Saturday, April 30, 2011
The saint who takes Daughter walking picked her up from the church, and then brought her home after their walk. It has been a somewhat lazy day here at home. I'm struggling with the sermon for tomorrow. The Capital area clergy are doing a pulpit exchange tomorrow, so I'll be traveling across town to lead worship. A couple in the church I serve was the first couple married in the church where I'm preaching tomorrow. I've convinced them to go to worship there. I'll introduce them. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary a couple of months ago.
Daughter has heard from Birth Brother again. He's figured out where we can meet him. Daughter is freaking out. She is torn between her desire to see him and her terror at the thought of seeing him. It will be interesting to see how this develops. The good news is she is talking to me about her concerns about seeing him. That is major progress.
Yesterday evening I made a list of all the tasks that have to be done here through the week. I put M by the ones that I have to do, and left the rest blank. I handed it to Daughter and told her she needed to mark the things she would do to contribute her fair share to the household. We took turns choosing things. She has now chosen pretty much the same things I was asking of her. Now, though, it is her choice. Now she can't complain that she has to do everything around here.
Will it work? Hopefully for a few days.
Friday, April 29, 2011
When I came in for a break, I realized I hadn't seen the snack mix I bought at the warehouse club Wednesday. I checked the car, just to make sure, and then went to Daughter's room. Now I understand why her blood sugars have been running high. I didn't get all the food locked up before I went out to mow the lawn. This was the result. Sigh.
In the services I do, Scripture and reflections come before the vows. Scripture is the foundation and sets the stage for what follows. The promises and vows are a response to what God has done. Daughter slept through it all, of course. I told her about it last night, but she has been to far too many wedding in which she had no interest-- as a preacher's kid weddings have lost their magic for her.
But I'm not a total cynic-- I thought Kate's dress was beautiful, and I hope and pray that they will be able to overcome the pressures and expectations on them to build a happy life together.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Yesterday evening I went to the warehouse club and bought a new lawn mower. I wasn't going to buy a self-propelled one, but it was all they had, so I did. Looking at the weather forecast, I decided I'd best mow when we got home. I asked Daughter to help by trimming. She insisted she'd rather work in the house. I told her she needed to put away the clean laundry, clean the half bath, and take care of trash and recycling. As I was finishing the mowing, she came out and announced she'd done all her chores and wanted her computer back. She wanted the keys to go get it. I informed her I'd get it out when I was done with the lawn. I told her she'd get it faster if she did either the sweeping or trimming while I did the other. She turned and ran into the house. For a brief moment I had hopes she was getting a broom. I always have hope.
After I finished, I discovered she hadn't taken the trash or recycling to the curb. I made three trips to take all of it out. I went into the house, exhausted. She was sitting in a recliner with her feet up petting Kitten. "How does it feel to use your new lawn mower?"
"I'm exhausted! I just had to do the entire lawn by myself and now I'm having to finish your chores."
Her bedroom was a mess (again), so I told her to go pick up the dirty clothes and trash on her floor. She stormed into her room and laid down on the floor. She refused to do anything the rest of the evening, including making her bed. Her reason? "I'm too ashamed." I suggested she could turn it around by doing something, but she'd rather wallow.
This afternoon she saw Psychiatrist. She was mad about having to go. Psychiatrist said group home needs to happen sooner rather than later. She suggested looking into a home that specializes in borderline personality disorder (there is one here in Capital). It's full now, but we will watch for an opening. She also tweaked the medication some. When we got home, Daughter went in and cleaned her room-- without any prompting from me. I'll take it.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Daughter went all day without calling or texting me-- it was nice, especially since this was a very busy day. Now we're off to the warehouse store and probably out to eat.
Daughter came out of the session relieved and smiling. Maybe, just maybe, this will enable her to do some good work now with NT.
I'm taking my awesome Administrative Assistant to lunch to day-- some told me it's Administrative Professional's Day. It will be a nice break on a gray, rainy day.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I saw the first dandelions of spring today. I also decided I needed to mow the lawn. Unfortunately, my lawn mower didn't agree. I could get it to start, but it would die immediately. I knew it was on its last legs-- after it was repaired last fall the best it could do was sputter through the job. I'm going to check out prices on line and will probably buy one tomorrow. Maybe after I check out prices on lawnmowers I'll check out prices on lawn services....
Monday, April 25, 2011
So this evening I asked what his great sin had been. She called him this morning, and he was talking about how he wished he lived closer to us so that he could see her and take her bowling. She also acknowledged she'd made a mistake contacting him. I feel sorry for BB. Daughter is calling him constantly, but then rejecting him.
The same thing happened when she talked to birth mother. She wants to check them out, like a tourist attraction. She wants to satisfy her curiosity. She doesn't want emotional engagement with them. She's on a sight seeing tour, and is determined to remain in control of the relationship.
I pointed out that she was sending him mixed messages-- calling him, but then not wanting to see him. She commented that she has problems with relationships with men. Yes, she does.
The good news is she's talking to me about these things. I asked her today what caused her to change her attitude and become cooperative. She said she didn't know. I'm going to enjoy it for however long it lasts. Before we headed out for my evening meeting (she stayed at the home of one of the saints), we played a game of cards. She beat me. It was a pleasant evening with her.
Daughter continues to be cooperative with me. She called Birth Brother last night and left him a message, she was sobbing about how she needed to talk to her brother. When he called back, she was contentedly watching TV with me and didn't have much to say to him. She did tell him she'd sent him a message on facebook, and he finally sent me his email address with an apology for being so slow. I wrote a long email explaining some of Daughter's issues and offering to bring her to a point between us where they could get to know each other.
Daughter and I began our morning here at the church by getting rid of the balloons left over from yesterday. The pictures are from the sanctuary yesterday. I had 5 men from the property team in my office chatting before they began their project for the week: completely redoing the nursery. It will get new ceiling tiles, laminate flooring, and possibly a clear sealer over the murals on the walls.
I brought some paperwork from home that I need to fill out. I'll be in the office today, but the church work done will be minimal. I need to prepare for tonight's board meeting, talk to people who drop in, and may write a couple of newsletter articles. My top priority, though, will be taking care of the personal details that are creating stress in my life right now. After the board meeting this evening, I'll be ready to jump back into the work of ministry.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Snippets from Easter at Capital:
Attendance was up 50% over last Sunday. We ran out of bulletins, which is a wonderful problem to have.
People were telling me how much they enjoyed Thursday's service.
One of the three projectors went bad this morning-- we hope it's just that the lamp is going bad and we can replace it and solve the problems.
The choir sang the Hallelujah chorus today-- and did a good job.
We've been doing dialogues, and a couple of weeks ago I figured out that it was easier if we froze two of the projectors and projected the dialogue on the back screen where the congregation couldn't see it without turning around. This morning, the designated freezer forgot to freeze one of the front ones. We had to go back and freeze it and start the proclamation over again.
We had helium balloons tied to the chairs this morning, and one was directly in my line of vision, causing me to do all kinds of contortions to read it. I finally got up and grabbed the ribbon of the offending balloon and handed it to the person closest to it. The congregation was amused, of course.
Daughter continues to be cooperative. In about 30 minutes we'll head out for dinner with Sister Best Friend and her family.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Birth Brother is bugging her to come see him. He was supposed to send me his email address, but he hasn't. Daughter sent him a note on facebook today telling him to please contact me. I'm willing to take her halfway and get a motel. They could do somethings together and I could be near by to help Daughter feel safe. She's telling him all about her boyfriend and is misleading him about her life. I'm sure he's doing the same to her. I've already caught him in a lie. Daughter is adamant about not going to his home to visit yet, but I'm not sure she's communicated that to him. He probably thinks I'm trying to keep them apart.
Daughter bought some DVD's with a gift card Far Away Sister sent her for her birthday. She just tried to sneak her computer into her bedroom so she could watch them tonight. She slept until 10:30 this morning, and is complaining that we have to be at the church a little early tomorrow. It's the first skirmish in a couple of days, though, so I won't complain too much.
Last night was the community Good Friday service. My predecessor had not participated in the local ministerial association, so the congregation had not participated in the Good Friday service in several years. Daughter and I were the only ones from Capital who attended, and I had a part. It was nice to be part of an ecumenical service. It's nice to have relationships with colleagues. Very nice.
There is only one service here on Easter, and no breakfast. I'll miss flowering the cross, but I won't miss being at the church by 6:30 in the morning. It has been a relatively easy Holy Week on the church this year-- I'm reworking some old things. Administrative Assistant and I have been working ahead on the bulletins, which made thins much less frantic in the office. I have a board meeting Monday evening, and I recruited one of the board members to do the educational piece so I don't have to plan anything for the meeting.
I need to decide today if I'm going to make the top to go with the skirt I made Daughter for Easter, or buy one that will match. The top is trickier than I'd like. I will look at it again this morning and then make a decision. It should be a fairly relaxing day today. Daughter has requested that we go see the movie Hop. We may do that, depending on her attitude today.
Friday, April 22, 2011
When we got home yesterday afternoon, I began the process of filling pill boxes for the next month. She asked if I wanted help, and I told her not with the pill boxes, but I would like the family room cleaned. She immediately got to work, and she did a good job. After worship last night, Administrative Assistant's Husband and I were practicing for Sunday morning. Daughter helped AA take down the Maundy Thursday items and put up the things we needed for Easter Sunday. I thanked her for her cooperation with the family room and worship set up.
This morning she got up and into the shower without as soon as I turned on her bedroom light and pulled her covers off. She put her linens in the wash with no prompting from me. When I reminded her to pick up the bath mat, she said, "Thank you." As I took her to her program, I thanked her. She said she supposed she still had to go to a group home, and I told her we would continue with the process, as it would take time. I reminded her we'd still be a family and see each other often. She decided that as long as she could take a portrait of the two of us together, it would be okay to move out. I told we would still go on vacations together. That brought up the bed wetting issue. I agreed that I wouldn't take her on vacation as long as she was wetting the bed, and told her we aren't going camping this summer. She commented that she'd ruined things. I told her she still had time to prove to me she was done wetting the bed.
As the conversation continued, she acknowledged that she could stop if she wants to, but is just too lazy to get out of bed when she needs to go. I told her I thought it was easier to get up and go to the bathroom than wash her linens and remake her bed daily. Her response, "But at least I'm getting lots of practice making my bed for the group home!"
How long will this bounce last? I have no idea, but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. She's called twice today trying to convince me to come get her. I have refused, and told her I know she can handle the day. In the second call, she told me she just wanted to spend time with me. I reminded her we'd be together for the next two days, and she'd be sick of me before it was over. Sunday we're going to meet Sister Best Friend for dinner at a restaurant. That will be fun.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
"I'm glad you get to have fun."
"You think I want to have fun?" (shouted, of course.) She then went into a rant about how she wanted to be working and earning money. It's all my fault, of course. That's why I didn't initiate any conversations with her this morning. I knew that anything I said would be an excuse to go off on me. When she told me she was going to the movies, it was a no win for me. If I remained silent, she would have gone into a rant about how I don't care. There was no response I could give or not give that would not have given her an excuse to yell at me. Sigh.
It was hard, remaining silent, especially when I discovered she had slept on the floor of her room last night. I don't know if she soaked the carpet or not. I don't want to know. When/if she moves out I may find myself replacing not only the carpet, but the sub floor. She knows why I don't want her sleeping on the floor (who wants to sleep on the floor when they have a bed?), so any comment on my part will just further provoke her. I simply can't win with her at this point. She will find an excuse to yell at me.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I also left the church to go shopping today. I got myself a new cell phone. I've had a blackberry for the last 4 years, and this time I got the brand new 4G droid. We're supposed to have 4G here in August. It's going to take some time to get used to it, but I think I'll like it.
Daughter told me this evening she doesn't like living with the the tension around here. I told her she was the one who could fix it. She went on to say she doesn't want to move out. She's not ready, she wants to stay with me. She complained that no one is helping. Her Therapist has given her a series of affirmations she is supposed to say to herself at least two times. She refuses to say them. I explained to her that in order to change she was going to have to be willing to do things that are uncomfortable at first. I told her no one could help her if she didn't follow through on the ideas that were offered her. She got mad and went to bed. She went to bed with out doing the work she swore to me she'd do. Of course, I figured when she swore she'd do it that she wouldn't. There are times when she's very predictable.
All of her responses were sarcastic and surly last night. I got up this morning, still tired. I managed to lock my keys in my bedroom. That meant no money, driver's license, or access to any food in the house. Thanks to the board members who fixed the lock on the guest room when Daughter broke the lock trying to pick it, I knew how to break into my bedroom. I shouldn't have to break into my own bedroom. A key to my bedroom will go in the combination lock box I have on a post in the back yard today.
When Daughter finally got up (late) of course, her only words to me were a yelled, "I'm sorry for making you late." I quietly responded, "Please don't yell at me."
She is down in her program. I have 6 hours before I have to deal with her again. Well, probably not 6. At some point she'll call or text to make sure I'm still going to be here for her. She may even text me an apology. She's an expert at saying she's sorry. She doesn't seem to understand that she needs to back up her words with actions.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sunday we celebrated the 16th anniversary of her adoption. No, I didn't feel like celebrating, but she took a break from telling me I'm not her mom and she's changing her last name to cling to me, give me frequent kisses, and say in a baby voice, "My mommy." She pointed out it was our special day and we had to celebrate. I took her out to eat, because I didn't feel like cooking and I didn't want to fuel her acting out by sending the message the adoption wasn't worthy of celebration.
Yesterday Birth Brother called her invited her to come visit for a few days.
"How do you feel about that?"
"I want to go. It's just for a couple of days."
"What about insulin, food, and bed wetting?"
"Well, I didn't tell BB this, but I'm not comfortable visiting him yet. I'd rather he come here for the first few visits."
I told her she had to tell him that. I'm going to tell him it would be better to talk to me about things like this first. I suspect I'll be the evil mom depriving long lost birth siblings with the opportunity to reconnect afer all these years. I think I'll suggest we meet on neutral ground some place between us. I can leave the two of them alone to visit and be available when Daughter freaks out.
Of course, who knows if the conversation with BB even took place. Yesterday afternoon she told me she'd checked with one of the saints on Sunday, and I could drop her off there before my evening meeting. She said I should call to confirm. I finally figured out she hadn't talked to the woman at all. I'm tired of the lying.
A friend pointed out that Daughter always amps it up for Holy Week. She is so jealous of my work. I am so grateful for something positive in my life. She sees Therapist this afternoon. Therapist has been briefed. We'll see what she's able to do with Daughter.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I was the oldest of four children, and Mom worked hard to challenge me to be my best. So, when I proudly showed her a picture I had drawn as a preschooler, she informed me she was ashamed of me, I knew the sky went down to the horizon, but I'd only put the blue sky at the top. I didn't know what horizon meant, but I knew I had disappointed Mom, I wasn't good enough.
When I started school, she wanted me to be my best. I'd come home with my report card, and she'd tell me it was a same I had ruined a beautiful report card with a B+ in math. As high school graduation approached, I discovered I was going to be co-valedictorian. She was delighted an gave me a hug. After reflection, she told me it was a shame I'd let my class down. If I'd worked a little bit harder, and improved one grade, the girl who had bypassed calculus for an easier math class senior year wouldn't be co-valedictorian with me.
I could go on, but you get the idea. The message I got was that I wasn't good enough. If I wasn't perfect, I wasn't good enough. That wasn't the message Mom intended to give, but it was what I heard. I finally decided if I couldn't be perfect, at least I could be needed, so I threw myself into being the third parent for Sister and Brother, who were 10 and 12 years younger than I am. My senior year of high school, Mom went to work, and I was usually the one who stayed home to take care of Sister or Brother when they were sick. I struggled with severe depression for years, and still experience it occasionally.
Sister wants to challenge Short Niece to do her best. She is in first grade, and because Sister has identified her as gifted, her teachers give her extra homework. Sister works with her on the homework, which has to be perfect. Short Niece is gifted in manipulating Sister, and so she does none of her homework independently. The other night Short Niece was doing homework. Sister stepped into improve it, making her add things to her report and finally erasing and rewriting some words for Short Niece. Sister's Ex-Husband (they still live together thanks to the real estate slump) intervened, scolding Sister for doing Short Niece's homework. He said she'd done the same thing to him when she typed his college papers, rewriting them because what he did wasn't good enough. She called me to tell me how terrible Ex-Husband is. I reminded her that Ex-Husband loves Short Niece, too, and wants what's best for him. I told her she needed to be careful, and told her the story of what Mom's attempts to challenge me had done to me. She was shocked. Surely Mom would never have done that! I explained that Mom was intending to tell me I wasn't good enough, and that when she saw what her messages had done to me, she changed the way she parented Sister and Brother. She was also adamant that she wasn't doing anything like that to Short Niece.
I called and warned Far Away Sister that Sister was mad at me and would be calling her. Far Away Sister is the mother of Tall Niece, who has genius level IQ and is headed off to a prestigious university. Tall Niece is a remarkable young woman, and very balanced. Sure enough, after work Sister called Far Away Sister to complain about how terrible I am. Far Away Sister didn't acknowledge we had talked, but suggested that Sister was walking a fine line, and it was important that she didn't push Niece too hard this early in her academic career. She told Sister that the best way to handle Short Niece was probably somewhere between Sister and Ex-Husband.
I hope Sister listens and examines the ways she is pushing Short Niece. Daughter has helped me overcome my perfectionism. I've realized that Daughter is wonderful and valuable and I love her not because of what she does, but because of who she is. I'm grateful that Daughter has taught me that, and that I've been able to apply it to my life. Sure, my perfectionist tendencies still get in my way sometimes, but I am no longer paralyzed by deep depression.