I started this blog for my son, he is in prison and will be there for 9 years.
I prayed and prayed "God, how can I help my son?"
The answer always the same - "You can write."
These are my letters to my son.
I have just turned 50, you have just turned 31! Amazing....
I enjoyed are visit so much..
You look so wonderful and I am so proud of you and the choices you are making
When my friends ask me, "how is it visiting your son in Prison?" My answer is always the same.... I can remember one year when I did not hear from you at all
Another year you were living under a bridge in LA Another year you phoned me from some place back East, you were freezing, had no money, no shoes, and no coat! It was Christmas Eve and I was sobbing on the phone with the train and bus people begging for a ticket for you. We got one and you came back I have picked you up from, written to and taken collect calls from a number of California facilities Twin Towers Colinga Wayside Orange County Theo Lacy And more I can't remember or didn't know about So, my visits with you, for me, are a JOY! You are healthy, not on drugs, sleeping, eating, have clear eyes, can speak of the future without nodding off and you have shoes! Blessings I say...Further more, you made me a Grandma before you were sent to Prison, another blessing, as I am in love with Kennedy...
Dear Son, This passage has served me well, I keep it at home, at the office, and in my wallet - I will send you the complete chapter from the Big Big AA...Finally I "got it" The only person I can change is ME!
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.
For me, serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not. When I admitted that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me. I learned that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgement, or assistance!
The key to my serenity is acceptance. But "acceptance" does not mean that I have to like it, condone it, or even ignore it. What it does mean is I am powerless to do anything about it... and I have to accept that fact.
Nor does it mean that I have to accept "unacceptable behavior " Today I have choices. I no longer have to accept abuse in any form. I can choose to walk away, even if it means stepping out into the unknown. I no longer have to fear "change" or the unknown. I can merely accept it as part of the journey.
I spent years trying to change things in my life over which I was powerless, but did not know it. I threatened, scolded, manipulated, coerced, pleaded, begged, pouted, bribed and generally tried everything I could to make the situation better -- only watch as things always got progressively worse.
I spent so much time trying to change the things I could not change, it never once occurred to me to simply accept them as they were.
Now when things in my life are not going the way I planned them, or downright bad things happen, I can remind myself that whatever is going on is not happening by accident. There's a reason for it and it is not always meant for me to know what that reason is.
That change in attitude has been the key to happiness for me. I know I am not the only who has found that serenity.
For so long my self talk was like this You are so fat You are such a loser Why can't I look like her Why can't I be like her I am worthless I will never be good at anything I will never be happy And on and on..... Today my self talk is like this I am beautiful just as I am I am enough I am OK God loves me I can do it I will do it I am loved
What a miracle is was to learn SELF TALK
I pray for your self talk to lighten you, free you, bring a smile to your face and happiness to your soul...
You know how living on the Ranch, we had NO City Trash pick up? Well that was a huge problem for me. Rusty and I would fight about it all of the time. Get rid of that trash! Once every two months or so, if we were lucky, Rusty would put that crazy wood box, and it would be completely over full spilling out everywhere, the dogs usually found some too by now! I would get so mad over that trash...
In one of my counselling sessions I was ranting and raving about this trash and how Rusty was making me miserable with all of this trash! Nancy, my councilor, just listened and nodded, when I finished my rant she asked me, "how come you don't take care of the trash?" I sat in stunned silence, it had never occurred to me to just handle it. That night when Rusty came home, I told him I was going to order trash service if the trash could not be taken every three weeks. He was mad! Rusty did not like to spend money on such frivolous things when he could do it himself, I did not respond to him, did not argue about it, and would you believe, the very next day that trash was gone? The trash was faithfully taken away from then on until Rusty got so sick and I ordered trash service....
We always have choices, and we do not have to settle....
I had a wonderful visit with you! When I think back to the times when I did not know where you were, or how you were living, I thank God that you are still alive, even though prison is not a place where a parent wants to see their kids - you are alive, you look good, we laugh, hug and talk!
While at the cabin we watched a movie called Courages, it was a wonderful movie about being a Father. I have saved the movie for you and it now goes on my list of books/movies that are life changers.
There is so much responsibility to being a parent and fathers carry a huge load... I found this wonderful article which I will share with you, it was called The Responsible Fatherhood Curriculum and has great articles with tons of information.
I am so excited! Only two more weeks until our visit with you....So much to be grateful for! We continue to stay afloat in the business, We are working WAY too hard with not much "down" time, so this visit is much anticipated!!! Thank you so much for the Mothers Day Card - very beautiful .
I was thinking this morning how hard it must be for you to stay happy and motivated in there, it is so depressing even the color GREY... I love sending you color...For many years I struggled with "finding happiness" One of my secrets is to always have something to look forward to...It may seem silly but it works..For instance, during the week, especially when things get really hectic and stressful I look forward to having a Mint Mentos, they come in many flavors but mint is my favorite, it is really strong so the first taste takes me immediately away from the stress of the day and it will last until I get home! I also have, my morning meditation, yoga during the week, coffee and a good book on Sunday morning, pulling weeds! (I know most people do not like pulling weeds, I love it.) For the long months I have the Cabin and visiting you , and I usually spend a weekend every two months with Tami and Dianna, girl time. I have learned to take care of me, no one else will take as good care of me, as me. So in this I was thinking of ways to help you look forward ...
I love sending you this blog with color, light, truth, heart and soul, I love sending you pictures of Kennedy dressed in bright colors. I love being able to order the foods and snacks you like, or the extra bit of money now and then to make it more comfortable for you. There is so much to be grateful for and the future is bright!
Jen sent me this photo, he driving around with box on his head....
Wow! The last three weeks have been Crazy, we have finally finished moving Mom from Oak Glen to Redlands, it was a hard move to make, very emotional for her - Thank God the leasing market is doing so well we were able to find a wonderful couple with two kids to lease to. I know she will be much happier in Redlands even though so beautiful there - so much upkeep. The economy continues to kick our butts although we are fighting back and working harder than ever before to survive it.
Kennedy came last Monday for a quick visit, I added more videos to YouTube! He is so funny! He is talking up a storm, learning to unlock doors, and the go go go....
My favorite part of the day - Kennedy is standing at the front door - opening and closing, he looks up and says very loud "Thats My Grandma!" pointing to me My heart is full - I love that boy...
We are planning our visit to you - in April - looking forward to the visit
I was finally able to drive to Las Vegas and visit Kennedy! What a whirlwind of a trip! I wanted to leave on Friday but ended up leaving Saturday getting to Vegas about 3:00 then leaving on Sunday about 3:00 - 24 hours of Kennedy is better than no hours!
I had so much fun, he cracks me up, he was all into a show he had seen at the aquarium with pirates and mermaids, so I made up a song with him, remember "a pirates life for me" and he and I would get our arms going back and forth and sing - he loves to sing! Then we went to Walmart, of course, and found a monkey scene set for the bathroom he uses. Found some toys too! Then to McDonald's for ice cream cones.
I gave Kennedy a bath in his "new" bathroom and Will found a pirate book at Walmart for before bed reading and we all sat on the floor in his bedroom and read the book.
I love that I can concentrate on just Kennedy - turn the world off and be a Grandma - Roll on the floor, sing funny songs, kiss and hug all over him...Nothing beats that kids smile and big brown eyes!
He is so smart! Jennifer sent me a text with a little story of Kennedy - she fed him lunch and went to do something upstairs, when she came back his plate was gone, and she asked "did you finish your lunch"? and he said "yes" Latter that day when she was cleaning the kitchen she found his lunch at the bottom of the trash can! Not only smart enough to put in trash but to bring plate to the sink!!!
Dear Son, I can't believe it is March 1st already! For me time is flying by and I know for you time creeps like a snail...We are visiting Kennedy next weekend and I can hardly wait! The art above is Kennedy's first art work - I am going to frame it!
I love when I first see Kennedy - he will run, and I mean run with arms wide - Grandma! then he immediately starts looking around me for Will, aka Grandpa! After hugging and kissing he will start looking for my purse or "goody bag" which he knows I will have full if treats and toys just for him! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me a Grandma, I love it! I see you in him every time and it is sometimes so sad - to remember where we were at his age - although I do not dwell there, mostly I try to be present and accounted for and to let my child spirit free to play and love.
I will send a full report when I come back! My visit with you is getting closer too! Yippie
Today I was driving with Reef in the car, doing some errands for the company and it was such a great feeling, he is doing so good and becoming a wonderful man....I was so proud and happy I just let the feeling wash over me, and then tonight in Yogo, I was thinking of you and how I had that same feeling with you - remember when we were shopping with Grandma by the beach? We had picked you up from a sober living home - you were sober, I was sober, I remember being so proud of you and so happy that you were laughing and smiling as we lugged purchases around and made fun of Grandma...That was one of the hardest years for me before you went to jail, you were on the streets doing heroin, calling me from crazy places, freezing cold with chattering teeth at a bus stop or not calling me at all! I was so scared that you were going to die out there. I was always secretly happy when you would go to jail because then I knew you were being fed, not on drugs, and sleeping in a bed, not under a bridge...So tonight I played a scene in my mind, with you and me in the car and Kennedy in the back seat. God, I could feel your happiness and we were on the way to the cabin! Sometimes I feel like life is made of movie clips, you know, like the different stages of our lives. To me, this is just a clip in your life, your prison clip, and I am so excited to see the whole movie!!!
Lance, my heart is breaking, they are taking Kennedy and moving to Las Vegas, the selfish part of me wants to rant and rave and say NO! Don't Go!.....The rational part of me sees that - this is their journey not mine! I see the housing opportunities, the good job, and that Jennifer will be able to stay at home and go to school! What a Miracle....They look so good, they look so ready, letting Go is so hard - but a must in this life...
So now - I must change and open to a new direction a new adventure - a new schedule to visit my Grandson in Las Vegas, and now I am seeing the excitement, the summer visits with Grandma to the Cabin, on the Ranch...This is doable - this is ok - I see my heart now, not breaking, expanding and opening!
Lance, I love you, I love the gift you have given me in Kennedy
I Spent last two weekends with Kennedy and boy oh boy did I have to reach down and remember those parenting classes. Kennedy is now in the 2 1/2 stage - Wow! This adorable little boy has turned into a monster! He used to go right to sleep - not anymore he wants to play and stay up. He throws himself on the ground with temper tantrums that are truly a masterpiece...his screams scare the birds out of trees.
I was reading an article about 2 year olds
Characteristics of Two (and a half) Year Old Behavior
2 1/2 year olds are rigid and inflexible. They want exactly what they want, when they want it. They cannot adapt, give in, wait a little while. Everything has to be done just so. Everything has to be right in the place they consider proper. For any domestic routine, they set up a rigid sequence of events which must always follow each other always in exactly the same manner.
They are extremely domineering and demanding. They must give orders. They must make the decisions. If they decide, “mummy do”, daddy cannot be accepted as substitute. If they decide, “Me do it myself”, then no one is allowed to help them, no matter how awkward or incapable they themselves may be.
2 1/2 is an age of violent emotions. There is little modulation to the emotional life of children this age.
It is an age of opposite extremes. With no ability to choose between alternatives (it is almost impossible for 2 1/2′s to make a clear cut choice and stick to it). Children of this age shuttle back and forth endlessly between two extremes, seeming to be trying to include both in their decision. “I will – I won’t”, “I want – I don’t want it”, “Go out – stay in”. If someone doesn’t cut into this back and forth shuttling, it has been known to go on for upwards of an hour or more. The decision of what clothes to wear may ursurp a whole morning for a conflict-ridden 2 1/1 year old.
Another characteristic of this is age is preservation – that is, the children want to go on and on with whatever they are doing. Not only right at the moment but from day to day. If you read four stories before bedtime yesterday, they want four stories – and the same ones, too – today. It is very difficult with many children this age to introduce new clothes, new pieces of furniture, new things to eat. They want things to go on just the way they have always been or at least hold on to the old as new things are added.
Managing a two and a half year olds behavior
Working around the behaviour characteristics of two and a half is often much more successful than trying to meet them head on. (For us with Babaganouski, I know that he will always want me to read his lunch time story before his nap. He often doesn’t want to stop playing though to go to bed. On weekends, I give him the choice of coming to have the story with me now, or in 10 minutes and dad will read the story. He always stops playing and comes with me!)
Streamline all routines, limit choices and avoid situations where the child takes over.
Great patience, a real understanding of the difficulties of the age, and a willingness to use endless techniques to get around rigidities and rituals and stubbornness will help get through through the time till the difficult 2 1/2 year old turns 3.
What I learned a long time ago in parenting classes to ignore bad behavior and praise good behavior!! Hands down - some of the best advice ever! Works with any age, even co workers!....We are learning to tame the beast!