Dropping Wisdom Bombs

Across the Ages
Across the Ages

Thursday afternoon we were in the car and Evan asked me about when I got married and if Josh and I lived together first.

My son Jeremy was in the car, too.

Evan’s had limited exposure to how healthy relationships are supposed to work, so I told the truth.

The whole truth.

And nothing but the truth so help me God.

Yes. Uncle Josh moved in with me two days after we met. We lived together for two years, then we got married and then after a year we had a baby.

I said, “Think about it this way.  Would you buy a car without even looking at the inside or taking it for a spin? What if it’s a junker? You’ll be stuck with an expensive junker that needs repairs you can’t afford or do yourself your whole life. Live together first.  Also, don’t get married until you’re at least thirty.”

So that is me, in all my motherly glory, freely distributing sage as F advice.

Advertisements

Many Travels, Many Fortunes.

"Many travels, many fortunes." Elder Futhark Runes Egil's Saga 1240 AD
“Many travels, many fortunes.”
Elder Futhark Runes
Egil’s Saga
1240 AD

A couple of years ago I was blessed with the best neighbors anyone has ever had.

 
Finn, who is 70, is Norwegian. Debbie his wife is 65 and she is from Wisconsin. They have a son who is in his upper 20s whose name is Jan Erik.
 
We love them. The first time we officially met was about two weeks after they moved in. Finn showed up drunk as shit, and told my children about how he was a Viking and that they should take him to school for show and tell because he is a direct descendent of Eric Bloodaxe.
 
 
Anyway, they are the Best Neighbors Ever, as what I’m about to tell you will demonstrate:
 
On Thursday I noticed that Rosco (our little poodle/terrier mix) had a little bit of blood coming out of his penis.
 
So I called the vet and Josh took him in on Friday. Finn was also at his house on Friday (it caught on fire about a month ago and he comes to supervise the professionals regularly) and came by to check on me (wrapped my ankle, even) and noticed that Rosco wasn’t here.
 
So I told him what was going on and that he was at the vet and they thought he was okay but couldn’t diagnose anything definitively without X-rays which at $90 a pop we just couldn’t afford right now with everything else going on so the vet just told us to be super vigilant.
 
Finn said, “Call vet. Tell them to do X-rays. I will sponsor.”
 
I said, “Oh you don’t need to do that for us,” and he said, “Not for you. For Rosco. When Viking says he will do something he will do it.”
 
Look. I’m not all that worldly but I know better than to argue with a Viking.
 
So I said I would and we’d pay him back and he said, “No. Not for you, for Rosco. He cannot pay back because he does not have job. I sponsor.”
 
They did the X-rays and he has a little swelling in the prostate area but otherwise checked out okay. They put him on an anti inflammatory with pain meds mixed in and he should be fine.
 
Finn picked him up from the vet and wouldn’t even let me give him the money I was planning to spend anyway for the exam, his kennel cough shot, grooming and medication.
 
He also told me that he wants to “rip off the arm of that f*%#!?g bus driver and beat her with the bloody end,” after what happened to the kids on the bus.

Story of my Life

My son was diagnosed at nine weeks of age with a rare blood disorder called Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).  He underwent months of chemo before having a stem cell transplant when he was six months old.

Jeremy had CNS involvement so one of the treatments he had to have was intrathecal methotrexate.  This basically means he had to have a spinal tap once a week for five weeks to check for disease activity, then have chemo put into his spinal space to fight the disease until his spinal fluid was cleared of disease.

So that is how he spent his fourth month of life on this earth.

Anyway, this treatment is known to cause behavioral disorders, and in first grade Jem was diagnosed with ADHD-combined type.

His symptoms were well-controlled until last year when we started noticing that his anxiety had greatly increased and he started developing these strange tics.  It was like watching a meth addict so we took him off of those meds this past summer.

Jeremy also has a gastric feeding tube as a result of his illness and receives most of his nutrition through a feeding pump that runs overnight in his room while he sleeps.  Within days of stopping the meds we noticed a significant improvement in his anxiety and his oral feeding so we made the very tough decision to see how the school year went, med free, in the interest of his appetite.

Everyone up to speed?  It’s complicated, even for me.

SO.  On the second day of school I got a phone call from Jeremy’s bus driver about him misbehaving on the bus.  At the time, I supported her in whatever actions she chose to take. I even got on the bus one morning to have him apologize to the bus driver and the other students.

Now her main complaint is that he talks to himself.  In his defense she did put him in a seat by himself directly behind her so really: Who the hell else is he going to talk to?  She complained to me about it again.  I apologized, and told her about his medical diagnosis.  I told her that we were going to switch his medication and that it might take a few days to get a therapeutic dose and see positive results but asked her to please give him another chance.

She sent me the ugliest text that she would not excuse his behavior because of his ADHD and meds or not that’s not an excuse.

Excuse?  No.  REASON?  Yes.  Also, I don’t like you anymore.

That happened on Wednesday afternoon.  I decided just to let it go and bide my time.  But yesterday (Thursday) morning, Evan told me something that made me angrier than I have ever been:

“Aunt Holly.  I got on the bus yesterday before Jeremy.  Miss Tammy asked me if Jeremy was riding the bus and when I told her that he was she said, “Oh Jesus Christ.””

Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t actually thanking Him.

I’m addressing it with the proper authorities, tapes are being reviewed, other transportation arrangements are being made, heads are rolling, etc..

Jeremy sees a therapist for his anxiety so I called to let her in on the whole bus ordeal and she sent this email to me:

“Hi, Holly,
I was happy to hear that you’ve worked out something with Banyan Tree around services for Evan.  I imagine that will be a big help to him, and to you.

Kristi related to me the incident with the bus driver this morning and I understand you’re meeting with some school officials about this.  Since Jeremy is a boy who STANDS UP FOR OTHERS, I’m guessing that he may have learned this from you as you are his role model and will speak up for him and for Evan.

I wonder what Jeremy would say it takes to ride on the school bus and not let Trouble keep him from enjoying his time at school with the other kids.  As he knows himself, what is it that he can call on to help him have a POSITIVE BUS RIDE EXPERIENCE?  Jeremy knows what I mean by this as we have had some conversations about the COURAGE he has that keeps on growing, helping him to have a better life.

If he can TAKE ON THE TROUBLE that shows up when he rides the bus, he will probably be having good days at school.  After all, he’s one of the SMARTEST and BRAVEST people we all know.  I wonder if he would be interested in SHOCKING THE BUS DRIVERS by not doing the things they expect him to do!  He could really SURPRISE THEM by being the most behaved student on the bus day after day.  They wouldn’t know what to make of it!!  This would also keep Trouble out of his life and let him reclaim his life for himself.

Feel free to share this with Jeremy and Evan if you think it could be helpful.  I believe that Jeremy is capable of so much, including SURPRISING EVERYONE with his ability to KEEP TROUBLE AWAY!

I’ll be thinking of all of you when I am away and smiling as I imagine how Jeremy might be doing on the bus and at school.

Take care,
V.”

And you know what?  I used that advice to keep Trouble out of our morning, because mornings suck.  I put a Beatles cd in the player.  Turned it to full blast.  Danced into their bedrooms singing Yellow Submarine.  Took a poll to get their opinions on how to avoid morning Troubles.  They were up and dressed and packed and brushed and combed in ten minutes.

Everyone was in a fabulous mood.  My plan was working beautifully which is rarely the case so there were some serious “CONGRATULATIONS, LADY!” going on in my head.

From me, to me, with love.

So I go out to the back porch to grab my flip flops and noticed that there was a tiny bit of dog shit on the bottom of one.  Normally this would send me into a tailspin, but I am taking Trouble by the horns, right?  RIGHT.

Instead of being pissed about the excrement on my shoe I carried them to the front door and told the boys to meet me in the van because I was going to have to do a little dance in the grass to scrape the poo off my shoe.  Naturally they did not want to miss my shit shoe dance so they grabbed their stuff and followed me outside.

I made a big production in the front yard in front of God and everybody.  Shuffling while singing a little ditty about shoe poo removal.  The boys were in stitches.  It was awesome.

I stopped mid-verse to make a funny gesture to check my shoe – to make them laugh – which they did – and…

Sprained the crap out of the ankle attached to the foot that was on the ground and fell like a ton of bricks flat on my back in the wet grass.

I laid there, hand over mouth, sick to my stomach, staring up at the beautiful blue sky, and thought:

You know what?  Fuck mornings.  Right in the ear.

But I’m not gonna let a softball-sized ankle get in the way of my Trouble free morning.  No way.  I hide my tears.  I get up.  I get in the van and I drive the children to school (luckily it’s my left foot so my driving is not affected).

On the way to school I actually apologized to the kids for my silly accident putting such a damper on our morning.  I also talked to Jeremy about his therapists letter, paraphrasing her words:

Jeremy, you know you can control how much Trouble that comes into your life.  You can avoid Trouble and take control of your life and not let Trouble do it at all.”

Evan thought for a second and then said, “I have no idea what you just said but it sounds really wise.”

Choosing Which Fork To Travel

Earlier this summer we put my son into therapy.  He also has special needs (had chemo and a bone marrow transplant as an infant, has been diagnosed with ADHD-combined type, and is feeding tube dependent).

I found this wonderful place called The Banyan Tree here in Athens.  This picture was part of their intake form, and I fell in love with them immediately, at the time having no idea that I’d have Evan now.Intake Form
Unfortunately they are private pay, and since Jeremy has a special needs trust fund due to his illness we don’t have to worry about that with him.  We do have to worry about it with Evan, though, since he is on Medicaid.

So I called their office yesterday.  Sobbing.  I am so desperate to get this child the help he needs and make sure every advantage for his overall well-being is taken.

WELL.

The intake coordinator listened to my story, about how he’d never had therapy through his transition and about how his entire family had been torn apart over the summer.  And talked to the director.  And they are going to see him on an extreme sliding scale.

Help is more important than money.  Thank you, Forces That Be.  And it never hurts to ask.

Or shamelessly beg.  LOL

Evan

I took Evan to the first pediatrician appointment he’s had in years this past week.

It was very traumatic.  Four shots to catch him up.  The child sobbed in the bathroom for twenty minutes because he did not even know how to urinate in a cup.

The pediatrician is fully on board with the transgender transition.  Even calling him “sir” and “buddy” so that is great.  She is referring us to a psychologist (when my sister transitioned him three years ago she did it with no outside professional guidance) and then we will be seeing an endocrinologist for possible puberty blockers.

His vision was tested.  It’s about 30/50, so no telling how long he’s needed glasses.  We will be addressing that issue this week.

He cannot remember ever going to a dentist.  I’ve made an appointment for that as well, and to be honest I am terrified of what they will find.  Luckily he was approved for Medicaid for the time being so that will be taken care of financially.  Whew.  When he came to my house he didn’t know what floss was.

I printed out his rights to equal educational opportunities and took it to the school with me.  They have been wonderfully supportive.  His teachers address him as Evan.  They built his schedule so that he has full access to the unisex bathroom.  It went much better than I anticipated it would, which was such a relief.

We are going to do this.  And we are going to do it the right way.  I can’t possibly postulate on what the future holds, but I do know that it holds love, and mostly that is enough.

Hello world!

Well this is weird.

Hello, world.

My name is Holly.  I am the proud wife of Joshua and the crazy biological mother of two adorable rambunctious children named Jeremy and Ella.  I was also recently fortunate enough to become the legal guardian of my nephew, Evan.

Evan is FTM transgender, and in this blog you may expect to see him addressed appropriately.  He came here, to my home, with nothing but the clothes on his poor little back.  I cannot, in this first post, tell you how hard his short life has been, but we will cover it as time goes by.

But he’s here now.  And I am here, and we are here together, and we will do whatever it takes to make HIM the happiest, healthiest child that he can be.

I am looking for an outlet.  Some advice from people in the know, even.  Some support.  But most importantly, I am just proud of him for overcoming so much in such a short time and want to shout it from the rooftops.

Will post again soon.

Much love and kisses.  Thanks for reading.