Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Have a Confession. . .

I have a confession to make:  I haven't been to church in months.  Really, months.  Since Rain's wedding in July.  That's a very long time.

Lots of reasons, I think.  None of them good, none of them important enough to keep me from worshipping in fellowship with other believers.  I think.

Maybe it's just enough trouble within my heart and just enough difficulty getting there. I still haven't re-established a healthy communication with God; still not praying/talking with Him regularly; still not "in the Word" as we Christians like to say. . . I used to devour His Word.  Literally eat it up. 

I miss that.

I miss talking with Him and hearing from Him.
So, why am I resisting?  No clue.
I haven't stopped believing.  I know He's real.  I know He is good. I've walked with Him for twenty years. . .

Every Sunday, the kids ask if we're going to church. 
We don't go. 

It's always been difficult to go to church.  Well, not always.  Mostly since we moved to Colorado Springs, that's when the "difficult" started.  At that time, it was just me and Kelsey and Kris.  A young, firey white girl with two little bi-racial children (who were adorable!).  For years, I discounted the polite looks, the quiet exclusion from conversations, the sense that somehow my little family just didn't fit in. 

I found myself switching churches.  I'd never thought I'd be one of those.  After all, we have trouble relating in our families, why would a family of believers be any different?  But somehow, it was.  Somehow, my heart just couldn't take not mattering.  I was in Bible studies, in choirs, led children's worship with my trusty guitar, went on ladies retreats, joined small groups, led small groups. . .and still failed to make strong connections with anyone.

I was a single mother, going to the denomination's Bible College, working full time and taking classes full time, and still "ministering" in the church . . . and I never felt so alone.

It certainly didn't help when I bought a huge house out in the country and filled it up with handicapped children.  My enthusiasim and passion and belief carried us far - especially in making all the parts of the house and care for the children work - but even then, I couldn't truly connect to the Body.  When I approached the Pastor about someone from the fellowship helping with my special needs children in a Sunday school class (both for the children and for me, so I could attend services and not be sitting on the pavement outside holding an unruly child on my lap listening to the service over a speaker); his response was that if I felt there was a need, probably God was calling me to that.

Naively, I thought well, okay, and started a Special Needs Children's Sunday School class.  So, not only did I get to care for my kids 24/7 at home, I got to take care of them and other kids on Sundays, too.  And, I now had the extra job of finding helpers for the class.  Wow.

But, I don't want to go into all this here.  I mention it to say that I'm pretty sure that a huge part of why I am not going to church today is that, while I've found a Pastor I respect, and going to his church completely satisfies my heart - I am still very aware that my special child (now only Kameron), is a little different (well, alot) and doesn't fit into any nice age group of Sunday School children.  With his mental and physical delays, he's better suited for a first or second-graders class than his chronological fourth grade one.

In short, he takes more effort.  And, even in our large church with all it's many many ministries, there doesn't seem to be anyone who wants to take on this little child, even for a few hours on Sunday.  And it breaks my heart - again.

He benefits so much from God's Word and from the music - he memorizes scripture like crazy, and he's the first one to ask if he can pray for you if you have a problem.

But, he is different.  He is in a wheelchair and talks funny and is in diapers. He can have inappropriate behaviors (like throwing the playdough around and laughing like a lunatic).  He isn't an easy child, I know this.

But doesn't he matter to God?  Of course he does.
Shouldn't he matter to a body of believers? Of course he should.

He is the least of these; one of those Jesus spent time with while here.  Kameron matters greatly.

I have to say that I hate writing this.  I feel like I'm being horribly disloyal and expecting too much and that the problem must be mine, not anyone else's.  Like if I really want to go to church with my handicapped son, I should go - full speed ahead and damn the consequences.

But the zeal and fervor that kept me plowing ahead like that for so many, many years is pretty much gone, now.  I am tired.  I am tired of fighting to be included - heck, not even included, just to get in the door (there's no handicapped access to the children's ministry).  I'm tired of cheerfully smiling at the pretty young couples with their beautiful children who all quietly step back a few paces and try not to look like they're checking us out.  I get it all the time out in public, twenty years of it.

It hurts too much to see it in church, too.

And so, another Sunday is spent at home.  And I hurt.  I hurt for Kameron, I hurt for Kobi and for me.

At some level, I hurt for those missing out on getting to know Kameron, too.  He is a very special little boy.  He deserves that love and acceptance.  But, I'm just too tired to fight for it right now.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

One of the comments I get a lot when people find out that I'm a single mom to high needs kids is, "I don't know how you do it". It's right up there with people saying how special I am and what a big heart, etc. etc.

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

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.. .

Kris wasn't into it, Klaryssia's picking a wedgie, and the nurse was hiding behind Kameron . Kobi is critiquing Kameron's costume. Have you looked at yours, son?

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

Had to Share...

Going down Memory Lane to stir up memories for my memoir (how many forms of Memory can one sentence hold?), and wanted to share these with you guys. Ha! See, I am a natural red head =)
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Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Gorilla in The Room

I've been "writing" again. I say "writing" with those annoying little quotes because what I am actually doing every morning (EVERY morning) at the crack of o-dark-thirty is this: BlackBerry Curve (the snazzy red one) alarm tone chimes (I really like the chime sounds - and am I not sooo cool to wake by cell phone rather than an old school, totally annoying alarm clock??), I press snooze a few times (no more than three) then get up, and go pad around the dark kitchen for a few minutes deciding if I want to nuke yesterday's brew or make a small pot o' fresh. Fresh usually wins.

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.