Friday, July 20, 2012
It will be a great day when I can shrug off the glare of another mother who disapproves of my parenting. Women, I don't think we realize just how much our judgement of others registers on our faces. Not only does it hurt feelings, but it causes unwarranted stress and anxiety. Imagine what a smile of encouragement would do instead. I usually get these glares when my kids are engaged in an activity that the onlookers consider "unsafe". With the post-modern, protect-your-kids-from -getting-a-scratch-ever, stupidity rampant in our generation, mothers have become absolute freaks. The problem is that they are obsessive about stuff that doesn't matter and out of ignorance, they let their kids do stuff that will actually cause significant harm. So Mothers, when you have a knowledge of pediatric trauma including morbidity and mortality statistics as extensive as mine, and you have successfully raised 6 boys, then disapprove as much as you like!
You dont' wonder that I slept little. But i had such a comfortable quiet night in my own heart. - Mary Slessor I have to remember as we bring the children home to love them that my strength for living comes from God, not from 8 hrs of sleep. I am often concerned about my sleep. It is a good think to get enough sleep and you should be disciplined enough to do what you should to get that sleep. But often for me it becomes an idol. I tell myself how I won't be able to function the next day. Or when the next day comes I allow myself to speak sharply and be impatient using my lack of sleep as an excuse. My strength comes from the Lord. There will be times with new kids in the house that I won't get enough sleep. I do not need to fear those times. "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation...whom shall I fear?" I must not live in anxiety. I must rely on God to give me the strength in the moment to do his will, rather than act out of my own devices. It is something that I must practice because I don't think I'm very good at it right now.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Today I will send my last biological child to camp for a week. I find myself oddly undone by this experience. There are several reasons why this event is significant. First, when my dad put me in the back of a truck, not knowing a soul, after moving 2000 miles from Alaska to Washington State to go to camp for the first time, I was 9 with a 10th birthday looming close. We waited until the twins were 9 before we sent them off for a week as well. Joel was 7, but he went to first-timers which was only 3 days long. Now, we are sending Bryce who is no more than 7, off for a full week. It shouldn't really make a difference, but somehow it does. Bryce was my last baby. He was the first one I got to stay home from work with for the entire 12 week maternity leave available to me. He was the one I got to see on the ultrasound prior to him having a heartbeat. I got to see his strong heart beating a week later, and then he got huge. He was my easiest most enjoyable birth (you can have enjoyable when you've done it a few times) and my biggest baby. Since then his personality has taken over. Forceful is the only way to describe him. He is also dreadfully cute, and the fact that all his growth seemed to happen as an infant makes him little and more babylike, especially when he flashes his dimples. Yesterday when he tried to climb the rockwall he came down and asked one of the facilitators widening deep brown eyes and 1 tear slipping down his cheek "Isn't there an easier way? I just want to go down the zipline...I was so afraid...it's a very high wall for a little boy." If you've ever seen Bryce you know the affect these words had on the poor teenage girl listening. Somehow through the course of events, I've been able to spend more personal time with Bryce than anyone else. It just seemed to work out that way. I like him tremendously and he prefers me to anyone else. He can also be overwhelming and I think I have a greater tolerance for his antics. He is special to me, even though he is not officially my last baby. We will see how this week goes. I'm excited for him, but I will miss him greatly.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
As we were going through our day yesterday I found myself composing chapters of my "book". It wouldn't so much be about how to raise a whole bunch of kids, or funny stories about a house full of boys as much as a "book" about letting go of I thought I was. It's interesting how people define themselves through childhood experiences leading into adulthood. What are the things they decide are important. I have found that I am an amalgam of things each of my parents find important, but the life and mate I have chosen don't always allow me to hold onto those preferences. With Dave I am able to be the happy-go-lucky person representative of my dad, but I'm frequently not able to be the person who has plans A, B, and C in place ready to go in the event of a hiccup. I hope that I have held on the the gracious beautiful person that my mom inspires me to be, but I am frequently have to kill the clean freak that rear her ugly head inside me. Every so often when I feel tired or overwhelmed I have a complete breakdown about how dirty and unorganized our house is and I wonder how I can add to that. The thing I have to hold tight to is that this life is not about my preferences, or those qualities I have brought from my family of origin. This life is about dying to self, and giving my life, my whole life away. I have the joy of giving my life away to little people I'm surrounded with. Some people give their lives away in business, or organizations and they get to see their work on graphs, and reports. I see mine in smiles and hugs and whispers a constant background drone of "MOM..." I would like to believe that I am so much more selfless than before I had kids, and then again before I had adopted kids. Dave used to bear the burden of hearing me fuss over whether or not his vacuum lines looked the way they should, or whether or not the towels were turned the right direction. Now, I'm usually glad if we have towels and they don't smell. I found that a lot of the "rules" of housekeeping I put on myself were passed down from my mother, being the consummate teacher, who taught me the "right" way to do pretty much everything. It's hard when you are a rule follower to decide that this and that rule are just not important to you anymore and you are not going to abide my them. It sound funny as I right it down. Contrasted to pretty much anything in life that is important this little difficulty seems like nothing, thought I have spent more than a moment agonizing about a task that I feel I should accomplish that I am just unable. As I continue on this journey I hope to be able to let more temporal things go as I am convinced of the eternal things I strive for.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I haven't blogged in awhile, so now I'm having a hard time deciding what to blog about. In some ways it seems like we have so much going on and in others we are so boring. Today I am delighted to be spending the day at home. It's been several weeks since I had a day with nothing planned. Today wasn't one of those days either, but fortunately both of my appointments canceled. This is something that would normally make me sad. I'm always one for community, but today I was tired and the idea of sitting in my pj's and taking the day however I wanted it was very appealing. So far I have spent 4 hours balancing our budget. We are saving for a new roof and a new car. As much as I like to see that number grow, it never grows as fast as I would like. I'm always trying to figure out what else we can cut out, and then not actually wanting to make the cut because it will eventually inconvenience me. The boys have started swim team. Dave has taken them since I have been at work. For the first time, as I watched them swim I wondered if we might contribute something to the team this year. Would be nice. We've been the hanger-on'ers for too many years. Mostly we do it so that they can get the exercise and team experience, but it isn't bad to actually help the team out. They seem to enjoy it. Bryce is always a menace. He does what he wants to do regardless what anyone tells him to do. It's so hard for me, sitting on the sidelines, not to get up and start yelling at him. I understand that the coaches can do it, but I still feel responsible as the parent. I had to settle for threatening him when he got out of the pool. I will re-threaten him before he gets back in the pool tonight. We've gone through 3 kids birthdays now. All was fun. I am enjoying them being this age. It is much easier on me. I think it's the only reason I can work full-time now. Besides the fact that my current job is far less stressful than my previous job. It's an odd thing, in that all I ever wanted to do was be a stay at home mom. I have less of that domestic time now than ever, but we seem to be getting along and I am not unhappy. Now I am off to take a long hot shower before starting some much needed laundry and baking. Enjoying the simple pleasures of life!
Friday, April 27, 2012
11 years ago at this moment in time I was in a lot of pain. I think about that day and cringe for many a reason, but I look at the faces of my beautiful twins and every second was worth it. They are the biggest gift I have ever received. These two blonde, blue/green eyed boys who have a love for God, and people unlike any I have ever seen. They have never met a stranger and they love openly and completely regardless of social standing, color, or background. They don't even have to speak the same language. I remember seeing them interact with the children in Guatemala. It didn't matter to them that they couldn't understand each other, it was just another group of kids to play with. There were times when the twins were little, that I would lie down on the bathroom floor in utter exhaustion while trying to get them ready for bed. I wondered how I would get it all done. Now if I'm tired, they are the ones making dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, and putting the little boys to bed to help me out. I will always have images of the 2 of them holding Zane down together to change his diaper while not breathing through their noses so they wouldn't throw up. I hope to expose them to more human suffering. I hope to show them how ugly this world can be, so that they can continue to be the Light of Christ to those around them. Happy Birthday to my wonderful boys, who continue to give me limitless joy.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
So my family is off celebrating Ethiopian Easter with an Ethiopian family from the boys' school that was kind enough to invite them. I'm slightly jealous as I am on my way to work and can't attend. I told them that they have to tell me all about it when I see them in the morning. I also got a facebook note from a young Ethiopian man who I sponsored through Compassion Int. from when he was very small. He was also wishing me a happy Ethiopian Easter. We never expected to have Ethiopian ties when we embarked on our adoption from that beautiful land, but God has provided them for us in many ways and we are soooooo grateful. Our boys are growing up around kids from their country whose parents immigrated to the US. These people have first hand knowledge of what it means to be Ethiopian and they are willing to share it with our kids. What a blessing!!!