Monday, November 30, 2009

The Lush

My company Christmas party is coming up soon. I had arranged to go with one of my female friends in the office since neither of us have dates. Some of the guys in my office were teasing me about going out with a group of people afterwards. I told them I would if someone else drives. I don't like drinking and driving.

One of them offered to pick me up at my house and I said, No way!! My husband has been following me. He won't admit to it, but he certainly seems to be there at odd times and snooping around.

Another guy jumped in and joked that he could just pretend to be the gardener (he's Mexican). Still another said that's bullshit. He better not start anything with me. I've seen him out. He proceeded to tell me about seeing my husband out with a tall, ugly, blond, who spilled her drink on him.

I can't believe what a hypocrite my husband is. Really it should be no surprise at this point. But nearly every day he tries to make me feel bad about the alleged lovers he thinks I've had since we've been apart. Now I see that he's just been trying to make himself feel better.

What was telling is that I am not jealous about him being with another woman. I'm mad about him being such a hypocrite and trying to make me feel bad.

And, I'm wondering what a "sober" guy is doing out at a bar with a woman that sounds like a lush.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

My mom took the kids the night before Thanksgiving so I could get things done. I had a feeling my husband would take issue with that, so I didn't tell him. Lately he always assumes when I have a free night that I am with someone else.

I felt very depressed and didn't get much done, except for moping around. I watched an OK movie and did a little here and there to get ready for the next day.

Thursday morning I woke up and took a walk, which was nice. I rarely have time for that on Thanksgiving Day, and usually I have both my kids, who can't do the big hills by our house very well.

My sister came around noon to help, and my mom brought the kids back a little before that. The best part of my day was the time I spent with my sister. We don't have as much time together lately and I have missed her. We are always silly and light-hearted together.

We decided to sneak out for an hour and go see both of our grandmas. My mom's mom has cancer and it really isn't treatable. She's opted to go out pretty naturally, which I respect. I think I would want the same thing. She's still pretty young to be a great-grandma (early 70's) and it does seem like she's too young to die. She has always been very strong and not very emotional. I've only seen her cry a few times, and I remember each scene vividly. It was like something breaking this strong foundation that I love so much. I cry just thinking about it.

She has become slightly more emotional lately - and more into seeing everyone. In the past she was happy to just stay at her house alone. I see a lot of myself in her. Perhaps it is being with an alcoholic for a long time (36 years for my grandma) that wears you down until you just can't show any sign of emotion.

Two of my uncles were over there, and so was my mom. We had a nice visit and I'm glad we went, even though we had the food in the oven and no one was there to watch it, lol!

Then we went over to see my dad's mom, which was a little more difficult. She has always been very clingy, and now moves very slow, so it was difficult to do a quick hello. But as we were leaving my sister said, that was probably the highlight of her week. She loves to see my kids, and I love to see her too. I just have felt very tired and depressed lately, so I don't go lately. Now that I'm back at work, there is little time between that and the kids to just go visit someone.

We rushed to finish everything once we got home, and my husband came, bringing my dear friend T, who does not drive. His partner used to drive him or he would take a bus. Our house is not easy to get to with out a car, so I was grateful to my husband for getting him. He's had a hard year between caring for his sick partner, and then losing him. I love to see T. He is someone who always says exactly what is on his mind, and he always makes me smile. Sometimes he offends people, but I love that about him too. He doesn't tip-toe around anyone. He is fully himself - and there are too few people like that.

My children told their dad about spending the night with their grandma and he came over and asked me about it. It felt more like an accusation than a question. I asked him, "Have you ever made a Thanksgiving dinner with 2 little children around? It's a lot of work."

I resent him even questioning me. He has every night to spend as he wishes. I don't get into his business. He is the one who stepped out of our marriage 3 times, and now he wants to question me? When I'm making a fucking Thanksgiving Dinner??!! I started venting to my mom about it in the kitchen. I thought he had stepped outside, but it turns out he had come back in and probably heard me.

Things were tense. He carved the turkey. We all got our food and sat down to eat. I just started eating.

T. surprised me by asking to say a prayer before dinner. I'm not feeling super religious, so I asked him to do it. It was beautiful.

During dinner, my sister and T made a toast, more to each other than anything, to past, current and future lovers. We all raised our glasses. I actually thought it was a great toast. I could see my husband was visually upset however.

He sort of sulked through the rest of the dinner. My sister ended up taking T home and he stayed and washed most of the dishes. It was nice of him to wash the dishes, but I hate that negative energy there when you know there is something wrong and the person won't just come out with it.

After he left, he texted me about it.

I felt like it was not the Thanksgiving I hoped for, at least not the dinner. The food did not taste especially good to me, and I ended up eating only about half of what I take. Usually I take pride in my cooking and love to eat, but I didn't enjoy the meal the way I had hoped.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Problem

The following is taken directly from the ACOA webpage. (Adult Children of Alcoholics) I thought it was very interesting....

Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional households.

We had come to feel isolated, and uneasy with other people, especially authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process. All the same we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat.

We either became alcoholics ourselves, married them, or both. Failing that, we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment.

We lived life from the standpoint of victims. Having an over developed sense of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. We got guilt feelings when we trusted ourselves, giving in to others. We became reactors rather than actors, letting others take the initiative.

We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally. We keep choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.

These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made us ‘co-victims’, those who take on the characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink. We learned to keep our feelings down as children and keep them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we often confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue.

Even more self-defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable solutions.

This is a description, not an indictment.

Like Alcohol, Religion Disinhibits Violence, Doesn’t Cause It

My wonderful athiest friend B posted this the other day and I thought it was a very interesting article. The author is also an athiest, and as a Mustlim-Christian I thought it was very fair.

On November 5, a Muslim US army psychiatrist, Nidal Malik Hasan, shot and killed thirteen of his fellow soldiers on the Fort Hood military base, injuring another thirty. In response to the Fort Hood shootings, some people are blaming Islam. Others are saying Islam had nothing to do with it, that the problem is our war of aggression or failure to care for psychologically wounded soldiers. I believe both are wrong.

The relationship of religion to violence is complicated. With the possible exception of Buddhism, the world’s most powerful religions give wildly contradictory messages about violence. The Christian Bible is full of exhortations to kindness, compassion, humility, mercy and justice. It is also full of exhortations to stoning, burning, slavery and slaughter. The same can be said of the Koran. The same can be said of the Torah. Believers who claim that Islam or Christianity or Judaism is a religion of peace are speaking a half truth—and a naive falsehood.

The human inclination toward peacemaking or violence exists on a continuum. Happy, healthy people who are inherently inclined toward peacemaking focus on sacred texts and spiritual practices that encourage peace. Those who are bitter, angry, fearful or prone to self-righteousness are attracted to texts that sanction violence and teachers who encourage the same. People along the middle of this continuum can be drawn in either direction by charismatic religious leaders who selectively focus on one or the other.

Each person’s individual violence risk is shaped by a host of factors: genetics, early learning, health, culture, social networks, life circumstances, and acute triggers. To blame any act of violence on religion is as silly as blaming an act of violence on guns or alcohol. But to deny that religion plays a role is as silly as denying that alcohol and guns play a role. It is to pretend that religions are inert, that our deepest values and beliefs about reality and morality have no impact on our behavior.

From a psychological standpoint, religions often put a god’s name on impulses that have subconscious, pre-verbal roots. They elicit peak experiences like mystic euphoria, dominance, submission, love and joy. They claim credit for the moral emotions (e.g. shame, guilt, disgust and empathy) that incline us toward fair play and altruism, and they direct these emotions toward specific persons or activities. In a similar way, religions elicit and channel protective reactions like anger and fear, the emotions most likely to underlie violence.

What is the role of religion in a tragedy like the Fort Hood shootings? The answer isn’t simple. From the swirl of conjecture and hype is emerging the image of a man who was lonely, who couldn’t quite seem to win at love, and who was profoundly troubled by the horror stories brought home by his soldier clients. Do therapists experience vicarious trauma? Absolutely. Does this trauma put their own mental health at risk? Absolutely. Many of them deal with this risk by seeking professional consultation, asking for support from loving family and friends, and limiting the number of post-traumatic clients that they see. It appears that Hasan made at least tentative attempts in several of these directions. But primarily he turned to forms of Islam that only deepened his sense of alienation and anger. In what must have been an anguishing conflict of loyalties, piety helped him to resolve the conflict in favor of co-religionists over compatriots. Ultimately, rage won out—righteous, sanctified rage—which came to matter more than any value he as a healer placed on his own life or the lives of his colleagues and clients.

I would argue that, like alcohol, religion disinhibits violence rather than causing it, and that it does so only when other factors have created conditions favorable toward aggression. I might also argue that under better circumstances religion disinhibits generosity and compassion increasing prosocial behavior. Religion often is centered around authority and text worship ( aka “bibliolatry”). Because of this, it has the power to lower the threshold on any behavior sanctioned by either a sacred text or a trusted religious leader and is at its most powerful when one is echoed by the other.

As many have pointed out, thousands of Muslim servicemen in the U.S. military shot no-one last week, nor will they unless they find themselves assigned to combat. Similarly, millions of people consume alcohol without insulting, hitting, kicking, stabbing or shooting anyone. Most of us are peaceful drinkers and peaceful believers. Yet, statistically we know that without alcohol assaults would be less common. So too, we all know that when suicide bombings happen, Islam is likely to be involved. And, I would add, when we hear that an obstetrics doctor has been shot or a gay teen beaten and left to die, or a U.S. president has announced a “crusade”, we know that Christianity was likely a part of the mix.

In general, as the gospel writer said, it is far easier to see the mote in our brother’s eye than the log in our own. American culture is bathed in Christianity, and even for most secular Americans, is easy to see Islam’s role in violence while missing the times when Christianity plays the same role. But the rest of the world doesn’t see us through our own rose colored glasses, and under a bare light bulb, American Christianity retains shadows of the inquisitor’s hood and implements of torture.

In recent years, the European and Australian press repeatedly have called attention to horrors being perpetrated in Africa thanks to American missionary dollars, a story that has been slow to get mainstream American press coverage. As Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity spread across Nigeria and Congo, thousands of children are being beaten or burned or disfigured with acid after being condemned by Christian ministers as “witches.” After all, the American missionaries teach that the Bible is the literally perfect word of God, and the Bible says, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18). When children are condemned by pastors and priests, exposed in the name of Jesus by the Holy Spirit himself, parents abandon them and their villages drive them out. The lucky ones find refuge in shelters. (For photos click here.)

Meanwhile in Uganda, American Evangelicals have helped to advance prison terms and death penalties for African gays. The Family, an American Christian organization with members in congress helped to convert Uganda’s president to their form of politicized Christianity. American activists attended a conference last March aimed at “wiping out” homosexuality. By this fall, a bill had been introduced that would allow the death penalty for gays with AIDS and institute jail time for parents who fail to turn in their homosexual teens. Horrors such as these don’t seem to have abated the flow of salvific dollars, Bibles, and earnest missionaries eager for converts any more than suicide bombings have dried up support for madrasas.

Was the Fort Hood murder spree caused by Islam? Are the African murder sprees caused by Christianity? A yes answer is far too simple. But the fact is that religion in America and around the world continues to disinhibit lethal violence. For us to vilify Muslims or Christians or any group of believers collectively is to engage in the familiar act of cowardice we call scapegoating. It means, ever and always, that we end up sacrificing innocents to appease our own fear, anger and thirst for vengeance. But for us to ignore the complicated role of religion in violence is a different kind of cowardice, one that has been indulged by peace-lovers among the faithful for far too long.

-Valerie TaricoShare

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving 2009

My mother took the kids tonight so I could get ready for tomorrow. But for the most part I have been in a funk, getting very little done except for the last hour. I am moping.

I wish I could make a big dinner with the enthusiasm that I used to. I used to go all out, and I loved it. I love cooking for people I love.

But I feel all the life drained out of me this year. I don't want my husband here. I don't want to cook for him. I don't want to watch him eat plate after plate and dominate the conversation and expect me to cater to his emotional needs.

I thought I could continue the blog with him still reading it, but more and more I find I am censoring myself to save his feelings. I resent that too. This was supposed to be my outlet. And now, I'm not sure what it is. Me trying to stay positive in a very bad situation mostly. And I'm still not feeling positive.

I can't remember a time when I ever felt this low in my life. I am utterly unhappy. I have my moments, where all seems well - like today, when I was able to spend the entire day with my son - pure bliss.

But mostly, I feel sad and alone. And angry. I feel trapped. I feel stuck. I feel broke.

In my being, I know that I need to get out of this marriage. I had a long talk with my grandmother about it earlier tonight. But the bottom line is, I don't know how we will manage financially. Even if we were to walk away from our home and our debt, it would still be a struggle.

There's a woman in my office who is like a second mother to me. She came in and practically begged me the other day to get out. She told me about how she stayed with her husband until her kids were in their 20's and it only got worse with time. She emailed me her attorneys name and called him to let him know I'd be calling and asked if he'd meet with me for free. She said I deserve to be happy and safe.

I don't know how to balance my needs with those of my children. I worry about them so much. I don't think this family is healthy for them either, but then I think, if we can't live, what's the point?

My friend B. said I'd be happy when I started to make decisions that are good for me.

I worry that if I don't get out soon, this marriage will destroy me.


My son had no school today so we spent the day together. We dropped my daughter off at school and headed to his dentist appointment. Afterwards, I needed to fill out a quick document at my office so we stopped by there.

My son has been coming to my office since he was a 1-year-old. Everyone there adores him. Many of the men in my office actually keep candy in their desks for both my kids (but especially my son, who always makes a request for it!).

Today, I was filling out my form and my son was wondering down the hall getting water. I didn't worry about it because he's been there a million times and he knows everyone there. I recently moved my office from the third floor to the second floor, so it was a slightly different spot than he was used to, but never-the-less, he is nearly 7 and I thought it was familiar turf.

Suddenly, I heard him crying and saw him walking with one of my co-workers down the hall looking for me. He sobbed for nearly 7 minutes, which seemed very different for him. I wondered what could be wrong, but just thought he was being especially sensitive.

One of my other co-workers offered him one of her homemade cupcakes, and all was well again. We went down the hall to see his favorite, "Uncle Mo-Mo" before we left. He gave him a giant hug and a Hershey's Bar. He learned a new handshake from his Uncle Rick before we left.

I went on to my chiropractor appointment, and then off to lunch. He asked if we could stop at a park that he loves, so we did. There are very few days where we have such freedom in our schedules.

We got there and the park was empty. I was disappointed for him because he is very social and enjoys being with other children so much. But he was still thrilled to be there, and it was a beautiful day in our usually rainy city.

Right as he was running up, one of the mother's that we knew from his previous school drove up. She got out with her two daughters. We had run into them earlier at my daughter's school, and I was thrilled to see them again. I have become very close to them over the last year. Then another mother pulled up with her two children. I've known her for several years and was glad to have some time with her as well.

As the children were playing, they asked how things were with my husband and we began to talk about his family. They were puzzled as to why my husband still wants the children to be around his father.

And then I had my "Aha Moment". We talked about earlier in the day when my son had freaked out for no apparent reason at my office.

One of the mother's thought that it was a recall of when my father-in-law left him at the mall.

In case you didn't read the earlier post, here is what happened:

When my son was 2, we allowed him to go to a local mall with his grandpa for an outing. It is a mall in a more questionable part of town where you wouldn't exactly want your children roaming free.

My father-in-law decided that my son was not listening to him well enough. So he let him wander up ahead of him by himself until he thought he was lost. My son started crying and getting upset, much like he did today.

When we met up with my father-in-law afterwards, he told us the story himself because he thought it was funny. It was sort of like, "I really showed him!! He's going to listen to me for now on."

I was like, HE IS TWO-YEARS-OLD you mother fucker. (I left out the mother fucker part, but I wish I had said it now.)

I still feel physically ill when I think about this, and after talking with the other mothers today, I feel ill again.

I told my husband and he said he hoped that was not the case. I told him they said that their kids remember certain things from that age (and so do I for that matter) and that they could see how that trauma would re-create itself today.

So back to the question....why does my husband want his father to be around our kids?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Forgiveness Quotes

I have been thinking a great deal about forgiveness lately. Here are some quotes that I found. It's curious why I can know that forgiveness is "good", but I am still unable to do it.

"Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love." - Mahatma Gandhi

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." - Mahatma Gandhi

"We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies." - Voltaire

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you." — Unknown

"The offender never pardons." - George Herbert

"He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass." - George Herbert

"Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die." — Unknown

"My greatest weapon is mute prayer." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past." - Unknown

"I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note--torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition for our existence." - Sholem Asch

"Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting." - William A. Ward

"What we forgive too freely doesn't stay forgiven." - Mignon McLaughlin

"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend." - William Blake

"There is no path to peace. Peace is the path." - Mahatma Gandhi

"We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck . . . But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness." - Ellen Goodman

"Freedom and slavery are mental states.” - Mahatma Gandhi

"A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers." - Robert Quillen

"Forgiveness is the final form of love." - Reinhold Niebuhr

“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” - Mahatma Gandhi

"One forgives to the degree that one loves." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

“Hatred can be overcome only by love.” Mahatma Gandhi

"'Tis the most tender part of love, each other to forgive." - John Sheffield

"You must be the change you want to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another's control... to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare." - Lance Morrow

Monday, November 23, 2009

Always Feeling Different

I went to a Hot Buttered Rum concert Saturday night with a dear fried. We met for a drink first and had a great talk.

During the concert, we noted all the differences between people. Most of the people there were hippie-like. Many had dreadlocks. There was a lot of pot floating around the room. My friend and I didn't fit into that classification, so even when we tried to be friendly with the people around us, it wasn't that effective. But despite the fact that we looked like no one there and people for the most part blocked us out, I felt the music with my soul, enjoyed it from my very being, and had a wonderful evening.

Fat, thin. Rich, poor, or middle class. Black, white, Asian, hispanic. Republican or Democrat. Liberal or conservative. Christian, Muslim, Jew....

It occured to me during the concert that I feel that I don't quite fit in with anyone. I also thought about the way we classify ourselves into groups, and someone like me who is a mix of all different things never quite fits in anywhere.

Earlier the day I was at a financial meeting at the Muslim school. I was the only American there, the only convert and the only woman not covering her hair. I was in a group of mostly much older men, from Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Palestine, I believe - and one woman from Egypt. I started out feeling a little uncomfortable and out of place. Several of the men had PhD's. They were all more "devout" than I. But as the meeting went on, and I started to speak, I began to feel more comfortable. I have been thinking of the last line of the Audre Lorde poem, A Litany for Survival - "So it is better to speak remembering, we were never meant to survive."

It occured to me that speaking is often the only way you can break barriers. People make assumptions about you based on your appearance - what you wear, your jewelry, your car, all of these things that are really unimportant are still what shows first. My devotion to the school and to Islam are absolute. I perhaps don't look that way on the outside, but in my heart I love that school and I am so happy to see it succeed the way it has.

On a side note, we had a Human Rights Art Contest in the area, where the students drew beautiful pictures about their ideas for human rights. 4 of the 5 awards went to students at the Muslim school. One of my favorites is posted above, and was drawn by a First Grader.

I have been arguing with several of my friends lately about religion and politics. I am on the very liberal side of the spectrum with nearly everything. Many of my friends prefer Sarah Palin, George W. and Dick Cheney. There seems to be no agreement on anything, and part of me is just tired of the argument. I have no hopes to change anyone, and I hope no one plans to change me. I am stubborn as hell.

Several of my friends feel like Islam is a "dangerous" religion. We talked about that after our group meeting. One of the elder men in the group, a very successful doctor, spoke about the threat of fundamentalist Muslims to mainstream and liberal Muslims like ourselves. People in general, are not able to differentiate between the two. He feels that the Fort Hood shooting is going to be more detrimental to Muslims in this country than 9-11. I'm in an interesting spot because I don't cover my hair and I am an American. People never expect me to be a Muslim, so I hear it all. I also consider myself a Christian too, and attend church fairly reguarly. I don't see that there is any conflict in that - at least not for me. I wish that we could come to a place where we all tried to understand each other instead of looking for the differences.

"I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian."

- Mahatma Gandhi

Family Weekend

The kids and I spent a lot of time with my husband this weekend, which was mostly good. Saturday I had a meeting, so he came and watched the kids after his AA meeting for a few hours. Later that night, I had a chance to go to a concert I really wanted to see with a friend, so he also stayed with them then. He ended up falling asleep with the kids and spent the night. Sunday, we all spent the day together, which was fine until the end.

I was very tired after not sleeping well the night before. I needed a nap, but it never happened. The kids need to be in bed by 7, especially now that they're both sick. I feel like I am constantly hammering this into my husband's head, but he never seems to get it. Same thing when he lived at home and they were both napping. Every weekend, I had to repeat the nap schedule and explain why we needed to do something right then. It frustrates the hell out of me!! My mom always defends him and says he has ADD, but that frustrates me too. If you have ADD, take the flippin' medicine for it!! And, I also go back to blaming my in-laws for giving him alcohol as a child, which I believe screwed up his brain development.

In any case, he rented the most stupid movie I have ever seen (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) and I told him that before we even opened the case. I was trying to read the NY Times and he kept asking me if I was watching the movie - even after repeatedly telling him that I thought it was stupid. Why does he care if I am watching the movie or not? To me, it seemed controlling. And, who would chose to watch a dumb movie over reading something intellectually stimulating?!

So by 7:30 when the movie was finally over, I was annoyed. My daughter was cranky and she will never sleep until the distraction of her dad leaving is over. I have been through this with him numerous times before as well. He kept saying, "I'm leaving now, I'm leaving now." And I kept thinking, "OK, leave!" Don't tell me five times you are leaving and then stay.

Same thing in the morning. He said, "I'll let you sleep in". But then he kept just staying there and not taking care of the kids. By the time he finally left, I was irritated and hungry and couldn't get back to sleep. I realize it was nice of him to offer and nice of him to be there, but I am with the kids for the most part 24-7, and I never have the possibility of sleeping in, whereas he has complete freedom to do so whenever he pleases since he lives alone. I don't think he gets this.

So back to 7:30 when I was trying to get my daughter to bed...she started arguing with me and saying she didn't want to go to bed. Meanwhile my husband is just fumbling around the house. My daughter ended up falling face-first into the molding on the stairs. She got this huge welt on her head. It starts filling up with blood and turning black. My husband is not a quick thinker with the kids, which also annoys me. I'm sitting there holding her and trying to comfort her, and I'm like, "Get me some ice!" Then I tell him to get me some Tylenol (which I now know I"m not supposed to do after a child hits their head). So he asks me where it is. THE SAME PLACE IT HAS BEEN FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS!! UGHHHHH!

Then he bring out some chewable Tylenol. I was totally losing it because my daughter won't take that. And as her father, it seems like that would be something he would know. But he doesn't. So things are totally escalating between us, and I finally go to get some myself. The Tylenol is in an unopened box so I grab the Ibuprofen. He's like you didn't say Ibuprofen, and I'm like, what's the difference!? She is hurt and screaming and needs something for her pain NOW!!! So we end up getting into a huge fight, with ends with him telling me to "Just stop talking to me."

I told him he never gets to tell me when to stop talking.

I call the doctor to see if I need to bring her in. They run through all her symptoms with me and say no. I learn I shouldn't have given her anything, especially Ibuprofen because that can make her throw up after hitting her head. (She never does). They tell me to put her to sleep with me, but to completely wake her up every 4 hours to make sure she is OK. And to watch her for the next 24 hours and bring her in if she throws up more than twice.

My husband finally leaves and I put both children in bed with me. They are completely wound up and don't end up going to sleep for at least an hour. Once they finally quiet down, my daughter asks me, "Why did daddy tell you to stop talking to him?" My son chimes in that that is never OK to say to someone and we have a conversation about that.

It seems like no matter how great things are, when we argue, we still end up in the same awful spot.

On the way to school this morning I realized how much I have come to depend on my son to help me. Since it's usually just the 3 of us, I am always asking him to help me with things. Had his dad not been there, it would have been him that got me everything. And unlike his dad, he would have been able to do it. I start tearing up. He's not even 7. He's super responsible and and amazing kid, but this is never the life I wanted for him. I didn't want him to have to be super responsible like I was. I wanted him to just be a kid and enjoy his life.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Hope To Be An Old Woman Who Dresses Very Inappropriatedly

Women in business
Dress is man-style suits
And treat their secretaries
In a man-style way.

Women on campus
Wear "masculine" thoughts
And look to daddy for
Good grades.

Married women
Give their bodies away
And wear their husbands'

Religious women
Cover sinful bodies
And ask redemption from god
Not knowing
She is within them.

That's why I'll always love
The fat woman who dares to wear
A red miniskirt
Because she lvoes her woman's body.
The smart woman who doesn't go to college
And keeps possession of her mind.
The lover who remains a mistress
Because she knows the price of marrying.
The witch who walks naked
And demands to be safe.
The crazy woman who dyes her hair purple
Because anyone who doesn't love purple
Is crazy.

Dear Goddess: I pray for the courage
To walk naked
At any age.
To wear red and purple,
To be unladylike,
Scandalous and
To the very end.

-Gloria Steinem

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hold On

My dear friend T sent me this a few days ago. He found it as he was going through his partner's things, who recently passed. I thought it was beautiful.

Hold on to what is good
even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe
even if it is a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do
even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life
even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand
even when I have gone away from you.

-Pueblo Verse

Missed call

I had a missed call from my husband at 3:40AM today. I woke up and tried to call back, but there was no answer. I spent about 20 minutes dwelling on it. I thought maybe he was out drinking, then I fixated that he must have gotten arrested for driving drunk, and then I moved on to some other worry that I can't even remember. I started to wonder if I am ever going to reach a point in my life of faith and trust with him - or if I will always worry that the worst has happened.

He texted me very coherently and let me know that he just couldn't sleep and had accidentally dialed me while he was setting his alarm. In any case, I went back to sleep for a few hours.

It seems that my husband has finally found a sponsor that he likes and things seem to be going well with him. He is going to a lot of AA meetings with him and working through the steps. I am happy to hear this because he has really never worked with a sponsor in an official or long-term capacity.

Regardless of my interrupted sleep, I woke up in a great mood today and things seem to be going much better. I think it because of several things.

#1 I am trying to engage in more things that I love and to give back to other people.

#2 I was finally able to acknowledge where I am at with 2 close friends yesterday. I have been feeling pretty depressed, which is hard for me to admit. And I desperately need things to change in my life, which is also a hard thing to come to grips with. I also talked about some very happy moments in my life that always make me smile when I think of them. :) There was something very freeing in discussing this, and I feel a release today.

#3 I went back to the gym and had a good 45-minute workout. I haven' been doing that enough lately, especially with sick kids. But it does my soul good, and I'm going back today!

Whatever the case, I woke up with some renewed energy and restored faith this morning.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why Did I get Married?

I watched another Tyler Perry play last night: Why did I get married? My kids have now seen me watch so many Tyler Perry movies that they explained to their dad, "It's the play, not the movie...she's already seen that one."

There were 2 lines in particular that I really liked. One is about a man who isn't raising his kids or paying child support. His ex-wife, who is remarried, says something like, "I've learned that what one man won't do, another man will."

Another was about how we as women sometimes spend so long trying to make a bad man love us that we miss out on a good one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


"Money has no power of its own. You alone are the power source."

-Suze orman

What to do?

I am home today for the second day - trying to work and take care of two sick kiddos. Going back to work with young children and doing so successfully seems almost impossible to me these days. Now that both kids are in different schools, there is always at least one day a week when one or both is either sick or off school. I can already see the effect it has on my work, which is slow to begin with.

The mortgage industry is definitely not what it used to be. I don't see myself making a good income there anymore without 1) gauging people and going against my own principles. 2) working ungodly hours and ditching my kids somewhere when they are sick or unable to go to school. And even if I was willing to compromise on either or both of those things, it still is not going to provide the income that it used to.

A lot of my friends in the industry are getting out altogether, or already have. In my state, we went from 15,000 mortgage originators to 5,000. I think that will continue to go down - and one could say that I could reap the benefits. But there are also so few people who qualify for loans these days that I think more people should probably get out. Half the time I start a loan only to find out that I can't do it for some reason half way through the process (or worse yet, at the end). Usually this is because the value of the home has dropped too far down. I am completely commission based, so if the loan does not fund, I do not get paid.

I am growing tired of all the new regulations. What keeps me in is the flexibility and my clients.

That said, I still need to be able to make a living.

I have been thinking about that a lot lately, and trying to rack my brain for any other ideas. The job market is very bad here (about the worst in the nation). But there has to be something.

I wish I could just raise my kids and not worry about it. But money is always a constant concern.

I wish our society placed more value on raising children well. I don't think there is anything more important than that. But it seems to be a job reserved for the wealthy for the most part. Or in my case, I think we probably could have raised the kids on one income if my husband had continued to work, did not have alcohol & drug problems, and if we had budgeted better from the get-go.

Now we have an enormous budget to tackle every month - and once you have established that, you can't very well go back on most of your commitments. We have cut down, and cut down, and cut down - but there is still a lot to pay every month. If I could go back and do it over again, I would have been more involved in our budget from the get-go. I felt like my husband was making so much money and it was not an issue at the time - and who was I to say anything when I wasn't bringing in the money? Well, now that there isn't as much money, it sure has a lot to do with me, and it effects my stress level enormously.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


"We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations."

-Anais Nin

Monday, November 16, 2009

Am I a Horrible Person?

Several things from the argument are haunting me.

My husband told me numerous times that I am "a horrible person."

I know this is not true and I don't know anyone else who would say such a thing to me, but it is still bothering me. Who is this man, who says he wants to be my husband, to tell me something like that?

What have I done to make me horrible?

If you want to compare, I think he would come up to be the horrible one. But do I tell him that? No.

The other thing is that he kept saying that everyone keeps telling him that I don't love him and that he's a fool.

Who would tell him something like that? Is that really productive?

The only person I can think of is his father- who has been married 4 times. And honestly, that pisses me off. That dysfunctional piece of shit is always interfering in our life. I don't know that anyone has ever truly loved him. It's all about his money. There is no honest love, especially when you have been married 4 times. It's not like meeting someone when you're young and becoming successful together. He distrusts everyone and he probably should. Especially when you are an asshole with money, you always have to worry about what people really want from you. It's not like people would put up with him if he didn't have any money.

How do you measure someone else's love? How is that for anyone to say - especially anyone who has not walked in my shoes these last 7 years. Who can blame me for not feeling love-y all the time?

I asked him about this again this morning and he said if you're really in love with someone you just go with it and make it work regardless of what has happened. Well, I have done that - numerous times. That time is over for me. Perhaps things will change and over time I will feel differently - but right now I don't.

I think that's one big downside of AA. People start to think that their behavior and their families are normal, and they are not. Most families don't behave like this. I think alcoholics should judge themselves by the standards that the rest of us have to live by.

No Sleep

I didn't get a lot of sleep this weekend and my head feels jumbled up. Saturday, my husband took my son to a college football game. I worried about that for a weeks. For one, I have heard there is heavy drinking at these games, and I worry about putting my son in the car afterwards to drive 2 hours home. Secondly, I am still not feeling completely confident in my husband's sobriety.

But one of my best friends spent the time texting with me on Saturday and I worked through some of my fears - at least enough to let him go. I suppose I can't protect my children from everything, but I am still a very cautious person. I stayed up late waiting for them to come home. Then I couldn't sleep.

I am still disturbed about the argument I had with my husband on Friday night. It's easier for him to just pretend like nothing happened and move on with our life. For me, I feel like maybe we are just always going to end up in that spot. And I'm tired of that spot.

I feel very conflicted over the "needs" of my children versus my own happiness. Sometimes I wonder what is the best thing for them and if I am even capable of making a good decision right now. Anger, frustration and financial wreckage are not exactly the best places to come from.

I feel like I would never put up with all of my husband's BS before I had children, and that only makes me resent him more. I think he knows that and uses it against me. I'm tired of having him ask the kids in front of me if they want him to come home. What are they supposed to say? Who says a child should even be making that decision? I find it offensive that he would even put them in that spot.

I barely slept at all last night and I'm in a horrible mood. I'm not someone who does well without sleep. I wish I could come to a place of peace on my life, but somehow that always seems outside of my grasp. The only time I truly feel happy and at ease is when I am alone with my children. I enjoy them so much. There is no one I adore more.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Date Night

My husband and I were supposed to have a dinner date last night, but he was more than an hour late and we ended up just driving around and fighting for 2 hours instead. I went to bed without dinner, which is totally unlike me.

I realized that in the past I would have cried my eyes out, but while I was on the verge of tears several times, I did not let myself cry. I guess this is my wall.

I have to say that at the moment I am grateful for the wall. I went to sleep and slept somewhat well all things considered. In the past, I wouldn't have slept and would have woke up exhausted with 2 kids to take care of. Life doesn't stop for your problems - you just have to make due the best you can. I don't have any more time to waste on crying and feeling bad. My kids need me. I have wasted far too many nights crying about how things are - but they are still as they are. Tears don't change anything.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Moving Beyond Words

I decided to go back to the signed Gloria Steinem book, and it has been a great experience. There are 6 essays and all of them were fantastic. Here are a few quotes from "The Masculinization of Wealth."

"Inherited wealth and power enforce patriarchy pure, and envy of this ladylike trap makes the rest of us behave against our own best interests." - p 175.

"Upper class men...are no more likely to be shaken in their positions as heads of their families than they are to be shaken from their positions as heads of society's economic institutions." - Susan Ostrander

"There are many ways class doesn't work for women - and some in which it's actually reversed." - p 184.

"The closer women are to power, the weaker those women have to be kept." - p 187.

"There is not a woman born who desires to eat the bread of dependence, no matter whether it be from the hand of father, husband, or brother, for anyone who does so eat her bread places herself in the power of the person from whom she takes it." - Susan B. Anthony

"Women with wealth and women without wealth share a sense of isolation, alienation , and powerlessness...we feel this way no matter where we are...people like me need people like you, and people like you need people like me. Together, we make a wonderful whole...we must look inside ourselves, take the risk to learn who we are and acknowledge all the pieces." - Byllye Avery, founder and director of the National Black Women's Health Project, addressing a group of women of inherited wealth.

Moving Beyond Words - Revaluing Economics

"In addition to degree of value, however, there are productive areas that aren't valued at all. Take the economic vacuum called "women who don't work." It's a form of semantic slavery that industrialized countries reserve for homemakers (in spite of the fact that homemakers in the United States work longer hours for less pay, and have more likelihood of being replaced by a younger worker, than any other category)....The truth is that almost every woman knows this economic invisibility in some part of her life. Whether or not she is in the paid labor force, a major part of her energy is probably devoted to productive work within the family and household, work that isn't counted as work at all. Its a reality of patriarchal economic systems both in capitalist countries like the United States, where the invisibility of homemaking leads to employed women having two jobs, and in the socialist past or hybrid present of countries in East Europe and Russia, were the so-called emancipation meant the right to do two jobs, one visible and one not." - p 214

"Thanks to our new ability to measure worldwide suffering with computers, the United Nations has come up with conclusions like this often cited one: Women do a third of all the paid work in the world, and two thirds of all work, paid and unpaid, yet receive only 10 percent of the world's salaries, and own only one percent of its property." - 216.

"A woman taking care of her own children is a person who is "not working" - which is why welfare, initially conceived as a widowed mothers' allowance, is treated as a handout, but unemployment compensation, which involves doing nothing at all, is not- though a person or institution raising the same children if that mother died or deserted would be "working" and getting much more than a welfare-level payment." - 216

"Personally, I like the option of treating the full-time homemaker and her or his wage-earning spouse as partners at least as equal as a business partnership - as we are so often assured marriage is - and crediting the homemaker with half of her (or his) spouse's total income. Especially at middle and upper levels, this could half compensate for the fact that consumption increases and elaborates as income goes up, thus demanding a consumption manager with more time and expertise. - p 219-220.

"All this was summed up in Lenore Weitzman's famous statistic from The Divorce Revolution: Women with dependent children experience a 73 percent drop in standard of living after a divorce, while their ex-husbands' living standard goes up by 42 percent. The colloquial summing up is simpler: If women have young children, they are only one man away from welfare...Yet if two homemakers were to cross the street and work for each other's husbands, they would be entitled to an eight-hour day and a forty-hour week, Social Security, disability pay, and unemployment compensation - and perhaps paid vacations, transferable health benefits, and a retirement plan (not to mention a better legal safeguard against violence, which also has economic value). Something is very wrong here." - 220-221

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Past

"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past." - William Faulkner

Friday, November 6, 2009

Newest Demand from my Father-in-law

So, apparently my husband still does not have the money he keeps saying he has earned, and he put us into another very tough spot. This morning, he arrived half-way-through our son's parent-teacher conference, after missing our daughter's entirely last week. (I should have reminded him, he said.)

Then he said that he would need to get money from his dad and he hated to even bring it up but his dad wanted me to send him an email thanking him and his wife for their financial help over the last year.

Date: November 6, 2009 4:50:04 AM PST


I will arrange for you to get the $6500.00 balance from D as soon as K and I receive some communication from Sula acknowledging her appreciation for our financial support for her and your family for the last year or so.

As per our old deal I expect you to visit with me on each payday that you receive a check for over $1,000.00. Paying back the short-term loans is an important part of our relationship. For you; being honest and keeping your word, for me; being able to respect you as a competent adult man.

In the future I will only help you with loans as part of a comprehensive financial management plan, which will mean that both of you need to be 100% open with all of your budget plans and all financial history. A lot of people that you and I both know ask for and appreciate my financial advice. I know that your family would be better off financially today if you would have been willing to be more honest and open to my advice.

I will be less co-dependent going forward because I love you.


So, like any mother who needs to take care of her kids, I ate shit.

My reply:

Dear J and K,

Thank you for your financial help over the last year or so. We all appreciate it!

God bless you both!

Inside I was both barfing and laughing. I hope someday, they will eat their words. I hope someday they will realize that their inadequate parenting grew a son who is an alcoholic-addict, who has repeatedly put his family in a horrible spot.

I think they should be thanking me for holding this family together all these years. I think they should kiss my ass for the job I do with both of these kids. I think they should both be apologizing profusely for the abuse they have inflicted on me, my children and my husband for years - and for the bullshit I have put up with from their son.

Email to the AA Leader

Hi B,

Thank you for today. I feel like regardless what happens, it was productive.

J seems more dysfunctional since we talked than before. The fact that he does not have a sponsor is telling to me. I don't think he has EVER had a real sponsor and I am still concerned about his sobriety. He does not feel "ok" to me. I do not feel safe around him and neither do the kids. The fact that I said that to you seems to have enraged him. When he left tonight, our son said, "Daddy doesn't seem ok. Maybe he's doing drugs.".

He already was yelling at me again tonight. He bounced a check to our daughter's school 3 weeks ago and never told me. I go in and out of that school every day. I can't understand not paying the teachers who spend all day with our child. I can't understand not making that right. I can't understand at least telling your wife so that if he wasn't man enough to do it, I could talk to the school. Instead, I found out through the bill I received today and opened tonight. J has optimism, that's for sure, but sometimes it seems more like insanity to me. He has a constant belief that everything will be right any time now, and he's thought that way since I knew him. Faith alone doesn't pay your bills.

The fact that J spends more time with friends that are active, heavy drinkers than working his program gives me great pause. The Halloween party that we went to on Saturday was concerning. Everyone was so drunk that they basically forgot about dinner. We had a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old there. I kept asking, and it was always almost done. I don't hang around people who drink like that on an empty stomach. I wouldn't go to a party with people that I knew to be like that. My family may drink wine with dinner, but no one gets drunk and dinner is always served. Kids come first. We finally left around 8 after my numerous requests to go get the kids some dinner.

The other day, J had his phone off and our son could not reach him. He later said he was at a basketball game with someone who I know owns several night clubs in town and definitely drinks heavily. We did not hear from him again until the next day. When a child leaves their father a voicemail early in the evening, I don't think it should ever go unreturned.

I don't have a drinking problem, but I certainly don't hang around with heavy drinkers. There is nothing we really have in common. My kids are my first priority and it would be hard for me to relate to someone like that. I am just wondering why someone who has a relapse history and serious drinking issues since the age of 12 would spend his time with people like this?

I am at a point where I don't know that I want a marriage with J. But for God's sake, I hope that my children will have a father that they can look up to and respect, because this breaks my heart. I can not remember ever in my life a single time where my dad did not keep his word to me or our family. He would break his back to do anything for us. To this day, he is the one I count on to be a role-model to my kids - he is my hope for them.

I know J and his dad don't like our son seeing a counselor and think he knows too much for his age, and I sort of got that sense from you today as well. But J and his dad put us in this situation where I need to think about my son first - and what his needs are. God knows no one ever did that for J - and look where he is today. I'll be damned if either of my children become addicts. I am in prevention mode all the way. My family has been a rock and a refuge for these kids. That and our church. I put my faith in people I know I can count on - because my kids count on me. J is a gamble - a big one. You don't build your house on the sand.

J needs a sponsor. J needs to work his program. J needs to take responsibility for himself - and this family.

And then, maybe, if he ever gets his act together, we will all still be here waiting for him.

And I for one would like you to speak to my father-in-law. We all deserve better than how he has treated us.

I will certainly put everything else you said to thought as well regarding what you said about me. I know I have a wall up with J. But that has been necessary. That said, I am deeply unhappy and disappointed to the core of my being with how this marriage has turned out. And I do want better. I do want to be happy and not be angry all the time.

Thanks B - probably more than you wanted to hear tonight but I am very, very upset. I hope you know how very much I appreciate you and all the time that you have spent with us.

Gloria Steinem's 75th Birthday Wishes

This was printed in the latest issue of Ms. Magazine and I thought it was great. This wasn't exactly what was printed there - that doesn't appear to be online yet - but still great none-the-less. These are things I also hope will come to pass in the next 25 years, for the sake of both my children.

One of the highlights of my time in the Women's Studies department at PSU was meeting Gloria Steinem. She was very kind and I will save the book she autographed for me for my daughter.

Here's her list:

I want all grown-ups to be able to get married as long as they don't hit each other.

I want to walk past the newsstand and see a lot of erotica and no pornography.

I want schools and childcare centers to have a military budget, and the military to have the school and childcare budget--provided they use that budget for peacekeeping.

I want to turn on the news and see women and men of all colors and ages reporting what went right, as well as what went wrong. And I don't want to see everything divided into two. It is ready-made hostility in the media. In Japan, when they are discussing something important, they at least have three people. That alone is like water in the desert.

I want us all to know that you can't reach useful ends by violent means.

I want to walk into Central Park and see as many white guys wheeling babies of color as there are nannies of color wheeling white babies. And I want all of them to be well paid.

I want to turn on Oprah and see a show about men trying to combine work and family.

I want all of us to understand, we all came from Africa, all of us.

I hope that we learn from the original wisdom of this country, the land on which we stand, which is that it took four generations to heal one violent act.

I want to see a history about back in the day when people thought they had to surgically change their bodies to fit society - breast implants! nose jobs! liposuction! - Instead of changing society to fit our different bodies.

I want to walk past buildings that used to house Wal-Mart, Bloomingdale's, Banana Republic and all the other chains - as well as masses of concrete once known as shopping malls - and find them turned into really nice schools, community centers, rollerblade rinks, tennis courts, pocket parks, whatever the community needs. This has become possible because now, people only buy what they really need or love.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Meeting

I had a very trying morning, complete with a migraine, meds that made me tired, an emotional 3-year old, that proceeded to fall down face-first on her way into school, and a 2-hour work meeting that seemed to drag on forever. By the time I got in my car to head over to the other side of town for the meeting with the AA leader, I was in tears. I put on some Amy Winehouse, but that didn't help, so I turned to my favorite old gospel CD. I sang and cried my eyes out all the way there.

I remembered half-way through about the third song that I have been through a lot, and God has always gotten me through one way or another. I remembered in particular one morning, shortly after finding out I was pregnant with my son. I was alone, in my favorite breakfast spot, and near tears the entire breakfast. At one point, I think I started to cry. I was unsure what this pregnancy would bring for me. It was obvious at that point that J. was an alcoholic, and my future seemed very grim. I remember one very kind man came over to me and asked if I was OK. We talked for a bit, and he invited me to come to his church. At that time, I was not feeling very religious, and especially not inclined to go to a Christian Church. But I was very grateful for his kindness, and even considered going, even though I sort of mocked Christianity in my head.

In any case, as it turns out, my son has been one of my greatest joys and blessings.

So I was glad to remember that moment, and I felt as though even though things are pretty bad right now, that someday I might look at this as a blessing too.

The AA Leader noticed that today was not a good day for me, and commented on it as we were leaving. I look so sad today. I really feel it.

Never-the-less, I do think our meeting was productive and I'm glad I went.

He shared some of both of our lists and said he felt hopeful that we could salvage our marriage. He told my husband that he has been very selfish and most of the reason we are at this point is because of him.

We talked a lot about my father-in-law and he offered to speak to him and be as harsh with him as he was with us if we would like him to. My husband did not say anything in response to that, but I think I would like him to.

We talked for over an hour and I feel like a lot was said that needs to be digested on both sides. One thing he asked me to think about is that I have a wall up. He said he did not think I could be happy or move on with my life until I got rid of that, and he encouraged me to look at that more closely. I will definitely spend some time with that (in my spare time, lol!).

He said my husband also had a wall up in that he always feels the need to defend himself, which makes me feel like he's not taking responsibility or going to change. He said he's waiting for me to pull my wall down, but he needs to take his down too.

He talked about being at our wedding, which has great sentimental value for me. He said we had made a commitment to each other and owed it to ourselves and our children to try to make things work. He called it "tough-shit". He said, "You can't stand your in-laws, you're married to an alcoholic, you're broke...tough shit!" Same sort of thing to my husband. He said we could spend a lot of time talking about the past and how you got here, but basically we'd be re-hashing everything and not getting anywhere.

He said getting divorced and marrying other people is not going to solve our problems.

That was one thing that really stuck with me from last summer. He said, "You might think that is the easier route, but it's not."

Overall, I am really glad we went. I really like the AA-Leader and I appreciate him taking time for us again.


Here are the lists I compiled for the AA leader.

How I'd like our marriage to look:

-J sober
-No interference from father-in-law. I don't want to have any sort of relationship with him and I don't particuarly want him around my children. I especially don't want him butting into my life, or telling me how to raise children, esp since he did not do a good job himself in my opinion. I have told J I would be more open to this if he gets counseling or even talks to you, but this has never happened to my knowledge. I resent constantly being asked for my father-in-law to see the kids when in my mind I would never subject my children to any sort of abuse. It's much easier to prevent abuse than erase the scars later. Our son has been in counseling for 2 years already, and I am the one who takes him there every week. I resent the damage the H-Family have caused and that it seems that I am the one who is always cleaning up after their mess. I would like my son to deal with the issues, and have him move on. I don't want my son to suffer the rest of his life. I want my children to be around positive, caring adults. I do not want to be asked even ONE MORE TIME about my father-in-law seeing the kids until he takes care of his end of the street.
-Me at home with the kids (mostly) - I would like my first priority to always be the children, then home, then work. I think meals together and family time is very important. I don't mind working so much, but I resent the extra pressure while the kids are so young...this time has already gone by quickly and I feel like I have missed out on a lot. I don't think that there is a more important job than raising our children well. I don't want another generation of alcoholics. I will do everything in my power to prevent that. You may disagree with me on this, but I think a lot of J's issues with drugs and alcoholism stem more from his environment than genetics. My most important role has been in helping get the kids through these difficult times - and my family has helped a great deal with that. I am not happy about our current financial state, but there is no amount of money that would make it worth it to me to mess up my children. (And that includes my father-in-law, because I get the feeling he thinks my children are for sale, and they are not.) I don't think my added stress from J's relapse and having to work (as opposed to wanting to work or contributing to the income) is helpful to our children. I try to take care of myself and be the best mother I can, but I am also human, and sometimes I feel like this is just too much for me.
-J home on time - call immediately if running late
-No all-nighters - ever, ever, ever...that would be a deal breaker.
-J at all birthday parties and other important family events
-Financially secure
-Regular date nights
-Family dinner together at the table 99% of the time (I cook most meals)
-Dedication to honesty in all things
-Regular vacations - both with the kids and alone
-Having fun - laughing
-Communication about financial issues - esp when things are not going to happen at a certain time
-No physical or verbal abuse

Things I love about J:

Sense of humor
Willingness to stick things out
Father of my children
Warmth and friendliness
Romantic side of him
His sense of style
Paying for our son to attend private school when his dad backed out of his commitment
His love for our children
Our history when he has been sober
He allows me to be myself
His optimism
His hugs
That he is able to be comforting when he wants to (ie, my dad is wonderful but not so much a comforter - more the quiet, stable type)
Checking in with me throughout the day
That he appreciates and enjoys my cooking

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Vault of my Heart

My husband and I are going to meet with the AA leader again tomorrow during lunch. I am supposed to email him before then with a list of things I love about my husband and tell him how I would like our marriage to look. My husband is supposed to do the same.

I started yesterday, but I have to say that I am still just angry about so many things. It has been hard for me to put this together.

I was home with my sick son yesterday so I watched the play of Diary of a Mad Black Woman. Not as good as the movie, and the story line was a little different, but I still enjoyed it.

One line stuck with me: "A woman's heart is like a vault: when you're in, you're in. But when you're out, you're out."