Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Sweet and Innocent Heartache of a Boy

Friday night, as Zachary and I were hanging out together and watching a movie, he says to me “Mom, do you WANT a husband?” I looked at him and asked him “what makes you wonder about that?” His response was “well, I just wish I had a dad who acted like a dad. I want a dad who trusts me.”

Zachary and his dad have had pretty consistent (but minimal) contact until last March. For years, Zachary protested going to his dad’s, and I encouraged him and reminded him that time with his father and siblings is important. The conflict between Z’s dad and me usually stemmed from me wanting him to be more involved in Z’s life, take a more active role, and at least spend some quality time interacting with him when he is there. For the longest time, it was basically one 8-hour period twice a month that they saw each other. And there are many other children in the mix during that time, so individual attention doesn’t really happen. Communicating with Z’s dad about Z’s feelings, experiences, etc., more often than not, was met with defensiveness. And for this past year or so, resulted in emails to me calling me crazy, a nut case, telling me sarcastically what a stellar job I was doing parenting Zachary. The anger that his dad has towards me seemed to overshadow any real concern/regard for what is best for Zachary and how to accomplish that (not fight with me).

So, when there was a significant issue this past March that resulted in an email attack on me, I said enough is enough. I let Z’s dad know that if Zachary wanted to see him, talk to him, I would wholly support that. But if Zachary chose not to go for parenting time, I would no longer force him to go. For a few more weeks, the drama continued when his dad would email me and ask if Z wanted to come that weekend. The first time I was asked to ask Z, I did. And Z was adamant that he didn’t want to go and would not be changing his mind. The second time the email request came to me, I told his dad that he really needed to call his son and talk to him directly about it. That, of course, resulted in another mud-slinging fest. He did call Zachary twice after that, and they had a short conversation.

That was back in April. Zachary has heard nothing from his dad since then. I’ve asked him if he wants to call his dad, talk to him, see him, that he can do that at any time. He’s really, really adamant that he doesn’t want that. He does say he misses his sister, and I told him that he could see her, talk to her at dad's…of course I’ve also told him he can have contact her regardless of that. He said it wasn’t worth going to his dad’s just to see her because he didn’t want to see anyone else. Ouch.

So, back to Friday night and Zachary asking if I want a husband makes all of this come back to me. I feel like a failure at relationships, and while that’s hard enough on me, it’s even harder on this little boy that I love dearly. He deserves to have a dad who acts like a dad. Who doesn't call him a liar. I know if it were my child who basically said he didn’t want to see me? I’d be telling myself “wow, I need to do something to make this better…I want to have a relationship with my son…how do I fix this?” And I’d make an effort. That isn’t happening and there isn’t really a damn thing I can do about it that I haven’t tried doing for the past 10 years already.

Do I find someone to be with, who is good to me, good to Zachary, just so that he has what he needs? Even if it means that I don’t have passion for the person? That I love him but am not in love with him? I don’t know…I really just don’t know…I know that my heart tells me never to settle…but is that selfish of me?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brain Overload

Clearly, I need to write more. If my FB status updates can't accommodate my thought process? I guess I should be writing here...if for no one else but myself, right?

Life is crazy, awesome, exhausting, great. I love school...I'm nuts with studying, helping my son with homework, trying to balance time with my studies with time with life, well, I don't really have one, unless you count last weekend when I saw my brother, sister-in-law and friend for the first time since the summer, and hung out with a few other friends I haven't spent any time with in months. This weekend will be Halloween, and though we'd hoped to attend a party on Saturday, I have too much studying/work to do to attend both the party and take a few hours out on Sunday to take Z trick or treating. Did I mention that he pretty much hates me these days because all I ever do (in his mind) is study? Last night he told me that he liked it better before I was going to college because we had more time together. I reminded him that the truth is, I have more time with him now, I'm home with him more now, but the time that I'm home is often side by side, quietly spent while I study and he does something else. It's time together, but it's not at his beck and call. He's struggling with this.

There are many ploys for attention...the homework that can't be finished...the meltdowns...the brief running away he did (for 5 minutes) that he thought would "break me" and get me to allow him to watch TV/play on the computer when he hadn't yet finished a homework assignment. If nothing else, he's learning what studying hard means. And can I just say? I'm pretty happy with how I'm doing. I'm averaging A's in all of my's a full load of 5 classes, 14 credits (it really feels like it should be more than that, lol). Anyway, I love's amazing, it's fascinating, thought-provoking and humbling.

Every Thursday is our Clinical day, and so I sometimes see Melinda (my dietitian) in the cafeteria as I did today. And it was today, as we were doing our assessments and billing for our patients that I actually discussed with Len and two of the other RTs (as well as my other other clinical cohorts, who already know) about my gastric bypass surgery. And there were a lot of questions...Len couldn't believe I used to be heavy. I guess I'll have to show him a picture at some point. I kind of smiled as they asked how long ago was my surgery and I told them 3.5 years. I also told them that I am at least 30 lbs. up from my lowest...and all anyone could say was "yeah, but how much better are you off now??? and those BMI charts aren't realistic." I don't hide my surgery...but I don't flaunt it either. You know, Union Hospital is closely affiliated with NSMC, where I had my bypass surgery. I don't think they really have any idea yet just how much their hospital group made a difference in my life. I guess they'll find out, won't they?

Did I mention that I'm averaging all A's in my classes? I'm planning to apply to the Honors Program after this semester. And maybe, if I'm lucky? That will mean I can apply for some scholarships for next year and owe a little less money. Good plan, right? I think so.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What A Day

I spent most of today in class, and then off to the orthopedist to get direction on how to manage a stress fracture I have as a result of the triathlon in August. I'll be in a walking boot for the next month or so, and having physical therapy two times a week for the next however long, and we'll take it from there. No running until a month from now at least. But, he said I'll probably be able to run again, but I won't be running any, we'll see what lies ahead there.

This afternoon, after my appointment, I headed over to Brooksby Farm to have dinner with many folks who have been an integral part of my WLS journey. There was video filming and photographs involved. It was a fairly tiring end to a long day...but I felt energized to sit and talk with my fellow WLS cohorts...friends, surgeons, dietitian, psychologist, with whom I had a really nice conversation about psych evals and what people expect and share and the outcome...was hugged by many a person who made me feel pretty damn warm and fuzzy about my journey. Sandy Skinner, Melinda Vaturro (who always inspires me), Annie Donovaro (who is my buddy, now and forever), Dr. B. who is just "real" and kind and warm and well, just awesome...and Jean Graham, to finally meet...several years she's read what I read...and it warms my heart to know she actually follows some of the ins and outs of my life.

These people haven't just helped me make decisions regarding my healthcare...they've helped me find me. They have illuminated the way for my future. I told Dr. Garrity tonight that my WLS didn't change who I am, it just gave me the confidence to be MORE me openly and stop hiding so much. And when we dare to be ourselves? Truly? Wholly? Anything can be. Believe it. Embrace it. Really, it is all good. Trust me on this.