Saturday, May 16, 2009

As Shrek Says...

...better out than in.

Today, still pondering the source of my negative thinking processes of the past couple of weeks, I'm feeling ready to explore them more openly.  I've been trying very hard to balance enjoyment of my new found freedoms with the unease I've experienced over changing my daughter's and our own living arrangements.  To begin, let me just say that Rachel IS happy, and blossoming.  She loves her new roommates and has, over the course of a month, found new loot to plunder.  She always ways a nosy young girl-forever stealing things that never belonged to her-and now she has 3 new people to swipe things from.  I think they've all got her figured out though and are learning to shut their bedroom doors in order to protect their possessions.

Feeling relatively pleased, not to mention relieved, I'm thrilled for my daughter that the changes for her have been positive.  Her caregivers are responsible and nurturing.  Not one of them strikes me as unreliable.  One is a little goofy, but not in a bad way-more in an eccentric way.  Her primary caregiver has turned out to be the best, and I'm always confident when I know she is around.  Although I've never asked her, I'm quite certain her sexual orientation is different from mine.  That doesn't bother me in the least.  Her appearance with full sleeved tattoos doesn't either.  My daughter appears to adore her, and I've grown to like her too.  In addition, Rachel's roommates are loving their new living arrangements.  The one I worried about the most, is doing the best.  She is stable, pleasant, outgoing and her own health has improved significantly now that she is in a supervised setting.  

After about a month away, I started to let my guard down and tried to learn to relax.  I joined the spinning class and started going out for late night dinners or a drink with my husband.  I can stay up late on a weekend without worrying about Rachel being awake at 6 AM and needing my attention.  In short, I was beginning to enjoy myself.  Then the phone rang.

It was a weekday afternoon when Rachel's primary caregiver called to discuss my old neighbor Quickhide.  It seems Quickhide has taken it upon herself to criticize everything that's going on in Rachel's Place including, but not limited to, the following litany of complaints:
  • I could never abandon a child of mine like that.
  • If you put the garbage cans on the side of the house, I will call the city to complain about you.
  • Rachel's mother is going to hell for doing this to her.
  • Why are you people coming and going like that?
  • I'm going to complain that they are running a business from this house.
  • I don't like where you put the garbage cans so close to my lawn on Sunday nights.
  • Why are there black women taking care of Rachel?
  • It's a sin what they did just leaving their daughter like this.
  • I refuse to look at those garbage cans you have on the side of the house.
  • If that school bus wakes me up one more time, I will call the police.
  • I feel so sorry for what they did to their daughter.
I couldn't make this rubbish up if I tried.  I was dumbstruck, and so was the caregiver.  Since the primary complaint, besides her disdain for my parenting techniques, seemed to be centered around trash cans, I told the caregiver to hide them in the back of the house.  Then I waited-too stunned to do anything at the time.  And therein lies the crux of my problem.  You see, it goes against my grain to be so tolerant in the face of cruelty, bigotry and downright meanness.  Quickhide needed a comeuppance in my book.  I spoke with the county facilitator who manages the home and she told me that the best thing to do is to placate this woman.  Not feeling able to do this, I gave the job to my husband.  After all, who was better suited to talk to a crazy Syrian woman, than one who was raised by a half-mad Syrian father?

I know in my heart that I can't sway the thoughts of others, and I don't mind that so much.  What I do mind is why people feel it's their job to vocalize their uninformed and hateful opinions.  The house is clean, the yard is well kept, the women are quiet.  Yes, some of her caregivers are women of color or differing sexual preferences.  So what?  Does that make them less worthy of working with these women?  My husband told me that Quickhide said the one with the tattoos was, what was that?  Oh yeah, "she's a rough one."  Please.  She has tattoos.  That makes her tough, not rough. I've come to rely on this particular woman the most.  Of all of Rachel's new caregivers, this woman seems to have it all going on.

I'd hoped that having my husband talk with her would be the end of it, but sadly, it isn't.  She is still making her passive-aggressive comments to the staff and they're all very personal barbs about my abandonment of Rachel.  And I'm doing  a very slow burn, but inching toward the boiling point.  When unleashed, my temper is an impressive and frightening thing to behold.  In my fifteen years of avoiding Quickhide, she has never seen my temper.  I worry that's about to change.

Lord, please give me the wisdom I need to deal with the ignorance and hatred of others in a more peaceful way than I'm currently feeling, and grant me the insight I need to appease people who seem impossible to please.  And Lord, I know this may sound a bit cheeky, but if I have asked for patience (or strength) in any way, shape or form, I'd like to take that back.  I think I've been tested enough.  Amen.


SkippyMom said...

I have no words, except to say I find you an exceptionally strong woman and you will make it through.

It sounds as though Rachel is thriving. For that you should be so proud and happy.


Stephanie V said...

Oh, what a nightmarish situation to be next to, let alone in. Some people just can't help themselves but must judge others and show themselves lacking.
I wish you grace and wisdom as you search for a solution.
Skippy's right: your daughter is in a good place - that's a good thing that you made happen.

Brenda said...

My advice is "Nip It In The Bud". I would advise having a face to face, calm as you can muster up, "discussion" with her. Tell her you heard she has some issues with some things that are going on at the house, and you would like to clear the air. I find these types of people "bullies" that when you stand up to them, they back off. If it were me, I would have to take a backup with me, like a family member to keep me in check. I would definitely have a hard time keeping my temper in my advise may not be too good.
Whomever she is making these remarks to could maybe tell her she needs to either make a legal complaint (which there doesn't seem to be one she could make) or shut the hell up.
Sending your husband over there sounds like it may be a good idea.
Glad that Rachel is doing so well...that is the great part!

WT said...

At the risk of inciting neighbourhood violence, it seems to me that like all bullies, she'll just keep going (and increasing in her invective) until she's shown where the boundaries are (very forcefully).

Rudee said...

Skippy- I feel like a wanna be trash bag right now-more Wimpy than Hefty.

Stephanie- this woman was always a pain in the behind to deal with.

Brenda- I did send the peacekeeper. She just won't stop being critical of me to the staff. They right to share it because in a way, it's cruel and threatening. THings are going so well, they don't want the boat to rock.

WT- it's coming.

Gail said...

Sticks and Stones...remember that one and let the old crab gripe herself out! If no reacts, maybe she won't keep yapping.

You have supplied your daughter with the most wonderful home. She is happy there. You are happy with her happiness. You are a good mother and don't listen to the harpie saying something different.

The staff should handle this on their own. They are professionals, leave it in their hands. As long as you are pleased with the care your daughter is receiving, that is all that matters.

Trying to placate this low grade, will only make her more trouble...NOT HER BUSINESS!

You are tough and full of love...give it to God and He shall take care of it.

distracted by shiny objects said...

Rudee, it's a no-win situation. This woman wants to believe what she wants to believe--perhaps to make herself feel superior. If you ignore her you're a miserable human bean, if you confront her you are also a miserable human bean and she'll have the quotes to prove it. So, since we know what she wants out of it, what do you want? Changing her mind isn't an option. I'm generally too lazy to act out someone else's aggression in their passive-aggressive disorder.Perhaps hubby can take this chore and you can work on relaxing. Preparing your daughter for her future in a world without you is being a good parent. It's what we're supposed to do. Hugs.

debra said...

Passive-aggressive people are impossible to deal with. I think that Distracted's words are wise.


Rose said...

I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. I have no words of wisdom, just good thoughts for you to get through this ugly time.

Joanna said...

In my experience the harsh judgments of others generally come from their own feelings of insecurity. Don't take any of it personally. I'll bet if you just ignore her she may wind down. If that doesn't work, then you can move to another tactic. Meanwhile I hope you can relax knowing that you are doing the very best for Rachel and that she is happy in her new situation.

Anonymous said...

Please don't let one angry and mentally ill arab upset this great life changing event. Rachel is happy and is living the life of any other adult. What you did was an act of love...something she can't relate to..Love you much. And remember to dwell on all of the good that has happened.

Miss 376 said...

The important thing to remember is that Rachel is well, happy and thriving. It's always hard to decide when it's the right time to say something or bite your tongue and keep quiet

laurie said...

i'm too passive, so i will not give you very helpful advice. but i'm glad you vented, which i completely understand.

hate-filled people cannot be reasoned with. they cannot be put in their place. they do not THINK and you can't get them to think.

you could go off on her (and nobody would blame you if you did) and it may be that WT is right, she's a bully and she'll scurry away in fear.

but she might also want revenge, and being a close neighbor she could very likely cause a lot of inconvenience--calling the city for every minor infraction or perceived problem. i suppose that's why the person you spoke to suggested appeasement: it's easier.

nobody cares what she thinks about your parenting skills. nobody. she's an idiot, a bigot, a cruel person and a harpy. everybody knows this. so don't let her comments about trouble you. they're wrong and they're wrong-hearted.

it's so wonderful to hear how well rachel is doing--it's wonderful! i've never met her, but i can just picture her moving through the house, attracted to shiny objects like a lovely magpie, happy with her tattooed helper. it's such a wonderful and generous thing you have done, not just for rachel but for all the women who live there. focus on that.

Anonymous said...

I read this with such sadness and anger in my heart. Ignorance and a lack of any of understanding about what a beautiful thing you and your husband have done is uncalled for and out and out mean. This woman is obviously just looking for things to complain about and is wanting to get reactions.
I dislike mean and ignorant people, who are usually acting out due to a great unhappiness in their world.

I understand the need to confront her, how dare she question your mothering skills. I would do it in a letter form, put it all right there. You don't owe her that, nor should you expect her to change her views, but at least you can vent and get out what an ass she is.

The beautiful think about all this is Rachel and how she is growing and learning. Put all your energy on your daughter, like you always have, and how this is turning out to be such a good thing for your family. You have and always had Rachel's best interests at heart. Someone told me that is you get in a fight with a pig, you'll get dirty and the pig will like it. Something like that. Follow that logic, have clear boundaries set with the caregivers, like if she has anything negative to say about you and your husband, she will have to discuss that with you. Don't let them give her the chance to spew her crap at them, the coward. Stick to the trash issue or any other house type issue that she thinks is a problem. Bottom line, you usually can't change narrow minded people, but learning how to deal or not deal with them, gives you the power. Easier said than done, but I believe this.
Good luck, and I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this.


Flutterby said...

Isn't there a wise old adage about high fences making good neighbors.

Rudee said...

Look at how wise all of you are. I will endeavor to keep my tongue silent. I promise. I will let my husband, who really is a pro at this, continue to take on Quickhide.

I will remember that Rachel is happy and so are her roommates. Two of them have had their dreams come true by getting to "live on their own," one got to leave the psychiatric hospital because this was a perfect and safe solution for her. The four of them are forming a new and unusual family of their own.

I will remember that because we opened this home, six unemployed women now have full time jobs. SIX.

I will remember that this would have to happen sooner or later-best it happen while I'm still on this earth to guide the concept into being the way I want it to be.

I will remember that my old neighbor harbors much hatred and cruelty in her heart and try as I might, I can never change this. Best to remain silent.

Thank you all for you sage advice. I should have spoken up sooner...

debra said...

And I send healing thoughts to your neighbor. How much pain she must have to act this way.

Rositta said...

Rudee, know that you have done the best thing no matter what. Appeasement doesn't work though, eventually something's got to give. Who comes and goes from the house is none of this woman's business. Sounds like she's not only bigoted but racist as well, not a pretty thing...ciao

Cynthia J Hollenbeck said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing. Obviously, you did what was best for your daughter and that shows more love and compassion than I've seen in a while. Turn off the "bad tapes" and don't listen. You are an extraordinary woman and mother.

NCmountainwoman said...

I have no words of wisdom. But I do believe that this woman will not change regardless of any action you may take. I suspect that she simply doesn't like the idea of a group home in "her" neighborhood. I would be inclined to instruct the staff not to talk or listen to this woman. Give them a specific and consistent response to use. Perhaps she will no longer feel rewarded for her harsh words if no one will listen to them.

You have done a wonderful thing; for your daughter and the other young women, and for the staff who care for them.

Ruth said...

Everything has already been said ((( HUGS ))) from me.

Sandy said...

Not that you probably want my advice but I say, walk up to her door, punch her lights out and run.

but seriously, sorry you are having to deal with this...some people are just ignorant, bigoted, narrow minded and ...oh I could go on...but I feel for ya.

I'd tell them all to ignore her and let her bitch! And if she doesn't stop, maybe a few hard glances her direction from the "rough" one will put her in her place and scare her. If that doesn't work maybe my out of work son could get a job there helping at the house...he has full sleeve tattoos on both arms...and a shaved head, that would scare her.

Betty Flocken said...

OH RUDEE! What an awful awful woman. I'm so sorry. What an ignorant B

Jane said...

Rudee - you know that you are doing the best thing for Rachel and for her new friends/family. Allowing them to have the freedom to spread their wings in this way is priceless and the sign of an intelligent and good parent.
As for Quickhide. This isn't about you, it's about her. She has issues with the situation because she has issues with herself. Sadly there is nothing anyone can do about that except see it for what it is - a sad, lonely, bored woman with nothing better to do.