“You’re so strong, such a good mom. God won’t give you more than you can handle. Your baby’s got challenges but you’ve got this! ”
Things I hear or have heard regularly. All fine, with good intentions. But you know what? All I’ve ever wanted was help. All I’ve ever wanted was someone to say “I see you struggling. Let me help.” I’m not asking for the world. I mean small things, like bringing a meal when I was so tired from late nights that I couldn’t find the energy to cook. Coming over and holding my colicky baby and pacing with him for an hour so I could have a break from the screaming and regroup. Any little thing. Even a visit and a hug.
Did I get any of that? No. During his first year of life I not only adjusted to being a new mom again, but I also dealt with TEN MONTHS of incessant crying. As time passed it became more apparent he had special needs, and I mourned my way of life, and any plans big or small we had for him. I became sure I should give him up to more suitable parents, and I even became suicidal because I felt worthless because I couldn’t make him feel better. I felt I was failing as a mother. I was in probly one of the worst mental states of my life. I truly wanted to die.
Not one person noticed. Not one person reached out. I tried to express myself, but my husband was working very hard to support our “new normal,” and my friends and family vacated. Some of my cries for help were met with jokes. Some of them were met with “oh it will be ok.” And most of them were ignored entirely.
Still today, not one person outside of me and my husband has made any effort to get to know Felix in a way that they could care for him. We haven’t had a real date night in nearly 3 years. Our marriage has been through the ringer because of this. It’s a miracle we’ve made it this far.
And God? I don’t believe in God. If you want to tell me this was all given to me as some sort of sick experiment planned by an invisible man in the sky, please just keep that to yourself.
The fact is, this isn’t fair. Felix didn’t deserve to have all these troubles. He didn’t deserve to be unable to walk, talk, eat properly, process speech or emotions or his senses the way he should be able to… when he will be 3 in a couple months. He didn’t deserve to have belly and sensory issues so severe in his first year that all he could do is scream frantically trying to tell us something was wrong, with no relief. He didn’t deserve to have a mom who was utterly alone and often frustrated and ready to give up on life because she couldn’t help his helpless little hurting soul. He didn’t deserve any of it.
All I’ve ever wanted as a mom is for my kids to have FAMILY, and to be happy and healthy and to know they are loved, and to have every opportunity to thrive. And though I’ve done the best I can do on my own, I still can’t help but feel I’ve failed left and right.
And I’m still mostly alone. My husband is not working as much now, and it’s amazing to have his help as I expected to have before. I absolutely love the relationship he and Felix have. But again, still no one else stepped up. It’s just me, him and Felix. No one noticed. No one cared.
But we made it. I adapted. I’m no longer suicidal. I’m no longer sad or upset. I adore Felix. I just learned I can’t depend on anyone to help ME when I need it, especially when I need it most. I’m actually looking into hiring skilled respite care for date nights and much-needed breaks when I become overwhelmed. That way I can reduce my own stress levels to be the best mom I can for Felix. Hopefully we can find the right person, or people, that can see and understand what Felix is all about, and who can build a good relationship with him for their visits. He needs a good team. They can be our extended family, in a way.
Buckle up, folks. This is going to be a long story.
On April 7th, I found a moving company with an excellent price quote, to move from North Carolina back to Iowa. Move Smart LLC. They quoted us $1800 to move all our belongings…. to come into our home, help finish packing if needed, load the truck, drive our stuff up to Iowa, and unload it all into our new home. That included boxes, beds, appliances, and everything else. Our entire household. At that time we believed we would be moving May 19th. They said they were flexible on the date as long as we notified them at least 2 weeks ahead of time.
On April 16th we moved our date up to May 4th. I notified them immediately. And as we got more information, such as our new address and other details, I notified them of all that as well.
They gave me a 2-day window of May 3-4, and said it would likely be the earlier of the two. I was told they would call at least 2 days ahead of the truck’s arrival to give us more exact timing. So what it came down to is that they were supposed to call no later than Sunday, May 2nd. They didn’t. I called repeatedly. No answer.
I called again on Monday, May 3rd. No one could tell me when the movers were scheduled to be there. I called repeatedly throughout the day to try to get answers, as I believed they would be there that day. Very late in the day, they told me the truck would be there at 8am, first thing in the morning, on Tuesday.
Meanwhile at home, we were finishing up packing. We decided to sell our larger appliances to make the move easier and hopefully cheaper, such as our washer and dryer set, stove and deep freeze. We decided to replace mattresses, and give back our rent-to-own furniture. We were told we would be charged less if we had less than originally estimated.
Monday night Jarrod was preparing to leave by van to drive up to Iowa. The kids and I had plane tickets to leave on Tuesday, May 4th at 4:30pm. The plan was, once the movers picked up our stuff, we were going to get everything else out of the house and put it in a pile for previously-hired junk haulers to pick up. At around 10pm Jarrod left with as much as we could possibly pack into the van, and the pets. The kids and I went to sleep on the mattresses we decided to put into the junk pile.
Felix woke me up extremely early Tuesday morning. So we got up and around and continued preparing for the movers. 8am came and passed. I called the moving company a couple more times. Finally I was told they were on their way. They arrived right about 10:15am. Upon their arrival I told them all about my experience so far, and they told me they weren’t even notified of my move until 8 that morning. It was never on any schedule or calendar, despite scheduling it weeks ahead of time.
The 2 guys were efficient and fairly quick. They listened when I said things needed arranged certain ways, or needed to be upright. They wrapped drawers and helped better tape boxes that we couldn’t get to stay closed. But about 2/3 of the way through, one of the guys said we had waaaay more stuff than was originally quoted (based on cubic feet in the truck), and told me it would cost another $1200. At that point it was about noon, and the kids and I needed to be to the airport by 2:30. I couldn’t say no or we would have had to leave everything behind. So I reluctantly agreed. They loaded up the rest of our stuff and were done quickly, around 12:45 or so.
This left the boys and I absolutely no time to do any cleaning or moving anything out of the house. The kitchen needed a fair amount of work, just taking food and trash out. The bedrooms needed the mattresses and a couple end tables removed. There was no damage or anything, just a bunch of stuff that needed removed from the house. And none of it got done. So I left the keys on top of the fridge, and we left. We got lunch at Subway and got to the airport on time.
deep breath That part is done.
While we were having lunch I discovered my phone was disconnected. We had service through Spectrum mobile in NC, but since we were moving I switched to Verizon. I was told our number port would not take place until we activated our new phones. They lied. So Jarrod was without service while driving across several states, and for a few days after. More on that later.
The flight went well. A little delay from weather. We got into Des Moines about half an hour later than originally planned. My mom and Jarrod both met us there. It was great to see my mom for the first time in a year! The boys and I had really missed her. We dropped Cory off at a friend’s, dropped Andy off at my mom’s with her, and Jarrod, Felix and I went to a hotel for the night.
The next day, Wednesday May 5th, we went to Des Moines to sign the lease on our new rental house. We got to tour it in person first, and I was so incredibly excited to have a big, spacious, old house again. It was gorgeous!! The photos simply didn’t do it justice. We put down most of our deposit that day, and went back Friday, May 7th to give them the rest. Our scheduled move in date was June 1st. And the moving company was set to deliver June 3rd.
We all continued staying with friends and family, shuffling around here and there. There were issues occasionally arising, sometimes Jarrod’s girls, sometimes my boys. Issues big and small, but rather stressful considering our living conditions.
Monday, May 10th I got a text from our new landlord. He said I’m sorry but I heard from your old landlord, and I’ve decided not to rent to you. You can come pick up your deposit whenever it’s convenient for you. I asked him why, and he said the old landlord told him we left a big mess, furniture and such, and stole the mailbox. WHAT??
So I emailed our old landlord and said hey I know we left stuff behind… and explained the whole situation with the moving company. He asked me why the hell we stole the mailbox, which we did not. Why would we do that?? In fact we left a NEW mailbox, post, and decorative cover for him to improve it since we never got around to it. Along with making other huge improvements to the property while we lived there like removing a massive amount of junk, trash, and litter from the backyard to make it somewhat livable.
I never heard back from him. And the new landlord held his opinion that we weren’t the right tenants. So that resulted in us being officially homeless. Jarrod was staying in a hotel with one of his daughters, I was staying at my moms with Andy and Felix. And Cory was staying with his dad.
Jarrod and I were forced to lower our standards for a home far below anything we ever wanted. And we settled for a very crappy apartment in a complex where neither of us ever wanted to raise kids. The most frustrating part about that is the problem was never money. There was just NOTHING else available to rent. No 3+ bedroom houses in the area at all! But we decided to go ahead and take the crappy apartment, save up more money, and be ready for a better place when it comes along.
As of today, it has been over 2 full weeks since I notified the moving company that we have a place and would like our stuff delivered. All I ever hear back is “as soon as I have an update, I’ll let you know,” and “I assure you, we’re working on it.” At this point Jarrod has lost all faith that we will ever see our belongings again, and I am looking into finding us a lawyer. It’s not even about things like our TVs and grill and other furniture. That is all replaceable. What I’m upset about are things like coming-home outfits that all our kids came home in when then were born, crib cards, birth certificates, preschool and elementary school drawings, sentimental gifts, homemade gifts, and items that are irreplaceable. I don’t know if we will ever see those things again. And we know no more as of right now.
To return to the phone situation, we switched from Spectrum mobile to Verizon, since Spectrum ran off Verizon towers and we always had great service with them. So, they disconnected our Spectrum phones at a very bad time, as previously mentioned. I had placed the order for the new service and new phones online, and as it turns out they were shipped to the wrong address by no fault of my own. So I contacted Verizon, and it took not one hour-long conversation, but TWO hour-long conversations to get someone to cancel that order and place a new one to be delivered to the correct address. I had him repeat the address back to me three times. Later that day when I got the confirmation email, it was STILL the wrong address. So Jarrod and I went into a Verizon store in Des Moines. It took three hours in the store before we finally got things straightened out. It turns out their computer system doesn’t accept the Newton address format (it is admittedly odd, but its always been that way). And their system didn’t want to cancel out orders when the actual devices hadn’t been returned yet, but I had all the shipping information saying they were in route to the warehouse and never delivered to me. So the store manager found a work-around. And in the process of it all, I got offered a job! If our home in Des Moines hadn’t fallen through, I likely would have taken it.
So anyway, that’s been the hell we’ve been through for the last month or so.
As for now, we are in the crappy apartment, but doing our best to make it comfortable for ourselves until we find something better. We’re slowly rebuilding small appliances and furniture, thanks to friends and family and community. Everyone has been incredibly helpful, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Jarrod is working his new job, full time. It’s going well. I’m getting Felix set up with all his therapies and doctors again. We’ve been spending time with our friends and family, so that’s been great too! I have faith that things will continue to get better, now that we have weathered that ridiculous storm.
I haven’t had an easy life. Lots of adversity, mostly brought on by my own choices, actions, and energy. I’ve done a lot of quitting things that would have turned out good for me. I’ve been around a lot of negative people. I’ve had a lot of so-called friends that tend to root for negative occurrences in my life, and my depressed reactions. Even when things seemed to be going well for me socially, I ended up with another series of unfortunate events regarding my health. My depression took a turn for the worst, I started lashing out at those I love…. my life, from my perspective, really turned to shit.
Then we moved across the country. I hated it for a while, having brought my negative attitude with me. It wasn’t what I expected, and I wasn’t open to change. I got even more negative. Depressed. Anxious. Angry.
And then I stopped.
I was tired of being angry and frustrated. I started thinking about my kids, and how they see me. And how they deserved better from me. I started thinking about the early days in my marriage, and how in love my husband and I were with each other, and how he now deserved better from me. I started thinking about how happy I was back then, and how well I took care of myself, and how I deserved better from me, too. I started faking happiness. “Fake it ’til you make it.” And it helped.
I’ve gotten involved in a few things, giving me a sense of community, which helped dramatically. I’ve gotten more involved in my home, accepting where we are and finding joy in the little things. Who cares if we aren’t in the perfect house, in the perfect location? We are away from Iowa, like I’ve always wanted. We are in a home that is warm and safe. We have good food in our kitchen, warm clothing in our closets, working utilities and appliances, entertainment for our mandatory time spent at home during the pandemic, and the LOVE of one another. LIFE IS GOOD!
I’ve refocused my energy. I’m not concerning myself with that which is beyond my control. I’m recognizing how blessed I am. I am thankful beyond all words that I get to stay home with Felix and watch him grow and learn. That I am the one who gets to take him to all of his specialist appointments and therapies. That I am the one he knows he can trust to take care of his needs every day, rather than a child care provider. I am thankful that I can create a warm, comfortable home for my husband when he comes home from a hard day of working to support our amazing family. I am thankful for the outstanding man that he is, and how well he provides for us, not only financially, but as a loving father and husband as well. I am thankful that I am able to help Andy learn how to grow into an independent man, helping him navigate the work world and finances. I am thankful that Cory has been able to continue his education online during this pandemic, and not miss out on a year of high school. I am thankful we are only 2 hours from the ocean, 3 hours from mountains, and always in the middle of the woods. I am thankful for, and looking forward to, the variety of opportunities this new part of the country will provide for us all once things open back up and we recover from the illness that has surrounded us for so many months.
LIFE IS GOOD! And I will never take my blessings for granted again.
With all of that being said, this blog is now officially reopened, and I will post an update about once a month. I will share what new things we have been able to discover, what adventures we’ve found, and of course, updates on Felix for our family. 2021 is the start of something great… I just know it!!