Friday, May 31, 2013

I Didn't Tell

In the many times I have spoken to different groups about sexual abuse, be it law enforcement, professional therapists, child advocates, child abuse prevention specialists, youth groups, church groups, whoever, I invariably get three questions. First, what signs did you exhibit? Second, How can I protect my own children? Third, what stopped you from telling anyone?
The truthful answer to all three questions is I don't know. I don't have one answer that will keep every parent in the know and every child safe. I wish I did. I really wish I did.
As for right now, I am wanting to sorta answer question #3. Every person and situation is totally different but this was my experience.
When I think about that time I just want to scream at that little girl to shout it from the rooftops. I can see now that he is nothing but a coward and he was terrified of me. But I was young, only 12 when he started, and I just didn't have the perspective that I have now.
It would be very easy to say there was a threat of violence but there wasn't. he was much more subtle and manipulative than that. Months before anything ever happened, he began treating me specially. I would be with one of his many daughters and he would single me out for a joke, a treat, whatever. Previously, he was abrupt, even scary to me. But suddenly he was treating me like a friend, earning my trust. He would even show up at my school and take his son and me to lunch.
At the same time he was doing similar things for my parents. He was gave them deals on dentistry, asked them to join his scripture study group, asked them to have dinner, etc.
At the time the abuse started, he held a high rank in my church (bad people can be found in every religion), was  my dentist, was a great family friend, the trusted dad of my friends, and had even given me a job washing instruments at his office. So imagine my confusion when he first kissed me. I mean, he was skip, my friend! He wouldn't do something wrong, would he??
As the abuse progressed from kissing to more, I tried my best to make it all right in my head. But at times I just couldn't reconcile it with what I was feeling, and then I would avoid him or pretend that I was too sleepy, or flat out refuse. That is when the guilt trips started. He would refuse his kids things they wanted and his look was enough to let me know it was my fault. His kids soon learned that if their dad was happy, they would get stuff and I was the key to his happiness. Sometimes he would seek me out to tell me about his sadness or inability to sleep and let me know that I could change all that. As a 12/13 year old it was too much to handle. Once, I even told him that I just felt it was wrong. It seemed to me that what he was doing was against church doctrine not to mention that I was feeling horrible.
His answer makes my skin crawl, even 20+ years later.
He told me that it was God's plan for a man to love a woman this way. We knew each other before this life and were meant to be together.
See? Skin crawl.
To a little girl, this made no sense but he was a grown up and had a high calling in my church. He must know better than I did. Right?
Also, at the same time, he would tell me things like the way I walked, or the way my mouth moved when I talked, or even my innocent like of babies, were a huge turn on to him and he could not control himself. I remember trying to pay attention to and change things.
In my head, this was adultery and that was a sin right up there with murder. By admitting it to anyone...catastrophic to a little girl.
I remember praying and praying for forgiveness and for him to stop. I didn't realize that I had NOTHING to be forgiven for.
Eventually it did stop and suddenly I found strength I never knew I had to keep it stopped. I know that I was blessed to find that strength at that time.
There is a lot that happened after that day but that's for a different day. After all of those yucky memories, I need some cookies!

Friday, May 17, 2013


On most mornings I get up, get the kids ready for school, take them and then race home and fall back in bed. I am not sure exactly why but my body just has a reeeeally hard time in the mornings. I try to plan morning appointments or activities for one morning a week but it usually ends up being two.
Yesterday morning I had to take Tommy to the dentist at 11:00.  We barely made it. Tommy dressed himself which is always interesting, Jain begged to wear the same dress she wore to school the day before and frankly, I didn't have the energy to worry about it so she got her way.
At the dentist Tommy went back and Jain and I stayed in the waiting room. Luckily there are iPads and other games so she thinks it is a treat. I went back and forth between Tommy and Jain.Jain saw a little boy from her class and was all excited to talk with him. I was totally embarrassed that his mom saw Jain in the same dress as at school and hair only brushed, not totally done. As I have said before, I just want to wear a sign that says "I HAD A STROKE, LAY OFF!"
A lady came in with her daughter and grandsons and immediately recognized me. "You come in to my store!" It was one of my many awkward moments. She had to remind me what store it was and we had a nice chat while we waited. I'm not totally positive if she recognized me because I shop too much in her store or if my face is hard to forget. Probably both. Don't tell my husband ;)
When we were done, Tommy just wanted to go home and rest. He climbed right in my bed and after I gave him some Ibuprofen, he didn't want me to leave his side even for a second. He watched a show but was always touching me. His foot was touching mine, then he put his hand on my arm. or he lifted my arm and snuggled under it.
I don't like when he doesn't feel 100% but I love that he gets so snuggly. It just makes my heart happy. I just love the constant reminders of why I became a mom and why I am thankful to be here with my kids.
In church on Sunday I had my phone with me because it has my scriptures on it. I had put it on silent but I forgot to turn off driving mode. Robert texted me from another part of the building and it announced, "New message from Robert Carlson." My cheeks went totally red and the ladies around me started to laugh. I am always so careful about that because I think it's so rude to have it interrupt. Here is the message:
"I sure love you. I'm glad you stayed with me. It wasn't your time to go. Our kids wouldn't have it any other way, for sure."
I just sat there with tears rolling down my face. Well, the left side since my right eye doesn't produce enough moisture to cry.  Karen, sitting next to me, wondered what the deal was so I showed her the text. She got all emotional, too. It wasn't even an emotional part in the lesson! Embarrassing but totally worth it.

Now to switch gears. I heard this morning that Frances Monson, wife of  President Thomas S. Monson, passed away. What a glorious homecoming that must have been! What a wonderful, faithful woman. She will be greatly missed, especially by her family. Although he understands the joy of the occasion, I'm sure President Monson will miss her terribly and count the minutes until they can be together again.

Not that we are like them, but this is exactly how Robert and I walk. I knew it felt right!

Friday, May 10, 2013


Wednesday, Robert and I took Aleq to see his doctor and I felt that progress was made. He really listened to our concerns and talked at length with Aleq. He had previously told us that although Aleq's previous Psychiatrist was leaning towards Bipolar, He felt that Aleq was too young to make such a call.
After listening to everything we were saying, he decided that Aleq was not too young and made the diagnosis of Atypical Bipolar. Really that means that Aleq does not fit all the symptoms perfectly. He has mood disturbances but not the extremes that we might expect. For instance, his High mood is exhibited by the complete inability to sit still, rapid talking, etc. His Low mood is exhibited by irritability and maybe pouting in a chair for about 45 minutes. This may change, of course, and either get better or worse. I'm betting worse.
The medications he has been on to treat ADHD were actually doing more harm than good. They were actually causing his highs and lows to be more frequent, last longer, and causing sleeplessness which is the kiss of death for kids like him. His doc doesn't usually act so quickly on meds but he is quickly weaning him off all ADHD meds and is planning to treat him totally differently.
One might think that this diagnosis would be very difficult to hear. However, I am just so happy to know what we are dealing with and finally be able to make decisions and changes that will hopefully help my poor guy.
It has been 3 days of weaning and already I am seeing a difference. He is a joy to be around. Last night we did 2 pages of math homework which would usually end in tears for both of us, frustration, incomplete homework, and a possible meltdown. But he completed the whole thing, we both laughed at funny mistakes, and we were happy upon completion. He also told me that he could not explain to me how much he loved me because there were no words that big. He had a very enjoyable conversation with Robert just before bed and was asleep by 9:15.
Of course he was bothering his brother and sister and seemed to have more energy than usual but I have my boy back for today.

Friday, May 3, 2013


Jain told me that if she were magic, she would have me have another baby and not have strokiness. Uh...
I would love not having strokiness and Robert, who wanted at least one more baby, would be happy! I, on the other hand, felt and still feel very satisfied with three critters. I had even asked my doctor about having my tubes tied right after giving birth. But, it wasn't totally my call so I agreed to not do anything permanent.
Then I had a stroke. I was told that having more babies would pretty much be a death sentence.
So I got my way. It wasn't exactly how I would have chosen but  in my life of so many...well...sucky things, I'll take some good results any way I can get them.
Maybe in the next life?