I had a great conversation with Jeff tonight. I mean a real adult conversation. We talked for over 30 minutes about his school plans, work, and other things. I have to say it was actually enjoyable. It’s been awhile since Jeff and I had a conversation that didn’t end in an argument.

Jeff’s enrolled in 13 units next semester. I didn’t tell him he had to go to school – he decided that is what he wants. I guess everyone can find themselves in their own sweet time.

The phone rang tonight – the called I.D. said “US GOVT” – my first thought was it was someone for Jeff. Since the Marine Corps has this number and address as Jeff’s I figured it was for Jeff; it wasn’t. It was for Jake; a Marine Recruiter calling to schedule an appointment with Jake. I guess he is considering all his options. He has an appointment tomorrow. I think he isn’t very serious – the other day he talked about interest in the Air Force – my heart is so heavy tonight thinking about Jake taking that step. I know he will have to do what is right for him – I just don’t want him to do it if he thinks it is his only option.

This is Liz’s third day home. For the most part I love it. The dog is getting on my nerves. She keeps saying Duke is no trouble, and I guess not as she is leaving him with others while she catches up with old friends. But dinners and lunches, talking and laughing into the wee hours of the night….I have missed her.

We had one disagreement thus far. Jessica (Jeff’s ex) has a birthday on the 24th – Sucks to have a birthday so close to Christmas. Liz asked if she could have about 10 people over Friday night for Jess’ birthday. Sure was my first thought; of course the next thing said was “We’re doing Jello shots.” First off – NO. I am sorry they all know how I feel about alcohol. Secondly, Liz is the only one of age the others, including Jessica are only 20. No way I am going to support under age drinking. She threw a little hissy fit but didn’t hang on to the Jello Shot dream for too long.

All in all – kid wise it was a good day

Liz had been home almost a week before Jeff arrived. The only miserable moment was Liz getting kicked out of Jeff's room. Since the kids moved away one of the bedrooms is an office, and thus we are one bed short when everyone is home. It wasn't a huge deal as Liz could have slept on the couch in the living room. However, if that occured how would Santa quietly slipped into the house? She would have been smack-dab in the middle of the house while Santa (ok Me) been able to drag out every last gift. So Liz ended up in Jake's room, which worked out fine. Jake was not thrilled about sharing his bed, but since Liz reminded him it was actually her bed it made for a nice laugh and an agreement to share the wonderful feather bed. All in all the kids were happy, nice, and actually getting along with each other. I enjoyed Liz and Jeff being home, but must admit when they left to go home all of us, Geoff, myself, and Jake were happy. It was quiet again. No chaotic moments, or not ones we are not use to, it was back to our little world. It is so strange how quickly things change. A year ago it would not have bothered me in the slightest to have everyone under one roof, now, though enjoyable, there's a sense of oddness when we all come together.The new year rang in and of course Geoff and I were alone. Jake was at a party, and yes I suppose it entailed drinking. We didn't allow him to take his car which meant we had to pick him up. Geoff went out at 1 a.m. and gave a drunk Brett (friend) and a slightly intoxicated Jake a ride. I don't condone the drinking but I refuse to pretend that it wasn't going to happen.

Liz is in Lake Tahoe with friends. Of course, she has no money but went anyway so I suppose when she comes home she will attempt to get money out of me. I told her that I am not going to buy food for her, or assist with her bills when she could have worked. Lets see if I stick to my guns.

Jeff stayed home in Santa Barbara. He had originally said he was going to come home for New Years, but I reminded him no drinking, no coming home if he was drinking, no alcohol of anykind as if he had involvement he knew there was no home to come to. He said what he always says "I know Mom." He ended up staying home as the road conditions were so bad. Rainfall is flooding out many parts of the area he had travel on to get home. I talked to him today and he sounded fine. He said he did go out, and yes drank, but didn't really get "fucked up" as he would say because he had to work today. I always have concerns with his logic. Drinking at all is something he shouldn't do. With his past involvement with alcohol, and his current involvement with alcohol fines you think he would figure that out himself, but I guess he will when he is good and ready.

The year couldn't have started better. I know all my kids are safe and what could be better than that.

It’s been awhile and quite honestly although a lot has transpired I haven’t felt the call to actually write about it. Not even now do I have the desire to write, but feel that if I don’t somehow the memory could be lost in the hectic and chaotic mind of mine.

So, because it is has been a while the condensed version will do….

Jeff and Liz no longer live together. Although they both talked about it often Liz did leave and has been sleeping on a friend’s couch. Jeff’s ex-girlfriend, Jessica, is moving to
Santa Barbara at the beginning of January ’06 so Liz and Jessica have rented a room in someone’s house. Liz had the deposit returned to her from where she lived with Jeff, but didn’t return the money to me as it was loaned to her by me. When confronted about it she said she didn’t tell me she had it back as she figured I was going to allow her to use it for her new place. Ok, so she was right I was and did let her have it for the new place but the point was it was my 700 dollars and she needed to return it, or at the very least tell me she had it and ask me if she could still have it.

Jeff is like a girl in emotions sometimes. Sometimes he is way up and sometimes way down. His drinking seems to be in check as he has to work everyday and can’t afford to be so hung over he can’t make it to work. In the past Jeff would call me, all hours of the day or night, on any day, and I could tell he was intoxicated. Recently, there has been no weird hour calls, no calls for money, no slurred language. He has been calling about every other day and actually sounds good. In one of our recent conversations I asked him if he was getting tired of working and making enough just to pay for his alcohol fines. He said yes, and maybe, just maybe he was telling the truth.

Geoff drove to
Santa Barbara this past Saturday to take Jeff to Encino for his drill duty. Jeff had to work distributing toys for toys for tots for the Marines. Geoff said he was awake and sober when he arrived at the house to pick him up (so different from the previous month). I guess Jeff had the opportunity to go out and get drunk with friends the night before but knew he was obligated to be up at 4 in the morning so made a different choice; responsible choice of staying in. Adam (Liz’a ex) went out and got drunk and returned home making noise which woke Jeff. I guess Jeff gave him and the others in the home an ear full talking about their lack of consideration to those in the house not partying. It is nice to hear Jeff is seeing the bigger picture of life.

The news in the area of Jake is big. In a recent conversation with Jake and Jeff’s ex girlfriend, Jessica about sex it came to light that Jake is not a virgin. I don’t know why I was so surprised. Jake, by no means is perfect, but I guess I just held on to the baby idea of him. So long and short of it Jake has had sex with two different girls. His emotional behavior on Thanksgiving when he and his girlfriend broke up is more understandable now. Jake also disclosed he did not use a condom once. Talk about going ballistic. We had a nice long talk about it considering there have always been condoms in the cupboard easily accessible to him. Jake did do the responsible thing. Him, along with Jessica and Jeff’s friend, Brett, went down and got tested. I guess the others went for either moral support and/or they had been stupid in the past too. In any case Jake’s fine and agreeable to practicing safe sex if he decides to have sex again. At the moment his newest girlfriend is a virgin and has no plans of changing that. Jake said he was ok with that as he hasn’t had sex so many times that he feels that it is the important part of a relationship. During that same conversation Jessica told me that Liz has had intercourse too. Ok, now I already knew that deep down, but Liz had not shared that. I knew she did everything else (and I do mean everything) but she never could come clean about intercourse. Jake must have told her I know now so she called to share ever last detail. A visual no mother needs. Fortunately, or unfortunately ( I am not really sure) she doesn’t care for intercourse, or much of any sex act. I keep trying to tell her she will enjoy it more when she finds the right person. Sex for just sex isn’t high on my list either. Sex and intimacy with that person who makes your heart skip a beat or two and makes you lose your breath when they enter the room is wonderful. Jessica also felt the need to tell me that she and Jeff aren't sleeping together anymore. She has finally decided not to just be the booty call. They both care about each other but fight. I have been telling her, really both of them for months. If they aren't together sex shouldn't be a part of their friendship. It might not hold, as they usually wind up in bed when they see each other, but at some point Jessica needs to think of her other needs and not jus the sexual ones. I love Jeff, but I think they both need a sex break.

Strange, some people can’t understand these types of talks with their kids. I am upset when I don’t have these talks with them. As their mother I should know all these things. Granted as they get older they will have some private things, but as they are not yet experienced adults and need the guidance the fact that we can talk about all these things brings great comfort to me. I hope it brings the same to them.

Christmas shopping madness is now over. YEAH! I am done with every gift for them. The only thing I have to get is stocking stuffers, which for them is things like toothpaste, razors, etc etc. It is funny how kids who turn adult and have to buy all those necessities for themselves now think of those items as a gift.“I have a 9 year old, so I don't know what it's like to have adult children, but I don't think that you are a bad mom for not wanting Jeff to move back home. It sounds like he would really disrupt your life. From what you have written it doesn't seem as though he would learn anything by moving home, rather he would basically be using you since he would not be willing to respect you and your wishes.Motherhood is gentleness and love, but it is also standing one's ground and being firm.”Comments like this one touch a core deep within me brining forth comfort. That said, this comment also makes me feel inadequate. I know that Jeff moving home would disrupt my life; there is no way to predict in how many ways this disruption can and would take place.A mother is that one person that is there no matter what; good and bad, sickness and health, right? So I don’t want Jeff to move home because it would cramp my style? What style do I have? I work too many hours, get very little sleep and worry far too much. So what would be different if Jeff was sleeping down the hall?I write all this like I believe I am wrong for not wanting him home and that is true, I do believe I am wrong. More importantly there is a sense of selfishness I feel. A mother, even a mother of adult children, needs to really understand their needs, most especially at their darkest times.

I think I am in a catch 22. If I allow him to move home we all suffer. He will do what he wants with little consequence and I will watch him slip further into the dark abyss. Insisting he live on his own still, anywhere but here, will make him a bit more responsible (not much as he still calls home for much assistance) and if he finds himself in darkness by his own hands I won’t have to watch the daily downfall. Jeff wouldn’t be respectful towards me if he moved home, and yes he would not be learning anything. If I think of it in that way my mind tells me stay strong and say no to move home. However, when I think of the possibility of him being deployed this coming year to
Iraq or Afghanistan I feel that my inconvenience is not the most important thing to focus on. What if sticks in my mind, and with that I feel that anything I do for him is something I have to be able to live with in my heart; anything can change in the blink of any eye and I want to have a content heart. Again, that is being selfish because I am thinking about my heart instead of what is best for Jeff’s growth and journey into adulthood.

I cry often over my son. He’s a beautiful person and in those moments when he is thinking clearly he is kind, respectful, and loving. I know deep within him he loves and knows he is loved, but somewhere along the way that tough shit kid was born and that is what I have to deal with most of the time.

In speaking to Liz today she said she felt bad because Jeff is so mean he pushes everyone away. Of course we will all be right there if something terrible happens, but as far enjoying spending time with him just because – well that isn’t happening anymore. Liz said I am better off living 3 hours from Jeff and only seeing him a few times a month. I talk to him often, at least three or four times a week and we seem to enjoy talking most of the time. Lately, with the stressors of the fighting between Jeff and Liz and both their money woes it has been difficult for someone not to leave the conversation upset.

Although Jeff has talked about moving home recently I am hoping when he examines his life he will see that moving home would make him even more unhappy than he already is. Having me harping on him all the time would be miserable for both he and I.

Time will tell…

But I think my being selfish could be the best thing for him. There comes a point when everyone must stand on their own. I can honestly say I don’t believe that time is age 19 or 20, but unfortunately that is where it is starting with Jeff.

People talk and offer advice and words of comfort and that is very much appreciated. I won’t say they don’t know how I feel because most who offer assistance have some sense of parenthood and a parent’s heart. Their situation doesn’t have to be as chaotic as mine to understand the unconditional heart and love of a parent. I just feel that sometimes people with children that have not journeyed through any time of inner demon, drama or life event has a more difficult time feeling my pain or heart. I wish I didn’t feel like I was the only parent in the world fucking up. People are right I do go away overboard for my children, and honestly I shouldn’t. It isn’t that I feel I have to either; I really want to. I want to be the type of mother that is there always; the supporter, even if that is in lending an ear only.

I have had many difficult moments in recent years with the kids. Liz crying wanting to move home because she didn’t want to be a grown up, and me listening and telling her she would be okay she was just having a bad moment. I was right, the next morning she was back to thinking she could conquer the world. Jeff and all the times I didn’t think he would make it out of high school and all the pep talks I gave even if my heart didn’t believe it at the time just so Jeff might actually find the strength to believe it himself. And Jake…well lets just say that I see some troubled spots but he is my so called “normal” child, if “normal” is even possible.

I love all my children equally, and though my writing might not represent it they all bring joy and sorrow to me equally in their own way.

I guess that is just the life of a mother – juggling the good and the bad.

LATER

A feeling of misery and worry can disappear (at least momentarily) with a good phone call.

Jeff called at about 10:30 p.m. and naturally a call that late usually is bad – very bad. He sounded great and more importantly he sounded SOBER! He told me had just got home from work and was talked to be the district manager about how well he is doing. In fact they are taking him to lunch to get to know him better. He seems to be doing well in the sales arena.

Ok, so the good news out and he sounds good and our conversation is going well and then he hits me with why he really called (even though he won't admit it). He needs to borrow rent money. He has about 200 dollars but needs another 275 for rent and for gas to share cost with the other Marine when they drive down for weekend duty. First off I am so excited that he actually followed through with finding someone to carpool with. Usually when we tell him he has to do something he doesn't follow through and Geoff and I have to move heaven and earth to make it happen. He tells me he gets paid on the 12/8 but his rent is due by the 5th. I was hesitant because – well just because. Jeff told me to take whatever I loan him out of his account on payday. One thing about all my kids they aren't secretive about money. I have their account #'s and passwords and can check on their money situation any time I wish.

Then Jeff stated he recently got a visa card but didn't want to use it as he doesn't want to start getting use to charging and would prefer to borrow the money from me and have me take it back out of his account on payday. I almost fell over – it was so responsible sounding!

My heart is a little lighter. Jeff sounds happier. His job is going well, and the thoughts of moving home are in the very far corners of his mind (today at least). I know a lot of his depression and fear and desire to move home comes from a lack of money. With that looking up he seems to feel okay about being on his own.

I reminded him that he shouldn't be spending his money on alcohol and being drunk all the time especially if he was asking me for help. He told me that he isn't buying the beer but was having a drink (he meant right then). I wish I could make him see how drinking only leads him to a place he finds no joy, but I guess he is still learning those lessons. For now I feel good. It was late, he wasn't drunk, he sounded good, he was thinking more responsible….

My Son – it was a good moment.

It’s a terrible thing for a mother to hate herself for certain thoughts. Jeff called today saying he might have to move home due to money issues. Before I could talk I just had to take a breath. It sickens me to admit but the first thing I thought about was the fact that I don’t think I can endure living with Jeff anymore.He mentioned I would have to help him pay his rent this month because he just can’t afford it. I immediately stated I didn’t have the money right now, which is completely true. He went into the whole drama about himself and Liz and the fact that she moved out but is still there all the time trying to run the show, etc. I tried not to say anything but just listen. There’s no way for me to fix this. Even though Liz moved out she still “sees” Adam and as such is there often. She sleeps there sometimes and showers there. Of course that brought up the water bill. How did I know more money issues would arise!

After a few minutes of Jeff talking and me coming to grips with the possibility of him moving home I told him he would be unhappy at home but if he wanted to come back he could. I reminded him there is no drinking in the house or coming home drunk or being around me or the house intoxicated. I reminded him that moving home, though it seems easier, just might be more difficult for him. As I am saying all this time him I know in my heart he will drink, he will be verbally abusive, and he will say over and over again “I will do as I see fit.”

Even writing this makes me feel awful. What kind of mother prays for her child to stay away from home? When I started talking about his drinking and the fact that I wouldn’t stand for it he got somewhat upset. He told me I was singling him out and Jake has been drinking too. I felt like I was talking to a client of mine trying to change the subject, switch the focus and throw someone else into the fire. I reminded him that Jake was not his concern and I am fully aware of the “normal” senior year stuff that is going on for Jake. I won’t say Jake has not drank (I know he has). I don’t agree with it, but Jake does one thing differently than all the others. He knows how to be a normal, not in your face teenager. Anyway, I am left with my feelings still.

Do I actually come up with the money for his rent (not all just part) because the alternative..him moving home is just too upsetting for me. I have no answers right now. I believe either way I move the move will be wrong. There’s no right answer for me.

Right now I am just a terrible mother.

The good news is according to Liz, Jeff does drink much less. He still drinks on weekends but rarely drinks during the week because of his job. He is working full time and kept the job for more than a blink of an eye. Actually, he likes his job which is a first. He calls for food money sometime, but all in all has tried not to involve me in his living arrangements. I will admit I do transfer money into his checking account for food, but I have done so for Liz as well.

All this rambling is simple, simple because I don’t want to feel like a heartless mother for hoping and praying Jeff doesn’t move home. If he does it might just very well break me. Is my heart really a mother's heart? It doesn't feel like it at the moment. Right this second I just feel selfish.

I always go overboard at Christmas when getting the kids presents. This year I thought I would be better. However, at this moment, as my anxiety is rising, I think I have already failed. Most likely it was the 330 dollars for Jeff's personal trainer that has sent me over the edge. I had already bought him the Nano, which is sitting in a drawer someplace, when he called and said he really wanted personal training sessions for Christmas. Then Liz informed me she found a used bike for 80 dollars, which is a far cry from the 360 dollar bike she originally was looking at. When she called and said she bought it and asked for me to transfer money to her account to cover the bike I said yes. Heck, she did save me a lot of money and although she is getting it early she knows it is part of her Christmas presents. Of couse everyone says that but when it comes time to open gifts they feel a bit jipped when there isn't much under the tree for them. After an hour or so Liz called me back and let me know that Adam #2 gets an additional 35% off today at Nordstroms and some of what she wants for Christmas is there. So Adam is going to purchase it and then call me and let me know how much money to put in his account to cover it. Ok, all sounds good, right? I am able to buy Liz what she wants, cheaper than we thought it would be, and everyone is happy. Except that I only have a small amount of money until I get paid again ( a week and a half away) and all of this Christmas present stuff happened right now. It is easier to give them the world (my version of the world) when it is done over time. It is difficult to do so in one pay checkI believe I will have enough money for Jake's lunches and such and gas for his car. Me, well I believe PB&J will be a very good friend of mine this week.

I wonder when I will no longer feel the need to give my children a big Christmas. Adults don't get tons of presents from their parents they get a few things, and things that don't cost an arm and leg.

Jake's present purchased so far:
♥ Poker Chips 11.5 grams world poker tour style
♥ Poker table, seats eight – red felt top, leather sides with drink holders
♥ chairs for the poker table
♥ itunes gift cards 40 dollars
♥ clothes

Liz's present purchased so far:
♥ Crest White Strips ( double pack)
♥ 4gb ipod
♥ Bike
♥ shoes from nordstroms
♥ MAC makeup from nordstroms
♥ Clothes (only a few items)
♥ rechargeable batteries and charger for digital camera

Jeff's present purchased so far:
♥ season one of Nip/Tuck
♥ season two of Nip/Tuck
♥ NANO ipod
♥ itunes gift card
♥ clothes
♥ 10 sessions with persona trainer

Things left to buy for all the kids:
♥ food gift cetificates to fast food places
♥ Liz and Jeff Ralphs gift certificate for groceries
♥ gas gift card for Liz

…still thinking as I know I forgot something. Even though I look at these lists and think it is more than enough..I look again and think is it even? Sometimes christmas presents can be so stressful and for this I am stuck being broke!

Christmas and Anxiety…Ho Ho Ho!

It’s all related and it would be foolish for me to think otherwise. The violent stomach summersaults, hyperventilating, passing out, and last but not least the dreaded panic attacks. Normally the emotions and feelings that go along with parenthood though difficult can be handled. Not this time – at least not for me.

The things said can never be taken back – forgiven yes, forgotten – maybe not right away. To get to the point with me on the ground, Geoff over me and Jake starting to call 911 pretty much tells me enough is enough.

They will have to handle their issues and I will have to learn to not fix everything. The admitted enabler in me is going to have to take a break (if that is possible) because it is seeping into other areas of my life.

The panicked feelings are coming more often and more intensely and honestly if it continues it might be something I have to address through physicians. It worries me because everything I have been through in the past I handled. Maybe not always well, but it seems to be better than I am now.

To be at work and sense my hands shaking – the breath deep within me quickly racing out – feeling confused, disoriented and a lack of energy tells me just one thing – enough is enough.

I can’t allow it to continue – at least that is what the select few say. Time will tell if it will pass. I sure hope it does.

Breathless use to be a wonderful thing; a happy sort of breathless when interacting with my babies – in the younger years of course. – Breathless when finding happiness with my love – (in all ways imaginable). Breathless….almost feels horrible now. For when I think of breathless now I think danger and panic

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