End of Quarantine Day 1 – Reflections

This day of quarantine has come to an end. My mom had to go out this morning to the medical supply store to get a new c-pap mask fitted. She hasn’t been sleeping well lately. While she was out, she went through a drive thru to get doughnuts.

I am the family’s designated shopper, and had to go to our Wal mart to pick up medication for my mom. They don’t have a drive thru. I had a small list of items to get for everyone. Shopping was really a shocking and somber activity. The shelves of food are mostly bare. While I was there, a store employee brought out a pallet of toilet paper. It was gone almost as quickly as it was put out.

After that, I went to pick up my teen granddaughter for the day. Her mom had to work today. We drove by granddaughter’s school to pick up the work packet that was being given out.

When we got home, it was almost time for me to take Little AoA to her tutor. Her tutor had her take off her shoes at the door, and wash her hands before they started. While she was there, I got gas and cleaned up my car.

By the time we got home, it was time to make supper. Granddaughter and I made goulash in the instant pot. A miracle happened- everyone liked it!

A call came from Little AoA’s banjo teacher. Lessons are cancelled until the middle of April.

As the day ended, teen son became very firm with me about my leaving the house. He is very worried that someone in our home will die through all of this. I thought with him for a while. I decided to reach out tomorrow to the piano teacher and therapists, and see if we can meet through video chat. I think it will work.

I learned at the end of the day, that nursing homes are preparing for the worst. There are currently no known cases in our county, but people are just now starting to be tested.

Words that come to mind…..dystopian……surreal…..am I dreaming???

~AoA

Quarantine Day 1

Waking up on Day 1 of Quarantine and social distancing. I have plans for today. I am the designated shopper for the family, and today my mom needs to have me pick up her pills from Walmart pharmacy.. I will then be picking up my teen granddaughter from her house. Her mom (my 32 year old daughter) is a nurse working at a local nursing home. My granddaughter will still need to go somewhere when her mom is at work.

We were already homeschooling, so that is not new for us. Little AoA goes to a tutor once a week for an hour. That will continue as long as everyone is healthy. Music lessons once a week will continue as well, contingent on health.

We have cancelled appointments at a health care office in the next county, which has 18 cases of Covid-19.

I am thankful today, that my kids are older during this challenging time.

It has become obvious…. what I have suspected all along…

OUR TEENS HAVE BEEN TRAINING FOR THIS!

They already know how to video conference and build relationships while keeping up with social distancing! Seriously!

Everyone please find one thing everyday for which you are thankful❤️

What are you thankful for today?

~AoA

I Woke Up to a Brave New World

Two weeks ago, I sat in my living room listening to my 30 year old tell me about the coming pandemic. I thought he had been obsessing on the news, and was just getting anxious. He warned me that grocery stores would be left with empty shelves. I didn’t believe it was possible in today’s world. I was wrong…

Teen son had been sick for the last two weeks with horrible symptoms. It was the kind of illness you just stay home and treat with over the counter medication. He never had a fever, but had no energy. It never crossed my mind that there may be a new illness. At that time, all that we knew was that a virus was being contained on a cruise ship. About a week later, Little AoA became ill. By this time, the panic from Covid-19 had begun to set in. I called the doctor, who told me to bring her in. When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was a big sign stating that no COVID-19 testing was being done. The doctor ruled out flu, and told me to keep her apart from the medically fragile grandparents who live with us. We spent last weekend trying to use “social distancing” in our home. It made everyone irritable and miserable. We decided that we would just be cautious outside the home, and take our chances. We planned for me to take off from work (in public schools), for a while to prevent me from accidentally bringing home an illness of any kind.

At this time, our school system was determined that school be in session until Covid-19 appeared in our schools. Teachers went to work today, anticipating a day of inservice training. As it turned out, we spent the morning preparing home packets for students. At 2:00, our mayor and school superintendent announced that school would be cancelled until April 13th.

It.Just.Got.Real.

I am beyond relieved to not have the pressure of worrying about exposing the grandparents to illnesses for a little while.

This is such a different world.

In all of this self quarantining and social distancing, we must continue to live and laugh. We must fight to keep our human connections alive. Make no mistake, my anxiety level is very high, and planning our best to keep our elders from contracting any illness has become a full time task.

I want to share some lighthearted things that made me smile and sometimes shake my head…

Dear friends, please take care of yourselves during this time of uncertainty….

How is this pandemic affecting your life?

~AoA

The Dark Cloud of Litigation

The dark cloud of litigation has been my world for the last year. Any of you who have been continually trailed by litigation, you are heroes in my eyes, especially if you have managed to continue working and caring for a family! While I admit, it does get a little easier and less devastating, the longer it persists. I am no longer afraid as I once was. It is now just a looming dread.

We had a nice agreement in place in July of 2018. The only person who wasn’t following it, was the ex. Nevertheless, he hired an attorney who found a small hole. A hole that common sense should have taken care of. No luck…. this was an opening for an attorney to use the ex’s hate in order to make money. The irony has been, the ex was getting away with not paying his financial obligation for quite a long time. I had to put off hiring an attorney due to finances. When the ex filed a suit against me, it forced me to hire an attorney. So far, the only thing that has been accomplished as a result of all this, is that the ex was forced to pay support. His efforts backfired….he shot himself in the foot.

Hate doesn’t win. The kids are old enough now that they understand the manipulation a little more than when they were very little. They are tolerant of the dad, and want to have a limited relationship with him. I often recall my own relationship with my dad. He was not any part of my life from the ages of 10-18. In hindsight, I think I would have benefitted from the occasional meal with him. That was no one’s fault- that was just the way things were back in the late 70’s.

One would think that by now, seven years after we split, that life would have moved forward and evolved. I watch my 13 year old granddaughter bounce between four different homes. All are family who love her dearly and support her 100%! There is no animosity between anyone. All of the extended family supports and respects each other, and we all work together.

Abusers just don’t stop. They change their weapons as needed. I ignored red flags and thought I was strong enough to endure whatever he could dish out. That didn’t quite work out….

~AoA

Too Many Secrets

I do not like secrets, and the way they eat at my heart. Teen son has started asking about his paternal grandfather’s death. I can not tell him the truth, and it is eating me up! His therapist says that the dad must be the one to tell him. PROBLEM! The dad told him…..a lie! I can not fix this. If teen son knew the truth, he could possibly experience another psychotic break.

Little AoA doesn’t keep secrets either. Her brother has secrets. He has started painting his nails. There is more, but we won’t discuss it here and now. We have not fully adjusted yet. Little AoA started experimenting with nail polish too. I have two kids with very nice and colorful fingernails. Me? Maybe soon…..

~AoA

Trouble Finding My Joy

Why do I feel as though my joy is gone?

I think I might be depressed….

I have fallen into the depths of “I am not enough”…

It could be the ex back in my world…

We do not speak, but I drive the kids an hour away to visit him every other week…

He digs for dirt on me in every corner…

He must push me down in order to raise himself up….

It is the kids who suffer the most…

I remember feeling like he would not stop until he had taken my life….

I want my life back!

I want freedom from constantly being under a microscope!

Life is hard enough without this.

I am not perfect….

My kids are not perfect….

We are doing the best we can.

~AoA

Caregiver Guilt

Sometimes I feel like I just can’t do anymore….

“What’s for dinner?” Comes the question as I am on my way home from work each day.

“Did you take supper to your father?” because he is probably hungry.

“There’s no more room in the refrigerator and I went to the warehouse grocery store today”.

“Why did you go all the way to the warehouse store, mom?”

“I just wanted to.”

“I thought you would come right home from work and unload my car and put everything away and cook supper. I am exhausted now.”

“I had to pick up one of the kids from ball practice. Sorry I’m late.”

“I had to clean the house this morning for the cleaning person. I am exhausted.”

“You didn’t need to do that. She would help.”

“You didn’t do it last night.”

“I didn’t get home from work until 8:00. It was parent/teacher conference night.”

I just can’t do enough…

No matter how many times I remind myself that I am enough, it gets harder to believe.

It is very challenging to try to juggle working full time with caregiving. I have a lot to learn….

~AoA

Court: It’s Still Not Over

The much awaited court date was suppose to be this past week. I had to get permission to take the day off as a personal day in order to go. The day before, I could not focus on work, and teen son had a therapy appointment, so I took off to take him there. It was a blessing.

The evening before court day, I got a phone call. We were postponing court until the end of February. The issues that were falsely brought against me were no longer there. The complaint against me was that Little AoA had not started going to supervised visits yet. I had been following the recommendations of her therapist, which was for a gradual reintroduction to visits. Her first in person visit occurred the same week we were to go to court. It all happened as planned and recommended.

I do not understand why the complaint hasn’t been dropped, other than that the dad wants to try to find something else to use against me.

It has gotten very tiresome over the past several years. I feel like I have been living in a fish bowl. I just keep plugging along each day, doing the best I can.

Kids are not little animals to pass around and rule over. They are humans with feelings, needs, interests, and strengths.

~AoA

Court Again…

It seems that I can’t get even a year in without the interruption of being called to court by the ex-husband. We just finished one go-round that lasted a year and a half, in July of 2018. By August 1st of 2019, he had hired a new attorney (maybe his 10th attorney?), and filed yet again. Little AoA hadn’t started attending supervised visits as we had all expected she would. The dad hadn’t checked on her or supported her for over a year, and she ended up needing time to reconnect more slowly. The irony is, she is on track to start visits the same week we go to court!

Did that encourage the dad to count his losses and drop the motion? No…..

The only winners here are the attorneys.

I have grown to accept that I can’t help the dad in any way. He is not willing to keep his part of our court agreement or communicate in any way that could look remotely like co-parenting. It will have to be a judge who tells him what he needs to do.

I will go to court. I will listen to his attorney make false claim after false claim, because that is all the dad provides. He will claim as before, that he is a great parent, because he and teen son have nice visits for two hours a week at a supervision center. The motion at hand isn’t even about teen son.

The AoA kids want to have a relationship with the dad. They have not been alienated from him. They do realize that the dad has great difficulty parenting, connecting, understanding, and accepting them for who they are. They have asked for supervised visits. Someday, when they are older, they may be ready for unsupervised situations. When they are ready, I will support them.

We have four more years of this for teen son, and seven more years for Little AoA.

~AoA

Life With the Elders – Part 1

Our AoA household is a multi-generational home, with my parents (77 year olds), my youngest kids (11 and 13), and now my adult son (30). We made the decision to enter into this lifestyle, in 2014. At the time, I was at the end of a divorce that lasted 18 months. The kids and I had moved in with my parents after escaping an abusive and unstable situation. We left everything behind. The ex-husband was and is, not supportive of the kids. He wanted (still wants) “ownership” of them. He use to say that he “owned” me because he had “papers” on me. Anyway, my parents were the ones to help me support the kids when we were left without a home or our belongings. I worked as a public school teacher, but it would take time and a final divorce decree to start me back on my feet. During that time, we lived with my parents, and in a 2 bedroom apartment. We all thought that we could save money, and give the kids a better life, if we combined households.

Once the divorce was final, I started looking for a home that would fit all of us. It didn’t take long to find one that I would qualify for on my own. We wanted to make sure that it was something I could manage, should my parents pass away. We also didn’t want to provide any ammunition to the ex-husband, by way of suggesting that I couldn’t raise the kids and provide for them. I might note here, that the ex-husband lives on a 70 acre farm that he inherited (after killing his father-he inherited his portion -another story). He sold off some of the land and was able to have a small house built. When I was married to him, I took over the household bills, and enabled him to pay off the house, and raise cattle. The farm is now worth near a million dollars. No matter, since it is not “earned income”, it does not factor into his support of the kids. That is based on his “disability” check that he gets from the government. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it is the way it is…..

All of this helped us weigh the pros and cons of living a multi-generational lifestyle. The adventure begins! We have had a few ups and downs along the way. There is much to share, as we navigate this journey……

Everyone has a role

Rehabilitation in the home

Driving

School

Outside Help

Trying to do too much

Clutter

Memory Loss

Depression

Traveling

My own grandparents passed away in their 60’s. Neither my parents nor I have had the experience of navigating the geriatric years.

Join me on this adventure!

~AoA