Sorry for the Silence

Hello, friends. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had the chance to sit down and write a post (just over two months), and a lot has happened. Most of the things that have happened aren’t really worth mentioning, but there are a few things that I’d like to share with you.

15995039_10208147301339761_8093609280292525493_oFirstly, and most important in my eyes, yesterday was my son’s second birthday. He’s two. I have a two year old. Trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have been a mother for two years is just… insane. I was babysitting all day, so we really couldn’t celebrate, and my entire household has been battling the cold from hell for a few weeks, so we were all more than happy to lay low. We had a cookie cake, took some pictures, and enjoyed some family time at the end of the day. Liam had an actual party a little over a week ago, when we went up to visit Kyle’s grandmother, and the whole rest of his family, for the big, annual family Christmas party. We bought Liam a really nice, super delicious cake, and he got to open a massive pile of Christmas AND birthday presents. He’s gotten so many amazing gifts this season, I might have to start doing some more toy reviews. There’s plenty to report on!

Luckily, we got all of our holiday and birthday shopping done early this year, because as you all know, whenever things are going too well for us, something goes wrong. Now, I went off on Facebook and Twitter recently, ranting about the medical lab where Kyle had his blood tests done last year when he was starting his new job. He had to be screened for diabetes, which we then discovered he had. Well, what I may not have mentioned, is that the clinic ordered a number of other tests, which we did not ask for, and in the end, we were charged roughly $1,000 from the lab, and nearly $500 from the clinic. For BLOOD TESTS. Gotta love America…

So, since Kyle is unable to afford insurance through his employer (oh, he no longer works two jobs, just the one driving now), and doesn’t qualify for state aid, it all had to come out of pocket. His mom agreed to help us with the clinic bill, since she was supposed to put Kyle back on her insurance and forgot about it, but the rest was on us. We were making the minimum payments for a while, but since Kyle’s job pays pretty well, he decided to pay half of it all at once on the site. Well, he screwed up and accidentally hit “Pay In Full”, and over $800 was taken from our bank account… and we didn’t have that much in there.

We got slammed with an overdraft, and a fee to go with it. Of course, he didn’t tell me this was his mistake until after I went off online, blaming the company, but when we reached out to see if we could maybe get half of the money back, they wouldn’t work with us. Not even a little. Luckily, I got paid enough the next day to pull our account back from the negatives, but we’ve been riding on $32 in the bank for over a week. Thank goodness for Christmas cash and gas card gifts. Tomorrow, Kyle gets paid, and then I get a few dollars on Friday from babysitting, and we will be all set again. But it sure threw us for a loop.

And speaking of babysitting… that’s all over.

It’s been rough. I had to put my Twitter as protected, because I found out that someone has been stalking my tweets, taking screenshots, and sending them to people who don’t follow me there, which has caused me some drama. Ridiculous, high school drama. I have a good feeling I know who it might be… though I’d like to think it isn’t one of my friends who follows me. I don’t trust anyone anymore.

I feel empty. More alone than ever. I feel like there’s been too much to deal with, but I haven’t been letting myself deal with any of it, because there was always something that needed to be done. Something more important than me, and my feelings. I didn’t let myself feel, or deal, or vent. Blah.

I also recently became an aunt again, to a little girl whose name I don’t even know, and who I’ll probably never meet, we lost my grandmother’s husband, Richard, to cancer right before Christmas, and I gained 45 pounds in 2016.

Oh, and Trump. That happened. So we’re all stuck in this sinking boat of misery.

Thanks for reading, friends. I should have more time to do writing prompts, reviews, etc… I missed writing. Talk soon.

Jan

“We Can Do Better”

Hello, friends. I want to talk about something today that is very near to my heart. It may be triggering to some, and to others, you may not even care. Today, I want to talk about bullying. Specifically, cyber bullying. Recently, a very funny man named Wade, who I regularly watch on YouTube, and who I follow on social media, made a post to his Tumblr page that tugged at my heart. In his post, Wade spoke poignantly about how we, as a generation who spends much of our lives online, treat other people on social media, and shed some light on the ever growing issue of cyber bullying. Continue reading “We Can Do Better”

Mom’s Visit | The Final Day

[You can read about Days 0-1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, Day 5 here, and Day 6 here.]

Hello, friends. Yesterday was my mom’s final day visiting with us, though her plane doesn’t actually leave Illinois for another 3 hours or so. It was a very mixed day. I felt really on edge, and anxious, from the time I woke up, to the moment we said our goodbyes. I tried so hard to make it a good day, but it felt like my mom and I were butting heads more often than not, and it created a lot of tension.

Kyle worked from 10-6 yesterday, so it was another day of just my mom, Liam, and I. Liam has been in quite the mood for the last couple days, including yesterday, which resulted in an early nap, which I was hoping to avoid doing, since we were going out to eat that night, and I didn’t want him being fussy. Ah, life with toddlers. Everything revolves around them.

My mom came over just after lunch, and we left in search of local garage sales, since there are signs littering the entire town. After over an hour of driving around, which was pretty quiet and uneventful, and not seeing anything of interest, we decided to drive to the mall so that Liam could play a bit before dinner. I stopped by Sears to see Kyle, but was told that he had just gone to lunch. I asked his co-worker if she could get him for me really quickly, as there wasn’t a single person in the store, and she was just standing at the register, but she told me she wasn’t allowed to (which is bullshit). Since I don’t have minutes on my phone, I couldn’t text him to tell him we were there, so we left, and hoped that he would be there when we came back through.

My mom bought me a late lunch at my favorite spot in the mall, and I shared a delicious, pretzel bread turkey sandwich with Liam, who already eaten lunch, but always insists on eating everything in sight. We also went into Maurice’s to scope out the huge clearance sale they were having. My mom tried to buy me every single article of clothing that I touched, not I kept telling her not to. She was not happy about that.

When we got to the play area, it was empty. I ran around with Liam for a while, but he was being naughty, and kept running out into the open mall, and I had to chase after him. There is a ramp and some stairs right outside of the play area, and he always runs toward them, which is frustrating and exhausting. My mom sat at the opposite end of the play area, taking videos and pictures the entire time. As we were going to leave, I asked her if I could see them to send some to myself, but she told me that she had deleted all of them, because none came out.

Well, okay then…

We left the play area, and my mom insisted on going into the mall bookstore to look at children’s books and puzzles for Liam. I saw so many books that I wanted to get for him, but I let my pride and my bad attitude take charge, and wouldn’t let my mom get any of them for him.

I don’t know why. I really don’t. I wanted them, he wanted them, and she wanted to buy them. I said no. What is wrong with me? Ugh.

I headed to the bathroom to change Liam, and my mom disappeared. When I came out, I was stopped by a young couple with a tiny baby, and we chatted a bit about babies and whatnot, before I went back to Sears. Luckily, Kyle was there this time, and he gave me the details on our dinner plans for the night. We were to meet his mom and step father at Applebee’s at 5:30, which was an hour from that point, and then he would be meeting us there at 6:00, after he got off work. I gave him a hug and kiss, and he got some cuddles from Liam, and I went back out to meet my mom and let her know what was happening.

Since we had an hour to kill, we decided to head to a local park that I had been to before, but had never visited the playground. It is a massive plot of land, with a cute lake, a bunch of walking trails, and a large playground, lined with sand, and surrounded by grass and trees. It is a beautiful park, and I wish we lived closer. Liam was barefoot, and as I placed him down on the grass, I remembered that he has never walked barefoot on grass, or sand. It only took him a few minutes of funny walking to get used to the it, and enjoy it… but he definitely did not care for the feeling of sand between his toes. It was funny.

There was another mom there, and she had two little ones with her, a toddler boy, and a tiny infant. Her son was about 2.5, and he watched us closely from the picnic area while Liam was on the swing. My mom sat herself beneath a tree, and watched us from a distance. She didn’t have much interest in playing until the end of our playground adventure. After nearly 15 minutes on the swing, we decided to explore the rest of the large playground, and the other little boy joined us! Rather than telling you about it, here are some pictures I took!

So that was fun!

We left the park around 5:20 and headed to meet Kyle’s mom and step father at Applebee’s. They were already there when we pulled up, and we sat in a large corner booth, and ordered our appetizers and entrees without Kyle, since he would be joining us a bit later. I ordered the Southwest Steak and Black Bean Soup, as well as the Crispy Cheddar Bacon Potatoes, for myself, and the kid’s Chicken Grillers and broccoli for Liam. It was all super delicious. I forget what Kyle’s meal was called, I think it was one of those “Build Your Own” things, but he got sweet potato fries, a steak, and some seriously amazing looking mac ‘n cheese.

It was a nice dinner. My mom and Candace politely went back and forth over who would pay the bill, as I expected, but they settled on splitting it evenly, which I also expected. We then gathered in the parking lot to put Liam’s car seat back into our Lincoln (it’s been in my mom’s rental all week), chat about some upcoming family events, and say our goodbyes.

There were hugs, and thank yous, and my mom cried.

And then it was over. She leaves tonight, and though her plane doesn’t leave for 3 hours still, and she has been sitting at the airport for 2 hours, she did not want to come by today. I’m okay with that. I had a nice week, and it was honestly good to see her, and for her to meet Liam, but I am completely drained. I don’t know when I will see her again, but I do know that I am happy to have things go back to normal around here. We definitely work better with a thousand, or more, miles between us.

I have a few other blogs I need to write, but I don’t know when that will happen. I need rest. I need to recharge.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Mom’s Visit | Day 6

[You can read about Days 0-1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, and Day 5 here.]

Hello, friends. Today has been very… trying.

Kyle went back to work today, though I had him with me all morning and early afternoon. I had planned on getting some housework done, since it has all gone undone ever since my mom arrived, but that never ended up happening. Liam was incredibly fussy all morning, despite sleeping for nearly 13 hours straight, and was being quite naughty. On top of dealing with a cranky toddler, Kyle had a meeting with the financial aid office about getting financial help with his CDL class… and they basically told him there is nothing they can do to help him. So he came home very upset, which only made me more upset about this whole day getting off to a rough start.

Liam took an early nap around 10:15, despite only being awake for 2.5 hours, and ended up sleeping for 3 whole hours. I decided to put off doing anything with my mom until after he had his lunch, in the hopes that his long nap would put him in better spirits. This did not stop her from driving all the way to the park up the street from our apartment, and texting us about all the comings and goings happening there. It made me feel bad, and a little annoyed, that she drove all the way here, when we didn’t want company for a while, but whatever.

After kiddo woke up and had his lunch, my mom came over, and we all sat around, playing with Liam’s blocks, doing puzzles, and chatting. Kyle left for work, and my mom and I left shortly after to take Liam to the play area at the mall. We stopped to get some concrete mixers from Culver’s (basically, for those who don’t know, it is just building your own delicious, frozen custard treat with all sorts of candies and toppings to mix in), since we’ve all been craving them lately. We brought one to Kyle at work, and visited with him and one of his co-workers for a while, then headed to the mall play area.

Unlike yesterday, we had the entire play area to ourselves, and Liam had a blast, running around and screaming like a silly boy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all that fun for me, as my mom was driving me absolutely insane. She was crawling around, playing with Liam, and chasing him, and kept stopping every so often to proclaim loudly, “Oh, I better stop, I’m probably embarrassing mommy!”, despite the fact that there was no one around, and I had not said anything at all. She did this at least 10 times. That’s just something she does, and it honestly drives me insane. She always says things like, “I’m just so stupid, don’t listen to me.” or “I’m probably wrong, I’m wrong about everything.” or always assumes that you are embarrassed of her, even when you aren’t arguing with her, or correcting her, or anything. It is so irritating, and she has been like this my entire life. I was hoping that she had changed, even a little bit, in the 8 years since I’ve lived under the same roof as her, but she hasn’t. I’ve called her out on it before, and tell her to stop saying things like that about herself, but it just makes her angry.

Anyway, after a little while, it started getting close to dinner time, so we headed to the bathrooms at other end of the mall to change Liam’s diaper. Once we got there, my mom told me she was going to just go wait for me by the car, which was parked outside of a totally different entrance, and I told her I was going to be a minute, because I wanted to take Liam to say goodnight to Kyle, since he wouldn’t be home in time for bedtime. She just walked off without a word.

Back in Kyle’s work, where it was absolutely dead, I found myself ranting irritably to Kyle and his co-worker friend, while Liam ran around, playing with the various things that hung from low hooks. I eventually went to meet my mom back at the car, where she argued with me over where we should eat dinner, and we ended up eating nowhere, and she just dropped me off at the partment.

Ugh. I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve just been so exhausted lately, emotionally and physically, and it has put me so on edge. I knew that this was going to be a hard week for me, as even spending 24 hours with my mom gets under my skin, but this week has been hard for so many reasons. Tomorrow is her last visiting day with us, even though her flight leaves Saturday night, but she doesn’t want to stop by that day. I’ll be honest, I really missed alone time with my son. I missed cleaning my apartment. I missed taking naps. I missed spending Kyle’s days off with him, cuddling on the couch, watching Netflix. I missed normality.

I guess that’s it for now. I want to spend tomorrow driving around, looking for garage sales and yard sales in the area. My mom is still pushing that she wants to buy me stuff, so maybe I’ll be able to find a decent dresser somewhere for her to get me. Who knows.

Well, Kyle literally just walked in, and I want cuddles. We’ve been watching The Adventures of Merlin on Netflix, and I know I’ve mentioned it before, but seriously, you should check it out.

Also, before I go, I wanted to add something else that she does that I find… odd. Whenever Liam does literally anything, like how he plays with blocks, or babbles, or runs around excitedly… just the things he does normally, she never compares him to me at his age. Not at all. She always says that everything reminds her of herself, or her and her mom, from when she was little. She never even talks about me as a baby, or her and I. I just find it strange. Is it? I don’t know. Meh.

Anyway, thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Mom’s Visit | Day 2

Hello, friends. I am so exhausted. My mom has been in Illinois for three days now, though we’ve been visiting for two, and I am already emotionally drained. The first day was nice. She got to meet Liam, and the four of us took a road trip, and we all caught up and whatnot (you can read about our first day here)… but yesterday, it was just my mom, Liam, and I… and it didn’t go as well as our first day.

WARNING: This will be a looong blog. Grab a drink, adjust your butt, and go pee now!

To be fair, it was a decent day. It could have been worse. Kyle worked 10-6, so it was literally just my mom and I all day, and I got zero time to myself, or any alone time with my son (which has certainly thrown us for a loop), because she wants to come over early in the morning, and I just don’t have the heart to say no, or make her wait. She came over about an hour before Kyle left, and we all just sat around, chatting politely, and playing with Liam’s blocks. After Kyle left for work, my mom asked if we could go to the park that Liam and I always walk to. I was hesitant, because it was very hot and sunny, and close to Liam’s nap time, but I slathered Liam in sunscreen and we drove there anyway.

Since Liam and I usually walk to the park, we get out of the stroller at the park, and he doesn’t really know the rest of the park. We parked in the parking area, pretty far from the playground. Liam started running away from me, so I grabbed Liam’s hand and said, “The playground is over here, bud.”

My mom then turned to me and said, “Don’t drag him, just let him lead the way.” But her tone… her tone, guys. Like she was scolding me. I ignored it, but it definitely put a damper on my mood. I don’t know why.

Once we finally got to the playground, Liam ran to the swing immediately. As usual, the rest of the playground was in the shade, except for the swing, which was in direct sunlight. I don’t like it, and try to limit his swing time, but it is his favorite. After a few minutes standing by the swing, my mom started complaining about the sun, and saying we should let him go down the slide. I told her that he really only likes the swing, and would fuss if I tried to get him out so soon. She stopped and returned to the shade of the tree.

A few minutes later, she came back and started trying to take pictures, but was getting frustrated because they weren’t coming out right, or Liam wasn’t looking at her… because he was on the swing. Eventually she gave up and went over to the playground, where she proceeded to repeatedly slide down the largest kid’s slide, screaming, “Wheee! Wooo! Yaaay!” at the top of her lungs, and urging Liam, who was still perfectly content in his swing, to come and slide with her.

It was so embarrassing. It reminded me too much of all the embarrassing moments I had endured in high school with her.

A little while later, kiddo gestured for me to take him out of the swing, and my mom thrust her phone at me, and tried to wrestle him into her lap in the grass so she could get a few pictures. He was not too happy about that. He was trying to push her away, but she wouldn’t let him go, and he eventually caved, and we were able to get a few nice pictures. I have told her a dozen times that he will warm up to her eventually, definitely before she leaves, but this was only the second day. He still doesn’t want her holding him, and he especially did not want her restraining him to her lap when he was trying to play. There will be plenty of opportunities to get pictures that won’t involve making him angry.

All day long, she just seemed so impatient with everything. I just kept thinking, you’ve had a child, remember? Do you not remember how toddlers are? Especially with strangers?

Then we went back home. Liam had his lunch, and went down for a nap, and my mom proceeded to drive me absolutely nuts with every word she said.

Me: Mom, I’m making coffee, do you want some?
Mom: Only if it’s already made.
Me: Well, I’m making some now, do you want some?
Mom: Um, well, I don’t want you to go out of your way.
Me: … I’m up. I’m making some. Do. You. Want. Any?
Mom: I mean, I guess…

YOU LOVE COFFEE. YOU ARE AN ADDICT. I AM OFFERING YOU SOMETHING THAT I AM ALREADY MAKING. WHY ARE YOU BEING LIKE THAT?

Then, instead of sitting in awkward silence for a few hours, I decided to put something on for us to watch.

Me: Do you want to watch something? What kind of shows to you watch?
Mom: I don’t watch TV, I’m too busy.
Me: Okay… what about movies? Want to watch a movie? Netflix has a million.
Mom: Oh, what about American Idol?
Me: Oh, no, they don’t have American Idol…
Mom: Oh… I don’t know then.
Me: Okay. Um, movie then?
Mom: I don’t know.
Me: Well, what movies do you like?
Mom: I don’t know.

She was acting like a pouty toddler, and it was getting frustrating, so I just decided on one of my favorite comedy specials. Everyone loves comedians, right?

Five minutes into the comedian’s special…

Mom: *sigh* She isn’t funny. I don’t like her.
Me: Okay… what do you want to put on then?
Mom: Nothing. I don’t know. This is fine.
Me: Fine.
Mom: *long sigh*

Silence.
*In my head* Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Nothing has changed. She is the same as I remember 4 years ago, and 4 years before that. She thinks that everything she says or does is so damn bothersome, that she can’t have any opinions. Any time you say anything against her, even if it is in the politest way possible, she just shuts down, and she gets pouty, and then it becomes bothersome. She thinks you’re constantly angry with her, for no reason. She just can’t act… normal. It’s like we are constantly stuck as strangers, butting heads over everything and nothing, and going nowhere. We don’t even feel like family.

Anyway, we spent most of Liam’s nap in silence, except for when I tried to help my mom work her iPhone, which has been an absolute pain (I hate iPhones!) After about two hours of Liam’s napping, she started saying that she was getting impatient that he was still asleep. I already told her a dozen times that he naps for 2+ hours, but she just kept saying, “Wow, this is the longest nap ever…”

I eventually went in to wake him up, which he was not happy about, and we went to the mall to visit Kyle. She wanted to stop at Dunkin Donuts and get coffee, and something for Kyle and I. I told her I didn’t want anything, which set her off on a pissed off rant about how she brought hundreds of dollars that she wanted to spend on me, and it made her angry that I didn’t let her buy me everything, everywhere. So I told her I would get a smoothie, since that is really the only thing at DD that I like.

Guess what? They were out of yogurt. Yup. My mom was not happy with this at all, and said some snide comments about how, “that never happens at my Dunkin!”. I opted to not get anything, but she got a medium coffee… but then, she didn’t get cream or sugar in her coffee (she didn’t ask for any, she forgot, it was her fault), so went inside in a huff, and ended up getting a large coffee as an apology.

We got to the mall, just as Kyle was taking his lunch break, and the four of us headed to the play area, which was packed with kids, mostly over the age of 5. Almost all of them were too big (according to the height rules) to be in there, and most of them also had their shoes on, and were running around and being a bit reckless. Two moms actually left in a huff because their little ones kept getting bumped or knocked over by these bigger kids, whose parents were paying zero attention to them.

Liam was perfectly content standing by us, as he normally does when there is a lot going on, and watching the other kids. He loves it. He ventured out a few feet at a time, surveying the area, while Kyle told us about his day thus far. Then he had to go back to work, and we were back to three.

Then… this.

A family came in with two young girls, both about 6 years old, and a toddler boy. One of the little girls was in a motorized wheelchair, which she got out of once they were in the play area. My mom, who has zero filter on her mouth, or any idea what is and is not appropriate to say out loud, said the following:

Mom: I see a wheelchair, but there is no one in it.
Me: One of the little girls was in it.
Mom: One of those two in the dresses? They look fine to me.
Me: Just because she looks fine doesn’t mean there isn’t something wrong, mom.
Mom: I’m just saying, don’t spend all your money on a wheelchair like that if there is nothing wrong with your kid.
Me: You don’t know what’s wrong with her. Stop it.
Mom: What? I’m just saying. She looks fine.

Then she proceeded sip her coffee in silence. I was annoyed, and thoroughly embarrassed, because while I don’t think the girl and her parents had heard her, I was certain that other people had.

I cheered on Liam while he climbed around the play area, and my mom continued to sit in silence, watching everyone but her grandson.

The family with the girl in the wheelchair got their stuff together to leave, but as she were leaving, the young girl accidentally bumped another young boy with her chair. He was fine, and didn’t even cry, but her and her parents were very apologetic, even as the boy’s dad comforted them and told them it was perfectly fine. They were all smiles. Everything was fine.

Well, for them. My mom was upset about the whole thing, of course.

Mom: That wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t have their daughter in that unnecessary chair.
Me: Stop.
Mom: What?
Me: Just stop. That’s a very ignorant thing to say. It’s none of our business.
Mom: Fine.

Then we sat in silence, until I picked up our stuff, thoroughly frustrated, and proceeded towards Sears to say goodbye to Kyle. On our trek to the other end of the mall, we passed by several stores again, and she tried to force me to let her buy me stuff, when I had already told her when we passed by the stores the first time that they do not carry my sizes. She was not pleased.

I swear, I’ve had to repeat everything that I’ve said to her at least three times, and answer every question twice. I don’t know if she just isn’t paying any attention to what I’m saying, or she is forgetting it all immediately. Either way, it keeps making her angry with herself, which puts her in a worse mood.

We went to Subway for dinner, the first thing she agreed to eat all day, which was uneventful enough, but then we ended up going back to the mall afterwards, because my mom lectured me again on wanting to spend all her money on me. I tried to look for a pair of decent sneakers that didn’t cost a fortune, since I’ve had mine for years and they are totally worn out, but didn’t have much luck, which only seemed to aggravate her further. It feels like she has been upset with me for no reason on this entire visit thus far. We left empty handed.

She didn’t stay long after dropping Liam and I off back at the apartment, and I am trying to limit how much time we spend together today, because honestly, I think I need a break. I need some space. I politely told her that we could meet up later in the afternoon, after Liam’s nap, because I had some things to take care of. I haven’t cleaned anything in my apartment, or spent any alone time with my son, in days. I just want to sleep, and snuggle, and relax, and breathe.

Hopefully today is better… we’ll see.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan