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[personal profile] altarflame

It was titled, "Home Alone With a Fluffy Cat and Rain on the Roof..."

Well, there is a lot of good to report, and I'm having a pretty rad day all around, but man has it been a rollercoaster ride to today.

Some recent challenges:

-a med adjustment caused Isaac's behavior to become super erratic and worrying and basically it did not seem like an improvement and I had a 24/7 stomachache about him for about a week, following the past few months of intermittent stomachaches about him...
-Aaron's depression got way way worse and started genuinely scaring me for the first time. It has been worsening and effecting his ability to do ok in school for awhile now, though he's also still able to have long and helpful talks after school with a couple of his favorite teachers, and still gets excited about some things... His Instagram lately inspires something between "this better not be about Emo Aesthetic or I will kill him myself," and sheer panic, for me. New Most Poignant Mothering Moments contender: him taller than me and saying in his deep low voice, "Mom, I need your help." We got almost to the point of an emergency appointment. It makes the whole world seem to vibrate with terrifying possibilities.
-This is jack shit NOTHING compared to those first two things, but, Grant's company is going through some serious investor upheaval that is leading to shit like DELAYING PAYROLL at the last minute. Not a good time for that. Is there a good time for that? This is extra not then.
-Grant has been depressed. Grant's company's issues are not helping.

There is great irony in my being a trained crisis counselor because hoo-boy does all that go out the window when you know and love someone.

The preceding weeks have been a lot of long and hard talks with people one on one behind closed doors that leave me frantically texting and calling friends afterward, because this shit is hard.

But... a few days ago, Isaac started to mellow out and act like himself. Himself, with no stomachaches or headaches or crippling worries like he's been dealing with since Christmas! It seems like maybe the best case scenario is coming true, and he was just being weird at first because it was a whole new world to not have those standard burdens upon him. All of a sudden our talks aren't work and he's enjoying his life and I'm not exactly taking it for granted, yet, but man... it's pretty fucking epic, so far. I want him to be able to be happy so badly.

Then, last night, while I sat in a call center talking to suicidal people who do not have the power to rip my entire heart out, Grant sent me pics of him and Aaron out... having a blast. Genuine smiles. Then pics of the big ol' dinner he made everyone that Aaron loved. Today, Aaron is talking like he normally would (not like he's under a boulder and it's hard to make eye contact?) and they're going out other places. I think G has somehow managed to come out of his own shit in the process of helping him and it makes me feel like my chest will burst with gratitude and relief, and love for them both.

Still keeping a close watch, still maintaining a dialogue about meds and counseling (Aaron is pretty opposed to both and old enough to get a say, but less opposed than he was a month ago).

Grant never stopped cooking some of our meals and doing half of the shopping and hugging people that walked up to him for hugs. He has continued to make us coffee every morning and do some of the taxiing people around. He even watched Laura's kids last weekend so she and I could go out for Mother's Day (brother in law had to work). But, there is a heaviness to it all, and a disconnection. When pressed, he confesses some dark shit. So, waking up this morning, having slow and sweet sex, listening to how he said he felt pretty good, and going out for a date that was all laughter and possibility? I WILL TAKE IT. Good fucking grief I will take it.

I feel exhausted beyond all reason sometimes, by the mental illness I can feel surrounded by. The other night my mom actually texted me while I was in the thick of it, to ask "Hey can you talk?" (which she only does if she has a lot of emotional crap to unload) and I actually laughed out loud and considered throwing my phone across the room. I can get irrational, knowing I grew up in this codependent relationship with her, and her always being depressed, and how it normalized some shit for me and I gravitated toward guys who were depressed, and passed those genes on, and basically I am not too mature to get a feeling that It's All Her Fault.

It isn't, obviously. And I wouldn't say that. But I was also in no mood to deal with it, especially late at night when she's surely been drinking. I suppose I stay very patient through whatever tedium with my kids and Grant, and then it's almost tempting to let loose on an adult I know who can (presumably) handle it.

Dealing with my kids' teenage issues has also made it crystal clear at times that my mom NEVER DID ANY OF THIS (she moved away when I was 14 and my sister was 11 - she took our little brother with her, but he later mostly lived with Grant and me when he was a teen).

I worry sometimes about how Aaron's and Isaac's struggling effects the other kids, too. Ananda is pretty thrilled with life in general lately, since she's in love now for the first time and is thus generally more agreeable than typical. That's sweet and her boyfriend is great, but, I still don't want her to fall through the cracks. We've been having our own teenage adventures with things like me getting her a menstrual cup she wanted to try, and buying her some "just in case, probably not needed" (that's me I'm quoting, haha) condoms, and talking about finally buying her long-delayed (by her) online driving course, so she can get her restricted now that she's about to be 16. She's come to me spontaneously twice though with worries about Aaron, and about Isaac. It's not like she doesn't see it. And the Aaron stuff is especially hard for her because they're them. A&A, I mean.

This is probably a good time to just go ahead and say that I'm not disclosing anything about them that they don't want shared. There's actually quite a lot more I'd like to say about each of them, but it would bug them if they found out, or I think it's over the line of their friends possibly finding out, or both - whereas whatever is here is things they're pretty open about. For instance, I texted Ananda "your vagina cup is now hurtling towards our domicile via amazon" and she showed everyone at lunch like, "My mom, everybody - look at this."

I think we're doing pretty damned well in general (she and I)... when I first bought the condoms I rapidly opened and closed her bedroom door and threw them in as I walked past without saying anything. It was just enough time for me to see her turning around confused from her desk. Then I heard her burst into hysterical laughter from my room. Later we talked about it for real (and not for the first time). She came out to lunch with Grant and me last weekend, and we spent a leisurely hour watching and feeding leaves to iguanas at our outdoor table...

Jake and Elise are barely, BARELY clinging to the cusp of not being adolescents yet (he's 10.5, she just turned 9). Unselfconscious, always willing to help around the house, eager and excited about all kinds of simple things. I love it, and know it will be over soon. They still build with legos and play with ponies most days, at least for a little while. I don't worry about them falling through the cracks as much since they're homeschooled and I get a lot of time alone with them. I do worry about them not understanding the gloomy vibe(s) or weird moodiness that can be sprinkled liberally through the house some days, after school. Sometimes I even sit and consider how different it is to have teenage siblings and their friends around, at their ages, vs how their older siblings never did when it was them 9 and 10. But it is what it is, and I'm glad they have each other.

So! Me. My life, apart from (entwined with?) all these other people.

My plants are thriving and generally fulfilling. I've eaten a lot of chard I grew, and made several pitchers of tulsi tea from all the tulsi I'm growing (that is renewing itself daily... I grew it all from seed and it's seeming unstoppable). I regularly go cut fresh herbs, for soup or to stuff chicken with handfuls of, or for caprese. We have 1-5 ripe strawberries per day, and will have a LOT of tomatoes and a couple of butternut squash, soon. As well as >100 mangoes, sometime next month. I also have a lot of flowers happening. Enough snapdragon blooms that I've brought in a bouquet of them, but also plenty of moss rose and hibiscus daily, as well as some dahlias, geraniums, dessert rose, flowering succulents, purslane, and more. Edibles and flowers are outside...inside is "just" plants, and I love them, too. I made my friend Kristin a tour of plants all over our property and it ended up being 12 minutes long.

I got into grad school! I wrote about that on facebook and tumblr, but I suppose some people here might not know. So I'll be starting an MSW program in the fall, with the ultimate goal of being an LCSW. I did have a surreal and insecure feeling for about 24ish hours after finding out, where it just felt like a wild concept I didn't know how to process, but... now I'm just glad about it :)

I've been eating grain free and very low sugar since I went to the Herbal Conference at the end of February. I try to keep things plant based and high fat. It's been pretty life changing. My skin is clear, my stomach doesn't hurt all the time like it used to, I have significantly more energy. I've also lost 25 pounds so far. I try not to fixate on the weight loss part, because I think it's important apart from that, and because plateaus can be discouraging if I do, and because I have so much more to lose that 25 pounds can seem to somehow highlight how far I have to go? It's better to just think of this as my life now, on a few levels. I've cheated occasionally (like less than once a week) to eat corn or a little rice, but never wheat. Sugar's been mostly just a teaspoon in my morning coffee, though I did have a couple of macarons on Mother's Day and eat dark chocolate around my period. It's not really hard, though I do cook more now and have SO MANY DISHES ALL THE TIME because I'm basically always making extra and separate things above and beyond the regular family food. But I tend to do a lot in bursts and then have leftovers for awhile.

Ananda, Jake, and Elise are eating much, much better too since I am. Grant, Aaron, and Isaac periodically act like I'm trying to starve them out, and frequently find ways to get crap and junk on their own. Note: I am not considering bread junk here, I mean like, Taco Bell and soda and things like that, that we never kept in the house. I sometimes suspect it's not a coincidence that the 3 people in the house who have consistently inferior diets are the ones who struggle with mental illness*, but who knows. Correlation is not causation, etc.

I also take an absurd number of supplements. For those who don't know, I had my intestines cut and sewn in 2007 after a whole big medical thing with sepsis and a retained surgical object. My immune system now attacks some things my stomach lining makes, and I have some nutrient absorption problems, including having to get regular B-12 shots since I can't absorb any oral source that has to go through the gut. The changes I made following the Herbal Conference were re: lots of talk with a doctor who was teaching classes there and has experience with my issues.

I spend a lot of time talking and texting with my long distance friend Kristin and my sister. And I text and fb message with Jess and Kathy. And I have some people I really like talking to that work at the call center. And some things I look forward to, like the beach meditations and a really amazing farmer's market I can't get enough of.

There's a LOT of travelling coming up that I'm extremely excited about, especially now that it's within the realm of possibility that my kids will all be stable enough for me to feel ok with different combinations of us taking off for various spots. Towards the end of the month, Grant's hitching a ride to Georgia for a gaming meetup re: this game he plays. A bunch of people have rented a house and everyone only has to pitch in a tiny bit. I am all about him having things to look forward to and some good stuff that's selfishly for him - "he deserves it" is putting it lightly. Assuming he stays ok, Aaron's flying to Maryland next month to hang out with his old friend (and honorary cousin) Darrien - that's my friend Kristin's son. We have old frequent flyer miles from G's business trips to cover airfare, so that's cool. In July, I'm driving to north Florida for 8 days that involve staying with some of my favorite long distance people, who already have the dates cleared. And then after that, Grant, Ananda, and I are going to NYC for a weekend. It's our 10th anniversary present and her 16th birthday present. She keeps saying she "played herself," since she's scared of flying, but she's also pumped for this. Mother in law is staying with the other kids, and how I do love her for it (and many other things... I'm pretty fortunate all around, in the mother in law department).

I am simultaneously psyched and also struggling, with writing. I've had some productive time and some trouble focusing, but maybe that's just been because I've had real shit to be preoccupied with and it will be easier now that I don't have son crises in the works. My kids having real trouble yanks me immediately and totally out of any other headspace... and there's been a lot of "work" involved with the worry here, too, in terms of emails and calls with teachers as well as appointments and calls with psychiatrist, and googling galore...gah. One day, I was alone with a computer TO WRITE, with Grant taking Jake and Elise out, and Aaron started texting me about how miserable and sick he felt at school and asking for any advice I had. There are not many things that will drop me out of a creative trance like a splash of cold water, but that does it.

I'm returning, now, to being tentatively excited, in a very giddy and goofy way, about polyamory. That's a whole loooooong story, (maybe) for another entry. Teeny tiny baby steps there. It's very much in the background... it's not like I'm overflowing with time and resources here, aaaand I am frankly head over heels for Grant lately - though that can be hard, when he's down and distant. Both of us wonder if it would help him, too. It's easy to come up for air in a home managing, kid raising household and realize there's no space in your life to remember you're alive and a human being. If that makes any sense. He's half in a phase of thinking he's gotta work on himself first, and half thinking maybe that would be a way to grow and explore.

*I have PTSD, but it hasn't really bothered me in more than a fleeting way since last fall. For the most part I know how to manage it.

(and/)Or, find out how not long after that entry I felt pretty triggered (haha, how ironic).
That led to some serious two steps forward, one step back personal struggles (challenges? INSURMOUNTABLE BARRIERS I'VE SINCE BEEN CHINKING AWAY AT ONE CRUMB AT A TIME?!) with polyamory, as polyamory in general - even in it's infancy - has a way of highlighting every single thing you didn't know you were avoiding dealing with at once. I'm very fortunate to be so deep in a bond that allows for sharing everything patiently, even when that involves stop and starts, and backtracking... Even if we never acted on any of this we know each other so much better, now, and I feel so much closer to him. Paradoxical, I guess, but getting to the "why" underneath every scared and sad feeling is something that's taking us places we might never have gone otherwise. I feel like I'm going to understand life differently and have a different attitude as I get older, because I'm tackling this deep shit inside of me that I've never looked straight at or felt so directly and consciously, before...
I am also pleased to report I can once again take an IQ test without any sense of personal tragedy.

Here are some pics of me and Elise around our neighborhood one weeknight, and some others from a tour G and I took of R.F. Orchids last weekend.


TL;DR - I am on a general broad upswing that involves some hard times and is not a simple curve. I travel this path with a bunch of other people who are also all on varying and irregular (usually) upward slopes. I feel good about life, and also get tired.

I will probably make a way shorter update soon, about apps I'm using and things I've recently cooked. Take heart, if this is just too damned long and convoluted and TMI.
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