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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The day you ran away from home, Take Two

I really thought that we were just going to the mall for job hunting, a little shopping and lunch. Stupid me. I really wanted to spend time just with you, to try to reach you, to give you hope and support since I knew you were struggling. I thought you needed that, time with your mom. Foolish, gullible me. I loved having time for just the two of us, a rare treat...and after the last several months, it was much needed.

We've had our trials and tribulations over the past year, haven't we? You left us once, flying from the nest to explore the big, wide world on your own...we tried to be supportive, to let you make your own choices and mistakes. The end result was a learning experience (or so I thought). In the span of a few months, you lost your job, you got kicked out of school and eventually lost a place to stay. In the end, you found your way back home again and we hoped you were a bit older and wiser. You had a new boyfriend who we actually liked. You got a new job. We were more hopeful. You even came downstairs and talked a bit instead of hiding in your room. It was so nice to have you home, to have my daughter back! I wish it could have lasted...

Sadly, the next few months didn't go so well after all. You were home in body but not really present. You were secretive, even dishonest, to us and to your boyfriend. You lost 3 more jobs. money started disappearing around our house and also the neighbor's house. You denied and denied, expressed shock and outrage that we would accuse you...then finally admitted stealing from us all. It was a stunning blow but we survived. You started therapy and we prayed that would help. At least I thought it was helping; that's what you told me while we were at the mall...just hours before you ran away, making your carefully planned escape from our family.

Why? Because we pushed you to get a job? (Yes, we pushed, I admit it. We've always told all of you that as young adults in this house, you had to either work or go to school.You made it clear that school was off the table so...) Because we held you accountable for your bills? No rent, mind you...just your cell phone bill and your car insurance, less than $200 a month. We thought holding you accountable for those things would help you learn responsibility, would prepare you for self-sufficiency. We were so naive...and genuinely perplexed when you refused to be responsible. Instead, you chose deceit and theft as lifestyle choices, options that never occurred to us.

It was so unlike you, this surly, unmotivated, duplicitous, entitled person who took advantage of others...you had always been our hard working girl, always with an incredible work ethic. Surely this was just a phase and with enough love and support, you'd be back to yourself! So we kept trying to trust, even after the theft of hundreds of dollars, even after the bold-faced lies upon more lies. We wanted to believe you when you said therapy was helping you. We wanted to believe that you were in fact searching for a job on line but not having any luck. Even in my frustration, I felt bad for you, thought maybe I had been too hard on you, maybe you just needed some help with the process. That's why on that sunny Saturday, I said I'd help you job search, there were recruiters for seasonal work all over the mall. I was sure you'd find part-time employment and could turn things around, be more self-confident and proud of your accomplishments once more.

How was I to know we were working from completely different scripts? How was I to know the whole day was a lie? Putting your name in for interviews, giving contact information to store managers...all just a sham, an act to keep me off your back. Do you remember what you said to me that day? "As long as it makes you happy, Mom..." Even as you said that, you already had one foot out the door. You already had an airline ticket for that very night. You already knew you were leaving the state and had no plans to come back. Even lunch was a lie...I thought we were sharing a mother-daughter meal at the mall. I was planning to treat you and your brothers to dinner out as well. I had no clue you didn't plan to stick around for dinner. You were on your way to the airport at 4:45.

We got home at 3:00 and I felt so good about the day. I thought maybe we had turned a corner, maybe in the next few days you'd be more open. Your Dad and sister were in Florida for the weekend, visiting your grandmother...I thought you and I would have more time together while they were gone. I was clueless, wasn't I? An hour later, you came to me to break the news that you were leaving. You had a boyfriend in Florida, an online boyfriend who you had never actually met but you were sure he was a great guy. He must be since he bought you an airline ticket, right? I tried to tell you that you weren't being safe. I asked you if you knew the definition of the term "Catfish"...you said you would be fine. Just for a couple of days, you said...that was a lie, too. It was a last minute surprise for his birthday, you said...another lie, wasn't it? The only thing last minute about any of this was telling me. I asked if you had packed a bag and you magically appeared with two, obviously packed earlier...before the mall and a dozen other lies and omissions from the day. In the end, there wasn't a thing I could do to stop you. You're 20 years old...all grown up and making your own choices, no matter how ill advised in your mother's eyes.

You were gone from our home within 45 minutes, a string of secrecy and deceit trailing behind you that's still paining those you left behind...like your sister who can't understand why you couldn't even say goodbye. Like your Dad who you still haven't even texted. (You're his brown-eyed girl, always will be...but that doesn't mean anything, does it? The fact that he's struggling with your choices means nothing, right?) Like your brothers who don't get any of this, who wonder what happened to you. Like your boyfriend here who didn't have a clue that you were cheating on him for months. Like the friends and neighbors who love you and worry about you, who ask me almost daily if you're ok. And then there's me...your mom who had to break the news to everyone else, including the young man whose heart you broke. Do you remember telling me on that Saturday that you didn't want to hurt him? You left that to me to do, didn't you? You avoided his calls, ignored his texts, even when you knew he was leaving flowers at our door for you. Do you know what he said when I finally had to tell him what you had done? He didn't get mad...he didn't swear or call you names. He said that he hoped that you were safe.

You've been gone about a week and a half. You've shut down your Facebook and locked other social media accounts. I have an address and phone number which you gave me begrudgingly before you left that may or may not be valid. We know nothing about your boyfriend, where you're living or what your plans for the future are. You've made it clear that you don't want us to know what's happening in your life. That's your choice. Don't expect us to approve of your lies, of the terrible deception that brought us to this point. Don't expect us to pretend that we're not hurt. We feel abandoned and betrayed; we don't understand why you did this. We always tried to teach you that honesty was best even in the toughest situations; why couldn't you trust us enough to be honest?

And yet...we love you and always will. We crossed an ocean and half of the planet to make you our daughter. Nothing will ever change that for us, not even this. We wish you the best and hope you find what you're looking for in life. We hope someday you'll be able to put aside lies and deception and really face life honestly. Maybe then, you'll find the peace of mind and happiness that you deserve. You're in our prayers...

Saturday, October 15, 2016


I waited until 11pm because that's what I had promised you. I wasn't really surprised when you didn't come home...again. You haven't spent a night at home in a while. It seems that sleeping in your car (or who knows where) is better than being here. Wasn't surprised when you didn't text me your plans. Avoiding communication is par for the course for you lately.

Earlier today, you asked me if we could go back to the way it used to be...and my answer was no. Crystal clear answer to me but it seemed like a surprise to you. Not quite sure why since to be honest, "the way it used to be" has basically sucked for a while now. It broke my heart to tell you no because you're my son and my instinct is to try to keep you safe. You don't know how much I wish I could turn back the hands of time and make this better! Sadly, between your abuse of drugs and alcohol, your anger and emotional abuse, and your refusal to get help, having you here means the rest of the family is at risk. As much as I love you, I can't allow you to stay here until you're ready to get therapy and medication. I hate this...but I will always love you. My son is still in there somewhere. I refuse to give up on you!

I've packed your clothes, stripped your bed, shed more than a few tears as I've reminisced about the years I've been privileged to be your mom. I'm ready to let your 21 year old self go, not because I don't love you but because I do. It's time to fly from the nest...I hope you will find your way in the world safely. Please don't forget where home is...we'll be here if you need us.

With all my love,

Friday, March 11, 2016

Mom's manifesto


Raising kids is never easy. Raising young adults is harder still. All but gone are the cute and cuddly times; hugs and heartfelt talks are in short supply, too frequently replaced by angst and eye rolling. As a mom to 5 teens/young adults, I am often accused of not loving enough, not trusting enough, not caring enough, not understanding enough. Stumbled upon this quote that clarifies my position nicely! The author is unknown...too bad because I'd love to have coffee with her. 

My promise to my children: for as long as I live, I will always be your parent first, and your friend second. I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you, drive you insane, be your worst nightmare, and hunt you down like a bloodhound when I have to, because I love you. When you understand that, I will know you have become a responsible adult. You will never find anyone else in your life who loves, prays, cares, and worries about you more than I do. If you don't mutter under your breath ''I hate you'' at least once in your life, I am not doing my job properly.

 Unknown quotes  | added by: Guardian


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sometimes, life overtakes us.

     We get caught up in the day to day, moving from one bullet point to the next on an endless To Do list. In the process of trying to be efficient,  it's easy to lose out on many of the joys of life. Then one day, you look up and realize how much time has passed. Forgive me, blogspot, for I have committed the sin of neglect;  it has been months since my last post.
     Why? Where have we been?  Simple...raising 5 teenagers,  running a household, working more hours than we should. In other words, nose to the grindstone,  duty calling, forgetting to put on our own oxygen mask first during times of turbulence. We need to rethink that mentality .
     For me, this blog has always been therapy, a way to help me celebrate, process, and chronicle our journey as a family.  In the last several months, as our teenagers are transitioning to young adulthood,  it felt at times like writing about them would be a violation of their privacy. To be honest, the road to independence is a bumpy one. As our kids strive to define themselves as adults, there are less heartwarming family bonding moments to chronicle and lots more challenging moments we'd rather not record for posterity. Don't get me wrong, we love our kids madly but snarky angst isn't all that therapeutic or fun to share with the world, is it? Not to mention our aforementioned crazy busy life...hence the hiatus from blogging.
   It's time for a change. I'm still Alphamama but my pack of wolf pups have grown into 5 wonderful, maddening, snarky, changeable young adults between 18-20 years old. Two are negotating college/work pursuits. One is poised on the brink, ready to graduate high school and enter college in a few short months. Two still have a couple years of high school left but are testing the waters of first jobs and are thinking of the future.  They're all still under our roof, all with one foot planted in childhood and the other in adulthood. It's a different kind of adventure for all of us.
     Here's my new perspective.  It's time to return to my blogging as therapy, not just as Alphamama to my young pack but as Dee, wife of my DH, and a person who has a name. Let this serve as notice... this blog's not just about you any more, puppies! Let the therapy begin...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Birthday wishes

I love this kid...just wish I could have spent all of his birthdays with him. Here he is on the first birthday we ever got to celebrate with him back in 2003. What a cutie, right?  Today he's 19 and he still owns my heart!

Happy Bday, son!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

It's my mom's birthday

Nine years ago tonight was the last visit I had with my mom. It wasn't a conventional birthday celebration at all. There was no cake, no presents, no candles to blow out. It was nothing like our usual birthday bashes...but that was because my mom was reaching the end of her life.

Nine years ago tonight, I sat with my mom for the last time. I held her hand. I painted her nails. I talked to her. I told her that I would always love her and miss her...but that if she needed to stop fighting for her life, I could let her go. I told her I would be OK, that she had raised me well and made me strong enough to survive whatever life would throw at me. I told her that I was happy and safe, married with kids of my own. I told her stories, reminded her of family memories, was rewarded with a gentle squeeze of her fingers on my hand that let me know she could hear me even though she was beyond speech. At a little past midnight, I heard her draw her last breath and then go peacefully. I will always believe my father was there to greet her as she passed...just as I believe he was the one who insisted I get out of bed to check on her seconds before her passing. I felt their presence keenly that night...and they still touch my life, even after all these years. My mom in particular is a strong presence every day. I miss her still...always will...but her gifts are with me. They sustain me as I strive to raise my own kids, to be a good mom, a good wife, and a good person.

I made spaghetti sauce today, Mom. I used tomatoes, peppers, and herbs from our garden. I filled the house with the rich scent of summer and love. As I stirred the sauce, I remembered coming home from school to the same aroma in our house when I was a girl. I remembered you listening to me, to the trials and tribulations of my school day. You always managed to make your cooking seem like time set aside just for you and me! To this day, I associate cooking for my family with the deepest kind of love.

I felt you at my shoulder today, teaching me still, lifting me up even after all these years. I'm so grateful for your strength, your love, all that you passed on to me. I'll keep trying my best to do as well by my own kids.

Happy birthday, Mom.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What we did on our summer vacation...

It occurred to me several months back that we might be getting to the end of our opportunities for a vacation with our whole family. After all, with 5 teenagers who are in college and high school, carving out family time takes a herculean effort and a lot of foot stomping. Our kids have their own schedules now, school commitments and summer jobs, friends that they don't want to leave, social groups and activities, etc. By next year, who knows if we'll be able to pull off a family adventure...but we did manage this year!

For our family trip, we went to Chincoteague Island in Virginia. Why? Because Mom got to pick, that's why. I figured if I was going to drag our whole clan of bored, cranky teens off on a road trip in our van, it might as well be to place I really wanted to go. I've always wanted to see Chincoteague and the wild ponies of Assateague, especially during Pony Penning week. (Ever read the book Misty of Chincoteague as a kid? I did...and I never forgot it. ) The island also offered something for the rest of the crowd, too...beautiful beaches, a lighthouse, awesome nature hikes, kayaking, riding lessons, crabbing and clamming, boat rides, great seafood, and the best ice cream and fudge just down the street. The house we rented had 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, and a big yard for playing soccer and lacrosse. It also came with bikes, a kayak, and a family of ducks that came to visit every day. Even with all that, it still took a few days to pry the kids off of their electronics and get them outside...but after a while, we all managed to embrace island life and have fun. Here's some of what we did in pictures:
I had to buy loaves of bread for the ducks...worth every cent!

Finally got the gamers off screens!
Tanya got Mama and the babies to eat from her hand
Even my oldest boy wasn't too cool for the ducks

Then there was my favorite part of the week...we got to see the Saltwater Cowboys (AKA Chincoteague volunteer firefighters) herd the ponies down Main Street to the fairgrounds for the annual auction of foals and yearlings which takes place only at the end of July each summer. Wild ponies of Assateague Island swim the channel and then parade down Main Street on Chincoteague? I've only wanted to see this since I was about 8 years old and I was close enough to reach out and touch them. Pretty darn awesome!

The girls got to take riding lessons at the Pony Center on ponies that were once on Assateague...very cool!

Tanya on Teaguer

Kate on Misty's Morning Glory

The boys went crabbing and clamming just down the street from our house; some of the locals taught them what to do and they came home with their catch to add to dinner!

Dad and I went hiking on Assateague, we toured the lighthouse with our girls, and we all went to the beach. I did a solo walk on a marshland trail very early one morning, so beautiful and peaceful! Also caught sight of a bunny hiding in the grass...can you find him?

Loved the week we spent here...and now Craig and I are looking at properties on Zillow and wondering if this might be a good place to retire some day. Hmmm...