I don’t know who’s idea it was to go back to college, but they’re an idiot.
Just kidding. I made the decision. I’m an idiot.
And it’s not all bad. But it’s not all good either.
In reality, school is only tough when everything else gets tougher. Meaning, school, work, Lacy, family, friends, are all manageable to a point. It’s do-able. But add in family crisis, sickness, drama (God forbid), and ohhhh….I don’t know….FINALS…..it gets really easy to look at a wall and consider how good it would feel to just ram your head into it repeatedly instead of writing the 20-page paper that’s due tomorrow.
Last month was probably the most difficult months thus far. Lacy has been incessantly sick and gave our family the scare of a lifetime. I honestly still have nightmares about it that make me jump out of bed and run to her room to make sure she’s alive. Those are the nights I just scoop her up and put her into bed with me so I can fall back asleep knowing she’s OK.
Her birthday was in April and being that she had never had a real birthday party with cake, balloons, friends, and gifts-a day set aside just for her, I wanted to make it a huge deal. And I don’t do things half-assed! I sent out over 90 invites to family, school friends, daycare friends, my friends, and everyone else in between. We had two separate parties; one for family and one for friends.
The day of her family party I could tell she wasn’t feeling the greatest. She was whiny and all she wanted to do was lay down and rest. I almost called and said we need to reschedule, but my Grandma Cherol had just managed to convince the nurses and doctors she was healthy enough to go to her great-granddaughters birthday party after she had spent two nights in the hospital for low blood pressure. If Grandma could make it, we could too. So, I put her in her special “Four and Fabulous” pink, sparkly, tutu outfit, and off we trekked to “Aunty Ken’s” for her family Birthday BBQ.
About an hour in, we were sitting down eating our hamburgers, Lacy’s favorite food, and she wouldn’t even touch her food. It was like she was in her own little world and she was just in a weird daze. Surrounded by 20 or so family members, she was still in her own world.
I told her to come sit with me and I noticed how hot she was. Asking my Mom to grab some Motrin, I began rocking Lacy. We took some medicine and I moved over to the couch where it was more comfortable to hold her. Seconds after sitting down, Lacy’s head bobbed backwards and, thinking she was joking around, I playfully asked what she as doing. “Mom, look at her….what’s she doing….”
It all of a sudden turned into hysteria as Lacy’s eyes rolled into the back of her head, and her body began seizing up in my arms. She flopped forward like a doll void of any life into my mom’s arms, who had rushed to the floor in front of me once she realized Lacy wasn’t OK.
We rushed Lacy to the ER where the doctors said she had a febrile seizure, meaning her temperature rose enough that her body began seizing up. We spent two or so hour in the ER waiting for Lacy to wake up and her fever subside. Our day had gone from happy to terrified, to thankful…and it wasn’t over yet.
As we were getting discharged I called my uncle to update him on Lacy and say we were heading home. He in turn, told me that Grandma Cherol had fallen in the bathroom when she and my Grandpa got home, and the paramedics were there trying to resuscitate her.
10 minutes later, I got the call that my Grandma had passed away.
That Saturday was definitely one for the books. I’ll never forget it. I remember just being in shock. The day was filled with so many emotions that I couldn’t quite organize them all enough to even respond. In fact, I didn’t even cry until I saw my Grandma laying in her casket, looking better than she had in years, at the family service days later. I wasn’t sleeping because I was terrified of Lacy’s fever spiking and another seizure happening, I was worried about school because I could NOT just sit down and focus, and I was missing days of work that made me anxious about money and upcoming bills. I was a wreck!
Fast forward three weeks and we’re approaching the end of the semester. Lacy is doing better and we have some appointments to see some special doctors in hopes they can clear up her sinuses, cough, and constant ear infections she seems to be plagued with. I’d say there was a good two weeks where school was the farthest thing from my mind and my professors graciously allowed me to do my homework and submit it at my own pace-just as long as I was done before the end of semester, without penalty or late grades.
In an effort to ease the situation with Lacy, I decided that Lacy’s mom would have to be a part of this process-if she wanted to be. Her and I have talked about Lacy’s future, what we’re doing, and how we want to proceed. Her mom asked if Lacy could continue living with me and she would come around more and help out in anyway she could in the process. It makes sense to do it that way. My house is completely kid-proof and set up comfortably for Lacy. Her mom has been so focused on working and getting back on track that her house isn’t quite ready for a permanent 4-year old to be there a lot. So, together we decided it’s best to not uproot Lacy once again and she would stay living with me full-time. But, in realizing I needed some support and help in raising Lacy, I soon realized that Lacy’s presence in my life gave me a purpose I never had before. Why can’t her mom feel the same way and have that purpose drive her as well?
Here lies the tale of how I became a co-parent with my cousin.
Typical North Dakota shit, right?
This was a hard decision. To let go of the reigns and allow this situation to happen…let alone happen in my household. But in the end I realized I was focusing on the wrong things. Our plan was simple: the days I worked, her mom would come to my house and do the whole parent thing. She’d be in charge of dinner, baths, playtime, pick-up time, and bedtime-you know, raising a kid stuff. This required me to leave an ex-drug addict in my house alone with a human i’ve grown to love and care for as if she’s my own. It required me to give her a key to my house occasionally. This situation left me pretty open to get taken advantage of.
I soon changed my attitude and realized I needed to just let go and let God. Have faith in her sobriety and trust that she wants to do better just as much as I want it for her. She has come so far-farther than anyone expected her to! Trust. I had to trust her and hope she learns something in our time together doing this co-parent, balancing act, and can one day be the mom she was supposed to be all along.
Things are going great. I don’t think i’ve ever been more happy with the situation-especially because Lacy’s mom is involved more and really trying to do what’s right. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
I think together this situation can work. I never thought my life would be like this. I never imagined back in November when two dirty, smelly, confused, people walked off a train, that we’d be at this point today. Unreal.
The future is bright for all of us. I can’t wait to see what enfolds.