I Finally Get It: Nobody Really Cares

Tonight I was texting with a woman I call my friend ( though I’ve never met her in real life) in an attempt to talk through some of the things that have been bothering me, and hopefully feel better. The plan backfired horribly, and I ended the conversation feeling worse than I had when it begun. In the middle of it, however, I came to an epiphany:

Nobody Really Cares.

That seems to be the root of most of my stress and sadness at the moment. Pay attention, now — NOBODY really cares. This weighs on me, more than I realized until I started to talk about it.

Now, I have to add a disclaimer. I have some friends on Twitter that have gone above and beyond what I would expect any stranger to do for another. They have helped me out of jams, encouraged my home based business, and sent me boxes of hand me downs and diapers for the arrival of the the #ninjababy. These people make me cry, and give me hope for humanity. I’ve NEVER met any of them in person, and yet they give of their time and resources without being asked and expecting nothing in return. To these people (you know who you are) I say THANK YOU, and mean it from the bottom of my heart. You have kept me going.

Here in my real world, however, I feel like some lone tree on an island. There is so much drama and chaos going on in my life, and no one can be bothered to so much as send an email or text message to make sure that I’m still breathing.

I’m going to have a son in October, I’m going to bring another human being onto this planet, and I don’t think my family and “friends” even know when my due date is, or what we’ve chosen for his name, or anything pertaining to our plan for birth. No one really cares. No one has called to see how I’m feeling. No one asks if there is anything I need, or want. I’m fairly sure that half of them don’t even know how far along I am. I didn’t expect a baby shower, but maybe the offer of a casserole for the freezer, or some acknowledgement that a major life changing event is about to happen? I’ve given up my dreams of having a doula here, or a professional to do birth shots for me. I can’t do it alone, and nobody else really cares.

I’ve stopped doing pregnancy photos and weekly updates. I’ve given up the idea of a belly cast or henna or lovely maternity shots. I’m the only one who seems to care about any of that. My heart is breaking at the thought of not getting the pictures I had envisioned at the lovely waterfalls not far away…but nobody really cares.

I don’t think TBA has felt his son kick more than twice in the last seven months. Every time I mention there is a hand or knee or elbow poking around, or try to slide his hand onto my stomach to feel the rolls and somersaults as we lie in bed at night, he doesn’t really care. I’m hurt by this, I don’t understand it. How could you NOT want to bond with your child? Even if you aren’t really “into” it, do it to humor me… take two seconds, let the #ninjababy kick your hand, smile and make me happy.

I’m excited for the new arrival, and yet every time I try to talk about anything pertaining to #ninjababy with anyone in real life…well, they don’t care. I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for being excited or wanting to buy little diapers or look at onesies in a store. I feel rushed if I try to stop and price car seats, or look at a swing or bouncer. Nobody else really cares. I get the impression, though, as if the somber “meh” mood that everyone else has should somehow filter it’s way into me. NO! I CARE. Just because this isn’t the first baby, or the first boy, or the first grandchild does not mean that he is somehow less deserving than my other children!

Its been three weeks now that we’ve been car-less. Three weeks since the accident in Philadelphia. I have friends that live less than a mile from here, that are ON my Facebook page, that follow me on Twitter, that had NO IDEA we didn’t have a car. They didn’t realize that we’ve been walking everywhere for the last three weeks. I have family and other relatives that are more than well equipped financially to have helped us rent a car, or at least offered to chip in and buy us a month’s bus pass. Nobody really cares. Nobody cares that I’m walking everywhere that a bus can’t take me, or that its been in the high 90’s with heat indexes in the 100’s. Nobody cares that after a few blocks I’m having Braxton-Hicks that are strong enough to take my breath away and force me to sit. Nobody cares that by the time we get home from one of these trips my legs are swollen beyond belief and my back aches so badly it hurts to sit. Nobody cares that I can’t seem to keep weight on with this pregnancy, and that between stress and the miles of walking I’m exactly * two * pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight at 28 weeks. Nobody has even bothered to ask if there was something they could do, or something to help with.

All these things hurt my heart. There are other stresses in my life, of course, and things that need to be worked on. What is tearing me up is that fact that I’m seemingly alone in all this. I’ve always believed that anything can be faced and overcome with support and the love of friends and family. But now I finally get it.

Nobody really cares.

The Great Dryer Ball Giveaway!

 

<CLOSED TO ENTRIES>

Random.org chose @Lythics for the dryer balls!  Congrats!

 

 

As I had mentioned in an earlier post  I’m trying very hard to get my shop on Etsy back up and running and supplement our ninjababy fund.  I’ve promoted through Twitter and my Facebook page, and my friends have been wonderful in word of mouth advertising.  As both a thank you and a way to get the word out there about my new shop, I’ve decided to give away a full set of SIX organic wool dryer balls!  Use all six, keep three and give three away, however you’d like to do it…but six wooly felted balls will head the way of the winner.

Organic Wool Dryer Balls

2-3oz each and about the size of a baseball

The photos up there are images of some earlier balls that I’ve felted.  These may not be white, as the wool I get can be any shade from pure white to dark black.  When I have the “actual” balls rolled and ready I’ll post a shot of them as well, but they will be solid wool ( no acrylic core), between two and three ounces each and about the size of a baseball ( sometimes larger!)

I hate complicated giveaways, I really do, so I’m going to try to make this one as easy as possible, but give you lots of chances for extra entries as well.  Here we go:

Mandatory Entry:  Leave me a comment telling me why you want a set of dryer balls.

Additional Entries (please leave a separate comment for each entry!):

Follow or subscribe to  my blog & leave me a comment.

“Like” my business page on Facebook and leave me a comment there that you’ve entered to win the dryer balls.

Visit my Etsy shop and leave me a comment here telling me another product I sell that you’d like.

Leave me a comment here telling me something else you’d like to see me create!

Post “Win a set of #organic #wool #dryerballs from @SilentlyJoyful ! Enter here! http://wp.me/pVKIg-5c” and leave me a comment that you tweeted.

That’s it, simple enough?  I’ll draw the winner using Random.org on Monday July 4th ( just to be patriotic!) and your balls will be in the mail before that Friday.  Remember, I HAVE to have a way to get in touch with you or I’ll have to redraw the winner ( and I hate doing that!)  If the primary winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, I’ll redraw.

Oh, How Time Flies!

My baby turned four today, just about two hours ago.  I don’t honestly know where the years have gone.

Two Hours Old...9 pounds 3 ounces

Two Hours Old...9 pounds 3 ounces

 

Three months

Three Months

18 months

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, that is his sisters bathrobe and slippers

In his sisters bathrobe...about 2 1/2

Three

Today, FOUR years old!

 

Happy Birthday, baby … stop growing so fast!

What My Cat Taught Me About Extended Nursing

Eight weeks or so ago, my cat blessed us with six (!) fat and fuzzy kittens.  Since cats don’t get marketing targeted at using formulas and bottles ( and I imagine bottle feeding six kits with no thumbs would be rather difficult) she nursed them – all of them – often.  She fed her babies where ever she was and when ever they were hungry, and I don’t think the dogs ever once told her to cover up or go to the bathroom.  At eight weeks old, these kittens are still nursing, and no one has yet looked at her in disapproval and asked WHEN she was going to wean those babies — doesn’t she know they don’t “need” to nurse anymore, that they should be all grown up and sent off to new homes?

Granted, there are times that she’s obviously touched out by all the fuzzy attention, and it’s quite amusing to see her walking across the room with a kitten attached to a nipple, desperate to keep walking and sucking.  At the same time, though, she invites them to come cuddle several times a day.  She’ll appear, making her special growly meow and kittens erupt from everywhere, rushing to mom.  She lays there, content, covered in kittens.

Kittens at nine weeks...still nursing away!

The little fuzzies are eating solid food.  They don’t “need” to nurse for nourishment.  Yet they do, and she allows it.  It makes me wonder why.  Does she have some momma cat instinct that tells her they still need it?  Does she enjoy it?  If a cat can take cues from her progeny and allow them to self wean, why can’t we?  Why are we so focused on dates and times and set weaning schedules and when the right day of the week is to introduce solids?  It seems more natural to just go with the flow and let it happen.  She’s never done this before, she’s read no books and has no other mama cats to talk to or get advice from.  It’s all instinct, and it seems to work just fine.

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Lil' Joey with Umbilical Snap Down

Back of the Lil' Joey

 

Inside the Lil Joey

 

I can’t wait until NinjaBaby is here and we can start to use these!  They’re SO tiny 🙂  Lil’ Joey’s are made by Rumparooz and I bought mine at Diaper Junction.

Johnny Goodtimes Comedy Showcase

Just putting in a plug for The Man…if you’re in the area, it will be a great show for Father’s Day!

Trying My Hand at This Crafty Thing Again

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I used to do things that were crafty.  Shocking, I know!  In fact, I made SO much crafty stuff that I had a shop on Etsy and one on Artfire, and I made a nice little bit of extra spending money.  Not enough to travel to Hawaii, you see, but enough so that “I” had a little mad money once in a while.  Then things happened, and I got busy, and had NO time for myself and my stores fell by the wayside ( insert sympathetic mom sigh here.)

Now I find myself with not a lot of extra time, but enough that I can do things for myself on a pretty regular basis.  I also find that with the expectation of Ninjababy’s arrival in October I’m going slightly crazy with trying to figure out how I’m going to afford! all! this! stuff! that I didn’t think I’d have to buy again.  I have some wonderful friends that are passing on things to me, but there are some big items ( like a car seat *cough cough*) that I know we’ll have to swing on our own.  As a result, I’ve become crafty again.

I re-opened my shops on Etsy and Artfire, and crossed my fingers.  I’ve had a few sales lately, mostly thanks to well meaning friends on the Twitter, but  really need more.  I have no illusions of somehow making a living as a stay at home mom, crafting organic dryer balls (though that would be fantastic!) but if I could somehow manage enough to buy the newbie a Happy Hangup I’d be incredibly grateful.

So, cats and kittens, here’s the link to my shop on Etsy.  I have everything on sale right now, and a special 10% off to anyone who uses the code Twitter10.  Wanna help a mom out?  I promise you won’t be disappointed!  The organic and naturally dyed wool dryer balls are to DYE for ( hee hee.)  I have some beeswax up too, and I’m waiting til it cools off just a bit to start making solid lotions and lip balms again … but I always take special orders, so message me if you want some now!

Look at those beautiful colors!

 

Organic Dryer Balls, Solid Wool!

Organic Dryer Balls, Solid Wool!

Exhaustion.

Tania El Koury at Forest Fringe Weekender

Image by TheArches via Flickr

That is the best word for what I’m feeling now.  Exhaustion.  I’m mentally and physically drained.  Even the blogging the last few days has worn me out.  It seems that each new day brings something else for me to stress over and worry about.

Here’s the latest drama (and let me apologize for my continued rant.  These are password protected so that not everyone is exposed to my daily dose of insanity.)

The X and I have had a (mostly) friendly working relationship since the separation.  Though it has taken some time, and a lot of convincing on my part, he now realizes that this is the best thing for everyone including the kids and that what he needs to do is to focus on himself and get some therapy.  He had a “plan.”  He was going to get a job, go back to therapy, take some anger management classes, get his license back, save his money and move back here to Virginia to be closer to his kids.  With a little help he was looking at the positive sides of being single, of how to maximize all his free time into something productive.  And then.  And then.

And then comes the morning when my email inbox is FILLED with message after message from him.  From 10 pm until nearly 4am the next morning.  Wedding pictures with the caption ” this was the best day of your life.”  Long, rambling emails filled with how he cannot live without me.  His insistence that we try again.  Long plans about how we should stay separated and get couples counseling to fix this.  Lines about how he “knows” that I still love him, that I want him back.  Interspersed with all this is the usual blame.  If I had just done/not done than we wouldn’t be here.  I should’ve/could’ve/would’ve.  It’s still all my fault, and its my job to fix it.  I made it through half of his tirades before I gave up.

We were back to square one.  Again.  Then came the emails asking me why I wasn’t responding to his emails.  I sent him one, very brief reply which turned around and bit me in the ass.  My reply wasn’t long enough.  I didn’t answer his questions.  Was I ten?  Could I not hold an adult conversation?!  I didn’t know what to do, and I was actually beginning to have an anxiety attack over some of the veiled threats.  I forwarded a copy of his last email to TBA (who is away on business) and one to my mother.  I’ve kept copies of each email he’s sent, but the more drastic ones I also send to my parents if I should ever need someone outside this house to corroborate my story.

I ended up sending him an email right before bed.  I was as plain as I dared to be.  I told him in very plain language with bolded words and underlines that I DID NOT want him back.  I did not want to try again, go to counseling, or rehash the same arguments over and over.  I then explained that the only two topics I wanted to discuss with him either on the phone or via email were the kids and the divorce papers.  I hit send and hoped for the best.

I wake up to a very well written and long email detailing how I was 100% correct and he was just having a rough night and has since joined a mens divorce support group.  That he is researching why he reacted the way he did and looking for answers for his emotional breakdown.  He reassured me again that he was not going to take the house or the money for the children’s support (oh…did I forget to mention how he threatened to have us tossed out of the house?  Yeah.  Classy guy.)  Right now, its calm.  I can’t help but have that knot of anxiety though for next time.  And there will be a next time.  I don’t know when or how or what will set him off, but the Drama isn’t done yet.

In the meanwhile…

115: No More Dirty Looks

In the meanwhile, I changed my Facebook relationship status to “it’s complicated.” I know, it’s a huge step in social media 😉 This was in September, after our first “I want a divorce” talk and I didn’t change it to “separated” because I thought that would be tasteless with the X still living in the house. Virginia doesn’t have a “legal” separation, by the way. If you aren’t living together as a married couple, you’re separated. I figured that if it mattered I’d change it in December. I digress, though and it’s kind of irrelevant.

Several days after my Facebook status went from “married” to “it’s complicated,” I received a message on Facebook from an old college friend. It was a short note, basically telling me that he was halfway through a divorce himself and if I wanted someone to talk to or vent at he was at the “been there, done that” stage. He offered an ear and support. I’m going to call him TBA for now, because I have to call him something.

There were several weeks of sporadic Facebook messages. He needed someone to talk to that was outside his immediate circle of friends and family and so did I. Sometimes you need an unbiased opinion. I’m going to point out here an important fact: this was totally innocent. TBA knew exactly what was going on in the house. He knew I was still married and the house was filled with Drama. There was no flirting. I was gritting my teeth biding my time until the X left in December, but I wasn’t doing or saying anything that I wouldn’t have if I’d still been happily married. Does that make sense?

We started talking, first via Facebook and then through text. About our divorces at the beginning, mostly. We complained about our other halves and lamented about things not being easier. I told him about my three kids ( he has none) and filled him in on our home school program. We chatted about random things and mutual friends and had discussions about Aristophanes and Socrates and Plato. (TBA and I went to a school with a Great Books curriculum, and something always seemed relevant to what was happening at that moment of our lives.). He’d tell me about bad dates and I’d fill him in on funny kid quips. Eventually, slowly, something changed.

We figured out that we were compatible.

We tried to find things to disagree on and couldn’t. We found that we could have a healthy debate without either party being offended or taking it personally. He made me laugh, which was a rare thing at the time. We found we had the same tastes in movies and books and music. TBA and I hadn’t been in the same area code in 14 years, and it was almost like picking up right where we left off. That being said, he lives a time zone and a 13 hour drive away, so we both assumed that romance was off the table.

I made a decision towards the end of November. Looking back, I don’t know if it was the “right” decision, but I stand by it with no regrets. I asked TBA to fly to Virginia in December and spend a long weekend. I was facing the prospect of 4-6 weeks alone in the house, and the invitation was innocent. I didn’t hide the fact that he was coming from my friends or my family. I did NOT tell the X due to his volatile nature. The plan with TBA was to decompress, de-stress. Drink some wine, watch old movies, debate politics and discuss philosophy. We jokingly called it an “immersion cohabitation experiment” to see if we really were as compatible as it seemed we were. Writing it makes it seem tawdry, somehow, as if I knew or planned all along what would happen.

Can you guess what happened next? I bet you can.

There was three and a half seconds of awkwardness when he stepped off the plane. It took me time to adjust to how tall he was. After that? It was easy. “We” were easy. There were no awkward pauses in the conversation and the silences were comfortable. We just kind of slid into a relationship. A weekend turned into a week. A week turned into two. Then he stayed to meet (and impress the crap out of) my parents. Christmas was next, and neither of us wanted to be alone. It. Just. Happened.

I had done everything for everyone for so long that I had forgotten how nice it was for someone to make you a cup of tea or start a load of laundry or cook dinner. I took him to my friends homes and he just fit in. TBA was social and funny and everyone loved him. He wanted us to go out and do things, he encouraged me to dress up and feel pretty. TBA was cool with sitting home in sweatpants all day and watching kung fu movies, too. More than once we sat up until the sun rose singing to the oldies on Pandora. I felt like I had an equal partner in the house for the first time in years.

There is more, so much more.  There was daily drama from the X the entire time he was here.  There’s the story of the blowup when the X and TBA got on the phone.  The adventure of fetching the children from the Great White North and and anxiety that TBA had over meeting the kids.  So much more.  It has to wait, though.  Its late, and the children wake up early.

So the drama begins … or continues.

Animation. Frontal lobe (red) of left cerebral...

Image via Wikipedia

Oh my. You know, there’s so much to catch up on the last few months that I literally do not know where to begin. Here’s the deal:

At the end of September, one month from our ninth wedding anniversary, I called it quits. It was not a decision I made lightly. You see, four years ago my then DH had a stroke. The stroke left him with frontal lobe damage. The frontal lobe controls emotion. The emotions he lost control of were rage, and anger, and general pissiness.  In addition, he lost the use of (most) of his right arm, had to stop driving (though we’ll get to that) and lost some mobility in his right leg.

Yes, he went to PT. And OT. He got to the point that he could move his arm from the shoulder.  He went from a wheelchair to a three-legged cane to a regular can to using nothing at all most of the time.  He saw different mental health professionals to deal with his emotional issues. Yes, they tried numerous medications in varying doses and combinations. The truth is, none of the doctors he saw or medications he took really helped. Some of it took the edge off.

So, four years ago I was left with an incredibly difficult decision.  You see, it’s not as if our marriage was all sunshine and puppies and puffy pink hearts before the stroke.  It really, really, wasn’t.  He worked away four or five days a week, and when he was home we fought.  A lot.  Over lots of things.  I was already trying to plan my out, because I was tired of living with the stress of it all.  In October, I found out I was pregnant with my youngest.  In November, he had a stroke and landed in the hospital for a month.  I did what I thought a good wife would do, and I stayed.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had to be the primary care giver for someone in your family.  I don’t know if you understand how difficult it can be to view your husband as a nurse would.  To make sure they take their medications, to cut their food, to shower and dress them.  To deal with the insane rages over simple things such as a fork being placed too far from their plate.  He was an angry, angry man.  To be honest, he had a RIGHT to be angry at what the stroke took away from him, but this rage was something different.  You know that little filter that sits comfortably between your brain and mouth and reminds you that you’re talking to a three year old and not to be too harsh?  That was gone.  The one that reminds you that your spouse can’t read your mind?  That one was gone, too.  Even the one that normally screams “Hey!  Calling your wife a whore at full volume in the middle of Target?  Poor decision, bud.”

I stayed.  I dealt with the anger.  I hoped he’d get better.  Did I try to tell him how I felt?  Abso-fucking-lutely.  Did it help?  Not in the least bit.  If I tried to talk to him about how “I” was feeling, or how scared the children were of his rages, I would set him off.  It was always “poor me, the put upon wife” and how I was a “martyr” for putting up with him.  It did me no good to talk to him, because it always ended the same way — with him screaming and red-faced, reminding me that he had a stroke, damn it!   He gained over 200 pounds in four years, and my every attempt to get him to eat better or exercise was met with a wall of hate and excuses.

The turning point came one day this past June.  I was at a new low of miserable.  He had become hooked on World of Warcraft and spent hours and hours every day on the computer, ignoring everything else around him. We had slept in separate bedroom for a year, there was no affection left between us, and in my mind we were just going through the motions for the kids.  His parents had come down for a two-week visit, and in a span of 24 hours he screamed out the window of our vehicle at a car next to us (their music was too loud), went off on me when I was driving and his parents and kids were in the vehicle, berated (loudly) our waiter in a restaurant for being too slow and not speaking english well enough, and terrified our oldest son because he said “excuse me” instead of “waiting for me to get out-of-the-way.”  The day was so stressful, in fact, that HIS FATHER pulled him outside to talk to him about his attitude.  We had a knock down, drag out fight a few days later that lasted for HOURS and solved nothing at all.  This was literally NOT the person I had married.

I took a step back and looked at my life and the life my kids were living.  We were in a house with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  No one ever knew what kind of mood he would be in or if he would be approachable.  The kids had a shell-shocked, terrified look on their face every time they did something that “might” be wrong.  My oldest was starting to act like my husband.  I realized that enough was enough.  I was DONE.

I told the husband that he needed to do something to make this better.  See a therapist (he had stopped going), try a new medication, go back to the nutritionist…DO SOMETHING TO SHOW ME THAT YOU WANT TO CHANGE.  He spent the next day calling psychiatrists, and then?  Didn’t call one of them back.  Not one.  Not until a month later I mentioned something, he got mad, and called ‘one’ back out of spite.  That didn’t show me that he wanted to change.  Just weeks before his mother came down for a visit, I told him I wanted a divorce.  I was done.

Now, he has a blog: http://www.angrydadrants.blogspot.com So that you don’t all think this is a one-sided story, I urge you to check it out.  I’m copying this directly from his blog:

“I had bouts of unbridled rage just because my kid spilled a drink or my wife didn’t want to go to the store when I did.  At first I would even justify these rages in my head.  “She knows I’ll go off, why does she push me?” or even “if that kid had been paying more attention he wouldn’t have spilled his milk”.  It took a while (unfortunately a long while) for me to realize that I had become ScaryDad.  When my kids even thought one of them had messed up they would all huddle on the couch, cover their ears and start apologizing.  I had become a monster.  While this was going on, the fights between my wife and I got progressively worse.”

It was decided between us that he would take the children and head to Maine to spend Christmas with his parents.  He was to find an apartment while he was up there, and when he returned in January (5 weeks later)  he would gather his things and move out.  I found a lawyer and had copies of the divorce papers in hand before he left with my children.  Though he wasn’t excited about the idea of getting divorced, he understood my point as much as possible and agreed that it was an unhealthy household to raise three kids in.  Then the drama started.

He played as if he didn’t know that he wasn’t welcome to come back with the kids.  He told me that if I was a “good” wife, or a “better” wife that I’d be helping him instead of leaving him.  He called me selfish.  He told me I was damaging the kids.  I’m a bad mother, a bad wife, a bad person.  My children will hate me some day.  I spent hours on the phone with him some nights listening to him flop between begging me to take him back and calling me every vile name in the book.  This, surprisingly, did not make me want to take him back.

I have the kids here at the house with me, now.  He’s 800 miles away in Maine.  We have had some fairly civil conversations the last few weeks.  We hashed out the details of the divorce papers, worked out a custody arrangement, and he actually got to the point of telling me that he understood why I had to move on.  Last night he flooded my email with letter after letter telling me how he couldn’t live without me, sending me copies of our wedding photos, insisting that I still love him.  His suggestion was that we stay separated and go though couples counseling to “find the love I know is still there.”  I don’t know in how many ways I can tell this man that it is over.  The stress is killing me.  I don’t know what else to do, but I’m profoundly grateful to be 14 hours away from the man.

By the by…the kids?  They are like different little children without him here.  The house is calm.  The kids are calm.  They don’t break down in anxiety for not knowing how to do something or for spilling milk or forgetting to brush their teeth.  Do they miss their dad?  Sure.  They call him every other day and chat with him on the webcam.  Do they miss the anger and stress that having their dad in the house produced?  I’d have to say no.  Nope.  My six-year-old tells me that I look happy.  My oldest actually smiles and his stuttering is decreasing.  I don’t feel the need to take Xanax every three hours any more.  It’s a win-win in this house…but still….

I don’t know what he’s going to do next.  I don’t know what his next move will be.  Who will call me?  Jekyll?  Hyde?  I have to wait and see.

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