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Monday, July 23, 2012

She's miserable...not

Our Kate has never liked being away from home. In fact, she was a kid who never wanted to even do sleepovers at a friend's house. Her willingness to be away overnight has increased a bit as she's gotten older and she has managed to go on class trips if they lasted no more than a few days...but that was about all she was interested in. So how is she managing being away for 18 days on her P2P student ambassador trip? Well, she's a bit homesick but she's not letting it stop her from having fun. The proof is in her smile...

This is the 3rd Mediterranean beach she's visited...this one is in Italy.
Our girl has toured all the sights, visited museums, and stayed with a family in France who took her shopping 'til she dropped. She's learned to make paella in Spain, visited a perfume factory in France, lunched in Monaco, and done beach hopping, a dance party, and community service in Italy. The next big challenge will be rappelling down this:

I'm just glad I don't have to watch my baby do this.
I know all this because she calls each night before bed to tell me about her latest adventures...gotta love the cheapy international cell phone her Dad found for her that makes our frequent chats possible...and that's how the former homebody has become a jetsetter. As long as she knows she can talk to us when she needs to, she can roam the earth with confidence. Of course, I don't miss her or anything...and I don't hover near the phone each afternoon, waiting to hear that she's safe and having fun...and I'm not marking the days off the calendar until she returns to the nest. (OK, it's 5 more days and I am indeed counting. Leave me alone, it's a mom thing.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Home again...

Our boy was discharged from his CBAT program today. His behavior has been exemplary in the CBAT, no aggression or anger and no hallucinations or paranoia so the staff felt he was ready to step down to the local partial hospital day program which would offer him therapy and structure between 9-3 each day. Sounds good as a logical next step, right? Unfortunately, the day program has refused to accept him based on his destructive behaviors when he was enrolled there previously...sigh. That means he's home but doesn't have any structure in place for his days, never a good thing. I'm hoping to get him in a therapeutic day camp at the YMCA later this week; he has to be interviewed before he can be accepted there. In the meantime, he's wandering from room to room, unable to focus on anything for very long but at least he's pleasant and calm.

I'm nervous delighted to have our boy home! I should be am so glad that he hasn't shown any aggression or anger in weeks now...and that he seems to be more stable...but I have to admit that trusting that the calm will hold is difficult after all we've been through. If it's hard for me, think how tough it is for my other kids. So here's what I told my kids:

I get it, you're nervous. You're not sure you want your brother home because that might mean screaming and raised knives and feeling unsafe. Guess what? I don't blame you; in fact, I'd be surprised if you didn't feel that. I'm the grown up and I feel the same way. Here's what I'm asking. Let's just try. I'm nervous, too. I'm still going to try my best to trust, to forgive, to give your brother another chance...because that's what families do. I'll start with the trying and maybe after a while you will feel like you can try, too. Let's take it a day at a time and see what happens...

The responses ranged from:



I'll try...but if he swears at you or hurts anyone, I'll break his nose.


I'm ready to forgive him but why can't he focus and act normal?

One day at a time...we've survived the first afternoon and evening so that's a start.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Proud Mama moments...

Don't worry, he's traded in his interview duds for jeans and work boots...

My oldest son is a working man now! He participated in a program sponsored by the local Career Center that helps teens get summer work. Madiyar started his first summer job this week; he was hired to work as a groundskeeper at a city cemetery. He works from 7am-12noon every day cutting grass, weed whacking, and generally getting sweaty but he seems to like it...especially the part about earning money. He's saving his money and dreaming of a motorcycle. Love to see him so motivated and proud of himself! Also love that he bought me lunch today after I picked him up from work...how sweet is that?

Well, almost as sweet as this. He made me an iced latte this afternoon...learning how to brew espresso from his dad and spoiling his mom with his new skills...wow. Maybe his next job should be as a coffee barista? Gotta love the kid, he's a quick learner and he knows the way to his mom's heart.


My oldest daughter jetted off to Europe this week. She's on a People to People Student Ambassador trip to Spain, France, and Italy. Some of you might recall this is the trip she's been working toward since last fall. She wrapped gifts at Christmas, did babysitting and odd jobs, sold Valentine's candy on the street in freezing February temperatures, made cell phone charms and sold them, and collected and redeemed empty soda cans to help pay for this trip. Between her determination and a lot of generosity from friends and family (You know who you are and we love you!), Kate met her goal.

It's her first big trip away from home without Mom and Dad and as the day approached, Kate was nervous but determined to spread her wings and fly! So proud of her for conquering her nerves to make her dream come true. She arrived in Madrid safe and sound and has already called to tell us of her early adventures. Yesterday she went to the Prado Museum, today she went to a bullfighting school, tomorrow it's off to AljaferĂ­a Palace in Zaragoza where she'll see this inside:

Can't wait to see what else summer brings...more adventures for all my kids who make me so very proud!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A birthday and a victory of sorts...

Our boy's requested b-day cake...great for summer!

Today was our boy's birthday, an event he has been long anticipating. Since he's been in an adolescent psychiatric unit since mid-June (his 4th. hospitalization this year), there was a real question as to where he would spend his b-day and we felt his anxiety rising with each passing day. Craig and I made up our minds that our boy wouldn't spend his special day in a locked unit and set out to at least move him to a setting that would allow visits home. It was a struggle as we fought yet another round of insurance battles, this time to get our primary insurance (BCBS) to deny services so that our secondary MassHealth insurance could cover a residential level of care that our Blue Cross insurance doesn't normally cover. Getting a denial over a holiday period was a challenge but we finally got our boy transferred to a CBAT on the evening of July 5th, just 4 days before his birthday...and they agreed to allow him a day pass to join us for a few hours to celebrate his birthday. We aren't sure what comes next or where we're headed but we put all that aside for a while to give our boy some much needed attention and fun.

We picked our boy up from his residential program around 3pm and promised to return him by 8pm. We brought him home where he was able to pet the dogs, watch TV, greet the neighbors, and act like a normal kid again. At dinner time, the 7 of us gathered around the table for his requested meal of takeout Chinese, then had ice cream cake and presents. The other kids were good in spite of some initial nervousness...the girls were welcoming and kind, the boys were cautious but polite and made a real effort to help us all celebrate. Our boy seemed happy but very antsy, couldn't really focus on much of anything for long but enjoyed the attention of his special day.

When all was said and done, he told me he thought it was his best birthday ever. Hearing his perception was heart wrenching from my Mom's perspective. I look back over the past 6 years since we adopted our boy and recall happier celebrations...birthday parties at the YMCA or Pump It Up surrounded by school chums, birthday trips to NH surrounded by family and friends. To me, this year falls short of the mark for "Best birthday ever" but I don't live inside my boy's head. I know the past several months have been very rough for him and I'm pretty sure he's questioned his place in our family and our hearts.  Maybe that's what ranks this b-day as "best ever" for him...the fact that he's weathered the storms of recent times, that we're all still here for him, and that he was able to celebrate his birthday at home with his family. It wasn't a flashy celebration but sometimes normal can be a miraculous gift. I'm so grateful we were able to pull off this little miracle!