People often rely on “signs” to help guide them in times of indecision or difficulty. They’ll pray to God, ask the Universe, or otherwise try to speak a solution into existence. It’s a human quality to request guidance from outside sources when we are lost.
I’m not lost, per se, though I’m beginning to suspect the sign from the universe as not even close to what I was expecting.
2020 has already thrown a barrage of curveballs at us collectively between pandemics, political unrest, a long burning fight against racial inequality is coming to a boil, and… *checks notes* murder hornets. It’s also had a toll on me personally between loss of beloved pets, dissolution of longtime friendships, and a never ending battle with balancing mental health.
And the scary part is it’s only June. There’s still half a year left, and I have a feeling there’s a hard left turn up ahead in the next few months.
I asked the Universe for a sign. That was the first problem. Let me explain the situation I’m sitting on:
I’m going to try to explain everything without getting longwinded, but it does require a hefty bit of exposition to understand where I’m coming from, so bear with me.
So I asked the Universe for a sign, let’s start there…
My son Zackary turned 5 last August. He started (and subsequently finished) kindergarten and grew socially within the class up until such a time that COVID19 required them to stay home. During his time homeschooling, he began to miss his friends. And certain Netflix kid shows featuring a more “full” family than ours gave him the notion to start asking, quite regularly, for a baby brother or sister.
My wife Jessica and I didn’t envision stopping at one child. But certain events happened that made the likelihood of Zackary being an only child rise. And the thought of changing it seemed perpetually tabled.
We decided to leave the decision up to the Universe whether we should or shouldn’t.
That’s Part 1: We considered having another child, but ultimately left it in the hands of the Universe.
Part 2 is a bit more… involved.
Let’s talk about my wife for a minute. Jessica is an incredibly giving and nurturing presence. She forms instantaneous and ironclad bonds with young children and babies without a moment of hesitation. It’s absolutely one of her most amazing qualities. She’s been in the field of childcare in one form or another since she was 16. And if you gave her enough time, I’m certain she’d be able to tell you all about practically every kid she’s ever watched, taught, or cared for… or at very least, a handful of her favorites from every place she was employed. And the bond wasn’t soon forgotten; we were in Aldi one time and when we ran across another family shopping. And the boy, probably 5 at that point, saw her and ran down the aisle and gave her a hug. When he left, she mentioned that he was from a center she hadn’t worked at in years, and that he was 2 when she had him in her room. She remembered him, and more shocking, he remembered her from such a young age and years later. It’s really a special gift she has.
Over the last 2+ years, she has been working as a Home Health Aide assigned to a family about four streets away from where we live. I’m going to be changing the names for “reasons”. She’s helping out a single mom “Maggie” with her two girls “Lisa” (then 9, now 11) and “Rosalyn” (then 4, now almost 6). Lisa has a litany of challenging debilitations, including autism (verbal), intermittent seizures, and defiance disorder; part of that disorder includes sudden violent outbursts. Rosalyn has ADHD and some minor complications stemming from being born several weeks premature. Jess also believes she should be tested for Aspergers Syndrome as she has shown signs of it at times. Maggie has several issues herself including Type 2 diabetes and, as Jess has observed in the last few years, early onset dementia that she is in fervent denial about. Despite her obvious need for a home nurse, Maggie never requested one. Jess was hired to help normalize life for the two girls, but because she is generous to a fault, she also helps Maggie with her shopping, meals, dishes, housework–all of which is NOT in her job description.
Side note: My number 1 pet peeve in this life is people taking advantage of others, especially watching people blatantly do it to my wife. People who take advantage of the kindness of others knowing they can’t say “no” is infuriating to me. Jessica gives and gives and gives until there is nothing left for herself. I’ve seen it time and time again by parasites who asked her to babysit 7 hour marathons without paying her, asking for money without paying back, and making audacious requests knowing she’ll say Yes. And yes, it’s unfortunately and obliviously happened to me (and my son) as well, and yes, I was just as peeved when I realized that I had done it. I’ve tried to check myself more often the longer our relationship has gone. The quickest way to get on my shit list is to take advantage of her.
I do not like Maggie. I, of course, sympathize with her conditions, but I’ve learned to spot a leech a mile away. I’m sorry if that sounds insensitive, it’s not my intention. Maybe a good example to see where I’m coming from resides in this; Jess is expected to work Monday through Friday from 12:30pm to 8:30pm. From the get-go, Maggie would guilt trip Jess into staying late with no overtime, working on weekend days without getting paid, constantly bringing home her laundry to get done, buying food for her children out of her own pocket because Maggie didn’t go grocery shopping. Things like that wore her down, and that’s what ticks me off
(She’s also a flat-earther, but that’s neither here nor there…)
But that’s just what Jessica does; she does it to truly help people and not just half-ass it to get a paycheck like many other HHA’s unfortunately do. It’s admirable to an egregious fault.
Let me tell you just how egregious that extent is, and let this serve a precursor to Part 3… This past September, Maggie had an infection caused by some complications from her diabetes. She nearly had to get her foot amputated. But they saved the foot, and she ended up spending a month in a rehab facility trying to learn how to walk again.
That entire month, she was unable to care for Lisa and Rosalyn. Guess who did.
Lisa would come over to our house most of the day and then be dropped off at her grandparent’s home to sleep. Rosalyn… basically lived with us the entire month. Oh, by the way, this was also the first month of kindergarten for my son and Rosalyn, but because where Maggie lived crossed school districts, even though it was only four streets down, Zack and Rosalyn went to different schools. Absolutely none of this was required by her job; despite the setback, her job description still states 8 hours, Monday through Friday. By offer to doing this, she goes far above and beyond her call of duty.
So during the month of September, Jessica was effectively working 24 hours a day, getting paid for 8 of it, pulling double school duties, and having to keep Lisa placid; remember, her defiance disorder often led to violent outbursts, and I told Jess if she did that to or in front of Zack, I would lose it. And she agreed. It’s a big reason she spent nights at her grandparents; well, no, check that, she spent the night elsewhere because there was nowhere else for her to sleep. Even then, it took a lot of hemming and hawing from the grandparents to even agree to that; they practically “expected” Jessica to do all this extra mileage without assistance. I almost went apeshit on them, but luckily was talked down.
Maggie was eventually allowed to return home, and Lisa and Rosalyn returned home, and things returned to “normal” (what the fuck is normal?).
The job seriously wears her down. I often… literally at least twice a week… ask why she doesn’t just ask for a reassignment to a different case. She’ll always deflect and say that’s in the best schedule for us to take care of our son: 4 out of 5 days I work in the morning, and she works in the afternoon/evening. But that ability of hers to forge connections with the children in her care has every bit to do with it too. I see it. Those kids adore her, and though she’s a professional, Jessica does as well.
Ok, I tell you all of that information so we can catch up with the events of this past week…
Last week, Maggie tripped and broke a couple ribs. It was the latest in a run of unfortunate health matters. She went to the ER, though there’s not much you can do with broken ribs besides rest. They prescribed morphine for her to bring home. On Tuesday, it became apparent that she wasn’t in the best condition to take care of her kids once Jessica left. So she packed them up for a sleepover and brought them home.
They’ve been here since then.
Jessica went in on Wednesday to find Maggie was passed out on the couch, gauged up on morphine. So she kept her kids at our home for another night. The next day, same scene. Jess got Maggie’s mother involved. When she got there, she reported that Maggie’s blood sugar was through the roof after she, evidently, removed the insulin pump manually, left it on the floor, and took copious rounds of morphine. After consulting with her friend from church, she spoke at length about how Maggie told her she was feeling useless, hopeless, and tired of being sick and hospitalized. Jess, the friend, and the mother conferred and agreed she was trying to give up, and the act of removing the insulin pump was intentional.
Maggie is Baker Acted now and in the hospital. We’ve re-enacted the same childcare situation with Lisa coming to our house during the day and back to her grandparents’ at night while Rosalyn is once again a surrogate sibling for Zackary. Thankfully, Lisa is docile and peaceful at our house. Jessica does a great job keeping her from reaching the point of violence.
This feels way different than that September though. Having the Baker Act called on you is serious business, and it’s very likely DCF will be getting involved. There’s reason to believe that, even with round the clock health aide and assistance, that she’ll be deemed unfit to take care of her children, at very least in the interim.
Last night, Jessica was up crying because she worried what was going to happen to Lisa and Rosalyn. Working with them the past few years has enforced a strong bond with them despite how arduous her job is.
And she floated the notion of, should the situation deteriorate, fostering or straight up adopting them.
There’s still miles to go before that prospect becomes a reality… yet in this day and age, you can go a couple miles in a relatively short amount of time.
I’m beside myself at the moment, mostly because I don’t know how to process that what-if scenario, let alone that the chances of it happening are rising with every update. I’d rather not get into my feelings on the matter because it’s still just speculation at this point, and searching my emotions for something that may not come to pass is a torture in and of itself. As time goes on, if certain things come to pass, I may illuminate on my inner thought process.
But I’m stuck wondering… We asked the Universe for a sign. This is not the sign we expected, if it even is one. I think the fault is we, as a human race, expect the Universe to answer all of our queries in English written in black and white. Signs that we ask for are often ignored.