Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Are We There Yet?

I've been out of town for a week, in a western desert state where the sun was out EVERY day.  It was wonderful.  I was with Jack, and even that was a great experience.  I was intending to come today and write about that, and how thankful I am for that time.
I am thankful for that time.  I am thankful for every day, every minute of that time.  I'm thankful for every day when LT & Maggie's grandparents were with them and made them feel loved and cared for.
Unfortunately, last night, reality struck. My only question is, are we there yet??????  Have we reached rock bottom?  Nope.  Jack has not reached rock bottom.  I, however, am starting to feel the rocks on the bottom as they tear at my hands that I'm using to hold myself up.
Tomorrow is d-day for me, or s-day.  I'm having some surgery, that while it isn't expected to be serious, it is making me uneasy.  I'm trying not to worry, not let fear bring me down.  In the midst of all of this, Jack's alcoholic behavior is driving a bigger wedge in our family than ever before. 
While I don't condone at all the behavior that LT has engaged in, Jack's need to control, and his absolute my way or the highway parenting mentality is really not healthy.  As if I expected healthy?  But what is best for LT?  He's doing fantastic at school so far.  Granted, it's three weeks, but HUGE improvement.  At home, it's horrible.  We started off with some great family time, each week, all involved and seemingly enjoying it.  Last night, Jack thought he needed to go into LTs room and look around.  He found 2 pieces of mail that LT had opened with my name on them.  And proceeded to MELT down.  LT said maybe he should live somewhere else.  My heart broke into some small pieces.  That is NOT okay with me.  I get that he shouldn't have done it.  I agree.  I get that he should be remorseful and he is - but not on the schedule that Jack would like. 
Jack yelled, stormed, left.
When he got home, LT didn't apologize fast enough to suit him.  Apparently there is a clock running and you have only x amount of minutes to apologize or it is invalid.  Again, I have no idea how many minutes = x, and so far, it seems to be variable.
I suck at math, so this doesn't really work for me.  On so many levels.
I remained calm as Jack ignored and disappeared.  I attempted civil discussion.  Yeah, not so much.  He even told me he'd been drinking, so go to bed. I failed to listen.  I maintained my mostly calm and not freaking out.  I'm proud of that.
How do I answer him when he asks what he has done wrong as a parent to LT?  In his eyes, absolutely nothing, but everything he said shows that he has a balance sheet running and he's giving more than everyone else on every level.  Especially financially.  I remained silent, because after 5 beers, I'm not going there.  But was my silence condoning his statements?  I don't know, but I'm looking forward to being unconscious for surgery.  That's about all I can handle right now.
God, I know you have a plan.  I trust you.  I believe you can use all things for good for those who are called according to your purposes.  Help me in my doubt.  (throwing all kinds of scripture references at once.)  I know you're still there.  Without you, I'd be a bigger mess.  Please appear real to me today.  Protect LT from himself and all of us from the effects of Jack's drinking.  Just for today.

Friday, January 11, 2013

God at Work, Part 2

Sunday, 12/23, the three children and I head to church, before which the girls try to persuade Jack to go with us to Grandma's.  Nope, he's not going.  We head off to church and enjoy our time.  Upon our return, to check one more time if he'd go with us, we leave him to his sourness and head to grandma's.  While there, we have a great time, but no one mentions Jack - it's so weird that we all know about things being strange, but we never talk about it.  Well, at least not then.  We have a great Christmas, enjoy being with all of the kids and my family.  It felt really good to be able to let it go.  Enjoy the moment, all of that.  When we got home, it was very uncomfortable, Jack being his usual moodswing self, not wanting to talk to anyone, etc.  But my parents had gotten him something that I thought he'd really like.  The kids ran it in, placed it in front of him, and he shouts "Why in the h*#9 would you think I'd want that.  The girls go running off crying, LT rolls his eyes and goes upstairs, and I am pretty furious.  I will say that I was able to say that he was being completely unreasonable, and so he left to "get something to eat," because in this state of mind, he never eats with us, won't eat the food we have in the house, it's all very weird. 
Abby goes home to her mom's house, the kids and I head off to our rooms for bed, and Jack sleeps in the spare bedroom again.  It was shaping up to be a horrendous holiday, once again.
However, this time - God was moving - even in the midst of all the chaos.

Monday 12/24 - We awaken to crabby dad, and Maggie & I begin to prepare our Christmas cookies, rolls, etc.  Mid day, we decide that Abby will come over for dinner that night, as she had plans with her mom's family after our Christmas morning festivities.  Jack continued to stomp around and be generally horrible.  When I tried to talk to him about Abby coming over, he said to eat without him.  I began questioning him, calmly for a change, with what we had done to make him so upset.  He proceeded to say he was packing a bag and going to a hotel so he wouldn't have to "put up" with the "crap" anymore. When I asked what I was doing that he was having to "put up" with, he grumbled un-coherently and stomped up the steps.  Well, in mid jumping in drama, I went up and told him that if he left it was his choice, but that wasn't what I wanted, and it wasn't what the kids wanted.  I told him that families that love each other work things out - they don't leave whenever they want to.  He left, and I was shaking I was so upset, angry, something.  I don't do anger well, so maybe that's what I was and just didn't know it.  I told the kids I'd be back because I needed to calm down.
When I got back 20 minutes later, he was there.  We began talking, and he was being much more calm and reasonable.  I was suspicious, but continued the conversation.  It came out that he was frustrated by LT's lack of motivation, lack of attention to anything (pretty much breathing and being a 17 year-old), but when I told him Families worked things out, it got his attention.  He told me he heard the exact same thing on Jerry Spr*&ger earlier in the day - and he remembered it and wanted to do things differently.  Well, let's just say I'm not one of Jerry's biggest fans, but after this - maybe I can tolerate him from afar!  LOL.  He said he was tired of not feeling like a family (but he still doesn't see that his drinking and his actions drive all of us to seclusion), and he wants to do things differently.  Abby was on her way over for dinner by this time, but afraid to come in the door.  She did, we proceeded to have our Christmas meal, and it was obvious he was doing better, but we were still skeptical. 

It was then that God's hand became real - Jack asked what time he needed to be ready so we could all go to church together.  I may have cried a bit while I was in the shower as we all prepared to go to midnight services.  We sat together, in one row, in church - the last time he was there had to be 3 years ago or more when Maggie had a concert.  It was amazing.  He said afterwards that he was thankful that we were all there together.

God is good, all the time.  And working, even when we can't see.
to be continued....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It was a Merry Christmas - God at work - Part 1

If you would have told me what the last 4 days would hold, I'd have gone into a hole before it happened.  However, I'm not privy to foreseeing the future, so I just lived it as it came. 
Saturday - started out great.  Went to breakfast, finished up some last minute shopping, just Jack and me, prepared some food together with Abby.  Maggie was with her grandma, working on preparing for Christmas at their house on Sunday.  LT was busy hiding in his room so he wouldn't get yelled at.  I had worked hard, so decided to pick up BFF, Louise, and go for mani/pedis.  It is our little treat to ourselves when we feel stressed.  As I'm almost done with that, I get a series of urgent texts from Maggie.  She's been getting them from Abby - saying Jack is freaking out about LT having a new tv in his room. 
(about this time you should know that LT got his TV in early October, purchased with his own money, and I picked it up for him.  At that time and most of the time since then, Jack was "out of parenting" with LT, so I didn't see any reason to involve him in the decision.)  I return Louise to her house (at this point, LT is working), and pray my way back home.  I go in, and as usual, you can cut the tension with a knife.  I ask how Jack and Abby are, what they have been doing, and Jack asks me to come upstairs with him.  That's either really good or really bad, never in the middle.  We get to LT's room and he's got some things out of LT's closet and piled around, including the box for the TV, a game console thingy that went to the computer and he had ordered LT to dipsose of it or store it out of the computer room, and some video games that went to LT's ps something.  In case you can't tell, video games are not my thing.  Jack demands to know what is going on and why LT has this tv, where did the game console thing come from and when did he buy the games.  While yelling at me. 
Um yeah, I don't respond well when yelled at.  Despite all the drama I've been through in the past 5 years, it has been worse in my first marriage and that isn't something I respond well to.  And normally it's not a problem - even with the alcoholic that is Jack.
I said the console thingy was from downstairs, you told him to bring it up.  The games - he's had these.  I haven't taken him anywhere to get them. The tv - well, here's where I screwed up royally, and i'm not even going to try to make it okay.  I lied and said he'd traded his 19" tv with his grandma for this 32" one.  Jack freaked out and told me to have him take it back to grandma, and that he wasn't going to grandma's house on Sunday because he was cleaning LTs room and there'd be nothing left. 
At this point, I am feeling like this is a TV mini-series.  Maybe i'm giving too many details.  However, seeing this in print does kind of make it real and obvious to me that i jumped right back into the crazy with both feet, and yikes, that stinks. 
So LT (at 11 pm when gets home from work) decides that he's taking everything that is his to grandma's house on Sunday and begins to pack it up right then and there.  Of course, this is after Jack has decided (while I was gone to pick up LT) to move into the spare room which shares the wall with LT (at the headboard end, of course).  I am trying to stay sane and wrap gifts downstairs, when Jack comes stomping down the stairs to the living room and says he's sleeping there because it's too loud upstairs.  Can you say passive agressive?

I promise God is working through all this, but I must post before I become a novel writer...to be continued.