Recent Things That Really Happened

  1. Car behind us pulled up too close. Me: Oh Okay , do you want me to get out of this car and take care of this right now? AC: Calm down bulldog, I think we are fine.
  2. Me: Jared your grounded. Jared: I’m going to Dad’s so what is my punishment. Me: I will poop on your play station. Jared: Please don’t. Also, what is wrong with you?
  3. Bibi to Jay J: Listen Jay J are you still with that girl? Jay J: Yes Bibi: When they look that good and they can cook you need to make sure they can’t get away. Not to mention you can have a lot of fun if you know what I mean. (Bibi=91 year old great grandmother with no boundaries).
  4. AC: Tell JoDee not to post that shit on FaceBook. Me: Ok, I will and I am pretty sure that will work as well as did don’t do drugs and don’t have sex. (pause to look at him like he is a dingbat, and to hear OC laugh). AC: One of these times she might listen. Me: No. She won’t.
  5. Text from Jay J to Mom: Don’t worry I got instant karma for getting two flat tires in your car. The dog ate my entire honey cake and then peed on the crumbs. Me: Hold on. Can’t stop laughing. Wait, dying. Ok. Nope still laughing. Karma is a bitch, son.
  6. Jared while AC is telling us that someone at his work recently lost a loved one to cancer: That is so sad. We should send them an edible arrangement with sun-died tomatoes. (Inappropriate, but hilarious).
  7. While FaceTiming with SC: Me: FaceTime is not flattering. SC: you have to hold it up high. Me: I look Mopa otherwise known as Jeffrey Tambor. SC: Oh my god! You totally do! Me: wow, you didn’t have to sound so excited about it.
  8. After making vegan and non-vegan cookies with OC and Jared: Me: Wow. OC: What? Me: The vegan cookies which should taste and look like cardboard look like they were just cooked by someone on the Food Network while the regular full fat and yummy cookies look like Helen Keller made them. With no help.
  9. This honest to God happened, Me to co-worker: I love my new office especially because I used to have birds fly into my window all the time since we were on the fifth floor. Now we are on the first floor so that won’t happen. As bird flies into the window. CC- Well that just happened. Me- What the actual eff was that??????????
  10. Lastly, I know I am doing something right as a wife when during a simple argument my husband covers his nipples with his hands while saying don’t be scary.

Sad and Happy

Nineteen years ago yesterday I woke up with a sinus infection. My face hurt, my nose was plugged, and my teeth throbbed. I think everyone can relate to that. The teeth throbbing thing really sucks. I also happened to be almost 8 months preggers. Baby Boy Joyce was not born yet, but was due the middle of the next month. Daddy-O had an interview with the fire department, and I decided that Miss JoDee and I would watch TV all day. Staying in bed, with a warm face cloth on my face.  By the afternoon my face really hurt and my back ached from laying in bed all day.  So, I called the doctor who told me to come in which is a real chore at nearly 8 months pregnant with a toddler. I struggled to get out of bed, and I struggled to get shoes on and I struggled to get JoDee ready. I can clearly remember her sitting on the bathroom floor not putting on her shoes after me telling her for the millionth time. I grabbed her arm yanking her to stand, it frightened her, and I felt terrible about it later.

I didn’t know I was in labor. I would have thought that since I had been down this road before that I would recognize labor, but I didn’t. I didn’t know until I got to the doctor’s office and they sent me over to the hospital. JoDee with me the whole time. I won’t get into all the details, like when she went to use the bathroom, found a bathtub, promptly shedding her clothes. She ran out of the bathroom in her socks to let me know she was going to take a bath. The nurse straightened that situation out. Eventually she was picked up by friends and family and labor progressed, Daddy-O showed up and huzzah, a baby was born. He was born the quietest baby, the best behaved and required the least attention. Not much has changed in the past 19 years.

Last year we celebrated Jay J’s birthday whole. All of us together, eating and drinking (non-alcoholic drinks, thank you very much) and being a family. This year was not much different, except one of us was missing. I don’t know if anyone felt her missing like I did but it was sad for me. She didn’t call him or me. Silence is a killer. When someone is yelling or screaming or crying at least you can understand what they are feeling. Silence is deafening. It’s the absence of something but it makes a very big statement. It is the epitome of making something of nothing.  I suppose, given the choice I know she is making of late, that I should get used to this. I have a feeling that this is going to be our new norm. She has made it clear when she leaves WATC she doesn’t want to go for further treatment, she is angry that she is there again, and she doesn’t want to talk to me. I always said that I would rather hate me and live then love me and die but what happens if she hates me and dies? I never really thought about that, but the truth is, that could very well happen.

Have you ever missed a person? I don’t mean like when you first start dating someone or your best friend is on vacation. I mean physical missed someone so badly you could smell the shampoo they used or the perfume they always wore. The kind of missing someone which can only accompany massive depression because you know you cannot see them, or talk to them. Sometimes there aren’t enough prayers in the world or anyone to hear them or just asking too much, so they can’t be answered. Sometimes people have to stay gone and away. I don’t know how the universe works, but missing someone sucks, even if it is what is supposed to happen.

I don’t believe that is what is supposed to happen anyway. I believe that life, everyone’s life, has two paths. At the time of birth we all start on a path. That is the beginning. A secondary road is parallel to us. It has a different outcome. At anytime we can jump back and forth between paths depending on the decision we make. Sometimes we may not understand why we end up back on an alternate path, and we aren’t meant to know. But at any time, we can make a choice to get on the other path again. That only happens when we recognize and acknowledge we need to make that change. Sometimes we are on an alternate path because of the decisions of others. In those situations all a person can do is stay the course, and hope for the best.

Yesterday, June 9th, was a really happy day for Jay J. He got his favorite dinner (pulled pork sandwiches with maple mayo and cheddar cheese) and Cinderella made baked mac and cheese with ritz crackers and corn on the cob. He also had his favorite cake and opened plenty of presents.  It was a happy day. And I was happy for him.

I was also sad, because I missed someone.

Promzilla, Detox Departure and Another Day in Paradise

Well, shit. This has been a fun few weeks. Someday, when I am dead, my headstone is gong to read “That did not go as planned.” That’s it. It literally describes my life in full without the need for further explanation.  Take for instance, when you are on your way to a perfect, little gentleman’s first birthday when you are suddenly pulled over for an expired expiration sticker, which you didn’t notice but that becomes less of a problem than the fact that you are driving with an revoked license because you never dealt with your addict daughters car which was abandoned and in your name.  Yes, like that moment.  Like that moment that escalated quickly. However, we won’t talk about that. What we will talk about is that Jay J and Cinderella went to the prom on Friday night. This was amazing because while he was in high school, he refused, and I do mean refused because I begged, to go to any of his own dances. But along come the gf and whammo, he is prom-ing itup.  He prom’d it up like a mofo. He owned that prom.

Anyway, both him and Cinderella have impeccable taste and are a little bit of a brand whore. So of course they wanted a Michael Khors tux. No, they couldn’t get the simple tux off the rack but the special order tux. Ok, fine. It’s probably the only time I will be able to get him into a tux anyway, so special order away. I have done the whole prom business with JoDee so I’m familiar with how this works on the girl end. The fancy, super expensive dress that hope covers most of the landscape, the shoes, make-up, tan, jewelry….ya, been there and done that. I was expecting this to be easy peasy with Jay J. WRONG. His tux pants didn’t fit when they came in the day before (and the dude actually asked Jay J if he put them on right. The pants. If he knew how to put pants on. Jay J, of course, answered like only a child of mine could by asking the guy if he (Jay J) looked like a dumb ass? HA! Love it) and then on the day of the prom, when they came in at 3:30 IN THE AFTERNOON, they were ripped. It was the tux that just wouldn’t quit! But, alas, the pants were fixed, he got all dolled up and look extremely debonair if I do say so myself, pics below to prove it!

What didn’t go as planned was what happened while we were waiting for the all-clear-to-come-over text from Cinderella letting us know she was ready for pictures. I was preparing supper to put in the oven for when we got back from pictures when daughter dearest called from detox. I answered the phone and said you’re on speaker and everyone is here. Immediately she said pick up. I knew. I knew right then she was leaving. Usually she wants to speak to everyone. She might cry and be sad, but she wants to hear their voices. I took her off speaker asking her what the matter was. She said I’m leaving. We went back and forth. Her telling me it’s inevitable, she will use eventually so why bother, me telling her it doesn’t have to be this way, she doesn’t have to do this. Eventually, she hung up on me.  I’m not surprised. I was telling her all the reasons she should stay and make her life better and her addiction did not want to hear that.

I took some pictures of Jay J getting ready for the prom and tried to be in the moment but it’s hard. It’s hard to put that aside. Though, I feel like this is a pattern. Holidays, birthdays, any special moments seemed to be marred by the latest and greatest (by greatest I do mean horrifying) relapse. And each time that happens I  miss time from the family and I miss time from work and sure as shit stinks a week later one of the other kids will get sick or need me and I will feel like I can’t take the time off of work. This usually affords me a great deal of guilt which keeps me up at night and trying to make it up to them in all the wrong ways. Like letting Jared miss a day of school when he begs, or not making Jay J do his chores until the recycling actually falls over and I have to send a search party in to find Baby Kitty who is not a baby anymore but I don’t care.

As I called the detox back to tell someone of her plan, I watched AC help with his cuff links.

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As I hung up with them, a case worker going to try to talk to JoDee, I was able to snap a quick picture just as AC was done helping him with his tie and jacket.

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The case worker called back, I spoke to JoDee, Big A spoke to JoDee, she was leaving no matter what. I made a decision. I wasn’t going to pick her up. I couldn’t bail on Jay J’s event. I was front and center for every single one of JoDee’s accomplishments and I could not and would not miss another thing of the other kids. While we were taking this:

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And this:

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And having our minds blown at how stunning they both were here:

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And how dwarf-ish, and round, I look compared to the rest of my family here:

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I told Big A he could go if he wanted but I wasn’t doing it. It sucks feeling like I have to pick sides. It sucks to feel like I have to choose between my kids. But I have to try to remember that I am not picking JoDee over Jay J. I’m choosing Jay J over addiction. Maybe if I tell myself that enough, I will even believe it.

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Also, I thought JoDee was a real promzilla when it was her turn, but Cinderella was taking no crap! She told us where to stand, and who got to take pictures with us, and reminded people not to touch her because her dress was white. She pushed Jay J into pictures and out of pictures and her sister into pictures and out of pictures. It was awesome. I loved every minute of it!

Six Minutes

It took me six minutes to load the dishwasher last night, and six minutes to unload it this morning.

My morning  coffee perks in six minutes.

I can sort the boy’s laundry and start the washing machine in six minutes.

When I am in a rush, and don’t have to shave anything important, I can shower in six minutes.

On the way to work, I often sit for 6 minutes at the railroad crossing when the train is in.

A person can meditate for six minutes.

The average length of a Justin Timberlake song is six minutes.

Major League baseball cut the average length of an inning by six minutes in 2015.

Speed dating in Calgary is typically six minutes.

It takes six minutes to make a hardboiled egg.

Pinterest has multiple videos that are six minutes in length.

AC (because I can’t) can sew a button on his shirt in six minutes.

It takes six minutes to walk from the garage, ride the elevator and arrive at SC room at Children’s Hospital.

It takes six minutes to dust and vacuum behind the tv and tv stand, extracting all the dog and cat hair that accumulates.

Soaking in a bowl of white vinegar, it takes six minutes to clear mineral deposits from the showered head and faucets.

I spent 6 minutes deleting the million and one selfies that my children find hilarious to take when they highjack my cell phone.

Someone could have a near-fatal overdose of heroin, causing her heart to stop. Six minutes could be the length of time she was dead, until they brought her back.

Anything can happen in six minutes.

 

 

 

The Unwanted 9th Wheel

Well, we are back. Back to school, back to work, back from the most amazing vacation that we have all ever had. We laughed, and fought, and swam, and ate, and walked, and ate, and beached, and ate. We rode pirate ships, catamarans, ATV’s and cabs until our little hearts were content. Most nights we passed out from sun and exhaustion. We had the trip of our lives. There is no doubt about it.

That doesn’t mean that it went seamlessly. It did not. That’s the really shitty part about addiction. You can’t just leave it home when you’re on vacation. I couldn’t take it from JoDee, wrap in plastic, and put it in a safe. It follows us everywhere. We were very excited the first day we got there. For those that don’t know, AC and I got married in our back yard the night before. Actually, it was a surprise wedding. Everyone came over expecting to celebrate my 40th birthday before we took off, and when they got there…. SURPRISE. Only our 5 children knew. Our parents didn’t, our families didn’t, our friends/co-workers. So, we barely slept the night before, we got on a plane at 7am (getting to the airport at 5am!) and landed around 12noon. By the time we got cabs, found the condo and arrived, we all were exhausted, and excited to see where everything was.

We went out for lunch because we were all starving. At lunch JoDee ordered a drink (non alcoholic), took two sips and said she didn’t feel well. Her voice became funny, she was nauseated. All bad signs. I whispered in AC ear “Is she high?” He responded by saying that at times like this he wishes I was fluent in Spanish so we could talk about the kids without them knowing what we were saying. We had only been in Aruba for a few hours and all ready I was on the alert. And it made me so angry. I was annoyed. I was on vacation to celebrate our wedding and our families, couldn’t I get a break? The answer is no. There is no break. It comes with you to Aruba. It makes you not want to finish your burger that was delicious and juicy and suddenly became acrid and revolting. It makes you question your decision to let her go back to the condo with the other kids while you go to the grocery store with AC. It makes you short-tempered, and foul, on a beautiful island where everyone is smiling and sun-bathing around you. And that makes you even more foul.

When we were alone AC said how could she get it here? I don’t think she is high. Maybe she is. Honestly I don’t know. And my response to that was “thanks for clearing that up.” When we got back to the condo the kids were telling me she was acting strange, she was slurring her words, she was tired, etc. I thought maybe her drink had alcohol in it? Maybe they didn’t give her a virgin fruity-tooty-umbreller-y drink. But I would think she would have tasted that. Maybe she did and she didn’t say anything?? I pondered the possibilities through unpacking, organizing, arranging beds. After a while, the kids all settled in and AC and I went to sit pool side, Jared and OC were swimming. We laid in the sun, as the day began to turn to-night. The steaming heat and humidity from the day began to fade to a comfortable warmth as the sun started to hide behind the horizon. I laid by the pool losing out on the first sun set of the trip to question whether JoDee was high or not. It was infuriating. Jay J came out to tell me that he, JayPay and JoDee were going to go walk around the beach for a while. I immediately started panicking. I did not think this was a good way to start the trip. Jay J told me to relax, he was going with them, no one would do anything stupid. I believed that as much as I believe my dog is going to become a vegetarian.

By this time, JoDee was fine. Totally normal. She had taken a nap, showered and ate and was perfect. Anyone who knows someone who uses knows that they can’t rebound that fast. She kept saying she was tired. Not high. I can’t say for certain that she wasn’t high, but I can’t say for certain she isn’t high right now. What I can say is there are many times I think she is using until I see her high. Then I remember exactly what it is like. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure it out. I also know that I could not spend my well deserved, expensive, greatly anticipated vacation chasing JoDee’s recovery. I can’t chase JoDee’s recovery anywhere. It’s not my recovery to chase. So, I let them all go out. Within a few hours I was completely unhinged, so I text Jay J for them all to come home. When they got back we all sat down and had a calm conversation about rules, using and boundaries. Ha. If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. Of course, when they got home I yelled and screamed and they got defensive as they should . Then we all calmed down, and I made it clear that I wanted to be able to have a good time. They made it clear that they wanted to have fun too and not be scrutinized for every single thing they do with an excusing eye. We made peace and enjoyed the rest of the trip.

As a mother I couldn’t help but worry, a little, but I was able to put it in check. I kept an eye on all of them. All 6 of them. Not just JoDee. But that’s par for the course of parenting and parenting an addict. There is regular parenting and watching and monitoring and then there is everything else. Being on vacation doesn’t mean I didn’t stop having an addict for a child. It was a good reminder that it never goes away. I can’t escape it. She can’t escape it. We have to figure out how to live with it in every aspect of our lives or we will be fighting it. Fighting addiction is what leads to relapse. Pretending it is not there will lead to relapse. There were 8 of us on that trip. 8 people who wanted to have fun and snorkel and swim and shop and relax. 7 of us did that really well, 1 of us hung out with the 9th guest that no one wanted, or could see, except me. Reality always shows up the time I least want to see it. But the reality is this is my life, and I’m grateful for that because if I don’t see Reality lurking around somewhere then JoDee is gone and there is nothing to worry about anymore.

I won’t bore anyone with a million pictures but here are a few highlights!

photo 5            Vaca AC ME    photo 1 photo 4                        photo 2 photo 3          Aruba

 

Not Making The Past My Present

 

I was just  shy of 8 months pregnant with Jay J in June of 1997. At the time, I had a waterbed which was not easy to get out of in that condition. Lumbering out of bed, my back hurt and I knew it was from the lack of support. Let’s face it, when you are that pregnant a water bed is as useful as a sump pump would have been on the Titanic. The water basically parted like an act of God, settling me nicely on the wooden frame on the bottom of the bed. As the day wore on my back pain felt better, and then worse, and then better and then worse, not to mention I was congested. Fearing I had a sinus infection I called my doctor, and they told me to come in. JoDee was playing Hungry Hungry Hippo at the time in her room. I stuck my head through the door way to tell her to get her shoes on. She was sitting in that way only children can with her knees bent out to the sides beside her. At my age if I tried to sit with my butt on the ground and my knees bent with me feet out to the side, it would take a crane to pick me back up and reconstructive surgery to get my legs straight.

I told her we were going to the doctor’s office, so to get her shoes on. She nodded in agreement, never taking her eyes off her game. I brushed my teeth, got my shoes on, let the dogs out and back in, and went back to her room. She was in the same spot, not having moved except to pound the hippo on the head to grab the marbles. I told her again we needed to go so to get her shoes. Again she nodded her head in acknowledgment without moving a muscle. I paged ex-Husband The Original to call me, waited for his call, told him we were heading to the doctor, and went back to her room. Still playing the game. Typical kid. Not listening, doing what she wanted, not paying attention. At the time, I did not know I was in labor. At the time, I was ridiculously preggers, with a sore back, who slept on a water bed, and had no desire to go to the doctors to begin with. I was annoyed. And fat. And hadn’t seen my toes since Reagan was in office. In two giant steps I was in her room standing next to her, and I grabbed her arm yanking her to her feet. I startled her. Badly. She had the most terrified look on her face. Her eye brows, a slightly darker blonde than her long hair, shot up and her brown eyes opened wide. She pulled her hands up to her chest in a protective stance. That look has haunted me ever since. Not just the look, the body language. The person with whom she should feel the most comfortable suddenly became the most frightening.

As a parent it’s my job to protect my kids not scare the shit out of them. Granted, it was probably insignificant to her. She probably doesn’t even remember it. Once we finally got to the doctors they determined I was in fact in labor. Active labor. They sent us over to the hospital. Ol’daddy’o was at an interview for the fire department so she had to come with me. I was, of course, hooked up to a fetal monitor and had an IV so I was pretty much stuck in bed. I’m  sure when JoDee thinks about the day Jay J was born, she thinks about how she came strutting out of the bathroom in my labor room naked as a jay bird save for her little white ruffled socks exclaiming that there was a “tubby so I take tubby” as I frantically hit the button for the nurse. The nurse laughed and politely re-dressed her telling her that the tubby was for mommy’s only.

There have been many times over course of JoDee’s life that I have seen that same look on her face. The first time I got called to the principal’s office because she was acting less than lady like. The first time the dentist told me she had a cavity and needed a filling. The many times her father reported some poor behavior to her brothers when she was with him. And later in life, when she would come home late, or I found out she was somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be. There were also times that I knew she was up to no good, that I did nothing. One time she got dropped off by her then boyfriend and I could tell she had been drinking. She was rambling on about some fight they had  crying. It wasn’t funny by any means but somehow I thought it was comical. I told her to go to bed and in the morning I gave her a lecture about drinking and being under age. She told me it was the first time (it wasn’t) and I told her I believed her (I didn’t). I assumed, then, that this was normal teenage rebellion stuff and since she was basically a good kid whom was responsible, it would be ok. Wrong. At the time Ex-Husband II lectured me about yelling at her, and telling her she was grounded and blah blah blah. To some extent, he is probably right, but at that time he was blitzed out of his head 99% of the time so I felt he was hypocritical. Also true to some extent, though there is the whole adult vs child argument. That relationship was going downhill at the general speed of an avalanche so it’s possible I just didn’t want to listen to him. I have been known to be stubborn on occasion…. I know it’s hard to believe.

I also thought about the time my dad caught me drinking. He didn’t tell my mom. He didn’t yell at me. In fact we have never spoken about it. But I know when he knew. And he knew that was not typical behavior for me. He must have known that I was not putting myself at grave risk and it was just normal teenage rebellion. How did he know that I would not turn out to be a raging alcoholic, heroin user but I didn’t know JoDee would? Was he just lucky? Or was I just unlucky? Or was I being paid in full cosmically for all the wrongs I had ever done to someone else? I mean the reality is if you really want to make a person suffer, suffer their child, because no parent suffers more than when their child is in pain. I’m not a very religious person, and I have never found comfort in the church as some people do. JoDee has a higher power, Jay J is atheist, Jared is too young to make a definitive decision, as it should be. That being said I do believe that everything happens for a reason. There is no such thing as coincidences. But try as I might, I cannot make heads or tails of addiction hitting my family so hard. Maybe it’s so JoDee could find her soul mate (JayPay). Maybe it was to gear our life from one place to another. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t a good parent. Maybe being a teen mother lead JoDee down a path that she couldn’t have changed no matter what. As a young mother I certainly had no patience. Not like I do now. I was in a troubled relationship. The kids saw fighting; break ups, getting back together, a lot of instability. Granted, we are both in stable relationships now both partnered to people the other really like and admire, but it wasn’t always that way. It was a long road. Not just for me but for Daddy-O and his wife too. We have come a long way, blending families and traditions and cultures is not easy for anyone. But that isn’t where I think the problem happened. I can’t put my finger on it. I keep repalying incidents from the past and thinking is that it? Was that where everything went wrong? Are our children doomed from birth because of their parents? Is it because the influence  from our extended families? Was it because of a broken family?

I could ask myself this question a thousand times for the rest of my life, but I will never get an answer. I have to be careful that I don’t dig myself into a depressing hole trying to pinpoint the moment, the instant, the very second that she started down the wrong path. It only serves to distract me from the present. It is another way that addiction, heroin, robs the family. It’s ancillary damage done and it’s a continued symptom of the real problem. Just as JoDee needs to focus on her recovery every single day, making sure to wake up and face the day clean and serene, I need to wake up making the decided choice to concentrate on what I know and feel. Not berating myself for anything I can’t  change. I tell JoDee that things she did in the past, in active addiction or in an attempt to find sobriety, should stay in her past. She is allowed to forgive herself and not dwell on them because they are part of the what was not the what is. When we spend too much time contemplating the mistakes we made we bring them into our future. By remembering them and using them to make better choices we grow and evolve into a better stronger person. If I could only practice what I preach….

Graduation Realizations

Graduation is over. And has been. Thank god. Not that things have quieted down for us, because they haven’t. But that’s life I guess.   I have tried to write this post several times since then. It’s harder to write than one might think, but I think it’s important. So here goes….

The excitement leading up to Jay J’s graduation was an anticipated feeling. I had been there done that with JoDee already, so I knew the flood of emotion as Jay J started the processional. And I knew that I would be crazy busy putting the final touches on the party for after the ceremony. The list of things to do seemed endless, but alas, the day came, he got his diploma (and not a note inside that see you at summer school first sucka, which is always a possibility!) and we partied like rock stars until the wee hours of the morning. Actually, no we didn’t. I was in bed by 10. Dead asleep. But you get the drift. It went fine. Perfectly. No issues. JoDee did not relapse as I had assumed she would, and the day was good. Mostly. There was only one small issue.

As we walked into the football stadium that I had graduated from a mere 21 years before, I was only thinking of getting a good seat so I wasn’t really paying attention to people around me. I was honing in on a golden spot at the top of the bleachers so no one could block my view and so I could lean against the railing without anyone being behind me. As I started the climb up the metallic steps, careful not to fall like an idiot in between the slates, I spotted someone I went to high school with. She greeted me with a warm hello, a quick hug, then with a serious face, dropped her tone asking “How’s JoDee?” I was sort of taken aback for a moment. First of all the hushed tone insinuates that it’s private, whispering so no one hears, hushed so not to let others in on the conversation. But I didn’t pick up on this at first. I was sort of confused, I looked behind me to see if she fell, but she was walking up the steps to catch up to me. I looked at her, confused, and said “fine, why?” Glancing from side to side, she whispered apologetically, “I read your blog.” Oh. That. Hmm. Hadn’t thought of that. I hadn’t really put into perspective what writing my family business on the internet for anyone, anywhere, from sea to shining sea, would mean. It means, I have no secrets and everyone knows our bizniz.

So, in-of-itself that isn’t really bad, I mean, that is the whole point of this blog- bring awareness to people about addiction, that it isn’t scumbag losers who steal and kill to get drugs. Addicts do become that sometimes but they started as someone’s loved one, and even if they die that way, someone somewhere still misses them, wanted better for them, is grieving for them. I’m not ashamed of JoDee’s addiction. I’m not even really ashamed of her behavior, and I’m certainly not ashamed of mine. Anything I did in an effort to save JoDee from herself is not something I will regret. I probably will regret somethings I didn’t do, that now I realize I should have done, but that is sort of not the point here. The point is that a lot happened in that few seconds. And it took a few seconds for my brain to catch up. Once I recovered from my what-the-effing-eff-is-happening moment, I thanked her for reading the blog and explained that the purpose of the blog was to educate people that addiction is not a dirty word, a miscreant in a family of moral beings, a reason to whisper. And she smiled her beautifully polished, almost glow in the dark, white smile and I headed up to my spot on the bleachers. Sending a message and realizing the message is not being realized but is being heard is something completely different. (If you understood that sentence you are a better person than I) As I took my spot  against the railing as I had hoped, I had plenty of time to look around and think about how many people in that audience knew about my families struggles. I had over 20,000 views on the blog by then. That is a lot of people. Are they all people who want to know about addiction? Or are they wrong-doers trying to relish in my misery? People who disliked JoDee that were enjoying how tough things had been since she left school?

The biggest question was did that even matter? Did it matter to me if people who disliked me or anyone in my family, enjoyed the pain we were in? And the answer was of course it matters! Hell yes! People please. I would lying if I said it doesn’t urk me a little bit to think that my nemesis hears my melees, thriving on my pain and suffering. I would be lying if I said that I wouldn’t do the same! How many of us have seen the person that took our place in someone’s life and felt just a little bit gleeful when you realized you were better looking?  Isn’t it a wee bit gratifying when someone at work who gave you a terrible time is finally get a terrible time from someone else? It’s a terrible concept but it happens. I also know first-hand that unless you have dealt with addiction yourself, you have no idea how painful it is. Anyone that finds some gratitude to karma for my child’s misdeeds, just doesn’t know any better. And the karma bus has a funny way of turning on you when you least expect it. So, I decided, I’m not going to worry myself about that. The point of this blog was to help others like me. Let people know they aren’t alone; find some comfort in numbers, sorta kinda. If there are people who read for the merriment of my discomfort, I sat to them, have at it. But I would watch the rearview mirror for the karma bus, because it always comes around.

Although, for the briefest of moments, I felt completely vulnerable, I realized I was the most vulnerable when JoDee was in active addiction. 900 times. Not climbing the stairs to graduation and being reminded that my words are everywhere. I’m glad people read the blog. For entertainment, for spite or because it is helpful to someone in a similar situation. For me, it is cathartic. It feels like a little bit of something I can control in an uncontrollable situation, and it documents something so horrendous I never want to repeat it again… if we don’t pay attention history can repeat itself. So before the band even started to play the first note of Pomp and Circumstance, I had realized, worried, pondered and got over it which gave me the time to cry, laugh, cry and watch my second child, my oldest son, the serious one, walk across the stage wearing his classic white sunglasses, to get his high school diploma.  Delighted and overwhelmed with pride that I had my family surrounding us. Clean, alive, and together.

Mom and Jay J Our Kids