Glimpses

How can the kid who did this

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and this
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and this
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all in one week (along with the usual stuff we’ve already talked about), be the same child who noticed a blind woman at a burger joint that same week, and rushed to her side to assist her? “Mom and Dad, I gotta go help that lady!”– and before we knew it the lad shot out the door, to kindly guide her into the restaurant.

A few days later, I kid you not, he consoled a new widow at a commencement ceremony. She was heartbroken that her husband was not there to watch their teen graduate. Little Man gave her a hug, spoke with her and actually comforted her. Later she went on and on to my husband about what a special boy he is and how much he helped her get through the evening.

We’ve even seen him come to the aid of bullied kids on the playground like a superhero!

So how is this the same kid we are talking about?

Because that good, kind boy is Who He Really Is. Those selfless gestures are glimpses.

He may still be wounded by early trauma, but there is a good kid– dare I say a terrific kid– in that too-small body, and his daddy and I are determined to help him find his way through the pickle that was his first two years. (Our older RADish is also a great kid, and so are our hapless, oldest bios, both aching from PTSD.  Smart as whips, wildly creative… soooo much potential in these four. Shit, if we could just wave a magic wand.)

But guess what! We just enjoyed four, fun-filled days at the coast– all six of us! In the past we’ve had to cancel reservations and leave early with long faces because of major “episodes” (one including an urgent care visit) but this time was different; we were like a normal family on vacation. (Somebody, pinch me!) And that, too, was sort of a glimpse. Maybe the god I was telling you about (who likes good music?) drops these little glimpses like sprinkles of How Life Can Be down on us to remind the hubs and me that we can always find the sweet bits when we keep our eyes open for them.

Prowler

Our youngest is a textbook RADish, waiting until the coast is clear, and then prowling through the house each night. Many fost-adopt families set up elaborate alarm systems or surveillance cameras, but we haven’t. Some nights we catch him, some nights we don’t. He usually steals things, but since he threatened one of his brothers that he was going to “slit his throat,” his therapist tells us to lock our bedroom doors when we retire for the evening. Last night hubby and I forgot.

On the rare occasion I actually snooze, I’m a ridiculously light sleeper. Around 11:30, I heard the doorknob turn ever so slightly, which jolted me awake as if the ceiling fell on me (which did happen once in an earthquake, but again, that’s a whole ‘nother story– I told you I got a million of ’em). I held my breath, and waited. After several minutes– so this kid can exercise a little patience when he really wants to!– the door cracked, and a sliver of light from the hallway modem appeared. After a couple more minutes, the door widened ever so slightly, so that the sliver became a soft beam. And so on. The room I’m in is dark enough that I can now see clearly into the hallway, yet, not a sign of the boy, as I’m watching the door slowly continue to open, apparently and spookily by itself.

I’m grasping. The only ghosts I really know are my older sister, who tragically left us too young from complications of multiple sclerosis, but let’s just say she’s not exactly the haunting type. The other is my dad, who, though he is the haunting type, I’m certain would not be able to be subtle about it, considering all the special effects one might have access to in the afterlife, which rules him out, too.

Just as I’m starting to freak, my Spidey sense detects movement along the floor. I suddenly realize my baby is performing a skillful belly crawl like that of a career soldier. I rise up like a specter myself and cry out, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” and the boy is on his feet in a millisecond and begins to stammer, “I had a nightmare! and I needed a hug!”
You mean like our current president needs a golf course? Tell me another one. I was SO mad. And clutching my heart to make sure it was still beating.

When this lad rages, he’s hit me, kicked me, sworn at me, told me he’s gonna kill me, and if you read this blog you know he’s thrown shit at me (the most impressive being Before Meds when he used to try to hurl furniture in my direction).  But for some reason, this sneaking into our room bit felt like the biggest betrayal of all. May I just have a LITTLE sanctuary, please? A safe space?? Is that too much to ask? A body really needs to know deep down and for sure that when she is in her bedroom, in her Costco “world’s softest pajamas,” the taste of toothpaste still in her mouth, in her fucking canopy BED, that she is as safe as a babe in the womb.

But little man never knew that safety himself. He was assaulted in the womb by alcohol, street drugs, and god only knows what else. And what did baby RADish hear from that dark place? My bios heard my husband and I talking, laughing, making love, singing… while our RADishes most likely heard shouting, crashing, police sirens, hella weeping.

Of course, it took me hours of fretting to fall back to sleep, only to have a nightmare about his murdering me in my bed, Costco pajamas bloodied.  Not to be a Debbie Downer or anything; I’m just telling you the truth, because why else write this blog if I’m not going to spill everything? This is my current reality, and sometimes it really sucks.

So this morning I am exhausted out of my mind, and I gotta admit: pretty damned grouchy. In a Mother of the Year Award moment (I’m being facetious), I angrily ripped his superhero comforter off of him, and demanded, “When are you going to tell me the truth about last night?!” Of course, he stuck to his story like a fallen senator. I don’t know what the hell else I was expecting. At breakfast, I gave an inspirational little speech, something like, “You are a liar and a thief and you have completely lost my trust. If you tell me the sky is BLUE today I will go to the window to see for myself,” yadda yadda yadda. Yep, Mother of the Year alright. Call the press.

After the gang piled into the car for work and school and bus stops, the house was quiet as stones. Too quiet, so I sat outside at the patio, feeling hungover though I wasn’t, still in the pajamas, leafing through the latest issue of “Lion’s Roar” (a Buddhism-lite rag I subscribed to in a moment of desperation for mindfulness, that I now page through mindlessly), drinking the strongest coffee I could stomach and puffing away on an “emergency cigarette” (my original pack has had to be replaced several times, so I don’t know that I can still call them “emergency” cigarettes, in good conscience), when I suddenly saw the words of our therapist clearly in a cartoon bubble over my sleep-deprived head:

“It’s neurological. He can’t help it.”

He. can’t. help. it.

Riiiight. Remember? That’s why he has a talk therapist and a play therapist and a psychiatrist and a caseworker and a 504 plan at school. Everyone is trying to help him get it, in spite of his neurological damage, which was not. his. fault. to. begin. with.

Then, as my dad used to say, I felt like two nickels.

I may not be able to trust my child while he heals from his early trauma, but I will continue to love him through it. This afternoon I will hug him and I will apologize for losing my shit,

but I’m still going to lock my door tonight, and every night.

Love/God/Love

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” –St. John, the Bible

“Just as a mother would protect her only child with her life, even so let one cultivate a boundless love towards all beings.” –the Buddha, Karaniya Metta Sutta

“Love is the answer, and you know that for sure;
Love is a flower;
You got to let it, you gotta let it grow.” John Lennon, Mind Games

So here is some pretty decent advice on love from three different religions (yes, today the Beatles is my religion and no, you don’t want to argue that point with me). First of all, lemme tell ya, I used to be very religious; there was a time I could reasonably and intelligently discuss Catholic soteriology with a freaking Jesuit. I loved my god and my faith; I ardently studied the Bible (including the deuterocanonicals) and the Catechism and, as if those weren’t boring enough, Papal Encyclicals. Seriously. I was also a parish lector, a daily Communicant (which merely means I “assisted at Holy Mass” all the fucking time), I attended the monthly “Eucharistic Adoration & Benediction” (admission: I kinda miss those times of reverent worship and deep, personal prayer), I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours daily, as well as the Rosary, and, after a year of study and formation, I was officially received, in a beautiful Mass and investiture ceremony, into the secular order of Carmel. Finally, me and Jesus were {{{just like this}}}. So, yeah, that religious.

To make a looong ass, family-wide deconversion story short, here’s how it commenced: an interim Priest brought an awkward but affable fellow to Mass one day, whom, he said “had been away from the Church for some time,” and “had wished to find his way back.” The Priest asked my husband, an RCIA instructor at the time, to sort of “take him under his wing,” and help re-catechize him. Soon this fellow was assisting the Priest, and even talking about entering a religious order. Both the Priest and his “helper” became family friends, enjoyed meals in our home, and got chummy with us and with our kids, though there was something… a little off… about both of them, that we ascribed merely to heaping tablespoons of the extra zeal of the clergy.

Fast forward to some bizarre, creepy comments made by the “friend” that raised every single one of my Mom Flags, the resultant internet search, and the nauseating discovery of this man’s big, ugly mug on a Meagan’s Law website. Yes, he’d been “away” alright– away in the fucking clink for child molestation. THANK HEAVENS NOTHING HAPPENED, but it was close– TOO DAMNED CLOSE– and, when it all came out yet nothing serious was done to protect the parish’s children, we saw through it all, and extricated ourselves and our brood from all things Catholic faster than you can say ciborium. Or pedophile.

After the last “Te Deum” was sung, and the final “hurt and betrayed” email was received (it seems many of our former parish pals now believe we are headed to hell in a stock car), we got to really sit down and have some good old, heart to hearts with our three adorable altar boys (the fourth lad, our youngest, hadn’t yet served at the altar, but was in training at the time we left). Well, during these tender and illuminating talks we learned that, as it turned out, each one of our kids was absolutely, gut wrenchingly terrified of god.

My husband and I were gobsmacked.

We did not preach a fire and brimstone version of Christianity in our home; quite the opposite. My husband and I are wacky artists and musicians (even our lads look the part by osmosis, I guess). Hubby and I had also found our way to Rome via fun-loving Protestant Evangelicalism, so we may have unwittingly brought some of the party with us (well, I was actually raised Catholic, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Our family was the eccentric, 80s-music-loving, “artsy” Catholic family, who dressed weird and made equally weird art and– when we weren’t having RADish crises at home– were known for our collective joy and ready laughter (we even made the nuns crack up, I swear to god). Sure, I home schooled for a season, but not in a denim jumper, if you get what I’m saying. Teresa of Avila’s “Lord, save us from gloomy saints!” was my go-to saint quote. Our god was big and generous and kind and benevolent and forgiving and chock fulla love, love, love– all the time!– and, we believed, dug good jazz and good beer and had a terrific sense of humor (e.g., the platypus). In the event you screwed up with this god, and it would have to be a pretty big screw-up at that, you simply hit up the Sacrament of Confession before the Vigil Mass on a Saturday night, and the angels rejoiced and all was well in your wee, Catholic world again.  Yes, wee.

Because in hindsight, it was a sincere faith, but an itty bitty one.  Much as we wished it not to be, our church’s theology (when taken to its logical conclusion), and hence our church, and hence Christianity in general, is stodgy and intolerant and oppressive and tribal and even tyrannical, I’ll go as far to say, and seemed to create an “us vs. them” mentality in the pews. Additionally, half of our own children suffered from early trauma related attachment disorders, for chrissakes. With them, there was no getting around the elephant in the chapel: that this “Father,” God, who came up with fun things like snow and honeysuckles and rainbows and baby hippos could also ultimately reject you, one of His own children. Sure, it would take some doing, but it was always a possibility.  Talk about an adopted kid mindfuck! Yes, that was god, or, at least, what they got out of Him. And had I been willing to be 100% honest with myself back then (I was a pretty decent 90 or sometimes 95, but not a 100 percenter in those days), I would have had to admit that, deep down, I myself harbored a similar fear.

So we’re talking about capital G “God”– who’s supposed to be perfect, right?–and “in whom we live and move and have our being” and all that stuff, and our primo example of How To Do Life Correctly– yet here am I, not only a mere mortal but also one helluva hot mess most days, with two kids who are ready for a lunatic asylum and one who’s ready for juvie, YET *I* WOULD NOT REJECT ANY OF MY CHILDREN, EVER.

Hmmm… are you with me?! like, I’m more moral than god; or at least, hella more loving.

Omgggg, I seriously don’t know WHAT the HELL the hubs and I were thinking, raising our littles in this church! I could punch The Old Us! For real!!

Well, he and I started out as two young crackpots ourselves, and religion worked for us for a while, you know, typical story… but then I guess we kinda got stuck there. So maybe I’ll cut us some slack for now.

Okay, back to LOVE. You know, I actually began this post wanting to write about love, and look where I ended up. Sheesh. Me and my monkey-mind. I got about a million stories and they all wanna tumble out at the same time. So, I dunno… stay tuned, I guess.

Well, I may no longer believe in a god, but I’ll tell you what: I still believe in love.

I’m hoping the Bible is correct that “perfect love drives out fear,” because what is the root of my sons’ reactive attachment disorders if not all-encompassing fear? Fear of abandonment. Fear of rejection. Fear of lovelessness. Same with my PTSD kids: fear, fear, fear. And the Buddha is right that humans ought to “cultivate a boundless love towards all beings,” because just imagine what that would really look like in the world, if we could actually pull it off? And John Lennon is right that “Love is the answer,” and “Love is a flower” so “you gotta let it grow,” because what IS the answer, if it ain’t love?! And love isn’t dead and love isn’t static; love is alive, and love, if I let it, will grow.

I love all my ducklings, the two that wriggled right outta me and the two whom the stork dropped off, kicking and screaming. Yes, they are currently driving me into a strait jacket (well, all but one), but I love the lot of their adorbz, fuzzy, adolescent faces anyhow, and just writing about that love makes me want to hug and kiss them until they get embarrassed and go, “Aw, come ON, Mom!” So when they get home from school that is exactly what I shall do, heh heh heh.

And I am so, so thankful their dad and I finally woke up and smelled the incense, and got them the hell outta that crazy-ass church (though I’m sorry it took such a close call for us to wake up!).. If any or all of the four ever decide to believe in a “god” again, they have my blessing, because hey, it worked for me for a while, too; I just hope they find one as admirable as the one we tried to convince ourselves existed, you know, a god who digs good jazz.

Pebbles

In an effort to hang onto my few, remaining marbles, I am an avid walker and hiker.
(The reader will take note that this doesn’t always work for me, yet I press on. If I can’t become saner, at the least I will shoot for less jiggly thighs.)

Sometimes a vastly annoying pebble will hop into my shoe on the trail, but I don’t want to do anything about it because my app is running and I’m trying to beat my pr (“personal record,” for you couch potatoes). There is a “pause” feature, but it somehow manages to add the time on anyway: “You really believe you’re going to get away with this water break? No water for YOU!”– the Soup Nazi in my hiking app.

Now, probably because I haven’t been able to control much during this season of my life, IT IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO ME that I control– and conquer!– my pr. So this morning the little stone and I were limping along cursing at one another because I stubbornly refused to stop and free it, when suddenly, as often happens, it found a comfortable niche in the shoe and settled the hell down, no longer causing me woe.
Now everything was rainbows! I was able to smile at the woodpeckers and chuckle at the cottontails and tear up a little at the sight of the wide-eyed fawns.

This made me think.

On Friday evening, the beginning of our three day Memorial weekend, our youngest RADish ran away from home for the third time in three days, this time simply because he did not want to take his bath. If you are rolling your eyes and saying “because Caillou doesn’t like baths,” you are on the wrong blog, trust me. This is a 12 yr. old we are talking about, one you could put in “time out,” remove every privilege known to kid, spank for hours, and probably fucking waterboard with absolutely zero improvements in the behavior department; a soon to be junior higher who flew into a rage, kicked his father hard, threw some metal thingamajig he found at me (I seriously must look like a bullseye– why is he always throwing shit at me?!), then busted through his window screen and leapt right out like Bruce Lee. We looked and our kindly neighbors looked and finally the police looked for him as well.

The little acrobat didn’t return home until about 1:45 a.m., then hubby flagged down the patrol car to let the officers know, and they wanted to come in and talk to our lad. They tried, bless them, to put the fear of God into him, but… good luck with that. Anyhow, he finally curled up in his Spiderman comforter and fell asleep. The next day we found him playing quite lovely music he had composed on his keyboard and recorded, while sitting criss-cross-applesauce on his bedroom floor, calm as Buddha, and happily playing Yu-Gi-Oh cards with one of his brothers. One would wonder, was it all just a nightmare? What did I eat last night?..

and this is how it often goes with hiking pebbles and with RADishes: one moment they are causing me to wince (or weep) in pain, yet I am determined; I don’t stop, I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and the next thing I know they have found their safe little niche to curl up in, and all is right with the world and there is music and there are unicorns, maybe, and now I don’t even remember any pain– what pain?!

–so I can just carry on, and with a happy little bounce in my step, no less!

Touching the ultimate dimension, we feel happy and comfortable, like the birds enjoying the blue sky or the deer enjoying the green fields. We know that we do not have to look for the ultimate outside of ourselves- it is available within us, in this very moment.  Thich Nhat Hanh

Beginnings

We saw his therapist just last evening, and now the older of our RADishes has another appointment this morning with his psychiatrist, so I’ll make this short. (I go to a lot of appointments. You have no idea.)

I loathe the term “bios” (or “biological children”)– it’s cold and sciencey, as if we cooked them up over a bunsen burner; a pinch of this chemical, a dram of that one. But I’m not sure how to distinguish them when I write, so I’ll just stick with the term we use in our foster/adoptive parenting support groups.

Our two bio sons, today 17 and 15 years of age, never asked for their worlds to be turned upside down. They were happy-go-lucky little towheads, curious, full of mischief, quick to giggle, eager to greet daddy when his car pulled into the driveway every afternoon around 4:30. We lived simply but our home life was filled with art and music, good and healthful meals (I used to love to cook), and tumble and play and make believe and trips to the zoo and cuddling on laps with books. The vibe: carefree.

When the two “new guys” (as our bios called them) arrived liked meteorites, the simple life we had crafted was hit hard. The baby, 19 months old, tiny and painfully thin, had a misshapen head (much like when you squeezed Barbie at the ears when you were a kid) and was sick and feverish and miserable. I gently picked him up and cradled him in my arms. He immediately balled up that baby fist and cold-cocked me, hard, on the chin. Like a veteran boxer I shook it off, but I was flabbergasted. Both my kids had thrown their wee temper tantrums as toddlers, but I never in my life saw a baby throw a decent punch! Meanwhile, we noticed that the older one, 3 years, was drenched from his chin to his round preschooler belly, but only down the front of his tee shirt. We soon realized he frantically gnawed on his shirts, constantly, probably in an effort to soothe himself. We changed his shirts many times during the day.

Though we took the classes required by our county’s fost-adopt program, none of them had prepared us to help our children heal from their early trauma. (Therapeutic parenting wasn’t even mentioned.) It was love at first sight with these guys, yet we did wonder just what we had gotten ourselves into. Our bios were too young to notice their brothers’ strange behaviors at first. Though they were a bit jealous of all the attention the new guys were getting, for the most part they tried to welcome them, share their toys, and get the daily playing going.

The four of them together was truly a precious sight to behold; they made you want to break out in show tunes. Though we chose to not check many of the preference boxes on the reams of county paperwork, they ended up sending us two lads who looked remarkably like our bios. With four adorable ducklings in tow, and their antics, we drew a lot of attention when we were out and about. Many times strangers remarked on our “beautiful family”– we even had meals paid for! It was crazy, but the boys were just so darned cute, I guess they brought out the kindness in folks.  “Oh my, but you are just the sweetest little huggy bunnies and I just want to squeeze your rosy cheeks and buy you pancakes!”

Backrub

Thank heavens, we happened to already have an appointment set up with the younger lads’ therapist yesterday afternoon. Well, it was really for our older RADish, but when I told her what went down, she readily agreed to switch them around and see our little guy instead (and then big brother on Wednesday). I could have kissed her.

One of the most frustrating yet typical symptoms of reactive attachment disorder is the child’s inability to connect their choices to the consequences of those choices. During the sessions, as usual, his therapist keeps trying to help him connect the dots; e.g., if you choose behavior A, you will naturally reap consequence B. However, this makes about as much sense to a RADish as his wanting something to drink and being handed a bar of soap. She knows this, of course, but– ever the optimist– insists that with consistency, one of these days he just might have his Helen Keller at the water pump moment.

I recall an afternoon our older RADish, around 12 or 13 at the time, came back from a friend’s house to find we weren’t home. (We had needed to run some quick errands in the city.) Even though his older brothers told him where we were, he went into a full-blown panic attack, convinced we would never return. Our bios, conversely, don’t fret over such things. You see, when our older lads were mere bundles mewling for milk, we fed them; when their diapers were soiled, we changed them; when they cried, we cradled them to our hearts, and made up silly songs to sing to them. I remember resting library books on my giant middle to read Dr. Seuss to them in the womb, for crying out loud.  Our older lads formed secure attachments to my husband and me in their infancy/toddlerhood; they knew we were good eggs who could be trusted to take care of them. But that wasn’t so with our adopted fellows. At such tender ages, we were their zillionth foster care placement. “Caretakers,” many of them utterly. batshit. crazy. came and went and blew it, over and over and over. Worst of all, their own biological parents could not see to even their most basic needs: the ultimate rejection. So today they often push leprous us away. Cozying up to the likes of us is just too damned risky.

Getting back to the bios, as they grew into sturdy little Pinocchios, they were not confused by receiving consequences to their actions. I’m not saying they enjoyed paying for the broken window, or whatever, but they understood why they had to. For contrast, we have often found youngest RADish, weapon in hand, wounded kid writhing on the ground directly in front of him, incredulous that we took away the light saber or Nerf gun or baseball bat (yes, it’s happened) and put him in time-out, and not just incredulous but angry as a bull in the ring. His first response is usually, “I didn’t do it!” followed by abject rage.  As a matter of fact, before his psychiatrist found just the right medication combination, the ensuing tantrums could go on for hours. (I mean it, and today I have an irksome little twitch in my right eye to prove it.)

Anyhow, little man was unusually quiet on the ride home from therapy, so we put on the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” one of his favorite songs, and sweet Ringo droned on while I happily daydreamed of whooping it up with the fab four on an underwater craft… and before I knew it youngest RADish was plopping himself down at the kitchen table to read a book while munching on chicken that has curiously been molded into dinosaur shapes in the hopes that picky kids will want to eat it. (My husband and I are on a plant-based diet, but we don’t even go there with the kids; our adopted guys’ eating disorders are for a whole other post.) Anyway he was being just so, so weird and withdrawn, I went over and began to very gently rub those bony little shoulders (when he’s in the mood, he actually likes a good back rub or back scratch, which is hella progress). I ventured, “Do you like that, Hon? Do you want a back rub?” to which he nodded his cute blonde head.

Hold the phone!– I just gotta interrupt this to ask: do you have any idea how difficult it is to give a loving back rub to a little tyrant who called you an effing B and threw shit at you that very morning?!

Well, do you?!

Let me just say: IT IS FUCKING HARD,

IT IS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT THINGS EVER,

but I DO IT because

HE IS MY KID

AND, NO MATTER WHAT,

I love him.

And with that I’m all worn out.

Thanks for listening.

Guts

This morning my youngest RADish made some poor choices that led to his not being able to ride to the bus stop with his father on my husband’s commute to work. The boy loves taking the bus. To make a long story short, that meant I needed to drive him to school. The boy hates being driven to school. We had to leave in about forty-five minutes.

For over thirty of those forty-five minutes, the front door was repeatedly slammed, I was called a “fucking BITCH!” and a “fucking RETARD!” and assured that I was “hated,” as in, “I HATE YOU, YOU FUCKING BITCH!” I also had various objects thrown in my direction, but only one made contact. Bored of slamming the front door, he then retreated to his room in order to slam both his bedroom and closet doors, repeatedly, while continuing to shout the unpleasantries listed above. Over half an hour of this. God, our poor neighbors.

This was not an atypical morning. The child who regularly gifts me with woe can’t help it.  He is our youngest adopted son, age 12, a cute, blonde, wisp of a boy, short and slight for his age. Due to profound neglect and abuse during his infancy and early toddlerhood, the lad carries a soldier’s duffle bag of trauma (though we, his parents and brothers, have the PTSD). He suffers from reactive attachment disorder (known as “RAD” in the online, early-trauma communities of mostly mothers wringing our hands), fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. His therapist believes he may also have borderline personality disorder, but she isn’t sure yet. With or without it, that’s a lot of disorders.

After he calmed down, he didn’t apologize, but he did sheepishly ask me if he could “stay home and play my keyboard today?” Believe it or not, I had actually considered giving him a “mental health day,” as Lord knows we all need one from time to time… but the violence and the name calling and the doors hanging on for dear life made me change my mind. Frankly, small as he is, I fear him during his meltdowns. So I said, “I was thinking about that myself, but I wonder if you would try to murder me?!” His response:

“Oh, I wouldn’t have the guts to do that…” quite coldly, with the emphasis on guts.

Have you seen the British indie film, “We Need to Talk about Kevin,” with Tilda Swinton? If you haven’t, do. Brilliant film. It might still be streaming on Netflix. Anyhow, Kevin reminds me a bit of our youngest. Watch it and you’ll see what I mean. Afterward, if you are a praying person, you will send one up for us. (I’ve quit faith since the adoptions.)

I managed to get him in the minivan (which was a miracle since he kept reminding me, “I HATE SCHOOL AND I’M NOT GOING, YOU FUCKING BITCH!”), and instructed him to sit in the very back (sometimes he throws things at me while I’m driving, so I hoped to better my chances of not being hit), and then I unwittingly ran over a suicidal ground squirrel who aimed for the front, passenger side tire. (Maybe the squirrel adopted her squirrellets?) Anyway, FML.  I walked him into the school and with amazing composure, if I do say so myself, handed the receptionist a month’s supply of his afternoon Focalin. I even made small talk– yaaay, me!– drove home in tears, and then copious tears as I passed the smooshed ground squirrel. Then I went into the house to retrieve my pack of “emergency cigarettes” that I keep in the front, right side of my sock drawer under my Christmas socks. The goofy reindeer wink at me, keeping my unhealthy secret. I know I shouldn’t, but I took one out and smoked it outside on the porch swing. (We don’t have a porch, but I don’t know what else to call it.) Then I came inside and made another cup of tea, emailed his teacher to ask if she knows from which student he stole the Nintendo DS we found in his room, and then I decided to start this blog.

I feel numb.

…and that, my friends, is half a morning of My RAD Life.