is to let the wounds heal.

Now, with those two things being said, I want to answer the question of why am I not displaying the kind of faith my single friend has? This is where my story comes into play.
This single friend is easier to feed. People want to feed her because her circumstances were not of her choosing. She is a beautiful woman with beautiful children and it is easy and pleasant to serve her. It's a little uncomfortable to speak with her sometimes because you don't always know what to say to someone in a situation of change, but people want to feed. They want to be seen feeding her. It's socially acceptable to feed her. She won't be after anyone's husband and her circumstances won't infect anyone else's home or family. In fact, serving her is looked upon as a strengthening tool for the family.

So, with so many people wanting to feed her, she feels comfortable being around those who want to feed her. It's not always easy for her because sometimes people want to shove things down her throat, but for the most part, she knows people want to help her and love her. They call and email and stop by. They stay in contact. She knows she's loved. And it's not just individual people, it's church organizations who also want to feed her. Who want to make sure she and her children are full and happy. They have all flocked to her to support and love her through this change in her life. When there is so much love and support, no matter how difficult the situation, it's easier to find strength when grappling with your faith.

Then there's me. There are a few of my close friends who have fed me and some who have inconsistently tried to feed my children. But for the most part, we have been feeding each other. I am single by choice. There are other circumstances attached to my issues so it's uncomfortable to feed me. It's not really socially acceptable. No one is going to want to be seen hanging out with me. Church organizations have basically left us for dead, so we depend on each other, a select few friends and we're beginning to rely on some family members. When I said in my last post that I didn't feel comfortable attending church, I should have said we. As in, my children and I don't feel comfortable attending. It's not just a random decision not to attend. So, it's a little more difficult to find my strength and faith when I lack in support.

Now, I realize this is not the Church of Bishop so-and-so or the Church of the offensive ward member, but Bishop so-and-so and offensive ward member do make it difficult to attend. I was always taught to attend church for comfort in times of trial but when you don't find comfort at church, what do you do? When you have to start over with your support system, what do you start with?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Go Away...Unless you love me, then you can stay

Do you know what I find strange? People who complain about something, and don't do anything about it. For example, all those people who complain about radio talk show hosts like Howard Stern or Glen Beck or Dr. Laura. There are really people who hate those radio talk show personalities, and yet they continue to listen to those shows and complain about everything they say, even to the point of sending death threats! I mean, seriously... if something bugs you that much, STOP LISTENING! Change the channel! Listen to someone you LIKE! For heaven sakes! Some people baffle me.

One of the sad things about divorce is that friends often end up choosing sides and feel that have to dislike or hate the "offending" party of the side they chose to defend. This has happened with us and it sucks. I don't like it. Our marriage didn't work out and we may not like each other so much right now, but we haven't really changed as people and we do share children so this kind of thing is really stupid... but it is what it is. So, in light of this, I recently discovered that someone has been reading my blog and taking super offense to just about everything I say, especially the "spiritual" stuff.

I have been struggling with some personal things relating to church. I haven't been attending. I have had some real struggles and do not feel comfortable going, in any way, shape or form. I don't even like going to Scout meetings. These are my feelings and mine alone and I will deal with them in my own time. However, I don't see how this revokes my right to feel spiritual feelings. And I don't see how this wipes out my spiritual or emotional intelligence. Am I to forget the many things I've learned from my many readings of the scriptures? Am I to forget all the things I've learned from conference talks and firesides and things my parents have taught me just because I'm struggling? I would think that a time like this would be the BEST time to remember ALL the things I was taught and try to apply them the best way I know how. But somehow by doing so, I'm labeled a hypocrite or worse.

I have always marched to the beat of my own drum and have never fit into the molds I was supposed to fit into. At the moment I feel a sort of sense of freedom. Not a freedom to go out and commit any sin I choose, but a freedom to reevaluate what it is I want and where it is I want to go. And if that makes anyone angry or hurt or bitter, I am sorry. But this is my life. I will do what is best for my children and what is best for myself. And we will be just fine.

And if my blog is in any way offensive or angers you in any way.... then I have some advice....

unless you love me, then you can STAY!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Precious "Flashback"

My laptop bit the dust last week so I resurrected my old desk top that we haven't used in years. I decided to go through everything that was on here and I am so happy I did. Here are a few precious pictures I thought I'd lost. These were taken shortly before we moved into the house we live in now. Ethan has just turned 6, the triplets were 4 and Carter was 2. I want so much to reach into the pictures and hold my babies. Especially Ethan, who is almost taller than I am. Where did it go? It goes by so fast and it just slips through my fingers. And now I'm sitting here crying like a baby. But really, I just wanted to post these so you all could see how cute they all were... all chubby and shiny... my babies.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

When does safe become controlling?

So here's a question.... my kids are begging to have sleep overs. I have said no for years and I keep saying no. I am so uncomfortable with the idea of sleep overs. My neighbor gave us the idea of having "late-overs" where friends can come over and have a kind of pajama party where we have snacks and play games and watch movies till about 9 or 10 and then the friends go home. But more and more, they want their friends to stay over. Now, I'd be ok with friends staying over here, but that opens the door for friends wanting my kids to stay at their houses. And that's a whole other can of worms.

But then, am I really ok with kids staying at my house? Not really. I love kids and always give them the benefit of the doubt, but you never know. There's a child that is really close to our family and I've always adored him, but recently he's been acting out in strange ways. I don't care for him any less, but some of the things he does and says make me worry. So, that leads to the question of do we really know who our kids' friends are? And do we really want them staying in our homes over night?

The option of having my kids stay at someone else's home over night is just something that makes me so queasy that I can't even think about it.

I look at it as being safe, as keeping my kids safe. I don't just say no without having a reason. I do tell them why I don't like sleep overs. I want to arm my kids with information so they stay safe. It's like that guy says from America's Most Wanted, it's better to make sure our kids know the truth and be a little scared than to have to identify them in a morgue. This was a man who's child was kidnapped and his severed head was found 2 weeks after his abduction. Sounds a little extreme, but I would so much rather be safe than sorry.

However, am I crossing the line into being too controlling? Or as my sons call it, over protective? Where do you draw the line?