bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Posts tagged ‘children’

It’s Tough Being a Mom in the 21st Century

Tom sat next to me the other day and said, “I have some disturbing news.”  My mind raced in 120 different directions, but most of them went in the “this is a joke” direction.  However, one look at his face told me that was not the case.

He told me to call up the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s web site.  On the home page was all sorts of stuff, one link being related to the Rams letting some players go.  Again, in my rose-colored glasses world, I pointed to that one, hoping it would be the “disturbing news.”  Again, I was wrong.

He pointed to the link:  Wildwood man arrested for child molestation at St. Louis YMCA.  My heart sunk.  First of all, we live in Wildwood.  Wildwood is a nice, safe, suburban area as far west of St. Louis as you can be and still be in St. Louis County.  Things like this don’t happen here.  Secondly, we live maybe two miles (I’m a very bad judge of distance) from the YMCA.  I could tell by the look on Tom’s face that this article would be more personal than just happening in our neighborhood.

When the link opened, I gasped.  The man was someone we knew.

I quickly read the article which seemed to be about four sentences, but it told me all I needed to know.  This man had been arrested for molesting a 16-year-old boy in the YMCA sauna.  After I read it for a second time, I realized that it wasn’t the YMCA near our house, it was actually one in the city.  A small sigh of relief came only because my kids hadn’t spent time at that particular Y.

Now, honestly, I hardly know this man at all.  To look at the mug shot of this guy, you’d never think he was anything but a horrible person.  But, I’ve certainly seen a different side of him than that picture shows.  I know his wife from school activities since they have a son that is my daughter’s age.  This woman is the sweetest thing you can imagine.  She is fun, giggly, and just a great all-around kind of gal.  I would see her at a meeting and choose to sit by her because she was such a positive person.

This was several days ago and my mind is still racing.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  I don’t want to talk to other people about it, because what would be the point?  I don’t know anything.  And, anything anyone else tells me is just going to be hearsay. 

But, maybe the real reason I don’t want to hear anything about it or talk about it, is because it punctures the happy little bubble that I live in.  I live in a safe neighborhood.  Gone are the days in which I grew up that you came home from school, had a snack, and said, “See you at dinnertime, Mom!” and took off to play with your friends somewhere in the neighborhood.  Or after dinner, I would tell my mom I’d be in before dark (dark was officially defined as the time of day when you could see the lights on inside other people’s houses).  But, even so, my kids can run up and down the street and find dozens of other kids to play with.  Safely.  I lock my front door when I’m home only because the dang door won’t close right, so any little breeze makes it fly right open.   We’ve had a few isolated incidents in the neighborhood, but truly, Ward and June Cleaver would be very happy here. 

And, while this guy doesn’t live in our actual neighborhood, he certainly lives within walking distance.  And, there are a few child molesters that live nearby as well.  I would imagine it would be hard to find a place to live that didn’t have someone on the sex offender list either working or living nearby.

As I sat here writing this, Tom told me that he told our son about the incident.  Sadly, he has to because this man is at scout functions.  Fortunately, at all the Boy Scout outings, the adults sleep in separate tents or cabins from the boys.  You can’t even sleep with your own kid. For reasons such as this.  When I first heard that, I thought, “Man, I can’t believe we have to worry about this stuff.”  But, obviously we do.  And, I can sleep a lot better knowing that it has been thought about.

Am I being realistic?  No need to talk about it, because you can’t do anything about it.  Plus, it could turn out to be false.  And, I certainly don’t want to have anyone be able to say, “Well, Michelle said…”  Especially since I don’t know anything more than what I read in the paper.  If I talk about it with others, then I may hear things that I may want to repeat.  

Or, am I putting my head in the sand and living the life of an ostrich?  If I don’t talk about it, it will go away?  Obviously, I’m leaning toward the ostrich’s way of life.  Telling myself that it could be a mistake.  Reassuring myself that I let my kids off the leash “just enough” to give them independence, but still protect them.

I guess I will have to do what mothers have been doing for centuries.  Doing the best I know how to do here on earth, and pray every night that God does His thing up there.

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Single-Digit Midget

When Tom was in the Army, and you had less than 100 days left of your enlistment, you were called a Double-Digit Midget.  So, I’m a Single-Digit Midget.  Nine days until surgery.  Can’t come fast enough.  I’m having discomfort and ready to start to feel better.

We told the kids yesterday.  Karen was so busy listening to the music playing that I was surprised she even heard me.  She did keep eye contact, though.  And made fun of my hand gestures, which were implying it was “no big deal.”  We had planned on telling the kids yesterday afternoon.  One of the men at church asked Karen if she was going to go get a nurse’s uniform.  She gave him a funny look.  He said, “You know, so you can take care of your mom after her surgery.”  Oops.  So when we got in the car, she asked, “So what’s this surgery thing?” 

ADD Moment:  (Glenn Beck does this in his book, and I love it)  While talking with a 2nd grader the other day, she mentioned that she got a nurse’s uniform.  “And it came with its own testicles!”  If she hadn’t mimed putting the stethoscope in her ears, I’m not sure I would have figured it out!  When I told her mom, she laughed and laughed.  She asked me if I laughed out loud, and I was proud to say I did not.  We were having a very serious, adult conversation, so I just smiled really big and said, “Wow!  How cool is that?”

So, Karen truly was not affected by the news.  Good.  Kinda guessed that one.  Oh, but when she left this morning, she did want to know if she could tell her friends that she walks to school with.  Well, at least she was able to use it as a “wow!” moment.

Then, it was time for Mark.  I was prepared for a boy that would hug me, ask questions, and be genuinely worried.  Which is why I didn’t want to tell him earlier.  BUZZZ!  Wrong answer.  He just listened, said, “Oh.  Okay.”  And went on to ask Tom a question about plans for later in the day.  Good! 

The best part about them knowing is that now I can explain why I need them to do things now instead of two weeks from now.  Plus, if I have to sit down because of the pain or discomfort, they don’t need any explanation.

I think they are happy to hear that I’m going to feel better.  We did tell them that every person that has had the surgery (which, we made sure to stress, was very common), felt so much better and was glad they had it done.  Which could probably be said about liposuction as well, but I digress.

So, I’ve made a good dent in my “To Do Before I Go Under the Knife” list.  I’ve frozen a couple of dishes, bought some easy-to-prepare meals, printed and written down schedules, and started decluttering.  My mom also had me over for this fantastic, delicious, very rich dessert and I had two pieces.  “After all,” I said, “I’m going under the knife.  This could be the last of this dessert I have the rest of my life!”  I can see this surgery thing is going to work out just fine!

Worst Mom EVER!

By now you’ve heard on all internet chat rooms, that I am the worst mom ever.  This, of course, is posted by my children.

Last night, we received about 9 inches of snow.  “Yeah!  No school!” quickly turned into “What do you mean I can’t go outside?”  This question was demanded by my daughter who stayed home from school yesterday with a nasty cough, runny nose, and generally miserable.  No fever, but yesterday I was the greatest mom ever because I let her stay home.  And I stand by that decision.  She was in no condition to be going to school and infecting others.  Today, however, I’m the worst mom ever.  Even though she agrees that if there was school today, she wouldn’t be well enough to attend.

Now for the son.  He is mad because I made everyone in the house take their temperatures.  My hubby came home from Chicago last night and was miserable with a stuffy nose, headache, etc.  I sound like Lauren Bacall or Suzanne Pleshette, take your pick.  So we all took our temps and the son’s was the highest of anyone (only 98.9), yet felt better than anyone after a week or so of a sore throat and cough (not bad enough to stay home from school.)   I agreed that I would have sent him to school, so I told him he could play outside in the snow for 30 minutes.  Then, if his cough stayed away, I would let him go for an hour this afternoon when it was a bit warmer.  As you can imagine, this put me on the top of the ladder of worst moms ever.  (Now get this, his best friend called to see if he could play outside.  When my son told him that he had a temp of 98.9, the mom of the best friend said, “Let’s see if his temperature gets any better before you play with him.”  But, that, of course, just makes me even worse of a mom.)

Add to this that the hubby disagrees with me about our son.  As I explained to him and my son, I am the one who will have to take care of the sick boy and hear all his complaints, if he gets sick.

Let’s recall here, that we have 8-9 inches of snow.  It’s not going anywhere soon.

My daughter just came in and asked, “Pretty please can I go outside?”  When I said no and if she asked again, I’d send her to her room, she countered, “I’ll clean up my room!”  Geezo!  I then went into the explanation of “You have a cold (as she sniffed a big chunk of goo) and if you go outside then it could settle in your chest, then you get pneumonia, and then you go to the hospital.  Now DON’T ASK ME AGAIN!”  She is now crying in her room.

Is it time for another Xanax?

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