Just More Free Therapy…

Police cars, officers with guns drawn over hoods, megaphone message, “come out of the house with your hands up”! She came out with her hands up, but she was laughing hysterically.

For those of you who read my blog post from yesterday you know I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my mother. I’ve come to the realization that she does not want me to succeed in life. It is the most logical explanation for her behavior that I can come up with, and I believe she’s jealous in some ways. People have always asked me if I’m sure I wasn’t adopted and how I came out of that family. I don’t want to sound like I hate my family, I don’t. I don’t hate anyone and I can’t say I have ever hated anyone. I take the word for what it means and I don’t throw it around loosely like so many people do nowadays.

You know we moved from Seattle when I was 11 years old and at that time life was great until it wasn’t anymore. My saving grace was the horse farm, I was able to spend a lot of time there and free riding lessons in return for mucking stalls and miscellaneous yard work. The couple who ran the place took me under their wings and treated me like family, they had no kids of their own together. I was so excited when my mom came and wanted to take a ride on the horse that was “mine”. First lap around the yard, and she did a tumble over the front onto the ground. I can’t even explain how a person could to fall off like that. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that it was “my fault”. Every time she has a pain or injury I get to hear, “It all started back in 1979 when I fell off that horse that Jane made me get on, and I broke my back and neck (her x-rays have never shown a broken neck). I knew I never should have listened to her begging me”. To this day, it’s what she says.

Fast forward a couple of years to when my grandpa passed away, if my dad wasn’t depressed before he was now. He moved us all to Eastern Washington to join a cult. I call it that because it was under the pretense of a “church” in someones house and a lot of people coming and going. I remember getting off the school bus one day to find my mother standing there, which was unusual. She couldn’t wait to tell me that my horse had been swept up in the flooding creek and was found dead. If that wasn’t bad enough she told me we could save his hide, and then she described how they would cut up each leg and down the belly, then would peel the skin off and make it into a blanket, so I would always have him. That might be the moment I realized my mother was sick.

Living up in Washington was short-lived, and we came back to our little farm in Oregon. My relationship with my mother was strained to say the least. She was pulling crazy stunts left and right to try to get attention. One in particular I remember vividly is when she said, “watch this” and shot her gun into the ground to scare the neighbor (my uncle’s wife). Of course the police were called and when they showed up, it was a scene from an action movie. Police cars, officers with guns drawn over hoods, megaphone message, “come out of the house with your hands up”! She came out with her hands up, but she was laughing hysterically. She lied through her teeth that she was shooting at a stray dog. There was never a stray dog that day, she did it to scare the neighbor and get attention. Period.

As I got older and time went on my mother encouraged me to leave school and work even though she knew I had dreams and a life of my own she made me feel guilt over not “helping out” as she put it. I did it because that’s what I was supposed to do, or at least that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. What’s funny to me is her always saying I could talk to her about anything. I tried several times, back then her response was always, “oh, you don’t feel that way” or, “you know that’s not true” so I stopped trying to confide in her. She needed help, and she knew it, yet she refused for reasons that solely made sense to her. I gave up a lot for her and for my family. I’m not trying to complain about it or get sympathy. I guess I’m trying to make sense of her, of my life because of her.

Moving ahead, into the present she’s still the same. I had a super great job that I loved and made me feel smart and like I had a real purpose. I needed that after our last baby left the nest I was feeling lonely and no longer needed. Dad got sick and was given an expiration date, as he calls it. Again, mom put on the guilt trip about how no one cared, and she had no help, and she couldn’t do everything, and she might as well kill herself now. What did I do? I quit my job to take care of them, which in hindsight was a terrible mistake. It didn’t take long for her to run me down and treat me like something that was lodged to the bottom of her shoe. I called her on it, and she did what she has always done, which is blame me.

She said she wanted a good mother-daughter relationship, and she wanted me to confide in her. I wanted that, every daughter does, I think. Over the years I made efforts to try, and every time it ended with whatever I told her being my fault. There was a time when our last child went off the college that my husband and I hit a rough patch and I confided in her, even though I knew better. What she said to me was that everything was my fault and I wasn’t trying hard enough. I should run him a bath at night and bring him a cold beer and have his dinner on the table when he got out. Is that what you tell your daughter? It’s not what I would say to mine.

After my most recent lack of judgment and leaving my job I tried again to talk to her about how I felt, and she did it again. She told me she hoped I had tough times and that she thought I was having them now. She laughed and said she thought it was funny and that I had better get my hormones in order. What happened to create the mess this time was caused by my brother. The one my mother abused physically and emotionally growing up. He was in a car accident that left him disabled and dependent on a care giver (my mom and dad). What he did, is for another story, but my conniving mother knew she could make me feel guilty enough to quit my job and then make me feel even worse because she didn’t appreciate me or my efforts. She has always been hurtful to me and I’ve always allowed it. She is my mother, right?

She is still telling me she wants a good mother-daughter relationship, and she wishes I would talk to her about everything. Hello…. I DID, and she turned it all around to be about her as usual. Out of the blue she said, “you paid the electric bill once and you never bought school clothes for the kids” I never mentioned or brought that up. I wonder if she’s in the beginning stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s sometimes. I’ve asked her to seek help, but she won’t. She’s afraid they will think she’s “crazy”. I’m sorry but I find that humorous because she is crazy. I have stories that would scare the crap out of a sane person, including a recording of her saying she, “wanted to slice a woman’s throat open and watch the blood spray everywhere”. …another time for that one.

I can not do it anymore. I refuse to be treated like a whipping post. I have come to realize that my life is mine. I get to chose who I let in and who I need distance from. Cutting out family is hard, even when it should be easy. To an outsider, it may even seem cruel but no one has lived my life in that situation. If one wants to judge me, that is not my business. I can not control what others think, feel or do. I can control how I react to the situation though. I’m sorry, I am not strong enough to keep trying to fight for the love and acceptance I need from my mother. It doesn’t exist, it never did, and it’s not going to magically show up now. I accept this fate as my own. I have taken what I have learned from her and done the opposite. My relationship with my daughters is my reward and that is all I need.

~ Jane

Just letting it go…

I also remember standing in line for government cheese. People make jokes about that nowadays but government cheese did exist, trust me.

I’m a 12-year old kid but I’m wise beyond my years and more responsible than most of the adults in my life. They say that comes from being the oldest of 4 kids, I say it’s because my mother was crazy. She had everyone fooled including our dad but us kids knew she was on the edge of sanity most of the time. I was the one the younger kids came to when mom was so out of it she didn’t know which end was up and which was down. When she wasn’t telling us how she was going to kill herself she was fighting with someone, a neighbor, another family member, dad, our oldest brother. I don’t know why she seemed to hate him for some reason for which I never figured out. Karma got her on that one though, and that one is a sad, unfortunate story.

We moved from Seattle, Washington in 1979 and that’s when things went wrong for the whole family. Our uncle’s new wife’s son molested my younger sister, she was 3 years old, and he was 7. He and his sister had been severely abused by their bio dad and possibly even their own mother as it later came out. Based on family history, my mom was a little on the kookier side to start with but this sent her over the edge, way over the edge. There was nothing she could do about what happened, and they lived right next door to us on the property that was purchased jointly. She felt trapped and isolated from everyone and everything she was used to.

My dad, who owned his own contracting business and did better than well with it, in Seattle was now unemployed and looking back I can see he was depressed almost to the point of not caring about much. With mom constantly telling him everything was his fault and that he brought us to this “hell-hole” and pretty much that he was worthless, who could blame him? Mom got a job, briefly a couple of months tops, but to this day she makes it sound like she worked her tail off while dad sat on his ass all day. In reality, dad did work at odd jobs farming hay and building cabinets or a deck for someone here and there, but not a real steady 40 hours a week to support your family job.

We were on welfare. I remember sitting in the welfare office for what seemed like hours on many occasions. She figured it looked better if she dragged her kids with her, I guess. I also remember standing in line for government cheese. People make jokes about that nowadays but government cheese did exist, trust me. I remember our mom sending us kids into the store to buy a .20 pack of gum with a food stamp dollar to get enough change to buy herself a pack of cigarettes. She didn’t care that I was humiliated almost to death. I got all the babysitting jobs as I could to buy some of my school clothes and a horse. I put down 1.79 on my first horse and made payments until she was paid off in the amount of $200. I was pretty proud of that.

The morning of my youngest brothers 7th birthday my dad woke me up to help him with something. I thought he wanted me to make him coffee or pack him a lunch because he was going on a haying job. What he wanted was for me to watch my mom and make sure she didn’t vomit and aspirate on it, while he went to find a phone at the neighbors to call 911. Strewn all over the floor were empty prescription bottles. I think that’s when I became the parent, and we started tiptoeing around her like she would drop dead at the slightest thing gone wrong. There was another time we got off the school bus and mom was nowhere to be found. My brother begged me to go check behind the haystack because our mother had threatened to go behind the haystack and blow her brains out so many times. That broke my heart and scared me all at the same time.

The day I turned 16 I got a job at the grocery store. I think they felt sorry for me for all the times I was forced to come in with a food stamp dollar. I worked hard and got a lot of compliments for it. I took extra shifts when I could and worked until close most nights after school. My family had the electricity cut off for non-payment and since they had ruined both mom and dads credit, I had it put into my name and I paid the bill. I didn’t need to start my life with bad credit and I certainly couldn’t stand by and let my siblings do without hot water, heat and cooked meals. Not when I could do something about it.

I remember buying my sister school clothes and my youngest brother toys, our oldest brother, a year younger than me, had a job of his own and bought his own things he wanted or needed. I didn’t mind providing what I could for my family, that’s what families do, right? Eventually, it got to the point where I needed to work more and more and I quit going to traditional school and switched over to the alternative, which was not to my liking, so I went in and took the GED test. I passed those tests with high enough scores to get into almost any college or state university I wanted to attend. I had dreams of making something of myself someday, a large animal veterinarian, or a child psychologist.

It got weird at work when my mom started showing up on paydays looking for me with her hand out. My boss took it upon herself to notice this and tell her I wasn’t there, that when I got off work I left with friends. Then a miracle happened and I met my husband, he saved me, I truly believe that with all my heart. I was able to leave that job and move away. By that time, my sister was 13 and presumably old enough to take care of herself. After all I took care of all 4 of us at 13, right? She wasn’t nearly as mature as I was, and she was a real handful. Mom would never let go what happened to her and reminded her of it every chance she got so of course she was pretty messed up too. To this day, my sister is messed up and I don’t necessarily blame what happened to her at age 3, I blame our mother for making her relive it over and over again.

I never finished college, my dreams changed. I wanted a family of my own to raise in a way that was opposite the way I was. I got married, and we had three beautiful babies who grew up happy and healthy, in every way. I feel like I broke the cycle that my mother lived through and her children lived through. I know that all three of our kids love us and believe they had a normal healthy childhood. They see how their grandma is, and they know that my growing up was rough. When they come to me and tell me how much they appreciate their dad and me for raising them “normal” and that we did a great job, my heart swells. I devoted everything to them and I made sure they had everything I didn’t. Most importantly a mother who loves them unconditionally and is present anytime they need anything. We’ve been blessed with one granddaughter so far, and she will know she can count us for anything too. Family is the most important asset we have, we need to treat them as such.

I sat down to write today with the intention of freeing myself from my mothers latest fight, which she chose to engage me in. Out of the blue as always, random displays of hatred and nonsensical ideas. I found it’s best to let her say what she’s going to say even though, it’s always untrue and hurtful, and let it go. It’s hard on me sometimes, when I need a real mother in my life and don’t have one. I am so thankful for my husband and my children, I don’t know what I would do without them.

Much love to all,

~ Jane

Habit or Addiction?

We have a concert coming up in a week and a half, I’m interested to see if I will even want a beer. If I do, I’ll have one.

Day 12 of no beer. I thought it would be harder than it has been. I haven’t even wanted a beer or even thought about it much. When I do think about it, it’s not a craving or need, it’s more of “a beer sounds good”, but I don’t have to have one. I have beer in the house, not in the fridge, but in the house. I didn’t “quit” drinking beer, I like beer. It was a mutual discussion between my husband and I that if we put our “beer money” in a jar, we’d have more money for our vacation to Hawaii in September, and we would be more apt to lose a few pounds before then as well.

I won’t lie, sometimes I wondered if I was addicted to beer. It was something we did together at the end of the day. Crack open an ice-cold beverage and talk about the day. Every day. It never affected my relationships or employment, or his. We always enjoyed the evenings with a beer or two. Now that I’ve not had a beer in almost 2 weeks, I can plainly see that it as more of a habit than an addiction. We replaced the beer with tea, and we still discuss the day as usual and the world didn’t come to a grinding halt because we now drink tea instead of beer.

I don’t feel that much different now than I did a couple of weeks ago. I sleep better because I don’t have to get up to pee in the middle of the night anymore, but, that is the only difference I have noticed so far. I haven’t lost any weight, disappointed but that wasn’t my ultimate goal anyway. My ultimate goal was the $$ and trust me that is way more enticing than holding a beer in my hand at the end of the day. Which, reminds me… I haven’t put any money in the jar yet! I’ll need to remember to get an extra $20 from the ATM when I go to town this afternoon.

We have a concert coming up in a week and a half, I’m interested to see if I will even want a beer. If I do, I’ll have one.

~ Jane

Is “perfect” even a thing?

The first thing is, you need to start from day one with consistency and conviction. No means no…

I have always said this and I truly believe it, or I use to. “The perfect parent” and “the perfect child” do not exist. I mean, who gets to decide what defines “perfect”? The dictionary definition of “perfect” states: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. Or, when used as a verb: make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible. In essence, perfect is in the eye of the beholder.

I know we have three great kids “perfect”, if you will. They all finished high school and went on to finish college. They all are responsible, well-adjusted, functioning members of society who are respected by their friends and co-workers. The values and morals we instilled in them are clear in their character, world views and over all demeanor. Kindness and respect toward one another without jealousy or rivalry and great senses of humor, all three of them!

Both my husband and myself feel bleed with the family we received. Sometimes I wondered how we got so lucky. I would hear other parents talking about how unruly their kids were and how they couldn’t wait until they graduated and got out of the house. Those parents who hated vacations and summer breaks because they might have to deal with their kids for longer periods of time. Not us, we couldn’t wait to spend time with our kids! Camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, vacations to the coast or sitting around the dining room table talking about anything and everything. I’m guilty of allowing “hooky days” because I missed them when they were away.

The word “perfect” can have a different meaning to different individuals, I suppose. As far as kids go and as far as parents go. I do believe some key factors, or ingredients, for solid, decent children and families are necessary. Let’s talk about that for a minute. The first thing is, you need to start from day one with consistency and conviction. No means no, and you don’t go to the other parent looking for a different end result. You must remember that each child is an individual with different learning styles and needs but at the same time treat each child as equals, thus preventing unnecessary conflict and animosity. Listening and communication amongst all family members is probably a number one must. Showing love and support for each other and protecting each other from negative elements is a good start to creating sibling friendships that will last a lifetime.

It saddens me to see families in chaos, fighting all the time with no coherent communication. Parents who don’t want to allow their kids to be individual self thinkers and express themselves. We as humans are not clones, we all have our own thoughts and views of situations and events. That doesn’t automatically mean they are wrong because they are different from our own. Let them talk while you listen to actually hear. You will be pleasantly surprised at the depth of understanding and knowledge your children have acquired that you might not have realized. Raise them up to be independent self thinkers but let them know you are there for them under any circumstances without passing judgment or ridicule.

Remembering the following items is a good, solid base for building healthy family relationships.

1. Communication. 2. Consistency. 3. Common Sense. 4. Respect. 5. Love.

~ Jane

Merry “Non-Traditional” Christmas

I will send out a “memo” so everyone knows ahead of time, where Christmas is happening, be there or be square!

Merry Christmas everyone! This year is going to be different. Kids in Idaho, kids in Washington, us, in Oregon. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Our usual Christmas is filled with decorations, a beautiful fresh cut tree that we cut ourselves, gifts, good food and the entire family. The thing I will miss most is the entire family being together. I feel blessed to have been able to spend two weeks with our son, his girlfriend and first granddaughter before Christmas. I will cherish that time for sure. We will also have dinner and movie day with our girls so it’s not like we totally gave up Christmas this year. Also, even though we all agreed no gifts, we couldn’t help ourselves and got everyone a little something and of course the granddaughter got spoiled. It’s a parental prerogative, right?

The reason I say it’s not necessarily a bad thing is because it makes a person more appreciative of the time we have spent together and more longing for more times together in the future. In other words, every one misses traditional Christmas! This will give the husband and I our first alone Christmas since before we had babies, so like in 30 years; It’s going to be strange, for sure. At first, I wasn’t on board with basically skipping Christmas but now that I’ve allowed it to sink in and digest some, I’m actually feeling pretty good about it, this one time. We spent less money and I have less stress. But, like I said… this one time.

Next year will be grand! I’m already planning it out. There will be a fresh cut tree from floor to 9 foot ceiling, lights on everything, garland, elaborately set dining table, embroidered stockings (need to order for any new family members). Christmas shower curtains and hand towels, festive bed linens in all guest rooms, Christmas Eve pajamas for everyone, grandpa reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. My famous Christmas sugar cookies, intricately decorated, honey ham with all the fixings, pies and fruit and everything yummy. Those are some things that initially pop into my head, I’m sure I will come up with so much more by next December.

I will send out a “memo” so everyone knows ahead of time, where Christmas is happening, be there or be square!

~ Jane

Tis’ the season…

I thank God for him every day.

…for pondering life.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, as I often do actually. Most commonly, it’s thoughts of my youth and relationships I’ve had and how they formed me into the person I am today. Specifically today and for the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about my relationships and my decision to not have sex in high school.

As a teenager I was a little on the wild side as far as doing crazy stunts and going to parties where there was alcohol and marijuana. There were boys I made out with on occasion but I didn’t have an official boyfriend until I was 18. That was a comfortable relationship but I knew he wanted sex and I wasn’t ready. It’s not that I wasn’t ready as much as that I was responsible. I had a lot of friends during that time frame who were engaging in sexual activity and ending up getting abortions. I knew for a 100% fact that I could never kill and innocent child for any reason and I also knew I wasn’t ready to be a mom yet. Being a mom was my dream for as long as I could remember, but I was not ready at the age of 18.

I liked the guy I was dating and I liked his family, but he wasn’t the right guy at the right time, and we both knew it. Admittedly, I was weakened when we broke up because I knew the biggest reason was because I wasn’t giving him sex. Looking back that was the biggest favor he ever did for me! Since he told my, now husband, he was wasting his time because I wasn’t “putting out”. That was great because then my future husband knew he was getting a woman with morals and values that were in short supply in the 80s.

I dated my husband for over a year and a half before we married, I was 20, which I know is still young, but I was ready, and he was right. Our first beautiful baby arrived 10 months later, followed by 2 more within the next 4 years. We’ve had rough times, and we’ve had wonderful times, but the one thing I know for certain is I don’t know what I would do without him! I thank God for him every day. We’re still married 30 years later and I’m so grateful for my choice to stay a virgin until I was sure I had the right guy. I will admit I was not a virgin when we married, but not a lot of women I know can say they’ve had sex with one man. 

~Jane ❤

THRIVE

Yes, this is plug for Le-Vel. 😉

I’ve been Thriving for 2.5 years now and I have never felt better. We aren’t supposed to make medical claims but I’m telling you, I was on the verge of medication for high cholesterol and hypertension and within 8 months I was in normal ranges. coincidence? Maybe but I highly doubt that.

Fast forward to July 13th (Friday, July 13th) when I had to have major emergency surgery with an expected 4-6 month recovery time. Here we are 2.5 months into it and the doctors are moderately surprised at my progress thus far. Again, Coincidence? Maybe but…

Yesterdays follow-up doctor appointment was a real upper for me not only to find out I’m healing faster than anticipated but because my surgery was finally explained to me in detail with diagrams and models and I feel lucky to be alive!! I knew I could have died, so I already felt lucky to be alive, but actually seeing what went wrong and what they had to do to fix it was both frightening and amazing.

I guess this wasn’t just a plug for Le-Vel it was a plug for doctors who do their jobs with extraordinary skill as well. ❤

Janeway

~Jane