Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Replacements

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It is said that Allah does not take anything from a person except to replace it with better.  I can say, with every fiber of my being, that my present life shows this reality.  This week has made manifest a qadr I’ve hoped for, and I am humbled that Allah saw fit to bring it to fruition in my life.

 

On Monday we closed on the house.  Yes, it was anticipated, but there is something about actually walking away with the physical confirmation of what one has worked hard for. Imagine what Paradise will be, when such exhilaration comes in this life! I have to admit, one of the more challenging things about having the house is the deep longing in my heart to share it with my soon to be ex-husband. I can’t erase the fact that the main reason I toiled for this very thing was for his sake, and now it is being with-held from him. Allah knows best.  I have been struggling with a sentimental sadness and longing to “fix it” by taking him back into my life, but unfortunately the character he’s been showing these last few days indicate he still is not going in the direction I need my husband to go in…or the direction I’m trying to go in myself.  Fortunately, today I am feeling less emptiness about this and more focused on the purposes Allah has to help me further develop my sincerity and taqwa.

 

I have been thinking about all of the places I’ve lived since I moved out from my grandparent’s home; and surely this is the best place so far. I love the house, the floorplan, the windows, the feel.  I can only hope in shaa Allah that a good man may share it with me someday…whether he is a transformed version of B, or someone I’ve not yet met, or even perhaps a friend who becomes more than a friend.  Allah knows best what I need, even if it means having the rest of my life to contemplate my duties to Him. He is to be praised because He shorts me nothing. Ever.

 

My little one is doing well. He completed his day treatment and will be returning to school tomorrow. He also is excited about the new changes with the house and all, so I hope it can boost him to where he is not overwhelmed with the pain of what is being lost.  I will do my best to continue to help him in shaa Allah.

 

I have a new car as well, masha’Allah.  I went on Friday and bought my 2013 Dodge Challenger.  It is like my own little piece of California for as long as I stay here in Georgia.  I intend to take the best care of it so it in shaa Allah will last me for decades to come. I have never financed a car before, and up until now I have been adamantly against such things and would rather save a few grand and buy something older and used. However, I know that I’ve made a lot of sacrifices for others. There have not been a lot of “things” I’ve wanted in life, but that Challenger always had my eye. I wanted to do something nice for myself so that I could experience the reality that I am just as valuable as anyone else. I wanted to buy a car and never have to worry about buying one again for the rest of my life, because it will remain in shaa Allah in good condition and it is what I have truly wanted. Every time I drive it I try to make a point to be thankful to Allah for giving me the opportunity to make such a dream come true and helping me to do so, and remind myself of the value I have no matter what others think or what I’ve experienced to prove otherwise.

 

And masha’Allah, excess money with each check. Even with the new car and house,  I will be having more surplus from my pay than I’ve ever had before. What a queer feeling to know that I  could buy drapes, plane tickets, clothes, or any other ‘stuff’ whenever I want. It doesn’t even seem real, but the truth is I am not really interested in doing any of that. Sure I will probably buy a few curtains for the house simply because there are more windows than curtains I currently own; and a few other decorative things, but after that I would probably just give in charity, save, and pay down any debt I have.  The only point (in my view) in having nice things is to remember Allah by them.  Surely I remember many times I got something nice or pretty and just was so grateful to Allah for beautiful things to enjoy as long as He allows, always reminded that nothing comes except by His leave.

 

I guess for me it’s easy to see that even though all these things are very nice and enjoyable, they are just transient. Anything can be lost at any time, and I certainly know what being on that side of the fence is like. I remember a time when I was starving and pregnant with my youngest son. We had no money and were literally living off the cans of salmon given to us by a local food pantry.  All I wanted was a tomato to add to it, and I remember how frantically we tried looking for enough change to buy just one.  In those days,  I don’t even know how the bills got paid since I wasn’t working and not getting child support, and it seemed my husband couldn’t keep a job.  Masha’Allah, Allah brought me through that and so many other trials. He brought me here, and He can take me anywhere He likes. My only goal in life is to become who He meant me to be regardless of where He takes me, either good or bad, in this life.

 

I can’t help but feel, though, that seeing what He is giving me now…anything else I’m losing or giving up will have a better replacement as well in shaa Allah. I think the hardest thing has been the ending of my marriage, but I really do trust Allah will either satisfy me with being alone in this life, or He will bring me a suitable partner who is better than the one I am losing. It’s as He likes, and I’m merely grateful for anything He chooses.

 

I am going to spend the next few weeks transitioning everything from this apartment to the house in shaa Allah. In addition to that, my plan is to eat healthier and try to become a little more active so I can begin in shaa Allah to lose some weight. I am hoping that when I take my vacation after MLK day I will be in a healthier condition, and also have some habits I can continue until I am a little trimmer and eating as I should for my diabetes.

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I can, and I will

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I was thinking, as I was driving home the other day, that if one were to deduce my motto for life based on what I actually do in living it they might believe it is “rise to the occassion”.  I don’t sit around thinking of all the ways I want to grit through life, or all the lofty goals I hope to achieve. But, when trouble comes, I play defense passionately. Sometimes I laugh to myself because, being as un-inclined to athletics as I am, I probably would’ve been most suited to tennis because of the way I like to lob back every difficulty that tries to assault me.

 

My youngest son is thankfully home for the hospital. He ended up staying in the acute setting for a full week, and they discharged him down to the day program which he began yesterday.  He seems to do be doing better than he was when I had to take him in, but I am getting lots of opportunities to work on my patience as I again train him on what are the appropriate ways to speak to me or manage his own frustrations. In a couple of weeks I hope he will be ready to go back to school and finish out the semester unremarkably. In  the mean time, I am trying to give him a lot of focused attention and structure.

 

This upcoming week is going to be a very eventful one for me.  Monday morning we are scheduled to close on the house,  and as soon as that detail is out of the way I plan on working toward getting a new car. I had mentioned before how I planned to get a Challenger anyway, but now it is needed because the wheel shaft on my Hyundai cracked off from the chassy and the car had to be salvaged.  I am currently driving a rental, and I want to be able to return that sooner than later. I am glad that I will be off the last two days of this week to start working on my transition and fixing up the new house, and of course spending some meaningful times with the kids.

 

I also just completed the first third of my iddah.  It certainly has been a roller-coaster so far, but all the niggling doubts that I was having that led up to the divorce are quiet. That’s my marker to know that I made the right choice, no matter how often I long for old times. I decided to plan a trip out of town once my iddah is complete so I can refocus back on my own goals and values and start my new life with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose, insha’Allah. I have already purchased my plane tickets and requested a full week off from work. I am taking this trip alone, and I plan on trying to use it to really reflect on the things that matter most to me and what things I want to start investing my energy and creativity into.  I think this is the first vacation I’ve ever taken where I didn’t make a point of visiting people; for once I just want to get in touch with myself.

 

All in all, I do have a lot to look forward to. I have dreams to nurture and responsibilities keep me occupied and challenged. I was thinking yesterday of what my future might be like….if I will be spending more nights alone weeping what I’ve lost or thankful for what I’ve gained…and I realized there will be both. There will be nights I will miss the best parts of the “us” I had with B.  There will be days I will be glad that a particularly stressful situation with the kids wasn’t met with an explosion by him, too.  There will be plenty of times I will despair over the fact of never having another baby and living with the incompleteness my daughter’s departure left in me, but there will also be circumstances that will show me how much more difficult things would have been if I did have a young one to factor in.

 

Granted, things are not ideal. If I could create an ideal situation it would first have me living in California and not here lol.  I would have a healthy marriage and emotionally healthy kids. I would be a more balanced person myself, and I would have positive and uplifting relationships with others. I would perhaps even be free not to have to work. When I think of a scenario where all this fits in, it seems impossible to achieve in the near future…but one can never guess the sudden change of terrain that Allah might put before us.  I certainly never anticipated that I would be getting divorced after everything I went through with my husband, but here I am. I never thought I would be buying my first home alone, and getting a new car that I actually like, but it’s happening.  There is no telling what else can happen, and I truly am excited to see what each day brings to make the tapestry of my life that much more beautiful.

 

 

 

A Tornado Unleashed

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It’s hard to believe it’s only been about 2 weeks since the course of my future changed (at least in my awareness).  It seems like it’s been so much longer, but perhaps that’s because so many things have been going on that it gives the feeling of time stretching out.

I have been working on trying to identify and set up my own boundaries in life. I have recognized my tendency for being codependent and I plan on start going to CoDA meetings (codependents anonymous) because I can’t figure out on my own how to not be that way. It’s been such a lifelong orientation, I really don’t know any other way. But I don’t want to be this way anymore. I want to be my own person. I also plan on starting back with a counselor who can help me work on not “spinning my own reality”.  Someone probably with a strong background in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).  I will do this at the beginning of the year when our new benefits kick in, which will happen to allow mental health visits/counseling with no copays! Plus I will have my annual EAP visits to use then as well.

 

I have been taking the time to turn to Allah whenever things get overwhelming. So, I have been turning to Allah pretty much on the hour, every day.  Before, I would turn to myself or creation for solutions to my problems, and I want to get away from that maladaptive pattern too. So I have been doing a lot of work on myself, but I still have a lot more to go.

 

All of these details, plus still getting ready for the closing on 11/19, and some recent events with my youngest son, have been keeping me very busy. I have a great girlfriend I talk to almost daily, and she’s a wonderful support.  With all of this the “pain of being alone” is softened.  Though this is a lot of work and sacrifice, and yes I lose too much precious sleep, I can safely say this is certainly not the worst thing I’ve been through in life.

 

There are a lot of times I want to reunite with my husband. I want to go back to all the familiar comforts and dive back into the dreams we built, to keep chasing them. One thing I tell myself every time I notice I get carried away with those ideas is that to do so would be going back to living a lie, and the lie is namely that the behaviors he demonstrated in the marriage (and that I ignorantly overlooked too many times) were acceptable. They were never acceptable, I should’ve never tolerated it past the first time.  So going back to that would be sending the message to myself, to him, to our children, and to society that abuse is OK if you can justify it or find a way of living with it.  That’s just simply not true, so no matter what I might feel or want I commit myself to that truth and the response it merits.

 

One of the more difficult challenges I’ve been facing has to do with my baby, Jabiyr (gosh, how hard it is to work my mind around the fact that he will likely be the last child I birthed).  Jabiyr, who can be the sweetest, most interesting and engaging boy, has always had a temper problem.  I’ve often felt he genetically inherited that makeup from his father, because even as a baby he seemed angry. Where other babies (even my older children) would cry with needs, sadness, and plaintively, he growled. He was mad!  He never seemed satisfied with any of my attempts to soothe him and he would just roar his frustrations out until he was exhausted.

 

As he got older, he was aggressive as a toddler. Some of that is to be expected at that age, so it was hard to distinguish which things were “personality” and which were developmental, because it wasn’t extremely severe. But when he started pre-K at age 4, his aggression took a specific form. He was suspended several times for hitting other kids and responding to stressful situations with violence. Other reprimands were given for him not listening or following directions, or hiding under his desk.  In the end, he was actually expelled a week before the school year was over because these behaviors had just gotten to be too much.

 

I was hoping that perhaps these extremes were because he wasn’t used to school, and happened to be one of the youngest kids in class. I hoped it was just immaturity, and that with time and adjustment to the routine he would outgrow it.  He always had a hard time adjusting to change, and has very particular preferences about how things should go.  Yet, these trends continued into kindergarten and first grade.  I don’t think there’s been a year he hasn’t been suspended at least a couple times for aggression or defiance.  However, it did seem like the incidents were decreasing in very small amounts, as last year he didn’t really have many episodes of trying to hurt others. It was mostly just the “not listening” stuff.

 

This year he had some very patient and understanding teachers. He started off doing great, with a structured reward plan for every day he did well (10 days got him a prize, and 100 days is a big prize. So far he has had 44 good days).  I really thought this would be the year we see a big difference with him, as his reading and writing skills began to blossom rapidly as well.

 

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse when he came to understand what was happening with me and his father.  I expected this, naturally. I knew this would be a painful adjustment for him, even though the parting is amicable and we are both working toward supporting the little boy as best we can.  The small things that would “set him off” became even smaller, and the reactions even larger.  In the past 2 weeks, I have been called to come get him from school 3 times for essentially disrupting the classroom with a tantrum and refusing to stop.  He would throw chairs, scissors, pencils etc, and not stop when requested.

 

Even at home with me, I’ve lost a lot of leverage I used to have with him.  When I used to be able to sit with him and soothe him, or give him a consequence that would deter him, now those things don’t work. He is almost impossible to redirect, and he just doesn’t seem to care what the result might be.  It makes me very sad.

 

So, a few days ago the school called again for him to be picked up. His classroom had to be evacuated because of the havoc he was causing. Students and teachers feared for their safety, and he was suspended.  I also had begun fearing for his safety, because not only has he punched himself in the face when he gets upset but now he is so impulsive when he is in that kind of state I’m not sure what might enter his head to do to himself.

 

I took him to his afters school provider on the day of his suspension. Within an hour of being dropped off, I got a call to come get him because he was tearing things off the walls, cussing, and hitting the other kids.  I was heartbroken, and I have run out of ideas on how to manage these outbursts.  The school is at their wits’ end too, and I obviously can’t take off work several times a week to get him each time.  I had not looked at medication as an option because it is not FDA approved in children under the age of 7, and he just turned 7 this past August.  However, at this point it seems that he cannot control his emotions on his own, and I don’t know what else to do.

 

So I took him to the closest behavioral hospital for an evaluation that day.  After the assessment, they recommended an admission so they could observe these behaviors themselves and formulate a treatment plan. I’ve also met with the school administration to come up with some clear objectives while he is there. Today we will have a family session with the hospital staff, and I hope we will have some strategies going forward to help Jabiyr work out his feelings in a healthier way.

 

Taking him there was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I have always been the one on the the other side (at my job), taking the admission clinicals for children so young. I never thought I would have to  take my own, but between my professional expertise and maternal instincts I’m flat out of answers.  I cried all the way home that night after leaving him.

 

The doctor I spoke with yesterday said that since he’s been there (a little over 24 hrs) he has been compliant, agreeable, and not at all aggressive or obstinate.  I was very surprised at this. I am not sure if he is trying to be on his best behavior so he can come home, or if he just hasn’t been “triggered” yet.  Either way, it makes me wonder if he can in fact control this behavior, but just chooses not to. If that’s the case, I wonder what could entice him to make the right choices when needed?

 

I have to admit, seeing all this play out brings a temptation of reuniting with his father. I think, “see, if you hadn’t pursued a divorce, your son would be still doing ok and not acting in the worst of ways.  If you get back with him, he will stop these behaviors”.  But then on the flipside I think of all the things he’s witnessed from his dad in his short life that maybe modeled these behaviors to him to begin with.  Ya Allah, please help my son and bring him peace of mind, heart, and body.

 

I will forge ahead, and I will continue to try to make the right choices as best I can assess. I will not give up just because it gets hard, and insha’Allah time will straighten all that seems crooked right now.