Rough day(s): the unabridged version

Lest you think my life is perfect and all I do is take pictures of my well-behaved cute kids and decide what amazing dish I am going to eat at Sonora Grill for dinner, I thought you should know that I have bad days. Yesterday was a rough one. Today hasn't been much better. (Sonora Grill is a convenient backup for dinner on days, like yesterday, when my husband asks me to ignore the kids and housework responsibilities for another two hours while I make the forty-second revision to the drink menu, using a computer program that I am terribly incompetent in.)

The morning started out with another round of daily tears from Rachel. Apparently, the first day of school was the only one without tears. Now I get to deal with a six-year old who has unbelievably obsessive issues with her school uniform. Who knew anyone could have so many preferences about fabrics, sleeve lengths, sock lengths, textures, etc.? I don't know if I could handle all of the controversies that would come with a wardrobe full of regular school clothes.

It didn't help that Steve told me I got an F for back to school. First of all, it's not easy having your kids start school a week earlier than everyone else. Especially when your friends think you should still be out recreating with them. And I thought having two kids in school would create all sorts of extra time for me. Not so. And don't get me started on the homework. I think the adjustment from half-day kindergarten to full-day first grade is enough, as is. Rachel doesn't need an hour-and-a-half of homework on top of that. And neither do I.

Adam isn't sleeping well at night, and therefore, isn't exactly pleasant during the day. Someone taught him how to hit, and he thinks it's okay to tell his mother "NO!" Every night we get to pick between no medicine or his new prescription sleeping pills. If we can get him to take a whole pill, he has a good chance of sleeping through the night. But if he detects the bitter medicine and doesn't ingest enough of it, he ends up hallucinating about spiders, bears, and other scary creatures. Without any medicine, Adam has night terrors, tosses and turns like crazy, and exhibits other strange behaviors that rival the hallucinations.

And why in the world did I think that the first week back to school was the appropriate time to finally switch Adam to full-time underwear? Two pairs of wet underwear and one pair of smelly underwear a day helped me change my mind really fast. (He's back in Pull-Ups.)

Then I got a phone call from Derrick's lawyer. I have restrained myself from complaining about custodial issues over the internet. Until today. The twenty-day waiting period, in which Derrick's lawyer was prevented from proceeding with any legal actions because Jasmine's second lawyer quit on her, was over. Jasmine took off with Mykaeleigh on August 5, and refused all communication with Derrick for fifteen days. That's a long time for a dad who is supposed to have court-ordered time with his daughter every day. He had no idea where she was, who she was with, or when she was coming back. Well, actually, I had an idea. I figured she might show up today, just in time for another child support check. She did.

But back to yesterday. Derrick's lawyer gave us instructions how to go to Juvenile Court and file a child protective order for Mykaeleigh. I spent a couple hours typing up the statement, revising it with the lawyer over the phone, and preparing to go to court. There were only a few complications along the way, like when Derrick locked his keys (and his phone) inside his car in South Ogden, in front of the house where Jasmine most recently resided, with her pregnant teenage friend, who likes to yell at Derrick even more than she does.

Writing the statement brought a lot of emotions close to the surface. Putting the whole story together like that and remembering so much of the reality Derrick faces was extremely disheartening. And it created a lot of very valid, even frightening, concerns for Mykaeleigh's safety. Derrick and I made it to court and filed the lengthy petition with high hopes, but received a phone call two hours later saying it was dismissed. The judge said there was "expressed need" that it be brought to attention of the District Court. Thanks. We were hoping your court would help us. Because we were hoping for a change in custody today. (And it was really nice coming to your court where we don't have to pay a lawyer $200 per hour, like we do at District Court.)

We were all a bit frustrated with our futile efforts, so I decided we should go visit our neighbor. The one who was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic esophageal cancer one month ago. The one who had just picked out paint colors for the beautiful Victorian house she and her husband moved into this spring. The one who used to take Rachel and Lucy of Narnia on bike rides and showed them all of the short cuts through the Eccles Community Art Center. She just underwent her second round of chemotherapy on Tuesday. She and her husband were both wearing masks over their face because her white blood cell count is so low, but she still came to the door to see the kids and accept the pear baby food we brought her. It did put our problems into perspective. That's for sure. But instead of cheering me up like doing things like that usually do, it just about broke my heart.

I did enjoy diner on the patio at Sonora Grill with Angie, Heidi, and only six kids. It was the bright spot of my day. (Now that you two know all of the details about the rest of my day, you'll understand why I wasn't really phased by the kids picking all of the flowers in the courtyard. And you'll understand why I never made my bed or finished the dishes either.)

I stayed up late, making the final revision to the drink menu and getting them print-ready. I was so relieved to be finished. But then I got a phone call from Steve this morning telling me there was a problem with one of the files. I spent an hour or so trying to figure it out before I gave up and told him I needed to be done. I was serious too.

I had some errands to make. Well, one in particular. You see, I have this daughter who needed a couple more uniform shirts from Gymboree. I knew she needed them two days ago, when they were on sale, but figured I would wait for Circle of Friends to start today, so they would be an additional thirty percent off. But I was wrong. Gymboree loves to put things back to full-price when those sort of sales start. So I paid more for them, which, as hard as that is for me, wasn't the real problem. The problem was Adam. At first he was enjoying our little shopping trip and pulled at least nineteen baby girl items off the rack, telling me they were cute. But then it got to be about 12:30 pm, and he lost it. He screamed and cried and kicked and wailed. I received plenty of sympathy looks and heard plenty of comments like, "It's okay, we've all been there." and "It must be somebody's naptime!" I was in line ready to pay and get out of there when I got a phone call.

It was Derrick and he told me it was an emergency. Jasmine finally texted him and told him he could come pick up Mykaeleigh, but only if he signed a paper saying he would return her at his normal time. (He was supposed to have her for a two-week extended time period right about the time Jasmine disappeared with her.) After spending an hour trying to get ahold of the lawyer, and then consulting with him, Derrick signed the paper so he could get at least some time with Mykaeleigh. He also needed to take her to be tested to see if she has been exposed to drugs, as suggested by Child and Family Services.

Let's just say we ran into a lot of dead ends and it really shouldn't be that difficult for a father to get a drug test for his own baby. Especially when there is plenty of reason to believe it might turn out to be positive. We went to Professional Services, the outpatient laboratory at McKay-Dee, down to Porter Family Clinic and placed phone calls to pediatricians, Child and Family Services, and back to the outpatient lab. The whole time we were there, we really just wanted to be home with Mykaeleigh. Giving her a bath, trimming her nails, and taking care of the other things that her mother seems to skip over. We finally ended up in the emergency room, where we explained the situation for the eighth time and were assured they could complete the tests quickly so Derrick could get Mykaeleigh back to Jasmine on time. They didn't, and we had to leave without a test. And Derrick had to give Mykaeleigh back to Jasmine and hope that she'll be there when he goes to pick her up tomorrow.

But don't worry, tomorrow is going to be a good day. I'm ready for one.


The Ballard's said...

You deserve one!! I am sorry.

AngelaW said...

I am so sorry. I wish there was something I could do to help.

@udj said...

Hmmm, I'm trying to think of what to say, because I'm crying thinking of Mykaeleigh. I know you and Derrick are working on that.
And honestly, I can't believe all that you do on a normal day. So I think it is just fine that you shared some of the crazy rough times in a day too. If you can't tell your family and friends, who can you tell. And doesn't it feel a little better to just let it all out, and in good writing. I'm not much help, but I think you are amazing, and I am in constant awe of how much you are able to accomplish in a day, even if it is an incredibly rough one.
Comments on blogs never seem the same as an email or letter, but I hope this sends the message that I think it is fine that you shared what you did, and that I think you are great.
Hopefully we'll see you tonight for a little weekend recreating at the baseball game.

Jenny said...

How old are you? Seriously, I think I have you by a few years, but with days like that you are bound to catch me.

Julee said...

That was a crazy day~ hopefully today will run smoothly for you. We need to get together again soon.

James and Jade Bethers said...

Sounds like you have your hands full. I am with you on the custody thing. It is a major pain in the butt. There have been times that I really have to hold back because all I want to do is smack somebody upside of the head. The sad thing is...it wouldn't help!! Hang in there though....it should get better!

Rebecca said...

Hey Em, Send me the next round of revisions...I will do them for you:) Love you.

byoung said...

emily-what program do you use for the menus-indesign? or something like that. i could probably help you out.


Jodi said...

You are such an amazing woman! I'm sorry for all the extra stresses you have to deal with beyond the already overwhelming tasks of a mother and homemaker. That alone keeps most of us busy and stressed to our limits. I appreciate you sharing your struggles. Though I sympathize with your situation, it is reassuring to know that I'm not alone in my trials. Maybe I should start being more honest on my blog too! We should not only share in each other's joys but support each of in our varying struggles of life. It's nice to be reminded that no matter how great every one else's lives seem, everyone has challenges. I really hope that tomorrow is a better day for you and Derrick, that it will be the reprieve you both need and deserve. Love you friend!

Joanie said...

Thanks for sharing! Seriously, I love hearing the realities of other peoples lives. I have rough days often and it's nice to know that others have trials AND that they somehow survive them. And that's really crazy about Adam's night terrors. When did that start?

Molly said...

Ahhh... I would probably lose it if i were you. I am so sorry you are going through all of this and that you are doing it on not a lot of sleep... which makes it so much worse.

Happy that the baby is back and really hope that she stays.

I hope today was a little better:)

Katie said...

Wow. You are a wonderful person to do all that you do for your kids, and Derrick (and Mykaeleigh) are SO lucky to have you to be on their side! Best of luck!

Mindy S. said...

I don't even know what to say, other than "Wow" and "wow" again, and "oh my word" and other such things. It's true that it's nice to hear once in a while that other people aren't perfect with perfect lives. And will you feel bad if I tell you this makes me glad I'm single. Yikes. One thing to help with stress: take marshmellows and stick them up your nose - small ones of course, not those big ones good grief! But this sounds like more than a stress day, it sounds like a stress, frustration, grief filled day. Marshmellows can't do much for that, maybe just praying and praying hard. Sigh. Good luck, God Bless, and I'll put in a prayer for you.

Jaime said...

Oh, Emily-- bless your heart. You are such a great mom, grandma, wife, friend, etc. etc. Sorry about your no good, rotten, terrible day. Hate those. Let me know if I might ever be able to help!!

Amanda said...

Sounds like we need an ice cream night. When are you available?