Friday, February 21, 2014
What do you say when a little girl is ripped from the green grass right in front of her home and killed with a bullet to the base of the skull three hours later?
What do you do when this little girl could have been anyone?
When she could have been yours?
How do you reconcile a dead little 10 year old with the love you have for your children, for all of the children in your life? First cries, shiny new teeth, cheesy smiles on picture day, people saying that she acts just like you.
Sneaking in to her room like a class A creepster just to watch her sleep.
The mundane frustration that she can never find her shoes or her homework or that her room always looks like an F3 hit it.
This morning I took all four kids out shopping. Asher spent his birthday money over another toy to fill our basement and everyone was fighting and I bought them Krispy Kreme but apparently that was not good enough because no one got the right flavor.
I thought Scott was going to be totally appreciative and happy that I let him have a break and he thanked me but when Asher showed him his new toy he said, "oh, great. Another toy."
We had just talked about not buying the kids more toys because we have been getting rid of lots of things. Turns out, most kids make their own toys:
So, I had this moment where I got home and I was just completely DONE with it all. DONE with trying to figure out how a little girl could be ripped off the street, DONE with trying to keep all of the mundane plates spinning in the air: meals, rides here and there, trying to make sure there is enough time for Scott and I to binge on House of Cards and Columbo, trying to make sure the toilets don't both have poop splatters in the top of the bowl when people come over.
Trying to make sure there's enough time for me just to BREATHE during the weekdays while the kids are at school. I tend to fill my days up with play dates with friends, which isn't bad in and of itself.
It's just that when I'm not listening to the needs of a 2, 6, 7 and 9 year old, sometimes I need QUIET to process my own stuff.
This last week has been a huge testament to that: too much time on Facebook, too much time trying to make sense of The world's SAD crap when there is none to be found, this side of heaven, at least.
Evil just exists and it is here.
My husband told me that it did no good to sit and think about her unless I wanted to DO something proactive for her family.
Otherwise, it's just wasted energy, extra energy I don't have.
Loving my own kids and husband WELL is the best gift I can give the world, this broken world where people do evil things to children.
I can love and give (bad haircuts, to my children) in spite of it all, or maybe BECAUSE of it all.
Why can't it be a catalyst for me? For us?
Let's love harder, while we have the chance to love at all.
Our drop in the ocean might feel too small,
But to those we love it is the world.
Phoebe's Dumb and Dumber haircut, lovingly given by her mother
Thursday, February 13, 2014
These days I've been watching a lot of Nashville.
I try to coax he part of me out that wants to do laundry, but she's pretty dormant these days.
I read something on line that said Scarlett is a Laura Ashley boutique from 1993. Not someone wearing items FROM the boutique, but the actual boutique itself.
I found her annoying at first until I realized she is the unabashed innocence the show is crying out for. Now I love her.
I think a Scarlet and I are a lot alike in that we both sing like doves, attract all of the hot guys, and have really long blond hair that waves in the wind like twisted muskrats.
Where was I?
Yes. Nashville. It's my guilty pleasure after the kids go to school.
I visited my friend who had twin boys two months ago.
They are beautiful and it was so healing.
I kind of find it funny that my friends keep having twins.
2 years ago after losing my uterus and two sets of my own twins there have been two good friends who have had twin boys.
It is so true that time has a way of sewing up and melting the cutty edges of wounds you thought wouldn't ever heal.
A healed wound still has a scar, mind you.
It's just that now, when I watched Lucy open her presents on Sunday for her ninth birthday, I was just so thankful for her.
"You only miss the summer when it starts to snow/ you only know you love her when you let her go"
Sometimes letting go is the hardest part, isn't it? Letting go of the "could have beens". I get stuck in those and forget what's right before me:
A beautiful life.
Friday, February 7, 2014
She’s two and a half but in my mind she’s still new, needing me for everything and wailing her sorrow when it isn’t my arms that pick her up.
To me she is the most beautiful baby in the world; to everyone else in the Target checkout line she is another tantrum-throwing toddler who may as well be an extra in a RomCom about people whose lives end the minute they have kids.
Words have begun to spill out of her at an alarming rate, a rate my heart isn’t ready for.
The day she was born was the day I lost my fertility. I’ve been raising this third child of mine knowing full well that each tender transition would be the last.
Last indignant newborn being lifted up under harsh surgical lights, the sound of my happy cry filling that room, a space so sacred I cry just to think of it.
Last first tooth.
Last morning nap.
Last nursing time in Target while grandmother-types smile and spur me on with their open, kind faces.
Maybe in those moments they’re remembering their last baby’s lasts, too.
I weep as I write this, because there is one more “last” I haven’t had the courage to face.
My daughter has been nursing for two and a half years, and before you click away from this piece, just know that breastfeeding happened to be the only thing in having children that was anything nearing remotely easy for me.
Today I will put on some soft music, gather all 27.2 pounds of her up in my arms, and sit down in the ugly easy chair in our living room. That chair has rocked four babies (one was a little foster boy), and this will be the very last nursing rock.
Let’s be honest: It will most likely last 10 seconds because my boobs are freaking killing me and she has more teeth than a 36 year old great white shark, but it will be symbolic, OK?
I will cry and my husband will roll his eyes. She will scream about wanting some dumb object that wasn’t hers in the first place, and dinner will be burning.
The levity will be lost on everyone but me.
You see, having a needy baby attached to me has been a nice, warm safeguard against my fears of failure and inadequacy.
When someone little needs me, I have an excuse not to learn more Spanish or re-license for teaching or write a book or be the Box Top Queen for PTA.
People expect me to be dressed like a homeless woman with a bad haircut when I am the mother of a little baby.
Having someone little allows me to avoid what I fear most: my own failure.
I think I’m a pretty damn good mom, but I don’t know who I am with those other book-writing, Spanish speaking things.
It's not my youngest needing me less that makes me sad, uneasy, in center of the frame, feeling edgy. It's my fear.
I’m scared of the possibility that lies before me, the possibility in creating something new, finally something that doesn’t involve a romp in the sheets and 97 Dollar Tree pregnancy tests.
Sometimes, I guess, the last baby’s lasts are a good place to start…well, some firsts.
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Wednesday, February 5, 2014
When the cat's away the mice will play.
The cat is Scott in Hawaii, and we are the mice.
I feel like we're all living on the island of never ending sweets and debauchery where Pinnochio went when he lied too much:
The kids are fighting over everything, including:
Who is a boy and who is a girl
Who has longer snow pants
Who ripped Lucy's LaLaloopsy's head off (Phoebe)
Who broke my plastic storage tote by going all 'roiding Barry Bonds with the plunger (Asher)
Who loves Phoebe most
Who got lost in a snow drift, and the only way they could be found was by a high-pitched screeching of: "Daddy! Daddy!" (Kid, if you're waiting on Daddy to save you, he's drinking piña coladas with Jimmy Buffet's housemaid, so you're fresh out of luck):
Who is the most passive agressive:
Who is acting exactly like they are beginning their period even though they are in early elementary school (note: not me, did you know I will NEVER HAVE ANOTHER ONE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!????)
Who got up the earliest
Who went to bed the latest
Who broke another wine glass (me)
So, we have been busy arguing! I've also been busy shoveling
And I want you to give me an award for not inwardly cursing my husband for lying in the beach eating Hawaiian coffee (can you eat coffee?) with Hula Girls all around while I was shoveling this disaster so we could go to McDonalds and eat some highly saturated fats.
I'm leaving you with this picture, because if I were not being honest I would just post this and lead you all to believe that they are not fighting and every minute is scheduled with imaginative play that doesnt involve Melatonin or screaming toddlers with diarrhea.
Wanna come over?
Also, if you want to come and rob me, feel free to try, but you'll have to get past this:
I also sleep with a baseball bat under the bed and I have a mean swing after shoveling all of that snow, so good luck getting in the windows with 13 inches of snow underneath and trying to steal our awesome furniture and state of the art computer system:
Someone just asked me if they could use the bottom of a pencil for a paintbrush.
I said yes.
You've been warned.
Monday, February 3, 2014
She's lived with us for nearly five months.
She's gained weight, she is the picture of health and she giggles when her baby sister does something others would find annoying but she finds adorable...in that way that big sisters do.
I wake her up each morning, door softly creaks, my head leaning into her space: "Wake up, baby, it's time for school!"
Usually all I can see of her is her sweet blond head, body curled into the fetal position under her Hello Kitty covers.
Maybe she dreams of a time before she was born, when the phrase "foster home" was unintelligible and a warm, safe space was all she knew.
"I'm so afraid because I feel like you're becoming my real mom," she said last night, tear-streaked cheeks glimmering softly in the light of her cozy, post-twilight room.
"I get so angry at myself for thinking you are my real mom when I have a real mom. I don't want my brain to be so mixed up."
And then the clincher:
"I love everyone but I just want us all to be together. Why doesn't anyone get that? Why does it have to be so hard?"
And then she cried, her body racked with sobs.
"Sometimes you just need a good cry, little girl."
The tears fall, more ferocious this time.
Time and time again I am asked how I can have a child call me mom, build that bond, then turn around and let her go.
"How could you let any foster child go back into a possibly dangerous situation?" People ask.
Well, that's not my decision. (You couldn't pay me 354,000 a year to be a judge, thankyouverymuch). These children do always want to be with their original families. It's just the way it is.
The wonderful thing about having an older child in our home is this:
She will remember.
She will remember a Christmas dinner around the table on mismatched Plates, each person quoting what they are thankful for in everyone else.
She will remember sitting on my dad's (Papa, to her) lap, he telling her the mechanics of how snowflakes can stick together to make a snowman. She wears her new shoes with pajamas, because every little girl loves black patent leather.
She will remember that woman she called mom for a time, the woman who let her sob her heart out when it was so, so broken.
She will remember a place with no yelling or screaming and conflict resolution that didn't involve jail sentences.
She will remember, in those times directly after her little lips utter, "why could God do this to me? What did I do wrong?" A shaky voice replying, "honey, God loves you and he's taking care of you today with a cozy house and love and a nice warm bed. I get mad at God sometimes, too, but know that He can handle your anger and your questions. Just keep talking to Him and he will hear you."
And then my oldest daughter and I watch her drift off to sleep, happy in her dreams.
In those moments, I know the path we are on as a family is the right one for us, indeed.
We foster because we know
She will always remember.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Sunday, January 19, 2014
My husband's coworker brought a puzzle for everyone to do in the common area while they were thinking about cool computer nerd things to say and sipping their chai tea lattes.
Everyone was getting so frustrated doing the dumb puzzle that one guy just chucked it in the trash.
I don't know what the deal with me is. Do you feel like a trash can (not trash, just the trash can) in January?
I look on Facebook and I want to write snarky things.
My husband told me last night that he's going to Hawaii for work in a small while, leaving me home with four kids. My mom was the lucky recipient of a sniveling phone cry.
A few days ago I decided to go see "Lone Survivor". Concurrent with the theme of the movie, I decided to go ALONE.
At first, the idea made me super anxious because I'm not used to doing things alone without someone whose butt needs wiping or who is talking my ear off about the newest Skylander Giant set. I love all of those things, sometimes live for them, don't get me wrong, but in there somewhere is my own need to be heard.
So, there I was, sitting in a movie by myself and I seriously didn't know what to do. I rocked back and forth a few times to see if the chair was a good one and then I waited until there was a really loud noise during the previews so I could open my pilfered Diet Coke and let a fluff.
My mothering instincts were wondering if everyone had gone to the restroom (it was just me there, remember), and if I would be kicked out for bringing the Coke.
I wondered who was going to start screaming in the middle of the movie and how many times someone would poop their pants.
I spent half of the movie looking at Mark Wahlberg's bloody pores and calculating my seat choice because there were more people in the seats a couple of rows behind us and they seemed to be having more fun.
See, I wasn't totally into the experience simply because I was doing all of those things a mother does when she's out by herself for two-odd hours. It's hard to cope with all that, you know.
Everyone died except, well, the lone survivor. And I cried.
When I got home, everyone needed things from me.
It's weird to be in this middle-place, this place where I want to start doing some of my own things again but where they still really need me. It's weird to be asked philosophical questions like, "mom, do you sometimes not believe there's a god?"
Good grief, child! Weren't you just screaming for macaroni?
I used to wonder why my mom would always say. "Kids! Stop hanging on me!" And "Can't I have anything nice any more?" And how she could hear a mouse fart three rooms away when I was a child.
I don't wonder that any more.
P.s. If you're new here through Scary Mommy, click "like" over to the right and you can get blog updates via Facebook. If you'd like to read the most freeing post I ever wrote, why, that'd be this one:
Enjoy! And don't say I don't tell the truth.