No End in Sight….

What was supposed to be an amazing ending to a pretty great day, turned into a whole new onset of emotional pain. This emotional pain is beyond anything I have ever gone through in my entire life, it feels like somebody is holding me under water and I can’t breathe but I can’t die either.

Izzy is still on and off with fevers, so we had to get a urine specimen via catheter and that was torture for me because I know how much of a torture it was for her. I am glad that Mike was with me because I don’t know how else I would have gotten through it and even though we don’t agree on everything that has to do with her medical stuff and her sickness at the moment, we love our daughter and just want what’s best for her at the end of the day.

She cried so much and we felt so bad, even ahead of time, that we planned to take her to “Build-A-Bear” because she’s never been and we thought that she’d enjoy making her own toy, especially because she’s older now and understands things she didn’t when she was younger. However, on the way home we got hungry and stopped at a breakfast place instead and by the time we finished eating, it was already way past Nate’s naptime and he was cranky and we were all tired. So, we went home and put Nate down for a much needed late nap.

A few hours later, we had all fallen asleep (even me), and I had to wake everybody up because I still wanted to give Izzy her surprise since she’s been through so much and I wanted to see her beautiful smile. So, reluctantly everybody got up and we headed to the mall.

Turns out, Izzy has associated the mall with ice-cream because we usually go there after her gymnastics class and tell her that if she behaves well in gymnastics and participates, she will get yummy ice-cream. Before the ice-cream, she didn’t want anything to do with “Build-A-Bear”. Afterwards, she seemed a little bit more interested. We showed her all the toys she can pick from and guess what she goes for without a moment of hesitation? Mickey Mouse. I think he’s her favorite, considering she watches “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, every morning almost.

At least she enjoyed herself and it was worth every penny. Nate got a Star Wars/ Army bear, courtesy of daddy. Not sure who enjoyed the place more truthfully, the kids or daddy. Then, we went home, fed the kids, cleaned up and put them to sleep. I was so excited to relax and watch a few episodes of Bones but I did something that I should not have done because it opened a whole new can of warms and turned my optimistic night into something resembling a nightmare.

When I started watching, I texted my mom and asked her if she will be home that night, so that I can make sure that the doors are open and the dogs don’t wake up the kids with their loud barking. Well, I don’t know why exactly but she went off on me, telling me that I don’t “own her” and that she doesn’t have to tell me if she will be home or not because it’s her home. In summary, she went off on a tangent and the whole texting conversation catapulted into something unfathomable, considering I didn’t start it off with any kind of bad feeling or anything negative.

I could just see her on the other end, in hysterics, drinking some wine and texting me back. She called me a “monster” and said that she doesn’t feel “safe” around me because I call her crazy to people and it was ridiculous. Yes, I have occasionally called her crazy to my fiancé when I am myself hurting and in pain but who else am I supposed to vent to? I know she vents to her friends about me, so I am not the only one at fault here. At first I was really upset, especially when she told me to “stay away from her” but after talking to Mike and having a cigarette, I realized that she is not in full control of what she is saying or doing at the moment and that I need not take it personally. This has happened in the past, it was just harder to decipher it at the moment because I was not expecting it and it seems she has crucified me more this time then ever before in my life.

And then, when I thought we were done and I calmed down, she started responding again. However, by this time I was totally calm and replied back with nothing but kindness and understanding. When she kept calling me a “monster” and going off on me I simply texted back, “No I am not and you know it” or “I don’t deserve to be called something like that and you know it”. I know that even if she told her friends about how ungrateful and horrible of a daughter I am, they wouldn’t agree that the right word to call me would be “monster”. And to be honest, I know she told all of our “family friends” all about this situation and for the first time I understand that they weren’t really “family” friends, they were only her friends. You know why? Because real family friends would have called me and asked me what was going on and if everything was okay and would have listened to my side of the story. But nope. I know they got an earful from her and that’s all they needed to make their opinion about me and decide which side they are on. Hey, you live and you learn, right?

I even turned my phone off last night, that’s how much pain I felt. I didn’t want her to be able to reach me anymore, the emotional pain was freshly opened and unbearable. Thankfully, this morning my fiancé let me sleep in because God knows I needed it after last night and the crazy wind that was keeping me up all night.

Today I feel better, somewhat rested and mentally stronger. However, my mom is here, in her room and I feel a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. I am pretty sure this is anxiety to the max and even though I’ve had it almost my whole entire life, it’s never gotten this bad because I’ve never felt so much fear and dread towards my own mother. I am thinking of trying CBD oil actually because I feel like I can’t go on with my life because the emotional pain is literally disabling and overshadowing everything else in my life at the moment.

Shift of Focus

In the past few days the focus has shifted off the whole mess with my mom and the car and onto Izzy’s recurrent fevers. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but my daughter has been getting recurrent fevers since last summer and these just keep coming back, nonstop. In all, she was sick with fevers that summer probably over seven times. It was the most stressful, terrible summer ever. The only reason we were able to stop the fevers for the time being was because they found that she has a minor case of Urinary Reflux and gave her medication to make sure she doesn’t get UTI’s, which could cause the fever to come back and make the Urinary Reflux even worse. The medicine seemed to have been working, up until a week or so ago and she is back to getting unpredictable, recurrent fevers.

In addition, we know that there’s something else going on here because they tested her urine and only once out of about four or five times they confirmed that it was indeed a UTI, even if the colony was small and it was kind of iffy. This is where most of our panic comes from, we knew that the antibiotics they gave us to treat her Urinary Reflux wasn’t going to make whatever else is going on better. We wanted to keep looking for the answer but the antibiotics were helping her and she was acting more like herself and loving school, that we couldn’t imagine taking her off the medicine or dragging her to all the other doctors again.

Well, now since she’s getting fevers again, even though she’s not crying too much or anything, just doesn’t want to do much but lay on the couch when they happen, I found myself in panic mode all over again. Last time my daughter was getting sick, I retreated into myself, stopped working out, working on my business or doing anything that could benefit me in any way at all. All I could think about was her and helping her get through this and finding out what was going on and why it kept happening. I remember being in a daze, just going through the motions. I would take care of the cranky, sick, demanding kids during the day and then drink alcohol and binge watch TV shows at night. It was not a good place to be where I was.

Now, on Monday, when I realized that it’s happening again and could not just be a cold that she picked up from her brother who had just gotten over a cold himself, I closed off again. I stopped caring about everything else and was racking my brain, trying to see if I could do anything or try to do anything that could potentially help us solve my daughter’s fever troubles. I even started smoking again, that’s how stressed and completely out of control I felt again. I don’t think there are many things that can make you feel as out of control as your kids can. The uncertainty of not knowing how we will navigate this and what is even going on, freaked me out. I didn’t work out, stopped taking care of myself, started smoking after the kids have gone to bed in order to calm myself down in some small way.

And then yesterday it feels like my prayers were answered, even if in an uncertain way at this point. I remember feeling like I need to do anything in my power in order to see if there are moms out there who are going through the same things with their kiddos or maybe have gone through it already in the past. So how did I decide to do that? By posting my problem into all the mommy groups I am part of on Facebook. I have never done this before but it seemed appropriate to utilize this channel considering Facebook can reach so many more people then is possible in any other way.

Almost right away, or maybe a few hours later, a woman commented that she was going through the same thing with her daughter and they finally diagnosed it as PFAPA after six years! I had no idea what that was but after reading about it, I got goosebumps because it sounded like exactly what Izzy was experiencing and going through. That’s when I started to feel like there was hope again and like God heard my prayers. What made this even better was that Izzy has an appointment with a Rheumatologist on the 28th and the timing couldn’t have been better. I have a good feeling about this and feel like we are on the right track, finally! We have scheduled this appointment like over half a year ago because it was difficult to get in but I am definitely grateful that we didn’t cancel it when we thought that Izzy was better already and wouldn’t need to see any more doctors.

It’s kind of amazing, when things like this happen, they make you realize that everything else doesn’t matter at all. As long as everyone is healthy, what more is there? Like for real, I am beyond done with this whole issue with my mom and Mike, I am now focused on making sure we figure out what is going on with my baby girl and how we can fix it for good so that she can go on with her life and won’t be hindered by being sick and feeling down all the time.

Insecurities and Accusations

Wow, what a productive session we just had, especially the last 30 minutes of it. For the first time since this whole incident with the car I feel hope that we can eventually all move foreward from this and have even a closer/stronger bond with each other. I was not feeling like this at the beginning of the session but I definitely feel like this now.

My mom is still downtown, staying at her condo, so we had a three way Skype session which didn’t start off too great. I found out earlier that my mom was still stuck in the whole, “throwing things that she’s done for us in our face when we’re going through some sort of conflict” thing. Basically, the accusations that Mike made against my mom, weren’t really based on fact and conspired mostly because Mike got upset and had a lot of negative feelings to communicate towards my mom on behalf of himself and me as well. Let me point out that my mom and Mike have never had a direct conversation with each other in that way.

So, she can’t move on from this whole incident because she feels that we are using how much Mike is worried about me and my relationship with my mom as a bandaid to not discuss and talk through specifically the accusations that were made against her by Mike. What she is finding difficult to understand is that Mike didn’t mean all the accusations he made against her because she doesn’t want anything like this to happen in the future. I don’t know what it will take for her to understand that Mike actually didn’t mean what he said on account of her and what he accused her off. It seems my mom is not believing many things that we are saying and trying to communicate in terms of this whole fight, which is actually not very new for her because she doesn’t believe most of the stuff I say anyways.

Halfway through the session, she got really upset about me bringing up her saying little “remarks” in a passive aggressive way and how much they hurt and bother me. She actually got so upset about them that she outright left the session and I was just one-on-one with Lisa at that point. That last half with Lisa was really helpful though and I was able to understand where my mom is coming from, at least partially. I can understand her getting upset by me bringing up her little remarks because she’s been working hard to improve this and not do it as much. I have seen an improvement in her doing it less definitely, it’s just something that was inevitably brought up during the huge blow out argument because things tend to come to the surface when emotions are running high.

Lisa also brought up a very good point, that what usually triggers us and makes us more emotional or upset in some way, usually happens because it addresses something in ourselves that we are either insecure or feel negatively about in some way. For example, my mom’s remarks about me being a bad mom really hurts me more then anything else that she says does because I am insecure in my own success or failure as a parent. Being a mom has by far been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through or do in my life and for this reason it’s still very new and I am trying to figure things out as I go along. I question myself all the time, “Am I doing enough social things with the kids?”, “Do other moms struggle as much as I do?”, “Are my kids hindered in some way because of how many temper tantrums they throw daily?”…..the list goes on and on. My mom actually wanted back into the conversation but Lisa called her at the end instead to share what I shared with her about how I feel about being a mom.

All in all, it was a very good step in the right direction and I hope that we just keep making progress towards improving everyone’s interaction and relationships with each other. Also, we came to the conclusion that Mike needs to be part of these sessions as well because he is a big part of this family and can benefit from this as well.

One of a Kind

It’s Monday today and also President’s Day which means that my fiancé is at home today as well. This puts me in a very good mood because I had the most lovely weekend and it’s not even over yet. On Saturday we went to Izzy’s gymnastics and she loved every minute of it, even listened to the teachers one hundred percent of the time. That might not seem like a big deal but Izzy is the most stubborn and hard headed toddler I have ever come across, she would never do anything until she was ready to do it herself and it was more of her idea than anyone else’s. This is why she’s not potty trained yet but once she puts her mind to something, she will get it pretty quickly. She is definitely one of a kind.

Yesterday we went to the mall and enjoyed ourselves immensely even though Izzy was bossing us around and not allowing us to seperate and look in seperate sections of the store. That’s our girl. Also, Izzy’s temperature has been all over the place this weekend, at least it kind of seemed like it. It has been the weirdest thing, I would take her temperature and it was slightly elevated then I would take it again ten seconds later and it was totally fine. Made me scratch my head a few times and I don’t even know what to think anymore. On one hand I am freaking out that this has to do with her previous fevers and urinary reflux and yet at the same time I’m not even sure if she had a fever to begin with. Either way, I am going to look only on the positive side and I know that Izzy is fine and will kick this childhood fever issue in the butt.

My mom hasn’t been home all weekend and even though I have enjoyed not having someone hover over me and always tell me to “clean this” or “do that”, I miss my tv buddy. My mom and I watch all the same shows and we like to spend time together during the weekend, drinking wine and watching shows once the kids have gone to bed. I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the new episode of True Detective because that’s a show that we watch together and I don’t want to go on watching it without her. I wish she knew how much I cherish that time together and how much I wish we could do it without any ill feelings towards each other or any misunderstandings that sometimes come up during it. It’s like a win-lose situation, I like being able to relax but at the same time I wish we could watch our stuff and hang out together. I must have checked the garage about twenty times since she’s been gone because I thought our garage was opened and she was home.

Also, I have done what I set out to do and I am extremely proud of myself for this. I have an issue with getting laundry folded and hung during the week because the kids make it impossible with me having to watch them and then multitask with the laundry at the same time. So, I washed all the laundry on Saturday and then went upstairs and folded it yesterday, so there’s no more clothes laying around in the laundry room. And I did this all without any prompting from my mother.

I know that she is going to be home soon because we have a joint session today and I am nervous to say the least. I just have no idea where her mind is at and I am just praying that this weekend away from us has been good for her and she has finally calmed down and has realized that our fight is ridiculous and that it’s insignificant at the end of the day. I actually just took Izzy’s temperature just now and it seems she has one so I am extremely concerned and could care less about this mess with my mom. I am so fed up with Izzy and her constant fevers, they just don’t go away for good. I mean they’ll go away and then come back, it’s inevitable.

She is on antibiotics for her Urinary Reflux but perhaps there’s something more here. We have an appointment tomorrow with a special kind of doctor for her, so hopefully we’ll get at least another clue as to what’s going on with her and why this keeps happening. Once you have kids, worry takes on a whole new meaning. I have never stressed about anything in my life as much as I’ve stressed about my children and particularly Izzy’s recurrent fevers. I’m just praying we can overcome this and can find out what’s up with these and why they keep happening.

Kill Them With Kindness

I have another joint session with my mother and our psychologist tomorrow and I am dreading it, mostly because I have no idea what is going to happen and if any old wounds will be reopened that will upset my mom even more and for an even longer period of time. I can barely stand her being so cold and distant right now, I don’t know how much longer I will be able to handle it before I will be forced to numb all my feelings completely.

The assignment was to write down what we feel the other person is still resentful of towards us. I am not sure how long this list will be but I am going to do a bullet pointed list, with brief explanations if need be.

Okay, so here goes…….

It is my understandable belief that my mother resents me for:

  1. Not establishing myself in my career after I graduated from such an expensive University as Loyola, that she paid for.
  2. Getting pregnant before I was well established with a career and able to be 100% independent.
  3. Settling and having children with someone like Mike, who is obviously a bit rough around the edges.
  4. Not being as fearless and open to new experiences and obstacles in life when they present themselves.
  5. Not being smarter, more of a go getter…..etc. Basically not being someone more like her.
  6. Being my father’s daughter and not Yuri’s, since Yuri is more successful and his daughter is better off in life right now then I am. It just seems like his daughter has personality traits that I completely lack.
  7. Holding her back from being able to “live” her life as she wants to live it.
  8. Not taking what she says as law 100% of the time and questioning her ways of thinking versus mine.

I know that I will probably be able to think of more as time goes on but those are the ones that stand out to me in my mind right now. My whole life I grew up not feeling good enough, mostly because my mother is in a class of human being that is almost all her own. She came here with me from another country and established herself while raising and supporting me without much help whatsoever. I often look at her in awe because I am certain I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I was in her place. She just has these qualities of a go-getter and of someone who needs to keep going, needs to keep moving forward and doesn’t need to take many breaks at all or maybe she just refuses to take any. And as amazing as that is, it sounds exhausting to me just thinking about it.

On the other hand, I have always judged myself for lacking in qualities where she so obviously excels. I often wish I would have been Yuri’s daughter or at least would have taken more traits from her and less from my father. It seems that the only trait I have taken from her is her sensitivity and heightened emotional state. In the past I have seen myself in a completely negative light and thought that something was wrong with me because I saw myself with these qualities: moodiness, pessimism, laziness, stupidity, unattractiveness….the list goes on and on. I knew I could never live up to her expectations because I was so different from her and I wished so badly to be more like her.

It’s taken me time but I don’t see myself all bad anymore. Sure, I might not be like my mother in many ways but that’s okay because I am my own person and I have many amazing qualities regardless. Weather or not she resents me for all of the things I have listed above, I don’t know but what I do know is that just because I am not more like my mom doesn’t mean I am a bad person and it doesn’t mean that I am a bad mother, daughter, fiancé…..etc. And after this long I have finally realized that my mom isn’t perfect either and she has many qualities that are negative as well. I just wish she didn’t put me in the same box that to her equals perfect or better even. I think it’s another example of how rigid her worldview is and how she shouldn’t compare apples to oranges.

I definitely resent her for some things as well but I am ready to let go of those negative feelings so that they stop holding me down and preventing me from living my life to the fullest, whatever that word means to me. I am curious what her answer to this homework assignment will be though because we have not budged since the initial fight. She has left and hasn’t been home for over a day now and is being very immature in her text message replies. It’s okay though because I am being the bigger person and am replying with nothing but kindness and love. What is that saying? “Kill them with kindness”, definitely very relevant in this specific situation and I know that eventually it will start to rub off. That and maybe she’ll realize that there’s a bigger picture here, instead of focusing narrowly on this particular situation, seeing how much more is at stake here and what really matters and what doesn’t. There are grandchildren involved now for Christ’s sake! Nothing much can compare to that in terms of level of importance. Perhaps she needs some time to understand that.

Shades of Grey

Just had a rather unproductive session with my mom and our psychologist. I’m really not sure how we got to such a bad place that even one session can’t solve much at all. And to me, even having a joint session with a third party present to help see the situation from an unbiased view is kind of a lose-lose situation. Mostly because my mother has said in the past that I am an expert liar and that I even found a way to manipulate Lisa. Honestly, to my mom everything is a conspiracy against her. But that’s okay because I know myself enough now to know that the only thing that’s different is that I am actually comfortable in my own skin and I have confidence in myself. Things that my mother used to say to me don’t hurt or touch me much anymore. The only thing that sometimes gets to me is when she tells me that I am a bad mother which is ridiculous because I am not a “bad” mother, I am just an overwhelmed mother most of the time and need to catch up on some sleep.

Part of our problem is that she sees the world in black and white and I see many shades of gray. I mean, after seeing how far we have come as human beings and what kind of things now exist in the world, how can you say that there’s only one way to look and see something? My whole entire life she ridiculed me for looking at things differently and whenever I have tried to communicate my stance on something, she would start rolling her eyes and calling me stubborn, stupid or just a little kid who wants to argue facts. For this reason she never listened to me and once when we had a joint session with Lisa in the past, I was literally choking on my own words because I was not used to being listened to or to even have a chance to communicate what I was feeling/thinking…etc. How messed up is that? I’m pretty sure something like that is enough to mess someone up pretty bad for the rest of their life.

In this instance, we were still nowhere in agreement as to what exactly happened to the car and “why” it broke so badly in the first place. It was a lot of “she said”, “he said” and pointing the finger. And here is a perfect instance of seeing a lot of shades of gray. Why? Because we all have different perspections of the same event. We weren’t all there when she was driving it, so who knows, she could have not been paying attention herself, could have been preoccupied with something else…..etc. And who’s to say then who is right and who is wrong? It’s all perception and I’m just glad that our psychologist understood me finally. I can finally think more logically and remove the emotional part of myself in certain situations I could never do that in before. And that is a pretty amazing accomplishment.

It’s also astounding because we just came back from taking Izzy to gymnastics class and this is the first time the car has been driven since it was supposedly fixed, and guess what? The engine light is back on which brings up the question- were the mechanics even component to begin with or did they just not care? I don’t know, my mom said that she went in and made sure to tell them to fix everything so that her grandchildren can be safe in this “run down” car, so then why is the engine light back on? She was also so smug during the session when she told Lisa that the mechanics where she took the car said that the car breaking down had nothing to do with 4-wheel drive and that a certain part of it snapped because it hit a bump and could have happened when anybody was driving it. Hmmmm, that’s odd since that very part only exists to help run the 4-wheel drive. Man, I don’t want to bring it up and cause even more conflict but I might bring it up in our next session with Lisa if I get the chance.

Also during our session Lisa made it a point to tell us not to point fingers and make accusations at each other. And as much as I totally agree with that, she used the example of when I tell my mom that she needs help because she’s mentally unstable. Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t say that directly to her face and I only ever do it very rarely when she’s already driven me to the point of no return but it’s true. And you know what I hate more? I hate the fact that she can’t admit that her bipolar is actually worse than she says it really is. On more than one occasion she told me that this is how normal parents act and that it’s nothing so out there that I am so messed up and broken because of it and that she needs as much help as I tell her she does. This makes me scratch my head because parents don’t talk like she does to their children, no matter what their children say or do, at least not the unabusive ones.

In the past she used to go off on me and say crazy things and then she would apologize but that’s gotten less and less. Sure, there are moments when she still does that but they are very few. And from all of that, how can someone say that something is either black or it’s white, that there’s no in between? You can’t possibly go through all this in life and be so emotional and not think that there’s more then just one way or one answer to anything in this life. Maybe she’ll realize it one day. We shall see.

We Hurt Those We Love the Most

Today is a better day, I can feel it. It doesn’t even matter that it’s Valentine’s Day, the day after a storm is always more positive and uplifting than the day of. My mother is still in her room and hasn’t left since but that’s okay. At this point, I am over the whole situation. I don’t even want her to talk to me until she is ready to move on from this and go foreward because if we’re not moving forward in life, we are dying. Literally.

Mike is going into work later then usual today which is great because he can help with the kids somewhat and I need all the help I can get because Nate still has a slight fever and the poor guy goes from crying out of nowhere to acting totally fine and playing around like nothing is wrong. It’s truly the worst when kids are sick, especially the younger they are because they can’t tell you how they’re feeling or anything.

So about a week ago, I had a pretty big epiphany. It’s interesting how as kids we internalize certain sayings that we see or hear our parents live by and these seemingly unimportant ideas govern the rest of our lives without us even realizing it. Well, lately I have noticed one of those very ideas and how messed up it really was.

We hurt those we love the most”, this is what my mom said to me more then once in my life and what I have always taken as plain fact. How messed up is that? This simple statement constitutes the idea that if we are not at turmoil with those we love or aren’t in some kind of conflict with them, that it’s not true or genuine love in some way.

Of course I am not going to hold this against my mother since I know that that’s probably the only way she’s ever lived her life and it’s all she’s ever really known. I don’t know much about her childhood but I know that that belief must have come from somewhere, early on in her young life.

Growing up, I realize just how much I was affected by this belief. I watched my mom’s relationship with my stepdad and all the pain that that relationship caused and brought into our lives and I thought that if love isn’t a rollercoaster, it’s just not real love. I used to compare my mom’s love story to the movie Titanic because it truly was a beautiful love story in the beginning. Something akin to “boy realizes that he can’t live without that one special girl and after messing up royally, is driven not to give up on winning back her love at all cost.” Although as long as it took him to win her back, once he had her, he ended up hurting her again.

I remember looking at my mom’s relationship and being in awe, thinking how special their relationship really was when in reality it was just not healthy at all. I thought that people who have been together forever and don’t fight much and just get along all the time are not in love, they are just in a companionship. And for the longest time that is not the love I wanted for myself.

Now, at 27 years old I can finally say with one hundred percent certainty that my view of love was skewed based on what I saw around me. And it didn’t only go into romantic love, it also reached those close family and friends’ relationships. I thought because my mom and I also had a relationship where it was the best ever and then would plummet unexpectedly that that was just a display of how strong and real our mother-daughter bond really was.

All in all, I can finally see things clearly now. I don’t think I’ve ever seen things so clearly in my life. Sure it’s going to take me a lifetime to heal these broken perceptions of significant things such as love and different types of relationships but the fact that I see them for what they really are now is a huge step in the right direction.