I am so grateful for my friends. I’m telling you there is nothing, that a good long talk with my besties, can’t be solved in my world. Thank you to Elise and Tim for loving me so well.

So I gotta admit that allowing my children to go and live with their father for a week was hard. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I did NOT have a good night on Thursday night. I wallowed in my shit for hours and hours.

As I sat on the plane to Sac on Friday night I tried to figure out, Why. Yes, I was in a total over-thinking mood, all weekend. Poor Tim and Elise. They do put up with a lot from me, and how I am. I can be real mood-killer.

So, Why would it bother me so much to have the children with Barry this past weekend? When in factual light he and I had already agreed that, he would keep the children not only during his weekend, but also on Sunday, and Monday nights, while I was in CA visiting with Elise and Tim. This was only adding 2 nights on, 1 onto each end. Which again, shouldn’t have bothered me; and normally wouldn’t.

So WHY did it bother me so much?

Context.

Before Barry pulled his “Hyde-personality” and “let’s-pick-a-fight”, routine on Thursday morning, I was fine with the kids over at his home for 4 days. Had he asked me to keep them an extra day, as something nice for him; like when he wanted to take them to the beach for 4 days over the summer… I would have said: “Sure. Why not. That would be great. Easier on the kids. I wouldn’t worry about them being home for a few hours on Tuesday night when I arrived home late from the airport.”

But that is not how it went down.

Instead, it was “I’m going to take you to court and sue you for joint-custody of the kids. 50 / 50 so I don’t have to pay any child support. You’re keeping the kids away from me.”

Other than him taking me to court, nothing is further from the truth. Which I pointed out to him, in a conversation about how I don’t enforce our current agreement to the letter. Ever. AND HE AGREED WITH ME.

So why the drama?

Context.

When its me just being nice to him, he doesn’t like it. Why doesn’t he?
I am not him. I won’t speak for him.
I have my theories. Elise has her’s. Tim has his. I have mine. The gal in the check-out line at the Publix has her’s. Every one has their opinion.
Opinions are like assholes, every one has one. And they all stink.

When it comes down to it, I like to be in control. When Barry pushes my buttons this way, bullies me into doing something; I don’t like it. Even if it was something that I was going to do anyways. Its the fact that he bullied me into it. That I felt threatened, and scared of him, once again. Like I was backed into a corner; and did whatever I could, to keep him from hurting me worse, than he was already doing. I followed the ‘fear’ line of thinking. And I let it drag me right down the rabbit-hole on Thursday night.

Hook – Line – and Sinker.

So although I have the bottle of meds for Russell’s different brain, I have yet to give him even 1 of them. I cannot bring myself to do that to his body. Nor the chemical make up of his brain. Its such a harsh, and un-reversable course of action. Once started, you can’t just stop. Once started, you can’t truly know the effects of such a chemical on his body.

Even if there are nights when taking off my jewelry, and preparing for bed, that I think; “Tomorrow I’m just going to start. I can’t take this any more. The outbursts. The frustrations. The lack of respect. Tomorrow I will start him on these meds.” The morning comes, and I look at the bottle, and I want to throw up. The bottle look like a poison. Its whole energy reeks of foulness.

So I reached out to my sisters. To my tribe. To my community.

Well the first thing we have done is have Solara, see him. She is an acupuncturist. She wasn’t sure how still he would sit with the needles, nor his reaction to them. so she started with laser instead. Quicker, but not as focused. It seems to have helped him with his sleep a bit, but with any acupuncture, it takes time to help clear up the meridians.

She is also giving him some herbals to help heal his adrenals. The adrenal glands are over stimulated, by the body’s reaction to the brain’s needs. Its like being in a war zone.. The ‘fight or flight’ mode that your body goes into. ADHD will force the body’s adrenals to secrete that extra fluid needed to handle the situation. Hence such a strong, and forceful reaction. We are trying to calm his adrenal system down to more healthy levels, and to give it some relief.

We have gotten the insurance to finally approve the Behavior Therapy… but it means taking him away from his current therapist, J.
He has warmed up to J in a unique way, and she sees all of the children. So she is able to get a clearer picture of the family unit, and to help each kid with their issues.

She was really supportive of having him tested. Of my choices to not medicate him. She said: “Well the diet/ routine / structure stuff that you have to follow takes a BUNCH of effort. But of all the parents I know, you are one parent who could make this work without the meds.”

I appreciated her compliment.

As for the diet, it isn’t too far off from what the diet is here at home anyhow. Except for find some more ‘protein’ for his diet, we are already doing most of the diet. Very little gluten. Almost no sugar, except for honey and stevia. But there were some suggestions the K, the behavioral therapist, gave me that I had to check out.

1 – Caffeine for breakfast.
Or any time that I need him to slow down and focus.
Which sounds like complete opposite of what people use caffeine for. Yet, is not too far fetched based upon my own personal experiences. It has never failed to unnerve my friends, and family to watch me down a soda, or cup of tea, or coffee after 8pm, and still have no troubles falling asleep.

2 – Melatonin for bedtime.
I did not know that people with this brain-wiring difference are found to be lacking in melatonin.
Which is produced by the body naturally, in balance with serotonin and dopamine. Without sufficient amounts being produced, the serotonin and dopamine become too pronounced, and thus equate to some unhealthy choices. Such as ‘not thinking before acting’. It is not like iron and vitamin C, which can be gotten from food sources, thus must be replaced with a pill. Unlike iron, and much like Vitamin C, the body absorbs and used the melatonin, and does not store any of it for future use. So it has to be done daily.

By replacing the melatonin in the body, and thus the brain, we balance the 3 chemicals for brain activity. Since the dopamine and serotonin are designed to Ramp things Up… To give us the adrenaline when we need it. To help us Go… The melatonin does the opposite, it helps the brain to shut down. To make the brain quiet, and easier to fall asleep.

One area that I am not sure how to help Russell with is breakfast. I can give him all the things he needs – like the Sweet tea – and turkey sausage on an Whole wheat English muffin. Problem is: The school already provides breakfast every day. Regardless if you’ve already eaten at home. Regardless of pay. It is provided Free. In the classroom. It is a crappy breakfast. It is nothing but sugar / dairy (which he shouldn’t eat) / and carbs. It will do nothing but help him to crash faster – mid morning.

Russell does not want to be any different than anyone else. So even if I were to insist that his breakfast consist of more protein, like a hard boiled egg / PB and J / or Sausage in a Blanket…
He wouldn’t want it. Typical child.

So we are working on utilizing the Non-Chemical-Made-in-a-Lab pills. Instead using the ones that Mother Earth is already providing for us.

They say, “Your Children will be your Greatest Teachers”.

If they mean that in having children, you will learn about things that you never wanted to know… they would be right.

For the 2nd time this calender year, I am faced with learning about something I never thought would cross my path. Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder.

Can I just say right now, I Do Not Like The Name.

I don’t like it one bit.

I don’t like the word “Disorder”. Or the word “Deficit”. They have such a negative connotation to me. I don’t like it. Not one bit.

So there.

Barry’s girlfriend, Rhonda, told Barry that Russell had this condition. Rhonda is not a doctor. Nor a nurse. Nor a therapist. She is substitute teacher, and she told Barry that she was sure that RJ had this. Now, as much as I am not too thrilled with another woman parenting my child. And I do have many issues with the way that Barry has brought another person into our children’s lives, without so much as a “How do you do.” And as reluctant as I was about our children being labeled in such a fashion…. I will be the bigger person here and say, “Rhonda was right.”

It started with me realizing that Russell needed to repeat the 3rd grade. Heck I wanted him to repeat the 2nd grade, after a few weeks in 3rd grade, to help him. I knew that he was struggling by Labor Day, just 3 weeks into the school year. But I had to wait it out. So I did.

Then I went round – after round – with the principle, Mrs. Billar, about him repeating this past 3rd grade year. Even going so far as to call the school board. I had him held back. Even though he officially passed, due to the FCAT test… which he told me, he simply guessed each answer on. He guessed and managed to get just the right number of points 198 to pass. If he had 197, there would have been no fight.

I did this – against Barry’s wanting – tough shit for him. But on the condition that I would have him tested for ADHD.

So I went do see Dr. Kelly – his pediatrician. She gave me the forms to fill out. Some for Barry. Some for my mom. Some for his therapist. Some for his last year’s teacher. She told me that this was mute point, as I would not be able to get his teacher to fill out forms, in the summer. She underestimated me.
lol

When I turned in all the forms, in July, she called me to tell me that she was impressed. Surprised that it could be done. Yet, impressed that I was that tenacious.

She also tested him for every thing under the sun. 7 vials of blood work taken. 28 different tests. To rule out a biological cause for his difficulties. Like a thyroid problem. Which I would like to have had, so that I could blame Barry for it.

I did not get my wish.

On August 11th I got Russell’s diagnosis. Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder. Or Disease.

We talked on the phone for nearly an hour. I had a BUNCH of questions as you can imagine. She gave me a prescription for a drug
and at my insistence, one for Behavior therapy.

I started researching. I bookmarked a bunch of websites. I started reading. I got books reserved for me at the library. I even bought books off of Amazon. I even got some information from the pharmacist, on the drug that she prescribed.

I wanted to blame all of this on Barry’s genetics. After all he is the one with a history of mental disorders in his family. He is the one with a history of depression, and bi-polar, and just plain crazy. Yet, As the Doctor described what its like in Russell’s brain… I realize that I would not get my wish for this either. Dr. Kelly described for me, what it has always been like in my brain.

Only she was talking about Russell’s.

It never occurred to me until that conversation, that there was anything different about my brain. That thinking things, all the time, and jumping from subject to subject, was what every body did. That everyone had moments where they zoned out and didn’t hear what another person was saying, unless looking directly at them, and focusing their attentions on that person. That all brains wandered around, and skipped to different subjects, if the person speaking was boring. That all people, thought thoughts, all the time. Even when just thinking “there’s nothing to think about” thoughts, when that was the case.

It used to drive Barry up the wall, and I can’t tell you how many arguments arose between us, because I would ask him a simple question: “Whatcha thinking?”

When he would reply, “Nothing.”
I never believed him.
Ever.

I just assumed that all brains, thought things, all the time. You can’t have a person, who isn’t having a thought, 24/7. Its just not possible. I would get irritated by Barry’s answer. I accused him of hiding things from me, because there was no way that he wasn’t thinking some Thing. (*he usually was hiding something, but that is a different discussion of my marriage*)

So now we are here. We better understand what is happening for my son. Welcome to the world of A.D.H.D.

There’s a loosely termed word, for the people in charge of keeping my child safe.

I’ve been okay in the last 28 days, with Daphne’s care and well-being. When we talk she seems safe. She seems happy. She seems that everything is fair, to mid-lin.

Now though, it seems that these so-called adults are nothing but over-aged children.

I teased Daphne on Sunday afternoon, with the idea of flying up to Pittsburg, PA and meeting her at the airport. Having dinner. Then flying home together. Just so that I could be with her a little bit sooner. She bristled at the idea and told me that she would be fine. To stop worrying so much.

Now, I’m getting a text from her, asking if the idea of me flying up there was still on the table? Could I come and get her from Terri’s house? Seems that Shandelle and Jeremy don’t have enough money between the two of them, to drive from WV, to OH, pick her up, and drive her to the airport in PA.

Huh?

These are the people I’ve trusted to take care of her, and get her to the airport On Time, to catch her flight on Tuesday. Now they may not be able to do that? You’re kidding me, right?

So Daphne says that she will let me know that I may have to fly up there, and come pick her up from Terri’s house, and drive her to the airport. But not to say anything to Shandelle about it. She’s waiting for Shandelle to text her back, and let her know if she is. Or not. She doesn’t want me to start an argument with Shandelle over this. Or Terri.

Huh!!!!

She’s worried about me starting an argument with these people. Trust me when I say that an argument is the least of anyone’s worries – if she doesn’t have a fucking ride to the airport on Tuesday. … and worse!!! If I don’t find this out until Tuesday morning!!

It is taking all my strength not to throttle Terri, through the phone right now. My child should not have to worry about how she is getting to the airport. She should only be worried about having fun in her last 6 days in OH.

I’ve already looked at airline flights – I can get on the same plane as Daphne but it will cost me $758.00. Not to mention renting a car, the gas to get there AND back, the parking fees here in Orlando, and the loss of money at my job.

Over $1,000 all because these people can’t figure out how to drive her to the airport.

Holy fucking crap!!!

I knew this was a bad idea. A very very VERY bad idea. I want to throw up. I want to fly to WV.

Wait, shouldn’t that be OH?, you say. Well, sure… IF Daphne was in OH.

Not in OH?, you say. No. NOT in OH.

Yes. You read that correct. “Not in OH.” She was in West Virginia. Not only the wrong city, but the whole wrong freaking state!

I’m telling you that I appreciate my folks. I do. But in this moment, offering me a glass of wine, to keep me calm was so off the radar, it’s not even funny. What keeps me calm, is having information. And the information I was receiving, as I went along; was making me more and more nervous; rather than doing anything to calm me down.

So let’s back up a little bit. I was fine at the airport. I was. Okay, so I sat there for nearly an hour, just hoping that the plane would come back. And when it didn’t, I drove home. Well, I drove to my folks house. They were taking care of Russell and Bronwyn for me. Which I appreciate so much. But I have never really had my emotional needs met by my parents. They simply don’t know how to deal with me, and my emotional side. This was definitely pushing all of my Emotional Mommy buttons.

It started with Daphne texting me, as I drove into my folks’ driveway. I called her, and she denied the call. Then texted that she wasn’t off of the plane yet. In a few more exchanges, and she called me. We talked about the flight. Then I helped talk her though, getting to the baggage claim. Using her street smarts… she has such good street smarts. I wouldn’t have felt as comfortable if this had been Rebecca, to begin with. Lord only knows what I would have done had this happened to Rebecca.

Why did I have to talk her though getting to baggage claim, you might be wondering. Well Terri wasn’t at the gate as she said she would be. When she sent Taylor to me, I got the security pass, I spent time in the line, to get through the security section, to personally meet Taylor at the gate. To make sure that Taylor was safe, n sound. Terri was supposed to do the same thing. She didn’t. That should have been my first clue.

So at baggage claim, there was an excited Daphne, yelling at me that she found Taylor. And Shandelle. Taylor’s older, half-sister. And Shandelle’s boyfriend, and her young son. Okay. Fine. Bring the whole family. No big deal. Where was Terri?

Ahhhhh— Daphne didn’t know. She was just so happy that she had Taylor in her embrace again, she wasn’t caring about that little fact at the moment. Then a few minutes later, Daphne tells me that Terri isn’t there at all. She wasn’t coming either. They were driving to Shandelle’s house. That they were going to be staying with Shandelle, in West Virginia.

WHAT?!??!!!!!

I hadn’t talked to Shandelle. I didn’t know where Shandelle lived. Hello, West Virginia is a big state. Where was this place? Were they ever going to OH? What age was Shandelle? What was her last name? Worse — Could she keep my child safe? Did she understand Daphne’s special circumstances?

This is when I am doing my best to just breathe. Trying not to call up Southwest Airlines, and find the next flight out of Orlando, heading north.

My mother’s suggestion, is to have a glass of wine. *shakes head*

Instead, I’m making calls to the one person I know who can keep me from running head-long into complete and total, panic mode. I pack up the kids, and start driving home. Making a phone call into Tim, as I am pulling out of Momma’s driveway.

Tim is amazing. He is my rock. Plain and simple.

I explain what I’m finding out from Daphne, and second-hand from Shandelle. Who I still don’t even have a phone number for. Let alone an address. Or a last name. Which is not the same as Taylor; different fathers. All I know of Shandelle is that she is half-related to Taylor. She has a five (5) year old son, as a single mother, with no father. She is engaged to a man named, Jeremy; again, no last name. Is an assistant manager of a local Wendy’s.

I go over all the details that I have.. which aren’t much.
I go over the possible outcomes.
I go over the possible ‘next steps’.
I breathe.. remembering not to speed – nor grip the steering wheel so freaking hard.

I get home. I park. I make a phone call into Terri. Who at this point, still hasn’t contacted me. I get NO answer. I try to leave a voicemail message. I can’t because she can’t accept any. I resort to texting her. I leave 4 of them, before my phone is ringing.

I do my very best to not start yelling. After all at his point Tim has done such a good job at keeping my blood pressure from going through the roof – I don’t want to mess it up.

I get an apology from Terri, which is a good start. But it’s one of those ‘I’m not to blame’ apologies, that really isn’t an apology. In my personal opinion, she is to blame. She had plenty of opportunities to text me, or call me, letting me know that the plans had changed. To make the decision to put Daphne on the plane, or not; due to the change in circumstances.

So Terri gives me sob story about being in the hospital. Which she may have been. But I don’t see how she couldn’t have contacted me to let me know what was going on. Or for Shandelle to have made the connection. Especially if she is responsible enough, adult enough, to be trusted with my child because she has one – then where was her responsible actions, in this case?

I just breathe – as she talks, and interrupts me, when I try to explain my fears, my worries, my reasons for being upset. “Terri. Remember how you felt when you put Taylor on the plane? Remember your worry? Remember how you felt when you got the photo from me? How you felt knowing that she was safe with me? Where was my reassurance? I didn’t get that Terri. Nobody was there to meet Daphne at the gate. She isn’t even in the same freaking state I thought that she would be in. I have nothing but someone who’ve I never met, or talked too, or even have an idea of where they live – picking my child up from the airport, and spiriting off with them. I have reassurance. I have nothing but worries, that just get worse, when things changed but nobody thought that I would need to know.”

I like to think that she finally started to empathize with me, and why I might be crying on the phone to her. I like to think that Terri has a bit more compassion, and a little less self-absorption. She just said that she’d be happy to get Shandelle on the phone, to text me. To send me a photo of Daphne. Some sort of reassurance that Daphne would be okay.

Then the subject of Daphne’s challenge with hurting herself. Could Shandelle do anything to keep Daphne safe? Did she understand the addiction? Did she have the resources to get Daphne to medical attention, if it came down to it? Could she understand about not confronting Daphne about it? Would she understand how to handle Daphne? Could she discreetly put a baggie of ice cubes in the freezer, and not bring them up?

Terri tells me that Shandelle used to do the same thing. Which I find a bit far-fetched, if Terri tells me just a couple of weeks ago that she had taken to the internet to do research on the subject, in preparation for Daphne’s stay. Why would she have done research on the subject, if her own child had suffered from the same challenge?

At this point I decide to take matters into my own hands. I just hang up on Terri. Each time I bring up one of my concerns, she half-answers it – followed up with another tirade about her own problems. Pfft!!! Honestly, if she has this many problems, I would have just suggested that Daphne come another time. When things were less hectic. But I wasn’t given that opportunity, because nobody gave me information until it was too late. Nobody communicated with me.

I text Daphne asking for Taylor or Shandelle to send me a photo of her. To defer my fears a little bit. Then I remember to type “Please.”

At this point Daphne says “Sure.” Then replies to my, please with a text to Calm Down. She was working on it.

This is when I lost it. I flat out told Daphne: “Do not tell me to calm down. It is all that I can do to not take the next flight up to there and find you, and fetch you home. You are not in the place I thought that you would be. You aren’t even in the same freaking state!!”

Daphne got all apologetic. She said that she would do her best to keep me in the loop. That Shandelle was sending the photo.

I got it a few minutes later. I thanked her for it. I tried to keep calmer, and asked about her dinner. Teasing her about eating vegetables. Reminding her to do her best to keep safe. To call me every day. That I was happy, that she was happy. That I loved her.

I also had a little bit of a texting conversation with Shandelle. Getting her to understand my reaction, mother-to-mother. I even said, “I’m told that you have a young son, so perhaps you can understand my fears here. I was not told anything about your mom’s situation. OR that you would be taking my child to a different state, let alone a different home for the visit. OR that you wouldn’t be there at the gate, to meet Daphne. Please put yourself in my shoes, here.”

Shandelle, for her credit, understood this better than Terri did. She really seemed to, at least in her replies. She even apologized. For the lack of communication / the change in plans / the failure to call me when Daphne first landed… I don’t know. But it felt more heart-felt than Terri’s apology. Mainly, because it wasn’t followed up with a ‘but’, sort of reason.

She gave me all the information I needed. Landline. Work location. Home address. Then her reassurance that she understood about how to help Daphne. That she would take care of the Ice Baggie, as soon as they got home. She makes no mention of her own struggles with the condition… which makes me feel more sure that Terri was lying about that part. ((shrug))

IMG_20140506_162308

So in the end, Shandelle does text me a photo of Daphne. Smiling. Happy. With Taylor. At a Taco Bell. 🙂 For the moment, that is about all that can hope for. Its really all that any mommy can hope for.

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Or is it empowerment?

I don’t know which to think right now. I know that I can’t fix this… and yet, I don’t know how to make it better, if I can’t fix it. Which seems like such a paradox to me.

I know that I can’t go back in time and do things differently because then I wouldn’t know the things that I know right now. I wouldn’t be the person that I am right now. And I am pretty happy with with person that I am right now. Even if it means watching my daughter continue to struggle. Each of those decisions in the past made me who I am, and has made her, who she is. Which is right where both of us belong.

I like to think that my own journey to be the person that I am right now, was so that I could understand what she is facing and going through. That I could teach her and show her that it gets better. That this isn’t everything in life. Why, if that’s true; why can’t she just listen to my story, and learn the lesson from my telling it, rather than having to do this the hard way?

I don’t want to loose her. Its my biggest fear. I don’t want to face this fear. Not this way. Not with this storyline. That much I want to change… and I feel powerless to change the storyline. It has to be something that she chooses to change. Not having control over this is terribly frightening for me. I feel so trapped by what she is choosing to go through.

Yes, her choices. I know this.

My choices to be afraid. I know this too.

I just want to know that when I’m celebrating my 70th birthday, that she will be 44 years old and still around.