What a week (and it's only Wednesday)!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Over the weekend, an old friend contacted me and asked if she could come and stay with us. She had a baby 7 weeks ago and eluded to having problems with her husband. We haven't seen each other in years. We had a falling out over the man she is now married to because I thought he was bad news. At the time, she was only twenty and didn't want to hear what I was telling her so she put an end to our friendship and didn't speak to me again until a few months ago.
When she asked to stay, I had a feeling it was down to abuse (due to cryptic text messages and the fact she couldn't actually speak to me over the phone). With that in mind, I asked her not to tell him where she would be staying until after we spoke, but it was too late. She was on her way and he was driving her.
When they arrived, I could feel the tension. He stayed briefly and when he left she crumbled and cried. I hugged her and told her we'd talk when my son was in bed, but what ever it was it would be OK.
Later that night, she confirmed my suspicions. She is in an abusive relationship and trying to get out. He is in the Army and has been to Afghanistan. She believes what ever he went through has made his temper worse and since the baby, things have escalated. We talked deep into the night (while I drank wine and chain smoked through our discussions). I have experience with this sort of thing and was forced to face demons I was in no way prepared to face.
She considered not going back, but admitted he has a fire arm in the house and with him knowing where she was thought it wouldn't be safe for any of us. I have to admit that my reaction to this information was a strong one. I yelled at her and said, 'How can you bring this into my house?? You are not the only one with a family here!' She crumbled and cried again. I hugged her and apologized and then I went into survival mode to come up with a plan.
My plan was instant. I told her to call him and tell him that she talked to me about their problems and she felt 100% better. She did. She told him I made her realize that it was hormones that made her over emotional and behave badly. She told him that I helped her see that all that's important is their love for each other and their new family. This completely defused the situation. He felt secure and happy (which was my plan all along) and let her stay a few extra days instead of making her go back the following day.
During the last few days we called hotlines for victims of domestic violence and got advice on how to get her out and what she could do to get assistance. The plan is that she keeps him happy while she's there and makes her plans to leave. She says all the right things (which I tried coaching her on) to never let things escalate into an argument. In the meantime, she will tell him that I've moved and a few weeks later tell him that her and I had a falling out so he never comes here looking for her when she does get out. We got her a phone he won't know about and arranged for her to get a separate bank account and a loan for a deposit and first month's rent on a new place. It will take a couple of months, but a plan has been made.
Today, he came a day early to pick her up and I had to let her go and just watch her and her precious baby leave. She's so young and I feel like I threw her to the wolves. I'm a wreck. Between what's happening with her and facing the demons from my past, I have gotten very little sleep, have been plagued with nightmares and have managed to eat very little in days. Until she's out and safe, I doubt very much I'll be able to relax or even breathe normally.

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Parenting is hard

Thursday, November 24, 2011
During our trip to the States, my three year old son became obsessed with a TV show called Dino Dan (which they don't play in the UK so I had to buy it on iTunes before we left so he'd be able to keep watching it). On the show, a ten year old boy sees computer animated dinosaurs everywhere he goes. Now, my son also sees dinosaurs everywhere he goes. He's constantly sayings things like, 'A T-Rex! Cool!'
This morning, he tried to climb up to a window in my bedroom which is on on the top floor of our three story house to look at a dinosaur he was sure was outside. In the UK, most windows open out (like a door) and have no screens or child safety latches to keep children from falling out.
In his room (also on the top floor) and in the rooms on the 2nd floor, we have window guards to keep the window from opening too wide. We didn't put them in the master suite because he's never in there without supervision. He's older now and I know it will have to be done, but I digress...
He tried to climb up. I yelled at him to never do that again. He said he just wanted to see a dinosaur that made a noise outside. I told him that if he climbed up and fell out he could get very badly hurt. He told me, 'but if I did, I would get up and go inside through the door'. This terrified me. I said, 'No you wouldn't! You might get so badly hurt that you would go to sleep and never wake up because that's what happens when you die!' He calmly told me, 'Mommy, people don't die'. I wanted to cry. I couldn't tell him. I chickened out. I hugged him and said, 'OK Baby'. I closed the window, locked it and decided now is a good time to get those window guards.
I just couldn't tell him. I didn't want to take that innocence away. I knew telling him might scare him into not doing it again, but I also knew telling him would scare him in a much deeper way. I couldn't do it. He's only three. I don't know if I made the right decision or not, but for now, it was the only one I could make. Parenting is hard!

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The last few months...

Thursday, November 17, 2011
It's been months. The first part of my absence was down to my laptop being in for repairs and held by my insurance company until they decided if they were going to cover the damage or not. They had the laptop for a month and a half. I wanted to kill someone! In the end I got it back repaired, but it runs far too slow now and I've been putting off the inevitable - reformatting and starting with a clean machine again. The process is long and tedious, but I know sooner rather than later, I will have to do it.
The second part of my absence was down to 3 weeks spent in NJ visiting my family and friends (and a week of recovery time).
The trip was both wonderful and terrible (as all trips home turn out to be). The day we arrived, I came down with a high fever followed by the worst sore throat of my life. I ended up at the doctor finding out I had a bad case of strep throat. This was followed by my son coming down with it as well. Our first 7 days, we were stuck in my parents house and we saw no-one but my parents.
A week lost is heartbreaking when you only get three weeks a year to visit. The two weeks that followed were spent running around trying to make up for lost time. With the last few days of the trip ending the same way it started - being stuck in the house with my son who was sick with a high fever and throwing up. I'd love to tell you that he was fine for the flight, but I'd be lying. He started the day with no fever and appeared fine, but by the time we got on the plane that night, the fever came back and he threw up three times during the flight. I don't know who this was worse for - my little boy and us or the rest of the passengers. I can't imagine how badly the rest of the passengers must have wanted to get off the plane (just as badly as we did I'm sure)!
It was an over night flight. My son got about 3 hours sleep and my husband and I got none. The trip home is 15+ hours long from door to door. By the time we got home, we were up for 24 hours and it took a week to come out of the haze of exhaustion.
There you have it. I'm back now and hopefully, I'll be getting back to blogging on a regular basis.

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