Here is the new address:
Sometimes a girl needs a pick-me-up and I didn’t feel like new lipstick soooo…..a new blog site, it is! Come on over!
Am I the only one that hears Cher saying “Snap Out Of It!” when reading that last post?? Wow, how the waves of emotion will rise and fall. I am in a much better place today. I was planning to attend dinner with Christine this evening with some other lovely ladies in Austin but I have some major potential job stuff going on! This is good! I don’t want to jinx anything so just keep prayers headed for the right thing to happen!!
I came across this on a blog I read, Noah’s Road and it is a wonderful interpretation of the mourning period one goes through when raising a special needs child. If we are very lucky, we learn that Holland is just as amazing as Italy!
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a 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 guidebooks 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 some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. 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, 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.”
The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a 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.
-Written by Emily Perl Kingsley
Reflective thoughts ahead…you’ve been warned.
I had an idea of the kind of parent I wanted to be, we probably all did before having kids. I am nothing like that mom. Nothing. I did the mourning period of not having the “normal” family which meant I couldn’t be that mom I had envisioned. But lately I have realized it goes beyond that. My intentions were valid, my plans were genuine, my love is real. But what I never thought of is ability – or actually, inability. I never took into account how all my “stuff” would affect my parenting ability. I thought of my own traumas, how these were not experienced in vain, how I could help my children even more because some things we both experienced and I could understand. What a lovely silver lining little thought.
I am exhausted. Completely. Nothing my kids are handing me lately is out of the ordinary. I have actually had more days with a break in the last two months than I ever have. Granted, I am unemployed at the moment and being with my kids 24/7 is an adjustment, but I can’t see how that justifies where I am. What I am realizing is in order to be the kind of parent I dream of being…I’m not sure I am capable. That’s not a cop out because if there was a magic pill, one that gives me energy and patience and daily understanding instead of once in a while – I would spend every dime I have on that pill. I am forever coming up with plans, schedules, ideas, wishes but to carry them through, I crumble. I shut down under the pressure/weight of knowing my physical and more accurately, emotional self isn’t capable.
This doesn’t mean I can’t be a good parent. I am a good parent but I oh so badly want to be a great parent. I provide a safe and loving environment for my kids but there is so much more I want to be doing for them. Most days I feel like the pressure is stronger than I am, the weight of the world is something I feel ongoing.
I can’t believe it has been six years. In some ways it seems like yesterday, and in others it seems like so much longer.
Right now, 6 years ago, I was working a leadership conference that as a high school student in 1992, I had attended. My uncle had been raising M for the previous 4 years and H had been staying with a friend of his for a couple of months. The friend was getting in the way of my visits with H, as their mom, K, was contacting her from prison. K did NOT want me to have the kids, because she knew I wouldn’t hand them back when she got out until she proved she would stay clean. I spoke to her dad, my uncle, about my concerns that H was with this practical stranger and didn’t seem quite stable. So, on this day 6 years ago, my uncle picked up H, telling the lady we had a family reunion, and brought her and M to my parent’s house. I knew this was happening and I arrived not a couple of hours after they did. My uncle was then SUPPOSED to tell the lady that H wasn’t coming back but he didn’t. No call or anything to her so you can imagine the drama that followed. Needless to say, we ended up getting H’s belongings from the curb in front of the lady’s home.
At the time, I was living in dorm-like apartments as a full-time college student. I had left the corporate world to get my degree. I was majoring in International Politics and planned to help African women and children via a non-profit. But God told me there were two children in my own family that needed me more. I laughed at that, I had no job and no place for us to live. God wasn’t laughing, He was quite serious and within two weeks these kiddos were being brought to me. My parents moved into my grandmother’s vacant home and allowed us to stay in the home I was raised in. They were planning that move anyway and put off the sale of the house for us. I took the first job that came along, working for a crazy woman who had a no-kill shelter INSIDE HER MANSION! It paid well for what it was and I needed money ASAP. My friends were amazing, Elisha took clothing donations at her work, another bought all their school supplies, people were offering support from every direction. It was about a year before I went back to work with my previous (before college) company and we moved 12 hours away to El Paso.
There were signs of RAD from day one, if I had known about RAD, that is. H walked in the door the first day and announced, I am going to live with you. No one had told her this. She twirled her hair and batted her eyelashes and conned little boys into closets – she was 3. M has always been the master of manipulation, making me feel guilty in 5 seconds flat. Our first trip to the park and a man was selling ice cream. I had no cash on me and I was ok with M sitting there sulking. The man actually walked by and asked us if we wanted some, and M piped up “My MOM won’t let me…” Mom? Mom? He called me Mom!!! I dug in my purse and paid that man with nickels and pennies. I hadn’t been called Mom before….and I wouldn’t again for quite a long time.
It has been a roller-coaster ride, full of discoveries, both good and not so good, but every time I feel like it is just too much – I try to imagine if I hadn’t listened to God and never got them 6 years ago today. It takes my breath away at the thought. People, over the years, have told me to give them back, it’s too much for one person to handle, they didn’t come with warning labels. I smile at them all, and then tell them to do the same with their children. They look at me shocked and say it isn’t the same. But it is, in every way that matters, it is. These are MY children, the good days and the bad days, the smiles and the tears, they are all mine. My heart knows this, love isn’t about how things came to be, who brought them into this world, who deserves what titles, it is about sticking it out in the good and bad. Choosing to see the good under the fear and anger. Through everything, I know these children were made for me and that I endured all that I have previous so that I would be prepared for them. Because I was made for them too.
Happy 6th Anniversary my loves, I am only sorry I didn’t find you sooner!
I was just over at Christine’s blog and am sitting here wondering….How do I put my own crap aside for my kid’s sake? I want to, I would love to just put my own crap aside and never revisit it, but doing it is SO HARD. I am rolling my eyes or sighing heavily at my kids before I even realize I am doing it. My son asks me at least a billion times a day why I am mad. I’m not but he says I look like I am. How comforting for them… How to live with 3 kids that battle on who can suck the life out of me first and not react negatively? There are times I can, I have to REALLY focus on it, sometimes even pausing before reacting. But not enough. Not nearly enough. Now the four of us will be together all the time – school is out and I am still not working. It will be a challenge. Trying to get myself mentally in a place for this to be a successful summer. Go Me!