You guys, August was just one of those rough months you kinda want to forget ever happened. I should add that there were a few exceptions– we visited our friends in Southern CA that were here from TX, we got a visit from the Shelbys, and we went to Big Sur. Oh, and our AMAZING 7 Year Anniversary trip. So those were definite highlights that I don’t want to take for granted.
But there were a couple big sucky things. I’ve wanted to write about them, but then another thing would happen and I wanted to wait and see how it played out first. And it always got a bit worse, so I’m glad I waited to write about it in one neat post, rather than let bad stuff string along into a saga.
First of all: I lost my teaching job at NCCS. At first, it was just “your 3 classes got dropped down to 2 and no one told you, sorry you had to find out like this”. Then it was “We’re not sure if we’re going to have the enrollment to keep the AP classes separate from the normal ones”. And then it was, officially, “We definitely do not have the enrollment to pay you. Wanna teach for free?”
Finding all this out, mid-August? Totally craptacular. Luckily, we have a savings account for the first time in our 7 years of marriage, so we weren’t panicking….but we were saying, “Holy Crap, that’s a third of our income, gone like that! With only 7 days notice!”
Luckily, Jesse’s job is secure (he’s now the only English teacher in the HS). And I still have 9 piano students. If I had known I wouldn’t be teaching, I would’ve had all summer to build up my clientele, but with only 2 weeks before school starting, I wasn’t sure I could pull in enough students to pay the bills.
Whaddya know, God is really really good. In just 2 weeks, I’ve pulled together 2 extracurricular Latin I courses, one with NCCS after school and one at a homeschool group. I also got a flood of emails from interested piano students, and I start teaching 7 new ones next week!
So, the long and short of it is: As of right now, we can pay our bills, AND put a tiny amount into savings every month. Granted, we won’t be flying around the US to vacation or see anyone for the time being, but we will be far from starving. God is SO good, I cannot say that enough. On the plus side of this arrangement, I only have to work from 3-6pm, 4 days a week! That’s actually less than I was working before. And it won’t put strain on Jesse’s prep time because my awesome mother and mother in law are stepping in to help babysit all 4 days so Jesse can stay at school and get stuff done!
Second of all: Right on the heels of this, I found out that the reason for all my headaches and tummy aches is gluten. I’ve been trying to eliminate various foods all summer to figure out why I’ve been feeling so crappy, and I saved gluten for last because I really REALLY didn’t want it to be that. I love pasta! Bread! Donuts! Unfortunately, (or, fortunately, actually), after 4 days off of gluten, I feel better than I have in months. It’s undeniable, at this point.
I really wasn’t ready for another project to take on at this point. I’m starting up 3 different avenues of business right now to pay the bills, and it takes a lot of coordination and behind the scenes work. The boys and Jesse are not about to stop eating gluten any time soon, so I’ll be alone. Also, we are on a vegan fast every Wednesday and Friday (due to Orthodoxy), and being gluten free is really hard when you can’t eat meat or dairy.
So, it’s good news in the sense that I finally feel better. It’s bad news because I really really wanted it to be something other than gluten.
Lastly: After months of going back and forth, being hot then cold, our foster daughter C finally decided that she does not want to do the work that’s required to live with a family. She has chosen to stay at her school up north and eventually transition out of her group home to an in-between foster situation before aging out of the system.
While this is a relief because we no longer have to wonder about when she’ll be coming back, we are very sad, mostly for her. To not have any family is a very sad and scary place to be, so it’s crazy to think that attaching to a family is even SCARIER than that. She has never learned how to go back and fix relationships, and has a 5 month expiration date on every single relationship in her life, save the one she has with her old foster mother of 7 years. Her “survival instinct” makes her blow up every situation and relationship and restart, like a video game. She doesn’t realize that this is not normal– in fact, she does it on a QUEST to be normal, sadly. She has layer upon layer of self-deception going on (borderline multiple-personality disorder), down to the point where she re-tells the narrative of whatever happened at a particular home, just to deceive new families, social workers, police officers, etc. into believing that it was someone else’s fault. Whenever anybody figures out what’s really going on, she blows it up and moves on to someone new that she can manipulate.
And her attachment issues run so deep, that I am very afraid for when she decides to have kids or any sort of romantic relationship, especially since her mom and grandma had the same attachment issues which lead her to where she is today. If the issues cannot be fixed, they just repeat themselves. The odds of a fatherless teen having a baby before 20 are high, and the odds of an orphan are astronomical. It makes me mad to think that a child who was abandoned at birth will just continue abandoning everything else in her life. I’ve talked to many other people who’ve fostered teens who were abandoned, and it’s the same thing. It makes me feel so helpless to change things. You can’t help someone who won’t let you near them.
We are still grieving on a day to day basis. One minute, I’ll think I’m okay, and then the next minute something new will crop up and I’ll realize I haven’t healed yet. That’s how grief works. I want to let myself go through this process of grieving, as painful as it is, because the alternative (shutting off my heart), is an even worse solution. I want this to grow me and make me stronger, not harden me. Part of this growing and grieving is to know that it’s OKAY to remember that we loved and love her, even if she only pretended to love us to get what she wanted. I don’t have to cut her out of my heart and life– what I had for her was very real, even if it didn’t turn out like I wanted.
So, there you have it– my crappy August. Here’s to September being better!