Sunday, June 24, 2012

When enough is enough

What do you do when you are not a welcome part of your own family? You know, the people you grew up with? The people who were supposed to be there for you when you need them?

My son is sick, major sick. You wouldn't know it to look at him, but there are potentially life-threatening things happening inside his little body. He will have surgery as soon as the doctors have some idea what they are dealing with.

I am...freaking out. I am holding it together for the sake of my kids and husband. Thankfully, my wonderful husband and I have our breakdowns on different schedules. It is a small blessing in our chaos. Thankfully, my husband's family has been wonderful. Our friend's have been amazing. Our ward has been amazing. We feel loved and supported by more people than we could have hoped for.

With one exception.

I emailed the people I grew up siblings. We are all close in age, all four of us. After first learning of this, I emailed to tell them what I know. Things have been strained for the last several years. I have been excluded from many things. Not get-togethers, but information. Important information about the family. Everyone else seemed to know for a while by the time I was told anything. They don't call me, and they never ask how things are going. I tried for a long time to bridge the gap, but it only proved to show me exactly how big the gap really is.

So I considered not telling them, but I decided that would be unfair. I thought, "It is their nephew; of course they will care." I thought I would give them a chance to show that they actually do care about my family. I thought not telling them would be selfish. Wouldn't they want to know about their nephew's life? I could hear them calling me selfish for not telling them. I could hear the yelling..."How could you not tell us about something so big with our nephew?"

So I told them.

I emailed them. I emailed everyone who does not live within 10 miles of me because I just can't talk about it without sobbing. It takes everything I have to not sob in front of my children, so there is no way I could make all the calls saying the same thing over and over again. An email was efficient. I apologized for the email and explained that I just could not re-tell it twelve different times. I told them they could call and talk to me and talk to my son. (Incidentally, I called my parents first and emailed my siblings as soon as I hung up. My parents reacted the way grandparents should. With support. With fear. Even with love---also surprising, but for another post.

But what did I get from my siblings? A one line email from each of them, saying something along the lines of "poor thing". THIS IS NOT A POOR THING MOMENT!

This is a pick-up-the-damn-phone-and-call-your-sister-and-nephew moment.

But I didn't get that. I got equivalent to nothing. Nothing at all. That was weeks ago, and still I have received nothing. Not an email. Not a text. Not a phone call. My son has received nothing. Not an email. Not a text. Not a phone call. Nothing. He wonders where they are. Other people have called. Sent cards. Added prayers to ours.

So I am walking away. I am tired of being the selfish one without reason or justification. I have lived my whole life with them telling me that I am selfish. It was never selfish. It was always self-preservation, from the abuse that I endured from my earliest memory.

This is not the first time this something like this has happened, but it will be the last. This time I am going to be selfish. I am thinking of my children. My own well being.  Being a part of the poison that is my "family" is just too much. Too much strain on my family. So, I am walking away. I don't understand why this all happened the way it did, but I do understand that I can't do this anymore. I have to take care of my son, my children, my husband, my family.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Piercings and Tattoos (and some commentary)

There has been a lot of talk on the internet on this subject, so I thought I would take a stab.

Tattoos first; I don't have any. That is not to say I have never wanted one. When I was 20 I really wanted a daisy on my ankle, or maybe on my hip. The problem? I HATE needles, and the thoughts of a needle with INK being stuck in my body thousands of time to produce a drawing was just not appealing to me. I love daisies but not that much. I also struggled with the idea of having something from my early 20s a permanent part of my body when I turn 80. I can't imagine it would look pretty 60 years later. So, no tattoos for me.

Piercings: I have my ears pierced the standard once in each ear. When I was 15, I pierced just my left ear. That stayed until I turned 18 and went to a school (not a church school) where only one piercing was allowed. When I turned 20, instead of getting the aforementioned tattoo, I pierced both ears a second time. They are still pierced. I took the second piercing out when I was YW President (lest I lead the girls astray with the extra holes in my ears), but put them back in a month after I was released. Earlier this year, I took them out again. I will probably put them back in again. I like my double ear piercings. I really do, and I do not think that a suggestion from a prophet equals a commandment. It is not doctrinal, and with this I struggle.

Earlier this year, I wrote this post about removing my second piercing. I still feel the peace that I felt then, but now I am not sure that a second piercing for me is rebellious.  Does a second piercing make me unworthy? No, it doesn't. Does it make me immodest? No, it doesn't.

Now, a friend of mine will ask if a faithful LDS person cannot follow the suggestion of a prophet, will she follow the doctrine of the Church? This is an interesting question, and, at first, I liked it. However, I think it is too simplistic  a view.  I go to the Temple. I honor my covenants. I go to church. I pay a full tithe. I obey the Word of Wisdom. I am active in the Gospel (not just the church). I honor I body and my soul.  And a second piercing in my ears does not take away from that. A piercing in my nose (which I don't have, but I do know several wonderful people who do) does not make me unrighteous. To me, there is little difference between one piercing and two. They are both vain decorations. It is not part of my culture to pierce my ears. I did it because I wanted pretty and shiny things adorning my ears. I am not putting my second piercings back in, but this post just has me thinking about the perceived meaning of two ear piercings versus the actual meaning of the piercings.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Three Personal Traits that I am Proud of

1. Faith. I am a woman of faith. I accept that there are things that I do not understand. That is not to say that I do not try to understand everything I can, but I know that everything happens for a reason. I live my life based on this faith. I think, I question, but in the end, I live my life based on my faith.

2. Accepting. I am incredibly accepting of all people, regardless of who they are, what they do, or anything else. I know that every person I meet is a child of God. A child that God loves. I try to live every day with this in mind. My students tell me that they know that my classroom is a place without judgement. Where they can come and be. That I will accept them regardless of their past or their present. That I will listen to whatever struggles they have and not judge. That I accept each of them for what they are. I truly believe that each person is more than his/her actions, and I accept that about every person I meet. I love that my students know this. I love that my friends know this. Jesus said, "As I have loved you, love one another." I always remember this and remember that Jesus accepted and loved every single person he came in contact with. He never turned away from anyone. I try to live my life as He did.

3. Intelligent. I have a thirst for knowledge. In my Patriarchal Blessing, it talks about my intelligence and my love of learning. I love the words in that blessing because it truly showed me that Heavenly Father knows who I am. I did not know the Patriarch prior to walking into his home, but the words which he pronounced upon me were me. They were Heavenly Father telling me that He knows me and loves me. I have always loved learning; school is something that always came easy for me. I worked hard, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I still want to learn everything I can. In the 130th section of the Doctrine and Covenants it states, "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated." I love this scripture so much, and it is another thing by which I live my life.

Here is the thing about these traits; often times people in my ward do not think they should go hand in hand. Take, for example, Faith and Intelligence. I cannot count how many times that I have heard that I need to put my educational aspirations aside and "focus" on my family. I focus on my family just fine. My children are proud of the fact that their mother is intelligent. I can not only help them with their homework (regardless of the subject), but I can also hold an intelligent conversation with them. My children are both naturally intelligent, and they are fortunate and blessed to have two parents who are not only intelligent, but that can help to develop the their intelligence!

Because of my desire for knowledge and education, I have student loans. They are just a part of my life. After we had children, I could not be the fulltimestayathomemom that everyone expected because I needed to work to make my loan student loan payment. I worked around 20 hours a week. My husband had a weird work schedule, so it worked out that when I was working, he was home with the boys. My boys were never in daycare (we could not afford it.) Well, several friends commented to me, "Isn't it funny how you spent all that money and went into debt to get your degree, but if you would have not gone to college, you wouldn't have to work now?" I was livid. I responded, "Yes, that may be true; however, I then I would not have a college degree." My intelligence is important to me. My education is important to me. It is a part of who I am, just like my faith.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Life happens when you least expect it. (This is not a part of the 31 day blog challenge)

I posted a while ago about something being wrong with my son. Even though I knew it was not life-threatening, I was heartbroken and worried. I have been meaning to post an update about it, but I just have not had time. And then something happened to change my perspective.

My son is fine. After many conversations with doctors, we learned that what we feared is highly unlikely. There is still more "watching" to be done (as with any potential neurological issue), but things have gotten so much better with him. The things which scared us in December have all but disappeared. New things have emerged, but doctors have assured us that comes with his age. So, as for my oldest, we wait, we watch, and we pray. But, he is happy. He is not worried. He is fine.

We found peace with my oldest just in time to find fear with my youngest. My youngest is sick. He has been under a doctor's watchful eye for the last month. It has been both a blessing and a curse. It helped us to realize that nothing is wrong with our oldest. It is something that will get better with time. My youngest, however, will need to be monitored and checked for the next year (at least). Doctors are confident they can fix what is making him sick. I believe in them. I know that prayer and fasting work. I also know that everything happens for a reason.

I am so grateful for the Gospel in my life. I am grateful for my testimony of the Savior. I am grateful that my family is an eternal family. I am grateful for the Plan of Salvation. I am grateful for my faith.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I didn't forget about you...

I know…it has been way too long. The end of the year was absolutely crazy, both personally and professionally.

The good news is that school is out for the summer and that things are finally starting to calm down. I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say that I have felt so many wonderful blessings in the last month. I finally feel as though my ward is a true ward family. We had some family difficulties as of late, and the ward stepped in to help in so many ways. There was not much they could do to help, but they fasted and prayed for our little family. I truly felt their prayers and was so grateful for their support.

Another bit of good news…the pesky entitled seniors from my ward that have driven me batty for the last two years FINALLY graduated! Whoohoo! They are gone. Things ended on a nice note for everyone. There did not appear to be any animosity at the end of the year. They are out of my classroom and off to college. Again, Whoohoo!

I have decided to do a 30 day blog challenge on this blog. We will see how it goes. I will start tomorrow.
A few things that I also want to write about this summer:
  1. Gratitude
  2. Am I a feminist? Sometimes I think HECK YES! And other times I think not.
  3. Forgiving (and forgetting)
  4. I am teaching Relief Society, and I have decided to post about my lessons.

I will be back tomorrow!

Update: There is just too much going on in my life with my children and family. I will have to postpone the blog challenge. Sorry.