Happy Birthday, Caiden! (Final Post)

The last installment in my reminiscing of Caiden’s life and how he got to 6 years old.

In May of 2008, I had my second child, Brendan. I’ll tell you a lot more about him when it gets to being his birthday. I only tell you about his birth to give a time/date reference. Ex #1 got laid off in July, shortly after Brendan was born and was home without work until the beginning of September ’08. At that time, he got a job working out of state for four weeks at a time. In August of this year, we learned from the bank holding onto our mortgage that we could move back into our marital home and were being given a second chance to set things to right after the huge fiasco of Caiden’s birth. I was in charge of moving my family (not yet 2 year old Caiden and 3 month old Brendan) back into the home while daddy was far away at work. My in-laws came and helped quite a bit but it was up to me to make sure everything happened and we were resettled into where we belonged.

In October of 08, two things happened. The first, I rented an office in town to work from (my computer repair work) and secondly, my back went out. Typically, it is a day or two and I’m back on my feet. This time, it lasted until July of 09. I fought to keep my business going and failed miserably. I fought to keep my little family together and failed miserably.

It was the Tuesday before Christmas of 08 when I finally hit rock bottom. I called my dad; he was busy with a holiday party with family. I called my pastor; he was busy with a holiday thing at church. I had near no one else to call. I dialed the number for the local police – county, not city – and told them that they just need to send someone to talk to me. I needed a human voice. They sent a couple officers over who, after checking my children to make sure they were healthy and well, sat down and chatted with me for a time. When they left, they called my pastor and told him what was going on – I didn’t tell them to but during the conversation, they asked who my pastor/church was and so they knew from that. The pastor came over and spent some time with me, as well.

My back continued to plague me into the new year and eventually, I got to where I was taking my children to daycare and dropping them off as early in the morning as I could and then heading straight home to lay flat on my stomach on the couch until I had to go and pick them up. It’s a wonder I didn’t get them taken away from me, during all that. My back was so bad, when I picked up children up around 5 p.m. or even as late as 6 p.m., I would have to stand on my feet until they went to bed or risk not being able to get back up again. Mind you, at this same time, I had a child who didn’t sleep easily at night and I hadn’t quite taken him to get evaluated, yet.

I called family. In January, I was told to, “Shut the **** up and be a mom. Moms go through this all the time.” Any help I begged for was rejected. No one knew how bad it was because no one cared to find out. I was still nursing the baby – Brendan – through all of this, when he would come home from daycare. Poor little Caiden took the brunt of things because he was older and I expected too much from him.

I’m ashamed of how I acted towards Caiden and I’m surprised, every day, that he still loves and accepts me as his mother. My back pain was so terrible, I wouldn’t go to the grocery store because it was too much time sitting in a car – and it was a manual, meaning my left leg had the work the clutch to go forward.

In February ’09, in a desperate need for some sort of affection lacking in my marriage, I hooked up with a man (one time) and officially had an affair. I tried so hard and failed miserably. All I wanted was someone to care and try to help me fix it all. I tried to talk to the husband but, since he was miserable at work for 4 weeks at a time, he wasn’t much good/use. It was a miserable time and I had finally broken. The super-strong woman that can handle just about anything had finally given up and didn’t care about a damn thing. I had given up on life and didn’t give a fig about what did or didn’t happen, at that point.

In April, my then-husband was laid off from work. I told him to not bother coming home. I was done with him. We fought like cats and dogs and he finally moved out in June of 09. He went back to work for the same company in June of ’09. More financial hardships ensued. In July of 09, I found a doctor who finally figured out what happened to my back. While I was carrying Brendan, my hips had shifted and was laying too much pressure on my spine to keep me going. I have permanent damage to my back from the United States Navy but this latest was too much, my spine was giving up.

The doc put my hips back in place and I started to feel relief. It was a month or two and I was back to my version of “normal.” Occasionally, I still have bouts where my back hurts and I lay down – but, for the most part, I am good to go and feeling great. But, the damage had been done. My mother said once that it was a good thing I had a hysterectomy (medical problems) in January 2010, the next baby might permanently destroy my body.

My marriage was over. I was losing my home. My Caiden didn’t trust me (even if Brendan did) and the entire world was falling apart. I would have done anything to get rid of it all and just “go away.” I wanted to leave the boys and just run. Rebuild my life elsewhere.

But, I was a mother. I had to try and pull it back together again. I flailed around and, in early 2010, the Veteran’s Administration finally recognized the problem and adjusted things accordingly. They bumped me to 100% disabled, assigned a fiduciary to pay my bills so, if my back failed again, I would be ok and then a nanny was hired to live in the home and watch out for my children – and myself.

So, when daddy and I start talking about the huge change in Caiden since we moved into this house in May (after leaving the abusive ex #2), we mean it. He’s relaxing into his life and enjoying his life – and learning to trust and love his mommy.

In the fall of 2010, he went to preschool. He started out in the 3-4 year old class but was quickly moved up to the 4-5 year old class by his teacher, Miss Jeanie. He was smart and got bored easily with the younger class. He did great and graduated from preschool in May of 2011. I was so very proud of him!

He has always and still loves water and plays in it as often as he can. He started taking swimming lessons in late 2010 and they did him wonders. Unfortunately, his teacher moved on and he’s without lessons continuing. That’ll be something we’ll have to look into for the near future.

Still crazy and tries to get hurt on a whim… like playing on things he pro’lly shouldn’t. I guess, with y’all, this doesn’t look very dangerous. However, with him? You never know.

This was taken at his preschool graduation. They all went to a local zoo and park. Yes, he still loves trains, even if it is starting to fade a little as his interests grow and mature.

4-Wheeler’s are still a huge part of his life and, every second he can, he hops right on them.

No matter where and who owns it.

His head is still a little larger than the average child’s and he has to purchase adult-sized hats and helmets to be safe.

A picture of his first day of kindergarten. He started out at “School A” and was quickly rejected. They said they wanted him back in preschool. It was a private school, as Idaho state law forbids a child from entering kindergarten before they turn 5. A parochial school was the only hope for getting this over-bright child into a school program he could excel in without waiting for another year.

I moved him, on my own, to the Calvary Chapel he attends at the beginning of October 2011. He started out great and finished the kindergarten program, graduating in May of this year (2012). The change in him is nothing short of remarkable and I know I made the right decision. In August of this year, he started 1st grade – a year ahead of when he was supposed to. They give him rules and structure, something he needs to control his childish nature and excel with students a year older than him.

Playing on the beach in Oregon during Spring Break in April of 2012.

Camping with Daddy, he gets his butt kicked by a stick, around June of 2011.

Picking huckleberries with Daddy, summer/fall of 2011.

Eating the huckleberries. I don’t think he brought very many home at all.

Playing on the trampoline at Uncle Travis’ house. He has always and probably will always love these. Unfortunately, mom refuses to let him have one. That whole “break your neck” thing that terrifies me when it applies to my children. I’m not worried about them falling off as much as falling in the middle and snapping their necks.

Fast forward to yesterday, his birthday. He’s 6 years old. It still astounds me that I am still here. I haven’t quit. I haven’t walked away. I’ve pushed through the hardest things in my life to handle and come out the other side. It’s amazing, to me. Please know that I am not seeking compliments or pats on the back. I say things because I’m setting down a record that, one day in the far future, I’m hoping my child will read and know his momma by.

Very tight on money, right now. Especially with the lawsuit being brought against me by ex #2. Money doesn’t exist in this home right now. I got a call from a very dear friend (and father-figure), telling me he had a gift card for $25 he’d like to give me to use on Caiden’s birthday. That was sweet and started the night in a the best light. Until then, I had told Caiden that he would have his birthday on Sunday – at his party. I wasn’t going to be able to do anything *on* his birthday for him. Because of my dear friend’s generosity, it started the evening off in a way that wasn’t going to happen.

Daddy found an American Express gift card, I had the $25 from my friend and two gift cards for returned toys totaling about $60 at Toys R Us (I was saving those for Christmas) and we set out to give Caiden a birthday when before, we were going to have nothing until payday on this coming Friday.

Dad took him to the local Wal*Mart (because they take American Express gift cards) and Caiden picked out his own cake and frosting (for mommy to make when he left to go to church).

We took him to Toys R Us and told him he could pick out anything he wanted for his birthday. We were there for a little bit, looking at the Super Hero items (which are his current love) and other nonsense.

I think he had a great time and finally settled on a toy he wanted (and, he doesn’t realize it, but he made our jobs easier because he picked out a Halloween outfit for his birthday present!)

Yes. A Batman costume – an official one. This set should last well after Halloween and everyone happy. He is so very much into Batman, right now.

He got a Geoffery king hat and balloon from Toys R Us for his birthday. It was so sweet! The first balloon flew away when we went outside and the lady was very kind and replaced it for him.

Being silly at Pizza Hut. With the $25 from my friend, we popped into Pizza Hut and had fun stuffing our faces before the boys went off to Royal Rangers for the evening.

Doing puzzles on the kids paper at Pizza Hut with dad.

Boys at church, we all pitch in to make the cake as fast as possible.

Dad unwraps the Batman stuff, preparing for Caiden and Brendan to come home. Oh, and at Toys R Us, Brendan just didn’t quite understand that Caiden got presents and he didn’t. He’s 4, it’s ok that he didn’t understand. So, we ended up getting his Halloween costume as well. We all know the saying, “Two birds, one stone.” We had the gift cards, we were able to do it now and not later, so why not. His is Captain America … you’ll get to see it shortly.

The Nanny decorated the house.

Jen brought them home and, “Surprise!” We all started singing happy birthday and he just sat there, beaming with pride and certainty that all was right in the world.

Mom let me use the knife! I really must be getting older!

Birthday spanking time. Well, “Love pats,” as Caiden calls them. I reminded him of why we get birthday spankings, “When you’re first born, the very first thing the doctor does is spank your little butt. When he does that, you cry but, when you cry, you take a breath and that makes you alive. We spank you once a year for your birthday to keep you alive.” He took them wonderfully, even when his little brother got into the fun!

Trying on the costumes and yes, Caiden is in love with his. Brendan will have to grow into his before Sunday.

That’s my boy. I love him and wouldn’t ever dream of giving him up. I’m glad we all survived the last 6 years and I am looking forward to a great deal more years with him. He’s getting so big and so mature – it astounds me that I have a 6 year old.

These have been some of the hardest posts I’ve had to write. I skimmed over some things, got into depth on others but, I hope y’all enjoyed (?understood?) your glimpse into how this baby boy grew into his 6 year old body and this family survived the past 6 years.

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