I've had a feeling for a while that 2014 would be rocky, that 2013 was the 'calm before the storm,' so to speak. I whined the other day about it being stagnant - and it was - but at the same time I think it was what I needed.
I'm sure there will be good, bad and ugly this year just like there is in any other. I just have a feeling that the good will be great, the bad will be very bad, and the ugly will be downright nasty. This year feels like it will be exaggerated.
It's already gotten off to a bang. Oz is up in Kansas today, helping my grandmother sort through some of her stuff so that my mom (and various other people) can clean out the room at the retirement home and move my grandmother into an actual nursing home. Her health has been in steep decline for several months, and she can no longer go without full-time care. My sister, mother and I are all grateful that she got to make it through one last Christmas, but we all are in doubt as to whether she'll see her 90th birthday in March. We've all made our peace with that. It is what it is.
Doodlebug has also been difficult the past few days. Last week I typed up, with great hopes, an electronics usage contract. It basically asked him to be responsible with his electronics usage - don't steal/hack other's devices, don't visit sites you know you shouldn't, and only use the devices for a reasonable amount of time each day - and to follow basic Internet rules like not sharing personal information, not meeting people, etc. It outlined specific consequences for breaking the rules plus offered ways out if he broke the rules and was honest about his behavior as well as a long-term reward (a cell phone, which he desperately wants and will more than likely need when he attends school in August) for keeping the terms of the contract. He read it. We discussed it. He signed it. And then he broke it twice in the first 48 hours… which wouldn't have been as horrid if he hadn't broken the rules in the exact same way each time and lied about it the second time. Then yesterday he had friends over, and the friends 'accidentally' (it may have been an accident, it may not… his friends are his friends and are just as likely to have been in cahoots with the boy as anything else) left their Xbox Minecraft disk behind. So Doodlebug was up at 6 this morning - after ringing in the New Year at midnight last night - playing Minecraft. Ugh.
All in all, none of that would be a big deal. The real problem is that when caught (my friend texted me to let me know the Minecraft case was empty, at which point in time Oz went upstairs and retrieved the disk and found out about the early-morning gaming), Doodlebug imploded. "I hate myself." "I'm just a monster." "I wish you'd never had me." I've seen hints at this vague self-loathing now and then, and every time I hear it we sit down and talk about his feelings and depression, but this was particularly vile, and the boy started punishing himself to boot - it was just offering to make himself do chores all day, but it was self-imposed punishment nonetheless. So we had another chat about those ugly feelings, and I'm going to ask him to share them with his counselor next time we visit. I don't want him to be a suicidal preteen like I was.
So there's 2014 so far. How's yours going?