Quiet night. I'm loving the spring weather! After this looooong, cold winter, I am so happy to feel the warm sunshine and the 80 degree temps today! I got my flowers in the ground, my tomatoes planted, and love watching my hostas come up every year.
I leave for North Carolina in two day! Thursday morning at 4:30 I leave my house to head to the airport with my brother. My heart is torn with this trip. While I'm excited to go, my heartstrings are tied tightly to home and my son who struggles so when I leave him. He's been bumming about this trip ever since it was decided I would go. I'm trying to come up with ways to make it easier for him, even as I know that it's good for him to struggle with missing someone and having to find ways to self-soothe. But I'll be making him a paper chain to countdown the day until I come home (with Katie, Dominic, Mom and Tony!). I think I'll write a message inside each link, so I'm brainstorming ideas for messages. Mom suggested "go outside and look up at the stars at 8pm...I'll do the same, and we'll be looking at the night sky together!" and the Bible verse "I'll never leave you or forsake you. God loves you so much and so do I! Just as Jesus is always with you, I'm with you in my heart too.". Kate suggested "draw or paint a picture for Katie to hang in her new apartment". Just little things to help him remember that he's loved and the time is passing until I get home. I also picked up notecards today that I'll fill out and write messages to him. I'll hide them in various places so he can find them throughout the 12 days that I'm gone. And of course, thanks to the wonders of technology, there will be text messages, phone calls and facebook comments sprinkled throughout the days to close the distance. :-)
Mostly, though, it will be good to get a break from the daily routine, to spend time with my darling nephew and favorite sister, to spend time with my mom, brother, and brother-in-law. To enjoy the WARM WEATHER in North Carolina. We'll be going to a NASCAR race, I guess. And a pedicure/manicure is definitely on the list of MUST-DO's! And, as they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, the mom in me obviously hopes that me not being here doing the hundreds of things that I do for them daily will lead to them not taking me for granted as much when I return.
If you're wondering about Cassie and how she's doing, let's just say that no news is good news. She seems to be mostly on tracke these days. She hasn't skipped school in a few weeks. We haven't found any empty cold medicine boxes or evidence of cigarettes in her room lately. We've got lots of safety nets in place to try and keep her stable. Her social worker meets with her about once a month. Another Nicollet County worker is meeting with her to work through a book about cutting and how to better manage her emotions. She'll be starting a class this summer called "On My Own" to teach her skills to manage life as she nears adulthood. She still sees her psychologist regularly and her psychiatrist every couple months to make sure all is going well with the meds.
I think the thing that has helped the most has been this 24 hour plan that her psychologist and her dad and I put into place. Every 24 hours she has the opportunity to earn her priveleges for the next 24 hours. If she meets our expectations (which she rattled off quite thoroughly, so she knows them!) then she earns her priveleges for the next day. If she doesn't meet them, we have the option of giving her one warning, and then she loses ALL priveleges from that moment until the end of the next day. That includes cell phones (thanks T-Mobile for Family Allowances!), friends, computer, movies, music. The day after we put this into place, she tested us, and ended up losing everything for almost two days (because of the time she chose not to meet the expectations). She did NOT like not having a phone for that long! And because the very next morning she had the opportunity to earn it for the next day, I think that helped cement it in her brain the link between choices and consequences.
Well, the boy is aking me to tuck him in (love that he still wants that at age 11, almost 12!). So I better go do the mom-thing! After all, I won't get to for 12 whole days!
God bless :-)