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Archive for May, 2008

Ooooh, the pain

I really wasn’t kidding about the ouchies all over my body.

I need a massage.

I’ve never had one before.

I don’t know how to pick a stranger who will be touching me for 1.5 hours.

How do I do this?

I really have been hurting for a while, and I need this fixed.

Any advice on how to assess the various options?  I live in a slightly chi-chi town, and there ARE options.  I just don’t want some beefy dude with hairy hands touching my back.  I want some woman who’s a hell of a lot stronger than she looks.

Any way to narrow it down to that?

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I stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way home tonight.  I needed laundry quarters (even though I didn’t do the laundry after all), and so I picked up a bottle of Rose, and I was enjoying a slow walk home on a pretty spring evening. When all of a sudden my vision focused on a scene a block and a half in front of me.

And my stomach fell to the sidewalk.  I so didn’t want to see that person right now.  The person who is throwing so many nasty punches into my family’s well-being; causing so much stress – so many changes.  Such sadness and despondence in the life of one of my favorite people.

She was glaring at me.  Face all squinched up, disgust in her shoulders.

It was her.

The ExBFF.

I could not believe the reaction that I had to a 10 year old (well, 9 for another 3 weeks – she was born on J’s due date in 1998) child.

But she is the source of such anguish.  Such misery.

Another attempt at going to her mom last weekend.  Result was interesting.

I was told that the entire situation is MY fault.

In some ways, I was very relieved by this response.  I live in constant awareness of the fact that as much as J comes home with stories of Ex-BFF’s eviltude, BFF is likely going home with similar stories.

Turns out, not so much. Her mom was clueless.  She thought “everything was normal.”  But when she approached her child with my concerns, she was met with the allegation that I – Zuska – have sabotaged their friendship.  That I have “pulled them apart” and that if it weren’t for me, they could have worked everything out on their own.

i.e., J would have accepted the fact that she would be treated like shit forever – given “tests” wherein she is expected to be forever conscious of Ex-BFF’s moods and quirks and whims so that she can be sure to behave correctly and stave off her Wrath.

It was horrible of me to talk to my daughter about her self worth.  To teach her that friendship is not a pure sacrifice of self, and that self-respect is just as important as respect for others.

it IS all my fault.

“please be sure to tell J that this is not what I want, and this is not what [my daughter] wants, but rather what YOU want.”

Yah.  Okay.

_____________________

For the past 2.5 weeks, for the first time in my life, I’m dealing with consistent pain in my neck, back and shoulders.  Today it’s also in my right arm.  The pain is on the verge of debilitating.  People ask me what I did.  What I lifted.  Nothing.  Nothing.  Perhaps it was because I slept on my stomach?  And whipped my head up? (Similar actions hurt now)  Others say it’s where people hold stress.  Am I stressed?  No!  I said!  Work has been mellow.  My husband and I haven’t fought in ages (well, we sort of fought last night – he’s mad at me for increasing my responsibilities in the girls’ drama program at school –  but the question came before last night), my kids are doing well …. except that J is always sad.  And she’s waking in the night.  And her confidence is shattered.  And when I see Ex-BFF’s mom in public, I spend most of my energy swallowing my vomit.

I’m just so sick of it.

We have a meeting with the principal and guidance counselor next week.  I want to talk about the impact of this situation on the other girls in the class – about the way they all feel torn.  I would speak directly with the other parents if it wouldn’t make me seem like I was trying to collect allies in a fucking war.  I am not willing to take on that appearance.  To make the Ex-BFF’s mom find fault with me when I’ve tried so-so hard for both J and I and to take the high road – to not sink into the games.  But the other girls are also struggling.  They don’t know what to do.  They’re scared of being put in J’s position by Ex-BFF if they speak to J – they’re scared of J not wanting to be their friend because they’re siding with Ex-BFF out of fear.  They’re unhappy.

Everybody is unhappy.

I want this crap to go away.

I want to stop hating this child.

I want her to go away.  I want them to move.  Far, far away.

On Thursday – J and Ex-BFF had soccer practice together.  I was there.  Ex-BFF managed to pull every.single.girl. into her orbit with casual and carefree “come over heres!”  J was beaten down, wary, tired.  She ended up alone.  Two of the girls came to me to ask if J was okay – not to J.  They were scared.  Intimidated.  J was alone for the entire hour.  Her coach was perplexed.  The girls were skittish.  J. was lonely and sad.  She cried the whole way home.

Then Ex-BFF went away for the weekend.

Our phone rang off the hook.

The soccer game was lovely.

The girl scout meeting was fun and social and happy – J at the center; kids happy and good natured.

J had a sleepover with a friend on Sat. eve; she went to another friend’s house on Sunday afternoon; had another with her at E’s play on Sunday night.

Everyone felt safe for the weekend.

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I do not write this blog to educate others.  I am not here to give you instruction or advice.  There have been times that people have read my blog and thought perhaps I would have some advice, or experiences to share, and they’ve written to me through my publicized e-mail, and they received the advice and they’ve received more details. Through a private conversation.

If you want to know what it’s like to be a lawyer-mom, then you’re going to have to find people who want to tell you what it’s like.  You don’t have the luxury of just browsing the internet and stumbling on this blog, which is MINE (not yours), and having that particular detail of my life exposed to you.

Blogs are public.

My job is important to me.

It is not the fodder for public commentary.

Regardless of the “honesty” that you feel I have somehow committed to just by using up this URL.

Having a blog has NOTHING to do with my livelihood.  I will not risk one for the sake of the other.

If you want “honesty” from people – dig a little fucking deeper than clicking on a link.  That’s not where real sharing comes from in my life.

Real sharing comes from a give and a take – from an investment in each other’s lives.  From some sort of trust which – in my opinion – cannot be built amongst strangers.

Hell – in my experience – real trust can barely be built through years of friendship.

So if you want more – give more.  Make a fucking effort.   Don’t just sit there whining about other people’s choices and other people’s refusal to hand you your life’s research on a platter.

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E was in a play this weekend.  She was Mushu the Dragon – sidekick to Mulan.

Listen – E was one of the lead roles in her school play in April, and I was happy for her, and I was proud, but I wasn’t all over her, and I wasn’t on and on about how great my kid is, and what a great actress she is.  She struggled in some ways … she had a lot of pressure on her.  She was at the top of the heap after climbing the ranks in the proper manner during her young years.  6th graders have the major roles – no big deal.

BUT — As the dragon?

My kid rocked.  She was stellar.  She was funny, she was confident, she was GLOWING.  Just glowing.  Man.

But the best part:

After the show, the kids go back stage and change out of their costumes, and then surge out to the applause of friends & family.  Of course, being kids – they more want their friends – not their family.  So I didn’t rush over to her, and took my time getting across the room.  When I finally found her, she was talking with friends and her friends’ parents, and she looked up and saw me and ….

Smiles!  Beaming!

“HI!!!!!” she said!! Leaning in for a hug.  She accepted my compliments and showed her excitement.

It was just a fun, loving moment.

It’s a funny time – this adolescence.  There are windows and there are waves.  She’s sick of me 30% of the time, but is warm and sweet and cuddly 70%.  I find myself so appreciative of that 70% of the time.  I used to have 100%.  I know it used to be frustrating.  I didn’t want to be cuddled constantly.  Sometimes, I wanted to just be me.  No appendages.

Now that E is shrugging me off part of the time – I’m savoring the rest.  Savoring.  Every smile – every time she doesn’t shake my hand off when I grab it to cross the street.  Every “I love you” before we hang up the phone – is precious.

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While it’s true that J drools over cell phone commercials, and hates the fact that she’s the only one in the house who does not have a laptop (and won’t have either until 6th grade), that’s not the point of this post.

My younger daughter is jealous of her sister’s “counselor.”

She’s decided that not only would it be “cool” to BE a counselor, but that she “could really use one.”

She wants help dealing with the fact that no matter how badly she doesn’t want to – she has to visit her father in the summer.

And then, today, she said, “I bet a counselor could help me with this!!!”  Regarding the Ex-BFF who is still from HELL.

Honestly – my benevolence has run out.  I don’t care if she’s not-even-10.  She’s mean to my daughter, over and over and over again.  She pushes her (physically – I mean, she shoves her).  She makes fun of the fact that we live in an apartment (!!!) as opposed to her 4-story (but narrow – 2 rooms per floor) house.  She forced my sweet, adorable, strong, creative, KIND child to switch tents mid-way during the camping trip.  She caused another girl to wet her bed (by not allowing anyone else in the tent to escort her to the bathroom, when partners are required).  She has this odd effect on other girls, requiring them to perpetually look at their feet, at the sky, out the window.  She SCARES THEM.

I’m really done being fair.  I’m done giving the child the benefit of the doubt.  I’m done caring more about the 100s of nights she spent sleeping in my house, and taking solace in my arms, and playing with my husband – than I care about her treatment of my child, and other children, and this toxicity that she is introducing into my amazing daughter’s childhood.

I still try – even as it gets harder – to be sure that I am not wearing a blindfold.  That I am not branding my daughter the saint ONLY because she lived in my uterus for 9 months (well, 8.5 with her).  That I am not only taking her word for it when she says that she is treated badly while doing nothing but trying to be nice.

I will be probably taking her in to talk to someone as well.  For her to get some help in being strong, and navigating the evil, evil waters of 9 years old.  And, probably moreso, to deal with the fact that she does, in fact, love her father, but may not, in reality, like her father.  That she does, certainly, want to see her father, btu does not, apparently, want to live with her father.  That she is forced by courts (and the reality of the fact that her father is not abusive, and so I will not push the courts to say what I know is inevitably what they will say) to do so anyway.  That she loves her step-father so-so much, even though she worries it means she’s disloyal to her father.

This is exhausting.

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my weekend – my evening – my health.

1)  J was gone this weekend.  I thought it would be nice.  She’s younger, less independent, a little more needy.  I thought it would be a break.  It wasn’t.  It was a hole.  I missed her.  I worried about her – camping with the girl scouts in shitty weather.

And I didn’t feel good.  My stomach hurt.  As tends to be a constant lately.  It’s getting on my nerves.

2)  This evening, I took E for her first appointment with a counselor.  It went well.  She was a little tentative, but she warmed up toward the end, and I think she’ll do well with me out of the room, which starts next week.  I was thinking very much that my daughter is stellar and has no Issues and did not need to be in that Room, and then her father came up, and the summer.  Then I ended up thinking I needed to get J in that room as well as E, since J had her first “I cannot go there this summer” tantrum last night.

And then tonight …. times 10.  which is why the evening was crap.  She cried and thrashed and held my face in her hands telling me “I CANNOT GO THERE!”

It’s so hard.  Hard to know when she needs advocating, and when she needs pushing out of her comfort zone.  The past few times she’s come home, she’s been happy and good.  But now she’s repulsed by the idea of seven weeks in the Middle of the Country, and is miserable over it.  She wanted me to write the following:  “Dear [ex]:  J has decided she is unable to travel to ____ this summer due to her own emotional considerations.”  But then she realized that he would be MAD at her, and feared he would take it out on her.  So we re-wrote it.  I wrote this:  J feels like the summer has shaped up to be too long.  The girls request the following ….”  [insert 3 week visit followed by 3 weeks at home before the blasted cruise.]

But then I had to freak out, because even though I needed to respond to my kid’s anguish … uh – I work full time (pesky job).  Beloved is in school.  What are we going to do with the CHILDREN??

But as usual, Beloved saved the day.  Yeah, he’s in school, but he’s not IN SCHOOL.  he’s doing school work at home.  He said he is happy to balance the school work and the children, and will look forward to being sure that they’re kept track of and fed and healthy and happy.

So now I hope the ex says “uhhhh, okay.”

3)  I never feel good anymore.  I constantly feel like my intestines are trying to process lead boulders.  Sometimes the scale says I’m 16 pounds up from the fall … other times 6 pounds up.  The 10 pounds are there when I feel like crap, but not when I don’t.  I don’t know what’s going on.  I have excellent insurance, but not insurance that makes me anything but a new patient at any non-law-school provider, and so I can’t get in to see a doctor for another month.  I feel like the things I’m feeling are just exacerbations of things I’ve dealt with since at least high school on a low level, and it is just starting to be constant and to affect my life.

I’ve hugely altered my diet.  I’m currently (for 2 weeks now) trying a gluten-free diet, and I’m also (less strictly) restricting myself from all white carbs.  I am considering going lactose-free, and sugar free, and perhaps – eventually – solids-free.  I feel like everything – even innocuous things (hello?  apples?) – hurt my belly.

I am unhappy, and I think that something’s wrong.  I hate that I’ve gained weight while eating almost nothing.  I hate the feeling of discouragement I have every time that I look at weight loss programs, and they’re all focused on reducing appetites … I have no appetite.  Food hurts my stomach.  I never want to eat.  Yet I gain weight.

I look at these f’ing magazines with their “tips to incorporate exercise in your every day life.”  Take the stairs; leave the car home; get off the train a few stops early and walk.  I don’t have a fucking car.  I walk to work rather than make train connections.  I take a LOT of stairs.  I lug groceries around town by foot.  I walk EVERYWHERE.  Constantly.  Up hills, down hills, downtown, through windy paths.

No – I haven’t made it to the gym, but is it really right that I have to exercise up to 3 hours a day in order to NOT GAIN weight?  When I eat very little, and very wisely?  When I lead a far-from-sedentary life?  I’m sure I walk an hour a day – if not more.

Crap.

I can’t believe I just wrote such a whiny post when, honestly, there’s so much good in my life.

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