8:10 I drop my daughter off a daycare and we give our kisses and good bye waves. I shut the door and look through the peep hole to watch her for just a minute so I can take in the happiness of seeing how she is not only 21 months now but socializing and making friends. I watch as her little friend Taylor brings her a toy and Sophie’s excitement and joy is all over her face as she giggles and jabbers. I turn to leave for work but yet a part of me wants to stay because seeing your child interact with others is not only adorable but hilarious at the same time and always brings a smile to my face.
8:30 I am walking into work with a smile and saying my “good mornings” just as I always do like nothing is wrong and I have the confidence to hold my head up and have it all together. Hair is straightened and perfectly parted with sunglasses hidden as an accessory in my dark hair while my necklace and earrings shine with the light of the windows glaring against them. I have been told many times that I come across intimidating with how well I have it together and how others think I have it all together with not a care in the world and still being a single mother. Little do they know that I have to pray sometimes every few minutes to God to give me peace and emotional comfort. They don’t believe me when I tell them anyways.
8:45 I get my first call. I have been fighting with insurance and begging to get better assistance to not only pay my existing medical bills for my daughter but to get them to pay for evaluations and therapy due to her loss in hearing in her left ear due to an infection during her ear tube surgery when she was a baby. I only want the best and she is not behind at the moment since I work with her but I need help to continue this. Last week we had more hearing tests at Children’s and she had a Speech Therapy evaluation as well as a Behavior Observation as well. I will let you add all of that up since it is all out of pocket right now due to not being in network, insurance not paying for certain preventative measures under 3 years of age, and it is only March and I haven’t come close to the enormous out of pocket I have to pay before my insurance will pay their generous 70% as long as they approve of the appointments AFTER the medical office files it. With all that being said, my first call was an interview to try and get another private insurance and my income immediately disqualifies me. I told the lady that I do not bring home this income because so much is taken out for insurance, social security, taxes, retirement, etc. Plus, due to the fact that I was already receiving insurance that hurt me as well. So let me just sum this all up so there is no confusion: I have insurance but they will not cover specific things for therapies especially when a child is under 3 years old even with doctors letters and me begging. These days when you schedule anything you have to pay upfront in a lot of offices if you do not have Medicaid or an alternate Government insurance. Also, even though my insurance states to the medical office that they will not cover the hearing assessments regardless of being recommended by the treating physician the offices also do not allow me to pay using a sliding scale (which is at a discount price) since I do hold an insurance card because the sliding scale is strictly there for the ones who do not have any insurance what-so-ever. I can’t use my insurance since they do not pay and I can’t pay at a discount because of the card I hold in my hand so I am obligated to pay that full 329.00 for that one observation and if I do not pay that full amount right then and there then I have to sign a contract stating I will make payments or have to pay it in full within 45 days or they reserve the right to turn me over to collections. Maybe I am thinking too literally but is that not messed up? I know some would say.. go ahead! Send to collections, let them pile up!! But that explanation comes later. This call was just another rejection I had to take but the rejection to get your child help is like a fist punch in your stomach. You can’t breathe and you can’t understand. I brushed it off and the lady said she would kindly mail me my rejection letter.
9:10 I am breathing hard to prevent tears and trying to get a report written and emails out before I had to leave for my next meeting. I down my coffee and try to think of anything and everything positive and focus only on work and also get 2 hours worth of work done in 50 minutes.
10:00 I leave the office to be able to make the next appointment in town which is at the bank. Why? Well that is why I am so careful to pay everything off and be on top of everything is because I have cleaned up my credit report to show no outstanding debts or medical bills or even anything of Sophie’s surgeries at all. I have my car and a few credit cards and they thought for sure that it was time to apply to get a house. This has been my dream. I have the income, the cleaned credit and just need the “yes” from the bank. Especially with knowing that I will need to do most of Sophie’s therapy’s and coping counseling at the house it has been important for me to get this going to help me be able to do this whether I did it myself or paid someone to come in twice a month atleast to work with her and show me what to do. My heart was filled with Joy to know that something might work out and if anything we can get out of our apartment and into a place that has a yard and even though it is just me and her I still consider that family and who doesn’t want a home for their family? I walk in with my lady from the housing association who has worked with me for close to a year now to get old stuff cleared off and things paid off and she was just as excited hoping this was the day. Application was pulled, nothing outstanding, Debt to income was less that 14%, nothing late, several things closed, but there was a problem. My score had plummeted! Doing the right thing had bit me so hard in the butt that not only was I rejected they wanted me to get a loan or make more payments on something!! I could not understand what I was hearing! How is it that I am trying to do the right thing, Single Mom, Full time career mom on top of it all and there is a balance that is always missing. I just stared at the lady because I had nothing to say. I was frozen and I couldn’t cry or talk or even make sense of it all. All I remember is her saying give it about 6 months and it will either get higher or lower pending if you can add some things to pay on. Then she just smiled. She just smiled like this was nothing and a quick fix and she didn’t have to fill out any paperwork and could get back to her own life. She smiled like she had no idea that this was just so small to her but so big to me. The fact that she smiled with no compassion and had no idea what was going through my head every day broke me. Her hands were tied and she was sorry and she smiled and said have a nice day. Like I was supposed to have a nice day? I couldn’t talk to the housing lady as we walked out and just told her to email me because I needed to collect my thoughts.
11:20 I am driving back to the office but swing through to drop off the water bill. I make it back to the office and park and feel the sun on my body and the warmth is like a comfort I needed like a hug almost. I sat there for a minute thinking I can’t believe I made it here because I barely remembered driving because of being in shock. I get out and walk in and smile of course at the ones I know and see. I could tell some thought I took an early lunch. I made it to my office and just logged on like normal and got ready for my 11:30 call regarding work.
12:05 My friend messages me asking how it went with insurance and the house. I just messaged that it was a no on both. My mother had text me as well asking the same thing and I told her it was a no on both. My friend and my mom reply asking “Your kidding, Now what are you going to do?” That is when it hit. What am I going to do? My mind is racing! I have a test to take tomorrow over statistics that I have to keep studying for, I have a website to finish creating for my IT Portfolio for school, I have to re-write several queries to get a report working properly again, I have to call my school mentor to make sure I am on target for finishing my classes by the end of the month, I have a call with my daughter’s Speech Therapist at 5:30 to discuss further treatments and payments, a friend who needs me to do her taxes before the weekend is up, I can’t get help in any way for my daughter without a huge bank account, I can’t qualify for a house because I was doing the right thing and paying my bills and cleaning everything I could up! I am doing the RIGHT THING so why me?!? Why!? I don’t understand! Years of pain and hard work are just not making sense! Fighting for my daughter just doesn’t make sense when I see so many who do not even want to fight or speak up! Why do some people get things handed to them and my life is just not like that!?
12:20 I grabbed my purse and walked calmly to the bathroom to make sure nobody was in there and just cried so hard that not only were my tears big and blinding but I threw up and started dry-heaving. It was just so uncontrollable. The pain of loving my daughter so much is killing me because I want to provide and do so much for her and I want her to have the best and every corner I turn to brings tears to my eyes. So when someone asks what am I going to do, I really just do not know what I am going to do. I know I will continue on and keep doing the best but when do you know when to stop fighting and if you have lost the battle? I want to go home and lay on the couch and cry and sleep until the happy ending decides to happen but I know that will not happen in one day. I finally dry my eyes and face and make sure there are no footsteps so I can wash my face and reapply makeup and eye drops as if nothing happened. Luckily it works. I walk out and continue to listen to lunch stories and smile and say me and Sophie are great and head back into my office. If they only knew what I had been through just today, but then again they might not understand either.
2:00 Comes and goes. 2 days a week I try to go and work with Sophie at her daycare on talking and enunciating and anything else to try and advance her as much as possible. I do not know what the future holds so I want to help her in all that I can to try and advance her in case she does lose hearing or gains it all back and it is a new world for her. Some people do not realize that coping is big. The days when she hears great things are loud and muffled and it is almost like she has a seizure but it is just that she has to separate herself from the noise since it is so new. She stays in a corner with books for a while and that is how she copes. On the days where she has a cold it is like she is hearing underwater because her ears will fill up with fluid and she is mostly loud speaking these days and plays in her own world these days. A lot of kids go through this but there is something about how my daughter wants to learn that makes me want to help her succeed higher than what is “state labeled” for her to succeed. I think only a mother can understand who has had a similar situation. She is so healthy that it kills me to know anything is even wrong and like most I would love to stay in denial. I called to remind the daycare I would be there tomorrow to work with her since my morning has put me behind. I don’t advertise this since it brings about questions and when people see and hear my daughter they do not understand what even goes on behind her eyes. They see a beautiful toddler talking, jabbering, listening, focusing, playing, etc. Your children don’t wake up knowing all of that though.
3:30 This is when I normally make it back to the office after working with Sophie. It is amazing that she is 21 months and can spell her name and talk and draw and know animals and shapes and colors and you would never think she suffered any hearing damage. Why do I push for help? Because she is getting older and I need help and proper assessments to make sure she is getting better and not worse. A few weeks hindered by hearing loss or anything can put a child behind or change them in many ways. I don’t want my happy bubbly intelligent daughter changed or know there is anything wrong which is why I will push to help her in all ways. Why would any parent sit back and let their speech be hindered with any possible hearing loss and let time tell them how the ending plays out? It is definitely cheaper and a lot less effort but I couldn’t and can’t do that. But right now I am just recovering from my earlier episodes and finishing up work so that I can try and get her early.
4:45 I pack up the laptop from the office since I work most evenings and get out of here. Smiling and telling everyone I will see them tomorrow. I get to the car and feel the sun and I feel tears coming again but suck it up so nobody at daycare can see. When I get there and hear the words “Mommy” I am full-filled but yet I could just bawl because I missed her so much. I look in her eyes and she has no idea that I was told she couldn’t have additional insurance, that my insurance denied our claim request, that we will not be getting a home right now and have no idea when that will happen. All she knows is mommy is here and we get to go home. She doesn’t understand being so young but yet she can understand when mommy is sad so I try not to do anything but squeeze her and smile.
5:15 Everything is unloaded and I get her some milk and we read book while I usually ponder on dinner. This is a usual routine every day. She loves books and could swim in them if she could and if we had enough that is for sure. I have to say that is something that I love about her. She loves puzzles, books, and drawing. So that is how we spend our times.
5:30 I am either making dinner or reheating from last night since it is just us 2. She is always fussy at this time because she is hungry and tired and wants me to hold her all at the same time. Which I can’t but we work it out.
6:30 Dinner has come and gone and Sophie usually gets some fruit or a smoothie at this time and I can tell if it will be an early bed time or if we will be able to work on words. We work on words and flashcards and she sounds just like a little adult. I keep a journal so I know how we progress and I think that is the best thing any parent can do for any child under 5 who is learning. It is amazing what a child can learn and pick up on. Her signing, her words, her communication and social skills and her personality are all definitions of her. I just take it in every night and see how things change so much each day. When I take time to think about the blessings then I forget about my day and when it comes to her I have learned that I have to do that or I am not living and I am just surviving.
7:15 I fill the bath up for her favorite time of night and with her favorite toys. I go in the bathroom and see how the curtain is not staying up, how the vinyl on the floor just continues to peel and how the shower door will never look clean no matter how much I scrub it. Then my sad day hit hard again and tears start to come and I slowly sit in the floor as the bath runs and as I hear her coming I put my head on my knees so I can wipe my face. She runs in their screaming “Bubbles Ahhh, Tank you, Tank you!” She saw a bath of bubbles and me in there to play and the excitement was all over her face! I snap back to reality and play and bury my emotions like they don’t exist for that moment and seeing her smile is a therapy all in its own. I put cotton in her ears to protect and keep water out so she can splash and just watch as she pretends she is having tea and cleaning the cup. She is so happy that I never want to take that away. I have noticed that when I read back in my prayer journal that I state that often because she is truly happy and I want her to always be that way.
7:30 My baby is all clean and soft. I make her homemade milk formula as she watches me and then add some lavender oil to a wet towel and rub her little feet. This is the time where I just spend it with her doing whatever. Sometimes we read until 9:00, maybe we play until she is ready to go to bed, but I let her mostly decide unless there is a pressing reason that I need to get to work or she is super fussy and tired. Tonight she wanted to read and rock and watch a Peter Rabbit Episode. Holding her makes my heart full and I catch a happy tear because I don’t want that moment to pass. To me she is getting to big but I have to realize she is just a baby in my arms and to enjoy the moment and not wish for the new days and not miss the old days. Living in the moment is definitely challenging when you have a mind that wants to fix everything and question your life and your daily thoughts at every moment.
8:00 (pm) She is double blinking and holding her milk and just tuned towards me to hide her face. This is when she is ready for bed but lately she enjoys me holding her and rocking her until she is fully asleep rather than being laid down first. I have learned to throw the books away that say to stick to a bedtime and to put them to bed and let them fall asleep on their own. Why throw them away? It is good advice in the beginning but I want my child to feel the closeness and I need to feel it as well. She is my baby and if I want to hold her and she wants me to hold her then why am I listening to a book or people tell me to fight that and put them in bed no matter what. Structure is good and needed but there is something more to this “love” thing that is helping me not only get through my rough days but make her happy and feel my voice when I talk so I personally believe we should all have a bonfire with those books and just love our children during these times they need us and when we need them.
8:30 I am still in the recliner, with the television on very low, “self-healing”. I am listening to her breath, holding her little hands and reading my devotional that is beside my chair aloud so she can feel and hear my voice. I then read aloud Deuteronomy 31:6. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” I sit for a moment before I pray because that is also the verse I have at my desk on a sticky note so I remind myself that I need to be strong and to know that God is with me and will not leave me. However, I am human and I do feel sad and alone. I can’t tell you if that is just my own mind playing tricks or being attacked from Satan but I do know it is pain and I have to pray to receive peace. I take the time to pray aloud but close to a whisper so I don’t wake Sophie. I pray over her to be healed which I do every night and for her to never feel that she is not wanted since our family life is not a perfect situation. I take this time to focus the prayer on her but yet my emotions really come through and it is almost too much to handle.
9:00 I finish rocking and realize she is out cold and I can go lay her down. The only thing is this is the time I don’t want to lay her down and at times I may fall asleep with her in the recliner or on the couch holding her. But, this is a weekday and I have work to do among other things and I know she needs sleep without me interrupting. I lay her down and turn on a night light nd adjust the fan to drowned out noise and leave. But first I stare at how sweet she is. A lot of times I will take a picture with my phone because a sleeping baby is so precious. I leave the room and then realize that I am alone. It’s a cold clammy feeling at first because it is so quiet and I just had my devotional and I get lost for a few minutes. I will either grab a bottled water, sprite, dr pepper, or make a hot chocolate on my Keurig. ( I know what you are thinking.. so healthy right? Well I have my weaknesses when I know I have to stay up and need comfort in a soda product or a warm chocolate drink.. Hey it’s my thing).
9:20 I notice the time because I have my drink, the television on, and my computer pulled up. The time going forward really mentally messes my mind up because I would like for it to be 8:20 but those are just thoughts since I know what all I need to get done.
9:30 I am fully escaped into working and finishing up a report and keeping my mind focused on anything other than my day. My emotions are not fluttering, no tears blinding me, just me and this query that I want to complete and run and get it loaded into the report.
11:15 My query has finished running and I loaded it into the report and it looks successful! Now I just have to wait for the ‘Ok’ from the customer, but for tonight my work is done; with work anyways. I am also a full-time student who has got to pass this statistics test before the end of March, THIS MONTH! So study time it is.
11:25 Debating on what to drink next. I had Hot chocolate and now I guess I could settle for water. I just hope I can stay awake. Standard Deviation is what I am struggling with and that is my focus along with homework to help me and a practice test.
11:40 I want to just forget about school. My mind is fried and my heart is elsewhere and my thoughts are dwelling on my day and how I will survive tomorrow. Tears are blinding me again and I just have to stop and pray crying to God to give me strength to just wake up and be happy and help Sophie however I can and to give me the strength to fight these battles whether I lose or win. Help me to press on to find a home, to pay for therapy or to get the knowledge to help her. I pray for guidance and an angel to watch over us closely. But most of all I pray for peace and happiness and for my friends and family who have struggles of their own. Today you just see the sadness and struggles of one day, but you don’t know the struggles that come everyday and how my life has really been hard at times. Reading this you may see me in many different lights. You may see me as that struggling single mom or that maybe I have made these choices so I need to deal with them. Maybe you see this and know the feelings and the struggles I am facing, not only today but as a woman and as a single mom. You may read this and think I need to count my blessings and be glad I have insurance and a great job and may even think I am petty. Whatever you are thinking is probably right in some form. However, emotions come without a lot of control. How you feel about things and your passions are what make a person human and compassionate. So before you judge or label me I hope you see that I am passionate and that my life is real. This is just me.
1:15 (am) I have studied and taken a practice test. I am not confident but I feel better about the class than I did earlier. I shut down the computer and put it away. I plug in my phones and pick up the living room. I check the weather and then get an outfit for Sophie ready for that next morning as well as make sure she has milk for the next day. I wash bottles and sippy cups and pull out the clothes in the dryer and either fold them or leave them on the table praying for the cleaning fairy to come. I then go ahead and grab Sophie’s bottle from her crib and then fill it up and then shower because I know she will wake up wanting some milk usually around the time I am almost asleep. I get out of the shower and dry off quickly since it is always cold in there and get ready for bed. I lay out my outfit, necklace, and earrings, then take Sophie’s clothes into the living room with a diaper, socks, shoes and bow and leave it on the love seat. I grab my prayer journal so that I can pray to God and clear my thoughts. I am careful to pray that he do his will but give me peace and understanding and bring me happiness and dry my tears. This always makes me feel complete no matter how bad my day is or what struggles I have faced. I know what it is like to struggle so bad that you take an appetite suppressant so you don’t get hungry because you don’t have any money for food and I am the type to never ask for help. I know what it is like to crave a 55 cent coffee at work and beg to find it in your purse or on the floor in your office. I know what it is like to feel like a failure sense your marriage ended and you are devastated to the point that you would rather people read it in the paper rather than have anyone know the truth. I also know what it is like to pray that daycare does not ask for payment at the same time rent is due. I know the feeling of over joy when someone knows you are struggling to be a single mom and that you have pride and leaves diapers on your doorstep anonymously even though I know who it is and thank her with tears and hugs. I know what it is like to hide a pregnant belly from people at work so they do not know your situation. I know what it is like to fear for your health. I know what it’s like to watch a parent suffer with cancer and one slowly deteriorate until they find the problem. I know what it is like to see your friends and cousins go through the excitement of announcing their weddings and when they are expecting while you keep your divorce and failed marriage to yourself and pray they don’t notice you are 7 months pregnant without a spouse or a father involved. I couldn’t be excited since I had health risks and spend my time terrified and sad. Hormones and emotions play against you and you don’t know what you feel. I know what it is like to get your baby’s birth certificate messed up because they keep adding mother and father and by the 4th time they get it right and you notice that it has your child’s name on there and the mother is you and there is just this massive empty space and you immediately start fearing you might lose your child to this invisible person or you will have to explain to this beautiful baby why there is so much blank space. I know what it’s like to have that moment where you are told your baby does not have a heartbeat at 17 weeks and the life you were preparing for has just ended and you just leave the office because you just can’t stomach the thought of having the baby removed and hold out hope that it was a mistake until your body can’t dispose of it naturally and you bleed out so bad you come close to needing a transfusion. I, Casey Poff know what it is like to struggle through life and come out on the other side and into a new journal and realize that I have overcome a lot and received many blessings and helped others along the way, but that does not mean I don’t hurt and that you can tell what goes on behind my eyes even if I am smiling.
2:00 I finish my journal writing and prayer and I do feel peace in knowing that I have conquered so much and realize the strength that is in me. I have peace and try to know that I need sleep. I hear Sophie and go check on her and she is half asleep so I give her a bottle of milk and head back to the couch. I sleep there so that she can have my room and it is quiet. It works better that way and I love the comfort of being in the living room.
8:10 (am) I drop my daughter of at daycare and watch her smile through the glass of the door again. I think quietly and pray that my day today is better than yesterday and to realize yesterday is now the past and today may bring happiness and success because our God is always full of surprises and no matter how the day turns out, I will still keep loving and I will still keep praying.