Fear and Love: One in the Same?

It sucks to read such things during the holiday season, but its inevitable. because sad, unbelievably wrong things happen every day, evil doesn’t just take a break for the week so everyone on Earth can enjoy their holidays minus the sad news stories. I’ve been seeing way too many stories about children dying, lots of them related to their parents snapping. I’ve also seen too many stories about children dying that are completely unavoidable, but are just as heart breaking as the deaths that are planned. One of my favorite bloggers wrote an excerpt the week before Christmas about how badly she dreads the holidays now that her son isn’t here to celebrate them with her. He died the year before, at age 5, of an inoperable brain tumor. Just days before he was diagnosed, he had his routine check up for kindergarten and everything looked as it should for a boy his age. Despite the sudden headaches that his pediatrician and mom attributed to seasonal allergies. This story instills fear in me, as a mother of a beautiful baby boy, who always checks out perfect at his routine well-child appointments. But this fear isn’t irrational or unhealthy. It’s not like an obsessive, life consuming fear and it doesn’t change the way we do things day to day. Well, I guess it changes the way I think sometimes, and for the better. This fear reminds me that life is way too short to miss out on a single thing my son does on a daily basis. Sure, he’s walked up and down our stairs 35 times already this morning and its only 9AM. But I don’t want to miss him walking up or back down those stairs EVER again, because there’s women who won’t ever get to see their kids do such seemingly boring things again.

My fear is that, despite the crappy few years I suffered through before I got sober and had Jasper, my suffering isn’t quite over and something bad happening is away possible. What if something happens to me and Jasper is miserable for a few months because he’s so attached to me that it’d take awhile for him to cope? Or what if something insanely horrible happens to HIM at such a young age and he’s taken from me? Would I go back to what I was doing before him and before my sobriety? It’s hard to think there’s a possible life without him now that’s he here and alive and well. And please, I’m not a pessimistic and this isnt irrational. The sad news stories are the times I stop to think about the “what ifs?”. I don’t think there’s a mom in this world who hasn’t stopped to think about what would happen to her or to her kids if something happened to one of them.

This fear comes from another feeling, one that’s on the complete opposite end of the emotion spectrum: Love. I only think about such things because of the overwhelming, unconditional love I feel for my son. The same love that’s overcome me since the day i pushed him out and then held his teeny tiny, crinkly looking skinned, warm body against mine. That love grows stronger by the millisecond and will always be there, no matter who Jasper grows up to me or what he decides to do with his life. That’s a mothers unconditional love and that’s why it’s called unconditional. Because somewhere along the lines, your kid will do something you don’t agree with, whether its something small and forgettable or something life changing that lands him somewhere he shouldn’t be. The perfect example of this is my moms unconditional love for me throughout my life and still today. Growing up when I had a 3.5 GPA and was the point guard for my school basketball team from grade 4 to grade 9, she loved me and cheered me on. In 10th grade when I decided I didn’t want to attend regular high school anymore but go to online school again (since I was a pro at sleeping in and missing class anyways), she still loved me even though she didnt agree. Then at the end of high school when I took a turn for the worst, and landed in that spot that I never wanted to be, she still loved me and was my cheerleader. The next few years were a battle, a living hell you could say. She was always worried, nervous and sad for her daughter, yet her love never faltered and she never gave up. I did unspeakable things and her love ? Stayed unconditional. THAT right there is the way I think every mom feels about their child, or at least SHOULD feel. But, like I mentioned in the beginning about those horrid stories about parents killing their kids, there’s always always always going to be some unfortunate exception to the unconditional love definition.

That love is what causes my random feeling of fear. I love jasper so much that I seriously cannot fathom a life without him in it. I can’t even begin to imagine what would become of this sober, healthy and happy life I’ve created if something happened to my son. I read another story a few days ago about a mom who got in a car accident on the street BEHIND her street and her SUV was literally pushed all the way into her backyard because of the strong impact. Luckily her and her son survived, but they spent 3 months recovering in the hospital and her 16 year old baby boy has permanent brain damage. Can you imagine!? No, I bet you can’t, just like I can’t. Why is there so many bad things happening nowadays? Why is there so many diseases that take the lives of innocent children or innocent, healthy parents? Why is the death rate from car accidents so damn high? Isn’t anyone else worried sometimes when they drive on the freeway? You know you’re aware of your surroundings and are a safe driver, but you also are fully aware that there’s quite a few dumb drivers who don’t care about how they drive so therefore speed on the icy freeways or blow through stop signs because they’re in a hurry.

My ever-growing, everlasting, unconditional love for my son Jasper Tucker Phillips Faunt is so strong and so alive , that it causes me to question things and worry about things that were never a concern before. These stories filled with accidental deaths from illness or car accidents, these stories packed with unthinkable tragedy caused by ones own family member in a moment of rage, the stories similar to the most recent tragedy to hit the USA in Newton, CT…..these also make me question my faith, my higher power, and my religion. I can’t get into all that right now because I’d be writing for days and I’d probably contradict myself alot, but I had to mention the fact that these upsetting, life changing events that cause people more misery then one ever should ever have to feel… They make me question what the hell Gods plan was for the victim or for their families and why them and not some gang banging murderer? The same response will come from the Christians and Catholics and ill always respect their beliefs, along with every other religious belief out there. Because everyone is entitled to their opinions, beliefs and morals. I was raised Catholic, baptised at the church of the private school I attended for 7 years. But now more then ever, i can’t help questioning my religion and why things Happen the way they do.

But Anyways, back to the purpose of this post. This healthy fear has helped me take a different look at the world and the people in it. It’s also made me slow down and live in the moment rather then worrying about next week or even the next hour. It’s also made me promise myself to take nothing in my life for granted, even the most insignificant things that I’d usually just blow off. I also give thanks for everything I’ve been given and everything I’ve learned, along with saying prayers and wishing the best for everyone close to me in my life, especially my son and my immediate family. I can’t miss my sons first bike ride or his first basketball game, but I also don’t want to miss a single bath tub experience or another poopy diaper! Because these are things that are taken for granted, until of course they’re not there anymore to be taken for granted.

I love you Jasper Tucker with all my heart, Forever and always. Just like I love your daddy to the ends of the earth and couldn’t ask for a better, more involved father for you. My mom too, of course. I think I mentioned how much I love her throughout this entry. And my dad and brother, although they’re so different then the norm and see things differently then most of us, I couldn’t imagine me without them either, because they make up such an awesome part of this family. I love My grandparents in heaven and my grandma on earth. I love Tim’s family, whose now my family too. They’ve helped us out so much and are perfect with jasper, he’s truly blessed to have such wonderful grandparents on both sides of his family. My extended family on my moms side speaks for themselves, they keep family traditions going and bring us all together for holidays in the best ways possible. I hope we all stay as close as we are now, for the rest of forever. And finally, my dads side of the family, all 7 sets of aunts and uncles, all 15 cousins and 3 great grand kids too! Who else can say that they have this big of a family that actually ALL see eAchother on the holidays?! That’s a pretty awesome feat and I’m thankful to be a part of such a strong family.

I had to add my thankful/grateful list to this because I haven’t posted in so long, since before Thanksgiving. I wanted to add my love
for my entire family, because they too, fit right into that unconditional love thing… How they’re still here and calling me family, after all the years I spent hiding away because I was embarrassed that I wasn’t on a good path like the rest of my giant family.

Love you all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years. Remember to hug your kid(s) extra tight and extra long today. And every other day for the rest of their lives.

Ten Chubby Toesies

playing This Little Piggy on Jasper’s feet reminds me of when i was a little kid, when my parents used to tug on my toes. it makes me nostalgic for a minute. it makes me wonder where things went wrong, when they went wrong, and why. because as far back as i can remember i was happy and had the life every kid should have. a friend whose also in recovery recently told me, “maybe you just THOUGHT you were happy, but there was something missing.” but i quickly dismissed that theory and still do because i definitley was truly, honestly happy. happy enjoying life and exploring the neighborhood, the ditches and the bushes, the cul de sacs and playground, and riding bikes with my friends. i think the unhappiness came later on in life, when a few life changing events took place that at the time, i didnt think were tragic because i was simply too young to understand. but i still dont think those occurences were what made me choose the unpaved, crappy path i went down for a few years. you’d think after 5 different IOPs within six years (one as a juvenile for POT!), two inpatient rehabs stints, numerous one on one private counselors, and a jail treatment program, that ONE of those proffesionals would’ve figured out what it was that made me start partying the way i did. but no, none of them told me whether or not it was my grandmothers death and my parents divorce that made me start such self destructive behavior. that’s because most addiction specialists know, but rarely choose to admit, that there doesnt HAVE to be a specific trauma that makes one start using drugs. there doesn’t have to be a specific emotion or feeling that one’s trying to block out by using. a small number of addicts became addicted because they LIKE the feeling of drugs. that spacey, high, sometimes confident, lazy feeling that comes with most drugs, not just one. they’re not taking the drug to cover up their parents divorce, they’re taking it because the feeling is pretty cool. after all, why would someone be upset at their parents divorce when they secretly wished it would happen already so they wouldn’t have to hear the arguing all night long?? to the outsider, what i just said may sound like denial of the fact that it truly did bother me. but i can promise you it didnt. i couldnt stand my parents arguing and being complete opposites because i knew it wasn’t going to get better. i got addicted to the lifestyle that came along with using drugs. laying around doing nothing and smoking pot, smoking pot before school and before sports games just because i truly loved the feeling. so obviously as you can see im not just talking about the effects of heroin being addictive. no, i was addicted to drugs long before my jackass first boyfriend, six years my senior, introduced me to heroin. that was just the first drug that was PHYSICALLY addicting, making it impossible to lead a normal succesful, fulfilling life. that was the first drug that brought about consequences, horrible ones at that. the first drug that made me lose my parents trust and burn dozens of bridges with long time friends, some of which i still havent regained. that was the first drug that turned me into someone im not, doing things the real Shelby wouldnt do in a million years. all those experimental drugs before heroin were mentally addicting because i loved the feeling, but i could live without them and carry on a normal day, a normal relationship and a normal life without them. though i still seeked them out and took them in excess because REMEMBER, im a drug addict….

this is on a completely different note and i probably shouldnt even add this into this part of blog, story, memoir, whatever you choose to call it. but i still advocate for marijuana today, though i dont smoke it anymore because of my motherly duties, i dont agree with pot critics and addiction specialists that say its a gateway drug and its physically addictive. its mentally addictive yes, but not physically and it doesnt ruin lives. the definition of an addict (and dont quote me on this because i have to find the exact health blog i found this definition on so i can write it word for word) is a person whose life is consumed by drugs, controlled by drugs and their behavior changes very negativley because of the need for this drug and what theyll do to get it. (I know it doesnt sound as good coming from me so i WILL find the exact wording) This was written in an article about mothers having babies born to addictive drugs and the original author called those babies ADDICTS. so this health expert, addiction specialist wrote a feedback article stating that babies born to addicted mothers are NOT addicts themselves because they do NOT exert addict behavior so theres NO way they can or will be considered addicts. therfore, marijuana users whose lifestyles and behaviors dont change negatively, are NOT addicts. there’s way too many health benefits for marijuana to be considered harmful, even to the tiniest of people. :::  a mother to an ADHD diagnosed 6 year old struggled for two years trying to get her son to sit through an entire TODDLER book, eat a meal without having a tantrum, go to class without being disruptivce. the doctors tried numerous different drugs to no avail, some actually made his behavior worse and he stopped eating completely because he’d puke. one doctor recommended marijuana in oil form put into his cereal. within three weeks of trying it out, her son’s behavior went from POOR as all hell to excellent. in school, at home, socially and mentally he was succeeding. ANYWAYS, i got way OFF topic, ill save the rest of my marijuana rants for another day far far away, after i get my main point across. which will take a very long time and will hopefully make an awesome, helpful book someday.

the scent of the coming fall season

i cant explain how exhilirating it is to have my five sense back, my feelings and emotions back. for so long i was blind to the beautiful things nature offers to our senses. the smell in the air this morning prompted me to write this. for people that have never suffered addiction or watched a loved one suffer, they probably will never understand how its possible to go so long without noticing such remarkable things, or how one can live for years in a row without ever really feeling a true emotion. today, the smell of Fall on the way made me realize what i was missing and all that ive gained back since becoming sober and becoming a mother. these fulfilling scents didnt matter to me back then, i probably never noticed them. there was no excitement when the color of the leaves changed. there wasnt a smell in the world that made me feel like i did this morning. there wasnt a thing that made me happy come to think of it. i wouldnt wish addiction on my worst enemy. who wants to miss out on seasons changing? i definitley didnt, but i did. thats because that wasnt me, it was my selfish, greedy, careless, emotionless face of addiction.

here are some examples of things i missed out on or paid no mind to whatsoever while in active addiction, things that today, i take in with the greatest sense of peace :

-the smell of the seasons changing. winter is an icy, sinus clearing strong smell. fall is a crisp, clean, fresh scent. summer is a hot, stuffy, but very pleasent exciting smell preparing you for all the fun the weather brings.

-the smell of fresh cut grass.

-the sunrise and sunset.

-the shapes clouds make and the crazy impossible-seeming colors they morph into.

-the squirrels in my backyard eating acorns and fighting eachother for the biggest one.

-the birds flying south for the winter.

-the fresh feeling after a shower, bath and a toothbrush.

-the high great music gives you.

-the peacefulness of sober sleep.

-waking up feeling refreshed (sometimes! no matter the amount of sleep, being a mom makes me constantly tired and wanting more sleep).

-paying my own bills, on time everytime. having money for all my own needs and wants and not having to ask my mom for money for everything i needed back then. (that included festivals, clothes, cigarettes, gas money, food.) when i wasnt self supporting by selling shit (and thankfully not getting arrested), i never had a dime to my name.

 

thats all for now but i have much more to add later. mommy duty calls, its time for my beautiful son Jasper to wake up and play hard for the next couple hours, before finally and gratefully laying down for OUR morning nap.

 

get it all out there

Ive been trying to decide for a long time now, well a year to be exact, how exactly i should go about getting my story out to the world. i want to help people that are going through what i did, but i also want people who know me to hear the truth, feel what i felt, to know how i got sucked in and that the person stealing and lying wasnt really me. it was my drug addicted self, unaware of the pain i caused others  while causing my own. struggling to find a calling in life, not seeing any special path for me, so just accepting my fate and thinking id screwed up too bad to change. im not an avid blogger, in fact ive only blogged once back in seventh grade on Xanga. anyone remember that crap? haha i guess maybe that doesnt count? bare with me here while i do my best to give you a harsh visual of what my “life” was really like while i was in active addiction.

i wish the years i journaled had been typed online instead because theres so much detail in those written down thoughts, theyd be perfect as a background story to this one. the story of my battle against my self and my heroin addiction. the story of the last four years of my life. it all leads to this perfect beginning to this new chapter of my dramatic storybook life. the beginning of motherhood, parenthood, sobriety and unconditional love.