Embracing the unexpected

We were heading out of Bethany Beach, DE last Sunday after a much needed weekend away -lovingly paid for by my mother who knows what the beach means to me and the family. It was a gorgeous morning and as we headed north towards Rehoboth I was thinking a few things:

1. I was feeling not as relaxed as a weekend away might create. My kids were irritating me. They left a pizza out all night long – the last one to take a piece after Kevin and I said our goodnights didn’t put it away – well there went breakfast. And upon doing my last sweep through the house I found a roll of paper towels in the kids bathroom. I realized there was no toilet paper in the bathroom -so guess what was used as toilet paper for the weekend? Yep the paper towels. No harm done-the toilet still flushed-but I was so frustrated at why this occurred. Why not seek out toilet paper that we always bring to the beach? Why not just ask!? Oh yea-their teens. If I can laugh I can deal-but I wasn’t in a laughing mood on that Sunday. I just was growly at all who surrounded me. I dislike that feeling.
2. I was thinking how Kevin and I need to get away ALONE. And I also know how hard that is but maybe we can make it happen. –soon–
3. As we crossed over that bridge and I was less than relaxed I realized that I hadn’t put my feet in the ocean the whole weekend. I have no idea why I didn’t but it began to bum me out the more I thought about it.

As we came off a bridge that separated Bethany from Dewey and Rehoboth, I said aloud “I didn’t put my feet in the ocean the whole weekend.” And Kevin said “it’s not too late. You can still do that”. What a guy. So he suggested we pull off the road in Dewey Beach and I could put my feet in the water and then we would head off.

So we found a quiet street and parked the car. Dewey Beach is a family beach to a degree but it is also known as a party beach where 20 and 30 something’s flock on weekends to drink and well meet up. It’s been that way for years so at first I was unsure what we might see on the sand. It was after ten in the morning but… The kids jumped out of the car too because they wanted that last touch of the Atlantic.

Over the dune we went and on the other side was beautiful sparkling water and a handful of people on the beach. Mostly there were families and I saw no signs of leftover partiers from the night before. The best part? The DOGS! There were lots of dogs. After September 15, dogs are allowed on the beach. And Dewey likes their dogs! It was so nice.

We walked out to the edge of the shore took off our shoes. I put my feet in the ocean and it was great! Why had I not done this all weekend? I used to be a huge ocean swimmer but as I got older I became less tolerant of cold water and more leery of rough water. I am a very good swimmer I spent years on swim team and in the pool in general. I was the girl you had to pull out of the ocean to go-I never wanted to leave. But over the years I have become a dipper. Toe in -wading to my shins. Then I got cancer and then came the lymphedema and shoulder mobility issues and I realized -darn it- now I can’t swim- at least not in the ocean. I couldn’t save myself in rough waters. That just stinks. I don’t like to feel that vulnerable. Before my omission from ocean swimming had been my choice but now it was a real limitation – something taken away. I didn’t like it. But that wasn’t the reason I didn’t put my feet in the ocean until Sunday morning. I honestly just didn’t feel like it Friday and Saturday. I can’t even explain why. It wasn’t until it was slipping away as we headed home that I realized I felt a loss in not doing so.

When those waves washed over my feet and I stood on that gorgeous beach it was like a perfect moment. The water was just the right temperature, the undertow minimal and not too many waves. My kids were enjoying the water too. I realized I wasn’t as annoyed at them as I had been. I wanted to stay. One kid said something about getting his suit on- next thing I knew we all were taking turns getting changed in the car. I had to dig deep in a mass of stuff to get my suit out of my bag and it was proving hard for my arm but I persisted bc I was staying and I was getting in that water. And not just my toes -all of me- ok well most of me-I needed to be careful still- but i wasn’t going to not go in out of fear.

What transpired was a wonderful 2 hours that finally relaxed my mind. The growly part of me went away for a while. I swam more that day then I had in years (ok I did not swim but I enjoyed waiting for waves and dodging them – and I will swim – really swim- again – it’s on now). My husband and kids swam more that day than they had all weekend. I went into the water much further than my toes. I felt freer than I had felt for weeks. I won’t be a toe in the water lady anymore.

After a couple hours we called it a day. I couldn’t find the sunscreen in the car when I was changing into my suit so that was not good for Kevin and me. My darker kids fared better. We were just the right blend of sandy and toasty.

It was the perfect unexpected morning. We all seemed a little lighter and the world a bit brighter. I’m thankful for that time. Sometimes you just don’t know when something as seemingly insignificant as putting your feet in the ocean will turn into something special.

Thanks for reading.
PS – my husband and I still need that time alone. I’ll be working on that.


Kevin remembering his days in Dewey – oh have things changed.


Hewey, Dewey, and Lewey – aka – L, K and the famous Ozzy- subject of a few posts here.




I have this picture to remind me of that feeling of when my toes hit that water.


I may be dancing or balancing – I’ll take dancing..


Thats Paisley and her mom. Paisley was a sweet rescue who is like velcro to her mom except the few times she saw another dog chasing a ball- and she wanted our frisbee.


I did not want to get out of the ocean!


The boys going for a swim.


Dogs were everywhere- I loved it!


Ozzy spends a lot of time searching for shells. He is quite lucky and found this sand dollar over the weekend- 1 of 3!! I was amazed.

Angel Yahtzee

I am going to post something a bit lighter than my last couple of posts. Just need a little breather from all of that other stuff.

Yahtzee Gold

Yahtzee Gold

I love to play electronic Gold Yahtzee. If you have never seen one of these games I will share a picture of one because I am pretty sure they don’t make these anymore (ours is ten years old I think and isn’t it weird it still works- the battery is the original) – I have looked online for new ones and Amazon has them for $60(?) what? They must have real gold in them. AND they are addicting…

My husband and I love this game so much that we take it on vacation.  He did not want me to share with readers that we use this Yahtzee game in the bathroom from time to time- but now I have shared it and its out there and I think people can relate to us wanting something to keep us occupied in the bathroom. What?- there is probably a copy of some magazine in your bathroom..maybe you are even reading this post in your bathroom. Wow- I have digressed way off-topic.

What this post is supposed to be about is my angels (and Yahtzee gold but i’ll get to that soon). I believe in angels and I believe in guardian angels. I am not an expert on angels or anything but I happen to know that I have two angels who watch over me. Why did I get two? I think it is because I am a lot to handle for just one angel. How do I know I have two? I am not sure I can explain why –  I just know. I think we all have an angel or two (or more) looking after us.  The other day my angels messed with me by taking over my Yahtzee Gold game. So I will share this story and you can decide what you think:

I picked up our Yahtzee Gold the other day and began a game…my husband was on the phone- my kids were doing whatever they were doing and i was going to have a few minutes to relax before getting dinner on the table. So on my first roll I got a Yahtzee- a Yahtzee is five of a kind and worth 50 points for the first one and 100 for every Yahtzee after that- no big deal(well it is a big deal because it is a Yahtzee but one is -well- just one.) On each turn you get three rolls and it is the result of the 1-3 rolls that gives your score for that turn. So I took my next turn and got another Yahtzee- it has happened to me before- so I wasn’t shocked but I was happy. So I have 150 points so far and I am pretty psyched…and then on my third turn I get a third one- What? Like that is really weird to get a third Yahtzee IN A ROW. I have been playing for years and I have gotten three in a game and not very often but never three in a row! These were Yahtzees with only one roll per turn. This is rare. What was up?

So I thought “angels!” – not sure why this popped into my head but it did. I have thought on a few other occasions that maybe my angels were helping me get needed rolls when it seemed unlikely that I would have a successful turn – like when an inside straight would turn up on a third attempt. I laughed out loud (LOL) at my crazy thought that an angel was helping me..but then I thought ok heres a challenge…I said aloud –“if you are here then give me a 4th Yahtzee on this roll”…I pushed the button and heck yes!!! I got a fourth Yahtzee and with only one roll! This is crazy stuff! By this time I was floored and I said – with tears in my eyes- “Ok I know you are here and thank you for being here”. Then I am wondering is anyone else there? Nana, Jean, Barbara, Christine…people dear to me that I had left our world. It was all kind of weird…but cool.

I kept playing – and I would like to say my next turn was a Yahtzee- it was not…but it was a full house! – I think I accomplished that in two rolls..details are fuzzy bc I was pretty psyched that my angels were there and it kind of became about the angels and less about the game. Then I rolled again and I got another Yahtzee! So if you lost count that is now 5 Yahtzees in one game and all happened on one roll per turn….this was uncanny and I can say it never has happened to me before. So then I began talking to my angels – if anyone had been nearby they may have thought I lost my mind.

The rest of the game went fast because I got what I needed on .Every. Turn.  I think maybe I only took my second roll on a turn a few times – and maybe a third roll once. I did not have to take zero in any category. Everything was going my way- and I got the 35 point bonus. I didn’t even realize that my final score was 678 right away – I was blown away by the experience! 678 is very high for electronic Yahtzee. My high score before that was 617. Normally scores are 150-300. Nobody else in the family had ever gotten over 550. It was quite surreal.

The score!

I ran to show my husband the total. I must say I was kind of emotional thinking that my angels may have been trying to let me know they are there. It was also comforting. I am not sure what you will think but I would like to believe that once in a while we get a little nudge from the other side – whether we recognize it as such is another thing. Hmm…I wonder if my angels would be as much help in a casino…

thanks for reading…

Taking Chances

I took a chance yesterday in posting about my son. I knew I was doing that when I hit the publish button. I can’t say I regret posting about the issues we are having (and it is WE not just him) but it is hard getting flamed on what I wrote. Maybe there is a line in being authentic. Maybe this was best left to a private journal. I don’t know though- and it is too late to take it out of the universe.

What I do know is that by telling this story I had many people contact me. Most were supportive. Many could relate in one way or another having experienced similar issues with a child, friend, or family member. Some had suggestions and pointed to some therapies that might be helpful. Many gave me stories of success.

I found my blog posted on some site I never heard of with people flaming me and calling me a bad mother. I know these people don’t know me as many of you reading this don’t know me- so you don’t really know if I am a bad mother or not. I am honest and I am definitely not perfect. I am flawed and many times i am at a loss for answers. Maybe I am a bad mother- but I love my kids and i want to help them.  For the few that flamed me there were many who were supportive. Why do the flames hurt so much? I don’t want to second guess my writing but i suppose any writer will do that from time to time. I have wanted to be open in my writing bc there are so many people who hide behind the fear that putting truth out there makes them a bad human. I am only human and I am not perfect.

My child has issues that is a fact and unless you have lived with the issues it is hard to relate to them. I want to get help for him and for us. I am glad that someone reminded me about attachment disorders and I began looking at that. I am glad someone pointed me to neurofeedback, I am glad that a few moms who have been dealing with serious child issues opened up to me and we made a connection of support, my church is looking into starting a parent support group. The book below was recommended to me and I have purchased it and look forward to reading about it. These are all good things that come out of my sharing something that is very hard to discuss.

I sat down to talk with my son last night. I encouraged him to open up. I explained my feelings and my hopes for him. I have done this many times and I feel that if I keep saying these things maybe some will stick. I told him I wrote about our struggles. I read him some of the post. I think maybe for the first time hearing my words that i wrote down he realized that his dad and i aren’t just pissed off parents we are genuinely frustrated because we are at a loss on how to help him. I think he understood we are hurt and scared. He was not upset at all that I posted this and I told him lots of people want to help. I am not sure he wants help-yet. It is hard for him to talk and be open but he did a little last night. What will change the behaviors? I am not sure but what I do know is that doors were opened yesterday that can help us learn to deal with the issues and to cope better.

It takes a village they say and in creating a village of support I believe that hope is restored. Yesterday I had little hope and was feeling alone and isolated. Today I have renewed hope for my son and our family. Maybe many people would never write such an open blog about their struggles and their sons struggles but for me it felt like something i was supposed to do. It hurts being called a bad mother and crazy and psycho – but I know where my words came from. They are from the heart and the longing to help guide a troubled child to become a caring and capable adult.   Maybe that is flawed love – but it is love.  Thanks for reading…

Liza Long, Harold Koplewicz

Family…in crisis

I haven’t been writing for the last few weeks. It is not because I didn’t want to -it was because I felt the things I needed to write about weren’t really something i should write about. I thought things would change and I would get new topics in my head that needed to come out. Well that isn’t happening. In fact the situation has gotten worse. So what the heck maybe writing about it will relieve some of the horrible stress that has been weighing on me for – well- a long time.

Not only are we in a huge financial crisis that we are desperately trying to dig our way out of we also have a child crisis. Really our entire family is in crisis. Monetary issues aside we are living with a child that is out of control.  This one out of control child has created a big problem in the entire family.

My son – Ozzy (not his real name and I know friends who read this will know who it is- and i am sorry but this has to come out) is a sociopath. I cannot tell you that he has been diagnosed as such but the signs are there- and I am not saying he is destined to be a killer- there are many sociopaths out there that never hurt another human physically – but my son has no remorse and does not care how others feel. He is ME centered and blames the world for all his trouble. He never accepts responsibility for things and lies and steals from all of us here at home. I have no idea if this will start elsewhere.  He is only 14.

Ozzy was diagnosed very young with ADHD and later with mild autism spectrum issues. He is medicated with stimulants and anti-depressants. Ozzy was adopted at the age of 2 1/2 from Kazakhstan. We have no family history really. From the time Ozzy came home he has been a challenge. He is super intelligent and from a young age could be very manipulative. He was so good at it that more than once we had to tell his teachers they were being manipulated by him. Some didn’t want to believe it. Some probably thought we were terrible parents thinking Ozzy was able to manipulate them. When he began to throw things in their classrooms in anger they began to pay a bit more heed to what we were saying. Teachers have always recognized that he is very smart – many have tried to no avail to reach out to him to help him with his anger, attitude, and hurt.  As he has gotten older he has become more and more apathetic about school – making lower grades in classes where he could easily obtain A’s.  He became the angry kid at school from Kindergarten on…

He has a psychiatrist and therapist, We have done reward systems, consequences, we have yelled, we have praised. Nothing works. There is not a rule in our home that Ozzy follows. A couple years ago he was caught watching porn on an electronic device. We took the device away and had a talk. We gave the device back after a good long cooling off period. Sadly he was caught viewing porn again. We locked down our internet – we monitored him if he was using the laptop for school.  He was not able to have any device that was his own. The porn issue went away for a while. We still dealt with lying, stealing, school issues, shutting down, anger, damaging furniture- walls- and many other things, and lots of sneaky behavior..but we were managing- sort of. Then he got caught viewing porn again this past mother’s day. My husband had let him use his phone while visiting relatives and he found porn on the browser the next day. We had another talk – he got caught again, more talk- punishments.

He began stealing back devices that had been taken away from him or he would steal his siblings devices. He would watch porn, or play mindcraft or watch shows on youtube we would never allow in the house. We thought we had everything locked down and when he couldn’t find content to view he found it with items to read on our kindle account. He locked us out of his Kindle Fire that he stole back. he figured out my password on the parental controls and locked me out of that. Last night he walked into my husbands office and stole his phone. He got caught when we went to look for it and had to ping the phone using “Find My Iphone” – he simply walked back upstairs and handed the beeping phone to my husband. No remorse there is never remorse.We are now missing an old iPhone that we planned on trading in – he says he doesn’t have it- I beg to differ. So that phone will have to be kicked off the router-I will have to change the passcode. He obeys no punishments – none. When he is caught he just says “what does it matter? – I take it – you catch me.”

He is right- why should it matter to him – he doesn’t obey any rules or punishments. He comes upstairs every night and eats food – we have decided this is ok as stimulants can suppress appetite early in the day and create hunger at night- but he takes food we ask him nicely to leave alone. He prowls the house if he cannot sleep- he will watch TV in our family room and would be up all night if he isn’t caught. We have installed a key lock on our bedroom door where we house all devices..except the televisions. We will be locking our office as well. We have choices- we can get rid of our internet and rid of all cellphones (remember he does not have any of these devices as his own- he just steals them). We need internet here because we work from home. Anyway, I can go on and on but Houston we have a problem.

I have not been the mother to this child that I thought I would be – in fact I am not the mother I thought I would be at all. I am better in some ways than the vision I had and worse. The problem is with Ozzy – it has been very hard to like him. He causes huge amounts of strife in our family. I have yelled at him, spanked him and just been a crappy mom to him many times. I have found myself apologizing to him for my mistakes. There are no excuses bc I am the adult- but this is one challenging human I am living with. He is the kid that ruins your day at the park, your dinner out- your family vacation. And now he just causes stress in the home.  He has no connection to cause and effect. This morning before I told him i hated him (and yes I did hate him at that moment – and yes not a great mom moment for me) he just stared at me like i was nuts when I began discussing him stealing his fathers phone last night and then questioned him on the whereabouts of the missing iphone.  He will come home today and say “hi mom” open the cupboard and look for food to eat. He might wonder where all the food went..Um dude you steal it at night..when it is gone its gone… He won’t have an ounce of trepidation that he might be questioned on why he stole his fathers phone. He will sit down and do his homework. He might go find that phone he stole (i’m pretty sure he has it)after he is done with the homework – or he might climb a tree. But there will be nothing wrong in his mind.

If i have any discussion with him he will be quick to tell me how awful a mother I am and how everyone in the world is wrong but him. He doesn’t even try justify the behavior at all- he tries to ignore that he ever did it. He does not see that he is culpable in anything. The other day he could not believe that I would look on the laptop internet history after I found him using the laptop while we were out at the store (I had let him use it so he could turn in an assignment and forgot to make sure it was locked away when I left. Micromanaging is tiring and sadly I fail at it.).

A typical conversation with Ozzy.  Him: “I couldn’t’ hand in my homework bc you took away the laptop” Me: “Why did I take it away.” Ozzy: Because it was a punishment.” Me:”what did you do to get punished?” He looks down- mumbles. Me :”was that because you were trying to watch porn on a device?” No answer-Me:”yes Ozzy you were asked many times not to access those sites from this home and you did so I took away the laptop. I did also tell you that if you had schoolwork you could ask us to use the laptop and we would sit with you as you did your work.” No comment. He got a zero bc I took away the laptop. It was my fault. Clearly…

If you knew how much time I spend trying to lock our devices down and our internet you would be shocked- it is exhausting. Today I added router blocks- but at a high level the email won’t work. At medium level you can still see boobs when googled – but a site like pornhub is blocked(oh yes i know the names of porn sites thanks to my dear son). I have Family monitoring on their laptop, i have controls on their phones ( and Ozzy does not have a phone- well maybe he has the missing one – i am sure to find out sometime). But as we all know when they want something they are going to get it. But Ozzy is out of control…it is not just the porn and the devices- it is everything.

I have a hard time figuring him out. I always have and I might never be able to . He can be a huge help if I ask him to do farm chores. He will be extremely engaging if you want to play a board game with him. He can be very generous. He has these different sides to him and the ugly side is very ugly and deceitful…and he needs help. We need help. I don’t seeing this going well without it. Where do you go when you have limited financial resources?  This whole thing is stressing me out- the kid crisis, the financial – i worry that this can make my cancer come back. So I try to combat the stress with exercise though i am limited, I use prayer and meditation and wine (thank God for wine).

Ozzy thinks we are mean..he thinks we don’t care about him. That hurts but I know this is a teen talking and having been one that said a lot of nasty things to her parents I know he might feel that way now but I hope in the future he will see that we cared so much. If we didn’t care he would be watching porn 24/7 and would be failing school. We have spent years trying to get him help – trying to make that light go on,trying to get him to feel some sense of responsibility and remorse for his actions. It scares me to think of his future if he remains this way. No remorse, no care of how others feel… it scares me like crazy.

I want to say I love this kid unconditionally but i can’t. Or maybe I can..I can say i will always love him but I might not ever like him and I might not be able to be around him when he is an adult if things keep going this way. He said to me recently, “I bet you wish you never adopted me.”…Oh dude – not going to lie there have been times where a one way ticket back to your homeland looked pretty good..but I told him what I believe..that God brought us together for a reason. This is the journey we are supposed to be on. I told him that maybe now he doesn’t like us and he might wish he was not with us (and it is vice versa sometimes too!) but someday (I hope to God) that he will see that God had a plan for him and that he has this opportunity and this huge intelligence to make a big life for himself – and maybe someday he will see that his dad and I truly cared and that he was loved.  I am hoping that I someday can see why I was chosen to be this child’s mother- I am not equipped most days to handle what he dishes out but I sure as heck try.  I hope that someday I can look at this person and really like him. In the meantime, I have to get some help in the trenches because this crisis has got to end..it’s not good…

—to be continued—as the story continues—

Thanks for reading…