Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oh Rebekah, Where Art Thou?

It was a difficult decision, but Greg and I moved our oldest child to Utah to finish her senior year of high school with her cousin. Born three months apart, the two girls have been close if not best friends their whole lives, even though they have lived 800 miles apart. Neither have a best friend at their home schools. It's weird because I think most girls do and here are two girls in my own family who have not established closeness with anyone but each other. Bekah spent the summer of 2008 with my sister's family and had a blast, but after the summer I was ready to have my baby home. My sister asked if Bek could stay for high school and I quickly refused...not ready to give up my baby. Let's face it, at this stage in Rebekah's life she would move to finish high school then stay on for college and bottom line be moved out of my home way too soon. But this and that happened and led Greg and me to make the decision with no hesitation. I drove Rebekah along with my old car, her new car...and left them both in Spanish Fork, UT. The nights that led up to her departure were difficult. We both cried quietly and secretly away from everyone and assumed the other was fine and brave and unscathed by emotion. In Utah I got her set up in the bedroom, filled out paperwork for school, and handed over whatever cash I had on me. I had trouble getting out of UT...no trains, no rental cars, no flights left until Monday...but I finally left and the tears poured. We both knew it was for the best, but who can accept such a drastic change without shedding tears? I got on the plane and flew home without another thought on the subject...just happy for her and her new life. My youngest son had already moved into her room when I got home. Little bits and pieces remained of Rebekah with mixes of Ty's favorite things dotting the landscape of the room. I opened her closet to find she had left quite a bit and figured I'd better clean it out. It was there that I collapsed and ached for my baby. My children gathered around me in awe of such raw emotion (I'm not an emotional person). Kindsay started bawling, attaching herself to my sadness. So there I sat, cleaning and crying quietly. All the memories, all the dreams I had when she was born, all the heartache I went through to get her through junior high--it was all done. New dreams and heartaches and delights are ahead, but when I look back at the little baby whose hair I had to pull together to make even the tiniest pigtails I feel a pit in my stomach and an emptiness in my heart. She was the calm in my home...the one I could count on to bring me some perspective. She kept me mainstreamed and in the know when it came to music and styles...and she was fun to hang with for lunch or a trip to Target. I fall apart every now and then when I least expect it. Those moments will come around when I look up and expect to see her there in front of me and that's when I lose it. It's just not fair that I have to have a baby, fall in love with it, and eventually let go into the world to make her way without me right beside her. And then there's Kindsay who will be down the hall for the rest of my life. I'm definitely torn...Is there nothing between being 800 miles away or 8 feet away? *sigh*


Is any animal safe from Kindsay's magnetism? Her obsession with animals is long standing. Along with babies, Kindsay will do anything when it comes to animals. She reads about them the way a person would read a novel for pleasure. She watches them on television (Animal Planet) and nothing else. She even alternates wanting them as gifts between Furreal Friends and a new baby doll. Everyone knows Kindsay would love a new pet but we do not give in because the life of the animal would be in her unsteady hands. The love she has for animals crosses into dangerous territories that her father and I cannot keep up with in supervision. We simply can't watch her every moment of the day. It's sad because she truly wants to care for an animal, and in many ways she'd be very good at it. But it's that small part of her, that part that even medication doesn't touch, that we all fear...and have good reason to.
Last week sometime, when the kids were still home on summer break and I had begun working already, Kindsay proved herself untrustworthy with another life. My mom and dad had been caring for my kids while I worked and after work I'd run errands with the boys while Kindsay stayed home alone. Again, she's fine alone. Computer games and snack food is all she is interested in. Sure she opens the door to strangers, but in my quiet little neighborhood that isn't a problem. My 'no soliciting' sign keeps 98% of the people at bay. So I'm running errands with the boys and pull into my driveway. Out bursts Kindsay, and it truly was a burst if you know Kindsay, into the garage with sheer delight she cannot contain. "Garon...Ty..I have birds in my room!" As though she forgot I would be in the car...well, who else would be driving into the garage...she looks at me and squeals in anticipation of my reaction and runs back into the house. "Birds? You have BIRDS? Where'd you get birds?" I feel like I'm in a horror film in reverse as I try to get my car turned OFF and my keys OUT of the ignition in record time. Seeing as how Kindsay has already dragged into her room 2 televisions and a microwave, I can't imagine where she was putting birds and from where in the world she got them. Sure, we used to have a parakeet because we found him sitting on our car in the driveway one day...but that's pretty unusual. Plus, we don't own a cage. But I digress....the boys run with excitement into the house...even the little girl across the street heard Kindsay's announcement and came running over and into the house to see the birds. I gather everything out of the car, realizing...we don't have birds, there aren't any birds...why am I getting worked up over this? She must've found a website with birds and is raising a family in a nest online. I take my stuff in the house, start on my housework and dinner, and my eye is catching little bits here and there that something is indeed up. The boys are whispering and moving out into the backyard with slippery moves...Kindsay has altogether disappeared. I can hear talking in the backyard, but not the running around playing kind of talk and not the typical pool banter when they swim. Finally Ty comes in with confirmation that there are birds in our backyard in Kindsay's care. In fluid storming steps I get out to the backyard to see a blue nylon crate used in children's rooms as a storage device. I approach it, and while I do the boys are filling me in. "She found them in the nest! The nest is out in the front and she killed the mommy bird! She destroyed the nest! Kindsay is going to keep them!" and so on...all the while Kindsay is not denying or admitting to anything. I look over the edge of the crate to find two bundles of feathers. Two sleeping baby birds too soon yanked from their nest by an animal stalker. They are nestled beside a small cup of what appeared to be their dinner...a pile of bread crumbs that she ripped apart in the kitchen. While I was out Kindsay found a nest in my frontyard attached to the garage. She took a chair and watched until mommy bird flew away at which point she climbed onto the chair and scooped out the two baby birds and rushed them into the house. I didn't even make an attempt to correct the situation. I immediately called Greg. "When are you coming home?" soon, he said. "OK because ..." I proceeded to tell him about Kindsay and her birdnapping. "I'm on my way." Thirty minutes later Greg was home and placed the birds back into their nest, which Kindsay did not destroy (that would've been the absolute end of her if she had destroyed the nest and killed the mom...the END...somehow.) Greg worried the mommy bird would reject them and I assured him that she wouldn't...what mom would reject her two sweet babies? Later that evening I went to the front yard where Greg was playing with the boys. "Look up there..." Greg pointed to where the garage and roof meet. There sat a large bird in a nest and she was glaring at us with an intensity I'd never seen from an animal. She must've known something was amiss when she returned...her babies were probably not right where she left them. I felt a tinge of guilt as though I had been the culprit in the Big Birdnapping of '09. Then again, I did give birth to the culprit. I think I know how the parents of convicted felons feel when faced with the victims' families...a little guilty, a little remorse, but very little surprise.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Kindsay's new thing is yelling at me. It's the kind of yelling a parent does at a child when the parent has had it up to here (my hand is clear above my head) and finally loses all patience and quite frankly, dignity, and rails on the kid. The use of the losing patience voice, combined with the I've lost it completely voice create the perfect combo in which Kindsay will use to communicate her every wish to me. It looks funny to even the insider because here is this kid just wailing on me verbally with a simple request of daily frequency. My family at first was shocked and couldn't believe the extreme behavior, but now they laugh when she walks away, like a stunned, "I still can't believe she does that," laugh. "Stop it! You KNOCK IT OFF! I mean it! if you even THINK ABOUT IT I WILL GET MAD! you just QUIT BREATHING RIGHT NOW...if you breath I'm just going to get mad!" all this just inches from my face. I stand there like a soldier getting the what-for from the sergeant. At first I'd get mad, but I realized there isn't any real animosity...for some reason she just feels like she needs to do it. OK...fine. Today, instead of asking if she can walk to g'ma's it was, "I want to walk to Grandma's, can I walk TO GRANDMA'S?? If you don't let me I'm going to just yell at you and you'll be in TROUBLE!" No Kindsay, I'm driving over there in a few minutes, I'll just drive you too. "I want to walk AND THAT IS FINAL." No Kindsay, now you don't get to walk because you keep screaming at me. She storms out in a fury. After 10 minutes I walk out to the kitchen where I find her sitting with her cousin waiting for me. I tell her, "You know, Kindsay, it would be okay if you wanted to walk. Why don't you go ahead and I'll just meet you at grandma's?" Screaming back at me, instead of a calm response, "No..no that's just too bad! You've lost the privilege, I am NOT walking!" If you didn't know who was who in my home and only heard the ranting, you'd wonder who was the child and who was the parent. I'm confused even now. Which am I?