Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's A GIRL!

I have four brothers and three sons. For the brief time that I had stepchildren, they were boys too. So when the ultrasound technician announced... "It's a girl"... it didn't seem real. It still doesn't.

Photographic evidence... and still, can't wrap my head around it. Right now the kids are still loving the name Cosette (from Les Mis). Originally they were thinking about Raquel for the middle name but I've suggested Camille - take a second and try that on - Cosette Camille Sauls - pretty sweet, right? I think they're liking it but there's some grandparent opposition.

As far as the scene from the other night... Cosette's parents aren't exactly buddy-buddy but they're being civil to each other. At the doctor's office today the plan was that only mommy and daddy would go back for the ultrasound and the grandmas would stay in the lobby. I'm ok with that. I see the whole pregnancy/childbirth thing as being a very private, intimate thing and I have no intention of interjecting myself where not welcome. I was perfectly fine to wait in the lobby. Austin's still feeling very uncomfortable around her parents and his deal was that if her mom was coming to the ultrasound, he wasn't. And if her mom couldn't go back, I couldn't go back. Not a problem. I tucked my latest embroidery project in my purse and planned to stitch away in the lobby. Her mom decided to wait in the car so at the last minute the kids decided I could go back. I'm glad I did because I got such photographic gems as these:

Yeah, I know. I'm not quitting my day job to become a photographer.

I am really proud of Cosette's parents and how maturely they handled what could have been a very ugly and awkward situation today. Tasha did a great job at fielding the comments of the Blog Readers/Mother Hens after my last post and kept an open and honest line of communication going with me. Austin did a great job at putting the drama behind him and being a supporting boyfriend/dad today. None of this is easy but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I've been way more in the middle than suits me but I love my granddaughter (first time I've ever used that word before) more than I hate dealing with the drama. I even went to the other grandmother in the parking lot today and attempted polite conversation. Ten seconds later she was nasty to Tasha about how I could take her to all her doctor visits, etc. And of course, I would. She said she wished she had the free time to go to all the doctor visits. And I told her I wished I could work. I mean, what else can you say? I didn't choose this.

Speaking of doctor visits - I went to see the pain doctor yesterday. Usually I see the Physician's Assistant (Dr. Matt who is a cutie-patootie) but this was my annual visit to the guy whose name is on the door. He's a bit wacky but we always engage in intelligent conversation about the health insurance industry and the (un)Affordable Care Act, you know, since I don't have health insurance. He wants to do a work up on the evil gut pain but understands why it's not financially feasible. He agrees with my theory that it's likely the cyst that they saw in one of the first diagnostics (an MRI, I think) on my back. He increased my pain medicine and is trying me on a new sleeping med (since I never could come completely off the ambien) and a better muscle relaxer. And... they'll see me in three months. I don't expect anything other than standard quo because to do anything different would cost something different and that ain't happening.

Other than doctor visits... what have we been doing?
Little Kitty perched on me. I think he spends about 12 hours a day as my Siamese Twin and 12 hours a day telling people what is out of place.
 Edison enjoying a cozy spot on a cold Winter Fall night. Despite the cold I'm still eating my Luigi's Mango Italian Ice every night. Old habits.
When he cuddles in the recliner with me he requires my left arm/hand to hold onto. He even takes my hand between his paws like we're holding hands. He is completely human like.
Another poor photo but all three cats are napping in the sunshine.

And... in addition to the Luigi's my latest food addiction is butterfingers.

Notice that this is a share pack? Spoiler alert: I didn't share.

And one last picture since it's time for me to get back to my 5th grade math on Khan Academy (two more tests to pass and I'm on to 6th grade!)... Cosette's first dress bought by her mommy this afternoon:
That's all! Happy Thursday Eve, y'all! Love and hugs!

Friday, November 14, 2014

About Last Night

Happy Weekend from the frigid Northeast Georgia Mountains. It's unseasonably cold here and my parents have a roaring fire upstairs which means the heat isn't coming on to warm the Whine Cellar. Too cold is always preferable to too hot to me so I'm not complaining. I just hijacked my mom's big fluffy pink robe and am propped up against a heating pad. If anyone needs gift ideas for me this year - long sleeve tshirts and sweatshirts. Size bigger than you think. Whatever size you think I am, buy a size bigger.

We had a really dramatic night last night and I want to blog about it - not to toss all of our skeletons out of the closet but because in the future there will be questions about why or why not things are happening and I want it to be in better context. Also because I forget stuff. On purpose.

So... when we last left the story of My First Grandchild's Parents, things were kinda rocky for a bit. We had that really awkward doctor visit where her mom pretended to be mute. I kept encouraging Austin to work on their relationship because they created life together and that life has a right to have two parents who love and respect each other. Last weekend they did really well. He spent the weekend with her and came home speaking positively about the things they had done and excited about the future. Yesterday she came to hang out for the afternoon and then the plan was that he would go home and spend the weekend with her again.

Twenty minutes after they left my dad got a call from Austin asking him to come pick him up. They had a fight. My parents leave to drive the couple of miles to get him and when they still weren't back an hour later, I knew it was trouble. As it turned out, Tasha had this thing of bubble gum tape (she had gotten a case of them at Sam's Club last weekend so she had plenty) and Austin playfully took a nibble out of it and she got upset with him. He's annoying sometimes, I get that, but he's harmless. The gum thing turned into a fight and Austin - taking my sage advise to "always weigh every argument against the thought, 'do I want this to be the thing that causes my child to not have parents who live together and love each other'" decided that it would be best if he went on home, let them both cool off and come back tomorrow.

If that had been the end of the story, tonight they'd be hanging out together and all would be right in the world. Instead... the following things happened in some order, I wasn't there so I don't know exactly how it all unfolded but these things have been collaborated by my parents, my son and my grandbaby's mama:

Austin wanted to leave.
Tasha told him if he left he'd never get to see his baby.
That made him want to leave more.
She blocked the bedroom door.
He was smart enough to know that if he touched her in any way he could get in big trouble.
He began to back away from her while yelling, "I'm being held here against my will".
Her dad told him he was going to open the door with a gun.
My parents arrived to pick him up and were told by her mother that she would bring him home later.
My parents went to the store and decided to stop back by on the way home.
Austin was still in her room screaming that he wanted to leave.
Her mother told my parents that Austin would NEVER see his baby.
My dad told her mother that it wasn't up to her.
Her mother said that the only reason Austin wanted to leave was to go hang out with Fat Pat and smoke pot. (Pat's in Panama City Beach, Florida so that was not possible).
At some point Austin managed to slip past Tasha and leave with my parents.
Tasha was (and is) very, very apologetic and upset about things.

And that's the gist of it. The reason it's important to get this in context is because next week Tasha has a gender screening ultrasound. Austin says he won't go. He's not just angry... being cornered like that is way, waaaaay worse for someone on the autism spectrum than it is for the average person - and I think we can all agree that being cornered is not someone anyone would appreciate, ESPECIALLY with someone threatening to shoot him from the other side of the door. He was really shook up and I can't imagine any scenario where we would want him to go over there for any reason. I want him to share in the discovery of his child's gender but I understand why he might not be keen to do so.

In this story I am the mother of an adult with Asperger's and the grandparent of a child whose parents aren't married. I understand that Tasha regrets acting that way and believe me when I say that I've done as much, if not worse in the heat of an argument than prevent someone from leaving. I guess the difference is that my dad doesn't own a gun. I'm not mad at Tasha. I'm mad as HELL at her parents and have considered filing charges against her dad for threatening Austin in that way. But my grandchild will be depending on that man for a roof over its' head, more than likely and I don't want to put their family in a difficult position. Her parents are active members of a local church and honestly, I've thought about calling their pastor and asking him to mediate the situation. Like... I know here in the country we cling to our guns and our religion but... I guess I just don't see their behavior as particularly Christian. I'm not mad at Tasha because I know what it's like to be pregnant and in a relationship that is unstable and to lose control of your temper. I wish, as I know she wishes, she had handled things differently.

Austin handled the situation exactly as I would have wanted. He realized they were in an argument that was getting heated and he realized he needed to excuse himself from the situation. When he was trapped he used his WORDS and not physical violence to get out of the situation, even when he was threatened with physical violence.

I've been messaging back and forth with Tasha pretty consistently since yesterday. She's heartbroken over what happened and feels horrible. She's mad at her parents for how they acted because they really escalated things far beyond where they needed to go. I'm not against her - I'm just flabbergasted at how out of control this got and how quickly it happened. I want my grandchild to be happy and healthy and raised in a world where he/she is loved and secure and doesn't have to be passed back and forth. I want my grandchild to be in my life and this situation is far too unstable for me. I don't know if you've noticed ... but people who have known me in real life and people who have read my blog for very long can attest to the fact that I have become extremely withdrawn over the past few years. Too many people have done too many things that have caused me too much hurt and I've just gradually reduced the number of interactions I have with people outside of my nest. Dealing with physical pain is hard enough, I don't have the emotional capacity to handle physical pain and emotional pain BUT I have worked very hard at allowing Tasha into my life and have allowed myself to be hopeful about having a grandchild in my life  It runs deeps, this situation. It cuts really deep on so many levels.

And also, just for the record, my parents don't do drama. They shouldn't HAVE to do drama. They shouldn't have some angry woman yelling at them about their grandchild who is - at that very moment being held against his will in her house.

So that's what happened. No pictures today. Just that. I'm open to your thoughts and suggestions and I think Tasha is too.

Love and hugs, y'all.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Life In The Whine Cellar

It started out as a fuzzy blanket on the floor in front of the tv. My niece Jamie would make her nest there when she was visiting. That evolved to a single mattress on the floor which... kinda crowded things up but I also loved falling asleep on the mattress watching tv. I love to sleep with the tv on but with satellite it is so expensive to have tvs in every room. I spend more time in the living room so it made sense to have the tv there... but that meant I would have to sleep on the couch or the mattress if I wanted to fall asleep with the tv. And... when Tasha spends the night here she sleeps in my bed because Austin's room smells like boy. My mom kept saying, "we need to put a daybed in here" and I sort of resisted but I had about a half dozen falls that involved the mattress on the floor. With my spine, even the slightest jolt is painful.

So eventually I said, "let's do it." My mom loves painting and redecorating and that sort of thing so if  you even hint that you might consider a change... she's all for it. In just an hour or so she had commandeered Pop as her assistant and had a daybed up in my living room. We put the bed where the couch had been, moved the couch to where the loveseat was and put the loveseat right behind the couch creating a little sitting area that looks out on the lake. Here are some pictures to demonstrate. A little.

 I was going to wait until I straightened up to take pictures and then decided that might not ever happen so... don't judge. It's lived in.

This shows the view as you come down the stairs into my Whine Cellar. Lots of open floor space where there was a mattress.
 This is the daybed on the wall where the couch used to be. Sarabeth and Jamie christened it "the Princess Bed" which is not surprising since we've been eating at "the Princess Table" at every family gathering since they were able to sit up. We do a lot of Princess around here.
 This is the view as you come in the sliding glass door, looking over to the living room. I've got to get someone to slide the couch over a little because they're not perfectly straight and... I'm no perfectionist but it does sort of bug me.

Notice our countdown chains on the wall... counting down to Christmas and Grandbaby #1.
Here you can kind of see how the dining area is. Eventually I'd like to have a microwave and a little fridge in this area to cut down on the need to climb stairs to get to my parents' kitchen. Things are a bit cluttered because I haven't found homes for everything yet.

We are still enjoying the carpet squares that Austin and his friend Logan laid last Summer after the flood. We had kept some of the squares up because we would have occasional seepage but... knock wood/cross fingers we haven't had a problem in several months. I'd love to have a really cushy, plush carpet but it's just not a good idea for a basement.

 So now Jamie has been promoted from her little rug on the floor to the Princess bed and there's enough room for Bibby (her sister) and Mawmaw and Oscar (aka Abdul, look closely at the green blanket between Mawmaw and Sarabeth which is why Jamie's head is flung back laughing).
 Notice the cellphone Jamie is holding? That's my cellphone. She was playing with it while we waited to pick her sister up from school and she said, "I just love old timey technology!". It's maybe five years old but it's not a smart phone. She was still playing with the phone while I was texting with her mom to let her know what the kids needed from the house to take to church. After she left I noticed that Jamie had sent a few texts to her mom and had the tech savvy to know to put her name at the end of her text to let her mom know it was coming from her and not me. She's nine. And hilarious.
Notice how much taller Sarabeth is than Mawmaw? Sixth grade, y'all! And you can also see more of Abdul the Dachshund under the green blanket.

I've had a rough week pain wise and a little cold and congestion. The pain gets worse when I lay down - something about the ways the discs and nerves are compressed. Sleeping in the recliner is the least painful position... except for the cat who sleeps on top of me.

And can you stand a few more Fall Photos?  Here you go.

And that's what's happening here in the Whine Cellar this week. Love and hugs and happy weekend, y'all!

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Few New Things and A Few Things That Are The Same

Good Morning 4am! It's not the time change that has me up at this random hour... it's pain. The evil gut pain has been raging war over the past two days and sleep is just not happening. Since it's been a whole week since I visited the blog world, I thought I'd use these bonus waking hours to say hello. There's a cat sleeping THISCLOSE to the laptop so I'm not sure how well this will work but I'll give it a go.

So... what's new, y'all? Around here, these things remain the same:

cross-stitching Christmas gifts like crazy and watching the links from the Christmas countdown chain disappear...while worrying I'll never get finished and someone is going to get a blank piece of cross stitch fabric and a promise in their Christmas gift..

pain. pain. pain. And did I mention PAIN? The back pain is aggravating and limits my ability to do stuff but the evil gut pain stops me in my tracks. It radiates from right in front of my left hip through to my spine like someone shot an arrow through me. It radiates down my left leg so that I have to have my leg in a certain position to ease the pain. It's mean, crazy, ugly, frustrating... and this has been going on for fifteen months. Not every day but on an almost weekly basis. Since it's gone on so long I'm convinced that it's not fatal... probably an ovarian cyst, they found a small one a few years ago while doing the complete workup for my back problems but.. who knows. It's bad enough that two tramadol and a percocet haven't helped tonight. Some times the pain meds at least help a little but not tonight.

still working on Khan Academy. I finished 4th grade math the other day and the "arithmetic" section last night and am working on 5th grade math now. I'm also taking a course on computer programming. Just soaking up whatever I can to keep my brain in gear.

Grandbaby #1, my Cinco De Mayo baby is still cooking along just fine. Tuesday Tasha will be 14 weeks and Austin says she has a cute little baby bump now. Their relationship is still rocky but Tasha is doing a great job at being patient and remaining calm and I'm seeing a lot of emotional maturity in her. She and I message back and forth all the time which, if you know me in real life, you know that's not normal for me. But this is my grandbaby's mama so she is very important to me! I keep thinking about what my mother-in-law could have done differently that would have kept her involved in my kids' lives after their dad and I divorced. I'm working on doing things differently/better.

A few new things:

My kids' dad has remarried. He and I have been divorced since 2002, living separately since 2000 and I wasn't sure he'd ever marry again. The lady he married is a childhood friend of mine. Her dad is one of my dad's closest friends. The first wedding ceremony my brother ever performed was one of hers. She was the one who helped me find a job when I was going through my divorce. I mean, our paths have not only crossed, they've been wound really tight for most of my life. In the beginning it was weird for her to be with my ex-husband but she's really been good for him and... bottom line... she'll be a good step-grandmother to my grandbabies. I introduced her and Tasha so that she can be involved in Baby Cinco De Mayo's life. I figure the more people that love our baby, the better.

The leaves were beautiful last week but we had a pretty shocking cold snap over the weekend and I'm thinking that will bring the leaf season to an end. If I can get past the pain I'm going to run out this morning to restock our snack stockpile and will try to get some pictures. I am loving the cooler weather and always feel relieved when Summer ends. I struggle with dizziness and nausea and it is so much worse when it's hot out. I can get out and about easier when it's cooler. Until it's too cold and then the arthritis flares up and... it's just a vicious cycle.

My brother in NYC got promoted to Junior Partner in his law firm. He works for a huge firm and we're all super proud of him. Can't wait until he's home for Christmas so we can celebrate!

Austin has been doing some construction work with his friend Fat Pat. He's getting paid a little here and there - not making a steady income by any stretch of the imagination BUT he's learning some skills that will make it easier for him to find a job in the future and it gets him out of the house.

And... I guess that's it. Happy November, y'all! This year has flown by, hasn't it?

Love and hugs!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ultrasound Numero Dos for our Cinco De Mayo Baby Lindo

Happy Sunday Evening, y'all! It's weird, even though I am no longer working, weekends still seem to fly by insanely fast. I had meant to post about the latest ultrasound of Grandbaby #1 from last Thursday and haven't stepped out of my usual schedule long enough to do it. I've been sewing, watching CSpan book talks, watching football, still trying to finish up the current module on Khan Academy (4th grade math - I'm not kidding!), spending waaaay too much time on youtube and fighting the good fight.

This morning I took another fall which was not as bad as some of the others I've had but it was still painful and I'm sure it will be even more painful over the next few days. It's ridiculous... I was standing beside my recliner leaning across the recliner to unplug my laptop and it was a position that I apparently can no longer hold because I just belly flopped on the recliner. I'm short (not sure if you can tell from my photos but... I'm only 5'1) so leaning over beside the chair, I didn't have far to fall but I braced myself with my hands to keep my head from smacking the end table and the muscles in my arms/shoulders are sore... not to mention the pain in my spine that comes from any sudden movement. It was stupid. It made me feel like a klutz. Every time I tumble and stumble and fall I just feel so out of control. The truth is that my core muscles are just shot because tightening my core hurts my back and that evil gut pain so... apparently I can no longer bend at the waist. That happened.

Back to the doctor visit... things were somewhat awkward at the first visit because Tasha's mom said a lot of things that just made things uncomfortable... you know, things about sharing the expenses and details about Austin's relationship with his dad and Austin's autism ... just stuff I'd rather talk about somewhere other than a public waiting room. In between the two visits baby mommy and baby daddy had a pretty intense disagreement about things so that had the potential of making things even more awkward... and I had been probably too vocal about being uncomfortable at the last visit (so what do I do? I repeat it again, because my initials should be TMI) SOOOooo I decided it would be better for us to meet at the doctors office instead of all riding together. It's about a ten-fifteen minute drive, not far but when things are awkward, a minute is too long for me. Austin and I arrived in quite a jovial mood because the truth is... my kid is funny and we have a good time together. We walked into the waiting room and I cheerfully greeted Tasha and her mom and... *crickets*... from mom. Tasha was pleasant and cheerful and, I think, glad we were there. Her mom would not make eye contact and throughout the entire visit never said one single word to Austin or myself. Not. One. Word.

So that was awkward but... honestly... Austin and Tasha and I chatted and had lots of pleasant conversation and had, in my opinion, a really good time. Pictures of our little Cinco De Mayo baby are posted throughout this post. I'm still guessing it's a he but we can't do a gender scan under the insurance until 20 weeks. We have the option to pay $90 as early as 16 weeks to get an advance peek but I don't think that's going to happen. Everything looks good with the baby and Tasha is doing well and... I wish we could find a happy medium for grandmother relations but... I am at a loss. I've never done this before - the whole grandparenting thing. I've dealt with my older sons' in-laws and I guess I'm just spoiled by how wonderful Marquee's parents are to Cody and how kind Sara's parents have been to Ryan. I know Austin's not where he needs to be yet as a father and provider but I'm just not feeling the love toward him and I know him well enough to know that if he feels uncomfortable in a situation he is going to just avoid that situation. We did put an embargo on overnight visits until things calm down between baby mommy and baby daddy but I really go out of my way to encourage Tasha and be understanding with her. I feel like Tasha and I have a good line of communication and I genuinely enjoy being around her.

The bottom line is that there are two things that are always touchy subjects for me: my kids and my money. I've had to defend Austin his ENTIRE life and that's not going to change. I'm in the midst of a financial drought and there's nothing I can do to change that (or believe me, I would have). I know there was probably a better way for me to express how overwhelmed I was at the first doctor visit with those two subjects being the primary topic of conversation but ... honestly... that's why I don't interact with people very much any more. Pain robs you of tact. It's sad but true.

Anyways. It's a good thing that pregnancy is 40 weeks long because I think it's going to take that long for us to all get our ducks in a row. In the meantime... how precious is this?

Good night, love and hugs, y'all!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Past Few Days in Pictures and Thought.

Just a quick burst of words and photographic evidence that I am still on the right side of the dirt. It's been another one of those weeks where ailments are doubling up on me and I don't want to bore you with the details. Other than,  I would like to poop sometime in my lifetime. And the green slime that has taken up residence in my head can leave anytime it wants. So basically... I have the usual ills plus constipation of nose and rear end. I'm fun to be around, trust me.

Tomorrow is another baby checkup. This one will also have an ultrasound so we'll be able to get another peek at Taush-tin's little strawberry. Or kumquat. Or whatever produce it is this week. I'm immersing my self in baby blogs, baby stores, watching an unnatural disturbing number of childbirths on youtube. The deal I have with Tasha is that I will only be where she is completely comfortable with me being and I will do my best to be anywhere she needs me to be. Those are my Granny Vows, "I'll do the best I can to be as supportive as I can be, any and every time I'm needed".

Austin was complaining about me and Tasha working out a plan for tomorrow's doctor visit without really including him in the process. I told him - as plain as I could without being mean - because Tasha is carrying MY grandchild, I now have a relationship with Tasha that doesn't require him to be a go-between. She and I can (and will) communicate about the well-being of my grandchild and my grandchild's mama. I am a part of the equation. And if I have nothing in the way of material goods to offer this precious one, I will dig deep and work hard to PRESENT in whatever capacity works for Taush-tin.

I also had a heart to heart with Austin about him pulling away from Tasha because of the heated words they've had over the past few weeks. I said, "I stuck with your dad through 14 years of marriage because it was so important to me for you guys to have a dad and I knew that without me in the background their dad was going to have to hit rock bottom before he became a presence in their life. Ain't none of us got perfect parents but I want my grandchild to have two parents giving it an honest effort to create a peaceful world for him to grow up in.

I've learned over the past few years of dealing with this whole back problem and disability that there are a precious few who will stick with you throw years of uncertainty, put up with your sorry/broke self, want to come over and hang out without because it's hard to get out. I've done a lot of withdrawing over the last three years and there are times I look around and realize how insulated I've made myself. The thing is... the battle to continue to have a will to live when you know every day will hurt... you wont be able to do what you want to do, go where you want to go, have money for anything you want or need. That battle to survive the physical pain leaves me no reserves for dealing with any emotional drama. So I have just pulled back from almost all human interaction. I don't invite people to come see me because I'm boring and I don't want to be hurt if they turn down the invite. And even when people are here visiting I just feel like I can't connect. My life is about surviving the night... then surviving the day... all the while trying to avoid anything that would be discouraging or hurtful and all that because... I just need to only deal with what I can't escape, the pain.

Anyways... so the relationships that I nurture and pay attention to, they're ones that are of extreme importance to me. My nieces. My sons. My parents. And my grandchild/ren and their mamas. Doctor visits are painful for me physically but this baby - and this baby's mama - want me there and so I will be. They matter most.

So. All of that. Aren't you glad I quit blogging every day? How much of this will people read before they decide... "nah... I'm tired of her pity party."? But there are good things and I wanted to show you a few from this week:

 Sunshine outlining the trees...
 Little Kitty napping under a blanket
 Another misty morning with a little fog on the lake

That text above should read, "saving pine cones for an upcoming craft project with muh gurrrrls!" We're going to spray paint them, glitter them and hang them from the ceiling because... why not?

More loveliness from my back porch.

 Evidence of work in my la-bore-atory....

 Making a pillowcase for a special girl. Got a lot done on it today which makes me less freaked out about "how am I gonna get all this done before Christmas?". A nice two day project here and there tells me that I can do IT!
 This was last week's work and it's a secret so SHHHHHH! Don't show my Jamie! It will be a pillowcase. And yes, I did embroider every word of the 23rd Psalm for her. And re-memorized it in the bargain.
 Hmmmm wonder who would like this? It's a work in progress but always fun to work on . I'm having to make my own patters and it's not easy.
 Mr. Penguin will have a couple of penguin scenes around him. That stack to the left took way more time than you might think.
 My briefcase is a sewing basket. My fingers are callused. But I can't wait to see their faces on Christmas Day.

Unedited, unfiltered me at the end of the day. Low on the glam,  off the charts fatigue but... I'm still here!

Love and hugs to all of you!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Our Tangled Web

Yesterday morning. There's lots more color than my little camera can capture. It's a beautiful world.

Remember the blog entry where I talked about being a grandma? My fears about something happening to the relationship between Austin and Tasha? Yeah. Their relationship has really gotten rocky which has my anxiety ramped way up. Neither one is all right or all wrong. I've tried to keep the lines of communication open between them but we've had to put an embargo on overnight visits after a knock down/drag out hulabaloo at midnight the other night that resulted in a broken iPhone. She's hormonal. He has Asperger's. It's a dangerous combo. We're at 11 weeks, two days pregnant. You have no idea how stressful it is to want to be supportive to your kid, who really, honestly, feels overwhelmed... but to know that there's a baby involved who needs to know his dad and who I NEED to know.

I've never gotten over - and I doubt I ever will - the estrangement of my youngest brother and his four kids. Y'all know what kind of aunt I am. It breaks my heart that those kids aren't getting to be a part of all the great times that I have with my two redheads. That brother was born when I was 14. Trust me, he was MY baby! And we just... we have such a great time with my nieces even when one is a sassafrass and won't give her "bibby" (what they call each other) the remote... there are no bad times with them. This picture is Sarabeth with her presents on her 12th birthday. Mawmaw made a cheesecake. I made a bookmark and she said, "how did you know? This is what I say every time I read!" How do I know? Because you're my niece. And I know you HAVE to be a bookworm. The My Little Pony books my parents found at an art shop last week. And the cash? Because...

As far as my grandbaby is concerned,  I've been able to keep the lines of communication open with Tasha. She knows that she's important to me and that I'll do everything I can to support her. I've given her tips for handling Austin and encouraged her as much as I can. The way it's supposed to work is .... a couple falls in love... they get married... they set up a home together and plan to share that life with a child. They took a few steps out of order and are quickly discovering differing opinions about the kind of world their child will come into. I felt a huge, HUGE amount of anxiety when we did the ultrasound two weeks ago because the other grandma was very pushy with Austin (and me) about how "he did this" "it takes two to tango" "he needs to step up"  and how our family needs to pay for things because they don't have much money. Well, I haven't worked in a year and a half. What money my parents have is their LIFE SAVINGS that they planned to live on for the rest of their lives and they're already having their retirement home invaded by me and a kid.

Getting Austin to find a job - any job- has been the most frustrating endeavor of MY LIFE and baby mama's folks are telling him that a fast food job isn't good enough, that he needs to get a factory job, like, a month ago and he's just shutting down. The impression he's getting is that they don't want Tasha to have to work - ever. Tasha worked a day, didn't feel good and just didn't go back. That pushed Austin closer to the edge. I mean, the kid is really stressed out. And for me, nonstop Austin stress means the only time I get a break is when I'm sleeping. Cue full dose of ambien after a year, almost of being on a half dose. I just keep cautioning them both to not say anything that's going to jeopardize their ability to parent together in the future. And I'm trying to do the same. Above it all... I really do like Tasha and want her to have as little stress as possible in this pregnancy. Sometimes, though, doing the hard thing is what gives you the softer pillow to lay your head on at night. The road that looks the rockiest is truly the easiest path in the long run.

So I'm grieving the possibility of having a grandchild that I don't get to know, knowing how heartbreaking it is to have nieces and nephews I don't get to know and have I mentioned how stressed I am? Ok. I guess that horse is dead enough.

The picture above is Sarabeth showing that she's ALMOST as tall as her full grown cousin. They fuss and fight and tease each other like siblings. The other day there was a pool noodle sword fight. In my living room. We put a duster cloth on the end so that when it hit the wall it would also dust. This picture is her turning on him when he said something... Austin-like.

Time for me to get back to the needle - sewing needle. Cross-stitch... take me awayyyyyyy!

Happy Thursday. Love and hugs, y'all!