Oh, Poop

Oh, no.  I cannot believe some parents out there! I’m not one to judge people’s parenting styles because after all it shouldn’t affect my children’s lives in any way, right? But when your child has poop and urine on his pants and he’s going around playing with other children and you are just sitting up there smiling like everything is all good and gravy in the navy, baby, that’s when I have to start questioning your intelligence!

The other day I took my kids to the park with a friend of mine and her daughter who happens to be my daughter’s newfound best friend.  There was another mother–or maybe she was a grandmother?–with a child there.  So, boom, the child was running from one end of the playground to the other as if he had endless amounts of energy.  He didn’t even stop for breath, he just kept going all the while his mom or grandmother–I’ll just call her his guardian–was literally on his tail trying to keep up with him.

I’ll have you know that this playground isn’t all that big…it’s literally just a swing set and this climbing thingy inside of a not-so-big-circle filled with…I think it’s called Wood chips?

But anyway, the guardian is over there getting a work out while me and my fellow mommy-friend were sitting there chatting it up talking about how different the south is from the north being she moved to North Carolina from Boston but was born in Brazil and I moved down from New York City.  We’re northerners still getting the feel of the south. Every once in a while the aspiring track star would come over to us, attempt to play catch with my nine month old who wouldn’t participate for obvious reasons (and yes, I did what I could to protect her fact from the big bouncy red ball–that belonged to my daughter’s friend by the way– but this kid was so confused as to why my little girl wasn’t catching the ball) and then he would be off again.

My four-year old and her best friend came and sat down with us not only with their doll babies but with these huge Batman and Superman action figures.  The girls explained to us that the toys belonged to the little boy and I thought nothing of it since neither the boy or his guardian seemed to mind.

He ran over to us again and again and then finally it hit me like a fistful of mud. An icky odor in the air.  I figured the garbage truck was nearby but why would I only smell the funk briefly then have it go away?

On one of the boys returns and departures my deaf nose (“deaf language” for strong sense of smell due to loss of one sense–in my case my hearing) zeroed in on the direction of the funk then my deaf eyes (“deaf language” for heightened sense of vision due to loss of one sense.  Think “you lose one sense your other senses become stronger”)  zeroed in on the ball at the seat of his pants.   As he kept coming and going with his guardian huffing and puffing behind him I noticed the ball at the seat of his pants kept moving south then it stopped just below his buttocks.  But what was it? And did he sit in mud? Granted earlier in the day it had rained but the sun had since came out and pretty much dried everything up so my first assumption was that he sat in mud…somewhere.

As a deaf woman I use my eyes for pretty much everything; they do the job that my ears can’t do plus the job they were meant to do so essentially I see and hear with my eyes. So, between trying to keep my eyes on my daughters, have a grown up conversation, and trying to figure out the mystery at hand, I admit it took me a little while to connect the dots.

At last I guess the guardian had her fill on exercise and came to sit with us and like magic the little boy stopped running around so much, he stayed close by, as did the odor as did the lines that would soon connect all of the dots in my head.

So let’s look at all of the clues, we have a boy, we now see wetness in the front of his pants, we have this sickening odor, “mud” smears on one thigh of his pants and now on his shirt.  The forced polite smile plus stiff body language whenever the boy would come near displayed by my fellow mommy-friend told me something was really wrong with this picture.  I couldn’t put my finger on it and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to if I could.

I disengaged myself from my adult conversation. I looked at the guardian. I looked at my mommy-friend  I looked at the boy. I looked at my oldest daughter.  I looked at my daughter’s friend. I looked at the big red bouncy ball right by my foot. I looked at my youngest daughter.

The guardian was laughing about something she was discussing with my mommy-friend, my mommy-friend was now looking like she was in an internal fight with herself, the boy had more “muddy” splotches all over his shirt and…face? My oldest was putting on her best superhero voice for Batman unaware that her mother was finally putting her Criminal Justice Degree in use to be a detective,her friend played along with her, my youngest seemed to be uneasy about something and that smell just kept getting stronger.

And then I was like…

“Oh, Shit”

Literally.

Now, just last week I binge-watched Containment on Netflix (and absolutely LOVED IT!) so I was a little paranoid about ending up like the people in the show.  I wasn’t trying to go out like that and I wasn’t trying to have my kids go out like that.  Nah, man, I wasn’t having it.  I made eye contact with my mommy-friend and we had a little conversation using only our eyes. What an intense conversation that was.

When the guardian finally got up to leave, the boy put up a fight and went into a screaming match and hit notes that would make a bird jealous.

“Did he really poop on himself?” I asked my mommy-friend

“Yeah, and you know I’m sick and my nose is stopped up but I could still smell it” she replied, bewildered.

We sat there not believing what we had just witnessed.

Broken Pieces

I remember being a young girl, just starting out in the dating world.  I had an idea of my ideal husband and our family, I had an idea of how I wanted the relationship to be.  I envisioned a man who protected and provided and told me what he loved about me.  I envisioned a man who openly expressed his feelings and wasn’t afraid to let me know when something was wrong.  I envisioned happiness sprinkled with an occasional issue because if I was going to be realistic, there is no such a thing as the perfect relationship.

After years of dating and trying to find my mister right, I ultimately found my husband. Our union started on Facebook under a picture of a mutual friend of ours and our first conversation was an argument–a playful one at that.  Two days later he actually added me on Facebook–two whole days later. Ya’ll,  he was thinking about me for a whole 48 hours before he worked up the nerve to add me on Facebook.  We spoke through Text messaging, BlackBerry Messenger, and even though I was nervous we had a brief conversation on the phone.  Before that conversation, however, I stressed to him that I was Deaf to which he seemed genuinely confused.  Not because I was deaf but because I thought it was an issue for him.  In my mind I thought it was pretty much common sense–if I’m deaf, how will we speak on the phone? But in his mind it was pretty much common sense that if I could speak then I didn’t have to listen to anything I could just talk and he would do the listening.  He flat out told me “I don’t give a f***, you can talk right? Okay, cool, I’m calling, now” and before I had a chance to protest his name popped up on my caller ID.

I was nervous and of course let the phone ring a couple of times–half because I was thinking about not picking up at all, and half because I didn’t want to seem to eager and answer on the first ring.  I eventually answered and lord his voice was smooth.  It had been my first telephone conversation in years and I really felt like a fish out of water. My thing was texting, it almost seemed weird that people still spoke over the phone.

We had a little conversation about I don’t remember what, but I do remember it was an on-going conversation because I remember thinking to myself “how is it possible that I understand this guy over the phone? I’m Deaf damn it!” I took it as a sign.  We were meant to be, simply because I could understand him over the phone.

We eventually made arrangements to meet in person and I strangely didn’t feel scared; I didn’t feel like I needed to bring a friend along, ya know, just in case.  It felt right.

On March 5th, 2011 I laid eyes on my husband–in person–for the very first time.

It was like a scene out of the movies.  Or at least it was for me.  As a white limousine taxi drove by in slow motion (I swear it was in slow motion!) I looked at him from across the street, standing there wearing all black trying to look intimidating.  I heard the words “Oh, my God, I just met my husband.” Once the taxi passed and the moment was over I realized that the voice was mine and I truly believed it.  March 5th 2011 at approximately 6pm, I met my husband.

We walked to the check cashing  place, talking like we’d known each other for longer than a few weeks.

He was trying to act tough but it was a little off-putting because he wasn’t making and keeping eye contact with me.  I started to think he didn’t like me and I started feeling so sad.  But you see, I was a 20-year-old and no longer a teenager so I wasn’t going to keep my thoughts to myself so I told him, “I don’t think you like me.” The look on his face was what I would later be able to dub as his “well, that’s stupid” face and he said, “and why do you think that?” I looked up at the side of his face and replied, “because you aren’t even looking at me, you’ve barely made eye contact since I’ve been here”

Insert “Well, that’s stupid” face here and I deserved it because, well…at this point we had just met in person twenty minutes prior.  But this guy wanted to make me happy so he looked at me and didn’t take his eyes off of me.  Talk about awkward.

We went to his house and engaged in conversation and I’m not quite sure how it happened–I probably may have rested my head on his shoulder and asked him to look at me…I don’t know, because what happened next had me forgetting my own name.

No, we didn’t have sex, I’m not that type of girl. Insert hair toss here.

But our first kiss was…magical. There was passion, there was fire, explosions if you will.  It was everything. It was kind of scary having such burst of emotions but at the same time it felt right.  Meant to be.

And that was it.  I didn’t have to look any further, I had found my husband and the father of my children.

I thought that he was perfect for me and he was.  He was literally a gentle giant.  Just by looking at him, one would assume he would crush skulls if someone so much as stepped on his toes but as the months went on, I quickly learned that looks were very deceiving in his case.  That’s how he’d gotten by in life; people were scared of him but I wasn’t.

So soon in the relationship there was so much passion and we often talked about what we wanted out of life and the steps we wanted to take in order to get where we wanted to be.  We found out that we’d been in a bunch of the same places all over New York City but we’d either missed each other or been there at different times.  We also discovered that we had a lot in common.

He never really had a fight before, me neither; he’d never been arrested, me neither; he’d never been to jail, me neither. He liked to laugh, me too; he was the oldest sibling out of his mother’s children, me too; he had dreams and aspirations, me too. But then there was that thing that set us apart. He liked to sweep things under the rug, rather than face them–wait, I couldn’t and can’t do that.

This is our main issue.

Imagine listening to a song that describes your life and problems perfectly.  Imagine feeling each pluck of the guitar, each key of the piano, each blow of the horn and the singer on the track has a voice that embodies your spirit in a way that words can’t describe–oh, it’s getting intense now. Now imagine the song getting to the hook and it just becomes too much to bear, this song is stroking heart-strings that you haven’t learned to use due to lack of security in your past.  Instead of facing the music, hearing it out until the end and learning to use those feelings that it evokes you just mute the song–while it’s still playing.  You so stubbornly sit in the silence, put the song out of your mind and pick another song from the playlist–this time a song that is least likely to evoke such feelings.

Are you frustrated yet?

My husband would much rather throw himself into some sort of work than to sort through the pain that he is obviously carrying.  It’s more important to him to appear strong and together than to admit that he needs help.  No matter what I try to do or say, if he’s not ready to receive it, it goes in one ear and out the other.

But nevertheless, my husband was brought up to value the importance of family.  And I love me a family man but his inability to face his personal issues has made him seemingly too scared or insecure to make decisions where our children are concerned. In his eyes I know what I am doing so his response to everything is “ask mommy.” I have reasons to believe that he is afraid of causing damage to our children but little does he know, all parents make mistakes–I make them daily–but it’s all about acknowledging when a mistake is being made and seeking a solution–a healthy one at that–so you and your children can grow and your children can become normal functioning adults one day.

I don’t think that he would ever be able to shift his focus from himself and the family he was born into, to the family he has created until he faces some of his childhood trauma that varies from family issues to cheating ex-girlfriends.  It’s funny now that I think about it, I used to say to my husband how much I liked his ex-girlfriends because if it hadn’t been for their eff-ups he would have never been able to find me.

Ha! I don’t feel that way anymore!

Even through all of this, I can’t help but feel a little selfish like, I want him to myself sometimes.  Am I wrong for that? Am I wrong to feel like he should put me and our girls before the family he was born into more often than not? After all we aren’t the ones who caused him any of the pain he continues to bury.

Oh, don’t let me forget about my husband’s inability to slow down.  He has a huge issue with putting too much on his plate at a time and then biting off more than he can chew.  He also has a huge issue with shifting his focus often to match his current situation.  In short he’s always overworked, overwhelmed and desperately trying to make everyone happy and often times I don’t feel I’m part of that “everyone.”

When I first met him, he was all about music.  He was DJ, he was a rapper and he loved everything about music, you could hear it in his voice when he spoke, the passion he had for music.  He had a dream.

Over the years, however, his focus has been shifting quite often.  Almost as if he is still trying to find himself.  As if he isn’t sure what he wants anymore.  As a result, I imagine how much pressure he probably feels he’s under, being 26 and married and having two small children under the age of five.  His younger brother claimed he wasn’t happy living in New York City so my Husband–having his superman complex–jumped in and offered him a place to live at the same exact time our youngest was born.  It’s crowded.  Anytime there is a conflict in his family he is the one who is called on to be the mediator.  In their belief, he’s the man of the family now following the untimely death of his grandfather; in my belief he’s supposed to be the man in our family and he hasn’t been the man in their family since he became a father.

He has all of these strings pulling him in so many different directions that I feel forgotten.   When I have an issue it seems like it’s too much for him to bear; he seems too unavailable and wrapped up into his world to even notice when my stress is eating me up; he doesn’t notice when I’ve lost some weight or when I’m in pain.  If he does, he doesn’t deem it important enough to mention it to me.  When I want him to make some time so that we can talk, he disregards it claiming there’s nothing to talk about.  So me being aware of his burdens, his pain and his lack of focus I keep a lot from him and have to deal with a lot on my own.

I can easily take his baggage and sort through them for him if he would just hand it to me but my husband is broken, and I don’t know how to fix it.

Am I wrong for wanting to help him to clear his plate and start taking smaller bites so that he could have time for our family? Am I wrong for wanting him to myself sometimes? Or am I being unreasonable?