Category Archives: Hard Stuff

Ten Things on Thursday: 9/16/2021

  1. Hope’s arm is healing nicely. Our family physician prescribed a cream with silver that is speeding the healing. Best part? No more pain.
  2. My daughter hasn’t worked for two weeks and that’s about as long as she can go without starting to get impulsive! So, she got her first tattoo this week. She’s been talking about it for a year. I encouraged her to wait, but I have several so I’m ok with body art. I came home from a post work walk and she announced she had an appointment for the next morning. She’s happy.
  3. I’m low key sad I didn’t get to take her. But you know, good for her on the adult flex.
  4. It’s her astrological sign, a crab. The art she chose isn’t really to my taste, but it wasn’t for me. She showed me beforehand and I had a neutral response. She knew that meant I didn’t like it, but again she stayed true to her own style. That’s my girl.
  5. The car is finally being repaired after Hope’s fender bender. Over $1K in damage. Another adult flex: Hope has already paid for my deductible – the natural consequence of the accident.
  6. I think I have already talked about Hope’s hair recently, but my gawd does she have a glorious head of hair! Today she had it up in the ponytail puffs, and it was adorable. There are many things I effed up in raising Hope, but love of her melanin and her coils and kinks…I got that part right. I’m hopping she lets me blow it out and straighten it soon. I just want to play in her head!
  7. It’s been a really awful week. And then today I realized I’ve had all the symptoms of a hormone flux. The last bad one was in January. Then I was in a rage all the time. This time serious depression. Gosh I wish there was a way to predict these fluctuations. This is awful
  8. There are 11 days until I hop a plane out of the country. I can’t wait to just stop for a few days.
  9. We are starting to have more tangible talks about returning to college next semester. We are going to plan and hope for the best. This Delta variant ain’t no joke! I know a few breakthru cases, and what’s really worrying me is my sister who’s a teacher being forced back into a classroom, her little kids, my parents, hell me! I’ve got 2 autoimmune diseases to worry about. Anyway, it’s feeling increasingly hard to plan for January.
  10. Today I know I turned the corner emotionally. I’m feeling a little better, a little more clear eyed. A little less fragile. It’s been a rough few weeks!

Until next time!


Adoption Musings on a Sunday

I just couldn’t manage a midweek post between work and tending to Hope’s injury. I’ve been to multiple stores and had multiple Amazon deliveries to make sure we have what’s needed. Dressings need to be changed often so even though I bought a lot right at the beginning, she blew through things quickly.

She’s improving a lot, though the pain is still pretty bad. Blisters popped and revealed the very tender, super vulnerable new skin beneath it. No infection and no worsening, so, so far, so good. Burn unit consult this week.

I’ve been thinking so much about adoption lately. I’m pretty certain because 8 years ago in August/September, I saw Hope’s profile for the first time. I remember there was a video of her having been on one of those Wednesday’s kids spots for the local news. I remember sitting at my desk at work, looking at the video feeling such a rush of different emotions. Love at first sight. Terror, as in, WTF are you doing??? Joy as I watched her bounce around. I excitedly sent the video to my mom, where she watched at her office desk. I called her and I remember saying something to the effect of, “This is her, this is the child that is going to be my daughter.” I just knew.

I have wanted to adopt since I was an adolescent. I’m not sure why I was drawn to it so young. I don’t recall knowing anyone who was adopted (that I know of anyway). I also knew I wanted an older child. Again, no idea why. The thing is I thought I would adopt a boy. We didn’t have any boys in my immediate family other than my dad. I thought I wanted the “boy” experience, whatever that was. The December before I met Hope, I did my vision board; I included a picture of a child’s bedroom and a faceless child. The images I selected clearly reflected “girlie” vibes. I remember thinking it was so different than what was supposed to be on the board. I was supposed to be a boy mom. Ha! The universe said, nah, at least not right now.

The fact that my current Beau is also an adoptee, also tends to keep the topic top of mind because he’s slowly telling me his story. From his perspective, it’s a doozy. And that’s real. I can see the hurt, trauma, desire, sadness, and more. My heart breaks. I can also see adoptive parents who probably did the best they could with what they had. That doesn’t excuse whatever was done or wasn’t done, but entering my own 8th young year of parenting I sometimes get feeling like every choice available is problematic for any of a zillion reasons and just trying your best to choose the one that will be the least problematic.

The truth is that parenting is probably one of the most difficult jobs anyone can possibly take on. It’s rough out here in these parenting streets, and no one gets out unscathed. And parenting books suck, and frankly so do a lot of online parenting groups, IMHO.

And adoptive parenting is its own beast. You come in thinking you just want to be a regular-degular, but somehow super duper parent, ie, neurotypical kid, same race, kinda looks like me, no trauma, no drama, super smart, gifted, talented, etc. etc. You quickly realize that even if those existed, you weren’t on that track. Precious little is discussed about some of the special needs and challenges. I think a lot of APs just think I want a child and then things will be…just normal, life will just begin and continue.

It does and it doesn’t, and maybe you low key actually were on that track after all.

My and Hope’s story started with a hospital stay and me working on my dissertation. It was rocky. The tears, especially for me, seemed endless. My relationships were strained; I felt alone; Hope couldn’t cope with much of anything because moving in was just overwhelming. We were a bit of a mess if you go back to that first year of posts.

But we got through it somehow and continue to thrive in spit of it all.

We continue to grow together and figure it out. I’m not the best parent, my flaws are many. But I have done my best to date, and Hope continues to have a safe place to grow, explore, and transition into adulthood. And ultimately providing that emotional place is the core of my job. So, I’m succeeding.

I’m not even sure what my point is with this stream of consciousness rambling post. This season is just triggering a lot of great memories about the genesis of my little family.

Anyhoo, have a marvelous Sunday.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 9/1/2021

  1. There are 26 days until my vacation. I need to go ahead and get all my papers together. I can’t wait until I’m heading to the airport.
  2. Last week was a doozy. Of course there was Hope’s fender bender. Then there was that time I just know someone had smoked in my car, but someone denies it. Then Hope got really sick; she couldn’t keep food down for a few days and then the head/chest congestion showed up. Oh, and did I mention she had a tooth with an abscess? By week’s end we were both locked down in the house waiting for COVID tests. Thankfully they were both negative.
  3. She’s better now, and back at work. As for me, it was another Wednesday on PTO. I read articles. I took a nap. I worked out. I crocheted. I watched a few episode of a new show I’m watching. I’m about to do a face mask.
  4. I am taking an extra long weekend for Labor Day. Going to a winery with my sister and some friends. And going to just putz around.
  5. I’m reading a book. I mention it because just sitting to read for pleasure is so cognitively laborious since the TBI that I take in most things audibly. I limit my eyeball reading to work stuff that is nearly impossible to get audibly. Anyway, I sat on the patio during quarantine this weekend and read for a couple of hours. It felt wonderful. Maybe I’ll be able to get lost in a book on my vacation.
  6. I think I will try to start planning a March 2022 vacation for me and Hope. Hopefully things will have improved by then. Of course that would require a lot of folks making decisions that will protect all of us instead of whatever the heck they are doing and thinking right now.
  7. I’m thinking Iceland. It just seems so beautiful and rugged. I hear it’s lovely. Cold, but lovely.
  8. Can you believe it’s September? That we are in the second year of living through a whole ass pandemic? It’s hard to process, really. It’s almost hard to really imagine what the post-pandemic world will look like. I sometimes think about how will talk about this chapter of my life with people 20 or 30 years from now. It’s just weird.
  9. Anyone else exhausted by the news right now? Afghanistan, fires, floods, earthquakes….It’s a lot.
  10. A friend resurrected a group chat with women who for more than a decade been my closest friends. It’s hard to admit what a dark place I’ve been in lately. It’s been hella dark. Having an ongoing chat with them like our early years is …let’s just say it’s affirming.

Ten Things on Thursday

  1. Hope is fine after her fender bender. She shook up, but she’s fine. It was a classic case of poor defensive driving; she attempted to “get out of the way” of another driver rather than allowing that driver to navigate on their own. It happens. Of course, now she feels some kind of way because there are consequences to having an accident. I’m not punishing her, but I am making her pay the costs not covered by insurance, like the $500 deductible. “But that’s not fair!” “Surely, you don’t expect me to pay these expenses when you are responsible for the accident.” “But it wasn’t my fault, the guy…he…” “Neither here nor there, you ran into a barrier and damaged the front end of the car that now needs to be repaired.” *pouts*
  2. I am officially burnt out. Work is draining my soul. There is never enough time to get everything done, and there’s always something new to do. I utterly refuse to work early, late or on weekends; I’m miserable enough. I’m certainly not volunteering more time to what feels like an endless black hole. I’m cynical, exhausted, barely able to be professional. I’m just effing over it. My vacation is in 32 days, and I already know it’s not long enough. I’m just blah. I’ve been taking off Wednesdays the last few weeks just to help me get through the week. I end up taking very long naps and catching up on the TikToks I’m too tired or busy to look at the rest of the week.
  3. Is anyone watching The Chair on Netflix? Seems to be the rage with higher ed folks right now. There is an adoption story line embedded. Sandra Oh’s character is a single adoptive mom; her daughter seems to be having some challenges. I’m only on episode 3, but I’m guessing there’s some attachment stuff going on. *Spoiler Alert* I really related to a scene where Oh’s character talks about how her daughter got a raw deal when they were matched; how she falls short all the time and that she’s a mess. Whew, been there. There have been many days where I have told myself I wasn’t good enough, totally messed up a parenting moment or otherwise dragged my own parenting. Was it true? Maybe, but I know those moments feel…overwhelming. I’ll keep watching because I just want to see what they do with that story line.
  4. Remember when I said I was going to log my food and tighten up? Yeah, the logging lasted about 3 weeks. I’m still working out pretty hard (except Saturdays). I’m trying to eat a little more balanced and responsibly. I get so busy during the day that getting lunch sometimes just doesn’t happen. Most days I try to grab some yogurt or some cheese and crackers. I’m still cooking a lot so that Hope has healthy food to eat. She’s got her own eating issues. Her eating is very disordered, but not because she’s trying to lose weight. That said, it’s something I’m keeping an eye on.
  5. Teaching responsible finance to my daughter continues to be a challenge. I got off of the joint account, and not a moment too soon since she’s overdrawn several more times. It’s not that she does not have the resources to cover her purchases, but she her saving behavior is more like hoarding and she’s not giving her self enough to support her regular weekly spending. It’s challenging to offer guidance because its seen as so critical. She’s learning and I want to be supportive, but I also want her to feel good about her choices. I’m guessing we’re back to that natural consequences bit again. She’ll figure it out.
  6. Today is a National Dog Day, so here are some snaps of Yappy looking adorable.
  1. Did I mention that my vacation is 32 days away?
  2. Yeah, so my vacation is 32 days away.
  3. I’ve got another browser open, looking for some new recipes. Why is it that recipe bloggers have to tell you their life story in 87 paragraphs before you can actually get to the recipe? I just need the ingredient list and a general sense of how to throw it all together. If I could find a blogger who just posted pictures and the recipe without the storytelling, I’d subscribe in a minute. Anyway, got any good recipes? We don’t do seafood and we like cheese.
  4. During the pandemic I’ve made about 9 crochet baby blankets. As soon as I finish one, I find out about a new baby or pregnancy. I’ve also made a lot of hats and scarves. I’ve also got a huge blanket for my own couch that I’ve been working on as well. It’s been a really great hobby that makes me feel good to just give away something I made. I love the colors, choosing stitches and edges/borders. I love seeing a project come together and start looking like something. Crocheting has definitely been a part of keeping me together during this wild and crazy time.


Seven Things on Wednesday: 8/18/2021

  1. Well, thanks to variant I’ll be working from home until after the new year. I was getting really anxious about being around so many people at the office; shoot, just riding the elevator feels risky.
  2. I took the day off; it was so nice to just let myself wake up naturally. I slept until after 7. I didn’t do much today, but that was the point. I’ve got a few projects I’ve got to wrap up over the next couple of days.
  3. I think I’m going to take Hope to a dealership this weekend. I know she’s been doing some research, but I think she would benefit from a more tangible, educational experience. I”m really proud of her; she’s saving much more than I thought she would. This is the most motivated I’ve ever seen her outside of her band days.
  4. It just occurred to me that her birth granny’s birthday is in a couple of weeks. I need to remind her. I”d like to plan a trip to see her. I need to check in with her; months ago she was vaccine hesitant. She’s almost 90, and while I would hope to see her make a different choice, if you can’t do what the eff you want at 90, then why bother? Respect granny, but we won’t be visiting until she gets vaxxed. I’d hate to bring something to her doorstep and she’s not protected.
  5. It’s 5.5 weeks before I leave for vacation.
  6. I made a cake yesterday; apparently it was too warm when I frosted it. It slide apart over night. Still tastes good.
  7. I’m off to sleep.


Things I Learned During the Pandemic

I think I may be more introverted than I used to be. I do miss my friends; I really miss my family. But I also realize that maybe I’m comfortable at home. Transitioning last year was emotionally rough because Hope also came home. I wasn’t used to being home this much; to not taking vacations, to not hanging out with folks, to not always making plans. After 18 months, I’m not only resigned to being ok at home; I’m coming to luxuriate in my home time on the weekends. This may change as fall emerges, and I fight another bout of SAD depression.

In some ways I’ve become more patient, but I feel like my hair trigger temper looms even larger. I just don’t act out on it, but I’m kinda always at a rage level of 4-5 on a 10-point scale. I don’t have a lot of places to put those emotions these days, so I try to do other things. It’s hard; I feel like the pandemic has riled up so many emotions for me.

I am sick of math. I love quantitative research; there are aspects of it that I really could get much stronger in, but I’m a solid researcher. Regularly having to calculate risk/reward probabilities in my head when making plans or going out is exhausting. Each week I head on over to the COVID dashboards on the NYT’s site. I look at my state, my county, the counties where my immediate family lives and where Beau lives. I think about what my own exposure level is—I have to take into consideration that Hope works retail and has a high exposure rate. It the idea of always checking the calculated risk of going out in public. I’m not completely fearful, but I really do enjoy being around a few people and I get to see my parents and sisters and nephews and niece now. I am actually just trying to make sure my risks are low so I can see them whenever I want. But the math…I’m sick of it.

Yappy is the sweetest and most stubborn dog I’ve ever known personally. This dog adores people; his disposition is absurdly sweet. He’s a cuddle bum and is very happy nestled up next to you with a light blanket covering him. And then he also can be this:

This is one of his daily standoffs that we are now known for in the neighborhood. I try to let him dictate the direction of our long morning walk but let me try to deviate from his plan—especially if it’s to something he *knows* he has no business doing—he goes from sweet to rooted in his spot, refusing to move. He’s a whole mess. I’ve also learned that even though I taught him how to use AAC buttons, he really can’t be bothered to use them consistently despite positive reinforcement and behavior modeling. He’s on his own ish. I low key respect him for that.

I’ve learned that my home brewed cold brew coffee is worlds better than Starbucks, even with cheap coffee. I used to hot brew and then ice, but I really like the richness of cold brew. It took me forever to get my preferred ratios together, but now, it’s always perfect. 1 cup of grounds to 8 cups of water. I put it in my brewing pitcher, shake, pop in the fridge for 24 hours. I bought these straining bags—kinda like cheesecloth but made into a drawstring bag. Pour into my regular pitcher through the bag and voila! Dunzo! I was on Keto years ago and the only think I kept was my penchant for using heavy cream in my coffee. I froth it and my daily coffee experience is elevated!!!

I’ve learned that after we really get on the other side of the pandemic, I might have to redecorate. I could stand to update everything. I’m also thinking about getting rid of my dining table and just setting up that space as my home office. I think at this point, it just makes more sense and is a better use of space. I want to paint, maybe get a new couch, buy a couple new rugs, consider wallpaper. I just need to switch it up around here.

I’ve really come to appreciate our mental heath squad so much more this year. I’ve gone to therapy since undergrad, and Hope has required varying levels of mental health care since becoming my daughter. But this year…whew, I feel like we’ve definitely got our money’s worth in terms of therapy, meds management, talk therapy. I know my marbles would definitely be scattered all over the floor if we didn’t have a team in place. This 18+ months have really taken its toll, but they’ve remained a steady part of our lives; I’m grateful beyond measure.

Hope really enjoys my cooking. I am confident in my cooking skills, and these last few months I’ve finally really settled into a cooking schedule for the week. I do a lot of cooking on the weekends and keep more convenience foods for the latter part of the week. I’ve also expanded my recipe repertoire. She eats just about everything. She’s always enjoyed my cooking, but I think she really, really enjoys it now. She loves seeing what I’ve come up with. This weekend, I made beef and cheese empanadas.

I’m really over this pandemic; like really, really over it. I can admit, though, that it really has given me an opportunity to reflect and think about what I’ll take from this experience. I’m hopeful that at some point we’ll get ahead of it and that others will get vaccinate or head to a closed colony or something. I am eager to see what the new normal will be; I’m eager to go to brunch again; to socialize, to just be free with out worry of consequences of someone breathing on me. I’m just ready to move on.


Another Parenting Transition

This month marks 2 years since Hope started college. It’s almost 1 year since she took a leave of absence from school. I’ve told her she has one more semester and then I would like for her to start taking classes again to ease back into the swing of things.

So much of parenting is adapting; this is only more intense for adoptive families. You’re adapting to different ages and stages, different needs and desires, and different behaviors. I knew going into this family thing that I would need to change a lot in order to make it work. I figured at some point, as Hope neared adulthood, that we would find some level of stasis, stability, a time that didn’t require so much adaptability from either of us.

I got a glimpse of that when Hope went to boarding school and then on to college. Of course then the pandemic hit and both Hope and I had the rugs pulled from under us. My transition was a bit smoother, but things were very difficult for my daughter this last year. Pulling her from the darkness was really hard, taxing, emotionally draining at times, but we did it. She’s stable and doing so much better.

In fact she’s doing so much better that she’s acting like a young, college aged person: testing limits, trying on decisions, behaviors, trying to figure out adulting.

Y’all, it’s driving me nuts. Historically, there were things I was strict about and things I let go. When Hope went away to college, there were a few things I asked her to hold back on, but I also acknowledged that I wasn’t going to be there looking over her shoulder and that I hope she would make good decisions. For the most part she did, and she did other age appropriate dumb ish. Ish I shouldn’t know about, but that Hope provided regular updates on. A few weeks in, I told my daughter that college was like Vegas–some of her extracurriculars should just stay there and I probably shouldn’t know about them.

She still told me. I suppose that’s a testament to how close we are or how much trust she has in me. All I know is that it drove me nuts. When she moved back home in March 2020, I told her that home was not Vegas. That lasted for about 3 months and then things went south. Since then it’s been a constant struggle of basic rule enforcement (and we don’t even have that many rules), common courtesies (I ain’t asking to use my own damn car) and nagging about chore management. UGH.

I tried to think back and get some sense of how did my parents handle this phase of life while I was in college. Yeah, I was away the whole 4 years except for like 2 summers. The most memorable incident involved me wearing an embarrassingly short pair of shorts (I was so happy that this thighs fit in them!) and my dad saying he didn’t think they were appropriate. I replied, ok, I will no longer wear them at your house or around you. And then I went back to school. It was a declaration of independence and autonomy. I never heard any more about it or really heard my parents exert any real control after that.

Developmentally, Hope is not quite where I was at the same age, so I feel like I still need to hover a bit, but it’s always a mystery about how much to hover and how much to enforce. There are a few non-negotiables and I’ve had to exert some real consequences on occasion for those breeches. Day to day parenting is a little rough for me right now. I’m constantly asking how much rope do I give, should I intervene because even Stevie Wonder could see what was on the horizon. Often times, I desperately try to redirect my energies, but the reality is that I still need her to follow the house rules and mind a few Ps and Qs.

I swear I feel like I’m constantly failing. I know I’m not, but it often feels like I am. I feel parenting stress today as Hope is 20 as when she was 14. I didn’t really anticipate that. I know that the pandemic threw us all a major curve ball. I’m grateful to have had this time to grow together; I’m grateful when she hit such a low point that she was here with me and I could immediately spring into action. I’m grateful both of us have survived.

All that said, I’m hopeful that this awful group project that we’re stuck in, aka The Pandemic, ends soon. I want her to resume her collegiate life and do some of this adulting practice at school where she’s not subjected to my watchful eyes. I want her to have some of that freedom. I know that I could simply drop more of the rules here, but I know I’m not going to do that–I’ve got some basic things that just have to or cannot happen here. #nonnegotiables

It’s just challenging in ways I didn’t imagine, in part because my own parents didn’t have the window into the college years that I do with Hope. If she gets to go back to school, I promise to listen to her tell me wayyyy too much information about her shenanigans; I just want her to be physically in a space where she has an opportunity to flex if she wants to. I know it’s going to be ok, but it just feels really challenging right now.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 7/21/2021

  1. Man, this year is really flying by. I recently accepted some of my first speaking engagements for 2022, and that just feels super weird to me.
  2. I finally called my doctor and got the much needed medication adjustment. Now we wait and see how I feel in the coming weeks. I still haven’t called the electrician to come figure out all the work that needs to be done.
  3. I’ve been thinking about nature versus nurture recently; I think that I started kicking it around after Hope and I said the same thing at the same time. It wasn’t everyday things; this was different. This was a very particular idea and string of words. We giggled when it happened. Admission: I realized very early in this journey to have low expectations of me “rubbing off” on Hope. 1) I didn’t want to be crushed when it didn’t happen, and 2) it’s so unfair to ‘want her to be like me.’ So now, year’s later to know that we genuinely share things like finishing sentences and inside jokes. It really makes me happy.
  4. And then silly things happen that just make me go: Dear Lord, what are we doing????. Hope and I didn’t have a “why is the sky blue’ chapter. Instead we have a ‘why do my nipples itch?’ I mean we have that now, right now, today, tonight, seriously she just walked into my room and asked me that, while scratching.
  5. Parenting is wild.
  6. So, it’s looking like Mexico at the end of September. I haven’t decided if I’m going solo yet. I know Hope would love to go and would have a blast, adding another stamp on her passport. But then it becomes a trip. Stay tuned. The vision of sitting on the beach with a cool drink snoozing like my trip to PR a couple of years ago.
  7. Hmm, remembering the solo trip to PR makes me seriously consider going alone. That trip I walked every morning, snoozed on the beach everyday, grabbed a calzone every night from the place across from the hotel and slept. It was one of the most decadent things I’ve ever done for myself. Except maybe go to Mexico for a week alone at an all inclusive.
  8. I will be emailing the travel agent as soon as I finish this post.
  9. Hope is finding a groove with work. She’s happy, and I really can’t articulate what a relief this is for me. She’s making friends, she’s eager to pick up extra shifts. She has created her own budget–which includes paying me for her cell phone and paying a token towards the housekeeper. I didn’t tell her I was just going to put it in her investment account every month. But she just happened to mention her allocation for her “recreational things” and my eyebrows went up! Could the financial education class I made her go to early one Saturday morning and my modeling good management have had an impact? Seriously, after the year she’s had and how bad things got, I am elated to see her thriving again. It makes my heart burst. I am so proud of Hope.
  10. Friday, the last person that we had helping us with caregiving so I could travel is getting married. Hope and I will be there. I know I’m going to cry. P was a godsend, truly. Back then when I asked for referrals from the service I used I saw her info and realized we worked in the same building. Knowing where she worked was cool; many years ago, I started my care at that organization. She was going to grad school where I went to grad school. We had to have crossed paths a lot, and we had. She was one of the best decisions I made in my life. She is marrying the man she met right after she started watching Hope; we’ve watched their journey. That man is a gem; he passed Hope’s tests. When I realized that if I was traveling on a band night, and P was at the football game; this dude came to the game too since P was there I knew he was super smitten early on. Seriously, he spent a couple Friday nights at a high school football game to hang out with the woman who was standing in for me while Hope did the marching band thing? He was in deep! I’m so thrilled to be able to watch them get hitched.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 7/14/2021

  1. Yeah, so work reentry is rough. Busy, busy, busy. I have so much to do. It would’ve still been insanely busy even if I had not taken a week off, so no regrets. I do wonder if/when America will get over this ridiculous “week long” vacation situation and consider a 2 week minimum. The work ethic here is killing us.
  2. Hope is saving up for a car, y’all. As we begin talking about his process, I’m acutely aware of how much I take for granted in terms of environmental learning from my family. My dad was a mechanic, and took enormous pride in fixing EVERYTHING, including his cars. I honestly am struggling to remember how I learned certain things about purchasing and maintaining a car; I just learned it along the way.
  3. Even though I’ve been intentionally talking about these things with Hope for years, I’m realizing the extent to which my daughter has been unable to take in and retain information. Trauma is a beeotch. I’m convinced that these 7 years has just been a brain “rest” period; the result is that Hope has been oblivious to a lot of the environmental learning that just happens in families. It’s not intentional; she probably was listening but just could not process the information.
  4. Case in point: I do not ever remember learning what mileage on a car was; I just somehow learned and knew that that was how many miles the car had driven. Last night Hope asked me if mileage represented how many miles the car had left to drive. I was like, “an expiration date?” Whew, I have laughed about it for 24 hours because: HILARIOUS. But then I think about what the question represents, and I wonder how many other things Hope just missed learning because of her rocky start in life. Makes me sad.
  5. These last two weeks or so, I’m seeing so much growth in Hope. She’s regaining some much needed confidence. She enjoys working. She’s helping out around the house more, even picking up groceries. She’s quick to remind me that she needs me, but I’m starting to see glimpses of her future. I’m excited to see how she progresses.
  6. The truth is that Hope is probably more stable than I am right now. I’m still feeling overwhelmed by most things. Running simple errands can be challenging; lack of motivation. I’m in my head a lot, which is not unusual, but it’s not a good thing these days. I really need a meds adjustment, but the simple act of dialing my doc’s number–which is on speed dial–just seems like…work.
  7. Even on the weekends, I’m likely to just stay home all day. This isn’t like me. I’m an extrovert; I like being around people. I get off on the energy. But even thinking about going out much is enough to shut me down for a couple of days. Some of this is pandemic fall out, but the rest of it…is just me.
  8. I am logging my food and stepping up my exercise. I might not have hot girl summer, but it will be toasty girl fall!
  9. Yappy is currently sleeping in the middle of the bed. I’ve been relegated to the edge because the look he gave me when I attempted to move him about 30 mins ago was wanton rebellion. He ain’t moving. I’m not sure how a 10lb dog because the master of me, but here we are.
  10. I have a serious case of wanderlust. I am eyeballing trips to Iceland and Costa Rica. My fantasy would be to go alone, like I did with Puerto Rico a couple of years ago. I just need some decompression time. Where should I go? Open to suggestions! I’m concerned about the delta variant, but I am vaxxed. I am unwilling to travel for work, but I need to get on a plan sometime soon.

PTSD

It seems June is not only Pride but PTSD Awareness Month. I did not know that before today. It’s kind of hard to keep up with the multitude of awareness months and days.

In many ways, PTSD has ruled aspects of my life since Hope became my daughter. She was diagnosed years ago, and the events of the last year resulted in a fresh new round of targeted treatment.

Although I’ve certainly struggled with my own traumas throughout my life, I had never been diagnosed with PTSD or C-PTSD…until very recently. I remember the anxiety I felt the first time I drove through the tunnel where I had my accident and how long it took me to not avoid it or to feel panicky about it. It definitely took a while, but I was treated for anxiety and just kept working at it. That’s representative of how I navigated things.

That is until recently.

When Hope started working again last month, I was excited for her to get up and out of the house and to hopefully find purpose in being functional. I knew she was a great worker; her managers loved her last summer and even when she volunteers she always gets this amazing feedback. The girl works hard, is great with people (despite being somewhat of an introvert) and is a great employee. I knew that getting a job would help her turn the corner after the challenges of the year.

Now intellectually, I knew all of that. But my emotional self was triggered AF.

By the end of her first week, I was enduring mini panic attacks when she left for work. I tried really hard not to fret and worry about her when she wasn’t home within 20 minutes of her shift ending—but I worked myself into an emotional frenzy anyway. When she called out twice in two weeks for what didn’t seem to me like legit excuses, I lost my ish. I tried to offer care and concern, but I also came down hard on issues of work ethic and commitment. I hounded her about her schedule. I became deeply concerned about whether she was eating enough and the right things to keep her well and energy powered.

I tried to keep a lot of my panic to myself, but I failed. By last week, I was kind of a wreck on the inside. I was tired of being constantly on edge, consumed with worry and hounding Hope such that I could tell long term it would damage our relationship. I was miserable.

I convinced myself that it was because I didn’t trust Hope to make good decisions. Based on some of the decisions she made last summer, which precipitated the emotional mudslide of the year, the concern wasn’t completely unwarranted. But it just wasn’t healthy how much I was fretting about it. Five days a week, I was losing my ish on the inside.

By the time my weekly therapy appointment came around, my therapist, who was already trying to help me with my panic attacks noted things were worsening. That’s when she said, “ABM, I think we need to change course in working through this. This isn’t just panic attacks, you are being triggered by Hope going to work and your inability to prevent what happened last time from happening again. This isn’t really about trusting Hope, this is about being terrified that something bad will happen to her again and your inability to stop it. This is PTSD.”

I looked at the Zoom screen, bit my lip and began to cry. What? How? I mean, I’m worried about Hope, but is it really all that? Seriously. Won’t this just get better with time? Are you serious? She walked through my symptoms from the last few weeks, talked me through the diagnosis and made some recommendations on moving forward. It was so clear she was right.

I’m still processing what this means, but I know that naming it has helped. I also talked to Hope about being really afraid. My daughter continues to amaze me. She was gracious and understanding; and I’m a little less afraid now.

But, really I’m still terrified and that’s going to take some time to work through. Of all the things I thought would trip me up, Hope going to work ain’t it, but here we are. I’m going to get through this though; I will. Might take more than a minute, but I will. I’ve asked Hope to be patient with me and that I will do my best to try to avoid being an overbearing, overprotective troll.

She smiled and said we’ll get through it. She’s right; we will.


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