Susie asked in a comment why I have the girls. I wrote a post in answer to the same question back when I first started the blog. Here is is again, updated slightly. Susie, you should have my email by now.
When I started the blog, a few commenters who knew me from Blogging Baby came over to lend their voices and support. I never really expected more. I love the way it's grown and the people I've met and come to consider my friends.
Those of you who've been around from the very beginning can skip the rest of this. You already know it.
Why my early retirement didn't pan out
Subtitle - life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.
Jen wondered why I have the girls. Elcie was removed from my grandson and Tasha in San Francisco when she was 3 months old. No physical abuse; it's called failure to protect; a catchall phrase for the parents didn't have a clue what they were doing. I'd already moved from the city. Mistake maybe but I thought they'd be okay.
Tasha's (their mom) mother asked me to have my grandson and Tasha move here so they could get Elcie back. Tasha's mom has heart trouble among other ailments and couldn't handle it. Okay. Once Elcie's records had been transferred from S. F., no problem. They regained custody on the unspoken condition that I be around to supervise. They went on to have Rochelle and Rebecca, 10 months apart. For a while, everything was okay and then my grandson made the front page of the local paper and ended up in jail. Tasha went totally off the rails. When she decided to go live in a crack house, I bounced her and kept the kids. Illegal, but I can be intimidating. My first call was to Public Health, my second to Child Protective Services. We arranged for temporary custody and then the guardianship without much fuss. Tasha went on to have two more children before she finally got her act together. It took my grandson one more jail sentence but he seems to finally be on track. These days they live (separately) nearby and spend a lot of time with the kids. I had hoped to eventually relinquish guardianship but that probably isn't going to happen. I don't think either one will have the long term stability to handle everything involved with special needs children. Elcie has lived with me since she was 13 months old and Rochelle and Rebecca have never known anything else. They love both their parents (kids usually do) and this is working, at least for now. I love their parents too but babies come first.
I don't say a whole lot about my past; it's history and I can't go back and change any of the mistakes I made. I've been sober 26+ years . All alcoholics, from Betty Ford and Dubya on down, cause damage to the people who love them. Some recover, others merely reform. The "Big Book" of AA describes us as "tornadoes roaring through the lives of others". They nailed it. I'm convinced that substance abuse runs in families. I also believe that whatever higher power there is has given me a shot at getting it right.
The Big Book also talks about making amends. There are many ways of doing that. This is mine.
Aren't you glad you asked?
I have another biographical post back there as well. Probably very early October. More of a family tree to help keep the characters straight.
Jim and Tim are my sons who live here in Merced. Jim has 3 teenagers, has remarried to Melissa who has three daughters and one grandchild. He's an Army veteran, now National Guard and we're crossing our fingers. They're expecting a baby in May. Update: Baby Jonathan just turned one year old on 5-16-07 and they're expecting again around December. Tim is gay which helps explain my work with PFLAG. Jim, Tim, and Melissa all work for Barnes & Noble. Jim's the newest; he'll train here and then go to the Modesto store. He had been called up to full time Nat'l Guard ( after being out of the Army for years) but then they downsized again. He's back to being a weekend warrior. Update: Jim is now full time National Guard on the Mexican border and he and family may move to Yuma, AZ later this year. My daughter Carol (oldest child lives with me). She's undergoing treatment for intestinal cancer. So far, so good. Update: My daughter died on May 3, 2007 after a long, hard, struggle. Ray is my husband, a semi-invalid. He worked when we first moved here; he can't now. Full time disability.
Elcie has cerebral palsy and some learning disability associated with it. Rochelle is learning disabled (probably dyslexic but catching up fast in special ed). Rebecca is another story. Very bright but has difficulty focusing. Schoolwork is an ongoing struggle. Not quite ADHD but leaning that way. If something interests her, it has her undivided attention and she can be quite the perfectionist (almost too much so). If it doesn't interest her or if she doesn't "get it" right away, she shuts down.
I spend hours with her plodding through math trying to bring her "D" up to at least a "C". She is enrolled in a 6 week after school program to work on the math as well which is good but it's a long day and by the time we get to homework, she's exhausted which makes focusing that much more difficult.
Elcie and Rochelle have both become self starters for the most part this year (Rochelle always was) so I have more time to spend with Rebecca. They're both Honor Roll kids (at their actual learning level, not grade level). It's still a juggling act though.
Update: Elcie graduates from middle school on 5-31-07 and Rochelle and Rebecca will finish 6th grade. They're 11, 12 and 14 as of this update.
I think that brings everything up to date somewhat. Everyone knows how political I am, flaming liberal and very involved here in Merced. I save most of that type of rant for isamericaburning which I share with "worried american" who began it and gadfly who has joined us. Occasionally, a little creeps in here; especially where education is concerned. Oh, and if anyone cares, I'm a Methodist.
Update: The girls are no longer in my care (as of early August 2007). They're now 11, 12, and 14 and for a number of complicated reasons, Ray & I can no longer do it. Some of the details are on my posts of August and September 2007. I'll be glad to share more in email but because I'm not at all anonymous I need to consider the girls' privacy.
Further update - 11-08-08
The election is behind us. My choice is now the President-elect.
The girls are living with their dad right around the corner. They're now 13, 13, and 15 (until January when Rochelle will turn 14. Rebecca and Rochelle are 10 months apart - born in the same year. All are taller than I which doesn't take much. They seem to be adjusting and I see them often. I'm planning the Thanksgiving dinner once again for all.
My daughter, Carol, died in May of last year at age 50 (almost 51). It was a long struggle and at the end her death was a blessing. We will always miss her.
Son Jim has added two more little boys to his family. Jonathan and Zachary; both adorable. His oldest daughter is attending Junior College here and working as well. His two older boys are a junior and senior in high school.
Jim is currently stationed in Iraq with the National Guard. Communication is limited but we do hear from him and he seems to be doing well.
Ray underwent triple bypass surgery a little over a year ago. He's doing well except for the ongoing lung problems.
Son Tim married his partner Juan earlier this week (when it became obvious that California's Proposition 8 was going to pass in spite of our best efforts). I'm not going to get into politics here; I'm just happy my youngest has found someone quite wonderful to share his life. He'll be moving to Fresno early next year and will continue with college. Hopefully, the job market will be better there so he can work and go to school.
That's about it for now.