Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sometimes Little J is so cute I could just strangle her.


My next course starts tomorrow. Bye bye free time.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

it falls apart in little pieces on the floor

Last night while Little J was visiting C, we had the inlaws over for dinner. We drank wine and played Rock Band and acted like kids. Because the kid was gone. :)

This morning we went to their place for waffles (yum) and now Little J and I are about to head downtown to go to an Arts Festival that's all about writing. We are meeting up with an old friend of mine and her daughter (who is 2) to stroll around and gather up some culture. I'm glad I still have people in my life who care about things like this because I feel like I've grown complacent sometimes. I always love these events when I'm actually there, but I have trouble convincing myself to go anywhere when I'm just so cozy and comfortable in my own home. I guess this means I really love my house (which I do) and that's a good thing. But I generally feel more satisfied with Life when I participate in Things. So I'm glad to have a friend who will push me to do these kinds of things, because I want to.

C has been a nuisance (surprise) because she made some plans with Little J to see her today. Of course she didn't ask us if that was okay or if we had anything going on. She just assumed that we would drive Little J over to see her and pick her up on her schedule. We, of course, do have plans. And since C hasn't called to confirm anything with me I've no idea if we're actually going to be able to accommodate her or not. And certainly, if we don't, Little J will be left to feel that we are depriving her of something.

I used to have a different relationship with Little J. When I was just her Aunt, I got to spoil her and have fun with her and lavish her with attention. Now that I am responsible for actually bringing her up, I have to make sure she does homework and cleans up her bedroom and eats her vegetables. It's a big change. The funny thing is that when she goes to see her mother, her mother smothers her in treats and acts like an aunt. So now going to see her mother is the fun thing and life here is no longer novel. I'm aggravated by the fact that we are spending literally thousands of dollars to provide Little J with the life she should have had all along which C was too messed up to provide... and still somehow come out of the deal looking like villains.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

set on you

I've been reading on an addiction/recovery forum, attempting to get some idea of what might be going through C's mind. Trying to understand why she's behaving the way she is. I haven't found any answers, but I found this, which I like enormously,

"My personal feeling is that Bill W's 12 step Spirituality is an off-shoot of E. Fox's and others work in the early 20th century. "Spiritualism", Emmet's word not mine, seems to be a recognized theist (religious) doctrine. At least by the IRS.

Although I don't believe in DAT (Drinking and Typing), I do share a similar feeling of perhaps "thinly veiled lip service" with regard to an monotheistic, omni-benificent God of Abraham vs. a monotheistic, omni-benificent Higher Power. Heck, if it quacks (prays) like a duck, walks (meditates) like a duck...

Here's my problem. I tend to have far fewer stem burns, track marks, open sores, DUI's, judges, lawyers, county time, hard time, depression, skull blinding fear and anxiety when I hang around these stupid rooms full of God-Tards. I hope the mod doesn't censor that, then I'll get a resentment.

During the closing prayer, while politely giving lip service to fit in, I surreptitiously check out the ladies.

Oh, like I'm the only one!"

This was posted in response to a question about whether finding a higher power is necessary for recovery. I haven't quite figured out what it means but it makes me smile every time I read it, and I've read it many times over the last few weeks. I think it may become my new mantra.


Friday, September 26, 2008

pretending it's Friday

The judge ruled in our favour. We have an interim custody order lasting until October 31st, at which point I assume we will reconvene to determine what happens next. This gives our lawyers time to get affidavits from everyone else who has something to say about the situation and it also gives C some time to try and get herself sorted out. I think it's highly unlikely she will, by that point in time, be prepared to take custody back because the chances are that she won't be finished her program, won't have been able to set up a place to live, etcetera. But the hope, of course, is that she eventually will. Meanwhile, it's a tremendous relief to have legal custody set up so that we have some legal rights and the ability to intervene if C tries to run away or do something dangerous.

The scary part is that C is going to be served with all the paperwork today. And she's not going to like reading those affidavits in which we had to dredge up some ugly things about her life. I just hope she can calm down enough to move forward and do what she needs to do to get herself sorted out.

For now, five weeks of stability.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

I had my doubts.

Tomorrow our lawyer - and a second lawyer who is training with her - are going in to court on our behalf to ask a judge to grant us interim custody of Little J until the real court case happens. They have been cautiously optimistic but there's still some uncertainty as to whether the court will be willing to hear it in our jurisdiction. I went to their office after work to sign some paperwork and asked, while I was there, if I should be in court with them tomorrow morning. They said there is no advantage to being there and more often these things are discussed between judges and lawyers without anyone else present. So I'm going to work.

This is actually a good thing because it sounds like it's going to involve a whole lot of sitting around and waiting and I'd probably bite my nails down the knuckles while waiting. By going to work at least my mind will be occupied. Not only that, but tomorrow is a professional development day at school which means I might have time to get some work done.

I'm nervous about all of this. I really hope it goes in our favour because if it doesn't, it's going to launch a huge battle.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Something that amazes me is how quickly, when I communicate with old friends from when I was thirteen and fourteen, I can feel myself surrounded by that peculiar and specific loneliness and ache that went with being that age. It's like I'm still there for that moment in time. This morning I got a letter from B.G. who was one of my three best friends back then and I found myself almost instantly in tears, partly experiencing sadness for him, for all he has revealed was going on in his life back then. And partly for me, for what was happening in my life that I never shared with any of them. It hits me now that all four of us were going through it together; we just weren't talking about it. It's not a coincidence, however, that we were friends. We were drawn together, I'm certain, because of it.

I believe that C is planning to kidnap Little J and make a run for it. I also believe that Little J would willingly go with her and do nothing to stop it from happening.


Saturday, September 20, 2008


Visiting with C today was a nightmare. We made a plan to go to the first recovery home she was kicked out of to pick up some of her belongings that she forgot there when she left. On the way there in the vehicle we talked about the upcoming custody case. My plan was to tell her how to win: that she needed to get focused on recovery so that she could prove she was drug-free and able to provide a safe home for Little J. She wouldn't even listen. Instead, she became hysterical, screaming and sobbing and howling at me.

She calmed down when we arrived at the recovery centre long enough to go in and ask for her things. The staff member there told us that her things had been given away because they'd sat there so long that they'd gotten rid of them. C said she had spoken to the director of the centre who had promised the things would be there. The staff member told us the director hadn't even been in the building at the time C claimed to have spoken to her. C handled this by curling up in a ball in the hallway and sobbing some more while residents of the house stared in amazement.

On the way home, she railed and sobbed some more, and then demanded to know why I wouldn't buy her some more cigarettes, take her for coffee, or by her new shoes to replace the ones that she had lost. I dropped her off and told her I didn't want to hear from her again.

I don't think it's likely I'll be able to stick to that because I can't help having sympathy for her. Because I love her. But for now, I need a break.

When we dropped Little J off for her visit tonight I had Shawn walk her to the door.

I'm still concerned she will run. But I think it's unlikely given her financial situation. It's a scary thing. I hope this gets resolved soon.


some things survived

We went to meet with our lawyer, who is absolutely lovely, on Thursday afternoon. She said that she has some jurisdictional concerns about what we are trying to do because with Little J being a new resident of this province, provincial law is confused about which province actually has legal control over the situation. Her previous province says they don't want to hear the case because she no longer lives there; the current province says she's not yet a legal resident because she hasn't been here a full year. So we're kind of falling through the cracks right now, but the lawyer is going to work on how to get around that. She said we might have to go to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Apart from that, however, she seemed to think our chances are very good of securing full custody. The caveat would be that if her mother was able to prove she was off the drugs and had a safe home for her, that custody would be returned to her. Of course, if that was to be the case, we wouldn't disagree in the least. The only reason we're doing this in the first place is that her mother is on drugs and can't provide her with a safe home. So it sounds hopeful. As long as the lawyer can figure out how to wangle her way through the jurisdictional confusion.

Things are going well with Little J right now. She seems to have settled in at school quite nicely and made some friends. She is also happy with her part in the extracurricular Drama production she's working on now that she's realised she'll be dancing and singing in various numbers throughout the show and will be more involved than she expected she would be. Hallelujah, I am so glad she seems to be doing well. We are still working on getting her some counselling so she can talk with someone about all these stressful changes in her life; as much as we encourage her to talk to us, we want her to have someone with whom she can talk about us if she wants to. I finally feel a little more optimistic about being able to protect her legally.

As for C, I am feeling more and more concerned about what will happen to her. Losing custody of her daughter, if that happens, is going to be horrible for her. And I don't want to destroy her. I want to help her get better, which is the very reason I worked to move her out here in the first place. I want to help her to get well again but right now things seem to be a bit rocky. She has been kicked out of two recovery homes so far and I pray she won't be kicked out of a third. But yesterday when she called to say goodnight to Little J she asked if she and I could talk because she needs some advice about a problem she is having in the current house. She didn't explain it in any detail because she was using a phone in a public room - so I agreed to pick her up this afternoon and take her out for a coffee so we could talk. I have no guess as to what's going on (C is always a surprise to me) but I'm hoping against hope that whatever it is, it can be managed so she can carry on with her recovery plan.

There is, of course, some fear that C will panic about the upcoming custody hearing and kidnap Little J and go on the run with her. It's a very strange thing, living life with these kinds of worries. It's hard to believe that such a short time ago my world was so small that it really only contained me and my husband. And now it has grown to include this child, her mother to some degree, their cat, their hamster, Big J, and our four dogs. And to think we've been considering having a baby of our own!


Monday, September 15, 2008

my good friend

We did our first hooky of the school year today, but this time it had to be more clandestine than usual because of Little J. Because she has such a terrible attendance record it has been important to impress upon her the fact that we attend school EVERY DAY unless there is something seriously wrong. She isn't really old enough to understand that the fact that Shawn and I play hooky about three times a year is not the same as skipping school whenever one feels like it, so we just didn't tell her. We got her off to school the usual way as though we were heading to school/work too, and then snuck back home. It was a good day to miss school because my eyes are still kind of swollen and the puffiness causes shadows to fall underneath so I look a bit like I have two black eyes. Very attractive indeed, and it's always a pleasure to appear looking peculiar before curious and tactless fourteen year olds... but I decided I'd miss out on the interrogation. It's been a nice day.


Little J came home a little bit glum today and hasn't really explained what's going on with her. Sometimes I think we're a bit paranoid because of all she's going through. It certainly could be that she's just experiencing normal pre-adolescent mood swings. Bu it does, of course, concern me. Tonight after supper I am going to take her out for a doughnut or something and see if she'll open up a bit.


Saturday, September 13, 2008


I think I may come to regret joining Facebook. It's an astonishing waste of time and it's way too easy to get caught up in snooping through people's business, people you knew twenty years ago and who no longer have anything to do with you and your life. It's just curiousity. Or, it's nosiness.


Shawn has taken Little J swimming for the afternoon giving me some time alone to laze. Excellent. Tonight we are taking her to visit her mom and we are going to the inlaws' for dinner. I'm self-conscious right now because my eyes are swollen up like a goldfish (allergic to sunscreen) but since we're talking about family here, I think I'll just force myself to get over it rather than staying in and doing nothing.


Friday, September 12, 2008

sweet dreams.

I did it. I actually joined Facebook. It's happened so many times that people have asked me if they can find me there that I finally gave up the struggle - after years of fighting it - and set up a profile. Within a couple of days I had been tracked down by all kinds of people from elementary school, junior high and high school, people I've worked with, old boyfriends, old neighbours from old neighbourhoods, etcetera, etcetera. Now that I've seen the "degrees of separation" in action, I know it's really true. This is really interesting because now I know who married who, who has kids, and who does what. But it also scares me because it means I really am that close to the Baldwin brothers.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

because you're mine

This morning we met briefly with Little J's teacher to discuss her situation and explain what's going on in her life. The teacher is just fantastic and has a great read on the situation and insight into what Little J is experiencing and how she is reacting. I was impressed and I am so pleased that she got placed with such a compassionate and competent teacher.


Today my assistant principal told me that since the other teacher is sick and there are more blocks of Drama than teacher time to cover them, I may have the option to work during my spare and get paid at 114% salary. Comparing this with the situation that existed a short time ago is absolutely ridiculous. It never rains but it pours, right?


Shawn starts his new job on October 1st and he celebrated today by buying himself an iPhone. I can't say I understand why this gadget is worth the bill or the hype that accompanies it, but he's very happy with it, and that makes me happy. I love it when he's happy about things.


Big J decided to buy us a gift (to thank us for letting him stay here rent free) and bought a Wii Fit which is a video game that takes the player through an exercise/training program. It looks like a lot of fun and Little J is excited about it. A few weeks ago Big J also bought us "Rock Band", another game that Little J has been enjoying enormously.


I am tired. I'm going to bed early.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

with with with

This morning my principal told me that the other teacher with whom I was supposed to be sharing the job had a heart attack. He has had heart problems for a long time and it sounds as though the stress and pressure of possibly returning to work really pushed him over the edge. Poor thing, I feel very sorry for him. He's a young man (only mid-forties) and has small children. While his situation is unfortunate, from a financial perspective he will be alright because he'll continue to collect medical benefits. And I now have a full time contract for this semester. Come February, it will be the same situation all over again where he can return, if he's well enough, and bump me out of a job, but the more time that goes by, the less likely this seems.


Shawn has been offered a new job working in the film industry. The money is amazing and the contract is for a full year, after which he could renew (if work is available) or just take some time off until the next contract comes up. It sounds amazing. He's gone downtown to meet with the guys who offered him the work so I'm hanging around here on pins and needles waiting to find out what he decides.


Little J seems to be settling in to school very well. Her teacher moved her desk so she could sit next to her new friend, and the stories I am hearing about this teacher make me think she's fabulous. She is taking her students climbing at the university climbing wall and Little J, who is generally terrified of heights, has suddenly informed me that the best way to conquer one's fears is to confront them. How does she know this? Because her teacher told her so. Hallelujah, amen. I think I love this teacher. After school today Little J told me she wants to start working out with me and spent a half hour on the machines with me getting a good work out.

I spoke with C again this evening and she has suddenly returned to her rational self once again. I find these about faces frightening and never know who I'll end up speaking with when I pick up the phone, Jekyl or Hyde. We are proceeding with tracking down our legal rights and finding out what can be done from a legal perspective to protect Little J from going back to living the life she had before. I feel guilty, in a way, about pursuing legal action when C is acting sane and reasonable, but I've learned that she cannot be depended upon to keep doing so for any real length of time and so it's necessary to proceed assuming she will return to irrationality in the near future.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

don't waste your time on me

Yesterday I asked Little J to give me five days of going to school every day before giving up on the idea of having friends. She said she would, reluctantly, and I promised her that if she didn't have friends by then that we'd have a serious meeting to consider the options. I have no idea what I meant when I said that, and I have no idea WHAT I would have done if after five days she had not made friends. But thank god, when we were driving home this afternoon she told me it had been a good day and she'd made not one, but NINE new friends. Hallelujah, I'm so relieved. I think I might be even happier about that than she is.

C is still threatening to take her back and move elsewhere, and I have no idea what is the right thing to do. I'm trying to play it casual and have been telling her to just go ahead and do whatever she wants (knowing full well that we'll have to fight that) but it's not easy. I want to blow up, I want to stop answering the phone, I want to cut off all communication whatsoever. It's hard to always be trying to do the right thing for someone else when I just want to be selfish.

My own day was pretty good. I taught all the classes and now I have only to wait and see if the other teacher comes back. Right now he's saying he plans to return next week. The staff doesn't seem to think this is likely. Myself, I have no idea what to think.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

more of everything

I'm getting around to realising that parenting, or even "parenting", is awfully heartbreaking sometimes. It wasn't easy watching Little J go into her classroom this morning, feeling nervous and shy, and wishing I could go in with her and be her best friend so she wouldn't feel alone. It was hard tonight when she went to her musical theatre class and came home disappointed that she didn't get the part she wanted. I wanted to be the director so they could see how great she is. This stuff is hard. I feel torn between wanting to protect her from everything and wanting to expose her to these things so she'll be prepared for Life. Wow, it's really hard.

To top it all off, C announced she wants to move back to the prairies with Little J, far far away. I have no way of knowing if this is even possible for her. But it scares me nonetheless. I want Little J to be safe. To be protected and somehow, simultaneously, prepared. It's way harder than I ever imagined.


The other teacher didn't show up for school today so I was immediately assigned his classes. I now have full time teaching status until further notice. This means he can still come back if he so chooses but I'm beginning to understand that his reasons for not being at school are mental/emotional and not really physical. Although he has a legitimate medical problem, what is keeping him from school is something entirely different. I can sympathize, honestly, because sometimes I feel that way too. Like I'd give anything to just stay inside the house and never have to deal with people. But I make myself go for some reason. I wish I knew how because it would probably help people like him to know. Meanwhile, I'm glad to have a full time paycheque again for now, and more so to avoid the awkwardness of sharing that tiny office with him.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Every now and then the things I lean on lose their meaning

Last day of holidays. Little J is nervous about school - wondering who her teacher will be, who her friends will be, whether she'll fit in... It's funny how when kids reach that age they'd really love someone to hold their hand and go with them. Simultaneously they're way too old for such baby things and want you to hide around the block so no one makes the mistake of thinking they have a parent (or an auntie) anywhere in this city. I'm sure she'll be fine, but there's part of me that's nervous on her behalf. I want things to be easy for her. She deserves to have some things easy after living so many hard years.


And as for me, school also starts for me tomorrow. The kids will only be in the building for a couple of hours to collect lockers and class schedules, but the staff is supposed to be there all day. Mostly because of various staff meetings. I'm not looking forward to that, particularly, but part of me is looking forward to being back on a normal schedule and getting underway with this half-time job so I can figure out how it works. And if it's going to last.