Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Drowning in children

This has been a challenging fall in the Miser Mom household.

There's more to the challenge than just the week we call "The Horrible Week", but that one week (in late September) gives a sense of some of the challenge I'm talking about.  In The Horrible Week,
  • LJ-daughter's dog was struck by a car.  The dog survived, but only because of surgery and lots of care.
  • I-daughter's father (my former husband) passed away after a terrifying 5-month bout with renal cancer.
  • LA-daughter got very scary food poisoning, laying her flat on her back for a week or so.
  • K-daughter, driving to her college 80 miles away,  ran over stray pieces of metal on the highway, bursting two tires, leaving her (and five other motorists) stranded for much of the day.
  • J-son was in the throes of serious behavioral problems, making me realize that I could not leave this 15-year-old son of mine at home alone, not even for 10 minutes.
  • N-son got teased for about his hair in middle school, and he didn't make the football team.
  • We learned that our adoption agency for our hoped-for X-son was embroiled in scandal, throwing all of our adoption paperwork into limbo.
During all this, my husband was away for a 3-month stint with the Army National Guard, and I was not only solo parenting, but also working overtime at my college, having offered to take on a bit of extra teaching, a big committee assignment, and a lot of extra advising.  

Some of the Horrible Week was merely horrible in the way distant earthquakes and typhoons are horrible to me.  LJ and LA, my step-daughters, both live so far away that I felt miserable for them but could do nothing practical.  All I could do was fret from afar.

Some of the Horrible Week seems trivial in the telling -- I'm thinking of N-son's hair, here.  But he called home sobbing, and he came home in tears, and no matter what other awful things were happening in the world and to his family, this was the Horrible Thing that had flattened him. As much as I wanted to turn my face to bigger problems, his was the problem that was right in front of me, the problem I had to face right away, the problem that needed both love and counsel.

September has come and gone.  Some of the Horrible Week has faded into mere unpleasant memory.  Now, here almost in December, my husband is home from the army.  My semester of overtime is almost over.  LA has recovered from the food poisoning.  LJ's dog is back on his feet.  N-son found a barber who gives him stylin' hair cuts, and while he's not on the football team, he's doing well at squash.

Much of The Horrible Week, though, continues to remain horrible lo these many months later.  A month after The Horrible Week, K-daughter sat at the deathbed of the grandmother who reared her. She faces her first grandmother-less Christmas, just as I-daughter now faces the first holiday season without her beloved father.  J-son spirals and slams through difficulties at school and at home.  X-son's adoption saga is a tsunami of bureaucracy -- both maddeningly, time-gobblingly urgent and also maddeningly slow at the same time.

There are so many stories hidden in this sweeping summary.  Like the day the boys called to tell me their bicycles were missing . . . and we found out later that was because they'd mislaid their bike locks, so they just left their bikes unlocked outside of school all day.   Like my daughter, at the other end of the telephone, saying through her tears,  "Mom, you are so useful."  Like N-son finding a professional barber.  Like buying an alarm that we glued to J-son's door.  Like resurrecting Mommy-dollars.  So much happening.

But not a lot of time to write about it.  Which is probably just as well.


  1. I believe all of this is called "the vicissitudes of life." I'm reading a book right now titled "If Life Were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard" by Sherri Dew. Press forward with steadfast faith! All these things will be for our good and some day we'll look back and realized it was just a small moment out of eternity. You are an awesome family!

  2. I'm impressed by your strength through this. Praying for smoother waters for you soon.