Sunday, November 13, 2005


"Stuck in the Middle"

Joey, the middle child; only son; named after his father out of default.

Joe was born in 1983 on Labor Day; fitting, hunh?  He was an enormous baby....9 lbs. 15 oz.  Darned near killed me giving birth to him.

He was my most difficult baby.  He cried constantly and never slept.  He didn't sleep thru the night until he was 18 months old.  He would take 45 min. cat naps and be up for 4 or 5 hrs. in between screaming.  I had a permanent dent in my hip from slinging him face forward on it.  His father paid absolutely no attention to him from the day he was born.  On the other hand, my father fell in love with Joey.  Joey never cried at all when my father was around, which was quite frequently for my sanity's sake.  A bond was formed.

Joey was a minnie Houdini.  There wasn't a cabinet lock he couldn't remove in seconds.  There wasn't a car seat he couldn't escape from.  There was nothing in our house that he didn't take apart at least twice.  He walked at 8 months and ate everything he could get his hands on.  The Poison Control Center knew my name.

He hated Megan when she was born.  He was not quite three and couldn't hide his total disgust of having a baby in the house.  My parents interceded and kept him for most of the summer when she was born.  He thrived and began to view my father, his grandfather, as his father figure.

He struggled with school, sandwiched in between two sisters who excelled without trying.  My sensitive child.  He hated any type of change.  He was ready to come home the next day when we went on vacation.  He was totally terrified of his father.  And somehow I missed all this.

My mother and father missed none of it and tried to tell me over and over that my ex was destroying my two oldest children.  Joey would beg them to let him stay and not go home if his dad was there.  What was I thinking?

My father died in 1994.  So did 3/4 of my son's heart.  Joey (I call him that to seperate the images of him from his father).  He began a descent into the dark hole of clinical depression, and I started my mission of making my son whole again.  It was a very long mission and tore me to pieces.

He has spent years with one of the best adolescent psychiatrists in Pgh.  This doctor saved my son's life.  It took many medication adjustments and sheer will and determination on Joey's part to dig and scratch his way out of that hole.  I understood his pain because I was clinically depressed at 19, and it took me many years to scratch my way out of that hole.  It hurt far more to watch my child deal with it.

I sold our old house to my ex and moved 50 miles away.  Joey thrived in this area and thrived without the presence of his father.  Sad.  He was able to attend school again.  For three years, he had been home tutored by the school district at our old place.

He loves his Mustang.  It's similar to the one with a white convertible top. He worked three jobs to buy it when he was 17. He is an excellent mechanic. I can't find a pic of the real thing which I know is in this computer because it's our screensaver.

He is doing extremely well now.  He has come to grips and accepted the fact that some fathers just do not measure up to others.  He doesn't care anymore.  He still misses my dad but hasn't gone into any deep depressions for a good many years.

His main problem right now is decision making and what to do with his life.  His doctor has said that adolescents who suffer from a crippling depression are at  least 4-5 yrs behind their peers in maturity. 

We went to the Naples, Fla. area in Aug.  He had his life plans drawn up.  He was going to take golf course manangement and irrigation system repair at Edison College and stay with his "adopted" motherwho has a condo there.  The only problem was the mom had moved a man into the condo who wasn't her husband. I pulled the plug on this and made him come home. He had already survived one "war of the roses."  He didn't need another. He was furious with me.  But we had a blast in Fla.

So, Joe still lives with me.  He love both of his sisters.  My three Musketeers.  When Megan isn't around, he "tortures" me i.e. teasing.  He has gone full scale into job hunting this past week...yeah!  He still doesn't have any idea what to do with his life but he will find out.  He is only 22 and has beaten every obstacle placed in his way so far.

My only son, Joey, boy, you make my heart swell with admiration.  What you have survived would kill the spirit of the best of us.  Life will open many doors for you.....all you have to do is step through....and you will.  I know it.

And so I've come to the end of my pages for my children.  Thank God!  Becky and Joey's were so hard to write because I've had to view my own inadequacies as a mother.  That's a tough thing to do.  Love and a strong faith has healed and brought us all through the fire.  The bond between my children and me is insurmountable.  This is something their father will never know or understand.  His loss, truly.  LOL...and no, Joey, I DO NOT have a favorite child........quit asking.


bignewmanut said...

What an amazing story and as far as parental inadequacies, I see none. Most parents would have given up and put their kids in a hospital, YOU save your sons life not the Doctor!!!!!

pennietoonz said...

Oh Chris, again you made me cry. I agree with what Jeff said. I think you`re an incredibly strong woman and I`m betting your children are too.

kdcutie26 said...

Oh Chris!!  I just wish that you were my mommy too.  You just love your babies so much and have done so much for them.  What a woman you are...
Katie Jane

xxroxymamaxx said...

I loved the stories of your children.  Your immense love for them is evident.  Joey sounds like a great guy!  GBU, Shelly

sherilynjaz said...

This was so nice.  Thanks for sharing your son with us.

queenb8261 said...

Great entry. Thanks for sharing your son's story with us.
Hugs, Barb  

lanurseprn said...

This is a beautiful entry!  Thanks for sharing that with us.

thegirlnexdoor77 said...

I too have to face my own inadequacies as a mother with my two oldest as well....but the thing is you don't hide from them...I know many who do....take care and thanks for heart goes out to Joey cause...I too know deep depression...hugs to you...TerryAnn

siennastarr said...

Oh, Chris.. what a wonderfully written tribute to your son.  Our kids mean so much to us, don't they?  Every pain and insecurity that they suffer, we suffer right along with them.
I'm glad that Joey got the help he needed and has moved forward in his life.

Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story.


debbiewebb4465 said...

More hugs Chris, big bear type hugs!!!! I'm so glad Joey got the help he needed. You are a wonderful Mom Chris, with wonderful children too :-) I love the way you linked back to these entries so I got the chance to read them. Thank you!
Love ya Debbie ~xxxxxx~

sugarsweet056 said...

{{{}}} from Sug