Thursday, August 26, 2010

Must be nice.

I just joined a new mom's group.
I was excited to start something new and something "for me."
I was even asked to speak on homemaking.
Sounded good.

I suggested doing an informative meeting about how to talk to your children on good touch bad touch.
The moms I had mentioned it to sounded interested.
After all, you really don't get that lesson in the parent handbook. *is there a parent handbook?
Anyway- after breaking down the logistics of doing a training like this... the consensus was:
Her exact words were:
" Although I appreciate the ideas and really the intentionality of it all, we are not going to pursue this topic at this time. I discussed with our Director and she agreed. Please know that your time/energy to this is appreciated! "

I understand it's hard to tackle. I really do.
They want to keep it "light and encouraging."
Talking about this is anything but....

But after I read this, I had a vault of emotions well up inside me:
It must be nice to just have the option to "not pursue" this topic.
It must be nice to even be able to call it a topic- versus your reality.

"My time and energy" was not appreciated.
You have no idea what my time and energy looks like.
If you really knew what my time and energy looked like towards this "topic" you wouldn't have said no.

In fact, anyone who just spends a day with a family of a child who was just assaulted would be heartbroken enough to make sure that it never happened again. There would be no other option but to tackle this "topic."

A topic is something you discuss- like what's for dinner. This is a reality- a problem. And we need to figure out how we can stop it.

Then my next flood of emotions was, "I don't think I can join them. I don't want to be apart of a group of women who think life is just good and dandy and only want to talk about feel good stuff. I can't do that. No way! Life isn't like that. That's not real. That's fake. If I want fake I will just plop myself in front of the TV for a couple hours on Thursday mornings."

"Can they even handle me? Will I be too much? Now that they know this is part of my story and this is part of what I am going through? Is it ok to have baggage with this "topic" labeled on it? If so, I am out. I don't need any more conditional love in my life. It's too painful."

I try to remember what life was like when I was one of "them." When I was one that couldn't stomach this and chose to turn a deaf ear to the fact that it could happen to someone like me.
I tried to remember that they probably aren't trying to belittle me and the pain I am enduring.
I tried to remember that my crusade isn't going to be as passionate for others as it will for me.
I tried to remember that what I feel comes from a place of deep hurt and anguish. A place that no one else could understand unless they have been the mother of a child who has had a rape kit and has been told that their perp is still walking around.

I tried to remember.
But I couldn't.
I can't.
I can't ever go back.
This is who I am now.
And I hate it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

it's really not about the curtains...

One of the attempts we have made in order to have a peaceful nights sleep since my son's attack is changing his entire room.

We had the boys spend the night with grandma, went to home depot and bought paint, and went to town.

We had not had an alone evening together in months.
How we longed to go to a movie, eat dinner out and just relax.

But that wasn't an option.

We had 2 days to completely transform his room.

Our therapist talked with us how children need concrete changes to feel safe after trauma's.

Sometimes, when they have frequent night terrors, the associate their bed or room with the nightmares, so they avoid the room all together.

Or in some instances, they wake from a bad dream and see the same wall hanging above their bed.

That wall hanging then becomes a trigger to connect to that nightmare.

Our son refused after about a week to even get in his bed.

Changing his room seemed like the least we could do.

God came through big on this.
Confirmation to us that it was the thing to do.
Friends gave gift cards.
Cash for paint, rugs, or comforters.

We so needed it.
There would have been no way on our skimpy budget to buy everything new.

Although I love decorating on a budget with a passion, this project was of necessity, versus hobby.

I actually loved the boys room.

I had a fun color scheme and enjoyed being in there.

I had to mourn the loss of a room a worked hard on too.

But it was ok.

So I quickly got over that and asked the boys what new room they would like.

My son quickly said "firetruck room!"

Normally I would jump on this and go for it, but we know red is a huge trigger color for him.

His perp wore a red shirt.
Red would be ok in accents- just not the primary color of the room.

I asked if there was anything else he would like.

Baseball! he said.

My husband had several baseball pics, so it was perfect.

My sweet interior decor friend suggested blue and brown families of colors.

I had my vision and went for it.

After a long night of painting, rearranging, and washing new sheets, the last task was the curtains.

Our home was built in the 50's so all the windows are un-conventional sizes.
I needed to hem curtains, as well as put some decorative touches on them- I just had to.
Because, after all, if I am going to change everything- I am going to do it right by golly!
I had the vision of stitching baseball stitching on white curtains with red yarn.
It was going to be awesome.
It was getting late.
The boys were asleep on the couch.

I just needed to hem the curtains and be done.

The sewing machine started jamming up.

A few stitches, then., "mrrrrwww." It was stop.

Out came the fabric, snip snip. Try again.




"come on! you stupid machine! not now!!!"

My husband said, "try again later."

"no." I said firmly.





it is almost 1 am at this point.



"You stupid piece of Shit!!"

(my husband looks up sharply. I am not one to curse much.)

"Come on! Not now. I have to finish. I have to finish! I just want to make these last curtains!"

"Ok God. This is not cool. All I want to do is make my son some new curtains for his room. I just want him to sleep. I just want him to feel safe again. I want a new start! Just please.

PLEASE! Let me finish these curtains!"

I hit the table and screamed:


My husband walks in.

"it's ok babe. Just finish tomorrow. It will be ok."

"No it won't! It won't be ok! I have to finish.
I have to be done!
Something has to be done!

I need resolution!
I need something to be done. Something to be finished! something that makes sense and looks complete!

I need to finish!
I need to finish!


I cried.

Then sobbed.
Then hit the table again.
I couldn't bare to walk by the room and see the windows bare.

They needed curtains.

I needed curtains.

I failed.
Once again I felt I couldn't do it.

I couldn't see something through.

I fought the guilt of this situation rush back in.
It was too much to bare.
I went back to the table and took the thread out.
I took the bobbin out.
I looked.
I cleaned.
I refused to give up.
The normal setting would not work.
No matter what I did.


So I found a setting that did.

And the white thread wouldn't work either.

I grabbed beige.
I didn't give up.
I cried.

I sewed.
I cried.
I sewed.

I wiped my tears.

I trimmed the thread.
At 3 am.
I finished.

I hung the curtains and carried my sleeping boys to bed.

It didn't work the way I thought it would.
It didn't work the way it should have.

But I didn't give up.

It was so painful.

It took lots of gumption to keep sewing so late.

But I did.

Because, it's really not about the curtains.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


He used to say, "Let's be pirates daddy!"
He used to play farm and cowboys.

He used to say, "there's a growley-guss! Hurry hide!"
He used to play the bad guy.

He used to be excited to use the bathroom.
We used to go on parades. followed by stickers and m & m's when he did.

He used to be in bed by 8:30.
He used to love everybody.
Smile at everybody.
Wave at perfect strangers.

He loved to go to church.
He loved to sing songs.
He used to sing "twinkle twinkle little star.." and "Jesus loves me."

Now he asks "why do big people take off their pants, daddy?"
Now he asks "what that guy doin?"

Now he says, "I close my eyes I see bad man."
Now he screams and avoids any man who has a red shirt on.
Now he wants to know if there are going to be "bad guys" when we leave home.

For days he screamed if we even said the word "bathroom."
He would throw his feet out and stop us from carrying him to the bathroom.
He is in a pull up 24 hours a day again.
He doesn't want anyone to "hurt his bottom."

Now we are lucky to have him semi-sleeping by 10:30, mostly midnight.
He wakes every 90 minutes to 3 hours, symptoms of PTSD.
He is afraid to sleep.
He is afraid to dream.
Now we spray the room with "safe spray" every night.

Now we sing his "Safe song."
"C is safe and he is strong, listen while we sing c's song.
He is growing everyday.
C is safe and he's ok.
C is safe and he is strong.
Listen while we sing c's song."

I used to worry about making it to play dates, parks, and museums, play groups, art fairs and neighborhood outings.
I used to try to involve him with other children, adults, church, school and community events.

Now I worry about play therapy, PTSD medical evals, hepatitis and HIV testing, assault counseling, and support groups.
Now I surround my self with a select few friends and family who know, so when he goes from a normal little boy to aggressive in a minute, or crying and hiding in a second, of screaming and yelling in a flash, no one judges my "out- of-control child."

I forgot what it was like to wake and wonder what the day holds.
Now I wake and worry what the day holds.

"who will call today?"
"who will accuse me of something ludicrous today?"
"who will avoid me today?"
"what will he say when he wakes up?"
"what will he do if he sees or hears a trigger?"
"what agency or case worker will give me more bad news?"
"will I have the answers when my five year old asks hard questions?"
"will I have the strength to go on?"
"will I have the patience to hold him while he screams and hits me for minutes on end?"
"will I hold my tears when I hear a song that reminds me of God's love when I feel so alone?"
"can I go to the store?"
"can I make a meal?"

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Most days I feel like I take one step forward and three steps back.
We will be having a seemingly normal day and within seconds, my son is crying in the corner with his hands over his eyes.
We can be so close to bedtime, so tired, so weary, and my son's heart races and anxiety sets in. He hates to sleep. Sleep is where he dreams.
His PTSD keeps reliving his trauma over and over in his dreams.
How we long for rest.
How we long for peace.
We cry out to God night after night.
"Please Lord, please, let him sleep. Be the God of his dreams. Erase this memory from his mind!"
Then we go through the new routine: changing pajama's. Changing rooms. Changing covers.
Sometimes we have to leave and change environments all together.
Sometimes one of us is driving him around at 2 am.
Sometimes we end up at someone Else's house, mostly my moms.
It is amazing this child can function on so little sleep.
He has looked so tired.
His eyes are dark and sunken in.

Since we know that changing environments helps him feel safe.
We decided to change his room all together.
Our therapist and a few others encouraged us in this decision.
Everything from the trim, to the curtains, to the covers would change.
There would be no evidence of the old room he had nightmares in.

God came through big time here.
Friends showed up with envelopes of cash, offering to help with the cost of all the supplies and decorations.
We ended up only using 50.00 of our own money to redo everything.
God was on the team here, using others to get this done.

I worked until 1 am, while the boys slept at their grandmas house.
My husband got up and worked at 6 am.
We fought, butted heads, cried, sighed, laughed, and worked all at the same time.
We haven't had a night alone in months.
We laughed that this was the last thing we would want to do on date night, but if it would help, once again we would put our marriage on the back burner.

I worried about my son, but he was in good hands. Turns out he slept from 11 to 5. Not too bad for him.

After the room was all done, the boys got to see it.
They loved it.
"It's a big boy baseball room!" they cried.
It was awesome to see my little guy's eyes light up, and to run and jump into his bed.

So, here we are 4 days since it has finished.
He has actually gotten in his bed at bedtime. A victory.
He wouldn't stay in it long, but at least he would get in.
He has slept a little longer stretches: 3-4 hours at a time.

He has had a croupy cough, so last night we gave him triaminic.
By 10:30 he was asleep.
We laid in our bed just waiting for the screams to start.
They never did.
We prayed, read scripture over our home, and fell asleep.
My baby woke at 2 am.
After feeding her, I couldn't believe my son was still asleep.

I woke this morning at 7:30 to hear him and his brother chatting in their room.

My eyes filled with tears as I looked at the clock.
"HE did it Lord, He slept! For the first time in almost 6 weeks, his little body finally rested! Maybe his brain will reset now and quit reliving this memory! Oh Thank you God! Thank you!"

Another victory- my husbands boss is a real jerk.
He hasn't given him any time off since this happened.
When we went to all our initial appointments, he got flack for being gone.
He needed a day off so bad.
He asked for this Friday off.
His boss replied, "company policy states you need to give 2 weeks notice for a vacation day."
Adam just stood there.
Stared at him.
" I guess it's pretty important."
"Yes. I haven't been in bed before 1 am since my sons assault. I need to rest and be with my family."
"Ok, I guess you have shown great effort around here and need to do this."

So, tomorrow morning, we are taking our 2 sons to Kansas City.
We are going to stay in a hotel paid for by my amazing parents, and go to a fabulous family water park.
Our therapist thinks this will give our son a new memory to relive at bedtime.
That is our prayers.
Our only concern is we still don't know all his triggers yet.
We hope we can keep him preoccupied enough that it doesn't even get a chance to creep in.

Today I am soaking in the goodness of this victory.
For weeks I have felt defeated.
I have felt hopeless.
Like our life will never be the same.
We will never sleep again.
I want one day where this guy doesn't affect my family.
One day where we aren't faced with the affects of CSA.
So when I get a victory- I will take it.
I will proclaim it.
I will celebrate with great passion and joy.
We will win.
We will be victorious,
because we serve a God that is victorious.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How does he do it?

My husband seems so strong.
I know he is fighting a terrible battle within.
But I envy his strength.
I wish I could stay strong.
I feel sad.
I get irritated so easily over little things now.
I can't sleep.
I wonder if the perp is watching us.
I wonder if I knew him.
Trusted him.
I sometimes envy the fact that he gets up and goes to work.
I wish I could go away.
I wish I could do anything but face life at home.
I wish I didn't have to answer the SRS and detectives calls.
I wish I didn't have to go to the guidance center alone while he works.
I wish I didn't fill out the billing paper work for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners with our personal information and insurance.
I wish I didn't have to watch and diffuse my sons many melt downs during the day.
I wish I didn't have to think of a "calming" activity to do with him hourly like the therapist suggested.
I wish I didn't feel like such a failure when my other children need my attention and get the tired left overs of my heart.
I wish I could hug my husband and not want to pull away because my pain floods in and I am afraid I will collapse.
I wish I could hear the word "sex" and not follow it with "Assault" automatically in my head.
I wish I could bare the idea of ever even having sex again and not go back to this horrible incident.
I hate it that something so sweet and innocent in my marriage is now linked with something so horrible.
How do I turn this off so I can be a loving wife again?
I wish I could compartmentalize the way men do.
I know we are created so differently in this way.
But to be honest, I hate it that they can do this.
I wish I could flip a switch.
I know he has a horrible time.
I know this.
I know he wants to snap and lose his mind in anger.
I know he fights it daily.
I know he HATES going to work right now.
I know that inside he is dying like me.
But it just looks SO differently.
I see how marriages can get torn apart in this.
It is so hard to handle something so horrible so differently.
I wish we could put a pause on life and just allow ourselves to not be strong for anyone.
including each other.
But our children need us.
Our jobs need us.
The bills don't stop.
The world still turns.
Inside I am dying and just want ball up in bed and cry till I fall asleep.
But I can't.
Neither can he.
I just wish sometimes I could see him fall apart.
I am sure I would be terrified when he did.
I am not used to seeing my man broken.
But it would make me feel better.
Like I am not alone.
Like I am not the only one hanging on by a thread.
I sometimes wonder if we will ever be as happy as we used to be.
I wonder if we can ever get a babysitter and really enjoy ourselves again.
There are so many things this awful person stole from us. Including our peaceful marriage.
I hate him for that.

When things are not over.

We found out this week they are closing the investigation.
We don't understand.
My son isn't considered a "viable witness."
I was told that he doesn't understand the difference between "fantasy" or "reality."
This made my blood boil.
Before my son did indeed play in fantasy.
He would pretend to drive a tractor, or fly a plane.
Sometimes he was a dinosaur or maybe doggy.
Where does "i play potty at church" come from? Whe does this play involve horrible sexual acts he never would know anything about?
Why did he respond to the doctor when he asked "when did your bottom hurt?"
He said "At church."
Why does every time he see a man in a red shirt he panics and wants to run away?
Why does he stay up night after night avoiding sleep and needing to constantly change environments?
Why does he cry so much more.
Fear so much more?
Stare off in the distance?
Why does he tell me that he can't talk about "big friend" or he will get in trouble?
Why does he act out, lash out, throw things, bite, and scream and pound the wall repeatedly when he never used to?
I ask you, detective and DA's office, why?
How is this fantasy?
This is not fantasy.
This is our family's new reality.
This is our nightmare we call life now.
This is our reality.
It is real.
We are living it.
We are watching it unfold daily.
Why do you protect the perpetrator?
Why do you make it to where young children do not have a voice?
Don't you see that this is why they attack this age children?
Because they know you won't take anything they say or do as "admissible in court?"
What about the babies, who can't even talk to their parents?
What about the mental handicapped who can't explain?
How do we protect them?
So much is stolen from a child when they are assaulted.
Their innocence, their trust, their sense of control.
And you, you wretched legal system are giving the thieves an all access pass.
All though you have closed the folder on my sons case-
Our battle still rages.
We still hold him while he asks to be safe at night.
We watch him avoid certain places and people he didn't used to.
We watch our once outgoing fun loving child now be extra cautious and leery of everything.
We will never be able to go back to our beloved church because YOU didn't even try to find out who it was.
We know this person was good.
We know that if he did it once he will do it again.
Your work is done.
But ours is not.
We will never be able to close this folder in our lives.
And while I don't blame you for that, I blame this sick person.
I do blame you for not fighting for my son.
I blame you for not listening to what he is saying.
To what he is crying out.
I blame you for not listening to us, his loving protecting parents.
I blame you for not fighting for the innocent.
Things may be over for you.
But they will never.
Be over for us.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

No one knows what to do

I have found that people say stupid stuff when you are hurting.
Or they might not say anything at all.
Or there are those that just plain avoid you and your family because they either:
1. don't know what to do
2. Can't handle the situation you are going through.

I have often thought about how many times in the past I have probably said or done something stupid while a friend was in crisis.
I have probably not done enough.

It's amazing the perspective being on the other side of crisis gives you.

I had a friend who has also recently gone through some horrible times tell me something very wise:
"you just have to give them grace. The truth is. They would do anything. They just have NO CLUE what to do. And everyone thinks someone else is checking on you, so they don't. But the truth is everyone thinks this, so no one checks."

Our sexual assault counselor said the same thing, but she simply said:
"Don't take it personally. No one has a clue. "

To be honest. We don't either.
We have no clue.
WE don't expect beautifully said words of inspiration and encouragement.
We don't expect you to fix it or even know what to say and do.

All we need is for you to acknowledge it.
Just check on us.
Acknowledge the fact that we are waking and sleeping with a great burden, hurt, and fear.
Acknowledge that we still exist.
That we are not forgotten.
Because, the longer we don't hear from you, the more we will believe we are abandoned. Forgotten. Alone.

Just a text.
A email.
A call.
A quick drop by.

If we are overwhelmed.
We will tell you.
If we don't want to talk.
We won't answer.

If we don't come to the door, we want to be alone.

We know you tried.
We know you were thinking of us.
We know you have not forgotten us.
We know your life is moving on, and you have your stuff to deal with, but don't make us feel that it is more important than what we are going through.
We know that even though you don't know what to do, or say, that we are still on your minds, hearts, and thoughts.

Don't avoid me.
I already feel like I have a huge sign on that flashes in neon letters:
"I am a failure. My child was assaulted. I didn't do my job. We are a wreck. We now resemble all things evil that can happen to a child."
And when you avoid me, I feel even more alone. Like even more of a failure.

Just hug me.
Just say you are sorry.
Just say it sucks.
Don't be afraid to cry too.
Don't be afraid to be pissed too.
Don't be afraid to tell me how sick you are about it.
Don't just text or call me once and call it good for 2 weeks.
I don't need you to be strong.
Just your presence in my life makes me stronger, not necessarily your words.
When I ask for encouragement or advice, give it in a loving manner.
But don't make me feel like I am not doing the right thing, or that you have it all figured out.

Realize that I might be kind of crazy.
You could call me one day and we will laugh and plan an outing.
The next minute I could be crying, cussing, or even hysterical.
I could change my mind on a dime.
I could avoid certain places and things because I live in fear that something I see will trigger the vault of emotions inside of me.
I might not be a help.
I might not ask about you.
I might not notice something going on in your life that is important.
But it is. And it kills me that I can't be that for you right now.
But I will again someday, but for now. I have nothing to give.
Nothing to offer.
And I feel really guilty about that too.
I take pride in knowing that I am good friend.
I am mad because this person has not only taken from my family, friends, and church, but he is taking from my relationships too.

If what we are going through is too heavy, or to difficult for you to bare. Tell me.
I will not be mad at you.
I will not be disappointed in you.
When Oprah would talk about sexual offenders on her show I always watched HGTV instead.
I couldn't handle it.
I couldn't stomach the thought.
So I get it.
Maybe you are too consumed with what life has for you now.
I get that too.
Nothing is more important than your life and your family.
But just TELL ME.
Don't avoid me.
I want to know that I won't be able to count on you for texts, calls, emails, or visits.
It will help me know not to be let down or disappointed when you don't.
I will know that you love me sincerely and you are praying and fighting on your end, you just can't help me in a physical manner now.
Your honesty is what will help me from hurting more, and assuming things that aren't true.

Finally, for those who are journeying closely besides me.
I know you are on a path that is dark, scary, and uncharted.
I know that I am a mess and have nothing to offer but heartache and bad news, sometimes hourly, sometimes daily.

I know that you are hurting too and want to help.
I see your sweetness in your gifts.
Things for the kids to play with.
Snacks for munchies.
Money to help when we can't tweak our budget.
Meals so I don't have to cook after a day of battling.
Late night prayer vigils and late night cry sessions.
Thank you doesn't do it justice.
I have seen and heard Jesus through you.
Although you can't do everything I need, or even say what I need to hear, I know you are close, and you aren't afraid of what might come out of my mouth.
I know that if you are, no matter what it is, you won't run.
I love you.

I understand.
I really do.
Although it sucks.
I understand.