Monday, November 23, 2009
"I need the blue bowl. Did you give me the blue bowl?"
"What color is my cup?"
"We are out of ice cream. When are you going to the store, Mom?"
"I want Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Go to the store, Mom."
"No toilet paper."
"Did you record Mickey Mouse Clubhouse?"
"Today is my bath day. I want to take it with Kobi.
I want to be in the frontnoIwanttobeinthefrontnoit'smyturnnoit'smyturnnoit'smine. ItsMINEEEE"
So when I was cruising through some old pics I have stored on Shutterfly.com from ages ago, like eight years or so, I was pleased to find that they stirred up some mommy-appropriate emotions. Tell me what you think...keep 'em?
Friday, November 20, 2009
I dare you not to cry. . . I DARE you!
A letter to all my parents:
I was going to start by saying I’m sorry that I waited so long to write this letter to say thank you. The delay means that some of you will have left this earth before I got to say these words to you - I hope I have the opportunity to say them to you in Another Place. But I realize that my thanks would have been incomplete if I had voiced them before. I would probably still have been angry at some of you and perhaps not have recognized the sacrifices you had made. I’m sure I still don’t fully comprehend all that you have done for me, but I probably never will know in full while on this earth, so well, now’s the time to take the time.
To my birth parents:
Seems strange to write to people I don’t even know, even further to be thankful and grateful to someone I've never seen and someone I cannot remember. Thank you for choosing to give me life. Oh I know, my conception probably wasn’t a conscious choice on your part, but allowing me to continue to live, giving me birth was most definitely a choice you made. You may try to say that in “those days” you didn’t have a choice, but you and I both know better than that. I admire you so much for making that choice, for choosing the harder path. I don’t know what it cost you to make that choice, but know that I know how much courage that took. I wish I could have known you and gleaned some of that bravery from you, so that I could have been strong enough to make that right choice myself.
To my foster parents:
I don’t know what you were thinking when you got me at 18 months of age. Since my birth mom was still alive I’m sure you just thought you’d have me for a few days. But things didn’t work out that way, did they? That short-term commitment you were willing to make turned into something much longer. And year after year while I remained in your home, you got attached. I gave nicknames to your birth children that they still have to this day, you placed my picture in your hallway; somehow it felt like I had become yours.
And yet, when my birth mom died when I was four, all of a sudden everything you had done for me didn’t matter - you had poured yourself into me and yet you didn’t have a voice, a say in my future. Because you were a foster parent, you had to stand back and allow biological family members to step in and take me away from you.
I heard that before me you had fostered over 30 kids and after I left you just didn’t have the heart to do it anymore. I didn’t understand that before, but now I know why - it was because you had given me your heart, I had taken it with me. I have it now, it’s taken me awhile to give it a voice, but I know I have your heart. For you see, I long to be a foster parent as well, to do as you did. To love a child, who through no fault of their own, has no one and feels as if there is no one who cares and to say to them, “you are someone. For as long as you’re with me - a few hours, for a few days, weeks or even years, you matter, you belong, you are not abandoned and unloved, you are precious, you are priceless, you are valuable simply because you’re you”.
Thank you for showing me that, for giving me that. I don’t know what it cost you to do that, but know that words cannot express my gratefulness.
To my adoptive parents:
Seems strange to call you that, for to me you have always been just “my parents”. I never knew any differently - which speaks volumes about just what kind of parents you are. There was never any question that I was yours. I know there was a day you told me that I wasn’t biologically yours, but funny how I don’t remember it. Something that huge should have impacted my life dramatically - but it didn’t - because YOU had already impacted my life dramatically. By making me your own, by never allowing your boys to call me “cousin” but making them call me “sister”. I wonder, did you have that conversation with them? Did you ever ask them if they wanted a little sister? Did you ever ask yourself if you really wanted to raise a fifth child, so much younger than the ones you were already raising?
But even as I ask that, I know the answer - you didn’t ask those questions - you knew that if you didn’t step in I would become a ward of the state. And you were my family and you were not going to allow that to happen - no matter what the cost to you. You didn’t ask questions, you took action, you didn’t complain about the unfairness of it all, you worked toward a solution. Thank you for that, thank for you never making me feel like I was a problem, an inconvenience, a burden to bear. Thank you for loving me as your own while still allowing me to freely learn about my birth parents and my foster parents, those who had chosen to love me before you did.
To my Heavenly Parent:
I know You knew me first, even before I was conceived. I know You knew the path my life would take, even before I ever took my first steps. And though some may say it’s been a hard life, I wouldn’t have wanted anything different. I am so thankful for every parent You gave to help care for me on this earth. Each of them, perhaps even unbeknownst to them, has each in their own way, revealed You to me.
Because my birth mother chose to give me life, I now know that You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Because my foster parents cared for me when no one else would, I know that You care for me, especially because I was an orphan.
Because my adoptive parents welcomed me into their family so completely, I know unconditional love and can believe You when You tell me You want to adopt me as well.
Funny, of all of my parents, You are the only One who has told me what it cost You, yet You don’t make me feel guilty for that. You tell me only so I can know without a doubt how much You love me.
So to all my parents I say thank you - some kids only have a few parents, I was blessed to have many. And my prayer is that my gratefulness will be translated into action. That I can take the love given me by all of you and not just hold it all in for myself, but to pour it out to others. To allow your love to continue to flow, from you, through me to others. Please know you made and continue to make a difference in my life and as a result, by the grace of God, a difference in this world.
I love you,
I've been a foster parent for fifteen years, and one of the most common comments I get is "How do you do it?" This letter - NOT addressed to me, by the way - is how. Because foster and adoptive parents DO make a difference. It only takes one: one child, one parent; to change the course of a life. Think about it. =)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Welcome To Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley
©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved. Article printed with permission of the author.
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland
This article's been on my mind alot lately. Not just because I have children with special needs, but because I think this illustrates a great truth. How many of us spend the first half of our lives saving, planning, and preparing for our trip to Italy and end up in Holland? Or Russia? Or, we hop on that plane, travel for days and deplane right back where we started? Life is so rarely predictable. It wiggles and squirms and refuses to be pinned down.
It seems like we all have the choice to take the time to look around for the tulips and the Rembrandts; for the very special and lovely things about Holland. Or Chicago. Or Sussex. Or wherever your plane landed.
Besides, Italy can't be all that awesome! Can it?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
She was excited, talking about a new assignment for one of her classes. It's for Interpretive Reading and the assignment (as I understand it) involves her compiling a variety of information into an essay-type format and then reading/acting it out for her class.
Kelsey chose to write about Addiction for this one.
I never kept any major secrets from Kelsey and Kris as they grew up - not that I sat them down and brought them up to speed with all the fun-filled antics of my past. But, I always felt it was important to be honest with them about mistakes I've made, which would hopefully impress on them the incredible damage we humans can inflict upon ourselves and others as we go through life. You know, "make good choices!"
By that I mean I filled them in on my teen-aged and early adult years. They know about my excessive drug use and "partying". They know about their father's heroin and cocaine addiction. They know some of what that mess looked like in my relationship with him, and in their early lives, too. And they know how God kept yanking me back from the precipice. I was determined to die - slowly and by any means - He evidently had other plans and ultimately revealed Himself to me.
He saved me.
So, here is my Kelsey away at a Christian University. Interwoven with her academic classes for her Communications/Drama major are classes in Bible and Chapel.
And I get these calls. And we talk.
She's researching the Addiction presentation, and reading Tweaked by Nic Shef. It's his memoir on his descent into Meth addiction. As he put it, "growing up on methamphetamines". Along the way, he tried every other drug he could get his hands on, and talks about how de-humanizing that life is.
"Is that what it was like, Mom?"But do I? Do I really remember where I am now? Maybe this many years out (it's been almost as long as Kesley's been alive), I get absent-minded about where I was and where I was most definitely headed. Much of who I am today, many of the reasons I care so deeply about my family, my children, is fiercely entangled in who I was when I finally turned to God.
"I know, honey. It was beyond hellish."
"But, look where you are now."
"Oh, I know that, too. Trust me."
I thought so. I was determined to get rid of my pain one way or another. I was racing toward that cliff edge.
He got in the way.
Twenty years out, the intensity of that has faded. I forget from whence I've come. I forget how messed up, how far gone I was.
Meanwhile, I have this daughter discovering God. I'm watching her draw near to Him, listening to her talk about Him - telling me about things I used to know so clearly. Her deepening relationship with God reminds me how much I'm missing, invites me back to the warmth of His fire, offers me a blanket and a place to rest.
Now, will I take that blanket? Am I finally ready to rest?
There's the rub. I don't know if I am. I can see the fire and am drawn to it's heat - I am freezing out here. But something keeps me back. Some stubborn part of me resists the comfort I know I'll find. I'm sitting on a log by myself. Just sitting. In the cold.
What am I waiting for? No clue. Therapist Lisa would tell me to stop wondering what I'm waiting for and just get my butt over to the fire...hummmm I'll have to think about that.
Monday, November 09, 2009
His blog, also called SCL, had a post today that I want to share with you folk who read my blog.
I think it's a worthy idea and wanted to put it out here for all of you to see and decide if you'd like to help. Many folk spending little money make for much money that can do a good work.
Please take a moment to check it out:
Posted using ShareThis
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
I am SO sorry - this is not how I wrote and published them originally. I am trying to find a solution. That may mean moving to a different Blog host (which I really want to avoid).
Please bear with me, and I am again, so sorry that they look like inexperienced lumps of verbiage.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
I think Kam's has a street or two that have "DANGER ROAD CLOSED AHEAD" on his map. And he's all into the adventure of finding out what happens when you make mommie drive down them at high speeds.
See, since the "big" kids have all moved out, I have no more buffer between myself and the remaining children of the corn sleeping under my roof. No one is on my side (I'm not allowed to have one anymore). My older kids were pretty darned respectful. I only had to say "no" a few times for them to get it. They didn't ask, "whhhhyyyy?????" every time I asked them to do something, or just flat out ignore any words coming out of my mouth. Even when spoken directly into his or her ear.
Seriously, they were pretty decent kids.
As they grew up, they helped the smaller fry stay on track. When Klaryssia, Kobi, or Kameron would question me incessently (and I'm talking twenty-plus times), a larger kid like Kesley, Elesha, Kris or Kami, would set them straight. You don't talk to Mom like that. There are consequences, come on, let's go play basketball in your room. .
My royal guard has abandoned me. I am on my own. Why is this just sinking in, you ask? After all, the last big kid left in August. Yeah, well I'm a bit of a slow study. At some level, I think I figured ALL my children - since they were raised in the same house, with the same rules - would catch on, fall under my spell, and magically behave like reasonable people. Eventually.
I've been thrown back into parenting 101. Maybe I'm not even in a 100 level course yet. Maybe this is a 60 or an 80. Or maybe this is a graduate level deal. Maybe this is God's Phd. course in parenting. . .taking me to the upper-echelon of moms. . .
Nah. This is either remedial parenting or purgatory. Maybe the Catholics are right, after all.
Even as I type this, at o-dark-thirty in the a.m., Klaryssia has come out at least four times to tell me the weather report for the day (I don't care), show me what she's wearing (ditto), to tell me she's brushed her teeth (check), and to explain to me her schedule for the day (again); Kameron (up since 5:20 am) is explaining to everyone that he does NOT have a doctor's appointment (he does), telling Klaryssia that she needs to take her meds (she already did), and I can hear him taking off the floor vent in the bathroom, probably shoving his clothes for the day down it; Kobi is trying to convince him that he does have an appointment, (pointless, Kobi, you are wasting your words, trust me), asking me how to turn regular instant oatmeal into brown sugar oatmeal, and dragging his wet bedding out to the washer (while asking why "we" haven't washed his wet sheets from yesterday - "we" were working all day, master and haven't had a chance to get to your damp bedding); and the noise is escalating.
These skirmishes occur constantly. If they are up, they are fighting about something. Anything. Everything. Last night it got so bad I wanted to leave the house.
Not an option, though. Failing that, I grabbed a glass of wine and my Ipod, found the loudest playlist I could find, and sang my way through dinner prep. All through it, they kept popping into the kitchen (guess that's because with the blessed music playing, I couldn't hear them yelling, "MOM"). It was awesome, because their little mouths were opening and closing and I couldn't hear a word.
Santana Danced me Through the Night, Grits had me Runnin', and Kenny Chesney reminded me about the sweet Summertime. . .
I know I keep harping on this, but seriously I've been blindsided. I foolishly thought I had a handle on parenting. After all, I ran a home daycare; I raised my own two kids; I fostered countless others - at one point our big house in Colorado had four adults, fifteen children, and almost that many pets. We survived snow storms, power outages (when Kam was on a ventilator), dying chickens, a horse that peed on the front lawn, multiple bus and school schedules, and still found a way to have Kelsey in competitive gymnastics, Kris in basketball and football, and everyone else at their myriad doctors and therapy appointments.
Now here I am, crushed and bewildered by these three.
It doesn't seem right. Somewhere in my brain there must be skills I can use against these heathens. And when I figure out what they are, and my heathens become children again, I will be expecting my Peace Prize.
Or at the very least, a little peace. Which is probably better.
I could use the million bucks, though.
Monday, November 02, 2009
'Course, there are a few differences with this second group. The most glaring being that I am now twenty years older. Initially, I thought that should give me an edge. You know, I know the little ways kids try to manipulate you, have all the pat parenting answers down -
But these three defy my mom logic.
They aren't logical at all.
When you take three "damaged" kids, with a variety of issues and stir them all up in one household what comes out is a complete crapshoot. And by crap I mean the other word. Take Kameron at this very moment.
We have an ongoing power struggle between Kameron and Kobi over who opens the gate on our way out to the bus stop. They were alternating days, but believe it or not, that got too difficult to keep track of. So, in my infinite *cough cough* wisdom, I came up with alternating weeks. Mon/Wed/Friday one week, and Tues/Thursday the next.
This seemed to work for awhile. Kam just required one or two reminders, "What days do you have this week, Kam?"
"Oh. . . (insert correct days here)".
But lately he's been slipping. This morning, he argued for a good ten minutes that Kobi had Monday/Wednesday/Friday last week (which he didn't), and that Kameron himself was Monday/Wednesday/Friday this week (again). Evidently, he's wised up to the fact that Tuesday/Thursday is not the greater deal.
It went like this:
"Mom, can I open the gate?"
And so on, for about ten minutes. While I'm trying to get him on and off the toilet (I know, TMI) and get his AFOs on and get his teeth brushed and get him in his wheelchair. He also has this endearing habit of stiffening his entire 75 pound body when he's yelling. This makes all of the above ever so much easier."No, Kam, Kobi is Monday/Wednesday/Friday this week."
"EHHHHEEAAAA!! Kobi is NOT Monday/Wednesday/Friday, I AM!"
"What days were you last week, Kam?""I was NOT Monday Wednesday/Friday!!!"
"What days, Kam?"
"It's MY day to OPEN THE GATE!"
"Kam, what days are you this week?"
"IT's MY DAY! I am NOT Tuesday/Thursday!"
I finally wised up and said, "Hey Kobi, you get to open the gate all week! Kam doesn't want his Tuesday/Thursday!"
"I do TOOOOO!"
"Oh, so you want to open the gate Tuesday/Thursday?"
Peace is momentarily restored.
This lasted until it was time to turn off Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and head out the door to the bus stop.
"EHHHHEEAAAAAAA! Do NOT turn off Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!!!"
"Okay, I'll just let Teacher Parnell know you aren't coming to school today, then. I'm walking Kobi to the bus stop, see you later, Kam."
"Oh, you're coming, then?"
And once again, peace is restored. Just like flipping a light switch, he's happy and deceptively compliant.
This crazytown adventure in parenting goes on every day in some fashion or another. Kameron and Klaryssia can pick the most seemingly unimportant, random thing and escalate it into a UN-sized crisis. My "normal" bag of parenting tricks applies not at all. And when the two of them feed off each other and Kobi thinks it would be fun to stir them up . . . I'm thinking 7:00 am is not too early for a glass of white wine.
I guess the biggest thing is that while engaging in power struggles with them obviously won't work, often neither does trying to twist their logic around. These kids have stubborn down to an art form - it's why they've survived so long against all the odds - and when they bring it to bear on me. . .argh.
Once again, the inmates are running the asylum. I think I need a vacation. Is it too late to turn these kids in for some nice grandchildren?
BTW I am having trouble with the new Blogger Editor - it's not formatting the text like it should, I do apologize for the odd layout!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Not to denigrate those of you who have actually said these things (I do appreciate compliments!), but believe me, I'm human. I'm NO saint.
I have days, like this very day, where I want to pull my hair out. When Kameron - for the fifty millionth time - bothers the dog (enough that the dog is about to bite the hell out of him), and is cackling with laughter over the increasing growls, and I am not near him (perhaps on the toilet, perhaps in the laundry room), and I am saying (over and over, louder and louder), "Kameron, leave Ricky alone. Kameron, leave Ricky alone. KAMERON, leave Ricky ALONE. KAMERONLEAVERICKYALONE".
And am ignored. Until I come storming out of where ever I was, get all up in his face which scares him more than Ricky's growling and snapping, and he says, "okay, mom."
And then we start it all over again in about five or ten minutes. However long it takes me to get started on some other chore in some other area of the house and for Ricky to leave my side and meander back to Kameron.
Kam thinks it's hilarious.
We do "time out", we do "three strikes", we do IAMABOUTTOKILLYOU, nothing ever, ever, ever works. And if I ignore the resulting clamor, I've found it increases. Kobi will start jumping on furniture, Klaryssia will start telling Kameron to leave Ricky alone (she, the Queen of animal pestering), and will tell Kobi to stop jumping on furniture (while she laughs along). . .
The very persistence and stubbornness that makes these "special" kids survive in spite of all odds, is the very persistence and stubbornness that makes them HUGE pains in my hiney (and by hiney, I'm assuming you know what I really mean).
So, next time you think I'm up for sainthood - think again. I lose my cool regularly.
That's the hardest part of being a single mom. No breaks. In fact, any of you who know of single moms (sorry, dads, can't speak for you, never been a dad), you would be doing her an IMMENSE favor if you would take their kids for a few hours every once and awhile. Throw them in the car with you and your kids for a run to DQ or the dollar menu @ Micky D's. Or just drop over and have coffee with her. Bring her a latte; boss her kids around for her. Help her get some of the stress out.
She will probably kiss your feet.
I know I would.
Love, peeps. Thanks for listening!
Monday, October 12, 2009
In case you haven't noticed, Halloween is just around the corner. I'm not a big Halloweenie person, but for years I've tried to recognize that it matters to my kids. At least to some degree.
Back in Colorado, we lived so far out that it wasn't remotely practical to go around the neighborhood and trick-or-treat - we lived on 12 acres and most of the neighbors did, too. You'd be driving from house to house, and that's no fun. Well, not for the driver,
So back there, we'd do the planned event things, like trick-or-treat the mall, or the elementary school, that kind of thing. One year, out in Black Forest near our house, a retreat center had their grounds set up for it. That was fun, because the forest made it spooky, and it was a beautiful place. Unfortunately, in Colorado Springs, it usually snows on Halloween, so it was freaking cold, but hey - they got to dress up and they got some candy, right?
Even Gma got in the spirit...Kobi, however, looks like he wishes he were somewhere else.
Kelsey has a few dental issues, but we love her anyway.
I was showing my claws -- rawwwrr, hisssss!!
We lost a few years of Halloween, but last year we were back
Kameron loves loves loves school buses, and his awesome driver, Miss Judy, came up with this beyond fabulous costume for him:
We only went around our little cul-de-sac, but the kids had a great time -
So, what are we this year? No clue. I was thinking toss a sheet over Kam's chair, call him a ghost and call it good, but that may be a little unimaginative of me. Maybe a Fire Truck driver?? Stay tuned. . .
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Meanwhile, I try not to step on the small, annoying, yappy dog right at my heels that I swore I would never own - no offense, but I'm a big dog person historically, and this guy does nothing to change my mind about it. In fact, I may switch back to a cat - and I go out to my laundry room office to fire up the PC. Yes, I am not a Mac, I am a PC. No special reason, except lately I've been selling off refrigerators to support my family and the indulgence of an insanely expensive computer didn't seem practical.
Coffee made, dog avoided, PC slowly waking up - fifteen minutes gone.
Log on, go back to kitchen to get that cuppa (w/fat-free half and half - isn't that crazy? How do they make fat-free half and half? Isn't the fat the whole point of half and half??), come back out to laundry room office. Where are my slippers? Spend another five minutes deciding they are lost (those kids!!!!), and open up both the note-taking site I use and the mind-mapping one I've got for this supposed, alleged, much talked about "Memoir" I'm "writing".
I review the previous day's efforts to get my berrings. Throw up a little in my mouth.
"GAH! It's all CRAP! What the HECK am I doing here? What kind of an idiot thinks her life is REMOTELY interesting to ANYONE??? I should go back to bed."
Internal dialogue here. Don't want to wake the precious children.
I shake it off and try to focus.
The problem is that I don't know what to focus on. I think I know what I want to say, then when I start saying it, doubt creeps in on little cat feet. Maybe I'll stick with dogs, after all.
I have a section of life I think I am supposed to talk about. I have stuff mapped out, and think I'm ready to go. Then, when I start writing, it seems so pointless: what am I trying to SAY??? You know, is there a moral to this story? "Kids, don't do drugs", or "Stay in school". I could be a poster child for those causes.
In fact, I have "experimented" with so many things in my life that, to me, it seems a little implausible. I look like - who's that guy, the one who got outed after Oprah loved him? And, I really don't think I need to expose every single little part of my huge, white underbelly. It's kind of a need-to-know thing, isn't it?
Plus, it does seem self indulgent. Why does my story have any more worth than anyone else's? Because, really, it doesn't. We all are in one big story together. We all have our small stories within the context of that one. So who cares?
I titled this post The Gorilla in The Room because you often read about writers having an internal critic or editor. That little annoying voice that nags you and hounds you and tells you you are full of crap (I mean the other word, but kids read my blog, besides I try really hard not to say it . . . much). My little voice is like monster huge. And I picture him as a King-Kong sized gorilla who would be hanging on my back, but even my back isn't big enough, so he sits in an office chair with his huge, gorilla feet crossed and propped up on the desk next to me. He is constantly grooming himself, even as he zings me with his little comments: "You're right you know," he says as he examines whatever nasty thing he just found in his fur, "it doesn't matter. No one will want to read it anyway. Why are you wasting your time? You should go back to that mystery series. Don't you have it all plotted out? 'Course, that's all a bag of poo, too..."
As he pops the invisible nit into his huge, nasty mouth.
More time spent trying to shut him the heck up. Focus, Kathy, focus.
What am I trying to say???
Mr. Gorilla chimes in, "Exactly. You have nothing to say".
Deep cleansing breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
So you see what I'm up against? I will, however, attempt to persevere. I hate stinky Mr. Gorilla almost as much as I hate Small Yappy Dog - no offense.
Somewhere in this room there's a pony . . . but that's another story, and I need to get back to my real "writing".
Hang on, I haven't checked my Facebook or Twitter yet this morning. . .
No animals were harmed in the writing of this post. Yet.
Monday, September 28, 2009
You hear about it everywhere - it's causing people on my favorite TV shows to lose their TV jobs, commit TV crimes, and act in very uncharacteristic (for their TV character) ways.
I've shared that I've needed to downsize. You know, selling a few things: my cherry red LG steam washer/dryer combo; my stainless steel french door Jennair refrigerator; my king-sized all solid wood four poster canopy bed . . .
But, this is just NOT okay.
I had to leave Therapist Lisa.
See, I am between health insurance plans, and the
First, I tried cutting back. We went from weekly to every other week. It helped, but really I still couldn't afford her. Mostly I just wrote the checks and prayed (literally) that everything would still get paid.
Here's the crazy part: that didn't work so well. But (important "but), it did buy me some time, and I think that was a good thing. I've got a notebook full of her really good, insightful, tailor-made-for-me instructions, and if I'm smart enough to apply them, I think I'll be okay.
Don't get me wrong. I had a choice. I could have tried desperately to find other ways to make more money. At this point in my life, I am thankfully, still pretty employable. But (another important "but"), that completely flies in the face of all the advice she's given me. One of the reasons I slid so far down into the emotional/mental health quicksand was because of all the frantic activity and chaos I'd allowed in my life. Extra jobs on extra jobs. No way to find coverage for the kids (shocker - not too many folk are qualified and willing to watch my super-special little brood). No life for me. The payoff in income was never enough to offset the damage to my soul.
I'm pretty sure we have enough to keep the lights on and food on the table. The other things will either continue to wait or not. My experience is that some will, some won't. But God has always been faithful to us. We will be okay.
My sweet little mom and my dad lived through the real Depression. I've heard stories . . .
None of them included the great sacrifice of quitting counseling. Or, maybe having to eat out less and perhaps drop the Netflix subscription.
I am beyond grateful for my motley little family. We have a good thing going on: each other. I am SO proud of all my children, and I really know that our love for each other and God's love for us will safely see us through. However that pans out.
Tons of love to all of you. You don't know how much I appreciate you for listening to my musing (some would say rambling).
Talk to you soon.
is my mommy, btw. From back in Her Day
Saturday, September 26, 2009
But I think I've reached a limit.
Project Runway has a little spin-off this year: Models of the Runway. It's a 30 minute fun fest showing the girls arguing, being catty, swearing devotion to each other (bffs, right?), and "competing" to be the last girl standing. It's about as compelling as it sounds.
I enjoy seeing the creative process of Project Runway, love seeing the results, actually listen to the judge's critiques, and pull for my fave designers. But, the Models interest me not at all. It's like eavesdropping on a (forgive me, Kelsey) cheerleader sleep-over.
Last night was the kicker. One of the girls was doing her little sound-bite before the elimination. She said something about realizing that she could go home at any moment and said it was, and I quote: "terrifying".
Terrifying is not the possibility of elimination on a reality show where you've already gotten tons of exposure to the "biggies" in your profession. "Terrifying" is not leaving the lovely comped condo you and your girls have been staying in.
Terrifying is sitting in the hospital while your child is taken into major surgery. Terrifying is trying to find Alzheimer care for your aging parent; the one you promised you'd never "send away." Terrifying is letting go of your husband or wife as they leave you for yet another tour in Afghanistan or Iraq. Terrifying is losing your home because you lost your job and the interest rate just jacked up again and you have no idea how you are going to take care of your family. Terrifying is lying in bed waiting for your teenager to come home, wondering if he's out drinking and driving again and will this be the time he kills someone?
There are many, many things in life that can terrify us. But being paid for being cute, being on a TV show, and getting eliminated are most DEFINITELY not some of them.
Get real. Entertainment is supposed to encourage us into a "willful suspension of disbelief." Not make us want to freakin' hurl.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
A shrew-like meanie who scares small children
and belongs in a fairy tale, tempting children into her oven using treats.
I will listen to my children more, and avoid them less.
I will be their biggest fan.
and stay up too late watching TV.
I will move more, drink less, and put myself to bed
in un-winnable one-sided arguments and worthless what-ifs, with
thoughts swirling around like water in a toilet bowl that never finishes flushing.
that I am the Captain of my own mind. I will not take anything personally or
make assumptions about anything. I will keep a quiet heart.
how my actions and choices will affect them, and I act
based on that, rather than simply live my life.
If He needs me, He knows where I am. I will live in His freedom.
I will live my story. Mine.
and be and try. I get overwhelmed and end up frozen,
not doing anything at all.
about what my priorities are,
what I really love, what feeds my soul,
and purpose to take baby steps in at least two areas - today.
and can't believe I have to take another step.
beyond all reason and wants to destroy our lives. Today, I will refuse
to give him influence over my heart.
"If God is so good, why does this happen?" or, "If God REALLY loved me,
He'd (fill in the blank)."
His good intentions toward me, His plans. I will not behave like an infant in my faith, whining about what I can't have or be or do. I will be an adult, today.
As always, I love you guys, and thank you for reading.
Monday, September 21, 2009
It wasn't out of frustration or anger (though that's happened a couple of times), it wasn't over some sad story she'd come across, or empathetic tears brought on by some major life issue she was dealing with. These were surprise tears, and she was crying, too.
Kelsey and I don't tend to be big criers. Tears are usually a last result, and often the by-product of someone else's pain (Kameron comes immediately to mind), or frustration (you know, how you get so darned p.o.'d that you start to cry?). I do cry more at movies, although she can't claim that she doesn't do that anymore, because now she does from time-to-time.
Since she started going to Northwest University last year she's been crying a lot more. They have all those God things going on all the time like Chapel services and stuff. The Chapel services often have guest speakers. Local pastors like Mark Driscoll and Judah Smith come, former NU students like Natalie Grant (singer), and people who've traveled the world doing mission-type things (getting their hands "dirty" all the way up to their hearts for Christ's sake), as well as current students from time to time.
These services touch her deeply. Beneath her witty, tough-girl exterior beats the heart of a servant. Kelsey's always loved our "special" kids. In fact, she's told me for years that she wants to adopt a Down's Syndrome baby. Future husband, beware.
So, back to how she made me cry.
Apparently they had a guy speak at Chapel on loving others, Jesus-style. You know, in a First Corinthians Thirteen unconditional love everyone truly and from your heart kind of way.
He talked about how easy it is to love those that love us: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven . . . For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? " (Matthew 5: 43-47) and about how the Christian Church has the unfortunate reputation of picking and choosing who to love, like His Church is some sort of private club.
But Jesus was all about finding the people who had no future - "the things that are not" - the prostitutes, the lepers, the ugly folk and the despised. Those are the ones He loved specially. He came to seek and save the lost, not those who think they're found. The Chapel Speaker Guy said it was about loving "all in" because that's the way Jesus is.
This is the place where, in the front seat of our car at Burgermaster, telling me this story over the sound of arguing kids in the back, Kelsey started to lose it, which of course, made me start to lose it. She said, "And I thought, 'That's my mom. That's what so special about her. That's how she loves the kids, that's why my friends and Kris's friends all love her. Because she loves everybody that way'".
You know, that was so not where I thought she was going with that story.
There was more to the conversation, of course. I know I don't love everyone the way Jesus does, and I told her that. It hurts me that I can't be pure love, that I let all kinds of stuff interfere. I'm not the friend I want to be. I'm not the daughter I want to be. I'm not the responsible adult I want to be. I can make lists of all the things I'm not.
On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. . . for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Matthew 9: 10 - 13
It's not about being fit for the "Club". It's about knowing how messed up we are and needing Him to take our torn up, bloody, world-weary hearts and gently hold them in His immensely capable hands, forgiving our mistakes and helping us let go of all the hurt we've received.
Maybe that's what Kelsey sees in me. Not super-mom or super-Christian (definitely not), but super-sinner saved by great grace. Luke 7:47 says that one who has been forgiven much loves much (my loose translation). And I have been forgiven much.
He really is the answer. Him, not Christians. Him, not the Church. Him, not even me.
I love you guys - thanks for reading.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I am a reformed mother-hater.
When I was sixteen (how many good things start with that phrase?) I was in full-fledged rebellion. Actually, rebellion sounds too tame for what I was in. I was in my own terrorist cell. Yep, a suburban domestic terrorist. My only target was my mom. Mainly because she was there.
Dad saw me every other weekend, mostly. My older brother had begun his illustrious career in really dumb illegal activities (he's the guy who shows his ID to a bank teller before robbing her), and was probably incarcerated, and I'm pretty certain I'd alienated most of my friends by this time. It's hard to remember because I lost a lot of brain cells back then, and any surviving cells are starting to petrify.
Ah, but I was in the process of making some really super new friends. Like the twenty-five year old guy from Texas who lived in his car. And smelled like he lived in his car. And there were the totally awesome folks who worked with me at the Renaissance Faire in Novato. Some of them were near my age, some were creepy old guys, and everyone was loaded on something. My mom still doesn't know the nasty junk that happened on those weekends. Heck, I don't know most of it. I believe I mentioned my lack of brain matter. . .
During this "phase", I was one hundred percent convinced that my mom was the stupidest, meanest, most out-of-touch woman on the face of the planet. I cussed her out, I never told the truth when a lie would do, I took off for several extended weekends without calling or letting her know where I was, or if I was even alive, and I skipped most of my sophomore and junior years at high school, finally "escaping" early under an early form of the GED. There's more, but I'm sure you get the drift.
I listened to nothing mom had to say. Not one thing.
Meanwhile, she was freshly divorced from an eighteen year marriage, working two jobs, dealing with my aforementioned brother. . .
Yeah, I was a real peach.
As I've shared in previous posts, I carried this major attitude toward her for years. In fact, I carried it until I was twenty-eight, had an epiphany and God started helping me face myself. Mom became a human, and I started understanding her and her pain - I was able to finally stop acting out of mine.
In any event. One of the perks of our redeemed relationship is all the fun ways I'm now acting like her.
For instance, I find myself admiring white objects: white cars, white drapes, white towels, white trim on walls . . . pretty much anything that is crisp and clean-looking. The first time I noticed this about myself, frankly, I was a bit appalled. I mean, white things are boring. Am I right?
But truly, when you see a fresh load of whites just out of the dryer, or a freshly washed white car, they are SO attractive. Maybe it's the cleanness of them. Maybe when you spend years cleaning up after yourself and other people, anything that looks that good makes your heart go pitty-pat.
Another way I'm becoming my mom is investigating things before I buy them. Back in the day, mom and dad subscribed to Consumer Reports. I thought they were total losers with no sense of adventure or style.
Having wasted untold thousands on purchases better left un-purchased, I am now a firm advocate of www.consumerreports.org, Amazon's ratings, and any other site I can find that provides feedback from people who've bought and used the item I'm considering. Ditto on price comparisons. Often, I'll research something, then go to Craigslist.org or Ebay or Overstock.com to get the best price on it.
But today was a special day in my transformation. I've resisted - for twenty two years as a parent - mending things for my kids. Lame, but true. Well, I did sew on Kris's badges during his short stint in the Cub Scouts.
As for anything else, not so much. Not even replacing buttons. After all, I never can find the needles and thread; forget about finding the missing button or that little spare pack they usually give you.
But the times, they are a-changin'. My daughter Klaryssia lost the button on some brand-new shorts a few weeks back, and I just refused to ditch them. Wearing them without the button wasn't an option, either, because it created a really nice poof and gap right under her belly button. Klaryssia has a hard enough time keeping her shirts over her belly and her pants up. Obviously, I needed to jump in and find a button to sew on. I'll spare you the details of the button search, remembering to buy yet another spool of thread and pack of needles ('cause of course I had no idea where the last set went), and then struggling to thread the darned thing AND sew it on in a helpful way (so that she could actually button the shorts).
I'm happy to report, mission accomplished.
This success led me to set aside one of the boy's button up shirts the other day when I saw it was missing one. Well, to be honest, I probably would have let it slide, but the button missing was the second one down from the chin. You can't just let that one go. It leaves a weird gap.
At this point, it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to have some sort of place to put these clothes that await mending. Further, to have a designated spot for the mending tools AND a place just for all those buttons I expect to collect.
With this thought in the back of my head today, I set out on some errands. Somewhere along the way, I remembered my mom's old button tin. She had two different tins, actually. One was for all the buttons, one was for her mending supplies: pins, thread, needles, etc.
This seemed like the perfect solution, but alas, I had no tins! Ah Ha! I bet our local Goodwill would have some, if anyone would!
Sure enough, the Goodwill store had not one, not two, but THREE shelves full of old cookie tins and cans from liquor gift packs, and heart-shaped chocolate tins. Jackpot!
I found two that I like, a tall cylinder that housed cookies - this will be my button tin; and a flatish rectangular one that says it's from Harrods and has all these English lords and ladies on it. This will be my sewing supply kit.
Now I'm not going to go all crazy and suggest that I will be launching into a whole new era of hemmed and mended garments, but I am definitely going to be able to find a button, needle and thread next time I need them.
And that's pretty sweet. Good job, mom. Good job. Once again, I realize that you were on top of things. And once again, I'm sorry it's taken me all this time to figure it out.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
LET THE WILD RUMPUS START!!!!!!!
But, really. . . its time to buckle down and get all those waiting projects going, and um, start that ahh . . .
NOPE: What's that time? What is the time? Tick-tick-tock, it's party o'clock!...
What DID we do on our summer vacation? 'Cause, really, that's the question here. People with children don't have summer vacation, per se. They have children. They have activity plans. They have camps and trips to movies, and maybe summer school - if they're lucky. They have lots of mental exercise trying to keep their kiddos occupado, out of trouble, and out of their hair.
We also spend a lot of time on the train to Crazytown.
If you have teens, you probably have even more stress. What is little Susie doing at the mall? Is she really at the mall? Is she texting while driving that car you bought her? Worse. . . is she "sexting"? And what the heck is that, anyway? Do they still have Raves??
It boggles the mind and feeds the worry machine.
For those of us "lucky" enough to stay at home with our little dears, there are other concerns: Will I survive the next three months? Will the children? Do I care if the children survive? It would certainly cut down on the back-to-school expenses. . .
But really, for our little krew, this was a pretty decent summer. We had Miss Kelsey home from college for most of it, and you all know I loved that. It will probably be her last one home. She's planning on getting an apartment with one of her roomies next summer. Thankfully, she will be pretty close by, but still. . .ah, but that's next year. Why borrow stress that's almost a whole twelve months away? I have plenty of worry for today.
Besides, I think I might (key word: might)be adjusting to this having adult children thing. As most of you know, my baby boy got married (see multiple posts on this one), and, although I cried copious amounts, I did not perish. And, I am actually very happy for them both. Really. REALLY.
Kelsey went on a road trip from Washington to California with some of her roommates, and I didn't freak out when she neglected to call me - well, I think she checked in twice - I survived it. 'Course, she got a speeding ticket, and she wouldn't have if she'd listened to my voice echoing in her brain to slow down and drive safely. But, they all made it home intact. And a good time was had by all.
I made a decision (again) to downsize and clean up and get organized. Am I alone in this? We Americans are insane consumers. We pay for places to keep our junk. We treasure it, as if we'll miss out on some essential part of life if we toss those pans we bought at Wal-Mart fifteen years ago. George Carlin did a bit on this phenomenon (disclaimer: it's a little raw, after all, it is George Carlin).
In light of this decision, I asked two of Kris's BFFs and groomsmen to come out and assist. Wes and Dustin had some free time and came out for a few weeks. It was terrific fun and they helped me get some big ticket stuff done - moving furniture out, rearranging rooms and appliances, some minor repairs, AND they mowed the lawn for me - WOOT!!
In exchange, I gave them some tours of Seattle at her finest, a few beers, introduced them to some of our AWESOME food, and they got to run down to Oregon and visit with the Newlyweds for a few days.
Oh, by the way, they are terrific cooks and made many meals for the kids and me - another big WOOT! I could totally get used to having someone cook for me. Foot rubs would be nice, too.
We had Elesha visit several times, a few friends drop by, Kobi had two weeks at Drama Camp (go figure), Kameron got to ride a really cool adapted bike at therapy, we all managed to tolerate Klaryssia's non-stop talk about being a senior this year at high school . . . did too much DQ, baked in the unusually hot Seattle summer, BBQ'd a couple of times, and generally had some good times.
The kids survived, despite their valiant efforts to make me hurt them with their tactics of arguing, fighting, whining, grumping, and general loudness.
And so did I.
Now: LET THE WILD RUMPUS START!!
Oh, one more thing I did on my Summer Vacation: I re-discovered Craigslist. The world's biggest garage sale. Now, I can sell my stuff. And buy more stuff.