Sunday, August 30, 2009

swallowing my pride

I went to six different schools before I hit the sixth grade. I didn't mind the moves so much at first--each one was a chance to start over, to become a new Angela--and I didn't realize it at the time, but the moves were hard on me. I know my parents didn't plan on them. I remember how excited we all were when they bought the house in Highland and we would live in a normal tract home and be a normal family and not some troupe of roaming gypsies. The last two places before Highland were a motel called the Goodnite Inn, where our family of five lived in one room for four months, and my dad's property in Calimesa, a dusty piece of land unconnected to the city that surrounded it. In Highland it was different. There were paved roads! And sidewalks! And neighbors!

I have always found comfort in the fact that despite my unconventional upbringing, despite all of our unconventional upbringings, I--we--could force things to be better, to be the way that we wanted them to be, with just a lot of hard work and determination. And so I got married, worked four jobs through undergraduate and then graduate school, moved back pregnant, had a baby, got a full-time job, had another baby, bought a house. All before I was 28. I have watched my other friends, sometimes enviously, taking deep breaths and moving slowly and probably enjoying things more, but I have told myself I like this whirlwind, that I thrive on challenging myself.

I am blessed and I am happy in so many ways.

But I am tired.

We are searching out every possible treatment for Elliott. We have maxed out our credit cards doing so. But, of course, I thought I had it all under control. Because I always do. It is always under control. Except it wasn't.

We had had a two-hour appointment in which we were informed of all of the problems going on inside of Elliott's body and the various and seemingly endless possibilities for treatment. It was overwhelming and it made me sad and it made me wish that none of this were true, that I would wake up and he would be fine the next day. I stumbled out in that emotional state to the reception desk. When I went to pay, my credit card was declined. A second card was declined. I tried to fight it, but tears began slipping out of my eyes and I felt helpless and I wished I could disappear. I normally am not as aware of what a big person I am, but in that office, I felt enormous, out of proportion for the tiny, clean office, a gigantic mess of an intruder. An intruder who couldn't pay.

The office girls were nice about it. "Call us," they cooed. "It's okay."

I got the hell out of there and went into hysterics in the safety of my Toyota Matrix.

I was out of control. Everything was out of control. Things needed to change.

Ryan and I have sat down and made lists and cried together. We have cried until we can't cry anymore. We are exhausted. We are sick and getting sick and our house is a mess. We haven't opened all of our mail. Our laundry has not been put away. It is chaos here.

And we have decided that we need to simplify. That we are tired of all of this fighting. We have good jobs and we have amazing kids and we have so many wonderful things in our lives.

We are thinking of walking away from our house. In fact, we are pretty sure we are going to do it.

We are thinking of starting over, of simplifying, of ignoring our pride and putting Elliott and Benjamin and our sanity first.

This is a tremendous blow to my pride, to my philosophy of forcing things to happen even when they seem impossible. I am tired of forcing it. I just want to enjoy my life and help my little boy get better.

I wanted something different than what I grew up with. I didn't want the constant moving, the lack of stability. I convinced myself that I could control all of that. But maybe I can't. I am ready to let go. I am ready to change. I am ready to start over.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

more progress! YES!

It's a day to day thing. Sometimes there are a string of days when Elliott screams and won't look at us and nothing seems to make him happy. But then there are days like today and yesterday. He said goodbye to everyone at preschool as he strolled down the hall. Ryan took him to a friends house and he played cars with Ben and his little friend Peregrine. Not on the other side of the room. Not next to them. WITH them. All I want is for him to be happy and balanced and have meaningful relationships with other people. On days like today, I can see it. But the waiting, the tedium of these incremental improvements, the time--sometimes it can feel unbearable. But we look back at 6 months ago and see a completely different boy and so we just keep doing everything we can.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

the list you've all been waiting for

Ben has been asking me for various toys for about six months and I keep telling him maybe for his birthday. Then, after his birthday, I will go with Santa Claus. And then back to his birthday. It's an incredibly useful cycle that saves me money, though I suspect he'll be less satisfied with this as he gets older. When I finally got around to sitting down with him and making a wish list, he got a really confused look on his face and struggled to come up with stuff. Here is his list, in his words:

1. Land Before Time dinosaur toys
2. Green shirt guy and his car
3. Candyland princesses
4. Scooby games that aren't too hard
5. Scooby shoes
6. Scooby toothbrush
7. Robin and Batman
8. Spiderman
9. Ben 10's friend who touches gray things and turns to gray and touches yellow and opens them.

Not only is the above list often confusing and/or random, Ben needs none of it. But there it is.

Tomorrow he starts kindergarten. We went to orientation tonight and his teacher seems very friendly and intelligent--I packed his lunch and put a little note with a heart and MOM and DAD printed in it. Here's to his new adventure away from me--for the next 13 years...

Friday, August 07, 2009

on the subject of b-12 and other aspects of our lives

Okay, so I know I haven't posted in a while, but I have Facebook to keep up with! In any case, I promised myself I would keep track of everything we are doing with Elliott. So here goes. We got his labs done last Friday and will get those back soon. We have also started him on methyl B-12 shots. These are tiny insulin needles, but it is still incredibly nervewracking to inject him in his butt with this every day. However, he started saying words this week, regularly! He even recognized letters and numbers by sight, both at home and at school. Many people claim that there is a placebo effect with B-12, that I wish that he will change and so he changes, but I have seen real progress this week, and I can't wait to see what happens in the next month. Maybe it's not the B-12, maybe it is the endless speech and occupational therapies. Whatever it is, we will continue doing all of it because he's getting better and better every week. Benjamin told me that they gave Elliott a pretzel at Kids' Club at the Y on Wednesday, and then he said, "Mom, you need to put a sign on Elliott that says 'no wheat and no dairy.'" He is already looking out for his little brother, which just makes me hug him hard.

Last weekend, we spent time with the kids Aunt Jillian and Uncle Morgan, and we had an amazing time. Elliott slept incredibly well and seemed happy most of the weekend. We discovered that he cannot take the sand on the beach. He swatted at it and screamed until Ryan and Morgan drove him back to the apartment, but Benjamin had a wonderful time in the water--he even saw dolphins and caught sand crabs. We are going to try and spend the weekend with Jill and Morg more often because we had such a relaxing and wonderful time with two of our best friends and the kids loved (almost) every second of it, too.

Elliott loves his preschool now and happily traipses into his classroom without even a whimper three days a week. Benjamin has been home with us but he starts kindergarten on Thursday. We peered into his classroom last night when we were walking the dog, and he told me he is excited. I ordered a Scooby Doo backpack on Ebay and that sucker better come soon because the guys promised fast shipping. He will suffer my wrath on the feedback forum if he is lying about that.

Sorry for the randomness. This is my life.