25 Years: Year 19, 11 – 12

NOTE: more photos will be added later tonight after I can access Facebook.

By our anniversary in 2011, we were feeling okay again. First, we had a lot of things to worry about other than our marriage. Dylan was really struggling in school and was diagnosed with ADHD. Not a surprise, I had been worried about him for over a year. 

Freshly diagnosed and medicated, we took Dylan and Eric to Missouri. We celebrated Thanksgiving and then John and I went to Southern Illinois for his cousin’s wedding. I have always LOVED the Bellamys in Southern Illinois, even his grandma who was awful to everyone. Aunt Mary is my favorite though. Anyway, John and I participated in the song where they have couples stay out for as long as they were married. I don’t know about John, but I was pretty proud that we didn’t have to step out until they said 20 years. There were only a few couples left (the “old guard” as I like to call them). It was the first time I had that feeling of actually succeeding when it came to my goal of “not getting divorced like my parents did.” We were up there, in front of other people, after the crappy year we had just had, and we had done it. We were going to get to 20 years. 

That weekend, I met Andy and Shana for the first time. Andy is John’s NASCAR cousin. I only mention this because it puts a notch on the timeline for when we became stronger fans. We had been fans since 2001, but we were about to shift to something a little more. 

John’s team was getting picked up full time at Dell. That was exciting news! He was enjoying what he was doing. My job was going pretty well. We had more virtual customers than ever before, and I had some strategic accounts. 

There was of course soccer. Alec played for Stony Point his senior year, as well as the club. He also coached. By this point, he was the only one left playing. We had taken Dylan out due to his behavior issues and Eric was playing football in middle school each fall.

We stayed home for Christmas. We had left Alec at home for Thanksgiving, but there was no way we were doing that for Christmas. He was pretty busy with all his friends and activities. Somewhere in there were plays. I feel like there was one in the fall AND one in the spring. We definitely enjoyed that Christmas the best we could. 

2012 kicked off with a bang. Again, non-stop activity for Mr. Alec’s senior year. In there we celebrated birthdays. Eric turned 13 in 2011. I turned 39. Dylan turned 8. John turned 42. And Alec turned the big 18. 

Eric started rowing that spring. It was something he could do in downtown Austin and I could stay late at work and just pick him up when finished. Sometimes John brought him down, and other times he took the Metrorail down. I remember the first time he was going to take the train. He asked what to do if someone tried to sell him meth. We said to say no, and maybe move towards adults. We weren’t worried about it, and I have always been all about making sure my kids weren’t afraid to do things like I am. Would we send Dylan on the train now? Heck no. Times and circumstances change.

We learned that spring that Dylan was also dyslexic and dysgraphic. His problems just continued to snowball. 

John and Alec went to their first Texas Motor Speedway race that April. They met up with the Eskelsons. 

We were attending various banquets and ceremonies for Alec. We had family, lots of family, coming to town. I was planning a GRAND weekend for the boy. 

The week before graduation John started talking to Glenn pretty regularly, I want to say daily if not more than once a day. I know there was a lot of texting. I didn’t know most of what was going on. I try not to pry at least until it’s all finished. John was pretty upset and usually, that makes him close off. 

I sent Glenn a text that night, telling him to just come to Texas and celebrate Alec’s graduation. He was our family too and he was always welcome. That’s the gist of it. I used to have a copy of it but a few phones later it’s been lost in the shuffle. 

I was at work and John called. Glenn killed himself. He found out from Facebook. He was devastated. He hung up to call more people. He gave me numbers of people to contact to try to verify. We tried to divide and conquer. I called Michelle and left a message. I called Kara. I called Leslye. From there, that day is a blur. 

Let me just say, I thought 2010-2011 was bad, it had nothing on this. As a couple, we had only experienced one death that was this BIG, his dad’s. I remembered how that was. I expected this one to have a lot more anger associated with it. 

Did I mention this was the Monday/Tuesday before Alec’s graduation? People were coming in just 2 days. John couldn’t leave to grieve like he needed, because his responsibility was to be here. He participated as much as he could, and family seemed to be okay giving him space. 

For Alec’s graduation, I had a bunch of stuff planned. We had graduation and the party after. We had water balloon fights. The littles and I made jewelry. We went to the water park. We had Family Olympics. We celebrated our un-birthdays (since we are never together for our real birthdays). I kept everyone thoroughly entertained. We wanted to make sure that family was together (or at least I did). We hadn’t been very successful at intermingling our families over the years, and I was determined. We are a hot blended mess and I love every single one of them. (they all love each other too now)

It’s summer again. Alec is getting ready to go to the University of Texas. Eric was going to be in eighth grade when school resumes. Dylan was going to be in 3rd grade. Fortunately, he was about to have a great school year for once. 

Last minute, I decided to take the boys to Florida that July. We stayed at Beth’s. It was a wonderful time and my last adventure with all 3 boys. We had enjoyed many summer adventures throughout the years. I LOVED road tripping with them. 

Alec lived at home that school year. He was attempting to do pharmacology. In hindsight, I wish he had gone to community college for the first two years. I firmly believe kids need to learn how to balance some things and going to community college often allows you to stay at home. Parents can then work with the child on budgets, limits, etc. I would have benefited. My oldest would have benefited.

By the fall of 2012, John was still at Dell. He was struggling emotionally. That’s about the most I can say. This struggle was going to continue for a while and loom over our household like a dark cloud. We’ve tried to talk about it several times and my conclusion is that I will never completely understand, and it’s okay. All I can do is love him, and make sure we communicate. If we communicate, we will be fine. 

I had to take on some more responsibility at work due to a colleague having her baby early. I enjoyed the new accounts, especially the ones that required travel for the foundation. 

Eric played football AND rowed that year. That lifting helped with rowing. There were parts he hated, but I think there were parts he liked. We just wanted him doing something. 

Alec was working, going to school, and had a girl friend. 

We were settling into a new routine. We were slightly lost. More changes were to come. Were we communicating? Not like we should. Although we really were doing the best we could at the time. 

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