Friday, September 30, 2011


Mom, I want one burrito.

Do you want any taco's too?

No, just one burrito... no wait. I want two burritos. That will stuff me right up....


Look at how hard the wind is blowing. Do you see the trees moving?

Yeah, that is because God is trying to get all of the leaves off....

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I've been away for another week and I come here offering no witty stories, no real ending to a tale that has been unraveling since June 1st. A life lived in lies that are all finally starting to come to the surface and a man, so far stuck in his own sickness that rather than fight, he has chosen flight.

Thursday was eye opening. We went to his ex's house expecting to stay for an hour. We stayed for three. We went to his ex's house with one understanding and walked out with an entirely different one.

The violence was/is back. Holes in her walls, "spankings" doled out to her eight year old. A child so afraid that he would do ANYTHING to avoid angering FoTB. A child so afraid that he BEGGED the neighbor not to call him when he forgot his key a few weeks ago. Two lives shattered into pieces that they now must pick up and put back together. An innocence lost, a trusting nature abandoned.

At one point, Jim just sat with him while he cried. He is eight. He wanted SOO much for FoTB to be the man that loved him, that adopted him, that stayed forever (his own bio-father long since gone). All promises FoTB made to him. All promises he broke.

On Saturday we are going to pick him up and he is going to spend the afternoon with us. We owe them nothing but he needs so much that we can give that we feel it is our duty to do so. One day will not fix it but it may go a long way towards showing him that not all grown up men are scary. Not all grown up men scream and yell and threaten and leave. There are good ones out there that he can trust.

As for FoTB, I have no idea where he is or what he is doing and I hope it stays that way for a long time. His lawyer called my lawyer last Wednesday. That conversation ended with, well I guess I have some things to talk to my client about and then get back to you. He has not called my lawyer back since.

On Saturday, I assume realizing that his lawyer had no answers for him, he called the police. He was dismayed to discover they had no answers for him either.

So we wait for his next move. I have been on edge since Saturday. Always looking around, wondering if he will try to show up, waiting for him to call to say he has done this or that and he wants his visits back now. So far it has not happened. Maybe in another few weeks, I will finally believe that it won't.

Until then... I wait, I watch, and I pray....

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Tonight we take Zack over to FoTB's old house where his ex and her son still live. We feel it is only fair to allow them to say goodbye and to give him a chance to process what is going on. We are hoping that seeing FoTB's stuff gone and his vehicles gone might help him to understand that he has really moved out.

It is a bittersweet moment. On one hand, we have been right all along about what he is but on the other hand, Zack is losing these two people which he has become pretty attached to.

We have both agreed to let the boys see each other as often as they need to over the next couple months to fully have that closure but eventually, I know, that relationship will come to an end. And it is unfortunate.

FoTB has spend his entire 31 years thinking only of himself and leaving a litany of broken bridges, broken people, and broken relationships in his wake....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


On Monday afternoon around 1:00 my phone rang. I looked down only to realize it was FoTB's girlfriend. I remember thinking to myself, I should ignore it. She probably just wants to ask me why I won't change the Wednesday night visits for him. Yet something in me made me answer the phone anyway....

By 2:00 on Monday, my whole perspective on how this was going was different. She called to tell me that she thought he was still using and that he had stolen her credit card and tried to take money off of it. He was staying out all night, hanging out with shady people, sneaking around, etc. She was done, she was kicking him out, changing the locks and trying to move on.

I wasn't quite sure what to think. We tested him on the 22nd of August and he passed. She told me she had no idea how he had passed but that she had found a joint in his car that weekend and when she confronted him about it he had told her it was synthetic.

So yesterday we tested him... and he passed. At that point, my head was reeling. I asked the drug test person if they were able to test for synthetics and she told me not yet. They are all illegal in Iowa but the testing for them is not out yet. Next month, maybe two or three....

I left work last night thinking to myself, that is how he is doing it. He is using the synthetic stuff and flying under the radar. Then last night, she called again. And in the conversation she mentioned alcohol. Wait a minute... he is drinking?

Apparently, he started drinking in January. She was naive enough to think that he could drink and just not use drugs. She didn't know that an addict, is an addict and she also didn't know that it states in our divorce decree that he is not allowed to drink OR use drugs.

And suddenly, it all made sense. Everything came crashing down at once and I finally clearly understood why he was passing drug tests but still acting like an addict. He had been drinking, she said quite heavily. Vodka and Crown Royal. She had caught him drinking and then picking up her son which means he had been drinking and then picking up Zack as well.

We suspended visits indefinitely last night. We need to find a way to keep Zack safe and right now he is not safe in FoTB's care.

Welcome to the roller coaster. Guess we are back on for another ride....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Today is my mom's 60th birthday. On my way back to the office from lunch I heard this song on the radio and I thought it was pretty much perfect for today!!

Happy Birthday Mom!! Thank you for everything you have done for me!!

"Like My Mother Does"

Lauren Alaina

People always say
I have a laugh
Like my mother does
Guess that makes sense
She taught me how to smile
When things get rough

I've got her spirit
She's always got my back
When I look at her
I think, I want to be just like that

When I love I give it all I've got
Like my mother does
When I'm scared, I bow my head and pray
Like my mother does

When I feel weak and unpretty
I know I'm beautiful and strong
Because I see myself like my mother does

I never met a stranger
I can talk to anyone
Like my mother does
I let my temper fly
And she can walk away
When she's had enough

She sees everybody
For who they really are
I'm so thankful for her guidance
She helped me get this far

When I love I give it all I've got
Like my mother does
When I'm scared, I bow my head and pray
Like my mother does

When I feel weak and unpretty
I know I'm beautiful and strong
I see myself like my mother does

She's a rock
She is grace
She's an angel
She's my heart and soul
She does it all

When I love I give it all I've got
Like my mother does
When I'm scared, I bow my head and pray
Like my mother does

When I'm weak and unpretty
I know I'm beautiful and strong
I see myself like my mother does
Like my mother does

I hear people saying
I'm starting to look like my mother does

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jim's Hand

**I added a picture of my hand to the previous post**

When I went back to daycare this afternoon they had put up the rest of the hands and the one Zack made for his dad was there. He only made one, not two. And the one he made, was for Jim.

I like it when dad boxes with me.

When I mentioned to Jim that he had not made one for FoTB his answer was exactly what I was thinking.

Zack knows the score. He is not stupid.

And he is 100% right. I now feel even more comfortable with the route we are going with visits.

A what?

On Tuesday night we had to work on a "homework" assignment for Zack. They are reading the book The Kissing Hand, which is about a baby raccoon who is nervous about leaving his mom to go to his first day of school.

So, each child drew their hand print and then told the teacher the things they loved about their parents and she wrote it on the palm of their hand print. Each parent was to do the same and then decorate the hand however they wanted and send it back to school.

This morning I saw Zack's hand. Apparently he just picked me to write about and this is what it said:

I love to twirl my mom's hair. I love it when she scratches my back. I like it when she takes me to the park. I hope I can have a baby sister sometime.

A what? Huh? He has been asking us about having a sister for several months now and we keep telling him maybe some day. But what if it is a boy?

I am not having a brother. I am having a sister. Maybe a sister and THEN a brother but a sister first.

So apparently, it is not just us he is now telling about this. I guess I know what he is asking Santa for this year.

Do you think he will ask me to send it back if we end up having a baby at some point and it is a boy?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Life Well Lived

Two weeks ago, in the wee hours of the morning on August 29th, my cousin lost his will to live. He had a disagreement with his wife, one that I have learned seemed to be a frequent occurrence in the last few months, and he went up into the mountains that he loved so much and ended it all. He left behind two children. 8 and 10.

Two days later, I found out that a girl I went to high school with, a girl who has had medical struggles all of her life, was dying of cancer. On Monday she lost her fight. Her son is a few days shy of three months.

Two lives lost in two very different ways. Three children left without a parent to watch them grow up.

All of this loss has got me really thinking about things lately. About the things I want for my life and the things I want for Zack. We have suspended the search for a counselor. It has been four weeks as of Monday since we were in mediation and we have had no luck getting FoTB or his lawyer to make a decision.

As a parent, I had to make a decision. If I keep pushing, there is a possibility that the new counselor will not see right through FoTB. That the new counselor will believe his lies and will say that it is ok for Zack to have to spend the night there again. I need to keep that from happening as best I can and right now, the way to do that is to keep quiet.

The longer we go without a counselor, the longer we go with no overnights. Right now, what is in Zack's best interest is no overnights. When those two people died, I realized that I can no longer fight for a relationship that FoTB does not seem to want. (He says he does... but his actions speak MUCH louder than his words)

I have to spend as much of my time with Zack as I can and make sure that MY relationship with him is everything I want it to be. Life is short, and if mine ended tomorrow, I would want him to know that I spent every moment I could trying to make sure he was happy and safe.

Right now, that entails keeping him home with us as much as possible.

Last night we did a project for his daycare. We had to draw our hand prints and write what we loved about Zack in the middle. He then helped us decorate them. After drawing and dinner and general goofing around, it was 8:15 and time for bed. Not once did we turn on the TV. Not once did we tell him to just leave us alone and go play.

For two hours last night he had our undivided attention and today, he knows just a little bit more, that what is most important to us is not stuff and things we have to get done. It is him.

Those are the things I want him to remember. Those are the things I have been reminded of in the last two weeks. The things that my friend knew, in her last moments, the things my cousin lost sight of in his.

For when my time is over, I want people to know that my life was well lived and my family was well loved.

"Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many." -Unknown

Friday, September 9, 2011


"Mom, why is your hair like that?"

"Is it bad?"

"Ummm... No."

"Do you like it?"

"Ummm.... Yeah. But why did you want to cut it?"

I guess the 3 inches I cut off is more noticeable than I thought.....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Empty Space

Here we are, a week and a half after I last posted and I'm staring into the empty space of a posting box, not quite sure what to put here.

On the 27th Zack saw FoTB for nine hours. In that nine hours, from what I can gather from Zack and from the timeline of when he was brought home FoTB worked on his car, fought with his girlfriend, didn't feed Zack lunch till 3:30 pm and then dragged him along on an outing to buy things for his boat. (He didn't have $320 to give Zack health insurance last month but he has that money and probably more to spend on his boat this month?) He gets nine hours every two weeks to spend with his son and that is how he chooses to spend it?

He dropped him off at 5:00 on Saturday night and we did not hear from him again until he picked Zack up on Wednesday evening.

FoTB saw Zack a week ago for his Wednesday visit. We have not heard from him since. I assume he is going to pick him up for another visit tonight. I have no guarantees. I will, as I have done so many Wednesday's before, head home right after work. Our house is 5 minutes from his daycare. Daycare closes at 6:00. I figure as long as I am at home, if he fails to show up, I can be there in 5 minutes. Thus far, he has yet to fail to show up but I never have 100% confidence in that.

I was talking to Jim about all of this last night and no matter how many ways I try to look at it I just don't get it. He went into mediation fighting with all of his might to see Zack. To be in his life. To have as much time with him as possible. Yet, here we are three weeks later and a counseling appointment has yet to be made. In fact, a counselor has yet to be picked.

And now this... seven full days without any contact with your child. Seven full days without even so much as a text to see how he was doing, how he had been, where he had been, etc.

Seven full days of nothing.

Why fight so hard to see him if you are not really going to want to be in his life?

I came to terms with some of this last week. I made my peace with the relationship they are destined to have. I no longer try to make things better for them. Zack has a dad in his life to fill that void and right now, it is probably better that FoTB not call at all. Better to not call then to half a$$ call because he feels like he has to or because someone is making him.

Zack has asked about him a grand total of zero times in the last week. That makes a grand total of zero times in the last two and a half years he has asked me about him or asked to see him so I guess I should not be surprised, yet there is still a part of me that is sad.

I'm not sad for FoTB... he is a POS in my book and if he stopped calling and showing up tomorrow I would not miss him in the slightest. No, I am sad for Zack. If FoTB had walked away, signed over his rights and said that he thought Jim and I could give Zack a better life I could have explained that to Zack. Explained that his dad needed to figure things out and he loved him enough to walk away and allow Zack a chance at a better life.

But what he is doing now, holding on like Zack is a possession, worrying solely about himself and being unwilling to put Zack's needs first. That part will be much harder to explain. The fact that he was given a million and one opportunities to do what was right for Zack, to fix their relationship, to be in his life in a positive manner and the blew every single one of them.... that part will be much harder to explain. Much harder for Zack to understand....

A friend of mine sent me a quote last night. It's from Dr. Phil whom I don't usually listen to a whole lot but I think it really applies here:

In order to be a parent, a good constructive parent, it takes more than the
absence of negatives; it takes the presence of a whole lot of positives.

When FoTB talks about being in Zack's life, he talks about the absence of negatives, he has yet to give any positive reasons. That part I struggle with. The courts focus on the absence of negatives but as a mom, I want positives that he is bringing to Zack's life and thus far, I haven't found any.....