Thursday, December 19, 2013

Birthday boy

Last week was Son2's 24th birthday.  Yes, he is 24.  We were invited over to their apartment for his birthday party with his friends.  We picked up Son1 and he went with us.

As is in recent history, it was all done in Son2's way.  His friends are not mainstream, certainly not preppy, a mix of what some call hippy, edgy, punk and working class.  He did not provide alcohol, guests brought their own, but I didn't see hardly any, except the six that his dad brought. C had spent hours cleaning the apartment, the first floor of an old craftsman style house. She made food, and I brought food as well.  The have old furniture, couch covered with graffiti, a mix of edgy art on the walls, some his some hers.  They have really made the place their own.  Some people were there that came to the wedding, so we got reacquainted.  We were the only older folks, but everyone seemed comfortable, and Son2 wanted us there. No drugs, no pot, little alcohol. The only thing was that most everyone smoked, so the place really reeked.  He even had a small punk band playing in the basement, we left soon after (ha-ha, a little loud).

5 years ago I could never have conceived of this birthday, 24 years old, a college graduate and a wife.  A mohawk, piercings, tattoos, combat boots... living on his own, getting a job, getting parts and fixing C's car himself, troubleshooting his problems, figuring out how to live. They are struggling financially, but keeping their heads above water.

Is he totally independent?  Almost.  We still pay car insurance and cell phone.  I just gave him some cash to buy a car battery, but haven't given him rent money in about 6 months.  He is about to start a new job and then they want to start paying their own insurance.  C is fiercely independent.

A couple years ago, Son2 and I had a conversation about forgiveness.  I'm not sure if I got my point across, but I tried to tell him that saying he was sorry was not enough, and it wasn't going to happen all at once, but over time.  How he lived his life was the key.  I wanted to see him happy, healthy, and self sufficient.  And yes, time heals all wounds.

Friday, November 29, 2013

5 years

Well, 5 years ago on Thanksgiving Day, Son2 told us he was addicted to heroin.  I thought of that a couple of times last week, and just remembered it today.... but yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, I did not think of it at all, not even once.

Isn't that wonderful?

Lots to be thankful for...


Friday, November 15, 2013

Update on me...

I've been unemployed now for a little more than a month.  It was weird at first, then we spent 10 days in Florida which was great.  I've interviewed for one job, applied for another, and have a couple more that I am considering going after. I don't know if I'm completely ready to go back to work, but I could if I had to now.  I'm starting to feel better, I am starting to recover from the burn out.

So, this week I decided it was time to tackle Son2's room.  We've talked about it since he got married, and I got his agreement that it had to happen, couldn't avoid it forever, I mean we can't leave it shut off from the rest of the house indefinitely.  For a long time, years, Son2 didn't want me to touch it, and in fact he would still sleep there when he came home.  He and his ex (K) used to sleep in there together when they visited.  But since he has been with C, he hasn't, they haven't.  So, I figured he was ready to let go.  I haven't done very much so far, picked up obvious trash, and picked up and sorted (and washed) clothing.  That in itself, took several hours.  It's dirty, stuff written on the walls, trash, etc all over, even food and half bottles of soda.  Disgusting?  Well, yes.  For those of you with teens or 20-somethings, I'm sure some of you can relate. I found empty prescription bottles, some with names of friends, one with my name, and one for the dog.... that was sad.  I knew it would be hard, but was still taken surprise by the feelings and the memories.  That was Monday, I think, and I haven't been back to it since.  Maybe today or tomorrow.  I know there are other things in there I don't want to see... not only reminders of the drug use, but childhood stuffed animals, favorite hat, track and soccer gear, downhill ski equipment, sketch books, etc. Reminders of things he used to love, but has since moved away from.

So, why on earth aren't you making him do this himself, you ask?  Well, I could. I have tried.  For one thing, he is rarely here anymore, he has moved out and moved on.  Also, I kind of think it is therapeutic for me, a review I guess, a goodbye. Does that make sense?  I plan on boxing up all his stuff for him to go through, stashing it all in the closet for now, clean, paint, and turn it into a craft/music/guest room. I know it meant a lot to him at the time to have a place he could call his own and he didn't have to share with his brother.   H says be sure to take pics of the "before" room.

Otherwise, it's been kind of quiet around the house.  I have a few other little house-cleaning projects that I've started.  Been spending some time job hunting, walking, resting, and I have to admit to watching a lot of TV.  I do feel rested now, for the first time in a long time.

In my previous post I said I would post about H's drinking, but I'm not really ready for that yet.  I will say he is a social drinker, and he's very sociable.  When H is "emotionally challenged", he drinks more.  After his parents passed away he drank a lot for a few months.  When I said I was leaving my job, he got stressed out and was drinking a lot.  What is "a lot"?  Well, more than usual.   He seems to have calmed down in the last few weeks.  I will be posting more about this in a future post.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Time for a change

I did something radical.  I quit my job, I took early retirement.  Too much pressure, and I was just plain burned out.  With both sons out of the house, out of college and married, seemed like a good time.  It was time... it was time...

But, I feel guilty.  H, my husband, is not happy about this.  He is very worried about our finances.  Not only does he think I need to work for a few more years, but he thinks I need to continue to make the kind of money I was making.

Well, the truth is, I don't know what I want to do.  But, I do know what I don't want to do.  I don't want to go back to the kind of job I had.  I am afraid that the kind of things I'm good at, are the very things I don't want to do, the stuff that burned me out.  Somehow, I have to figure out how to turn my skills into something I will enjoy doing, when all I am is tired of it all.  I need some time to think, which is what I'm trying to do this week.  Self evaluation, examination, quiet time, and rest, you know?   But, I'm feeling a lot of pressure right now from H.

Some of the things that I am thinking about are these

  • I don't really enjoy any hobbies anymore
  • It feels like H has been driving my life.  For example, our social life is mostly about him, his friends, his hobbies.  Lucky I like many of the same things he does, right?
  • My only friends are from my job, yeah, the job I just quit
  • I am pretty wishy washy.  It's easier to let H be the driver, than to drive myself
  • What does all of this have to do with my son's addiction?  Contributed to the burn out, yes.  Also, since he is doing well and standing on his own two feet, I don't have to focus so much on him.  It's been 5 years since he announced his addiction, time to move on, I guess.
  • I think H is drinking too much.  There, I said it.  That will be the subject of a post in the very near future.

I know I have options:  working part time, finding a more meaningful job, etc,  etc, etc.  There are always options.  Just have to figure out what all they are.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Joyful Day

Son2 is now a married man.  It was an amazing day, a day of joy for them and for our family and friends.

Son2 and his bride, C

I am so thankful, for all he has overcome, to see him so happy, and for a wonderful new addition to our family.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

summer news

We have a wedding coming up very soon!  About a month ago, Son2 said they were changing the date of the wedding, and wanted to get married this August, at our house.  It is supposed to be very small and very casual.  So, now it is two weeks away, and although it is small, there are still of things to arrange.  I am helping as much as I can, and although it is stressful, it is fun and exciting. It will be very non-traditional, and Son2 says the mohawk is coming back for the occasion.  The bride and groom will be all decked out in full punk attire.  My husband and I will be getting in the spirit by getting temporary tattoos.

We spent the 4th of July holiday at our place in Florida. It was hot of course, but fun and a nice little getaway.  My sister-in-law, M from California, met us there for a visit. Hadn't seen her for three years, and although Son2 had told her about his addiction back then, I don't know what he told her exactly, and H and I didn't talk to her in great detail about it back then.  Anyway, we were having a nice visit, catching up on our lives, etc. H mentioned some hobby that he kind of lost interest in, around the time of active addiction, and how difficult those times had been.  M's reaction bothered me.  She said that was over, and isn't everything ok now?  Good for H, he told her that we would never "get over" that.  

Interesting, isn't it?  For all the moving forward our family has done, that episode of our lives still lingers.  Son2 has come such a long way, treatment, counseling, graduating from college, and now getting married.  But, if anyone thinks we can forget what happened, they are nuts. We are all different people now.  Growing in different directions than we were before.

Last week we had to put our little weiner dog down.  She was very sick, 12 years old, had a good life.  It was surprising to me how sad that made me.  The house is not the same without her.

So that's my summer. I'm very excited about the wedding. It's going to be great!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sharing the milestone

A couple of weeks ago, Son2 graduated from college.  He achieved a BFA in the Peck School of the Arts from UW-Milwaukee.  That Saturday we attended the Senior Art Show and then the PSOA Convocation.  Then Sunday we hosted a party at our house.

I didn't share this right away, I guess I wanted to hold on and savor this as long as possible.

That's Son2 below, far left. Next to him, his NA sponsor, and two of his sponsee brothers, and the baby daughter of blue shirt.

And this is his senior capstone project from the show.  It is a collection of prints that reflect his journey over the last few years, through addiction, recovery and artistic growth.  He gave us a copy, a gift to us for graduation.

Life moves on.  We spent a few days in Florida, Son2 is looking for a full time job, summer is here, busy at work.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

This is Mother's Day

On this Mother's Day I have something to say to families struggling with Addiction:

My son is graduating from college.  His first semester in college, he dove deep into heroin addiction.  It was a horrible experience, and I won't go into all the details now.  Five years of college, and he pulled himself together and is now graduating.

I'm not saying this to brag, to throw this in your face, or make any of you feel bad.  I'm tell you this, to let you know there is hope.  Everyone has a different story, every one of us has felt pain, and many continue to struggle.  So, I'm not going to blab on and on about how life is grand.

Just know, there is hope.  Don't give up.

And to all you mothers... Happy Mother's Day.  Your kids love you.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

it's finally spring

I am pleased that spring has finally come to Wisconsin.

I am so excited to say that Son2 is graduating from college in a couple of weeks!

I don't know what the future will bring for him. I don't want to look back at all the crap that happened, I just want to enjoy this.  I don't want to think about other "stuff" going on in my life right now, I just want to be happy.

Congratulations to my son.  I am so proud of him.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Where I want to be...

This is where I want to be... Florida.  

But where I am is Wisconsin, big snowstorm yesterday, roads were a mess, a foot of snow in the driveway when we got home from work, and now today, piles as tall as me along the side....

I am really sick of winter. I think a lot of us are here.  

A couple more weeks and my husband I will be down in Florida for vacation.  I can hardly wait. 

On a side note, we saw Son2 and his fiance at my cousin's wedding last weekend.  It was nice to see her again, starting to get to know her. It's good.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Didn't see that coming...

Just when I think there are no more surprises, Son2 comes up with another one... keep reading, it's not what you think...

So he texted me a couple days ago and wanted to know if we were home from work, sounding like he wanted to talk.  In my mind, red alerts are going off, but I talked to him and he seemed fine, although a little mysterious.  At first I was afraid he was going to say he was using again, maybe some day that will NOT be the first thought in my head... Anyway, he wanted to get together so we could meet his new girlfriend.  Yeah, ok, we hadn't met her yet, he talks about her a lot, even though they've only been going out for about a month.

Last night, we meet for dinner, met his new girlfriend, C. She seems very nice, quiet, pretty, kind of artistic and "punk" like him.  We had dinner, talked, she is an assistant manager at a pizza restaurant, works a lot of hours, seems ok, from what I could tell.  So, then Son2 says they are engaged and they want to get married next year.

DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. I don't even know what to say, we just met her, I wish I knew her better, because I don't even know what to think.  We of course, gave our congratulations, lots of hugs and kisses and plans to meet family, etc.  

He seems happy, he seems sure. But I can't help but think of the other times he was head over heels in love, and then everything fell apart.  I do not want to see that again.  But, I will wipe that doubt off of my face, and be happy for them. He is older, wiser, and more mature. He is making this choice.

I wish them all of my best wishes and happiness.  And, I welcome her to our family with open arms. HIGH HOPES, that what I have.  And, remember, he is very happy.

Looks like I will have a new daughter-in-law! Very exciting!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Starting to feel better...

I haven't been blogging as often as I used to.  I try to keep up and read some of my favorites, but don't post often.  I guess I'm not sure what to write, not sure what my blog is about anymore.  This post, I guess is about me, not my son.

This winter has been tough on me. Today is cold, but at least it's sunny. I have had a low level virus of some kind since the holidays, and on top of that, I'm not happy at my job.  The stress weighs heavy on me, aches and pains, headaches, nausea on and off, lethargic.  ok, maybe I'm a little depressed.

You know it's easy to see what to do when it's someone else, things make so much more sense when you're looking from a distance.  I think I have finally decided what action to take.  I'm going to try to transfer to another department at work.  I've been in the same area for 15 years, and I'm burned out.  Time for a change.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  But it took me a long time to get to that. Being miserable is comfortable in a weird way, it's a Known state.  Making a big change is Unknown, and that's scary.

BTW, I do believe that the addiction experience contributed to my burnout, even though the thick of it occurred a few years ago.

Another of my husband's friends passed away this past week. I'd already made up my mind, but thinking about that, really cemented my decision.  The guy was in his mid 60's, not yet retired, and wasn't really sick.  It was unexpected.  This is the 4th friend that my husband has lost in the past  year, all somewhere in their 60's.  All guys who didn't get to enjoy their retirement, enjoy their grandchildren,  even watch their children get married.

Life is too short and full of uncertainty. I do not want to spend the rest of my life unhappy. I don't want to dread going to work. I don't want my job to take over my life. I want to go home every night and leave work behind.  I want to enjoy hobbies, I want to take care of my body and my soul, and I want to enjoy my family.  You know what I really want?  I want to retire.  Kind of drastic though, maybe just a change first.

So, I'll make a change, go for it, right?  Take control of my life, can't rely on others to do that. Can't keep doing the same things over and over and expect different results, right?  Like I said, sounds so much easier when you're talking about someone else.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy guy

Son2 opening Christmas gifts

We talked to Son2 yesterday. He was in a good mood.  He started dating someone and was telling us about her.  He also was happy about his band's show on New Year's Eve.  He also says his Winterim course is going well.  So... life is good.

Pretty soon he will start his spring semester, and it sounds like it will be very busy.  Since he's hoping to graduate in May, he is taking a full load, planning to continue to work, and I believe he also has to hold a senior art exhibition and I'm sure he wants to continue with his band.  It's all very exciting, but I'm a little apprehensive about it all.  It's a lot, and although he's been doing well, I really don't know where his breaking point is.  

After all we've been through, I still worry.  I don't know if I will ever get past the fear of relapse.

I think I have a reputation at work of being a glass half empty sort of person.  Ok, so I've been in the dept for 15 years, and I think I'm just being realistic and honest, but I guess sometimes it comes off as being a pessamist.  Maybe I focus on the negative a little too much.  I also think my experience with Addiction in the family has changed my perspective.

Today, though I'm glad Son2 is happy.  He looks happy, doesn't he?