Pay Attention!

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and everyone in my house was cranky.  No one could seem to articulate precisely what their particular problem was, and I found it wildly annoying.  I was facing down a snarky seventeen year old, a sassy ten-year old and a grumbly forty-eight year old.  What the hell?

I convinced myself that it was a reflection of the events of the day before during which, among other things, I was nearly reduced to tears after having been alone with the kids for several hours.  (Yes, one would think that this sort of outing would, given the age of my children, be a non-issue, but, alas, it is not)  This one irritated that one, they each, at different moments, resorted to physical violence (if slugging your sibling can be deemed violent) and both managed to push me to the point that I dropped them at the house, neither one in possession of keys, and drove off.  Shut up, you would have, too.

Everyone wanted a piece of me, but no one went about it in a particularly pleasant (or positive) way.  As a result, I arrived at the conclusion that I am surrounded by attention whores.  (Not necessarily a bad thing, but an irritating thing when you are the one who is supposed to be showering said attention on said whores.) It would be unfair to not acknowledge that, thankfully, they reserve their most troubling antics for behind closed doors so as to spare me the public humiliation.  Seriously, I appreciate that.  Given the events of the past several months, however, I admit to finding myself a little more interested in being paid attention to than to being the one doling out the lovin’.  As it turns out, I am alone in that thinking.

Jessie, who will do just about anything to perfect her girl power, has taken on the sassy, bitchy mannerisms of the most seasoned tween girl.   She has a killer eye roll and has embraced her growing knowledge of four letter words.  It is utterly charming.  It was just such chatter played a large role in her finding herself outside the house with no means of gaining entry.  (One will note that Rich was on the other side of the door, yet did nothing to secure their ability to get in.  I am guessing it was the highlight of his day.)  One of our exchanges went so far (so low?) that I literally found myself arguing with her over a particular pair of ‘sparkly shoes” and considered my stick-to-itiveness  in not allowing her to wear them to be a straight up victory.  True.

Harrison, on the other hand, has gotten so little attention for so long that he is, not surprisingly, making up for lost time.   I am deeply grateful that he is not opting for the old teenage standby of drinking or drugging, rather he is just ornery.  I cannot say I blame him.  It has been a long stretch of “The George/Jessie Show” and, now that things are supposed to be settling in, he is ready to change the channel.  The problem is, the remote control seems to have dead batteries.  (I am the remote control.  It is my batteries that are dead.)  My mindset is still on the “what nexts”, “what ifs” and “what the fucks” making it hard to be attentive and easy to be spent.   I am sure it will come up in therapy for him when he is struggling to raise his own children and recalls having been ignored by his mother who was so overwrought from trying to raise him and his sister (who started off as his brother) that she never managed to replace her batteries.  Well, I can only defend myself by saying that we all need something to talk about in therapy…right?

As for Rich, it turns out his grumblies were not just those of the normal middle-aged man trying like hell to support his family.  Nope.  He, too, doesn’t get enough attention so what better way to obtain it than to require not just an emergency room visit, but an admission to boot.  Let’s throw in some crazy high blood pressure and a few high potency antibiotics and I think we have a winner.  A dubious way in which to (temporarily) gain the title, but I am sure he will take whatever he can get.   (While lying in the “B” side of his hospital room – woohoo…the ”A” side remained unoccupied for the duration of his stay which, in our book counts as a victory – he insisted on asking everyone when he would be able to go home.  I admit that (maybe more than once) I inquired as why he would want to.  Yep, everyone was that cranky.)

So here we are, just over twenty-four hours later and Jessie is quietly drawing in her room (“it calms me”, she claims), Harrison is unwinding with “MythBusters” and Rich is happily off to sleep in his own bed, free of IVs and likely dreaming of a pain-free remainder of his life.

I, on the other hand, am wondering how it is that I am still functioning given the lack of sleep and abundance of attitude I have endured in the past day, all while wondering when I get to steal the attention spotlight again.  This time, however, I hope to do it without involving pain, hospitals or recuperations.  Suggestions (particularly if you are prepared to bankroll them) are appreciated.

24 thoughts on “Pay Attention!

  1. Given the ages of your beloveds, there is no advice I can offer except that one day it will get better, but here’s the good news. You succeeded in making me laugh heartifly at your ordeal and my own memories. You make me realize how predictable we all are at all ages. Thanks for the smile.

  2. Poor mama, you need a break. Lock them all in the house and find your way to the nearest 24 hour spa, ok, do it next week when you know Rich is stabilized, but then do it, you deserve it, it is battery re-charging for sure.

  3. I hope you do not need to reprise the months of excruciating back pain and hospitalizations to get the attention and support you need. One thing that can be said for your family is that nothing is “run of the mill” or dull. It’s one of the things I love about you all….and probably what makes your blog so interesting.
    I hope things settle down soon for you all….I’m sure you could use some calm. perhaps you should try that old “bubbameisa” to reverse a string of bad luck you should wear your underwear inside out. Hey, it can’t hurt..

  4. My God, Julie, you couldn’t have expressed the “mother load” any better than this. Jesus, Joseph and Mary–unbelievable. I am glad Rich is ok. I am glad Harrison and Jessie are ok. I’d like to see you take a nice long weekend to someplace warm and relaxing.

  5. This actually reminds me of the writing I *just* finished about hindsight of our more “memorable” moments as a mom. Give yourself a huge dollop of forgiveness here: LOVE your writing!!

  6. Keep writing, Julie; you have my attention, anyway. Jessie’s sparkly shoes wouldn’t happen to be ruby colored, would they? Because, you know, (click click) there’s no place like home *~*

    • They are not ruby colored, but would have been even more appealing to her if they were! (Still giggling about Conor…;-)

  7. Gee whiz Julie.

    I’m glad to hear the Rich is back home, poor guy.

    After a particularly hellacious day, I find that spending time in the living room with a glass (or two) of wine, and the classic soul playlist from my iPod cranked on the stereo, draws attention one’s normally otherwise occupied self, especially if you sing along and dance like a fool. People come to check on you. Sometimes they even come to dance with you. In the end you are the center of attention, you have fun and get to blow off a hell of a lot of steam. My playlist is about 1:20 long. The longevity of the dancing and singing approach is key.

  8. I have heard you do not need to institutionalize yourself to get away. There are in fact hotels for such things! You need a break. I do think that after this current event a night or two in a hotel where laundry, food and maid service are provided is necessity, not a luxury. Otherwise a trip to the former could become a necessity! UhOh!!! Till that is possible….All my best thoughts and my ability to commiserate and hang onto that rope are with you Julie. (I still haven’t gotten to the hotel, but I hold it in mind – respite is a saving thought)

  9. I can’t say I know how you feel, as we don’t wear the same shoes, but let me tell you… I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. I’m a single mom with 3 kids. Came home yesterday to find the first “financial aide” package for my son who will be going to college in September. After staring at the “award” letter and wondering where the awards were, I texted my son and simply asked… do you really want to go to college?. His response Yes. Fuck! Meltdown #1. My 15 year old daughter took a picture of her report card with a simple note “get ready to spend some $$$”. Apparently I told her that if she makes the honor roll 3 times in a row, I would buy her a new pair of UGGS. Fuck!. Meltdown #2. Parent/Teacher conference at school for my very sweet, very adhd 11 year old son. He’s doing just fine academically. We’re just a little concerned with the fact that he is biting his cuticles to the point of making them bleed and he is not completing his homework. What I heard was “bad mom, bad mom bad mom” Meltdown #3.
    When I finally got home, I was in no mood to make dinner so the decision was made that we would have take-out. You would think a $5 pizza from Comella’s would do the trick. Nope. Not my house. $35.00 later and I found myself in my house-of-worship, the only place I can truly be alone…the bathroom, having meltdown #4.
    I feel your pain Julie, I really do.

    • I am quite sure you do… fact, I think you might win this round. Is there a full moon!?!? Oh, wait, that would mean it is full all the damn time! Hang in there. Easy for me to say, huh? Did there happen to be a bottle (or three) in the bathroom???

  10. I have missed you … been reading the blogs but have not had a minute to respond to the most recent ones. Today it’s 6 weeks since my surgery and I am feeling good. Don’t want to jinx anything by saying great, so I will just say good. Driving and showering on my own … woo hoo! But enough about me! Your blog and writings amaze me. I know, you hate the accolades. TOO BAD:-) You write about everything and anything, and believe it or not, it’s relatable and seems to resonate with everyone. Awhile back “we” all talked about having problems, trials and tribulations, disasters … whatevery you want to call them. We can all substitute our problems in a myriad of ways. I am sure that having a transgender child probably/definitely takes it up a few notches. But still, we all have our issues, good, bad, indifferent and down and dirty. I came to the conclusion, I think because I was away for a bit, that we read not only because we love you all, but, because you give us hope, you give us clarity, you give us humor, you give us the will to go one. And Jessie, gives all that to us and more through your writings. And so does Rich and Harrison. Shit happens, calamities occur, we find ourselves in emergency rooms and wonder how the fuck we got here. Life is not perfect my dear and I know I am preaching to the choir. Your blog, your story, you and your family, especially Jessie, help us to navitgate our world as much as it helps all of you. I love you Julie Ross! Keep up the great work … you are inspiring. I know there I go with the accolades:-) xo Caren ps. A night at a hotel or a weekend away for just the parental units might just get those batteries recharged!

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