Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When nothing seems to matter anymore...

I'm finding it very difficult to care about anything any more. I mean, I care about stuff. I care about my family, and my friends, but I don't feel any passion for or against anything anymore.

I'm due to return to uni next week and I'm not feeling it at all. Where I used to have this burning desire to do a PhD and write and teach writing and discuss all things writing, I just don't feel anything right now. I haven't thought about writing since I walked out of my office last. I haven't thought about my thesis in three weeks. Honestly, I think it's going to take me a week to just to refresh myself on what the hell I was even writing a about (thank good I had started keeping a journal this year).

I think it's a Maslow's hierarchy thing. With all the stress of the past month, just struggling to keep my head above water physically, mentally, and emotionally - losing $250 a fortnight on top of all the emotional trauma has been a great financial strain - it is difficult to focus on self-actualisation when all the needs below that are barely, or not at all, being met.

A week and a bit a good I was feeling okay, like I was ready to go back, but right now I'm not. Maybe tomorrow I'll be fine again. Who knows. Stability is not exactly my strong suit at the moment. I have found myself wondering why I ever thought having a PhD was some sort of Holy Grail of achievements to aspire to. I wonder now if this isn't just some sort of ego trip, you know, like, hey, let's kills a few trees just to show the world how clever I am with words.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Still here...

While I have a number of blog posts sitting in my drafts folder, I don't seem to be able to bring myself to hit the publish key on any of them. Life has been pretty painful lately with all the upheaval surrounding Erik's sudden departure; the self-recriminations, the dealing with fallout, the grief, the anger, the relief, the guilt. There has been a lot going on.

I'm really glad I intermitted for April, I've been a mess. I've spent several days in bed, or wandering between my bed and my egg chair in the lounge room like some sort of automated zombie doll. We saw Erik on the GOM's birthday last Sunday. He asked to see his dad, to drop off a present. That was a first for Erik - organising a present on his own. I would have said no, but I left it up to the GOM and he said yes. It didn't go well. Erik spent maybe two minutes with the GOM, then wanted to see Lukas to ask him how things had been at home, and to ask for a game, at which point I (luckily, Lukas told me later) interrupted them and told Erik if he wasn't spending any more time with his dad, it was probably time for him to go. At the door, a conversation started up which led to 40 minutes of back and fro about what had happened and what had been said to whom and why things had been done and what people thought was happening from here. It is clear now that this is a permanent move for Erik. That the girlfriends mother sees it as a permanent move (she has bought him a tv, a heater for his room, is having air-conditioning installed in his room, aside from getting a contract for an iPhone 6s for him - he had a choice between that or a Samsung, he said). He accused me of abusing him and when I asked why the girlfriend's mum hadn't reported me or us, he said it was because he had told her not to because the other boys would be taken from us. This is rubbish. I told him to tell her to report us, so I could clear my name because I have absolutely no fear of being found to be an abusive parent - yes, I have lost my temper out of sheer frustration - and I have apologised and I always do my best to find better ways to communicate with my kids -, and yes, I have set boundaries, but I have not abused him or any of my children.

It has taken me until today to find my footing again since Sunday's episode. We ended up re-doing the GOM's birthday celebration on Monday because the birthday dinner we'd planned for Sunday night was a wipe-out. Luckily, one of his presents had not arrived on time, and arrived in the mail Monday morning, and he didn't know about it, and it was the best present and so Monday night was a lot of fun and made up for Sunday's disaster.

As horrible as it is to say, to realise. We've slowly come to the realisation over the past three weeks of how much more peaceful our house has become. There are no more arguments. The kids rarely bicker now. Bryn is so much more relaxed now that he doesn't live in fear of being bullied by Erik. We found out after Erik left that he had actually been bullying Lukas as well. Beating him up if he informed us of Erik's transgressions. Needless to say, Lukas is more confident now as well. He suddenly seems much more mature as well. Even our little firecracker, Ari, is more settled. While Erik didn't pick on him as much as he picked on Bryn - though he was starting to in the past few months - Ari picked up on the tension, especially in the mornings, and often got hyperactive just from the electricity in the air. There is less of that now. In fact, the mornings are so quiet now, without the GOM have to constantly chase Erik up to get out of bed, have a shower, get dressed, pack his bag, brush his teeth, get out to the car - often resulting in screeching - that one morning I thought they'd left the house already when they were still sitting in the lounge room.

Why did such a terrible thing have to happen for our house to become a nice place to be?

People have said to me, not to let Erik get to me, not to let him win, not to show him that I feel awful, but this is not a game for me. This is my child. Something has gone terribly wrong with us. How can I pretend I'm okay with that?

Saturday, April 02, 2016

The sun and the shadows...

The beach is my happy place, always has been. Sea air and the spray of the ocean never fails me.

Today we went to the beach and for a little while I was able to let the tension which has been crushing my body from the inside melt away under the sun.,,

When we left home, it was already lunch time, so we decided to stop at Hungry Jacks on the way. We let the boys order whatever they wanted, so of course they went for the most unnatural, chemical-ladened thing on the menu, a bubblegum Icey.

This morning when I got Lukas up to get ready, he said he couldn't go unless he had a rashie. With his red hair and fair skin, he burns very easily, so he was being quite sensible. He said he wouldn't swim in a t-shirt. So, the Grumpy Old Man ducked down to the shops and got him a rashie. Then he said, he didn't want to go swimming anyway because he hadn't slept well overnight and was feeling a bit yuck. I asked him if he was sure he didn't at least want to take his swimmers with him, just in case he changed his mind at the beach. He was certain he wouldn't change his mind.

Harlem had a blast, and I couldn't miss this opportunity to get a bit of a glamour shot of him with the Melbourne skyline in the background.

I wanted a photo of him actually looking at the camera, but he was so distracted by the flocks of seagulls he kept swinging his nose this way and that way until I finally said, 'Harlem, are you hungry?' That got his attention... This is his, 'Huh, what you say?' look.

I was quite looking forward to seeing him in the water. As you can tell by the laid back ears here and the lowered head, he wasn't terribly keen on the cold wet stuff lapping around his belly. He couldn't get out of the water fast enough!

Ari had a ball, and is already asking when we're going again. As I took this photo it occurred to me that this is the last summer this particular suit will be worn. We bought it for Lukas when he was four, so it's about 10 or so years old. It has worn exceptionally well, and been a favourite with the boys.

When Bryn got out of the water (the last one out, as usual), he was so cold he ran across the sand like Popeye, all bowlegged and fists pumping.

So, back to Lukas not wanting to swim, and definitely NOT wanting to swim in a tee shirt...

Of course, afterwards we had to have ice-cream. It was much warmer than this photo suggests, though the wind had picked up considerably by the time we were leaving, it was a perfect weather day for the beach, not too hot, and not cold, with a nice breeze.

Ah, the family tradition of eating ice-cream cones from the bottom - it wasn't necessary with these waffle cones, but old habits die hard.

This is Harlem nearly pulling Lukas over as he snuffles around the garden bed on the foreshore.

Yesterday afternoon, Ari had been playing out in the back yard and when he finished he asked me to come out and have a look at a chalk picture of The Joker he had drawn. I have to say, I am pretty impressed with his drawing, the proportions and the colours. We might have another artist on our hands here...

It was a really nice day, and for a while I felt pretty good.

As we were driving in the driveway my GP called. I'd apparently missed an appointment at the Eye and Ear Hospital a fortnight ago. I had no idea I even had an appointment then. While I had her on the phone, I asked if she'd received a letter from my neurologist about a new medication which treats both epilepsy and migraines at the same time. She checked and she had. So, I have an appointment with her on Tuesday to get a prescription for that. I am also going to get my anti-anxiety meds increased because this last week has obviously completely up-ended me.

I texted Erik again last night, and he returned my text this morning. He said he hoped we were having fun. The kid is clueless, really. He just doesn't get the impact of his actions. I don't know if it would make him happy that we've all been stressed, or if he just wouldn't care either way. I don't get the impression he would be upset to hear we have been upset though. He expressed frustration over me changing the passwords to his email accounts and social media (something I have a legal right to do as his guardian, by the way, and I did it only to gain access to make sure he was okay), Obviously, he was frustrated, I get that, but how can he not see our frustration over his constant lying and stealing - why is it always a one way street with this one?

I was able to confirm that the girlfriend's mother did give him an iPhone 6s. Something about that just doesn't sit right with me. She has only known my son for maybe four months. Even then she hasn't spent a lot of time with him. But just four days after him moving into her house, she gives him a phone worth several hundreds of dollars, if not over one thousand. He already had a phone, a pretty good phone, an iPhone 5. He didn't need another phone, or another phone number, and certainly not a top of the range smart phone. It just doesn't sit right with me. Is she trying to buy his favour? Why? What happens when he and her daughter break up (oh, I know, it might be true love and last for years, but seriously, they're 15 and 16, the odds are stacked against them). Will she take the phone back? Would he be worried that she might take the phone back and so not break up with her daughter and move out. It seems like a huge outlay (either an upfront purchase, or a long contract which would have to be in her name), for someone who has only just taken a kid in.

I hope he doesn't end up feeling like he owes her because she gave him an expensive phone. Certainly, she is shifting the power dynamic.

Good Job!