I'm not one to complain or share personal things with people unless we are very close. I do share a lot about motherhood and my struggles as a parent, because I think the best medicine for a mama having a hard day is to know that others have been there; and when I share on my blog, it goes both ways -- while I try to encourage moms and spread the message of, "You are a good mother," I need to be told this as well. So many days I think, I am totally not feeling this mom thing today, and I constantly question whether my best is good enough. Other moms have kindly told me that my posts encourage them, but I am encouraged daily by y'all, as well.
All that to say.... I'm about to share some personal stuff! I try to be positive and I'm not drowning in self-pity, but every once in a while a moment is harder than the next until I choose to move on and continue to ride along on the wave life has chosen for me. On a particularly hard day last week, after months of keeping a pretty level head, I had to lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes to have a good cry. I know life could be harder, but it has been a little hard lately, and I'm feeling the stress.
Since mid-January John has had horrible, debilitating back pain. He wakes up in pain, he works hours every day in pain, he sleeps in pain. He is unable to do much at home, and anyway, I don't want him to do much. At the end of the day, all he can do is sit on a hard surface or lie down on the floor (the mattress or couch hurts his back) and play with or snuggle the kids. I feel very much alone in many of my parenting endeavors, but I know it's so much harder for him than it is for me. He's been to physical therapy, numerous visits to doctors and chiropractors, and it looks like he is going to have to have surgery. Throughout all this, he has been working long hours (sometimes up to 12 or 14 hours a day) to provide for us, and he is ever patient and never complains. He is such a good husband and daddy. I am thankful for him and the positive attitude he has kept, and it hurts me to see him in so much pain. Not knowing what is in his future is scary, and I wish that someone had an answer and solution for us. I'm not sure what we are going to do, and I feel like he has been through enough the last four months and I just want his pain to go away.
In the midst of this, we had a most interesting Easter Sunday. I've never mentioned it here before, but friends on Facebook may have heard occasionally of the loud neighbors who live above us. We've never met them personally but have heard them screaming and pounding through their home numerous times. I had called the non-emergency number on them before for "domestic disturbances" that woke us up at two in the morning, and recently found out that three other tenants in our building have over the past few months, as well.
Easter morning at about 3am, I was just finishing up the kids' Easter baskets, when I heard screaming and cussing on their balcony, the door slamming, and the woman screaming, "Don't touch me! Just get away from me!" I knew from hearing past arguments that he had pushed her and broken her arm before, so immediately I dialed 911. (Some people, I'm sure, are wondering why I would get involved, and the reason is because they have two young children who are the same ages as my own children. There is obviously abuse happening in their home and I feared the for the safely of the children, and couldn't turn a deaf ear.) The cops showed up and it quieted down. My roommate and I were still up, talking as I was cleaning up. I opened the back door to dump some recyclables in a tub, and it made a loud noise. I guess our neighbor was outside and heard us and correctly assumed that since we were awake, it must have been us who reported the fight.
I heard him yell from his balcony, "If you got something to say, you f*****g say it to my face!" I froze and my roommate said, "I think he was screaming at you." Then, from that time until about 5 in the morning, he repeatedly screamed at us from his balcony and stomped as hard as he could on his floor (our ceiling). He even came downstairs and started pounding on our door, spurting profanities, slammed our yellow wrought-iron chair we had outside at our door, and threw eggs on the door and paneling. In his intoxicated passion, he was somehow able to lift a small 100 pound boulder (that later took two men to lift out of the way) and threw it down the steps leading to our door. This terrified me, because had chosen to throw the boulder at River's bedroom window where he was sleeping, it could have killed or seriously injured him. Two more calls to the cops and things finally quieted down. We got two hours of sleep until 7am, when he woke up and continued to harass us, waking up my kids (again), and finally going outside and making a death-threat to us as I was trying to take a video of the kids finding eggs. At this point we were trying to be extremely quiet and felt like were walking on egg shells, and just wanted to hurry up and safely leave the apartment.
Finally, after four calls to 911, he was arrested (his wife was arrested for domestic abuse after three calls), they were reported to CPS, and his sister took their two kids. The police told us they were both heavily intoxicated. WHY they left those babies with him after that first call to 911, I have no idea. They were both let out by the next morning. Not only were we all shaken and honestly fearing for our lives, my children were scared and that made me mad. I stayed up until the wee hours of the night planning a nice Easter morning for my babies, and instead, their sleep was interrupted, they were frightened by the pounding and screaming, and woken up early after very little sleep. The entire time, we kept our cool in front of them, but the stress wore on all of us.
The complex was notified about the situation and the family was evicted and given twelve, instead of the legal seven, days to leave. They also gave us the go-ahead to break our lease, which we decided to do, since we did not feel safe there even if they no longer live there -- they still know where we live. We have stayed at my parents' since Easter night, and have been trying to find an apartment that we can afford without our roommate (since she is leaving for Texas in a few months anyway, she is now going to rent her own apartment) Since they weren't out of the apartment until the 13th, we have only had the last three days to pack, move, and clean in a rush. The moving has really put a strain on John's back and our finances, but I am SO lucky to have a little brother who found five strapping young men (friends from school) to help us move all of our heaviest stuff into storage last night!
Until we find a new place (which will be considerably smaller than the apartment we were in), we are living out of a suitcase and sleeping on sofas at my parents'. That is stressful for everyone, because four adults, three teens, and two toddlers all under the same roof is interesting and noisy to say the least!
*big sigh* Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. I know it could be worse, and I know so many people have it worse than we do. I really get that. But it's nice to have an outlet. The entire situation is not fun and I am really looking forward to it all being OVER. I am ready to live in my own home, ready to stop wearing the same four outfits, and ready for our lives to go back to normal -- including the completion of the magical healing process of John's back... please?