auntie cherye: I call him son

” You suck ass” that’s what my nephew told me was the top derogatory phrase these days. and no, he does not know the meaning of derogatory because he is just turned 10 and his name is Jason D. but he knows what’s right and what’s wrong. he knows how it feels when kids are pickin on him about his old clothes and shoes and say horrible things to him like that. i wont let him repeat that nasty phrase. kids pick on him and say mean things that’s for sure.

he knows his mama and daddy are both looking for jobs every day and night and that’s why hes been staying with me so I can take care of him properly. he’s angry at his life and his friends who live in big houses and whose parents are rich.  Our boy, well really my boy wears old clothing and shares a room with his auntie, me, nothing to be ashamed of at all.

American Mailboxes - Hope Street ... Tired Of ...

I see he gets to school on time because i drive him thru this dusty land  with no paved roads and eats his eggs n toast for breakfast and not grab some stupid sugar bar like he wants. i wont even start with that in this house. we have real food, not fancy rich people food but it is real food in this house.

i love that boy as if he my own and in a way he kinda is. been caring for him since he was a toddler and now look, he still living with me. Mostly we all hang together here. this is my family, i sure like to think and mama comes and we cook together and sing and laugh and talk about the ol days.

On Sundays that’s when jason’s momma and papa come for sure to share a meal or two and he knows he is loved by everyone, and that they are trying so, so hard to find work.

jason looks at all of us like we are nuts but he grins and he knows we are happy to be together, so what if we don’t have money or nothing, we got great love in the family and with our church. they’s family too.

It's been the ruin of many a poor girl, and Go...

we’re grateful for what we got and we all try not to complain as best we can.

Everyone in this family learns sooner or later that fightin is not the answer no, it really isn’t. but when times are tough, like not havin any money to buy food or pay rent or to go to the doctor when you are sick thats just plain wrong but we pray a lot, hold hands, eat lots of spaghetti with ketchup and soup stock, brown bread i make in the oven.

i found a local hospital just yesterday an they said we could come if there was an emergency anytime, i didnt know some people could be so kind. you look hard enough and u do good enough stuff youself, you will find those people. and those people will sure enough find you.

food

if i didn’t believe in that, i would have been dead a very long time ago, believe me. i’ve had my hardest times, i have shed many tears when my baby girl died an i wanted to kill myself but thats for another time, not now.

I’ll keep waking up day after day as long as i have somethin to live for. right now its cooking and raising my boy jason d.

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Dear Parents of College Students

The Clown Motel

The Clown Motel (Photo credit: Great Beyond)

TO MY CHILDREN: THIS IS KNOWN AS SATIRE. DON’T GIVE ME “THE FACE.”

Dear Moms and Dads of College Students,

It’s been a long summer so I need to start this letter with an apology, I feel so badly for all of you.  Believe me, I am going through the same thing with my two, you are not alone. We are all here in solidarity. I’m writing to you today, on behalf of those of us parents who have been through this for a few years already and we want to forewarn you on the things that might be coming around the corner. We had no one to tell us, and believe us, we wish we had, so here is some helpful information, a guide, as you will, for YOU to get adjusted to college life. Let me put it bluntly: This is a phase after freshmen year usually called: YOU CAN DO NOTHING RIGHT.

After that as your child gets older you will all be; ” AS STUPID AS F**K.  Usually it’s the condescending tone of voice, the eye roles, the groans of disgust and the stony faces that will give you a clue. Now? You see them huddled over their computer screens not even acknowledging your presence. “Huh, what, did you say something.” The only question I get asked (think back to grade school) is “What’s for dinner?” What happened to manners? What happened to “NO TEXTING AT THE TABLE?” What happened to “can I help?”

We know nothing, our advice (unwanted) is not listened to and who asked us anyway? Face it people WE JUST DON’T GET IT.  The kids are not “home” they are here to stay as if they were staying at a MOTEL and you, mom and dad are the full-time, 24/7 concierge. What? You didn’t get that message from the college newsletters? Oh, well, right, it’s ASSUMED. Duh.

College students know much more ABOUT EVERYTHING than we do because basically WE KNOW. NOTHING. We are the “older generation” and people like us, well, we just don’t know the same things that they which they have practically learned in training pants. “Sigh (in a condescending tone)  I’ve shown you this on the computer three times already” “I know, I say sheepishly but I forgot, it’s not my fault. I have NO short-term memory.” I beg pathetically.  Deep heaving and annoying sigh, “Oh fine, mom, I’ll show it to you ONCE more but write it down.” At this point, embarrassed and demeaned you say, “Never mind, I’ll google it.” which is what you should do in the first place or called Apple even if you are on hold for two hours. Some things WE need to learn, this is one of them.

Who are these strange grown-ups dropping in at our home? I don’t recognize them this time, I don’t even know their friends who are sleeping in our family room. We want to make our kids happy so of course we say yes to their grown-up sleepovers. My gosh, we are not living in our home anymore, we have become a bed and breakfast, lunch or dinner. More likely, we have become a free-motel. Our warm, compassionate kids have become distant and aloof and self-involved while they haven’t stopped for a second to think about us. Why? Because we don’t exist except to pay the bills and welcome their friends with a smile.

The question begs to ask “who are we?” We are just the same old Mom and Dad that haven’t really changed much compared to their quick minds and independent thoughts. We’re stuck in the mud, while they zoom off to have fun with their new friends, to study what they want and to pop back here to see their old friends when it is convenient for them. We are no longer part of the equation, well, ok, maybe at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once you accept it, it gets SO much easier.

It’s almost time for them to leave, for them to go back “home” to their suites and apartments in college. They have their own cars now. We don’t have to drive them up like the princes and princesses they are. They can unpack by themselves with the help of their suite mates. They will call once a week, maybe more. And, knowing us, we will be there for them at any and every time because that is what parenting children is about, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

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Come With Me, Sweet Julie (Carry On Tuesday)

spinning top

spinning top (Photo credit: Creativity103)

i’m julie and i’m 14, my world is turning around and i feel like im slipping into crazy like a snap of my fingers. im a spinning top, out of control, like all my colors mixed together: the colors green, yellow, red, orange, so fast yet i can see the the colors like the threads in my brain have gotten twisted and i can’t untwist them. i stopped speaking a few weeks ago, mom and dad been beating me, they were drinking all the time and throwing glasses across the room that shattered like angry chimes, i’ve been pretty much taking care are of myself for a long time now.

i ran away a few days ago and im not sure they even know i’m missing. i brought only my secret box that i’ve had since i was a child. i keep my favorite top, a letter from my brother, brian, a seashell, red fish candy, and my flashlight that makes me feel safe.

mom and dad once let me play with their bright colored pills like they were marbles on the old, scratched wooden dining room table. i got smacked real bad when they saw i scratched my name and brian’s and a heart on the table. i had big red welts all over my body. cops came and brian and i were sent away for a few days but then we had to go home. i miss my older brother brian but he went to college a long time ago, wherever that neighborhood is. i still write him a lot but he doesn’t answer me.i thought he loved me for real like i loved him.

nobody knows this secret room, except brian. we found it many years ago but we didn’t tell anyone. my stomach makes noise and i eat a graham cracker and suck on it slowly and i have a bottle of water. daddy hits both mama and me a lot, he hits me with a belt and i’m never sure why. it hurts too much.

i fell asleep, cuz my head was hurting so bad, i thought i heard voices coming towards me so i hid extra special deep. ever since mama burned my hand on purpose on the stove the nice lady visited, she said she was finding me a new home but not if she couldn’t find me.  i was shaking so hard i couldn’t stop. she left but some hours later i heard footsteps again but not hers, unless she changed her clickety -clack shoes.

it was late and someone walked right next to my exact hiding place. i got ice cold with fear. i heard breathing,  right down low where the secret lock was and i heard someone say my name, i was terrified, what if it was daddy again?  “Julie, honey, it’s Brian, your brother, no one else is here, just me. I promise. Please come out.” i wasn’t sure if it was a trick so i stayed. He softened his voice, barely a whisper and said “Julie,  it’s Brian, I swear. Please come out Julie I came here as soon as I found out, I’ve been looking for you for years. I’m so sorry sweet Julie, I just got your letters because I moved a few times, but the second I got them, I flew down here and called the police on mom and dad. I swear Juls, I have never lied to you before, have I?

“Julie, he whispered, I’m going to prove it to you with a letter, ok? Read it, tell me what you think”he slipped the letter by the one opening that was very narrow. i looked at the letter and it was some legal paper that said i was going to stay with brian and his wife deborah. brian had gotten married? and he was my legal guardian now. is it true? i asked brian. “Yes, it’s true, you goofball, now get out of there, come with me and give me a big hug.” So I crawled out and Brian picked me up and we hugged for a long time. We were both crying too and he said he had to fatten me up. He told me to pack my things, we were never going to come back here. our old mom and dad were in jail. Tonight we were staying in a hotel (a real hotel) and i asked him if I could jump on the bed. Tomorrow we were flying to my new home, Deborah would be my new mom but I could call her Debbie if i wanted to and the best news yet, I was going to be a big sister!

i thought i should tell brian that i was feeling crazy before, real crazy and he laughed, he said he felt the same way when he was with mom and dad, they were bad people and did bad things. he promised if i still felt crazy he would take me to a doctor but as soon as he said it, i looked up at him and grinned. the next thing he said was, “Darn, I’m hungry, let’s go somewhere to eat, sis.” and wasn’t that the nicest thing in the world to hear.

Carry On Tuesday – Time To Say Good-Bye

Broken Heart symbol

Broken Heart symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those of you who subscribe to Carry On Tuesday know we don’t pick the prompt, but I would be personally devastated if this WAS the last prompt. The prompt also comes at a very appropriate and hard time for me which makes me feel like my heart is breaking, smashing into little crystal shards that can’t be put back together.  My flesh is being torn apart yet my soul is comfortable and relaxed, knowing I can’t take any more. This break has been coming for a very long time, I know it has, and my feeble attempts before were useless, flimsy, like the shreds that are left on my overused red, silk robe. “I’m sorry” I whisper to my sister silently but I can’t live this way a moment longer. I know you don’t understand me, I know you feel like I act like the victim all the time but, in my heart, I have been the victim. The fact that you can’t see that shows how far apart we really are.

I know I have hurt you too and I am sorry but I feel that my abusive barbs are reactions to your lack of emotions and actions. Can’t you see that? Actually, you probably can’t. I never, in a million years, thought I could be part of a family that was broken, broken with glass shards that gouge and make us both bleed. It can’t go on like this; I know it’s time to say good-bye.

I needed you so many times, when we were teenagers and adults and you adamantly just said “no.” Why? Because you didn’t feel like it or you didn’t want to, it didn’t fit in your schedule, it was always just about you. It was cute when you were little, our parents joking about your mirror that said “It’s all about ME!” but growing up it grew less funny and more hurtful.

I know you hate it when I write about you in my blog so trust me to say this will be the last blog post. I won’t mention you again in a negative way at all. There is a tiny part of me that prays for a miraculous reconciliation but deep down I know that people don’t change. I need to accept my status as an “only child” and again use my friends as my family. I do apologize for telling you out loud that “I wouldn’t pick you as a friend” although it was true, it was hurtful. I need nurturing people in my life, people I can trust to be there for me when I need them; people I can depend on: this was never your strong suit. Not when the window washer abused me when I was a child and I tried to wake you up or when I was mugged and asked you to walk me home, both times you didn’t want to be bothered. That is not okay with me, how could it be?

When I had a lump removed from my breast in my early twenties you did come up to help me with the bandages but only after Mom and Dad forced you to come, they told me. While you came to my college graduation you didn’t ride in the car with Mom or Dad, you insisted on flying so that when they called my name up to the podium, cum laude, you were on your way back to the airport to leave.

When I was in the Emergency Room countless times with Mom or Dad, alone, I called you ONCE because I was very worried. I asked you to come FOR ME, you only lived half an hour away and it was early evening. You said “no” because you didn’t want to: that’s not a good enough reason for me. You question if I hate you? Yes, part of me does.

I still love you as my sister, but it’s not love that is strong enough to keep us together to have a relationship. It’s an obligatory love because you are part of a family we used to have. Just because it is time for me to say good-bye does not make it any easier at all. If there was a way to work on this relationship, I would but you won’t. You are too filled with your own hatred and anger and defense mechanisms you can’t see yourself as others do. I have always loved you, I probably always will. This love hurts way too much for us to be connected. I wish you love, good health and peace; I just can’t be part of it anymore; not the way it has existed for me for all these years. No. That’s not to say that I don’t think this is incredibly, horrifically, sad. I do.

The Best Holiday Gift – EVER

Our Kids Are Simply AMAZING

This year, when the family agreed NOT to exchange presents because of last year’s horrific mess financially…our two amazing teenagers totally surprised us. We didn’t have a clue that they were even thinking about giving us a present but on Christmas Eve at 11:48pm, our nineteen year old son started dragging a huge present from the outdoor shed, inside. Our seventeen year old daughter watched and stood next to him as he nervously spoke:

“I’m really nervous about this present, we wanted to get you something that was house related so that the two of you would have something new….we hope you like it…”. We were stunned at the mere size of the gift not even knowing the contents. IT was an outside fire pit for when the nights were chilly, my kids know that I love fire in the fireplaces on cold, snowy nights…this was just the MOST AMAZING, CREATIVE GIFT we have ever gotten. How incredible are our kids? The fact that they even wanted to give us a gift, something to give us happiness in our finally repaired house, is the most thoughtful gift I/we have ever received. Personally, I love everything about a fireplace, watching flames and now this…..To our wonderful kids, the best human beings I know, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. WE LOVE IT and as always, WE LOVE YOU MORE. Love, Mom and Dad

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Cheeseburger On The Lam (aka Dear Teenagers)

Dear Teenagers,

Today was such a stressful day from 6:30 am until 6pm that Dad and I wrote a note to you while you were still gone this afternoon and snuck out for a burger. Together. On our own.  An unexpected date night which we haven’t done for months. Nothing fancy either and with a 20% coupon in hand the stresses of our day seemed to melt like the cheese in the barely warm potato-leek soup that we shared.

We were all in foul moods: it’s that time,  you know that school is ALMOST over but there’s still a lot of stress, tests and finals etc. to get through first. We really do understand, truly, but both of you have been amping up your obnoxious quotient with your pre-camp attitudes and it’s being to wear really, really thin. Mostly, because it’s constant and in stereo, both of you, on, all the time. Supporting one another is great but we really are not the enemy.  We KNOW you can’t wait to get out of here to go to camp…..ever wonder what we think or how we feel or how that MAKES us feel?

Couple that with Dad and I being alone during the day 24/7 because of unemployment and you can hear the rumblings of claustrophobia, desperation, depression and anxiety. Not fun. With the economy the way it is, Dad has been home trying to find a job now for more than 8 months. Kids, we want you to have a good life, a happy life and you are both in High School, one a Junior, the other a Sophomore. College is hurtling itself towards us like a tsunami. We have given you both the parameters of what we can afford to pay, the rest is up to you. I wish we could do more but we can’t, that’s called reality. Times are hard, times have changed, times are actually really bad. We’re doing the very best we can.

I don’t know if you realize that you both are pushing the limits, testing boundaries and talking with utter disrespect (and yes, I do mean all the unnecessary curse words) that you both use with wild abandonment. Enough already.  We are “parents “and we are tired, really tired and we try to hide the stress from you as much as humanly possible but let’s face it at 16 and almost 18 you know that stress exists. Please try to deal with it the best way you know how.  Apparently, “parents”  are not allowed to experience stress or be tense and upset, this disturbs the teenage sensibility of “all me, all the time.” We’re sorry. Life does not work that way.

Call us lousy parents but we just needed, desperately needed a burger break. It lasted less than an hour and we didn’t even finish the crisp, salty, thin french fries between us. We did call you and ask if you wanted us to pick up ice cream for you from your favorite ice-cream store. We got one order for a cake batter milk shake for you, son, nothing for our daughter. Just being in the ice cream store and looking at new flavors and new chocolate with a twenty dollar bill made us happy. Don’t tell me food doesn’t help sometimes. Dad got coffee ice cream and I, the child-like one in the family also got cake batter ice cream with vanilla cake and chocolate Kit Kat candy added. How can you not be happy for us? An evening of American Idol and  possibly Glee, good times…

Soon you both will be away at camp for the entire summer and there is no doubt in mind that you will be considerably missed. Not a day will go by without me thinking of you and missing you. The great paradox of life, it will be too quiet when you are gone, but at least after the summer, we will be so bored with the silence and the silent hush that we will leap with great JOY and excitement for when you get back. We love you both very, very much. Don’t forget to write (yeah, right) and we can’t wait to see you on Visiting Day. Have a great time!!  Much love, Mom and Dad xoxo