Wow, it’s been awhile

It’s been awhile…lots going on in my life!  Some good, some not so good, and I’m just trying to make sense of as much as I can, and cope as well as I can.   Hubby’s had surgery, I’ve had surgery, and, and, AND.  So, here’s a looooong update:

Today is my son PJ’s 24th birthday.  I really can’t believe it! He was a tiny preemie, a sickly baby, but he’s now a big, strong, handsome, grown man.  And, this year he’s going to become a Daddy.

(incidentally, I went into labor with him at 3:11am, arrived at the hospital at 5:40 am and he was born at 6:20am.) It was an early and merciful result after a very complicated pregnancy.

I’ve had a strained relationship with PJ as he struggles to find his place in the adult world.  He lived with us for a year after graduating from college, then struck out on his own with a friend, and then later got an apartment with his fiancée.  His stepmother has made it her mission to undermine our relationship; she has even referred to me as “the womb donor.”  She hates me. His fiancée doesn’t like me (and I do believe that’s due to the SM’s influence…she was nice to me until she met her.) 

Here’s the email I sent to PJ on New Year’s Day:  “It’s a new year; and I pray you will give some serious thought to how you treat your one and only mother. Have I made mistakes? Sure. Have I done the best I could? You bet. Have I ever once stopped loving you? Not until the day I die. ”

Many of you know that I was very hurt and angry about the surprising and nasty ways in which I found out about PJ’s impending fatherhood. I’ve been blamed for everything from not calling him enough to calling him too much.  I can’t win.  So I just hung back and left PJ messages, and it was his choice not to respond.  His fiancée even gave me one of these: “…if you ever talked to your son, you’d know…”  Hey, back off.  You don’t want me calling him all the time.  I want him to have some independence and not feel like his Mommy is interfering in his life.  If he wants to call me, he will.  But don’t you dare think for a moment that I don’t want to talk to him, and often.  But the ball is in HIS court.

Then there’s the whole “we were gonna tell you on Christmas Eve and wanted to do it in person.” thing.  I sent PJ messages for several weeks asking about Holiday plans. I invited them to come with us to Niagara Falls for Christmas dinner so his fiancée could meet the family, but that was rejected because she wanted to be with her own Mom on Christmas.  (So did I, but people have to compromise when they’re in relationships involving multiple families. Apparently everyone but PJ wanted to be with his/her own Mom on Christmas,  but I digress.) So then I focused on Christmas Eve, but heard nothing from him until 12/23.  He told me he had to work until 6:30.  By the time he called me, it would have been at least 8PM before they could get here.  I told him that they were both welcome to come over, but that they needed to know that I was in my jammies while finishing cookies and wrapping, and that Steve was at Dialysis.  PJ and I decided that he would call me and figure out sometime to get together early in the week.  He never called. 

So, on his Facebook where he’s trying to get someone to watch the dog so they can go to Pittsburgh to visit his Dad’s family, his fiancée made a reply on his status. (She won’t “friend” me.)  Her picture was an ultrasound.

Here’s some of the exchange:

Fiancée no we can take him wit us but one there are cats there and the hair would get on bear&then get on me&pj would lose his wife, plus there is no gated fence so the problem is NOT that we can’t bring him with us it’s because people keep BACKING out on us.plus my mother is having surgery&other family issues but she is still willing to help.

ME And I’m willing to help any other time. Eye surgery is pretty serious, and has a long recovery. I’m not going to be able to drive for nearly a month. If they have two cats, that’s still a problem for you…you have a problem with the ONE cat we have. Is that an ultrasound in your picture? PJ told me you weren’t pregnant…I’m soooo confused.

Fiancée yeah and my mother is getting her women hood ripped out along with more surgery on her insides. that’s pretty serious too,but she is still willing to give an effort she is not suppose to be walking,driving&working but she does it anyways. a. nd yes they have two cats but i am able to avoid them&take medicine but if we bring bear the hair would get on him&everything he touched including me&we would have to give him 3 or 4 baths DAILEY. and you know what yes i am pregnant it was our xmas present to you&we wanted to tell you on xmas eve but you had to have your husband there instead of taking an hour or so out of your busy schedule to talk to us alone without steve. well here’s your xmas present.  (Bolded emphasis is mine, but the post is an exact cut and paste.)

~~~~~

YIKES!  I have never been anything but nice to her.  I’ve had them over for dinner, watched the dog, sent cards, sent gifts, lent money, sent food, all without any acknowledgment.   And, I would have taken care of Bear if I had been physically able (which I’m still not.)

~~~~~

Back to the FB thread:

ME WOW! What did I ever do to you except be nice? I did tell PJ that you could both come over, but that Steve wasn’t there. I’m sorry my husband had to be at DIALYSIS. Pj said you’d come this week, but that hasn’t happened, either. Quit being so nasty to me, please.

ME Btw, Congrats! All I ever wanted in the world was to be a Mom and Grandma. Hope you are feeling okay.

Fiancée one i wasn’t being nasty,i was just giving you the honest truth. and you just couldn’t take a min of being alone witout your husband to take a moment for your son&how his life is changing&he’ll be a father. &BTW if you had talked to us you would have known that i have been in and out of the hospital during my pregnancy&i’ve been very ill. (again, bold is mine – everything is intact.)

See?  I can’t win.  If I call him too much, she’s mad.  If I don’t call him enough, she’s mad.

I had to stop posting at that point  because I want to keep as best a relationship as I can with them.

And now, for the real kicker:  they were our guests at Thanksgiving, and I could tell right then by looking at her (and how she acted) that she was pregnant.  And by my birthday, December 1st, it was very clear that they had already told the stepmother (obviously by text, email or phone – not in person – see where I’m going here?)  I was even approached in a mall and asked if I was ready to be a Grandma!  Yet, every time I asked my son to tell me if it were true, left him messages that he could be honest with me, that I do and will always love him no matter what , he still denied it.  (Including the phone call at 7:30pm on Christmas Eve.)  I left him messages on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and at midnight tonight.  No response.  I’m trying to call just often enough to be sure that he knows that I care about him, yet not so much that I’m bugging him. 

Now, it’s one thing to want to give a happy surprise.  But, it’s quite another to continually lie to me when others (including non-family!) have already been told.

No one ever really prepares you for how truly tough parenting is going to be. 

So, I reached out to my family and very good friends.  You have all been so helpful.  You told me what I needed to hear, even when I didn’t want to hear it. You let me talk.  You let me cry.  You held me.  You helped immensely; more than you’ll ever know.

Thank you, ALL of you, for all of your input and support. I’ve taken bits and pieces from almost all of your advice.

I’ve decided to handle things this way for now, after much thought and prayer:

I’ve decided to just “kill them with kindness” and enjoy my pending Grandmaness. (I think I should trademark that.) I bought baby yarn to knit a blankie. And booties. And a hat. And a sweater. You get the idea.

I’m not gonna let their immaturity and nastiness “rain on my parade.”  I’m not gonna badger them, but I will keep the door open for them, and increase my chances of being involved in the baby’s life. But I will not be used and/or abused.

The baby is a blessing, innocent in all of this, and is my grandchild. So, regardless of the circumstances of his/her conception, I’m going to be happy about becoming a Grandma, and prepare to heap lots of love on the baby.

Next time you’re on FB, you can see that I posted an announcement.  Baby’s estimated arrival date is mid-July, 2010.

Here’s how I’m gonna deal with the stepmother’s crap:  I blocked her on FB (and I think she blocked me, too.)  I can’t see any of the nasty crap she posts.  Geez, I’ve been divorced from PJ’s Dad for 19 years.  I hope and pray that SOMEDAY she will figure that out and get over it.  Her main purpose in life seems to be to bash me.  Wow, I’m honored.  Ideally, my ex-husband would “man up” and tell his wife to butt the hell out, and tell his son to cut the crap and show some respect to his mother.  But he won’t. 

And then, I also (privately) recognize that she is part of PJ’s life, his fiancée likes her, and it’s my ex-husband’s grandkid too.  So, I figure that “the kid” will have lots of grandparents due to all the steps involved, too. And lots of cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.  He or She will have lots of people who love him/her.  I remember one of my favorite pastors giving a sermon once, where she said “things don’t have to be ‘either/or,’ they can be ‘both/and.'” So, I’m gonna go with the “both/and” option here. If stepmom needs to feel that she’s the Queen of Everything, then let her. 

*I* know that I’m PJ’s mom, and the baby’s Grandma.  For the sake of my sanity, that’s gonna have to be all I need to know.  And somehow, on some level, PJ knows it, too.

So, thanks so much to my loving husband, and loving and supportive friends.  You have helped me through a very rough and raw emotional time.

I choose LOVE. 

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Cyber Friends ARE Real Friends

I spend a great deal of time online.  Some would say too much.  However, those people would be unaware of my life situation.

 My husband and I both have serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses.  I’ve been remiss in blogging about that, but plan to do so, soon.

In any case, my illness is a rare one that affects my immune system.  I do not have antibodies to most things.  It is difficult (and at times, downright dangerous) for me to be in many public situations.  My energy is limited.   I am no longer able to work outside the home.

 That means that I cultivate and develop friendships online.  I feel like I know many people very well, even though we’ve never met in person.

 Today, I got a totally unexpected surprise package in the mail from a cyber friend.  I’ve “known” her for about 5 years or so now.  She sent me a package of a wonderful assortment of teas.  She knows I love tea.  She included a very sweet note about how she was thinking of me, and that knowing I’d been having a rough time lately, she thought it would be helpful to have some soothing tea.

Isn’t that wonderful? 

That act of kindness really touched me.  And, it reminded me that online friends can be every bit as wonderful as friends who live next door.  It’s not the proximity; it’s the connection and the relationship that you establish.

Mind you, I do have plenty of friends next door, in the neighborhood, in my city and state, etc.  They are wonderful, thoughtful, and supportive, too.  I just wanted to point out that it is possible to get to know and appreciate people you meet online.

My friend Renee just reminded me that we met online a few years ago.  Through discussions and emails, we found out that we lived 15 minutes away from each other.  We decided to meet for coffee at a neutral spot, just to make sure neither one of us was some sort of sociopath or psychopath.  LOL!  We quickly found out that we had even more in common than we’d thought, and became great friends in real life, too!  Now she’s one of my very best friends.

That reminds me: another friendship was suggested to me online by a high school friend who now lives in Seattle.  He sent me a note saying that he knew someone still living in our hometown who he thought I’d really enjoy meeting.  He was right!  (Thanks, Jim!)  Now Leslie is one of my best buddies, too, and she only lives 5 minutes away!

I thank God for ALL my friends.

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October 2nd – more on Breast Cancer

I do hope that there will be a cure for breast cancer in my lifetime.

I’ve been deeply affected by breast cancer – many of my relatives and friends have fought a great battle against it.  Some have passed away, some are still fighting, and some are survivors!

I hope that if you are reading this, you will be sure to schedule your annual mammogram as soon as possible.  Please remind your female relatives and friends to schedule theirs as well.   Monthly breast self-exams are vitally important as well. 

I’d like honor and mention a few of my relatives and friends here:

  • Pat M, my mother-in-law – she’s an inspiration…she is a 26 year SURVIVOR following her mastectomy in 1984!
  • Betty S, my grandma, who fought and beat breast cancer in the ’80s, but died from a stroke in 1999.
  • Betty S, my longtime friend, who fought valiantly but succumbed not quite two years ago.
  • Christine S, college friend, also fought but succumbed a few years ago.
  • Cathy E, college friend, roommate for one semester, also fought but succumbed several years ago.
  • Kelly M, longtime friend from childhood, valiantly battling.  I admire her courage, and keep in touch with her.  I pray that she’s gonna make it.
  • Shari A, another friend from childhood, also valiantly battling.
  • Rebecca C, longtime friend – survivor!
  • Carol M, longtime friend – survivor!
  • Barb C, longtime friend – survivor!
  • Christine C, longtime friend – survivor!

That’s 11 people that I’m close to, and can think of right off the top of my head.  I’m sure there are others.  Two of my friends who passed away were only in their 30s.  PLEASE talk to your doctors, and find out when it’s the appropriate time for you to start having mammograms based on your individual history.

I hope and pray for all those struggling with this disease, and their loved ones.  I celebrate those who have survived.  I honor and miss those who have passed away.

I hope you will all feel free to name the names of your friends and loved ones, as well.

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October 1st – Thinking about Breast Cancer

The Buffalo Bills turn Niagara Falls PINK for Oct 1st, for Breast Cancer Awareness 

The Buffalo Bills are my team.

Yeah, yeah, I know they suck. 

However, they do good stuff for Western New York.

One of the best things they do is sponsor the BILLIEVE program to benefit and support Breast Cancer.

Tonight, they held a short ceremony, and then turned Niagara Falls PINK (the lights on the falls are usually red, green, and blue.)

At 9 PM, they also hosted a (mostly) pink fireworks display.

Here’s a link to the video about this.  I hope you can watch it.

 http://www.buffalobills.com/media-center/videos/Niagara-Falls-Turns-Pink-to-Fight-Breast-Cancer/87e7883d-9d9f-4529-8a18-c33251cf1bfc

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