I am human and I am here

My world came crashing down a little over a month ago. It was the prolific implosion of pain and hurt and sad and angry and everything in between and had, no has literally brought me to my knees. Painfully so, to the point, the bruises seems as though they will be there forever. Inwardly they will be. Outward, I do a pretty good job of hiding 80% of the pain. Until there is wine of course. Then it’s either sad or angry and often both, at the same time and with a ferocity that makes me not recognize myself. But the wine helps me sleep when the medicine and the melatonin fail. And I am sadder and scarier without a few good hours of rest.

I am not ready to talk about why. I may never be. I spend enough time in the apparently “shameful” therapist’s office now, that I know it doesn’t need to be put here. This month I’ve learned better than I ever thought I could, that social media is a fucking nightmare and people, often under the guise of Christianity, are evil and terrible and mean. That in one moment they can quote Psalms and in the next to make fun of how someone looks, or that they seek help or insult that they perhaps are the actual victim in this scenario.

I have learned that people reach out to you often not because they want to take care of you or love you but because they are dying to know the story. I’ve never cringed so much at the sight of the words “I am praying for you”, in my entire life. The pity looks are almost worse though. “You poor thing”, their eyes read. As if I am some starving African child. Don’t pity me. Treat me as you always have. The pity face makes me feel inhuman.

But I have also learned that people will drive hundreds of miles to keep you from the doors of destruction. That they will bring you groceries and text you through the middle of the night and that they won’t judge you or feel hurt that you’ve become so disconnected that you don’t know a single thing that is going on in their lives. Those people who truly know the meaning of love and community will rush to your rescue when the insanity makes you fear for your safety. They will call the police when the words are too hard to force out of my own mouth, those words will come out of theirs. They will take record of the cruelty and deception. They will fiercely fight for you when you don’t have the strength. They will make sure that you have what you need to go on when you’re not sure you can. I have learned that despite the demons in my head, people care about me and have always, I was just so blind in self-depreciation, that I couldn’t see that there was love all around me. For the most part, that makes the hurt, hurt a little less.

My baby turned 5 this last month. My nephew born. I have been married now 17 years; I have spent nearly half my life with the same person. I enrolled in the doula certification course; of course I can’t even get through the manual but it’s self-paced, thank God. In the past month, I’ve found my voice, bravery and realized my tenacity is fierce. I’ve decided my soul is starving and this horrible, implosion is the kick in the ass I needed to be brave again. I walked into a church for the first time in many years, my heart fully open to Him. I walked in that same church fully prepared to “say it to your face”. I did not sneak in a back door. I did not make a scene. I made it clear that I am human and I am here.

I’d thought long and hard about deleting this blog. Knowing that the catalyst to this insanity has been reading it for close to a year I believe. That they used my words to create this monster that I am not. They used my anxiety and depression and the desire to share and heal other people as a tool to help build this lie that they had a right to hurt people; that they deserved something. No one deserves anything. Especially when you’ve attempted to earn it with lies, deceit, and cruelty. I know you are there, I know you are reading. And I am here, I am human and I am not hiding anymore.

 

In the house of boys, we needed a doll

Devlynn outgrew her American Girl dolls many years ago. Although they still live her, complete with accessories, she doesn’t, at 17, play with them anymore. They, however, hold a very special place in her heart and I know, being that she is my daughter, she is holding onto them because she is worried the memories will fade. Those memories stick around if there is something physical to remind you.

Drew briefly loved a Bitty Baby he affectionately named, Drew Too. I couldn’t tell you where Drew Too is now. He fell quickly out of love with him as we discovered Bey Blades.

Now I have Dexter. He is a feeler and a nurturer by nature and because I have been making these soft dolls for the past few months, I have been frequenting doll boards on Facebook. He’d noticed, over my shoulder a boy doll. American Girl’s new boy doll, Logan to be exact.

Logan is 115.00. One-Hundred-Fifteen. From my experience, with Drew’s Bitty Baby I wasn’t going there. Not that I don’t think the AG dolls are worth it. I do. We own several. I myself have a Josephina whom I love and adore. She is clearly built better than some of the big box store dolls but having experienced the sticker shock of a badly wanted baby disappearing into who knows what, I wasn’t ready to fork over those dollars.

But you can’t buy a boy doll at the big box stores. Seriously. You can buy a girl doll and re-wig it. But the wig, I have found is often as much as the doll and I might as well of put that much towards Logan. So I bought a rooted doll and I cut. Slowly and not till after hoping a hairdresser would save me. No one signed up. Not that I blame them.

Let me tell you, it takes a little bit of bravery to make the first few cuts. I used sharp scissors, a small pair like for embroidery after I cut a large chunk of the length off. I cut up instead of against like you would think to cut. It made the actual cuts less blunt and blend better. I got to photo number two before getting some advice from someone who actually cuts hair and ended up with the last photo on the bottom right. I also removed the “makeup” from the cheeks and lips and trimmed the eyelashes by about half. A quick gray tee shirt and khaki pants, we’ll buy some sneakers (although I am hoping to find some Jordans) and I will make a beanie but overall, I think we landed a boy doll. We’ve named him Mateo. He looks like a Mateo to me. The doll was originally Samantha and we’d considered calling him Sam but he just doesn’t look like a Sam to me.

He’s wonderful and he will serve his purpose. My 13-year-old, he’d kill me for sharing this, loves him more than my 5-year-old. I like that. My 13 year is a nurturer too. That too would embarrass him but it makes me very, very proud. I wonder, though, why is it in 2017 that I had to CREATE a boy. And that 2017 is the first year that American Girl thought to create a boy. I mean, I get it. American GIRL but while I do have a house of ball throwing boys, I do have boys who love babies and want to take care of people. Why not teach them through play? Why not give them a doll that looks like them too? I can’t help but think that if my son walked in with a little boy doll, he’d get far less looks than if he had a girl baby. Sad as that is. There should be no side eyes at all, but let’s face it, society is a judgey bunch and we’re just trying to wade through the judgment without ruining our children.

I am currently on the hunt for another doll, hopefully, used, to create another “boy” only this time, we will call him transgender because those kids are looking for dolls like them too. Luckily the internet is full of awesomeness and I don’t think my hunt will take long. And I am looking forward to creating some memories for other kids. And maybe learning how to make tiny Jordans. Hey, goals. Right?

Edited to add: Walmart does indeed carry a boy. Two actually and they’re pretty handsome. Apparently at one point Target did too but I haven’t been able to find him.

 

The things you miss when your child has a speech delay

Dexter’s birth was a difficult one. The hardest of all five children. A very long (for me) labor and all in my back. When he finally came into the world, I was overjoyed. His tiny face that reminded me of my brother and sweet little disposition. Long and skinny, he wasn’t a “Gerber” baby but he was so cute and perfect to me.

Dexter walked early and had mad motor skills. He started to talk like what I thought a normal child would but then, it just stopped. And his lack of language made him frustrated and angry. He was so, very, angry all the time. And when got pregnant with his brother that just fueled his frustration fire. We sought help for him a little before he was 3. I probably waited too long. But there is that fear with an angry, speech delayed child and I admit, I just hoped and prayed one day he’d wake up and be “normal”.

What I missed was that he was and is normal. His own normal. Our development journey is an easier one, luckily. He is not autistic and likely will catch up with his peers. I’m forever grateful for that. And while I know that Autism is not the worst thing ever, I am grateful he will not have that very difficult journey.

Dixon will be three in August. His vocabulary has recently exploded. He’s funny and makes jokes. You can actually have a conversation with him. He can tell you what he needs. It’s a beautiful thing.

This week we were in the kitchen making supper. Dixon asked and answered questions. When he said, “oh mama you’re mean”, I made a sad face and he quickly replied, “just kidding”. For a moment I felt a mourning for those conversations I missed having with Dexter. And I missed them because of his speech delay. I missed singing songs with him in tiny form and while I get to talk about the moon and stars now, I will never have those funny conversations with my new talker, whose body size matches his mastery level. His tiny body never sat on the counter and named the letters. As a matter of fact, at almost five, Dexter is still struggling with things Dixon is nailing quickly. It’s  a difficult thing not to compare. A difficult thing not to feel guilty about.

We’ve added special instruction to his therapies. We’re hoping by the time this preschool year completes, he will be closer to being on track with his developmental delays. I’m worried about kindergarten, to say the least, but feel like holding him back a year isn’t the best thing for him. Although the days when he screams at me, “I don’t want to go to school!!!”, I second think my decision. Hee hee.

We’ve begun meeting with the schools and I don’t think I’ve asked so many “W” questions to a child in my life. We’re working through pronoun confusion and I am wishing I paid more attention in school. Maybe through his educating, I will re-educate. Except for math, because let’s face it, I don’t get it. You really don’t realize how important the basics are till you have a child who doesn’t quite get it.

I am trying not to mourn what I missed with him. Tiny 2-year-old chatter. I’m trying to take in my 4-year-old’s curiosity about the moon and art and fairy tales. He may always march to his own beat, and that’s okay. He might always have an angry fire and I will have to help him learn how to use that for the greater good; for knocking down the right walls, instead of the wrong ones. I will always have a little sadness he wasn’t given a “normal” that is a societal normal and that’s okay. But I can’t let it shape him or me.