Well, a lot has happened since my last post. Many downs, a few ups, and one really big “up”.
We have lost one child and gained another – “J” has moved in with his father over an hour away, but we were fortunate to keep visitation every other weekend in tact. Since we had the room, “N” – the 4-year-old – has moved in with us. This has proven to be a big challenge. N is definitely having trouble dealing with his mother being gone and any change in a routine will set him off on a tantrum or at the very least, the most horrific sad-face you’d ever have the misfortune of looking at. He is getting better now that we have developed a good solid routine – a solid bedtime, waking time, consistent daytime activities, etc. I do feel for him, being old enough to understand that something isn’t right, but not old enough to grasp his emotions and even if he could, he doesn’t have the ability to articulate them to others. It’s clear that he misses his mother horribly and since he has moved in with us, we have made a point to allow him at least one two-hour visit a week at a playground which we supervise.
A really big “up” for us is that we refiled with the county for child care support and we were finally accepted. The two boys are now regularly going to an absolutely wonderful couple running a daycare in their house each day. This has been a relief that cannot be easily expressed with the written word, certainly not by a green writer such as myself. However, suffice it to say, it changed our lives for the better. Truly, in order to keep this up, Mickey would have had to drop out of school to either watch the boys herself or go back to work full-time to afford the childcare. As it is, because of this county program, Mickey can stay in school while working part time for the university. I’ve always strayed just this side of “socially liberal”, but this experience has made it very clear to me that social programs do make a difference in hard-working families that fall on difficult times. It’s true that there are people that scam the system and continue their existence sucking at a raw teet – and that’s unfortunate – however, if such programs weren’t in place, then it would have set our family back years in terms of career-building, home-buying, community education providing (since Mickey is in school to become a teacher), and higher-tax-paying, which is a really good thing when looked at from a broader societal standpoint. Alright, putting the soapbox away.
“I” has come so far since he moved in with us. First, he moved from round-the-clock feeds to just nighttime. Then it moved to just four nights a week. Now, he’s off the feeding tube entirely and if he can maintain his weight until December on solid foods, then they will begin arranging to have his stomach port removed. I would never have dared dream that he would do so well! So, there’s that.
This summer was really difficult for us, and at the risk of putting a selfish spin on it, especially for me. Summer is always my busiest time of the year, having to perform Computer Deployment for the university, but this one was just brutal. Essentially, I have to order, image, prepare, and deploy one third of all of our leased computers on campus. Every summer. This time, that meant a number hovering around 300 computers, all told. I usually have to have all my ducks in a row and begin my order around early May to have the systems in by June. This was thrown into disarray when early May hit, my finger was on the button, and I was told to wait. The university had decided to switch gears in terms of financing and I had to start the ordering process all over again. Ultimately, this is actually a very good thing and I believe myself, our department, and the university as a whole will greatly benefit from this… but it sucked at the time. Combine this with a botched order from a nameless vendor sales rep and we were basically set three weeks behind on a process that had to happen in the span of a month. We were actually still deploying systems with the freshman arriving. We had parking spots cordoned off and were loading up pallets for shipping while the RDs were moving into the residence halls. It was nuts and it weighed heavily on me. So work was a two-ton sack of bricks I was carrying and home life was full of screaming kids… but I made it through with sanity intact.
So, now we enter the school year. I am taking tomorrow off to get Conner prepared for his first day of 6th grade on Wednesday and to run various other errands. We have a daycare, I have a job that is slowly returning back to normal speed, we have a routine, and I have the evenings to play Red Dead Redemption or Fallout 3. My life as Onkel is coming back together finally.