But mu-u-um…

Me: what’s the go with the screensaver?

Knight: What? It’s Alice in Wonderland licking a rabbit lollypop…

Me: Uh huh…

Knight: What do you think it means?

Me: I know what it means… I want to know what you think.

Knight: It means I want to try LSD.

Me: No.

Knight: Oh, come on!

Me: No.

Knight: Mum! Yes! And MDMA.

Me: No.

When did this become a normal conversation???

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You’re not yourself when you’re hungry…

I’m not myself. Haven’t been for a few months now. Ask anyone…

Or maybe…

This is me now. 

You can’t keep breaking me and expecting me to put the pieces back the same way. You can’t keep abandoning me and expecting me to still be waiting. You can’t keep chipping and chipping… and expecting me to be your constant. 

This is who I am now. I put the pieces back this way. Walls with no windows. I’m happy to dine alone…

So many quotes… but people only hear the ones that resonate in their own heart. They can’t hear the words that shattered me one time too many and they can’t hear the words that built my new fortress. 

I want to rail at them. I want the melodrama. To somehow get them to hear… 

You broke me. You abandoned me. You watched me fall. Don’t you dare complain now that I’ve changed. 

When you kick your child out of home…

Okay, maybe he didn’t kick him out if home… but…

It’s been going all week. I knew the peace couldn’t last, but this week has been crazy. I think he finally realised he’s lost control. 

The Knight tells me that his father never thought it would last… I’m confused – why wouldn’t it?? Oh… because history was rewritten. I forget this. I forget the claims that I beat my child up. That I picked him up, threw him against the wall and punched him in the face. I learnt this week that I left holes in the walls because I threw him so hard. And it was more than once… This week though, I’ve had enough, and I make it clear that the lies will stop. Or the truth will be known. 

I’m done with this week. I’m shattered. I don’t know where my kids find their strength. I’m in awe of their resilience. 

So today. I wouldn’t allow them to travel on the train for 3 and a half hours without an adult. A train with people coming and going. No adult supervision. In frustration… because I am the bad person now… I say I will drive them. A six hour round trip today. A six hour round trip to collect them on Monday. All for his family Xmas. 

The week has already been insane. The threats and accusations. The abuse. The endlessness of it and the randomness of the targets and the bullets fired. 

But today. My patience is shot. I’m a mess. I drive for 3 hours. 

And I come out of the shopping centre to this. My Knight’s belongings piled on the side of the street beside my car. 

What’s this? I thought he was keeping his room? I have nowhere to put all this stuff. He doesn’t want it in my house. My Knight tries to reason too. 

But there’s no reasoning. The room is still his room… but with none of his stuff… and he can’t actually sleep in it because it’s a guest room… so he’ll be sleeping in a tent in the backyard with the Baby Dragon and Wizard… 

I bite my tongue. Hold back the tears. My Knight is shattered. I watch his chest cave and his back bend… his shoulders slump as his heart crushes… 

The kids pile in the car and I smile. Wish them well. 

Then sit on the side of the road amongst everything and hold back the tears. 

The day hadn’t even ended. The last information I had, the Knight has ‘run away’ to his best friends house and I’m buying a train ticket for his return. The two younger are refusing to sleep in the tent alone. The eldest just shakes her head sadly and says – they’ll work it out mum… they’ll get there…

And the day goes on… the week continues… and I’m bewildered and shattered and searching for answers in all the psych books and articles at my fingertips… searching for answers as to why he does this and why I couldn’t see it for so long… because that sword cuts both ways… 

Take 5…

So… I’ve hit that point when the task is too onerous so it’s easier to just do nothing…

Except write a post about my chicks… who well and truly dominate my life and thoughts of late… No rest for the wicked? No life of my own? Something…

A rant to clear the mess in my head so I can focus on work once more…

Baby Wizard asked for a bin for his room this afternoon.. and then, for the first time in his 8 and a half years on this planet, he cleaned his room, filling his bin… and then went round the house until it was completely full and he could empty it into the big bin. If I’d realised this is all it would take, I’d have given him half a dozen bins years ago…

Baby Dragon is not happy. She is 10 and has hit the wonderfully moody, hormonal stage of life. That last spike before puberty comes along. Soooo much fun… Her drama, other than extreme moods, is that wonderfully bitchy world that 10 year olds seem to inhabit… She’s not happy that I had a few truths to impart about sitting around with a friend, bitching about another friend who isn’t present… I’m such a loving and understanding mum, that I also asked if she was crying because she was sad she was mean to her friend, or if it was because she was in trouble…. Definitely a winning mum moment there :/

Teen Princess is off to Byron for schoolies tomorrow and I can’t even let my brain go there and stress… They’re driving… Five teens in a car – I think three can drive… A loooonnnnggggg trip. :/

Teen Knight… oh… where to start… I don’t have the skills. Or the crystal ball. I want someone to wave a wand… Sudden flurry of movement in the house this afternoon and lots of whispers and vibes… What’s going on?… It seems that when my darling boys had been out and about yesterday afternoon, some rough play became very rough… Sigh… Parents here are so calm and reasonable. So quiet and sweet. I’m not cut from that cloth. Master Knight takes the stance – that one where the shoulders are back and he’s on his toes, chin high… My eyes narrow as I realise what he is doing… The other parent is calm… understanding that things get a little out of hand sometimes but ‘we don’t like bullies’… Part of my inner mumma bear surfaces at the passive aggressive crap spewing from her mouth – I have zero patience for people who need to do the whole holier than thou act… But I rein this in as it’s not the issue. The issue is that my 15 year old took his 8 year old brother out to the common area and proceeded to take things too far with a group of 11-12 year old boys. The passive aggressive mother left with a sweet smile and the calm assurance that she’s lived here for 11 years and there’s never been a bully before and they won’t allow one now… My rational brain struggles at this moment – trying not to look at her as if she has grown a second head… WTF? A. What does it matter how long you’ve lived here? B. You’re not Queen. C. If you’re freaking annoyed, say so. D. Don’t walk into my back yard uninvited and start talking to my sons without speaking to me. E… Shall I continue? But again, this is not the issue… this is just that part of me that struggles with passive aggressive, manipulative, control freaks… and that is not relevant at this moment. What is relevant is the 15 year old who is still holding his stance and saying – yep. yep. yep at this woman… and I watch as yet another adult think he has heard them, think he has understood their reasoning… Or is it simply that they see the obvious and run? She leaves… I turn on him. His stance changes. I am furious. I rant. He doesn’t listen. He’s intent on saying his own piece and I am not yet ready to hear it. I rant some more. And some more. He says something in his own defense. I rant more. There is no defense. They are kids. You are picking a fight. And finally… I pull out that line I reserve for very special occasions… I just can’t believe you’d do this, I’m so incredibly disappointed… and there it is. Said…. And he rejoins with – you’re not as disappointed in me as I am…

I can’t do this parenting gig. I can’t get it right. I have no idea what to say.

We calm. We talk. He tells me he just wants to fight someone. He wants to hit someone and make them hurt. That anger has never actually abated… still simmering… still trapped as he tries to control it…

And in the midst of everything… the phones and devices ping and ring as his father tries to call… And there it is. Or so much of it. His father is angry because he won’t answer the phone. It’s the most bizarre thing. His father told him he went to the Knight’s best friend’s house Friday for a handyman job. The Knight said – they would have told me if you did. And from that… all hell has broken loose.

I’ve forgotten how fragile this child is. How much this child is trying to hold the world together… His father sends me ridiculous texts throughout the week and I ignore them. He rings and I tell him to go away. If he rings persistently, I answer and leave it on speaker, only partially listening to whatever rubbish he needs to spew this time. But mostly, I just ignore him these days. I’ve learned to call his bluff. I’ve learned to ignore him.

But this child hasn’t worked that out yet. He’s still not strong enough.

So when his father texts me: you know he’s drinking all your alcohol – he’s drinking it right now!… I simply look at my son and think – umm, no he’s not… But my child isn’t able to do this… and his father knows it… so he texts him constantly telling him that he’s an alcoholic and he’s having withdrawal… And I have to wonder – woah, the child has only been here just over a week, how can he be an addict unless you were aware he was drinking all your alcohol at your place??? He texts him more abuse – constant and frequent… swearing, name calling, threats… The child has a new phone number so the father can’t ring him – he’s not aware he has one – but he calls the other kids, calls me, texts through social media… threats and abuse… constant…

So I don’t know how to parent… but in the scheme of things, I’m doing better than the sperm donor…

Apparently, their father tells them frequently that I am angry and bitter and jealous that he is doing so well because he is about to buy a third house… He can’t understand that I am more saddened that he will buy more and more and more… but he won’t spend that on his children. I’ve just signed paperwork I organised to allow him to only pay a pittance for the next three years – my final move in the bid to get my child back without the backlash the child isn’t strong enough to withstand… So he gave me the child with one hand as he took the paperwork in the other… and now he’s realised he’s lost any control…

The Knight tells me he is making a bid for the Dragon, but I won’t allow any of them to go again. I will fight tooth and nail this time. I won’t let another suffer. I am stronger now.

But the Knight tells me: mum, he thinks you are bitter and jealous that he is more successful and has more stuff…. but I haven’t told him mum… I haven’t said to him – dad, look around you… where are the kids?

 

I can’t tell when I’m being manipulated… and I can’t take the chance that this time it’s real…

He just called me during class.

I want credit.

No.

Please!

No.

But mum…

And so it goes… He starts chatting… telling me he’s a satanist and his friend is a necromancer… He needs to call his girlfriend because she hasn’t been at school this week and won’t talk to him… and last week she slit her wrists…

I can’t follow most of his chatter… most of it’s for show. He’s in class. His teacher is telling him to get off the phone. I know I should hang up on him. That’s supporting his teacher. Supporting the school rules. Teaching him boundaries. But… what if he just needs to talk. If right at this moment, he’s feeling a bit more lost than usual and he really just needs to talk to me right this second…

So I can’t hang up…

Somewhere in the garble, he tells me his dad is taking him to the GP later this week to get anti-depressants…. Ummm, who has diagnosed you with depression?! Of course I’m depressed mum… Honey, there’s so many other things that could be going on in your head, and it’s really important you have a full mental health assessment so they can find the primary cause and give you the right treatment…. Mum! I think I know whether I’m depressed or not. *Dad’s gf* went cause she’s OCD about cleaning so they gave her some pills and she’s good now….

OMG….

I am too far away. He’s 14. My head is spinning in a mess about this… If they give him the wrong medication and treat the wrong thing….

OMG…

How do you sit so far away and deal with this without going insane? Without having your heart shred over and over?

It’s okay mum… mum? Are you there? It’s okay… I just need credit… I need to call *my gf* and make sure she’s okay… Did I tell you I’m a satanist now? There’s a spirit looking over my shoulder. Protecting me. That’s why I didn’t fall. It’s four storeys – did you see that? Or three really – I was standing on the fourth. If I fell, I’d die… I was just hanging there by my arms, conquering my fears mum, you know I hate heights, scares the %$^ out of me… but this spirit is protecting me. Satan sent him… Mum? Can you send me some credit… please mum! I had a panic attack yesterday…. Can I smoke if I come stay with you? What about outside?… You know how you always say – you get more flies with honey mum? You don’t you know, you get bees. And did you know, you get more junkies with ecstasy… Please can I have some credit? No, don’t hang up… I really just want to talk to you mum… I want to live with you… Please can you move here? I won’t smoke in your house…

How did we get here?

Sometimes, when the phone rings, I still forget to breathe even after the message has been delivered… even after I know he’s safe… for now…

Those phone calls shred me… they leave me broken… and I cannot even begin to imagine how they leave him…

I don’t know the words to say. I don’t know what he needs to hear. All I can hear is the despair and the fear…

He was sobbing… so hard… He’d screwed up. One mistake. Just one. And his whole world has fallen apart.

I’ve spent hours sitting with a teen just listening and hearing and trying to offer whatever support they need…. listened to them tell me of the weekend… the plans they’d made… the bath they’d run because they’d heard it soothes the pain of the knife… or the concoction of pills they’d researched to make sure it was enough… I’ve listened to teens tell me of the anger and despair and hurt and hatred and fear…. and I’ve listened to them tell me that they just want it all to end…

I’ve listened… and my heart has broken… and broken even more for the ones I didn’t get to listen to… the ones I knew who didn’t seem to talk to anyone and just went ahead and did it….

And my heart has broken and ached for the family and friends they have left behind…. and for the life they just couldn’t continue…

But now… I listen to my own teen… a five hour drive away… and there is nothing I can do… just listen… pray… hope… and make deals with the Universe that somehow he stays safe…

I don’t know the words to tell him… I find myself repeating the same thing… trying to get him to remember that I love him… that my heart would ache for eternity… but he says to me – I’ll be dead, I won’t care… I make light of it and tell him I’ll bind his ghost to me for eternity and he will have to listen to me nag and tell him off for all time… but there is no humour in him today…

I ask how he is hurting himself now and he confesses he is still cutting… So I find myself asking – how deep… and he tells me – just quick and across the surface, just blood and pain, lots of slices… I ask if there’s something else that might work… he says no, this works… So I ask him to just not cut deep…

He begs me not to tell his father… It’s why he called… because he has screwed up and his father is going to kill him… My brain is registering – yay, he doesn’t actually want to die… but I know this is not it… He doesn’t want to face his father’s wrath…

So I talk to him forever… calming him… trying to somehow find a speck of reason… reminding him there are people he can see, talk to, phone… but he doesn’t want them so I let the thought slide…

His father calls. He’s furious. He’s home and waiting…. So we are on a 3-way conversation suddenly and I dance again… twisting words… catering to the ego… convincing him that he can help his son… he can be the hero…. and I hate this. I hate this manipulation of the manipulator. But I learned well over the years. I just need to remain calm and remember that it is not about me… this is about my son…

So I have lessened the punishment for the crime. I have pacified the ego. And I am left with such a bad taste in my mouth as I use his tricks against him.

But my son is without a phone and determined to stay where he is… begging me to move there… to upend everyone to move there… because he hates the city and he loves his new friends at the new school… but he just can’t stand living with his father…

But with this is the knowledge that even if I upended the world of my other children to cater to this one, he would hate me too… or is this just what I tell myself? Because all the professional voices are still in my ear reminding me – he needs to be with you. Being with his father is a bad option.

But how do I balance this? Because when he is here and decides he no longer wants to be, the lives of my other children are in danger…

I don’t know how to be so far away and to still be there… I don’t know how to choose the safety of three children over the safety of one, and still sleep at night… I don’t know how to do any of it and I’m so tired of people who have not lived it having an opinion and a solution I haven’t asked for….

And underlying all of this… the bit we are not meant to mention… if I had a time machine… I would go back in time and not have children… not because I don’t love them, because I would sacrifice my life over and over for them…. but because I can’t bear the pain I see… I can’t bear to watch him suffer the way he does and I can’t fix it…

And I just can’t find enough words and enough time to fill him with enough love that he can see a way out of this… because my words don’t touch him…

I’ve been so focused on letting go, I forgot that there’s always a flip side…

Cleansing my world… No longer chasing… No longer forcing… Letting those people slide from my world…

A huge thing for me… To let those ducks just… Simply… Go…

I have one more to go… Well, one main one. A toxic friendship, for want of a better word. I’ve been trying to fade the friendship, because I know she will be vindictive. She was vindictive when I thought we were close! So I’m taking the cowards way and just fading…

She’s being passive aggressive and I’m ignoring. Liking everything on my FB wall… Befriending my friends she has met and liking all their posts… Posting her own memes about friendship… About betrayal…

But I’ve been here. I’ve endured this before. From people who were far more important to me once upon a time. So, I know I can do this…

Until a thought… One of those random ones that flash through your mind when you’re tired and over it and just wish it would be over already…

I wish she would just let me go… I wish she was in that place and she could do that!

But she can’t. The memes remind me. Posted every hour reminding me she doesn’t let people go, even when they betray her…

But that wasn’t the real thought that stopped me… It was that moment, when your breath catches, as something in the world shifts… And you realise…

I’ve been so focused on letting people go, I hadn’t realised others were letting me go…

So the pieces have settled into place… and I’m not actually sure how I feel just yet… I didn’t stop and think about the flip side…

And perhaps, for every person I let go and hurt… Perhaps there is a karmic flip side… The more I hurt this one, the greater the loss for me with that one… 

Because, I’m not sure I can lose you… I’m not sure letting go of toxic people is worth it after all… Not if I’m your toxic person.. Because my life doesn’t actually work without you in it…