Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013

What a crazy, eventful, unexpectedly nuts-o year!  I feel like my life wrap speeded ahead this year and I kinda love it!

From starting a new job to buying a house to totalling my beloved Volvo to partying in Vegas to watching my best friends get married but losing my grandpa......crazy ass year.

I knew going into 2013, it was going to be quite a year.  I had an interview set up with my current employer by the end of 2012, so I was hopeful about that.  I had recently turned 30 which gave me a new outlook and determination to stop waiting for what I wanted to happen.  I took a lot of my life into my own hands this year and dispite the heartache that I have felt, the tears that have fallen, this was an amazing year.

The loss of my grandpa will never be outweighed by the good that has happened this year, but knowing that he was part of the big highlights has helped with the grief of his death.  He was able to sit in my living room and direct the "traffic" the day I moved in.  He was part of the big "which lawn mower to buy" decision.  He was able to visit the house again for RP's 8th birthday.

Buying my house was by far the best part of 2013.  It is scary to own a home alone and it is way more work than I could have ever expected.  I would have never guessed I would love this place as much as I do.  RP and I have made it our own and yet there is so much more to change and add to it.  I have had those moments of being overwhelmed with the house but those moments are erased when RP can just walk down the street to a friend's house or when I just need to yell out the front door for him to come home. 

I have never felt more stable and satisfied with my life.  Everyday brings a new challenge in parenting and some days are harder than others, but I am happy to my core.  I can already tell that we are going to have an amazing 2014 and welcome this new year with open arms.

Happy New Year to everyone :)

Here is a little photo shuffle thinger-ma-bob I made from pic on Instagram.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Story of My Son's Father.

Why am I sharing this now?  I know that I have written bits and pieces since I started this blog.  I have never wanted to share this story publicly before because I think I am ashamed of it.  Usually when I share my experience with people, I hear this, "How were you with someone like that?"  Not everyone has reacted that way, but there have been enough people say that to me, that it has prevented me from sharing.  I have not been through half the battle that women of physical abuse have gone through and that one question has prevented me from sharing my story.  Feeling ashamed is the only feeling that I have in common with other victims of relationship abuse.  I have always applauded the women who have been able to rise above the judgement of others to share their story.  To really tell people how they still loved their abuser without even understanding it themselves.  Because of the recent information I have found out about RP's dad, I am feeling more empowered.  I am feeling less ashamed.  I am ready to have as much of this out of me; to stop carrying it inside of me.  I am sharing this now.

Some of you know this story.  Some of you don’t.  A lot of the time I forget that this is memory of actual life and not just simply a story.  It is hard to believe that I was who I was back then.  It is hard for me to believe that I loved his father so deeply that I thought I would be with him forever.  It is hard for me to know that I was in a relationship that kept me so sad and insecure.  That I believed the apologies and promises from an alcoholic.  That I was in a position where I hit first because I thought I was going to get hit.  That I could have fallen for all the tricks that I have learned about in every substance abuse class and domestic violence class that I had ever taken.  That I-an intelligent, independent, feminist-would have succumbed to being in such a relationship.

We met in high school.  I don’t know why, but I decided that I was going to love him forever.  That he was my high school sweetheart that would stick.  My parents met in high school and I wanted to have that same kind of story.  For me, at 17, that was normal.  That is how it happened.  I was told that I was “the best thing” to have happened to him.  His family loved me immediately.  They welcomed me.  His mom would talk to me like we were equals.  I had “a good head on my shoulders,” and “made his life better.”  To a girl, who was just outside the mainstream of her community, who was still angry about her parent’s divorce and who desperately needed love as validation, this was crack.  I was immediately addicted.  It was the perfect storm of hearing all of those types of words from him, his family, and our personalities connecting.  Crack.  I didn't know who I was.  I had a glimmer of who I wanted to become and the person they were making me out to be sounded fucking great.

Then we broke up.  6 months into it.  He chose drugs over me.  You would think this was a clue.  It was a terrible blow.  I was devastated.  I would still talk to his mom.  Absolutely devastated.  And then, like every teenage movie, he called me one night.  He missed me.  He still loved me.  He was stupid.  He was sorry.  He wanted me back.  Crack. Crack. Crack. Crack.  I was sucked back into the habit in a matter of hours.  Oh I forgot to mention the other thing about him that made me sure that I was going to better his life.  He had no father.  His dad left his family before he was born.  They met twice and then his father died when he was seven.  Talk about a tragic story that sucks you in to want to be the person that helps the other person prevail in life!  He told me he never wanted to be like his dad and that he would do ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING for his future children.  That he wanted to be the dad that he never had.  Crack. 

So we were back together.  Shortly there after, his family moved from my home town back to an area of Ohio that was more familiar to them.  It is an area of Ohio that I cannot travel to.  His family is huge.  I know that I would run into someone.  But anyway, so our relationship was more romantically tragic at that point.  My high school boyfriend lived 45 minutes away.  I was already different than a lot of the kids I went to school with and I felt different from them.  But now I had a different kind of relationship.  I loved it.  I graduated high school and he still had a year left.  He would visit me at the University of Cincinnati.  It was great.  Then we decided that he would move to Cincinnati and live with me during my second year of college and his first year out of high school.  I would love to say that I regret this decision.  I know that my life would have been dramatically different if he and I had not lived together this early and this young or at all.  It isn't just for the sake of RP’s existence that I don’t regret it, but I do believe that who I am today is a result of the course of that relationship.  Did I deserve to be treated that way?  No.  But I am stronger for it.

Living together was beautiful, a dream come true-for a while.  He worked at Metro making decent money, had health care, and future possibilities.  I was going to college to become a teacher.  We were going to move back to the country of Ohio where he was raised.  It was a lovely idea, plan, future we talked about together and could have been attainable.  But then he quit his job.  I didn't even know for weeks.  He still got up and went to “work.”  Who knows what he was doing.  There was a long lapse of time without a job.  He started to “disappear” during this time.  It was usually on for a day though.  I stated working full time while in college to help with his share of the bills.  When I look back, I think this is when I started to alienate my family.  Telling them less and less information about my life with him.  Then he moved to Illinois to work with a friend of ours from high school.  This only last about 4 months before he was back in Cincinnati.  There were many more disappearing acts performed when he would go visit the country and his buddies.  A multiple day span went by without a word.  When he finally called, I told him to stay away.  About a month later he totaled a car.  He called.  He apologized.  Said he could live without me.  His mom called and apologized.  He loved me.  I was the best thing that happened to him.  The stress of our relationship was tolling even at this point.  But I still loved him.  I was still committed to him.  So he came home.  He supposedly hit a deer with the car, took the plates, and left it on the side of the road.  I think that was not a truthful story.  I know now that part of the reason that I took him back so quickly during this round was due to the fact that I made out with someone at a Halloween party.  I felt guilty for this betrayal….even though we were not together at the time.

The timeline of our relationship is fuzzy from this point until my pregnancy.  There were many weeks of not knowing where he was.  There was an engagement that ended when the Cincinnati Police called to talk to me about the ring.  Yes.  It was stolen.  There was another accident that totaled my dad’s car.  There were the phone calls he would get from other girls.  There was the criticizing me and my beliefs, my independence, my want to strive for a better future.  There were apologies and promises to change.  It was up and down constantly.  It was never just going.  I was done.  I had enough.  My roommates and I were all moving out of the 3 bedroom house we had rented for two years.  I picked the one bedroom.  He didn't show up to see it. I signed the lease without him.  I put the deposit down.  I figured out the help to move.  But I couldn't pull the trigger to end the relationship.  I knew it was bad.  I knew I didn't feel the same about him. I knew that I wanted to be with someone else.  I knew all of that yet, we lived there together.  It was 2 months into our lease when I found out I was pregnant.  This is when I forgave him.  I let go of all of the bad things that had happened before because I believed that it would change because we were having a baby.  I believed that he was going to be different because he had shown me so much passion when he talked about how he was going to be the dad that he never had.

My pregnancy was another rough patch.  At Christmas that year, I wanted to announce it to my family.  He “was stuck” in the snow on Christmas Eve at work in Wilmington and couldn't make it to the big party to help me announce it.  I did that alone.  He showed up at the other party later that night.  Drunk.  He had chosen drinking over me and our baby.  But he apologized and I had forgiven him for all of his past sins, so I added this one to the list.  Then there was the time that he forgot to pick me up from my mom’s because he had been drinking.  He finally made it and refused to let me drive.  He decided to race a guy and go up on the curb to get around the other guy.  Two flat tires later we were stranded in Dayton.  I could have called my family, but I was too ashamed and they did not know how bad it was.  When I drive past that intersection, still today, I notice how close he was to running his car into a light pole.  Then there was the time that he was drunk and yelling at me.  He got in my face and I punched him.  I don’t know that he was going to hit me, but he was bigger than me.  Then, the night before my due date, I couldn't get a hold of him.  He finally called and was drunk and had a flat tire in Lebanon.  He supposedly drove all the way from Lebanon on his rim.  He and his friend came in at about 4 and the other guy had to be back in Wilmington by 8 for work.  They were still drunk when they woke up.  I refused to let him borrow my brand new (to me) car that my family had helped me purchase for the baby.  So I drove.  Then, at a gas station we stopped at so that I could use the restroom, I slipped and fell.  Nothing bad happened to the baby I was carrying, luckily. 

Three days after RP was born, his father was fired.  My 40 hours of work while attending college full time had grown a decent amount of savings, but not enough to last.  After 2 month we had to move to Dayton and live with my mom.  Finally he found a job.  All was well.  We were working through a bad time.  I was returning to school to finish in the fall.  I had forgiven and forgotten all of his behavior from when we lived in Cincinnati.  There was so much more than I can account for.  There were so many warning signs that I ignored and so many words I ignored from my friends.  We were ok now.  We were going to make it- until he started buying beer on the way home from work.  He would chug a 40 in the mile between the convenience store and my mom’s.  We argued a lot again.  He would disappear, but not as often because he was so concerned about what my mom would think of him.  Little did he know that she was an advocate for him- not his behavior.  After 16 months of the stress hitting again, of me traveling to school in Cincinnati still and then working two days of the week to help- he borrowed my car to go to work thing in Jan 2007.  He was supposed to be back to get me from work by 5 pm.  At 8 pm I got the call that he was in an accident on 75S and my car was totaled.  My dad had to take me to District 1 where he was being held.  They asked me if I wanted to see him.  I said no.  I wrote him a note to call him mom because he wasn't coming home.  That was how the relationship ended.  Had he not been driving my beast of a Volvo station wagon, he would have killed himself and his passenger.  His friend tried to tell me how sorry he was.  How he was sobbing when he was getting arrested.  How much he loved RP and I.  I was not accepting it any longer.  It wasn't just me anymore.  I think I would have accepted it again if I didn't have Parker.  My son gave me the strength to tell him no.  I could no longer be the best thing in his life.  I had to be the best thing in Parker’s life.  I could no longer be the “head on his shoulders.”  I had tried for 7 years to help him make good decisions.  I could not try any longer.

We went for some months with congenial every-other-weekend visits and him giving me money.  Then the money trickled out and stopped.  Then the visits started getting further apart.  I had graduated but this time and was in a full time salary job.  He had stopped going to his probation officer.  He was drinking again.  My two year old told me about the time that he and daddy drove to the store.  He had no license.  He started dating a girl with a kid about RP’s age.  We did not hear from him for the duration of that relationship.  Then he called and apologized.  I subjected my son to the same cycle that I went through because I still believed that he was going to be a good dad.  The dad he never had.  I was trying to give RP two parents.  Though not together and I desperately missed being a family, I believed that RP should not be held back by the bad parts of our relationship.  Then it happened again.  For longer.  And again he apologized.  At one point he asked if he and I could started to see each other again.  I told him no.  We had been separated for about 18 months when RP and I moved back to Cincinnati.  It was August 2008.  During that fall was the last time that RP stayed the night with his dad.  We didn't hear from him until Jan 2009.  This is when he told me he was going to be a father again.  In late May he was living in the Cincinnati area again because his girlfriend was on bed rest.  We saw him 3 or 4 times at the park that late May or early June.  And then he called to cancel to tell me he had been arrested again.  The judge let him off without going to jail for the prior bench warrant since he told the sob story of his pregnant girlfriend.  He was going back out to Wilmington to find a job.  He never went back to court.

He has not seen RP since then. At one point, I think in 2009, he called me to get the zip code for the Clifton area because he was filling out medical cards for his other children.  He didn't ask about RP.  Another time he went to the place my brother in law works to buy a car stereo.  He didn't ask about RP.  We went years without hearing from him.  I filed for child support in 2008.  I still have never been to court because he has not had a residence or place of employment the state can find.  While I am not diligent about it, I call every few months.

He text me this year, as though no time has gone by; he apologized.  He said how much he cares and misses us.  He criticized me and then asked for a favor.  I think he must have been drunk.  And now, I have received a letter in the mail.  It was sent from prison.  He has found Jesus.  God has told him that he deserves a relationship with RP and I.  God has told him that the weight of being a shitty father can be lifted because he can see his mistakes now.  He is requesting communication with me and with RP and for photos and for a relationship.  He is apologizing, he is telling us he cares, and how he has God on his side now. 


I have spoken to some about RP’s dad, some witnessed our relationship, and some have never heard a word about him.  There is a lot missing from this story, like his first drug charge and his first DUI.  There is a lot I don’t remember.  Until we moved to Cincinnati in 2008, I don’t remember a lot of RP’s infancy and toddler hood.  I don’t remember a lot of my pregnancy.  I remember more of what he did and how he made me feel.  I remember finding empty beer bottles under our bed when I was moving out of my mom’s.  I remember finding the empty liquor bottles in her cabinet.  I remember telling RP that his dad still loves him even though he doesn't call.  I remember RP getting too old for the simple answers like that and wanting to know what really happened.  I remember running out of answers to give RP.  I remember RP telling people he doesn't have a dad and asking me if his last name can be the same as mine.  I remember that I am both RP’s mom and dad and how hard it has been to fill both roles.  I remember struggling financially the first year that I moved out of my mom’s.  I remember pointing out what is best for my son to his daycare and teachers.  I remember making the decision to have his tonsils and adenoids removed.  I remember everything that I had to do because his father made the decision to cut himself out of his son’s life.  An apology during a moment of feeling sorry for yourself in the name of God is not enough.  The cycle of screw ups and apologies has been cut.  I stopped responding to the cycle but subjected my child to it because I believed that it would change for RP since it didn't for me.  I will not subject  my son to that cycle again.  I will never bad mouth his father in front of him.  He will not know the raw truth of the bad time in our relationship.  I will not create hatred in my son but there is nothing that will make me assist RP to falling to victim of the same psychological abuse that took me years to over come.

I was damaged from 7 years of the up and down with him.  It started when I was at an vulnerable age.  I didn't know how to date or be single when our relationship was over.  I allowed my self to go a little party crazy after I left him.  And then when I first tried a real relationship, 2 years after that one had ended, I screwed it up.  I remember saying to that person one time, "I knew you were going to bail on me."  He had only changed plans.  In hindsight, it wasn't that big of a deal.  I was putting way too many expectations and not allowing enough room.  I thought every man I met was going to do the same things that he did to me.  Constantly leaving me in a state of confusion because of the ups and downs.  I wasn't ready when I tried to have a relationship with that person.  I believe that parts of me will always have a bit of a raw nerve to certain things from my experience with him.  I am weary of those who drink daily but I now understand the difference between someone who has alcoholism and not.  I cringe when I hear or know someone who has gotten a DUI.  I am immediately, emotionally, transported to the day he called me about totaling my car-kneeling on my mom's living room floor, hunched over, crying hysterically.  The emotion is getting less and less as the years go by, but it is still there.  I look forward to the day when those pains are not there.  Knowing that my son will live with the pain because his has no relationship with his father is the one that will never heal.  I will never be able to let that go.  He will carry that with him.  I believe that he will be loved by a step father in a powerful way.  I believe that he will love a step father and that hole in his heart will begin to be filled and he will have peace.  The older he gets, the smaller the hole will get.  One day, my son will tell his story about how his life was affected by his biological father missing from it.  He will rise above the judgments of others and not be ashamed.  His story will be more powerful than mine and showing how he healed will help others heal.  I look forward to the day that he shares it with me.



Thursday, November 28, 2013

I am Thankful for.....

In the spirit of today's holiday, I decided that I would right down the things that I am thankful for this year instead of just the normal inner monologue.  I sound better via inner monologue-if you can believe that!

This year has brought about a lot of joy and a lot of sorrow.  Losing my grandpa was the biggest sorrow, but I am thankful that I had him for 30 years.  I am thankful he and my grandma shared their 65th wedding anniversary in April this year and that my dad and my aunts had both their parents for so long.  

I am always thankful that I have such an amazing family.  Both branches of my family never waiver in their support of me and RP.  I have always said that I come from a small family, but the Thanksgiving celebration on my dad's side last night goes to show how much we have grown.  Seeing all of my cousins together was wonderful.  My little sister's absence was felt and I hope that she will be able to travel to Ohio next year for this holiday, but she is busy taking on California.

I am thankful that I have seen my little sister three times this year.  Since her move to Oakland, I came to accept that I may only see her once a year, if that.  Seeing her three times in one year is unheard of, and I know every year won't be like this, but it was wonderful.  I hope that both of our successes in life will make a three times a year a regular thing eventually.  I will be traveling to CA in May, just knowing that it is only about 6 months until I see her again is very comforting.

I am thankful for the health of my parents and sisters.  We never know when or what life will bring us and the fact both my parents, my step parents, my sisters and my brother in law are all healthy is so easy to take for granted.  Today I recognize that not everyone has that comfort.  They are all sheltered and are able to provided the necessities for themselves.  They are all employed and they have all had the opportunity to do something special for themselves this year.  Jen and Eric have had a tougher year than they deserve, but they have each other to lean on and I am thankful for their love of one another.  I am thankful that Jen has a second family that loves her as much as I do.

I am thankful for my friends.  There are some of you, and you know who you are, that connect with me on such a level that I feel like I have known you my entire life.  We belong with each other no matter how close or far away you are.  There will always be that connection.  I have a couple close friends in Cincinnati, but my other ones are across this country and the world, yet I feel their connection everyday....and it's not because of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (I mean, social media helps for sure).  

I am thankful that the purchase of my house was so successful and that everything fell in place the way it needed to for that to happen.  Being a homeowner has brought me a sense of confidence and independence that I did not have before.  I have never felt more successful than I do at this moment in life.  I have a wonderful job, the undying support and enthusiasm of my family and friends, the start of an exciting relationship with a good man, and a son who is growing into a very interesting and caring young man.

I am the most thankful my son.  I have no idea what path my life would be if I did not have him.  It is hard to remember a time before him.  I am thankful for him everyday though, so that is kinda old news. Ha.

I can actually say that I recognize that I am thankful for each of these things fairly often.  When you try to enjoy the moment-to live in the now-you open your eyes up to what you have to be thankful for on a daily basis.  It's hard to do and I am not the best at slowing down, but seeing what I have around me is worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving to anyone reading!  


 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A new adventure

Some of you may know or may not know that mr and I are not longer a couple.  I posted about it here for all you slow pokes to catch up!  You know I love you right?  I was just teasing!!!

There is a new someone in my life.  Well, new should be modified.....they are new again.  It's one of the things where it's like your really good and awesome friend moved away 5 years ago and you stayed in loose contact - always being friendly but then they move back you are like "Shit!  How did I live the past years without seeing your face!?"  I know you know what I'm talking about-don't look at me like I'm crazy.....

So anyway, we had our first adventure to witness the beginning of the true love of my life's new adventure.  We are super adventurous people-obviously.  You all know my former neighbor turned best friends Nikki and Zach, or should I say Mrs. and Mr.!!!!!  That's right!!!!! They got married!!!!!! Yay!!!!  

And yup I took someone they had never met before to their wedding!!  I am that kinda friend.  Ha!  Hindsight says that could have gone really really bad but lucky for me, the new dude (we shall call him New B-hahaha get it....newbie but his first name starts with B so it's New B?!  I crack myself up) is totally awesome.  Between his awesomeness, the married folks awesomeness and my awesomeness, I am surprise the world didn't implode.  We were all peas and carrots together.  I could relive that weekend-minus about 5 drinks, yes I was that girl that doesn't remember most of the night-every weekend if I could.  

Driving across the great state of Ohio, not getting bored with the conversation, best friends meeting New B, best friends' families meeting New B, everyone loving New B, watching two people I love the most get married, drinking way too much, dancing on stage with a band with Nikki, and surviving a killer hangover drive back across Ohio: quite the fucking adventure.

And now, some of my favorite pictures....hopefully Nikki won't kill me for posting them.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Grief

I knew it was going to happen.  You can only keep grief at bay for so long before you end up crying while walking to your car and then can't stop all night.  Or when someone asks how you are and you tear up. 

No one tells you how to handle grief as a grown up or as a parent.  No one tells you that grieving is so much harder when you are the caretaker of another person.  Suppression has been my method because I don't have time to greive in my day.  There is too much to take care of that no one else will do for me.

We had a pack meeting tonight which went really well overall, but the things I would normally take care of, I didn't even remember until someone else was taking care of it.  A month ago was our last meeting which means last night a month ago, MR had our round 1 of breaking up (which technically was round 2 if you count our beginning of August conversation) and the after our last pack meeting I got the call about my grandpa. 

Here we are a month later, I still don't know that I have come to realize that grandpa is gone and I have left the person who I thought I would marry.  It's like everything is just involuntary reaction; no real brain power is happening.

This is the busiest time in the year and all I want to do is stay in bed.  I am ready for my motivation to return.  I am ready to be me and not a sad, unorganized, irresponsible version of me.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A New Chapter.....again.

Leaving someone you love it hard.  Making the decision to be end a relationship with love still in your heart is complicated.  Sometimes it's true that you can’t be with the one you love.  For so many reasons, love isn’t the only thing you have to have.  I love the Beatles’ notion that "all you need is love," but I seriously doubt they were talking about a lifelong relationship between to people when they wrote those lyrics.  You need more than that.  You need to want the same thing.  You need to have a "us verse the world" attitude.  In the words of my grandma, you need to have common interests and agree on the big things in life.  (She also threw in great sex, but in all honesty, that was not an issue)  When a relationship is lacking some of those factors-it is hard.  I have always heard that sometimes you have to walk away, but my idealistic nature believed John Lennon and Paul McCartney…..I wouldn't let walking away fly.  If there is love you can work through anything.  Right?  Until you aren't happy.  When you aren't happy, you lose direction.  If I don’t have direction and something that I am working towards, it perpetuates my unhappiness.  I debated faking happiness as long as I could….the stupid idea that I would sacrifice my happiness for the happiness of two others.  I think that would make me a worse person than leaving someone that I love.  I think that would have been a deep cut, one that would be harder for him to rebuild himself.  I would have been robbing him of a happy life and replacing it was a fake happy life.  That would be much worse than leaving him.  I believe that there is someone better for him.  I know he thinks that it's over because I think there is someone better out there for me.  And of course I have thought of that, but it has not been in the forefront, it is not the reason why I have left.  I believe he will find her.  He will fall in love so fast and he will not wait to commit himself to her for the rest of their lives, and he will make her happy.  He will spoil her like he did me, but he will spoil her with more than he was able to for me, because she will be more accepting of it.  She will be able to communicate, appreciate, and give him the affection that I couldn't give him.  He will have a happy life.  He will find his inner peace.  He will be happy.

I will be happy too.  I am happy.  I may find someone one day.  Someone that will love every part of my personality.  Someone who will love the positions I take in the world and who will have the same kind of drive that I have.  Someone who will match me and push me further.  Someone who will not be jealous of my past, or my present.  

I am happy that I had the chance to love him.  I think loving him has made me better.  Before him, I didn't know if I had the capacity to fully love someone.  It has made me aware of the barriers I still keep around my heart.  We all need to work on ourselves, to make ourselves better people.  He has made me aware of where I need to work to make sure that in my next relationship, I don't fall into the same patterns.

Here I am.  Just RP and I again.  We will survive.  He will survive.  We will all build resilience.  We will build character because we will have dealt and lived through something that, at one point in time, none of us could image.

Here's to moving forward.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fine the way you are

Being a single parent is tough.  I think that is an understatement but it is just something you do.  You push through the hard times.  You develop a stiff upper lip.  You hold your head up through the decisions you make without a partner, good or bad.  You stick to your guns.  Add to that another layer, when you are a singe parent of child whose other parent isn't present.  Life gets a little tougher, but ask any single parent on any day how hard it is, and most won't complain. We single parent in stride and don't focus on it being hard.  We focus on getting it done.  But there are those days.  The days that feel impossible and the times that are gut wrenching.

On the way to soccer practice RP was explaining to me how cool it would be if Brandon Phillips and I got married.  After some chuckles and explaining how unlikely that is, he said.  "I'm just fine the way I am.  I don't need a dad."

My stomach hit the back of my throat.  He has said stuff like that before, but it will always hits hard.  The only thing I could say was that he is better than fine, he is amazing. 
 
He is right though.  He will be fine without his dad.  He will strive without his dad.  But he said "a dad."  He didn't even direct that statement about his dad.  He knows without truly knowing, that he is moving beyond the hope of his dad returning.  And now, it seems as though he is moving beyond the idea of even having a step dad.  While I don't want him to shut that idea out of his mind, I want him to know that he is right.  He will be fine just the way he is.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In dedication to my Grandpa

As many of you already know, my Grandpa Don passed away last Thursday.  His service was yesterday and it was a very lovely service.  My uncle Ron and I each prepared a little something in remembrance of him, and I have had a request to post my words.  While I spoke during the service, I had my brave and thoughtful son by my side.  His support helped me through and my support gave him the courage to muster up his own small dedication to his great grandpa.  His was short, sweet and to the point, "I miss my grandpa."








When I shared with my co workers and friends that my grandpa had passed, the first question they all asked was, "Was he sick?"  And the answer is "No, he was not sick.  It was unexpected."  The next question was, "How old was he?"  "Grandpa Don turned 91 in July."  The expression on the their face changed slightly as though because of his age it should have been a little expected, so without them even asking the next question, I answered, "You had to know him to understand that he may have been 91 but he wasn't that old."  He had faced death before and triumphed over it. 
11 years ago we had almost lost him, but he knew he wasn't ready to leave and fought through.  Grandpa Don still had a lot to check off his list.  He still had to become a great grandpa to 5 babies.  He also had to get to know all of them so he could torment and tease them appropriately.  He had to see all of his grandchildren graduate high school and move on toward obtaining or very closely obtaining a college degree.  He had to welcome his oldest two grandchildren back to the Midwest, while saying good bye to Lauren, Andy and Chris who moved away to start their own chapters in life.  He had to see my sister Jennifer, get married.  Grandpa had to help direct the box traffic while I moved into my new house.  He had to earn the title of "Best Grandpa in the World."  An honor bestowed upon him by my son Parker, because he knows how to fix everything.  Grandpa still had 11 years of memories to make with his wife.  For us, he would live through anything.  For us, he was going to outlive everyone.  For us, losing him at 91 was a huge shock.
The days since the phone call from my dad have been a different experience than before for me personally.  The tears and thoughts that I expected have not come and I wonder why.  I have concluded that, while my life will not be as complete without my grandpa, I know that his life was complete.  I am sure there was a final thought of wanting to tell grandma he loved her one more time.  I am sure he thought of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren before his energy left his body.  But my Grandpa Don had an amazing life.  He created an amazing family.  He left a legacy behind him that will make his essence immortal.  Think about what we were each doing at the time he passed.  I was leading a Cub Scout meeting.  I was doing something that he would have been doing.  I was acting out a part of my personality that reflects a part of his.  My dad was traveling in Utah for motorcycle races.  My aunt Nancy was traveling to New York to see her son, Chris.  My sister Lauren was sailing and watching the sunset in the San Francisco Bay.  Jennifer had left work early to have an at home date with her husband.  Aunt Sally was running errands to help out her sister and her father.  We were all doing something that we can attribute back to grandpa.  We were all living out a piece of something he gave us.  His death is different for me because I believe he was ready.  I know he lived his life they way he wanted.  He turned every handshake in to a friendship and explored every corner of this earth.  He had an amazing wife/ partner/ best friend to travel with and to create a clan to be proud of.  I am sad that he is not here.  I am sad that I won't hear the sound of joyful surprise in his voice when I call-he always knew my voice.  I am sad that we don't get another Don Moyer repair or story.  But I am so grateful that I had the chance to have him around for 30 years.  I am grateful for all the parts of his personality and the values that he passed to me.  I am grateful that he had such a complete, loving and happy life; knowing that his life was fulfilled makes me able to accept his passing more than I have accepted those lost before him.  He had a full life before the last 11 bonus years and I think we did a good job of making these bonus years exciting for him.  I will miss you Grandpa- there is no doubt, but thank you for everything Moyer that you have given me.

 (Photos are credited to my family who posted them on Facebook and I stole them from their facebook pages....thanks family!)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

No Small Feat

As many of you know already, I am now a homeowner.  Please feel free to jump up and down with joy for me....I will do it to....ok 3 more seconds......and we're done.

So homeowner I am.  Out with the old, though very cute apartment......
 (Even cuter when my landlord added the landscaping to the front of the house when he put it on the market.....of course not when he had two tenants.  RP and I lived in the bottom unit)

 and in with the new!  Isn't it cute!!  I love this picture.  It was an accident that RP and I were looking at each other.  But it works!  Show of hands to how many of you noticed the creepers in the back ground....if you can name those two, you get a seriously cool high five.

Something very random, but I found on my blog the other day was this post.  I wrote it during my 30 Day Blog Challenge at the beginning of 2011....take a second and read it by clicking here.  Funny huh?  It looks like I have everything that was on that list.

But anyway, so the new place is great....previous owners, not so great at cleaning.  I haven't painted or really done anything in terms of making it my own beside insuring that when I clean next time it will be my own filth, not some one else's or their pets.  That is really time consuming but part of the bathroom cleaning did involve an "update" if you will......a new.....wait for it.....toilet seat!  BOOM!  I thought, what an easy fix!  I thought, shooooooot, there is no way I will need help with that!!  I gots it!  So I go to change it last night after RP's last baseball game, and what do I discover?  Oh, the bolts are stripped and rusted!! (see exhibit 1) Needless to say, it didn't happen last night.
Exhibit 1
Now I know it looks like you could put a Philip's head in there, but trust me, it was a no go.  But thanks to the internet and mr's advice, sprayed from WD40 on those bad boys and the nuts underneath and BAM, I got it done.
The nuts broke while I was unscrewing them
Look at the nasty bolt.  And see the metal....gross.

 Isn't my new toilet seat pretty?  Not the word you would use to describe it?  Kinda weirded out that I posted a picture of my toilet?  I expected that a little bit, but what can I say, I am a little proud of my self....it wasn't easy but I did not ask for anyone to come and help me do it.  I got it done.  Kitchen remodel?  Dust off my hardhat and get my tool belt.  (Just kidding....I don't have money for that!  I just bought a house!)


Just for an added little chuckle for you all, I have signed up for 2 Home Depot free "DIY" workshops.  And I signed mr up to go with me to one of them...concrete repair.....ooooo yea.
You are a little impressed, you can admit it.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

A few of my favorite things

I am letting myself one post to be nostalgic about my apartment.  Buying a home and moving is too exciting for too much sentiment.  I always knew that the apartment would be temporary though I never knew when living there would end.

It has been a good little house.  My landlord mentioned how it is like RP has grown up there, which in a sense is kinda true.  He knows that we lived with my mom before that apartment but he does not have that many memories of living there.  He was 3 when we moved in and we are leaving a month before his 8th birthday.  Most of his first solid memories are of this place.  I know he will always have memories from living here.

Parker when we moved in.  So small I could still carry him!








There are a few things that I cherish with this place that will not be able to ever be recreated.  This was the place where I truly learned what it meant to live on my own.  I had done so in college before, financially speaking, but I had so many roommates and RP’s dad.  Then I lived at home again where we were fully enmeshed with my parents and my sister again.  I miss living there a lot, but I know how good it was for me to move away.  I have grown and continue to grow.  I have learned how to handle the struggle of when the last paycheck really wasn't enough to cover everything.  I have learned how to build a home…..granted maintaining a house will be very different.

The biggest part of living here that will always be the most dear to me was the day that Nikki and Zach moved in with their (at that time) only child, Quinn.  They have changed my life more than any other moment living here.

When they moved out, I knew my time left living here was limited.  The feel of the building wasn’t the same anymore.  They are my family.  Their children are RP’s siblings.   I adore everything about Nikki as a friend, feminist, mother, and domestic partner….everything.  The growth in both of our lives means that we will never live as close as we did for 3 years, but I would never ever trade that time for anything else.

Despite the wasp infestation, the numerous sewage backups, the broken washing machine, the drafty windows, the lack of a sidewalk and yard, the late night gunshots and the miscellaneous other problems we have had, we have had a good run here.  I know never to paint RP’s bedroom walls green stripes again.  I know that I love to tape pictures of my furthest friend and my furthest family member on my cabinets so they don’t seem so far.

                  I know that decorating my kitchen with the cake pans from past birthdays is a fun way to reminisce and see how much my baby has grown.  

                                                                       

I know that Rosie helps me remember that I can do it ;) And seriously, who doesn't get inspiration from Rosie?



Next week I close on the new place and then a week later RP and I move into our next adventure.  I don't think moving will be hard for him.  He is so excited at all the differences between there and here already.  He has also brought up how some rules will change and he will have to get used to the new rules.  We have talked about a garden and yard work and more responsibility for both of us.  I am so happy right now, with this step in life and I am very proud of my self for being able to do this for my small family.  I made a very good home for RP here but making a home for him in our own space and enough space that we are not on top of each other.....I mean seriously, that is amazing


Friday, May 10, 2013

Moving forward


Change.  As everyone has always told me, it is inevitable.  It is a constant in and inconstant world.  You can always expect it.  Yet, I have always resisted it.

When I was a child, my parents added a family room to the back of our house and during the process, they remodeled the kitchen.  This meant that our Harvest Yellow refrigerator would be replaced with a lame almond colored one.  I was upset about this.  I cried as they removed the old refrigerator from the house, begging for my parents to keep a part of it for me….like the door. 

On a separate occasion, the upstairs bathroom was being remodeled.  I did not ask to keep the toilet seat, but rather, I snuck my own memorabilia from the demolition; including a piece of the wall paper and linoleum floor.

When my grandparents updated their kitchen, the same thing happened, except I think my dad was feeling nostalgic on this occasion because all of their green metal cabinets and their fridge ended up in our garage to create a work shop area....the work shop never was completed.

So you can see a theme from my life.  I have never been keen on dramatic change.  Yet, here I am.  My life has been swamped in dramatic change since November 6, 2004 (the day I found out I was pregnant).  I hit a plateau until last when I left Jimmy John's for Planes.
  
I started 2013 at Planes and looking forward to a very soon coming interview with Great American.  A year after I had been denied a job here, they called with another offer.  This change of employment was official in March.  This has been a change for which I am thrilled every day.  I am back in the part of Cincinnati I love the most.  I see our beautiful sky line every day.  I gladly walk a half a mile to and from my car.  I see people on the street whom I used to serve and am happy to see that they are still here- although, none of them recognize me.  I feel peaceful when I enter the building.  I am still learning this new job and will be for some time, but it is a place where I know I will have a long future. 

But to back up for a second: my last day of Planes is important.  It was a rather boring day because I had finished up 90% of my work and passed along the other 10% already.  Another lady had had her last day the Tuesday before me, so the farewell party was already passed.  My landlord had called and left a message for me, that I declined to listen to until later that day.  I called him on my way home and was told that he is selling the Two Family building where RP and I live.  Great.  He assures me that he will do everything he can in the event of a sale to get the new owner to want me to stay.  For the next couple weeks, I try not to sweat it, but I start looking online for apartments and since those are so boring to look at online, it morphed to looking at houses.

So there happens to be an adorable craftsman in a neighboring community of Cincinnati.  I mean, it is cute.  Front porch with a swing, two car garage, fenced back yard, two bedroom cuteness wrapped up in brick and siding.  It happens to have an open house the day after I find it.  RP, MR and I load into the car the next day to check it out.  Love at first sight.  I mean love.  So I schedule a private viewing of it for the following weekend so my dad, step mom and sister can be present.  They all fell in love as well.  So then comes the offer, the counter, the counter, the acceptance.  Boom.  Under contract.  Fast?  I know.  Unpredictable?  Completely.  A huge step?  Scares that crap out of me every day.


A requirement of my loan is to take a first time home buyer class.  Yes, it is 9 hours long on a Saturday.  But it is free.  Yes, it was very hard to wake up and want to go to this on a Saturday, but, I am being completely sincere, it was worth it!  There are a ton of grants (free $$$$) for first time home buyers out there!  Anyway, I am driving in Clifton and good ole MLK coming up to Jefferson when I rear end a Kia Sorento.  From the looks of my car, you are thinking, did you plow into her?  Were you sleeping?  What the hell!  I wish it was a good story.  Construction, blinding sun, traffic and a start and then stop light.  She started, I started, I looked at the clock (my best guess), she stopped, I looked up, I braked, boom, my hood was bent in a way it shouldn't have been.

I am very calm and collected about it now, but I assure that MR and my dad would have other words to describe me that morning.  My gut said my car was totaled.  Her Kia, not so much.  Almost just fine is how I would describe her SUV.  The police came, we did the exchange of info, she drove off, my car was towed and MR came to pick me up.  (Thank you so much again my dear).  Off I went to be a half hour late to my class.

Less than two months since my last day at Planes, I’m in my new job, waiting on my closing date and have a brand new car.  When did my life get real?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Successful Week

What a relief this week has been!

My last post, I shared the way the my house utilizes our calender.  The revamp of the stickers started two weeks ago with week one not being 100% successful.  RP worked super hard that week but did earn enough to go to the art museum.....well the story has changed for this past week.  He just all the stickers he needed for some Saturday fun!  I am so proud of him.  He scratched the art museum and instead he wanted to play on the play place (I know, it's not what I would choose either) at McDonald's   Two sweaty hours later, he was  ready for home.  No, I did not play on the play place too, I had a nerdfest two hours creating and update a spreadsheet for Cub Scouts on number for iPad....fyi, I love it.

The week was great, we still had reminders and some ups and downs.  He didn't earn as many bedtime stickers as he did the other kind which goes to show what really needs some work.  Saturday after the fun he had a melt down.  It started because I wasn't helping him clean his room.  I will have to watch what instigate a melt down in the middle of a good day.......I wonder if there is something common between good day melt downs.

Anyway, one thing that I have noticed does help him re-solidify from a melt down is helping with a task that is not normally given to him.  Specifically cooking and baking.  He helped me made a grape salad and a cake last night and it pulled him back together.  Future chef on my hands I think :)

Today was really icing on the cake (heehee).  It was the big ceremony for the Cub Scouts, one that I have been stressing over for a few weeks now.  And of course, RP was at the school bright and early (it was really only 11am but it felt like 10am! a little day light savings time humor for ya) because, as a leader, I was there to help set up.  He was great there, set up chairs, wiped off tables, help a few other parents.  Really kept himself occupied and listened.  The same happened through out the entire ceremony.  And then, to top off a successful event (minus Kroger not having my chicken order made on time), a friend.....well not just a friend, he favorite fellow Scout, asked him over to play.  This is a first folks!  He has gone to friends houses to birthdays and play dates, but nothing like this.  Not a spur of the moment thing where I am not invited to go along too!  Before he left, I told him to give me his uniform and he was shaking he was so excited to go over.....now that I think about it, I don't even think he said good bye!  Ha!

I wish I would have know the entire week was going to go so smoothly while it was happening....I think I would have tried to enjoy it a little more.  Now to this week.......

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Our Calender

Last post I spoke briefly about the frustrations I have had with RP over the past few month and my struggle with his diagnosis of ADHD.  Since this is something that he and I will always be working on by creating new coping mechanisms for him, I thought I would share something that I started in the fall.  Although it wasn't until December that I had my first meeting with the counselor, she stated the way we use our calender is a great behavior coping mechanism for all kids, but especially with kids with ADHD.

Motivation can be an issue with any kid, but it is particularly difficult for children that fall on the ADHD spectrum.  Letting their impulse take over is much easier.

I have always tried to use some sort of chore or behavior chart with RP, but it either did not work or it was too complicated for him to see how good decisions equals reward.  RP is so into the iPad that I thought for sure I had scored when I downloaded the Chore Chart, but after a few weeks, the pizzazz of the chart wore off and the motivation of the chart was gone.  Through the wisdom of my mother, she suggested that maybe the chore chart on the iPad was not visual enough for RP.....I swear to you, my mom is the wisest woman in the world.

So between the failed attempts of stickers to show good decisions, my mom suggesting something visual that he can see very day, and the very often suggestion that there is a reward at a certain point in gaining the praises, I decided RP would have the opportunity to earn two different types of stickers in a day.  The first sticker, a solid face happy sticker.  This sticker is earned by behavior decisions at school.  We have gone in and out of phases where RP's teacher will email me regarding his behavior, hence a sticker earned for school.

At first, I know that RP would exaggerate how well he did at school, thinking that I would not know if he was telling me the truth or not....but because his teacher and I have created an open communication relationship, he quickly learned that he could only be honest about earning the solid face sticker.  It was a really amazing experience the first time he stated that he did not deserve a solid face sticker.  I asked him how his day went at school and he hesitated but said it went well.  When I asked him if he deserved a sticker, he sighed and stated that he was given one reminder by his teacher and did not feel as though he had earned his reward.  Since then, that is the way it has worked.  He actively participates in not only earning the reward, but reflecting upon his behavior during that part of the day that I can not witness helps him see when and where he made good and bad decisions.  When his behavior is on an even plane, watching him reflect and comment on his day feels like a huge parenting success.

The second sticker is for the evening and weekends.  This one is way more fancy, it is all glittery and purdy.  These are more obvious as to when it is earned.  While there is still discussion about his decisions and he has time for self reflection, it is not the same as the solid face stickers.

Each month RP would choose a big prize and then we also had a list of smaller prizes from a prior attempt at a behavior chart.  The break down is like this....he could cash in stickers or collect them until the end of the month.  For every 10 solid face stickers, he could earn a small prize (ie picking a redbox or netflix movie, picking a game to play, passing the football ect) and the same could happen for every 14 glitter face stickers.  He could choose to save until he reached 35 stickers for a prize that was named at the beginning of the month.  The first few prizes he chose and earned were movies, The Avengers and Madagascar 3.  While I was not crazy about movies being the prize, he was motivated and that was the most important part.  One month he chose a bag of marbles as his prize, kinda just reminds you of the innocence of children.




At the beginning of January, things had been tough.  He spent a lot time at my Dad's house where there was no sticker calender.  When I asked what he would want his grand prize option to be, he said he could not think of anything.  That worried me that the motivation was gone.  I suggested a sleep over.  He agreed.  Although he worked very hard in the month of January, there were some stickers that were given to him based on a second chance, not the first behavior displayed.  I also started more bonus stickers in January based on him going above and beyond expectations.  Most of his bonus stickers were earned by getting up, dressed and ready for school on his own.  So his reward was earned for January.....kind of.


Where I failed

One thing that I have always read is that there can not be a reward delay with children.  They are learning when learning, they need to be praised quickly and redirected quickly.  Just like when we punish children for bad behavior, we don't wait to execute whatever the consequence may be, it is immediate and once it is over, we move on.....well, we attempt to....obviously, we are all human and what we read about parenting is not always executed to 100%.  Where I went wrong was delay in rewarding him.....well that is one place.  Around December, like many, the budget was tight so the reward was put on hold.  While he did get everything he earned, there was a delay.  A delay that eventually back lashed his motivation.  February was a really bad month for RP and myself.  Very tense and like every nerve for both of us was exposed.  He had lost all motivation in earning stickers and was not being honest with his behavior during the day at school.  So now we have out sticker calender with no "want" to earn the stickers.  The lack of reward to him as he earned it had caught up with him.

A second bit of failure on my part was also against something that I have read over and over again....I took a sticker already earned away for bad behavior.  While I do take away privileges when he goes way beyond just not earning a sticker, I was then taking away something that he had already worked hard to get.  The behavior at the time had nothing to do with the sticker that was earned.  It was one of those desperate measures thing that happens when you parent.  I was angry with him, nothing else was working, so I hit him below the belt, so to say.  I knew that he would be extremely upset and compliant if I removed a sticker from the calender.  I will tell you what, although it may have worked in that moment, I felt guilty as all hell about it.  Plus, I think that if I would have done that more than a couple times, the back lash of motivation would be much worse that what I have been experiencing.

The Revamp

Now that we have had a month go by that has had no rewards.....and after talking to the counselor about this change, I have revamped our calender and introduced two times to earn sticker.

Often times, RP can get up and get dressed famously on his own but then he would have a bad afternoon at school.  Or he would have an amazing evening but a miserable bedtime.  While the bonus stickers were there when he was first gaining the responsibility of getting himself out of bed, now it is something that is more expected and tying that responsibility into his entire day at school was too difficult to reward.  He sees them as connected but separate.  He understands better now the cycle of a good morning can become a good day and evening and night or converse of that, and we have spent a lot of time with the analogy of the bad mood ball rolling down the hill.  But they are still separate to him.  So now we have introduced the star sticker.  This is only earned when he wakes up or when he goes to sleep.

Another revamp of the calender is the timeline.  This also makes much more sense to me after having a very bad month.  He needs to be re-motivated.  So now we are only basing the reward on a week, not a build up or a cash in at the end of the month.  Again, it was too much delay between the hard work and the reward.  I am still working out the kinks because we just started this last week.....but he had a good week.  The reward was a trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum, unfortunately, he did not earn enough stickers.  This was tough and he was disappointed.  I was disappointed.  But I held to my guns and we did not go.  It was frustrating because I could see how hard he was working.  Our Pack meeting that we had last week was one of his best ever.  He separated himself from his favorite buddy during the portion of the meeting where he needed to be listening.

He was still rewarded, we played a few different card games and it was fun.  This weekend though, the Art Museum trip is back on the plan.....and he is doing well so far this week.  For now he is to earn 3 stickers in each category, wake up, day time, evening, and bedtime.....it sounds like too much, but for him, I think it'll work.  If they aren't all earned again this week, I will have to re-evaluate where he is having the most trouble.

So this was a long winded post!  For right now, I am hoping to be able to give suggestions and gain suggestions from anyone who is parenting an ADHD child and, in my case, who is not medicating.  I am still in the beginning parts of my research of ADHD, so really don't know that much......and I ramble a lot. :)






Sunday, March 3, 2013

So then there was life

So yea, it's been awhile......sorry for not calling or writing or sending smoke signals, life has really caught up to me over the past few months.

I wish I could say that I have been way to overwhelmingly happy that I haven't even thought about my blog and how it helpful it is for me to get my thoughts out......if I told you that is the reason I have stayed away (partially on purpose) I would be the biggest a-hole liar.  Life has caught up to me in the most bite you in the ass kinda way.

I haven't writing because I don't like to bitch and moan.  If I can't make my sorrows into something sarcastic and sometimes self deficating, then it turns into a pity party for one......and I can't stand that.  But without this unique form of release, I seriously think I am going to explode.

RP has been diagnosed with ADHD.  Yes, I have heard that it is not from poor parenting.  Yes, I have heard that it is totally treatable, sometimes without medication and there is a spectrum where a child may fall.  Yes, I have heard that some of the world's most influential and creative people are ADHD.  Yes, I have heard all of that and I have spewed it out from time to time when I have needed to remind a family member and my self of the positive things that go along with all of life's little quirks.  Yes, I have heard that he is still the same child and nothing about him has changed.......yes, I have heard......but let me tell you how much none of that matters when we are in the middle of an episode.  When the behavior is so impulsive that it has no matter if I am barricading the doorway with my own body but his is still reeling to get through......I have heard all the other stuff but it is hard as hell to remember it when you are stuck in the "fit" moments.

That last one, he is still the same child and nothing has changed.......it's true but it is so untrue at the same time.  He is still RP.  He still cares and loves the same things as he always has.  He still has his amazing days and his low days.  He still is the same.  But as soon as I had that conference with the Behavioral Counselors at his school, he is different.  Or I am.  His moods seem more extreme.  He tries to physically over power me more than he did before.  He seems to have actually lost his motivation to earn his stickers, unlike before.  It is like he now fits the symptoms and signs of ADHD where as before, he was a 2nd grader who had a summer birthday, he was a little bit socially delayed compared to the other second graders........I think it is me that is different......not him.

He is a great student.  He sits still and completes his work when he has some at school.  He is sitting in the kitchen completely involved with a craft (you know those peg board things with the plastic bead things that you make a pattern and then iron it so the beads melt together.....oh come on, you know what I'm talking about).....he can sit and watch Lord of the Rings, seriously all three of them if I let him.  To me, this is not ADHD......but like I said, apparently there is a spectrum and most of his lies on the social and impulse side.

I'm not going to lie.....group activities are not his strong suit.  I used to think it was because he wasn't involved in them enough so when he was around other kids he just got super excited.  But he is regularly involved in sports, two seasons a year and he is in cub scouts which is at least 3 times a month.  So I know now it isn't the lack of extracurricular activities.

I know it isn't a parenting issue, but I have never felt like more of a failure......his behavior is a direct result of my parenting and I feel like I have let him down.

It seems to me that this blog will no longer be just regarding a day in the life as a single parent, but more like how to cope with a son who has recently been diagnosed with ADHD and there has been no medical intervention yet..........is that a good title?