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Pregnant? That’s A Joke Right? June 1, 2014

Filed under: I am still learning,Johnno,Parenting Kameron,Stuff — stepheppichdaily @ 5:51 am

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant.  I remember exactly where I was.

I was smoking a cigarette outside after church (yes I went to church) and it made me sick. I had been smoking for years and I never remembered lighting up making me feel so ill, like I was going to pass out. My girlfriend that was with me said “you’ve been feeling weird lately, are you sure you’re not pregnant?”

I laughed.

The idea of me being pregnant was a joke. I was married at the time, but we weren’t each other’s biggest fans.

That was a Sunday.

Tuesday I bought a pregnancy test.

My girlfriend was with me when I found out that I was going to be a mother.

I sobbed. I thought of every despicable thing that I had done over the last few weeks (which I later found out was approximately two months.)  I thought, I’m not ready.

Is anyone ever really ready?

Fast forward fifteen years.

Fifteen years. I’m tough, but fifteen years?

I remember when I was fifteen and what assholes I thought my parents were.

My son is named after Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Kameron with a “K” because I decided he was going to have to spell his last name for everyone for the rest of his life, so why not add that exclamation point?  “Yes, I’m Kameron with a “K”…

After all he’s my son; I don’t play small ball.

It’s been so hard for me to watch him become a man. It’s so hard.

Tonight he asked me what time he was born (I have no idea why.) I told him he was born at 7:47 pm in room 2020. He looked at me and I told him “I always said you would be a pilot, with perfect vision.” He laughed and walked away; I was immediately transported to that moment when I knew life would never be the same.

My son, he’s such a good man.

I don’t know how it happened, I wish I could take all the credit, but I can’t.

  • Johnno – Thank you for everything, we miss you so much, every day.
  • Mr. D.  – You are the definition of a good man, I am so thankful that Kameron has you as a role model.
  • Mr. Clady – Thank you so much for believing in Kameron, you are a fantastic inspiration to everyone.

I can’t wait to see what Kameron does in the years to come…. I’m sure it will be expensive.

 

 

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Sometimes My Son Reappears December 13, 2013

We’ve had growing pains, Kameron and I. I don’t like that he’s not my sweet little boy that he once was, and he doesn’t like that his mom is extremely hard on him. Thankfully, every once in awhile that sweet boy comes back, if even for a moment. Tonight he did, and I thought I would share.

Assignment: Write a letter to a Kindergartner from Santa about Christmas.

“Dear Kindergartner,

I am delighted that you wrote me this letter of your Christmas list this year. My elves are working on making and buying all the other children’s presents for this year, including yours. Mrs. Clause is in her kitchen baking cookies and our feast for Christmas Eve, which is full of mashed potatoes, green beans, pudding, and roast beef. Our weather in the North Pole is freezing compared to Indiana. The polar bears are cold even in their fur coats, the penguins are hiding in their igloos, and even the reindeer are feeling like icicles. Dasher is running all around the house. Dancer is dancing his hooves off. Prancer is not prancing but pacing. Prixen is eating all of the Twix chocolate bars. Comet is trying to fly across the sky. Cupid is showing love to me and everyone else in the North Pole. Donder is bonding himself with joy. Blitzen is sprinting at the speed of light. Rudolph is shining his nose to show positive energy. Meanwhile, I am checking my list to see who was naughty and nice.

I am getting ready with my sleigh, my sack of presents and coal, and I will be at your house very soon.

Thank you for writing this letter of your list to me and have a Merry Christmas.

Sincerely,

Santa”

That’s my boy….

 

This Boy – Part One December 6, 2013

I remember thinking what idiots my parents were when they said “this is going to hurt me a lot more than it hurts you.” That phrase was usually followed by a whollap across my ass or in later years being grounded “indefinitely.” (Grounded indefinitely was a phrase that I’m pretty sure that my mother invented. It means that you’re grounded for an undetermined amount of time, lifted or enforced at will, feel free to use it when applicable.)

Kameron has not inherited my long-term memory, or short-term memory for that matter, which to me is extremely frustrating. People can make excuses for him all day long, he’s a man, he’s fourteen, it’s puberty, it’s classwork, yada yada yada… You can preach that stuff to me all day long until you’re blue in the face for all I care. The bottom line is you don’t have to deal with the consequences of his lack memory motivation.

Let me enlighten you. It’s Tuesday, BEFORE Thanksgiving. I’ve heard nothing from his father about plans, not a peep from Kam, so I decided to press on with our own plans. Those plans included Thanksgiving Day putting up the Christmas tree and watching football. Friday Samantha was going to be home and I planned on cooking our family dinner. Saturday my mom was coming over for dinner. Sunday was nothing, to relax and get ready for the week ahead. I went in to tell Kameron good night Tuesday night, he had this weird look on his face, I could tell something was on his mind. I asked “what’s up?” He looked at me and said “just wondering what I’m going to do on Friday with my Dad.” Excuse me? The two of them had made plans on Friday and just “forgot” to tell me about it. So I rearranged our entire schedule.

Tuesday of this week (I guess Tuesday is a bad day.) Kam has choir practice, it ends at 4. I left work, ran some errands, and was at school to pick him up around ten till. I was on the phone with my cousin, so I wasn’t bored, but when the clock showed ten after I started to get irritated. My cousin said “I bet he has practice until 4:30 and forgot to tell you”, I said “no way.” Sure enough, 4:30 rolls around and out he strolls with this somber look on his face. “I forgot” he says. I’ve waited for 40 minutes and “I forgot” is all he has?

Today, I emailed his choir teacher to make sure they didn’t have practice until 4:30 again today, she replied no, so I was at school in line to pick him up at the regular time. I knew they had a performance today at school, but had no idea that there was another performance at 7 tonight and he had to be back at school by 6:30. “I forgot” again. This time I was pissed. I grounded him. Which means no phone, computer, games, etc.

Now he’s grounded “under the house” as I like to put it.

You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out why.

 

Progress Report November 4, 2013

kam14Last week we had parent teacher conferences at Kam’s school. I remember going to my own parent teacher conferences, the fear, the dread of what the teachers might tell my parents.

Things were different when I was in Kam’s shoes. My parents couldn’t check my grades online. They didn’t get weekly emails telling them what my grades were. Progress reports were given to parents and the parent teacher conferences were so the teachers could hold our feet to the fire in front of our parents, or the other way around. It was definitely more intimidating.

When I got to school Kam met me in the hallway. I could tell he was nervous. Report cards had already come out, so I already knew what his grades were. He made second honors, which in my book is great, not so much in his book. He puts an incredible amount of pressure on himself about his grades; and pretty much everything else. Walking up the stairs I asked who he wanted to talk to, he said his home room teacher and Mr. Carter. I put my arm around him and said “I’ve told you Mr. Carter reminds me a lot of my professor Mr. Hanna right?” He said “yeah mom.”

Mr. Hanna was hard on me. It wasn’t because I didn’t get good grades, it was because he saw more potential in me than I saw in myself. He helped me get through school, when I wanted to quit, he would just tell me “oh that’s just bullshit.” When I went to school I was working full-time, going to school at night, and toward the end pregnant. I remember crying on the phone with Mr. Hanna not wanting to leave my month old baby to take finals so I could graduate. He probably said something like it’s 2 hours, get in there and get it done, it will be ok. So I did, and I graduated.

We went into Kam’s homeroom teacher. She’s very nice, saying that Kam is participating a lot more in class, and just needs to work on his AR (some additional reading they have to do every quarter.) I assured her that we were going to be working on that. She said that he was very polite, and respectful to the girls. I thanked her, we headed out down the hallway to Mr. Carter’s room.

Mr. Carter is an old school type of teacher. Instead of talking about what grades Kam had he asked him how he thought he was doing. Kam said “good.” Then Mr. Carter asked what he was struggling with, they chatted a little. I was looking at my baby having a grown up conversation with his teacher, I could feel myself holding my breath; taking in this moment. Then Mr. Carter said “what do you think mom?”

I told him that Mr. D and I were very proud of him, we’ve noticed he’s really grown up this year. Mr. Carter agreed. He said that “in sixth grade Kameron seems a little dazed, but he’s really come into his own. He’s more confident, he applies himself, he’s respectful to the girls, he has a real presence about him. You should be very proud of the way you’ve raised him. He’s going to Roncalli next year right?” I said yes, we’re very excited.” “Good, that’s good, he’s really stand out at Roncalli, he’s be a star there.”

As we got up to leave Mr. Carter shook Kamerons hand and told him to keep up the good work. He patted my shoulder and said “nice work mom.” An oddly familiar gesture, it’s exactly what my Dad would have done.

 

I Wonder If It Will Burn Down October 1, 2013

The church I mean.

Tonight will be the first time I’ve gone to church since my Dad’s funeral.

It’s not for a funeral this time, it’s for a celebration. Kameron is getting confirmed tonight. Although, I still don’t know what the hell that means.

Kameron went to a retreat last Saturday to talk with his fellow classmates and other ministry type adults about confirmation. When I asked him about his day he was pretty nondescript. I went through the usual questions “Did you have a good time” “What did you guys do” – you know the typical questions any parent might ask. He mentioned that they broke into groups to talk about confirmation and what it meant to them. I asked, what does it mean to you? He sighed and rolled his eyes at me and said ‘they asked me why I wanted to get confirmed.” Looking at him, I could tell he was annoyed, but I pressed on, “what did you tell them?” He said “I wanted to get confirmed because both of my parents are confirmed” (sidebar – parents meaning me and Mr. D for anyone that might be confused.) I asked “is that all you said?” Knowing that the catholic church or their ministry type people probably wouldn’t accept that answer. He said “NO” sounding frustrated, “they asked me why I wanted to get confirmed.” (Here comes the big eye roll)….”I told them it was because I wanted to strengthen my faith.”

Sounded pretty good to me, I guess they bought it.

My memory of confirmation was my mom threatening me – “if you don’t get confirmed you’ll go to Broad Ripple High School because I’m not paying the tuition at Chatard unless you get confirmed.” I can remember that conversation like it was yesterday. I’ve never told Kameron that he had to get confirmed or he couldn’t go to Roncalli.

I hope tonight is more about a spiritual thing than a threat. About a year ago I promised Kameron that “we” as a family would go to church more often. I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain. It’s been too hard. I’ve told Mr. D that I didn’t want to sit in the back of the church and cry. I still haven’t found the answers as to why my Dad isn’t with me anymore, and even if someone gave me answers it wouldn’t be good enough.

Maybe I should just sit in the back of the church and cry, someday, but not today.

Today is Kameron’s day, as it should be.

`

 

The Question I’ve Avoided For 14 Years.. September 24, 2013

me and kam

Until tonight.

“Mom, why did you and dad get a divorce?”

Honestly, I’ve prepared myself for this moment for the last three or four years. I’ve gone through the situation in my head over and over again until it was completely exhausting. I’ve read books, watched so many Dr. Phil shows it’s almost embarrassing, but nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for tonight when my son asked me that question.

We were just sitting around the dining room table finishing up dinner and doing social studies notes when he looked at me straight in the face and asked “why did you and dad get a divorce?”kam glasses

I sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity, it was probably only a couple of seconds, but it felt like the last fourteen years of my life has suddenly passed before my eyes. I looked across the table at Mr. D who looked as surprised as I was, anxiously waiting for me to answer. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I got my son into counseling about two months ago. He was having some anxiety about being in the eighth grade, high school, puberty, girls, friends, stress – I’m happy I found him someone to talk to, but I wasn’t expecting my usual non confrontational son to ask me about the end of our “happy” family at 7:30 on a Monday night.

The truth is, I should have seen this coming. He was questioning his dad (I use ‘dad’ very loosely) about why he didn’t get any one on one time with him. Why he wasn’t as important as his other kids. Why his “first son” wasn’t as important to him as his other children. I mean I gotta tell you, I’ve always encouraged some kid of relationship with his dad, no matter what it was, but his dad is a poor excuse for a dad. He’s an embarrassment if you want to really know the truth. If you don’t know me, I’m kind of a loud mouth, but I have made the exception with my son’s father, no matter what he says. I’ve watched enough Dr. Phil to know that children learn what they live, and saying something detrimental about his father would someday come back to bite me in the ass. He would resent me, it’s just a fact. I’ve kept my mouth shut, bitten my tongue more times than you can imagine, and it all comes down to that question.

I sat there and looked at my son waiting for him to look away, but this time he wasn’t looking away. He wanted answers, and I suppose it was high time I gave him the best answers I could. So I did.

kambo

I told him that his dad and I were married and that we were both very mean to each other. I told him that when I found out that I was pregnant with him, his dad and I were very excited and optimistic about the future. I told him that when he was born it was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me or his dad. I told him that when he was about a year old his dad and I started having problems, grown up problems, that didn’t have anything to do with him (even though I know kids have an amazing way to feel like everything is their fault.) I told him that we tried the best we could, but in the end, his dad and I decided that being together wasn’t the best thing for him. I did tell him that his dad and I did not do everything we could do to save our marriage. If I told him that we did it would be a lie, he was looking for answers, not lollipops and rainbows. I asked if he ever remembered his dad and I being together, he said no. Which I think is a blessing. I’ll admit I made mistakes, but I honestly gave my best effort the last time with his dad. In the end, he decided other things were more important, which reflects how he is today, and the relationship he has with his son.

The best part of this story is that my son has my husband Mr. D. He’s everything any kid would want in a father. He’s loving, appreciative, patient, kind, funny, responsive, active, I could go on and on, but I don’t want to inflate his ego…

Being in this position is terrible. It’s just a bad situation. The worst part is that I don’t have any answers for my son except for the answers I gave him tonight. I don’t know if that is the end of the questions, I doubt it. At least my answers now (I hope) ensures that he won’t hate me later. Maybe those answers he’s looking for he will figure out for himself, if he hasn’t already.

I know I’ve done my absolute best, I know it. I’m good with that.

 

“Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee” August 7, 2013

At least that’s what Muhammad Ali said….

How about stung by a wasp, and by the way, your momma is gonna collapse tomorrow?

That’s how I feel.

Sunday may have been the most scared I’ve ever been in a long time. Kam was out mowing the backyard and he got stung by a wasp on his ankle. When he came in he was scared, and obviously hurt, but nothing that he couldn’t recover from. As I was looking at the sting to see if there was still a stinger in his leg he started screaming and ran away from me. What I didn’t know, and found out seconds later, was that the wasp that stung his ankle crept into his shirt and continued to sting him. He became very frightened, which made me extremely frightened. He ran into his room screaming, Mr. D and I literally had to hold him down while he was twisting, screaming, and crying to pull his shirt off and kill that damn wasp.

That wasn’t the worst of it.

It hurts me, I mean it physically hurts me to be this honest. I just can’t lie, it’s just not part of my DNA anymore.

My son is damaged, and after this, there has to be something done. I’ll spare you the intimate details because he’s my son, I love him, and I would never ever do anything to hurt him. He’s hurting and I have to help him, and I’m the “CAN DO” person to the absolute extreme. I will do anything and everything to make absolutely sure that my son has the best life. It’s not negotiable.

I spent two and a half hours on Monday calling counselors. He didn’t want a female counselor, he wanted a male counselor. (By the way if you’re in college and thinking about a counseling career and you’re a upstanding male, that truly cares about children, I would highly recommend it, because you guys are in demand – big time.) The last call I made was to an out of network counselor that was accepting new people. I think the lady that I spoke to had pity on me (because after two and a half hours I was in tears) scheduled an appointment for my son because I basically begged her. I told my son that I had an appointment scheduled for him and he seemed happy about that, I was in turmoil. Questioning every move I’ve made for the last fourteen years.

“You’re only as happy as your saddest child” is what Dr. Phil says. I’ll be damned if that isn’t the truth.

I just have to believe that I’m doing the best thing for my son. I have to pray that the people around me will understand, and know that I have everyone’s best interest at heart.

But my son comes first.