May 9, 2013

It Takes A Village – Of Moms – XP

Original here.

My kids love the reaction they get from people when they randomly announce to strangers, “I have 3 moms!”.  Folks at the grocery store, the couple in the booth next to us at the restaurant…be warned, your reaction and response time is being tested!  I mean, 2 moms is soooo 2008.  3 moms and they are set for conversation starters and ‘2 truths and a lie’ material for life.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t help but think of how blessed my children are to have all these mothers around them to learn from and celebrate.

From their biological mother they have gotten their intelligence and beauty.  As much as I like to joke that I’ve ‘loved them cute’, they came to us like that…stunning, with her beautiful almond eyes, perfect nose, and wide smile.   And dang those kids are smart.  Considering the fact that they outsmart me on the regular, I can’t take any credit for that.

From her they will also learn some very valuable lessons.  They will learn that love spans any amount of time or distance.  They will learn that humility is key to real strength.  They will learn that no matter the depths you find yourself in this life, you keep your chin up and press on.  Even the most unrealistic goals can be achieved and there is no darkness that is impenetrable to the light.

And then they’ve got their mama.  One of the best people in this world. The one I’m so lucky to call my wife.  From her they will learn about generosity and playfulness.  How to throw a ball and be a good sport.  From her they will learn about a different kind of strength – the kind that is quiet and persevering.  The kid that brings you through the worst losses, but still finds you smiling at the other end.

From her they get their warmth.  I remember the first time she hugged me – I had never felt something so warm, and good, and pure.  She loves with a love that is accepting, loyal, and unending and when she loves you, you know it every minute of every day.  They will learn how to love from her.

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photo credit: AKD Photography

And from me?  Well, for one, I hope they learn how to pick a great spouse – one that has your back through anything life brings and makes you smile right on down to the tip of your toes.  I also fear that they’ve picked up quite a bit of my passion – there are some very high highs, and low lows in my house (sorry mama!).  But, I know that the ability to chase a dream with every ounce of your being will bring them far in this life…just the way it brought me right to them.

 

May 3, 2013

Survivors Guilt

The news of Blossom’s reunification was difficult for a number of reasons.  Sad for the foster family, worried for Blossom and bio mom, anticipating hurt and confusion for Sprout, fear about loosing touch with Blossom, and then there was something else.  Something deep and powerful that I couldn’t quite put my finger on for a while.

Well, I know what it is now.  Survivor’s guilt.  Such a strange feeling…tucking my children into bed every night.  MY children.  The ones I get to keep forever and ever.  My happy ending come true.

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But why? Why us?

Right time, right circumstances.

It so easily could have been us with the broken hearts and home. Instead, it was someone else this time and I can’t help but think of their pain when I look into the faces of my joy.

May 2, 2013

The Thing No One Tells You About Before Having Children – XP

Original here.

There is a serious downside to having kids that NO ONE talks about.

No, I don’t mean the $$ that magically grows wings and flies out of your pocket, or the new-found need to drink…daily.  Or even the lack of, ahem.

What I am talking about is the silent yet suffocating and ever-multiplying BEAST that lurks in every corner of your home.

What I am talking about is the f-ing laundry!

kayla

The more children you have, the worse the problem gets.  I was entirely unprepared for how unruly the beast would get when we said ok our third child.

If you are currently considering adding a 3rd…DON’T DO IT.

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Laundry has taken over our lives.

The worst part is the way it steals my joy (the way the dryer steals my socks).  Take for example the beautiful weekend we recently enjoyed.  And by ‘we’ I don’t mean me…

Because while my family was enjoying the sunshine,

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Being adorable. Planting a garden.
[MAKING MORE LAUNDRY]

I was here.

In hell.

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You say ‘laundry basket’, I say ‘laundry bastard’

When the kids came in from playing outside, I decided it was about time they got in on tackling the beast.  Afterall, it is THEIR FAULT I’m drowning.  So I handed them each a bastard basket of folded laundry and asked them to put it away.

They stared at me blankly.  “What do you mean mom? Isn’t it away?”

OKAY FINE.

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These guys don’t get much use these days.

So I finally make it to the end of my day.  The day spent slaying the beast with washing, drying, folding and putting away.  I want nothing more than to crawl into bed.

I open the door of my room only to find…

F*$&!

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I’m haunted by the smell of dryer sheets.

Consider yourself warned.

April 22, 2013

Saw Bio Mom for the first time in over a year

And it was a successful visit!  First and foremost, Blossom is doing just fine.  Cared for, loved, and showed definite attachment to BM (when it was getting close to nap time, she grabbed her binkie, climbed into mom’s lap, and put her head on her chest).  I’ve never seen mom so nurturing – it was really quite healing to watch.

While Sprout was incredibly excited at the idea of seeing mom, he was a bit shy and standoff-ish with her.  It didn’t seem to bother her in any way…she got on the floor and played race cars in a kind attempt to connect.  Rosebud and Blossom had a more neutral response to seeing her, as expected.  The really good news is that aside from some sensitivity and acting a bit “worn down”, we’ve had no real fall out from Sprout on the news of his sister’s reunification or seeing mom.  Though I’m still watching my back on that one.

Our relationship with BM seemed to pick right back up where we left off and she expressed interest in getting together again soon.  Couldn’t ask for anything more than that.

So then I relayed a quick message to the former foster family to let them know Blossom was doing okay and wrapped it up with

I can imagine that this message comes with a lot of mixed feelings and I’m sorry if it causes you hurt in any way, but I figured I’d pass it along, because I know if it were me, I’d be dying to know how my baby was doing. We are going to do everything in our power to watch over your sweet girl.

Ugh, sobering.  The roller coaster chugs on.

April 20, 2013

Broke the News to Sprout

About Blossom’s reunification and he took it really well.  I think we delivered it in just the right way, too.   Hate to think that we’ve had so much experience delivering hard news that we’ve gotten good at it, but yeah…

My sweet and empathetic boy was over the moon for his mom and her success (“I bet she’s so happy to have a baby at her house!”) but was immediately struck with sadness for Blossom’s former family – especially the brothers that had become his good friends.  Oh, how I can relate to that mix of feelings…

We spent the morning gathering clothes for baby Blossom and all systems are a go for the visit.  My stomach is pure butterflies – nervousness and excitement.  I pray this goes well and is the start of yet another new beginning for our family (immediate, and extended).

April 16, 2013

 

One year ago, today.

Adoption

April 15, 2013

Date Set

I’ve got a date set to meet up with bio mom and Blossom in the very near future – she responded almost immediately to my ‘offer of support’ email.

I haven’t told the kids yet in case it doesn’t pan out, but I’m cautiously hopeful.  I want nothing more than to be able to tell her dads and brothers that I’ve checked on her and she’s okay.

Crash course 101 in making the best of a tough situation.

April 13, 2013

Email Sent

To bio mom.  Wishing her well and letting her know we are here to support her, should she need any.  And offering her girl clothes – after all, we’ve got just a bit to pass along.

Because as sad as I may be over the latest developments, support can do nothing but help Blossom.  That, and heaven help me if I never see that baby girl again.

April 11, 2013

Surprise

Blossom has been reunified with bio mom.

I don’t even know what to say.

April 11, 2013

“Bad” Kids Have Good Parents, Too – XP

Original here.

My oldest had a bit of trouble at recess this week.  Too rough, not listening, you know the drill.  When his teacher’s number popped up in the caller ID after school hours I knew it wasn’t a call to tell me about stellar behavior.  Not that we get these calls all the time, but it isn’t our first time around this block.

We addressed the issue, had him come up with solutions, and I sent his teacher an email our steps so she could follow up at school.  She opened her response with “You are such a great parent. You did all the right things to help R.”

Aside from it just being a plain old wonderful compliment, it was an important reminder of something my son has taught me from the beginning.  You see, I pride myself in being a good mom.  I’m not perfect, I make lots of mistakes big and small, and half the time I’m winging it, but overall I think I’m pretty good at this gig.  And yet, my kids are lively, sassy, test boundaries, and are definitely not the angelic ones on the playground.  “A handful” is a pretty good way to describe my crew (whoops, did I just scare away all potential babysitters?? they aren’t that bad, I swear!).

The thing is, you get what you get when it comes to kids.  Some people get calm, quiet, and well-behaved children.  Others don’t.  So often we, as mothers, take the blame for our children’s behavior.  When my kid does something at school and I get a call from the teacher, *I* feel like I’m in trouble.  But no, just because my kids act up sometimes doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom.

One quote I often re-played in my head at the beginning was, “When my children misbehave, they give me a chance to use my skills.”  I think that is such an important reminder for all of us.  Our children’s behavior doesn’t speak to our ability as parents; it’s how we react to it that does.

My daughter’s school employs a “caught being a star” program.  I think it’s such a good idea.  Kids just going about their daily business with a surprise pat on the back.  I daydream about walking around with a stack of these to hand out to parents I encounter.

I’d give one to the mom at the grocery store with the kid who’s screaming his head off because she wouldn’t buy the gummy bears.  Nice job keeping calm boundaries mama!

I’d give one to the mom whose kid just hit another kid on the playground and she promptly packs him up to go even though it takes a football hold and octopus wrangling to get him out of there.  Good job!

I’d give one to the parent of the pre-teen who just got a boatload of sass AND and eye roll.  I wanted to give that kid an earful and she wasn’t even talking to me.  Impressive control mom!

Hell, I’d give one to every mom pushing a full cart at the grocery store because, damn, these kids are always wanting to be fed and that is exhausting at times.

I’d give one to you too, with a little reminder on the back…when our kids misbehave, it’s just a chance to show the world what great parents we are.