Time for an update—how are things going?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by AppleCori, May 13, 2019.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

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  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi all, I am slowly regaining my strength after a weird bout of illnesses which I believe started with suppressed depression over the holidays. The daily phone calls from Tornado in jail really got to me and just immobilized me. I had to take a good hard look at that. It’s one thing going down the rabbit hole with enabling behaviors, another when the reality of a loved ones addiction and consequences infiltrates and well just plain infects your very being. It is a toxic situation.
    I don’t want to just exist the rest of my life, going through the day to day appearing strong on the outside, when really there is a festering mess inward. Like an old house that is well kept, but there is mold within the walls. I guess once in a while I have to shake myself from the inside out, get the feels out. If someone asks how you are doing, well, do you really want to know? Some days I could spew out the whole bizarre circumstances like.....not to be gross....vomit. Yuck.
    I found myself at the park where Rain lives, pleading with her to seek medical help for her again badly infected ankle, she refused and quietly stated that she “made her choice.” Okay. Well. What can one do? Thought for a moment that trying to reconnect would awaken something in her, a spark, then realized I was putting myself in a dangerous place. No bueno. Regroup.
    Tornado is out of jail, gone wild, and if and when caught will be back in court, jail for who knows how long this time? I have seen her Instagram selfies, one with a bandanna over her mouth like a gangster. I guess she is playing the role of a bad :censored2:. Huh. Meanwhile, I have her three kids for the summer, one laid up from a bad ankle break which required surgery and five screws. Do you think she called? Nope. The kids don’t speak of their Mom or Dad. It’s been three years since they have been left at paternal grandparents house. The most stability they have had, even though the house is overcrowded with cousins, aunts and uncles and they have had no physicals or dental care. Arrrrrrgh!
    I have tried to get grandma to seek state insurance and help for their support but there is always some excuse. I get it, they don’t want authorities involved with the fear my grands may be placed in foster care. (Assumption on my part because communication is not the greatest). Meanwhile my food budget is blown because these kids can EAT! I love having them, but have to retrain them on house manners, cleaning up after themselves, etc. Needless to say, going back to work after summer “break” will be a reprieve!
    I have enjoyed working in my garden, with beans, eggplant and squash going as well as herbs. I don’t grow veggies that we eat raw because of the rat lungworm scare here.
    Son graduated high school and was accepted to a free college prep program for six weeks starting end of June. It’s like university boot camp where he will dorm for six weeks and get to know the campus and what college life is like. They have ZERO tolerance for alcohol and drugs. YAY! I look at this as a testing ground for him to see if this is what he really wants to do. He was able to write for and receive several scholarships that will pay his tuition for the year. I told him absolutely no student loans. I think it’s crazy how much debt our young people accrue.
    Hoku is moving out with her boyfriend and baby who is now two and absolutely adorable. I will miss them, but they will be close by and it is good they will have their own place.
    Morning is waking with birdsong, time to get going and water the garden.
    Hope you all are keeping cool with the summer heat. It is definitely warmer here, record breaking.
    Love and hugs to all!
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  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    What a great update, New Leaf. You are finding your balance again, amidst shifting and unsettled ground. Yay you. Do you have stores there such as the 99 cent store, where you can buy produce for a dollar? I know you are nutrition-minded, but if you get fruits and vegetables within reason, you can use low cost staples like beans, grains, chicken, etc. I know you know this but: You don't have to compete with the other family with junk food. Or teach the kids how to make their own pizzas. And every day you all can invent your own new toppings. Wow. This sounds fun. I love pizza. I think you can grill them on the BBQ. I will go look now. Or teach them to can!!! Wow. This sounds fun, too. (I'm getting obnoxious here. I see it happening.)

    New Leaf. You have returned to yourself. I know how it is to either feel haunted or to feel that your own self is on hiatus, wandering around somewhere outside of yourself, and there you are an empty shell. What a club to belong too.

    Be well, New Leaf.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Copa. Hubs was a great cook and made many veggie filled delicious dishes to stretch out the meat or chicken. I fall back on that. Unfortunately no dollar stores for veggies, there is Chinatown where we used to be able to find good prices, but it is kinda yucky down there, not clean anymore so I stay away. I shop sales and buy in bulk. Egg sandwiches and pb and j. We have papaya trees, banana and mountain apples coming along. Our avocado trees are bearing, it will be a couple of weeks before we can harvest. Son loves to cook and makes a yummy pizza. There is always spaghetti too.
    The kids are learning to pick up after themselves so they don’t “release Tutus Kraken”. Keeping them busy is key, they are paddling three afternoons and we beach it on off days. Paddling days are chore days. My budget will definitely take a hit, but I have saved up some and am happy to have my beautiful grands over, despite my venting. They have come from a very chaotic household with not much supervision, and so it will take some time to get them in to a routine.
    It’s a matter of getting them dental checkups and physicals, trying to find out what kind of services they can get help with. Their parents have basically abandoned them for drugs. It’s sad. While I grieve over my daughters choices, they have lost their mother, that keeps me from feeling too sorry for my own tribulations. I am seriously considering guardianship. Their current living conditions are not the greatest. It is a big step. Huge. But they are my grands. I want them to have a decent chance.
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  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Wow, New Leaf. This sounds like SO MUCH FUN! Do the kids love it?
    That would be fantastic, wouldn't it? I really hear yearning from you.
  6. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    The kids do love it. It is taxing but fun. I am presenting the idea to them as I want them to be able to have a choice on if they want to again, move schools. Of course, it wouldn’t be an easy thing all around, lots of adjustment, and the unanswered questions as to how to navigate guardianship. There is a woman with our paddling group who has fostered many children, she has offered help. The kids have been with paternal grandparents for three years now. I don’t think they would willingly have them go. But.........they are both working and not home till 8 pm. Their house is large but more cousins just moved in bringing the total occupants to 21 in a five bedroom three bathroom house. My grands are sleeping on the floor on blankets. I am grateful that their grandparents cared for them and don’t want trouble. In talking with my grands, the GPS are definitely overwhelmed. Who wouldn’t be with that many people in one house? We shall see what happens. Lots of prayers. I do love them so.
  7. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member


    Are your grands up to date on their vaccinations?
  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Maybe not Apple, I took them to their last checkup four years ago. They have all of their baby shots but probably need booster dtap.
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear New Leaf. I don't know how I missed this passage, but it describes my life for the past 5 years. The impossibility of ignoring that my house, though outwardly beautiful, was rotten within. And that there was no integrity unless it could be rooted out, and rebuilt. And so (not be choice) I came to a point where I had to live, externally, in a realer way, to reflect the mushiness and lack of form inside. Little by little, I am renewing the whole.

    Thank you very much for this acknowledgement. You are very, very strong. And true.
  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I think that as children we were taught to cover over sadness and be brave and strong. I remember those old Mitch Miller songs like "Keep Your Sunny Side Up". It is good to be resilient, not fall into a hole of self pity, but there is a vast difference with "faking it till you make it' and acknowledging our feelings, processing them, dealing with the sadness of our adult children's situation and striving to separate our emotional state from their consequences.
    This is hard work.
    Often times when I feel as if I have reached a point where I am better at dealing with my twos dilemma, then, wham, an incident happens and the rug is pulled from under me. But, I am reminded all around me that people are dealing with hardships-illness, losses. This just happens to be the cards I am dealt with. For now.
    Copa, you have come so far from when I first came to CD. I remember your suffering and relate to just being immobilized with sadness. I had to recognize that I was becoming physically ill by stuffing my feelings down, trying to put on a brave face when I was in reality just full up and overwhelmed.
    I am glad you are working to renew the whole, me too. Hopefully, our houses will be that much stronger. I am looking forward to finding myself through all of this.
    You as well, my friend. I have borrowed much strength from your eloquent wisdom gracing this site. I am deeply indebted to each and every member who has reached out a hand to help me through these years.
    Mahalo nui loa,
  11. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Lots of stuff, New Leaf, so much of it so good. I've adjusted to the fact that my daughter will always make choices around drugs (meth, alcohol) and men first, then her kids. I'm detaching from her drama, but it's hard to watch her living in her car, getting thinner and thinner, still with the same men. She sees the kids maybe an hour a month, and they hang on every second like it's the last because they never know when they'll see her again. And they see their father once every sixth Sunday or so. I'm newly retired and trying to figure out how the get the braces they need, etc. We've had them for three years and the stability is so crucial and the rest isn't life threatening and will happen in due course. Their father does at least provide medical insurance. He stopped paying child support long ago and we've decided not to fight it and just do the best we can. The kids each have their own rooms, are in great schools, are in good health and yes, eating us out of house and home. Our food bills have tripled. The therapeutic day school my grandson is in for the next two years has been very successful and I feel like I can breathe for the first time in years. I'm sure there are challenges ahead, but I can enjoy some semblance of a calm and fulfilling life. Raising grandkids and watching every cent isn't how I pictured my retirement, though, not gonna lie.
  12. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    What a great update, Leafy! You "sound" very in touch with what is real and true, and so very grounded about it all. I am picturing a kite being buffeted by high winds in all directions and you on the ground holding onto the string, pulling in and letting go at all the right times, anticipating what might be next.

    What an exciting time of life for Hoku and Son. How proud you must be!

    You and your precious grands are in my prayers as you all contemplate this huge step. Either way, how very fortunate they are to have you in their lives.
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  13. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I am in a bit of a quandary actually. I love my grands with all my heart. The reality is these kids are extremely troubled, raised in domestic violence, now teens, the two boys at each other’s throats constantly. Can’t play a card game without fighting. I get it, it is all they know, drama and chaos. Am I equipped to take this on? I have called CWS, I will get no help from them, due to the fact that “they are not in danger because they are with you now.” Whaaaaaat? I was told the next step would be to go to court for guardianship. The kicker is, the eldest, soon to be 15 is going to be a father in four months. Yup, ex girlfriend, two years older, refused to use protection (according to grandson) and is pregnant.
    This brings on questions about legalities with guardianship because under state law, the parents of minor teen parents are responsible for the baby’s needs and care. Gulp. So, if I become guardian, does that mean me?
    I can’t take this responsibility on without guardianship because of my income. With guardianship at least I could get help with resources from the state. Not to mention that without it, I have no legal say over these kids. Their parents could rightfully come and take them. But also, as a guardian, I would be responsible for whatever comes down the pipe with my grands. With the eldest having such anger issues and being 6 feet tall, how am I going to rein him in, if he goes off the rails?
    What a mess.
    The GPS on the other side have not returned my calls. They have the kids birth certificates and social security info. They did not tell me of the pregnancy dilemma and as far as I know, nobody is talking about it. I don’t know how they feel about the grands staying with me, if they are angry that I would consider having them here, or if they have literally dumped them at my doorstep?
    The agencies I have called have told me they can’t help until I am a legal guardian. That will take some time. I am in contact with volunteer legal services and will be able to get legal advice for free (45 minute session).
    Meantime, I am biting the bullet, trying to get a routine going, keep the peace between the two angry warring brothers, stop them from constantly picking on their sister, who has virtually been their slave at the other house. So much for fun, my friends.
    Did I mention that they are all completely addicted to their phones? How the heck do you get a kid to read a book nowadays?
    Calgon take me away!
    Hi Albie! So nice to "see" you! I think at this point I am flying a kite in a hurricane. One day at a time.
    I hear you HMB. It seems to be the case with both of these "parents", the excuse being that they had their kids too young. Sigh.

    GULP, mine, too. A gallon of milk gone in a day and a half.

    Me neither, HMB. What choice do I have? I guess I should not be puzzled that the other grandparents are silent, they have not communicated much with me through the years.
    This is not going to be easy, that's for sure.
    Thanks for your replies and for reading along.
    Lord help us all.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi New Leaf. Jeez. It's never easy. There is this: I'm not sure that a 14 year old can give consent.. I will look into it. I just checked. While a 14 year old in your state cannot give consent to sexual activity, there is an exception for close in age partners, so it looks like there is this loophole.
    I would think this is one of the questions to ask the attorney and also the extent that legal responsibility for the sex act in a time you were not involved, could be grandfathered in to you. I mean. How could you be responsible for acts you could not be responsible for because you weren't in the picture?Y
    I think that these are important questions to ask now, not later. I think this boils down to whether or not you feel that the eldest is in dialog with you about this, has some awareness and movement towards consciousness and collaboration. I think by the end of the summer you will both know. I don't think it would be a wrong thing to actually talk to him about these questions. How would I deal with your opposition? What about this anger? How can we work together to reduce the fighting. And actually wrestle with this stuff NOW rather than after this is a done deal. I mean.

    Would you want to take on something that is not working? It is like volunteering to step into FOG. Why would you do this? Your taking on these kids will not bring your girls back. It is not a do over to get it right. That can't happen. I mean, it could turn out right for you and these kids but it can't rewrite history with your girls. I think you need to work very hard to confront in yourself what your motivations are (deeply). So that they don't come back and bite you.

    I adopted my son 29 years ago. I am dealing only now with what my real motivations were, and the fantasies I had. I don't regret it. But for myself and for him I wish I had been less unconscious.

    I think a lot about a concept I call the river of life. It's like. There are forces that push us in our life. Currents. That are the real deal. This is the truth of our life. What we could not have stopped or gotten away from. I am not saying there is not free will and deciding to alter course. There is. But you need to think about these kids. And yourself, too. Would their coming to you be the river of their lives? Would it be yours? Or would you be fighting against the current?

    You live so much of your life in the sea and around it. You feel and know what it tells you. I think if you think of the situation in these terms you will know.

    I am thinking more about the sex part. I mean, you might not be responsible for babies conceived before your tenure, you would be, it seems for post-guardianship. This is something that grandson would need to confront. I know this sounds wildly implausible. But if he won't or does not want to curb himself to some extent, to be with you, you need to face that now, in my view.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Copa
    I was actually thinking along the same lines. What young teen wouldn't fall for this? The hard part is that he has had zero counseling, zero.

    Yup, I put this on the intake.

    I am thinking this through and wondering what my capacity is to even handle this. I have had a peaceable home for three years, minus grieving hubs loss of course. It is becoming a war zone with my grands, and I can feel my blood pressure rising.

    No, not a do over to get it right. The question is, where else do these kids have to go, versus what is my capability to raise them anyway? Do they want to live peaceably, or is the chaos ingrained so deeply that it is written on the wall?
    You are right, Copa, it is a choice after all. I can't see myself going in to the FOG again at this stage of my life.

    Not even sure at this point. I will be doing a lot of thinking and praying on this. Thank you so much for the reality check. I am not committed yet, although I did pose the question to them.
    There is a lot to weigh in here, thats for sure.
    New Leaf
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is exactly it.

    It sounds like they have a home with the other grands. And that it may be that they have been acculturated to be in a home environment like this. But that said, kids move to different environments all of the time. They are adopted. They move to their other parent. They move in with non-related adults. And they change.

    I think you are doing everything right, New Leaf.
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You know, New Leaf, I have been thinking a lot about this very thing you are grappling with.
    I am thinking differently about the FOG. I am thinking that the period of turmoil, roiling emotions in me, the panic and desperation are actually a wake up call, that I must hear. That on the deepest level the obligation and love I feel for my son is my river. That I must act from, even though I am often incapable or barely so.
  18. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    Looking forward to a nice quiet Shabbat (i.e. the Sabbath) with just Mrs. 200Meters and the dawgs, and nobody else. No guests; just us.
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  19. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member


    I am dismayed at the situation that you face—both that your grands are troubled and that the 14 year old will soon be a father. I would assume that if you take on the guardianship of this boy, you take on whatever obligations he brings with him. Both of these kids are minors, so the adults will be left holding the bag.

    I just want to throw something out there, as you are considering all the options—rather than taking them all in, would you consider taking just the younger two, or perhaps just your granddaughter? I know this would be hard, and not a great situation, but none of the options you have are great. I wonder if separating the boys might be a good thing for them, at least for a while.

    My step-brother had to make this decision back in the fall. He and his wife took in their oldest two grands, but they are just not able to take the younger three. Luckily the other grandparents were able to take them.

    There are no right answers here.
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  20. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to add something—

    In my state, if the mother asks for cash benefits from the state, this state goes after the father for repayment, and garnishes wages. If the father is a minor without a job, his parent(s)/guardian(s) can be held responsible for this debt and their wages garnished.

    Find out if this is the case in your state.
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