Saturday, January 06, 2007

It goes on and on for days, then suddenly it gets worse

Some days I just have too much "life". Wednesday evening is a perfect example.

After working a long day at the school, I went to visit my daughter and the baby. The kids are still staying with friends, while I live nearby with my young adult son. My daughter, grandson and I been moving around a lot during the past year. Technically, we're homeless. In a post a couple of months ago, I wrote about the living situation where my daughter lives currently - a household with a lot of females. Wednesday night I saw firsthand what she's dealing with.

When I went to the house, I had planned to just drop off money to my daughter, "Anne," rather than visit, so that she could get some rest. When I saw my daughter at the door, however, I could tell something was not right with her. She looked unhappy and stressed. I decided that I'd go inside to talk with Anne. I wanted to do this privately, away from everyone else in the household.

Sometimes the best thing a parent can do is listen

It took some doing, but I finally got my daughter to start talking. I listened. Sometimes my daughter doesn't want to talk about what's bothering her. But I've learned that if I can get to talk at all about something, she decompresses and eventually returns to her bubbly, inspirational self. But something happened that shot my efforts all to hell.

The mom of the house, "Mary," stuck her head in the room we were in, and asked suspiciously what was going on. But before we could answer, she said, "I don't like it when you two sit in here and talk about me." I looked at Mary in amazement. She continued to talk.

"I could see the tension in Anne's face when she came inside. So I guess she said something to you. She's been walking around here looking unhappy. I asked her what was wrong several times, but she wouldn't tell me. Now she's talking to you in my house."

Can't we all just get along?

The situation escalated. The more Mary talked, the more upset my daughter became.

"I didn't ask my mom to come inside, and we weren't talking about you!" Anne said in frustration.

"All you do is take me for granted!" Mary countered.

By this time, all the little kids and Mary's 19-year old daughter had come into the room. All I could think was that we needed to clear the room quickly.

"Mary, could we get all the kids out of the room so we can have a private conversation?" I asked as calmly as I could.

"You always take up for her!" Mary screamed. Clearly, she was taking this whole thing personally and was hurt. At that moment, I felt as if I were the only grownup in the room.

Now it gets ugly

It finally happened. My daughter exploded. She yelled back at Mary and started cursing. Anne is very respectful of adults, and it is not her personality to curse. When Mary's 19-year old daughter heard Anne's outburst, she got into the act and started screaming accusations at my daughter.

You get the idea. Meanwhile, there were all these little kids around us, including my 11-month old grandson. And my daughter just burst into tears.

I was very frustrated because I had tried to prevent this outburst from happening. I didn't want to see anyone hurt - not my daughter, not Mary, and I certain didn't want the children witnessing this. I certainly don't condone my daughter's behavior, but I think Mary pushed her over the edge.

Eventually, I got a tearful Mary to go behind closed doors where we could talk. I left my sobbing daughter in the other room. That was hard to do, but I felt that I really needed to talk to Mary first. I kept my composure as Mary sobbed about how she considers my daughter to be her own and how much she loves her, but she wouldn't allow any child to disrespect her. I assured Mary that my daughter was already grieving about her outburst and that she would apologize.

I offered to start looking for another place for my daughter and the baby to live. The last thing we wanted to do was to disrupt someone else's household. Mary wouldn't hear of it. I have been dragging the kids from one place to another for almost a year. Mary was the one who invited my kids into her house. She's really an angel.

Mary knows how much I want my daughter and I to have our own place again - how much I want to give my son his privacy back, especially since he lives in a one-bedroom apartment. There's one problem, though. My job carries lots of responsibilities, but it pays slightly above the poverty level. In addition, once I accepted the position, the state decided that I no longer qualify for public assistance for food. I'm appealing the state's decision. The assistance helped me to feed my family.

A return to peace

By the time I left Mary's house, she and my daughter were hugging and saying "I'm sorry." They were smiling. So was everyone else in the house.

I smiled back, then hugged everyone and said good night. I was very, very weary, but I didn't let it show. By the time I got home, I was numb.

I told my son about the incident later that night. He listened. Then he suggested that I should be putting more effort in finding my own place. His message was short and sweet. He was uncomfortable in his own house because I was there.

"You've been here five months," he said.

I looked at my son. I didn't argue. I made my bed on the sofa and went to sleep.

In the end, I know everything will get sorted out. We'll all get our lives back. For a couple of days, it hurt like hell. Here's to character-building moments.

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ericat said...

I can not handle fighting. I am the that mess it up. Your kids are very lucky. I am out looking for links to exchange. My sites are also family friendly sites. Maybe you could like the felinetalk.blogspot
site. Mainly on cats body language and their 6th sense. I have more on blogspot under ericat. Please leave a comment if you would like to exchange links. I like your site if the link is there then it is also easy to return. the best for the new year.

Naomi said...

Ericat, thank you for visiting my site and for commenting. I am like you. I cannot handle fighting. I'd rather put my efforts into positive things.

Some people live for drama. I am not one of them! But it does seem that drama likes to follow me, no matter how low-profile I try to be.

I would be happy to exchange links. You have a very interesting site.

Happy New Year to you, too!

Alina said...

Naomi, I am sorry you are having such hard times right now. However, I am sure at some point you will have it all sorted out! And we, as in your reders, are here whenever you need to talk about it! Stay strong!

Naomi said...

Thanks, Alina. You are such a kind spirit.

I know everything will eventually be OK. Nothing is constant in life but change. I am a little tired, but I am smiling today. I think it's about time that I had a boring life! LOL

Teresa said...

Hi Naomi,
I read your post at Shi's Light Within. I sound like a brat when I say I have never had to deal with what you are dealing with. I know all of this has to be hard on all of you. I don't know where you live and what is available there. Some communities are better than others of taking care of their own. But, it has been my experience that churches are great resources for all kinds of social services. I hope everything works out for you. I will be thinking of you and your family.

Naomi said...

Teresa, you are very kind. Thank you so much for all of your encouragement.

This summer my daughter and I contacted a few church organizations, but they said they couldn't help me, even though we had the baby. Perhaps their resources were just maxed out.

I have learned that even when contacting churches, it takes time. My own church family has yet to do anything. But I am not giving up. Blessings to you for your caring spirit!

Ian Lidster said...

They say the best lessons in life are the hardest ones -- although it never seems like it at the time.
My ex-wife was a crisis junkie and there were invariably raised voices in the house, and I got so I couldn't stand it.
Anyway, in my current marriage we endeavor to be reasoned and reasonable, and it's delightfully placid.
Anyway, my heart goes out to you at this time.


Naomi said...

Ian, I've had lots of life lessons. No one here knows even one-tenth of my life's experiences. You can't make this stuff up!

Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that you and your wife have a delightfully placid life. I've always been a quiet, low-profile type of person. I look forward having a delightfully placid life for my little family.

My dad has often told me that if all this stuff had happened to him, he would have committed suicide long ago. (I'm not making this up.) Gee, Dad, thanks for the encouragement!!

You have to find humor in this stuff to keep going. :-)

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