February 3, 2021

"It that Lad's car?" . . . Nancy's fast work

(This is the continuation of a post for yesterday . . . an update on Laddie. Click here if you want to read that post that I snuck in on a rare Tuesday before you read this)

Monday of last week:  When I was looking for the cute 'BEARS TACK YOU' clip of Curly, I came across another clip. In our Yellowstone cabin, Curly has just gotten out of the bath. She's dancing around naked. The kids are chanting:  NA-KED DANCE. Their chant had a nice beat and was accompanied by clapping. Strange that we haven't made it a family tradition.

I will not post the video here because people trolling for 2 year olds dancing naked aren't really my desired reader. 

12 year old Lad turns on the video and announces:  LOOK MOMMY'S SMILING FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THIS TRIP. 

I lashed out:  REALLY LAD, I WONDER WHY? I'm implying here that dealing with Lad's nonsense on the long car ride, etc. has been the reason I've been grumpy. 

I already knew before running across this clip that I was short tempered with Lad when he was younger. This was not new info. Still. It killed me WATCHING it. I felt low all day. WHY? Why had I treated him like this? It was like I got stuck in a rut and couldn't get out of it. 

When Coach came home, I told him about the video. I felt miserable. He wilted. He has his own guilt about being at work too much - about not giving more time to a kid who needed more attention, but he pointed out that we did the best we could.

The next day he came home with flowers for me and a mini GF Bundt cake, which was nice and tasty but I still feel like I failed my kid. There are no do-overs. Not enough GF cake to cure this feeling. 

Note: no self control - ate half the cake
(I mean it is a MINI CAKE) before I took the photo. 

Reg told me that Laddie texted him to see if he wanted to shoot hoops at a local gym. 

Me:  Laddie who? (Lad's real name is fairly common)

Reg:  Um, my brother, Laddie. 

When Lad lived here this summer he tormented Reg. Hollered unwelcome b-ball critiques at him on the driveway. Reduced Reg, who is well versed in older brother crap, to tears. Despite our pleading, Lad was unable to stop. 

I wondered, what's Lad's motive? Is he going to get Reg to a court and embarrass him? I hoped not.

Sunday:  Thanks to mountains of snow, Coach insisted we drive to Curly's travel b-ball game crazy early anticipating bad roads. Reg came along to shoot around at an empty court. In the car Reg asked how he should respond to Lad.

Curly's games were far away and we passed Lad's new gym. We were nervous to have Lad drive Reg anywhere, let alone in the snow. Reg sent:  OMW TO CURLY'S GAMES. MOMMY AND DADDY CAN DROP ME OFF AT YOUR GYM AFTER.

Reg and Curly ran inside when we showed up grandma-style early so they could shoot around. I refused to sit in an uncomfortable bleacher while masked for an additional 30 minutes. My hair was still dripping wet from when I raced out of the shower to leave earlier than anticipated. I gave Coach the "hope you're happy because I'm thrilled to hang out in the car with wet hair for 30 minutes and read my book while I listen to you record video critiques in response to your students' crappy recorded evaluation assignments. This is fun" look. 

I have special powers and my 'look' often says a lot. 

Just before we were done drip drying/grumbling about students who don't follow instructions and were about to exit the car, Coach gasped:

Is that Lad's car?

It took a few minutes while Lad was bent over shuffling things around in his car before we decided it WAS him. Who else drives a Mercury? He must've texted Reg to ask where Curly was playing. We sat. Frozen. 

We got out slowly. No sudden movements. Coach went over to Lad's car and said we'd pay for him to get into the game. They hugged. Then Lad walked up to me. We hugged. Long and hard. I MISSED YOU, I whispered. I MISSED YOU, TOO, he whispered back. I got choked up. 

When we got inside, Lad found Reg and started chatting with him. Coach and I stood there and stared off into space. I finally turned to Coach.

Me:  What just happened? Like, he hugged me. I told him I missed him. He doesn't seem angry. (I sobbed quietly for a moment, not an ugly cry because hello, we were in public).

After Curly played, Lad took Reg to his gym. We told Lad he was welcome back to the house for dinner. He said MAYBE. He came for dinner. When I went upstairs to throw the sheets in the dryer, I ransacked my closet looking for the 'I'll give this small gift to him someday' Christmas gift water bottle and stickers I'd gotten Lad. My mind: what if he leaves before I get back downstairs? I had to take a deep breath and gather myself. 

Lad's water bottle with water polo stickers.

He loved the water bottle and stickers. We chatted during dinner like there wasn't an elephant in the room. Mini kept her nose buried in her school work before dinner refusing to come into the kitchen and say hello. I didn't blame her. I told her he was behaving. She could just say "hey, how's it going", as she told me I'M NOT A HUGGER. 

After dinner, kids went off to study. Lad sat in Coach's recliner and called to us:  DO YOU GUYS WANT TO TALK ABOUT STUFF?

What? Is this a dream? 

We talked. We cried. We apologized for missing things when he was a kid. He tried to brush that off saying it just made him stronger. 

A few things that came up:  a co-worker named Craig who is 48 years old had been talking to him. His advice was always:  GO HOME, YOUR FAMILY LOVES YOU. An angel on earth. Then, a piece of metal flew off a truck and hit Lad's car on the expressway a few days ago. He realized that if it had gone through his windshield, it would've killed him. *I've been praying to his guardian angel.* 

He texted Craig:  THAT'S IT. I'M GOING HOME.  

He tried to explain that there were things he needed to learn on his own. Things he needed to figure out. He no longer wants to lie. No longer wants to worry about appearances. He wants to rebuild sibling relationships. Wants Ed to be his best friend again. I gently pointed out Lad's refusal to own his behavior. He said it's something he's working on. 

We told him that we expect him to compete the neuropsych evaluation that he started over the summer. He tried to ask if we thought there was something wrong with him (clearly he doesn't), and I just said it makes sense to check things out. Plus, we already paid for the pricey MRI . . . it never hurts to take the frugal angle. We told him we'd like to be involved in the medical appointments so we can help him sort through any information. 

We told him to stay the night if he wanted. He agreed. With the snow and a headlight that he still needed to fix, he'd rather stay. Ed had just gone back to school on Saturday. I texted Ed who texted back TRYING NOT TO GET MY HOPES UP, BUT THIS MADE MY DAY.

I'm no dummy. I'm certain there is a  bumpy road ahead. Things to sort out. I don't expect smooth sailing, but like I told Lad, THIS WAS A HUGE STEP AND IT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN EASY.

Today, I texted people who've been praying for us. For Lad. Since you're not all in my contacts, consider this a message to you  - thanks for all of the support and prayers. Much appreciated. 

Coach's sister's mother-in-law, Nancy, passed away last week at 80 years old. At Nancy's funeral, I asked her to help us with Laddie. 

I texted my sister in law, NANCY WORKS FAST!


Nicole MacPherson said...

Oh, Ernie, this is such wonderful news. I am so glad that the first steps to healing and mending the relationships are happening. This is just wonderful. I'm so happy for you. May it all continue smoothly!

Ally Bean said...

Gracious. You talk with more people in one post than I do in a month! I'm glad things are smoothing out a bit. Small steps forward to better days and relationships.

Beth Cotell said...

I've got tears in my eyes as I'm reading this!!! I am so glad that things are improving. What a blessing his co-worker is to Lad and your family. He will probably never know. And you've got to love those guardian angels and all the saints in heaven praying for us!!!

I will continue to pray for you guys!

Suzanne said...

Hoping this is just the first step of your healing and moving forward together as a family. <3

Eli said...

Great news! And you sound like you have a realistic perspective that it won't all be sunshine and rainbows all the time. You and your family are still in my prayers!

Ian & Pat take on el Camino de Santiago said...

Oh my - I am so happy for you, that I actually cried a bit myself (that said 11 months into lockdown I find tears close to the surface). I read yesterdays post late last night on my phone & didn't want to type a comment. I wanted to tell you to try and not beat yourself up too much about your parenting - it's friggin hard. My more difficult child was very quiet and being alone with 4 little ones I feel I didn't meet his needs. He seemed to get lost in the chaos so often and I still feel sad for that. I have apologized to him (he's 31) but he just laughs it off. We went through some dark times (I suspect he was depressed about 10 years ago, but he says he wasn't) with him, and although he is doing really well now I fear that he is following in his father's footsteps and alcohol will become a problem down the road. I fall back on the AlAnon "let go & let God" mantra often. Then today - I was SO happy to read your post. Thank God for the support Lad has had and the wisdom he seems to have gained. What a sweet thing for coach to bring you a treat and flowers (more tears in my eyes). take care and just love the boy.

Kari said...

This is such great news! I am so happy for all of you!

By the way- I give you big props for not finishing off that entire MINI cake. Girl, you have willpower. :)

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog for a long time now. I also have a daughter with Borderline Personality Disorder.
1. DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is a phenomenal program for Borderlines.
2. You are NOT alone.
3. Children do well when they can.
4. Parents do well WHEN they CAN.
5. His Life. His Choices. His Consequences. Like an alcoholic, Borderlines will only be helped when they want, and on their timeline. This was a great first step!
The most important advice I ever received was that Borderlines have to have boundaries.
Good luck to you. So very happy for you!!

Ernie said...

Nicole - Thanks so much. We are hopeful and realistic. We have many resources in place - a zoom with one new therapist tomorrow. Fingers crossed that he is willing to complete the eval and accept whatever he learns from it.

Ernie said...

Ally - Thank you. Yes, we have anticipated a long road ahead, but this first step was much larger than we could have imagined.

Ernie said...

Beth - Believe me - I feel like all I have done lately is rinse my poor contact lenses. I don't have many left so I am trying to make these last. So many tears - regret, joy, fear. We hope to one day meet Craig and let him know how much his guidance is appreciated. Thanks for the prayers. Very appreciated.

Ernie said...

Suzanne- Thanks so much. Yes, we are hoping that things continue to move mostly forward, expecting setbacks along the way. The siblings are hesitant, but in time we hope everyone can heal.

Ernie said...

Eli - Thanks for the prayers. Yes, trying to be realistic. We've been through so much and I'm bracing for what is next. Hopeful that things keep moving in the right direction. We've had time to get our ducks in a row and we now feel prepared to deal and set boundaries and reach out to professionals.

Ernie said...

Ian - Thanks for commenting. Yes, I do like the 'let go and let God' thought process. We are hoping that he agrees to get help, not just move back in. Babysteps. Yes, Coach made my day with the flowers and MORE IMPOTANTLY dessert!

Ernie said...

Kari - This is great news. It feels so surreal. The rest of that cake didn't last long. I managed to stretch it out for 2 whole days. Yum! Even if my heart hurt that day, my gut was happy. ;)

Ernie said...

Anonymous - Oh, I like this list. You make some good points. Thank you. Yes, we've learned that boundaries are necessary. Hoping that things progress bit by bit. He seems to have realized a lot about himself, but we are not silly to think that's it, all better. Thanks for the comment.

ccr in MA said...

Oh, I am so glad! What a positive step on this journey. I hope ther are more steps forward than back.

JP said...

Goodness. This gave me chills. Sending thoughts for healing and repaired relationships. And you’re absolutely right, that was a good first step and surely wasn’t easy.

Anonymous said...

I’m so happy for you and family. What a positive step forward. Prayers definitely answered!
I’m not a hugger :-) but ((hugs)),

Gigi said...

Oh Ernie - this has me in tears. I think it's a positive sign. Yes, there may still be some bumps in the road but he took that first step and that is huge. The fact he was/is talking to someone older that he trusts is good - it helps him with perspective. Keeping you all in my prayers and sending hugs.

Anonymous said...

I definitely got a lump in my throat and misty eyed when reading about the hug and him saying that he missed you too. Thrilled for you for the huge progress that was made that day. Continuing to pray that he will work with you guys to figure things out and that relationships will heal.

Cheryl said...

Oh crap, this made me cry...I djavascript:void(0)on't even know you guys and it made me cry. All happy tears.

Please don't blame yourself as parents, you did the best you could. After all, 1 with issues out of 6 ain't bad. You guys must have done something right.

I remember when my brother, a year younger than me, invested in my parent's business, and than decided he wanted out a year later, and expected a huge return from a fairly new business. Any idiot knows that a business takes several years to turn a profit...but not my brother. So, he sued, he freakin' sued my parents. It got ugly. No talking for several years, his cocaine use put him in "R" Wing for a bit, my Mom who loved littles didn't get to enjoy the first year of her granddaughter's life, etc. And you know who won in the end? The lawyers. My brother received less than he initially invested.

So you see, all families have sucky times. All moms and dads snap sometimes. That's life.

Hopefully, this is a new beginning for your family. :)

Charlie said...

Happy tears for you all reading this Ernie. I’m so pleased that you’ve all taken the first step, which in many journeys can be the hardest. It seemed like the universe was looking out for your family in so many small ways to bring you together again. I wish you all many healing vibes and thank God for a caring coworker with some influence x

Kara said...

This is a hopeful update. I wish you and your family all the best.

Ernie said...

ccr - Thanks, we hope the same. Coach and I met with a DBT therapist this morning. Different conversation than we thought we'd have since Laddie is back home.

Ernie said...

JP - Thanks for those words of encouragement. It really was such a surreal event. I could not have anticipated that he'd show up and be pleasant in a million years.

Ernie said...

Maddie - Ha, the 'I'm not a hugger' comment was out of nowhere . . . it might also mean, I'm not a hugger towards brothers who have made life impossible in the recent past.

We are hopeful that he will agree to get the help he needs.

Ernie said...

Gigi - Thanks, yes we are so grateful for this man. How great that he crossed paths with Laddie. I appreciate your prayers.

Ernie said...

AM - Thanks, yes that hug was something I hadn't thought was possible. Out of no where. All prayers welcome. We need all the help we can get.

Ernie said...

Cheryl - It was an unbelievable moment. I just kept sitting there at Curly's games thinking 'WHAT'S HAPPENING? WE PRESENT LIKE A NORMAL FAMILY.' The therapist this morning said that kids with ADHD (Lad diagnosed when he was about 12) find other ways to stimulate their brains or to activate things, etc. I'm sucking at paraphrasing this, but she was like DON'T BLAME YOURSELF, IT ISN'T EASY. THESE KIDS SOMETIMES ARE PROGRAMMED TO GET ATTENTION THIS WAY. So basically she said I am the perfect parent and could not have done any better - totally not what she said, but I liked her perspective.

That mess with your brother is heart breaking. So sorry. We are still wondering where to go from here. He had the day off today and has been moving more of his 'STUFF' back into his room where he already has MANY boxes of stuff. It's gonna be interesting.

Yes to new beginnings.

Ernie said...

Charlie - Thanks so much. Yes, things really lined up with the influence of the co-worker and the scare that snapped him out of it. Appreciate the good wishes.

Ernie said...

Kara - Thanks much!

Anonymous said...

Aw Ernie, I’m such a dolt and didn’t realize my hug comment might have more than one meaning. Hope I didn’t seem like a jerk. *hangs head in shame*
I was just really moved by your post (totally teared up) and if I knew you in real life and you told me this fantastic news, I would hug you (even tho I’m really truly not a hugger). Please take it as support. I’m so thrilled for your family. Will keep you in my prayers,

Ernie said...

Maddie - HUH? No offense taken. I thought you were just laughing about Mini claiming to not be a hugger when I suggested she go offer Lad a hug. I didn't really blame her since he's been pretty horrible to her, but I thought it was funny that she tried to blame a 'not a hugger' issue as holding her back.

Seriously, I didn't bat an eye at your comment, just thought you were making a reference to a line about Mini from the post. Even if you weren't - I'm not offended by people who don't hug it out. Curly hugs it out to a fault, I think. I credit it with her being the youngest cute kid at dancing for a good long time and everyone doted on her. All good, no worries. I do sense that you are thrilled for the fam.

Suz said...

I'm crying! I'm SOSOOOOOOOOOO happy for you guys. This is absolutely the best news ever. I applaud him for finally realizing what an amazing family he does have; it took big balls to come back and face everything. Oh and GOD BLESS CRAIG!
I'll keep up the prayers for a nice transition.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful news. XOXO

Ernie said...

Suz- I just allowed myself to change contacts this morning. My eyeballs have been fed up with the salty lenses but I'm almost out and don't want to do eye doc till summer. Lots and lots of tears . . . but JUST THE WEEK BEFORE they were tears of frustration and sadness and well- SO MUCH. He's been living under our roof for almost a week. Coach calling it honeymoon phase because still on best behavior.

Thanks for your continued support as we navigate this roller coaster. Hoping he continues to see clearly enough to get some counseling. And yes CRAIG rocks!

Bibliomama said...

Wow - whether or not tough times are still ahead, what a lovely moment of grace for your family. So happy for you.

Ernie said...

Ali - Well said. Yes, we are already dealing with some of the anticipated unresolved issues . . . a work in progress, but I do feel good about this time when we were able to have an important conversation. I like your use of the word grace here. I suppose that's what librarians do, have a good command of words. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ernie you are The Best. Thanks for putting my mind at ease. You are such a lovely blogger & lovely person too! I think I pretty much have to sign off with....
:-) Maddie

Ernie said...

Maddie - Just seeing this. Thank you - too kind. :)