Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Packin' it up...

That's what I'm doing. Systematically going through every cabinet and cupboard in this BOAT of an apartment and putting things into piles... And then putting the piles back into some sort of organization whether it be BACK into the cabinet/cupboard, a suitcase or a big clear plastic storage tub.

The air shipment (yes, got approved for an air shipment, did I already tell you!!??!!) surveyor chick was here on Monday to tell us how if my futon and Ryan's bed would fit. The answer is yes and no. Futon: yes-ish. Ryan's bed: Just the mattress. But then, Sam came home for lunch today and told me to scratch all THAT because the container we're allowed is even smaller than we thought, so Futon: yes-ish, Ryan's bed: huh-uh... not even the mattress. I think that's a load of bullhockey. I think that Ryan's mattress could fit in the foot and a half of room UNDER the futon. And if they take the futon APART, all of it will fit. At this point, I'm tempted to sell the freakin' futon and just buy another and get an Ikea bed for Ryan to sleep on that we'll just give to Lolo when she gets to the States (and move her out of her toddler bed. Hmmmm... Yesssssss... That IS sounding like a good (though, expensive, idea)... Off to research prices... be right back...

Mmmmm, yeah... nevermind. I didn't realize that our futon cost us $300 (probably more) withOUT the cover and mattress stuff. And the cheapest bed I could find was a $60 toddler bed. So, I'm thinking... I'll push HARD to get the futon into the air shipment and let Ryan sleep on the air mattress in the tent as if he's camping. The air mattress is a DOUBLE so it'll be more comfy than his single mattress anyway and I'll just make sure and keep it aired up (check it for firmness once a week or so). Heck, *I* might end up sleeping on an air mattress, too, if they get here and say that the futon won't fit.

I wouldn't give a rip if the whole purpose of having an air shipment hadn't been to get the beds over to the States. At this point, it's almost MORE important that my food processor make it back, LOL! I'll use the food processor as much as I'll use the futon.

Anyway, so I'm organizing and cleaning and actually PACKING suit cases because I need to know how much they weigh. Ryan and I will live out of our suitcases for the next ten days. No biggie. At least the bags'll be ready to go.

At night, I bug my girls by squeezing them and sniffing them and tangling myself up in their hair. I close my eyes and memorize everything and I hope that it'll tide me over until July. I'm bummbed that I'll miss Lily's birthday and the whole Easter Bunny thing with the girls this year. But it's just a price we have to pay. It's not like I'm having second thoughts, because I'm not. Plus, something happens EVERY DAY to confirm that I need to get the hell out of this country. It doesn't take anything big. Just a little glitch here or there. And only one a day, really. That's all it takes.

And my builder keeps sending me pics of the house... The finished deck... the stairway he's building onto the deck, the road leading up to my house (which is in need of HELP), etc. I see little hints of the yard and where I plan to put the garden and I STARE at the pictures as if pining for a long lost lover. I plant rows of vegetables in my mind and heart. I already smell the dirt and the dead leaves. I imagine myself with callouses on my hands and I shiver with anticipation... I'm a hippy dork, aren't I? Mmm hmmmm.

Yesterday, Ryan peed his pants at school. Why? Because he was too afraid to ask the teacher. Why? "Because she's going to say no." When I try to reassure him that she WON'T say no anymore, I can see in his mind, even as he's nodding, that he doesn't believe me.

He also got into a fight. Or, he got pushed down to the ground by another kid. Why? Because he was bullying. Why was he bullying? Elliot again. I don't know if I've talked about Elliot before, but this kid has truly plagued my existence for the past year or so. I saw him once. At the organic grocery store. And he was so cute and angelic looking that I was glad to see that Ryan was friends with him. Turns out, he's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

First, he told Ryan not to play with girls. Okay, whatever. I asked Ryan how he felt about it. If he liked playing with girls or if he agreed with Elliot. Ryan confirmed that he missed playing with his girl friends and wished Elliot would "let" him *jaw drops to the GROUND*. I told him to tell Elliot to take a hike and to go play with his girl friends.

Then, there were rumblings of violence. Elliot threatened to hit--or DID hit--if Ryan didn't listen to him. Then, Elliot hit Antonia. Then scratched her. On and on and on... Every week, I hear about a new Elliot fiasco.

THEN, last week, Ryan got off the elevator at Antonia's house to walk to school with them, but the minute he stepped off the elevator, A's mom pointed her finger at Ryan and said, "Ryan, I need to tell you one little thing... I heard that Elliot made Antonia cry because he said that if her parents were getting separated it was her fault. And YOU didn't do anything to defend Antonia." Then, she continued to jump all over him. I heard this story second hand from Sam (who actually called me immediately) and I spent the rest of the day trembling in anger because of how A's mom had treated Ryan, as if it is HIS responsability to defend his friend who is bigger, older and taller; especially since I've taught Ryan to always WALK AWAY from conflict. In fact, I specifically told him to walk away from ANY conflict that involved Elliot. I rehearsed what I would say to A's mom when I saw her, but unfortunately, I saw A instead. I pointed my finger at her and said, "A, I need to tell you three little things... ONE... Elliot is a little asshole. Understand that people are not born mean, but become that way because someone is mean to them. Someone has been mean to Elliot and that makes him mean. When he's mean to you, do NOT cry and snivel. Just realize who it is that's speaking, his reason for being a jerk and then WALK AWAY... TWO... YOU need to learn to stand up for YOURSELF and make your own decisions and STOP blaming other people for your unhappiness or you are NEVER going to be happy. You KNOW that your parents adore you and that their separation has NOTHING to do with you. If anything, they've stayed together as long as they can FOR you. Because they both love you so much. So, you KNOW that Elliot is full of shit.... and finally, THREE... It is never RYAN'S responsability--or anyone else's--to defend you. If someone were hitting you or hurting you, that would have been different, but when some stupid kid starts saying stupid things to you, don't look to Ryan to stand up for you. Just... walk.....away..."

I know that was sort of a tangeant, but I wanted to illustrate Elliot's involvement.

Well, yesterday took the cake. Apparently, Elliot told Ryan that he had to pretend to make "pates a la Bolognaise" (a pasta dish) or Elliot would "strangle" him. *shrug* I don't know if Ryan did it. What I DO know is that Antonia (who is a pretty trustworthy source about happenings at school) said that Elliot forced Ryan to "attack" the other kids at lunch and try to "kill" them. Ryan went along with it and some kid fought back, pushed Ryan to the ground and Ryan got hurt enough to have to limp his way home from school (not to mention, Ryan was covered in piss).

Up until yesterday, my solution for the Elliot problem was for Ryan to walk away. Ryan has been told over and over not to participate in Elliot's schemes. To play with Elliot as long as he's being nice but the second he starts being mean to other kids, Ryan is to walk away because Ryan is a nice person (I'd like to hope so, anyway). But, apparently, Ryan can NOT say no to this kid. My first impulse was to say that Ryan would NOT be returning to school over the next six days of school he has left. BUT, that would be punishing Ryan, I think. So, instead, the only thing I can think to do is forbid him to play with Elliot AT ALL. I don't want Ryan coming home with bruises and scrapes because he's being a little douchebag in school and other kids are fighting back. I don't want Ryan learning stuff from this Elliot and then taking it to the States and being in trouble all the time over there (he's already going to have some obstacles to deal with as it is).

What do you guys think?

Parenting is hard. I figure the only thing I can do is do what *I* would do if I had someone trying to turn me into a bully: stop being around that person. I wonder if Ryan CAN avoid Elliot. (That's why my first instinct was to make him just stay home and do exercises in English... but DUDE... my kid is SO social... I don't want to punish him for Elliot's crap.)

Sam asked me over lunch, "You're telling me you're not going to miss this," and swept his hand over his own view. I replied, "Uh, I don't even SEE this. YOU DO. I see THAT" and swept my hand over MY view from the table. And then I said, "I never said I wouldn't miss the view. Maybe I will in a couple of years or decades. But no, right now, this *sweep of hand* only serves as a reminder of my empty uterus and my withering heart."

I'm sorry to be all dramatic and whatnot, but I've been here before. I've been unhappy in France before... Like, say, a decade ago when I left the FIRST time vowing never to come back. I KNOW when it's time to go. And actually, if I could get on the plane TODAY, I wouldn't hesitate.

I thought about it and wondered if people (or even myself) would see me as a quitter. Or maybe not strong enough to hack it. Under "normal" circumstances--meaning just normal old France stuff--I might say, yeah, okay... But I tell you now, had circumstances remained "normal," I wouldn't be leaving. It was Aaron's death that prompted my leaving. And there was nothing "normal" about his death.

After his delivery, I searched and searched, my mind, heart and gut, looking desperately for whatever tidbit I was supposed to learn from this experience. I always try to find the positive. I know that sounds hokey and corny and Stepford-y and whatnot, but I've been through a LOT of shit and it seems to be the only way to NOT go insane and to keep a peaceful, zen-full, smile on my face. And for almost two weeks now, I've wondered and sought. But now, I know. The positive is that I'm leaving. Like I just said, had Aaron not died, I wouldn't be "quitting." I wouldn't be going home early. And if I wasn't going home early, Ryan wouldn't have the opportunity to experience a few months of Kindergarten. If he doesn't go to Kindergarten, he might not have any summer friends with whom to play (and I might make some friends myself through him and his friends). And if he didn't make summer friends, he might have felt THAT much more out of place next fall when he started Kindergarten--and not just socially... think about all of the stuff he wouldn't know. I mean, he knows how to read, but not in French. When you ask him to spell things, he says "i" for "e" and "g" for "j" (long story). This way, he'll have the basics of reading but will learn a new set of sounds with which to read (and believe me, we'll still be reading together at home in French).

If Aaron hadn't died. I wouldn't be going home early. Without going home early, I would have missed a whole four months of garden/soil preparation, sowing seeds, pulling weeds... If I don't go home and start our garden now, we won't have anything to eat this summer from our own land. That would have sucked.

If Aaron hadn't died, his name wouldn't even be Aaron. His name would have been Cedric Aurelien Ledger Tissot. I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to name my son after my friend and one of my heros (Heath Ledger), something that has become very important to me. When I speak of Aaron, when I think about him, I feel the same way I felt about my other Aaron. I feel loss. And I feel resolve. And I feel change. And I feel strength. These are things I need right now.

So, while I hate France for indirectly taking Aaron from me (maybe directly... we may never know), as well as for a nice long list of other reasons, I do thank France for giving me a reason to go home and start my happiness. I remember coming here whole, happy, sleeves rolled up and ready to fight and work. But over the months, I had become beaten down, despondent, embittered and downtrodden (sorry if that sounded redundant... I wrote what I feel and I've lost a lot of my English). Aaron's death has brought back my resolve and reminded me of the purpose I felt so strongly a year and a half ago.

I'm ready.

Sam also tried to find other things he just KNEW I'd miss, but I found other things to fill up the holes he thought he'd find.

Velov=YMCA and running and Zumba and swimming and spin class... Yeah, okay, it'll suck to drive everywhere, but I'll get over it.

The Unlimited Movie pass=Um, I'm gonna have a sattelite dish and I'm going to get back on Netflix, dude... for that I won't even NEED a Velov.

Farmer's market=I'll grow my own.

Old buildings= meh.

The only thing he could really mention that I would REALLY miss were my friends. I'll miss my friends. Old and new.

I'm surprised how well his parents took it. How cool they were. How "Okay *shrug*" they were. I guess because we've just shocked them so often with our "recklessness" that they have a nice thick scab and nothing surprises them anymore. Back when we told them that we were moving to the States, Sam's dad and I actually had a screaming match. And now, they're like, "okay."

This same reaction does NOT go for Sam's older sister. She was very clear about her level of disapproval. But dude, I really couldn't care less. If anything, it only confirms the "rightness" of this move.

Okay... I came in here to blabber and babble and I've done so for a little over an hour... Guess I should get back to work on the apartment. Just wanted all y'all to know I'm okay. I mean, I still cry. But it comes in short, intense spurts and most of the time, it's okay. I asked myself if I would be this okay if I didn't have the knowledge of my going home to look forward to.... I'm sure and certain that the answer is no.

Yet another good thing coming from Aaron's death. Ironically, his death brought about the cure to my grief.

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