Thy Will be Done

Valentines Day, the day of love.  I’ve thought about this post over the last few days so forgive me if its a jumbled mess.

Valentines Day has a different meaning to me now than it did when I was in my early twenties and early thirties.  As I was getting our little loves gifts prepared I could not help but to think back to my two oldest kids last Valentine’s Day with their father (my ex-husband)  He was not around much leading up to the end of our marriage.  He was a nurse and was always “working” so he spent many nights away from home.  I knew what was going on, I just didn’t want to admit that my marriage was over.  So when he was not around the first few weeks in February that year, I didn’t think much of it.  I remember making the kids baskets that year, almost as large as the ones kids get on Easter.  I made sure they had candy, and movies, coloring books, and even a new outfits.  I wanted them to know that I loved them, they needed to know someone loved them.  So I went overboard.  At that point I was still covering up for him and that even included all things involving our kids.  I finished up the baskets and had them setting in the middle of the living room floor so the kids would see them first thing as the came in from school.  I went to take a shower before they came in so we could spend the evening doing whatever they wanted.  When I was finished and came back into the living room, there he sat.  The kids walked in and immediately ran to the baskets.  They were all excited when they opened up their gifts and then they opened the cards and read “Happy Valentines Day Love Dad”  He had placed cards in the baskets while I was gone.   I had not bought cards for them.  In their eyes he had come home with these amazing gifts for them just in time for Valentines Day. I was so angry with him, but never said a word to the kids.  He packed a bag a few hours later and was gone again.  Later that month the kids and I moved out, and I filed for divorce, not because of that but for many other reasons.

 

Jump forward a few years and I am now married to my husband.  I love him dearly, however he is not one to celebrate birthdays much less holidays. Every now and then he will surprise me on a holiday, take this past Christmas for example.  We had agreed to not get each other anything, but I knew he needed a new coffee pot.  Not a great Christmas gift I know, but I knew he would use it.  So when he told me to open up my gifts ( that’s gifts not gift) I was completely shocked.  He had bought me a new laptop (which I am typing on now) and an autographed Brett Favre jersey  (I’m a huge Green Bay Packer Fan) to hang in my Green Bay Room.  He didn’t have to but he did out of love.  Kind of made the coffee pot look a little silly but hey he loved it. And then there was last Sunday where I needed some me time, so he watched the kids while I went and seen the movie Lion.  It’s the little things. So when Valentines Day rolled around and I only got a kiss on the forehead with a “Love you more” that was okay.

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Back to the kids, Diva and wild man were both excited for their class parties at their new schools.  My husband had went and picked up Valentine’s Day treats for their classes because our little Elmo was sick and I didn’t want to take him out.  The kids worked on their boxes and signed the cards to make sure they fit the right friend.  They worked on their Valentine’s Day things for two days.

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Diva’s box

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Wild Man’s Box

Then the county school board calls. ” Classes in the county will be closed Monday and Tuesday next week due to the number of kids out with the flu” The kids were heartbroken.  They really wanted to give out their Valentines to their new friends.  So on Tuesday I got up and we made cupcakes for their daddy, something to keep their mind off of not being at school celebrating with their friends.  We had frosting all over the place, but they had fun.  The school board called that evening and said that school would be back on a regular schedule the next day and all parties would take place Wednesday.  They were excited.  They got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and headed to school.  By noon wild man was sent home with a high fever, his party was scheduled for 2 he was heartbroken again.  He came home and fell asleep on the couch.

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Hubby’s cupcake bouquet we made

 

My husband called around 4 and said he was stuck at a job sight and he would not be able to pick up diva from dance practice, so I loaded all the kids up and went to get her.  When I got their her instructor told me that diva was not acting like herself.  By 6 last night all five of our little loves were sick.  Three with high fevers and two with diarrhea. By 6:15 one of our new friends from church was texting me asking what was going on?  We were not at small group at church, obviously so she knew something was wrong.  Our new group of friends started praying for us as soon as they heard what was going on. I called my husband and gave him a list of “must haves” from the store before he came home.  He walked in around 8 and jumped into help with bath time and bed times. The night was long and the kids were sleepless.  The fevers went up and down, a two of the five were up throwing up here and there, and I felt like crying and did so.  Then at 2:48 this morning I heard a noise coming from our daughters room.  At first I thought the baby was babbling in her sleep but then I realized it was someone singing.  I went in to see what was going on.  Diva was laying in her bed  singing along with the radio “Thy Will be done, Thy Will be done, Thy Will be done”   The song Thy Will by Hillary Scott and the Scott Family.  I asked what she was doing and she said “I’m practicing so I can sing as pretty as you do in the car”  And I cried again.

 

Even through her sickness she was was praising God.  Some of the lyrics of that song: “It’s hard to count it all joy distracted by the noise just trying to make sense of all your promises”and “I know you see me, I know you hear me, Lord Your plans are for me Goodness you have in store”  As she sang the words rang so true. If she could praise God at almost three in the morning, so could I.   I thought about life, my life. Ten years ago I did not see myself celebrating love on Valentines Day, I felt no one loved me and all alone. I did not see God’s Will for my life.  This year I have a husband who adores me, kids for love me, friends who worry about me, and a Lord that died for me.  I am blessed so blessed. So what if Valentine’s Day did not turn out the way I had wanted.  I am exactly where He planned on me being.  I did not know that my life would be like this ten years ago. I did not know the true meaning of love.  It’s not about the gifts or how much you spend, its about the simple things like forehead kisses, running to the store after an extra long shift at work to pick up Gatorade for the little ones, its calling or texting a friend just to check to see if they are okay, and being dead tired but running a bubble bath at 11pm because your sick little one needs one.  My daughters sweet angelic voice reminded me of that.  Yes the day was overwhelming and I was stressed.  Yes I felt helpless and alone while my husband was at work and I was here with all my sick little loves, but the truth is we are never alone.  God is always with us.  And He reminded me of that through her singing.

 

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love.  Love from your spouse, love from your kids, love from your friends, but most importantly its about the love from God.  Even if you are alone or feel alone on days like Valentine’s day we are not, He is always with us.  He will never leave us.   When we feel unwanted or unloved or unappreciated that’s when He loves us most Go to Him and let Him show you.  We are all worthy of His love.  In our darkest times we must look for His light.  Father God, thank you for the sweet music in the wee hours this morning.  Thank you for allowing diva and I to share that precious moment together.  Thank you for your strength and comfort but mostly thank you for your unfailing love.

 

From our beautiful chaos to yours Let His Will be done in your life.  You may not understand why you are going through a storm in life right now, but in ten years you will look back and say ” Thank you Jesus for your Will on my life. Thank you for getting in through the storms and delivering me here. ”

 

 

 

Why Must Everyday be a Struggle: Life with RAD

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This week has been long, very long.  We started this morning off the same way we have started off every morning; arguing over her hair.  I am tired of arguing over her hair.  Correction I’m tired of arguing.

Two weeks ago our six year old got in the car after school and I noticed she was in different pants than what she had went to school in.  When questioned why she was in different pants she stated she had an accident.  I assumed she had spilled juice or milk on herself at lunch but after reading the note from the teacher I discovered she had actually peed her pants.  The teacher went on to say that our daughter had spent an unusual amount of time in the bathroom that day and wanted us to be aware of it.  I asked diva what was going on to which she replied “Nothing I just have to pee a lot.”  I called the doctor and made an appointment to make sure there was nothing going on.  To make a long story short, she had a UTI.  She was given medicine for 10 days and we were to follow up yesterday to make sure it was cleared up.

The last two weeks has been argument after argument.  First it was my fault I “let her get sick” When I told her she had not said anything to me or her dad about feeling bad it turned into” Well you should have just known”  After the initial doctor’s appointment we had to run to pharmacy to pick up her medicine and while there she insisted I buy her a toy.  I of course said no which lead to the, ” Fine!!!! I will just tell daddy you were being mean to me again” argument in the store.   I should be use to this types of outbursts, and for the record I don’t see myself as a mean or bad mom, but sometimes I just want to hide when she starts acting that way out in public.   We waited for her prescription and  headed home.  Once in the house, the topic became ” Ha ha I get to take medicine and YOOOOOU don’t” to the boys.  She always has to have the final say and always (in her mind) has to have something they don’t, even if that thing is medicine.  Of course the boys could careless if she is getting medicine, none of them what that yucky stuff.

No one told me when we were adopting things would be like this. Adoption is suppose to bring closer and happiness.  I did not plan of arguing with my six year old everyday.  I know being a parent is not easy, my two oldest kids taught me that, but I didn’t think it would go like this day in and day out. I look back at the photo above and think about the way it was then.  We did not know what the future held for her or for us. She had already started to show signs that something was not right.  When I started making note of the behavior and questioning things no one believed me.  I was met with statements like “She’s fine she will grow out of it” and “Well if she were an only child you would not be having problems”  Neither statement helpful.  She wasn’t growing out of it.  The screaming, fighting, lying, and acting out were only getting worse.  And the whole ‘only child’ thing was never an option. I keep telling myself things would get better after all she is only a child and she has been through more more than any child should.

 

But I found myself not prepared.  I was not prepared for the daily battles.  I was not prepared to hear “I hate it here” and “I hate you”  I was not prepared for the always acting out for attention and the bad behavior at school and at home.  I was not prepared for the consent fighting and screaming with her siblings. I was not prepared to have birth mom thrown in my face day after day.  I was not prepared to have this fairy tale life she has made up about her birth parents constantly blowing up over evening conversations.  I was not prepare for how well she can manipulate a situation or others. I was not prepared to deal with a six year old that lies and steals things (money, candy, toys).   I was not prepare to be a parent of a child with RAD. I find myself lost sometimes.  I love her so much and want only whats best for her. But there are days I wish her words and actions did not hurt so much.  There are days I wish time would get slowdown and then other days I wish college was around the corner.  I don’t expect many to understand my feelings, but I know there are some that do. We have had family members offer to let her stay with them, and while some days that sounds wonderful, that will never happen.  Having her go somewhere where she will be able to have her way all the time will not help her any.  She needs rules and boundaries.  She needs to figure out that life is not always about her and that life is not always fair.  Yes I understand she is only six, but she will be a teenager one day, then an adult and the world does not cater to all of our wants and needs kids need to learn that early on. Besides, if we did allow that to happen all she would see is that once again people gave up on her.  And that is simply not the case.    I will never give up on her.

Which brings me back to yesterday.  We had her follow up appointment.  The doctor said everything looked good and that the UTI was gone.  Then the doctor asked if she had had anymore accidents.  I told her she had peed the bed multiple times since our last visit but I know she is doing it to get back at me for things ( like not letting her have anything to drink after 6 or telling her no she can’t play outside because its 20 degrees) I explained that she pees to show me she’s in control (or so she thinks).  Its something that she started doing over a year ago to push her boundaries and something she finds funny because I have to clean up after her.  Then the doctor asked if I made her carry her dirty bedding to the laundry room, I answered yes thinking I would hear “Good for you” but instead I was met with ” Well instead of using negative enforcement like that why not try giving her a treat in the mornings that she does not pee the bed”  What the heck??? Seriously?  I need to give her a treat for doing something she is suppose to do anyway?  She went on to say it did not have to be a large treat, it could be a sticker or a small piece of candy and while she could be having accidents because she is acting out they want to have renal ultrasound done just to make sure nothing is wrong.  The doctor then gave her a lollipop and we headed to the car.  Diva was all smiles when we got to the car.  She told me that she wanted M&M’s as her morning treats and that she also wanted to chocolate milk instead of white milk.  When I told her there would be no treats in the mornings she went off, screaming, yelling, kicking the back of the seats, and throwing herself against the carseat.  I told her that just because she had heard the doctor say that did not mean it was going to happen.  She came home and the night when downhill.  When she woke up this morning she refused to come downstairs to get ready.  After walking back in from taking our son to the bus stop and seeing she was still not downstairs I went up to her room to get her.  I opened the door and I could smell it.  I asked her why she had peed and her response was “You can wash them if you wont give me treats”  I counted to ten to myself before telling her to gather her bedding and take it down to the laundry room.  Its after one and its still setting in there.  I have thought about it and I believe I will let her learn how to do laundry this evening when she gets home, if she refuses then she can sleep without blankets this evening.  I will not be bullied by a six year old.

Maybe that makes me a bad mom.  But I can’t see trying to teach her responsibility as bad parenting.  My parents taught me that for every action there is a reaction and that’s what I try to teach my kids.  I don’t think telling her no shes not getting treats was a bad thing.  I don’t think having her carry down her dirty bedding is bad either.  I do think one day she will look back and see that everything I ever did for her was done out of love and done to make sure she could make it in the world without me one day.  Some reading this may think I am being to hard on her, and that’s okay.  If I were on the outside looking in I might think that also.  However daily life with a child who has RAD is not always rainbows and sunshine, many days are thunderstorms and hurricanes.  But God placed her in our lives and we will get through this.  Maybe He know we would call on Him when others would not. He knows my strengths and all my weaknesses.  And He still thought I was the perfect mom for this little girl.  Thank you Jesus.  We will get through this season of life with You by our side.  I ask for wisdom, and for You to guide me.  I pray for patience and understanding.  I ask that YOU Lord show me a way to make things a little less stressful and a lot more peaceful.  I ask these things for I am one human and I fail her daily and I want nothing more than to be the mom she runs to with a huge smile on her face says ” Mommy I love you”  Until that day Lord let me feel Your presence as I try my best to parent her.

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Photo : Hope/ Coming Full Circle comingfullcircleblog.com

From our beautiful chaos to yours, life is not always easy but its the life we are given.  Take it day by day and make the most of it.  One day we will look back and see all the beauty in the mist of the storms.

Phrases I Never thought I would Say

“Because I’m your mother that’s why.”  And “Because I said so” and we can’t forget “I don’t care who started it, I’m going to finish it” Oh how I hated those phrases as I  was growing up.  What did they even mean? Why did it matter? Both logical questions for a child to ask when mom was yelling one of these at the top of her lungs out of frustration.  I will never say those things to my child when I’m older said my younger self.  Guess what younger me?  You lied to yourself.  Liar liar pants on fire.  
Last week I found myself saying these very phrases to my little loves.  With my husband way on business I was out numbered and on a few occasions stressed to the max, as my daughter would say. After finding myself locked in my bathroom for a few minutes of peace I could not help but think about my younger days when I told myself I would never say those things to my kids.  I now understand, sometimes you just get so overwhelmed you say things that don’t really make sense to the conversation. But you say them just hoping they work. Hoping your kids don’t continue the arguement or the behavior. So Mom, I’m sorry for all those times when bub and I got you to that breaking point. I get it now, I mean I really get it.  And while I thought about these phrases another list popped in my head. If your a mom admit it, we all say things that are a bit odd from time to time. So here are a few things I thought I would never say, but have some more than once:

* No you may not wear “paghetti” on your head

* Toilet water is not okay to use for tea parties

* No you may not lick my armpit 

* Crayons do not go in the dogs butt 

* Yes you must wear pants, we can’t run around naked 

* No we can not trade your brother in for a new one because he “looked at you” funny

*Stop barking at your sister

* I know I’m the meanest mommy ever but your stuck with me sorry

* The rug in your room is not your personal bathroom

* No we can’t play the burp game till someone throws up

*You put your dirty underwear where?!

* If you can’t lick my armpit I’m pretty sure you can’t lick my feet 

* You know we don’t eat things off the floor…. it’s the last cookie? Fine just stop crying 

* Mommy put herself in timeout ask me again in 5 minutes 

*You used my lipstick as a marker because you ran out of pink….awesome

* No jumping on your bed also meant no jumping on your brothers bed

*You wiped your own butt yeah!! You used a whole roll of toilet paper? where’s the plunger 

* Toothpaste should not be used as shampoo to turn your hair blue

* You need me to cover your feet with the blanket that’s in our hands? 

* No I don’t want to see how far you can get your finger up your nose

*Is that brownie in your hair or is that…..omg go to the bathroom now don’t touch anything

* No we can go fishing for matchbox cars in the toilet

* Wait why would we need to fish matchbox cars out of the toilet????

Oh the joys of little ones.   Never dull Never boring always entertaining 

From our beautiful chaos to yours what are some things you’ve said to your little loves that you never imagined would come out of your mouth?

Adoption ~Overwhelming Love

via Daily Prompt: Overwhelming

“Adoption is a beautiful thing”, I have heard this phrase time and time again, from people who have never adopted.  And while they are correct adoption is beautiful, it is so much more than that.

Its easy to say things like that or ” I am so proud of you for doing what you do” or “I don’t know if I could love someone else’s  child as my own kudos to you”  But what we really need are people willing to take a stand and open their hearts and homes to children in need.

When I was younger I knew I wanted a large family.  But do to circumstances out of my control, I was only able to have two children. Now, I know there are people out there that want children and can not have them so I am very thankful God saw fit to bless me with my two oldest. Being their mom has brought me so much joy. I accepted the fact I was unable to have more children and moved on, raising them as best that I could.  However shortly after I married my second husband I started thinking about the sounds of little feet again and it made my heart sad.  He had never been married and never had children.  He was a natural father to my two ( at that time a preteen and teen) but I could not help but feel bad that he would never experience the joys (yes joys) of 2am feedings, the smell of a newborn, the sound of a babies laugh, and the countless other things that make parenting a blessing.  So we prayed about it, I knew we could not have a child the “old fashion way”but there where other avenues we could pursue. That’s when we found out about adoption through foster care.

Straight adoption can be extremely expensive.  And while we wanted a child we wanted to be able to afford things after the adoption was final. Sounds crazy I know but the average adoption can cost over $45,000 dollars. Adoption through foster care normally costs nothing but filling fees (depending on your state anywhere between $200 and $400) the state covers the rest. I called our local DHHR and inquired about being foster to adopt parents.  By far one of the best life changing calls I have ever made.  Fostering opened up our eyes and hearts to a world, many do not fulling understand.  Not all the children in foster care are there because of that they did, in fact most are placed in state care because of things their parents did.  The system can be challenging to deal with but the outcome is so worth it. Dealing with court dates, parent improvement periods, and visitation plans can be aggravating but helping a child overcome the most stressful time in their young life is worth all of it.   Over the past six years we were Momma C and Daddy T to over 20 children.  It is hard to fall in love with a child to only have that child reunified with their birth parents or to be placed in another adoptive home if they do not blend well with your family, but then there are times that you get to say “Yes we want to be their forever family”  And thanks to God we have been able to say this three separate times allowing us to adopt our five little ones, four of which are half siblings. They would not be together if we had not followed our hearts and adopted them. God made a way for us to have our large family.

We have been blessed to make wonderful new friends with other foster to adopt parents.  So many children finding their forever families all because someone thought they were worth it.  Children in foster care are not any different than children who are not in care.  They still want someone to love them, to make them feel safe, to feed them, to play ball with them, and to play dress up with them.  Yes many have been through some terrible things but deep down they just want to be a child loved by someone.  I do feel bad for the birth parents, however if you have been given chance after chance to get off the drugs, or to take anger management classes or whatever the reason was that the child was taken away and still can’t manage to do it then the child deserves a family that can provide a good life for them.

Today a dear friends of mine will be adopting be adopting their little girl.  And I could not be happier for them.  This past summer was filled with friends and family adopting little ones, my heart was overwhelmed with excitement was our extended family grow in size through the process of adoption.

So yes adoption is a beautiful thing.  Adoption is overwhelming love.  Adoption is everything to a child in need.  Adoption made our family complete.  Is adoption the answer for you? Pray about it, think about, ask questions about it.  Adoption is a blessing.

 

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Our first Forever Family Day Welcome Diva and Wild man 9/20/2013

 

 

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Our second forever family day  Welcome Big Al and Elmo 6/17/2015

 

 

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Our third forever family day 6/28/2016

Thankful for one more day


Just when I feel I cannot go one more step God gives me a beautiful day and whispers “You’ve got this. We will get through this together”. Thank you Lord for one more day.

This week has had its share of ups and downs.  My husband has been away training for his new job position since Sunday so that means its been me and our five little loves here at home. Just me and them.  The first night was not so bad, they are use to daddy working late so to them it was nothing. They worked with me so that dinner and their bedtime routine went well. Then morning came. Daddy was still not here and diva insisted on him taking her to school (that’s their morning routine) when I broke the news to her, again, that daddy was away and that I would be taking her to school our peaceful weekend came to a screeching or should I say screaming stop.   I was reminded that I was not her dad and that I do not do things the way dad does.  I’m use to this argument so I gathered up her little brothers and little sister placed them in the car and then carried her to the car kicking and screaming.  I’m sure if our neighbors were not up they were by the time I finally got her loaded.  The rest of the week has not went any better.  But tomorrow is almost here.

 

By yesterday I was really questioning myself.  Sure I am use to taking care of them but as the week as slowly past by I wonder how well I’ve done.  We have not been late to school nor did diva miss dance class Wednesday but I did opt out of going to church last night.  I really miss not being there but I thought I would play it safe and keep our little loves home instead of trying to hold five little hands while walking across the crowded parking lot.  So we had church here.  We played some music video’s and got our praise on and then watched a video that our old church had streamed on social media.  The kids enjoyed it because they got to see their cousins and I enjoyed hearing an old familiar voice.  Not exactly like our new small group, but it worked.  I could have taken the easy way out . I could have had my in-laws or my parents come down and help out but after thinking about it my husband and I decided against it.  It’s not that I didn’t want them here it’s just it would have thrown off our new routine and really messed with the boys especially wild man.  He can’t handle change. Having them coming and going all week would have lead to more than one major meltdown for sure.  So even though I was not sure how I was going to do this on my own we decided it was best that I did.

The one thing  I discovered this week is that I am strong enough to do this on my own, well with the Lord’s help. I did not think I would find “me time” this week but I have.  I have still managed to get my devotional time in and still managed to get the kids to bed (may not have been exactly on time but they got there)  I found myself talking more to God during the days and the nights, asking Him for strength, for patience, and for more arms(holding five on ones lap has its challenges) This has been one of the most stressful weeks I’ve had since we moved here, but at the same time I have had more peace than normal.

While at small group last week I jokingly asked our group to pray for me this week.  I may have been joking but I could feel their prayers in my weakest moments. God knows what we need before we do and He sends His angels.  Yesterday we were having a pretty terrible day.  Diva had not behaved well at school and the boys had made one mess after another here at the house.  I felt beat down and defeated.  Dinner ended up being a “Fine whatever you want just eat something” meal.  Bedtime well lets just say Big Al was still up at 1 this morning with sleep nowhere in sight. But during all of the craziness one of my new friends from small group sent a text.  She had said something about bringing us dinner one day this week, but I had not put a lot thought into it.  But just as God had planned, she was seeing if today was a good day for her to bring us over dinner.  I told her she really didn’t have to do that, but she insisted and who am I to step on her ministry of kindness.  She told me that she would call me later and we would figure out the details. Perfect I thought. I drifted off to sleep sometime between 1 and 2 this morning dreading what the day would bring and praying that Friday would just get here already.

But then God gave me today.  My alarm went off at 5:45 just as it does every morning that my kids don’t wake me up before then.  I went downstairs and prepared wildman’s lunch for school and pulled out my devotional.  Today’s devotional message came from “Devotions for Women on the Go” and the reading for the day started out with this:

The key to overcoming has been the realization that God created me with ALL the tools I need to overcome all things if I rely on him to guide me to them”

Thank you Jesus for the word this morning.  God would see that this day was better than yesterday. So the day started.  We made it to school and to the grocery store without any major meltdowns.  Once home I was able to do some laundry and pick up the house some, then it was time to go back after wildman and diva.  Wildman’s bus driver said he had a great day according to his teacher and when I picked up diva she was smiling ear to ear.  She had a green day today, not just a green day but a “Great day green day”  (this has only happened one other time)  We made it home and finished homework all before our friend showed up with dinner.   Today was the complete opposite of yesterday.

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Dinner thanks to my wonderful new friends 

When our new friend dropped off dinner she smiled and said” I did not do this because I thought you weren’t capable I did this because I know you are more than capable and wanted you to know we think your awesome”

Man did I need to hear those words. I may not have it all together. And more days than not I find myself questioning my parenting skills but I am thankful that God has entrusted me to be the mother of seven wonderfully crazy kids.  That He has given me one more day to walk with Him and lean on Him to guide me along this path.  I am thankful for the sun that broke through the morning clouds and for the sounds of giggling this evening during dinner and bath times.  I am thankful that later I will have five little loves fighting over who gets to set on my lap and for the one who stays awake the longest so they get one on one snuggle time.  And I am thankful tomorrow is Friday and my husband will be home to share all of this with me.

From our beautiful chaos to ours not everyday is going to be great but if we are lucky  God will see fit to bless us with another day to make things better. Until then we must make the best of what we’ve got.

 

 

Part Mom/ Part Robot…sort of

The date Friday October 13, 2000 is one that will forever be remembered as the day that changed my everyday normal.  That morning started off as any day. I got up went to work, I processed medical and dental claims for an insurance company.  The day went by as any other normal Friday and at 4:30 my then husband was there to pick me up and take me home.  I had talked to my mom and we agreed to met up with her over at my grandmothers after we picked up the kids.  When we got there my mom was sitting in the living room, with my grandmother and my great grandmother, sipping coffee and watching television.  My kids, 5 and 2 at the time, quickly ran over and started passing out hugs.  My mom and aunt were going to a local fall festival the next day and asked if she could take the kids with her.  I told her that would be fine I just needed to run home and pack them an overnight bag.  We sat and ate a piece of cake, my grandmother insisted, before we went to go pick up the kids things and that’s when my 2 year old son spilled juice down the front of his shirt.  I grabbed a towel and dried him off as best as I could and gathered up our things to leave.  My mom quickly told me, “You can’t not take the baby out with a wet shirt in this weather” ( it was in the mid 60’s just for the record)  I tried to reason with her but she had back up both my grandmother and great grandmother.  Now I could argue with my mom but when it came to arguing with my grandmother or great grandmother that was something that just did not happen.  So I said fine and asked if they would mind watching him with we ran home. They also offered to watch our daughter while we were gone so instead of taking either child they both got an extended visit at grandmothers.    To this day I am thankful for the spilled juice on my sons shirt.

 

As we drove home we made plans for the evening seeing we would not have the kids.  We talked about our days and made other small talk.  We arrived at our driveway about 30 minutes later.  When we got to our driveway there was a few cars coming down the road so we had to stop and wait for the traffic to pass, and that’s when it happened.  I was saying something about going to dinner and I heard my then husband scream, “Hold on” before I could ask what a speeding truck slammed into the back of our car and came up the passenger side, my side.  The next few moments are somewhat a blur but I remember the fireman asking me where the baby was over and over.  I managed to get out “they are with my mom”  I was later told that my son’s car seat had been smashed up and under my seat from the impact.  If he had been with us he would not be here.  Thank you Jesus for spilled juice.

Over the last 16 years I have had countless shots in my back, arms, neck and legs stemming from this accident. The guy hit us goes 55 miles an hour, we were sitting still. All because he saw a dog running down the road.  I have had more nerve blocks, RFA’s (radio-frequency ablation) procedures and stellate ganglion block injections than I can count. And that does not count all of the other pain injections. I also have not one but two SCS (spinal cord stimulator) devices (one for my neck, upper back and arm and one for my lower back and left leg) that I have had implanted and replaced in six different surgeries.  The first SCS surgery was done in June 2004. The first SCS had a charger that needed to be plugged into the wall.  So every few days you could find me sitting in our oversized chair with the one end of the charger band wrapped around my waist and the other end plugged into the wall socket.  Yes, I said plugged into the wall socket.

wall outlet

The kids thought it was awesome that their mom was part robot. In fact they often had friends over and would ask “Mommy can you plug yourself in my friend does not believe you are part robot, please”  Now I’m not actually a robot but I if my kids thought it was cool why not go with it, right. I had spent a few years in so much pain I used a cane or walker to get around. At one point I was told I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 35.  The stimulators gave me a way to have a life back. With them I was able to function, I was able to walk, and get around.  I was even able to write again. My left hand had so much nerve damage I could not hold a pen or pencil much less write with one. The downside was that the left side of my body now always tingled, by that I mean have you ever had your arm or leg fall asleep?  You know that annoying tingling sensation you get?  You try your best to shake it wake but you just can’t. Well for the last 13 years the left side of me body as felt like that, all day and all night. After about 6 years the first two stimulators had to be replaced, by that time technology had made big changes and the new units were rechargeable with a portable charger.  You plugged the charger into the wall charged it and then wrapped the portable charger around your waist and you could go and do whatever without being stuck at the wall socket for hours.  Much better, but still a sight to see. Jump forward to this past June it was surgery time again.  My stimulators needed their batteries replaced.  When I went in I was told that there had been another break through with the stimulator design and I would be getting new slightly smaller SCS units to replace the ones I currently had.  These would not require me to charge them (they have some kind of funky battery that does not require charging) and I would have an Iphone with an app to control the amount of electrical stimulation I would receive ( There’s seriously and APP for everything nowadays) and both units could run off the one phone.  I had the surgery and recovered well.  But over the last six months my left arm would just fall asleep. I could be doing anything like driving, or washing dishes, or fixing dinner and my arm would just stop working.  So yesterday at my 6 month post op appointment I asked the doctor about it. He said it could be a result of over stimulation and asked if I cared to see the programmer, I of course agreed.  The programmer came in and had me lay down on the exam table.  With he IPad hovering over my stomach, just like something you would see in an old Star Trek episode, he ran a scan.

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Photo from an episode of Star Trek  my dad still loves this show
 Why am I telling you all of this?  Because yesterday I was introduced to what they call BurstDR.  It is a new program where the electrical leads in my back can now send a message to my brain and tell my brain “This part of her body does not hurt”  it acts as a blocker.  For the first time since I had my stimulators placed my left side does not feel all tingly. It feels, well nothing.  I can turn my head without getting that little electrical shock because I moved to fast, I can hold my husbands hand without jerking, I slept without rolling over and getting that little jolt because I had my head in the wrong position.  For the first time in a very long time I feel almost normal. Like really normal.  Thank you Jesus for advances in medicine.  I was the first patient at my doctors office to have two stimulators so I am the first patient to have two stimulators running the new BurstDR program. Kind of neat I think.  If it was not for the SCS I would be in that wheelchair the doctors talked about 16 years ago.  But thankfully today, a little over 40, I can still stand on my over two feet.  I am so thankful for all that has been done for me to keep at the level of health I am at.  Nerve damage,arthritis, deterioration of the spine and RSD (Reflex sympathetic dystrophy) are not things you can physically see so many people assume I am OK. And I’m glad they do.  I don’t want people to feel sorry for me or take pity on me. I just want to be me. They don’t no the pain that I live with daily.  They are not here to see the mornings I can’t get out of bed or the days I can’t dress myself or the days it takes everything out of me to just wash my hair.  I don’t complain for if I did that’s all I would get done.  I hurt daily, but God is good. He has placed wonderful doctors in my path that have provided ways for me to function on a daily bases.  I am truly thankful.  And who knows, maybe one day I will be back to what society deems normal the advances are coming quickly in the medical field.  For now I am going to enjoy laying me head on my husbands shoulder and take in the complete beauty that I can do so without being shocked.  Robot mom 2.0 at her finest lol

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my wonderful husband and me
From our beautiful chaos to ours just because you can’t see someone else’s pain does not mean its not there.  We are all going through something some of us just choose to smile through it.

I can’t be the Person You need Me to be

A few weeks ago at church our family pastor talked about forgiveness.  The message was about not only forgiving others but also forgiving ourselves.  I found myself nodding along as he delivered the message and the idea behind the message stayed with me long after we left the church.

 

As we grow older I think its safe to say we change.  Our lifestyles change, our surroundings change, and the people in our lives change.  I truly believe God places certain people in our lives for seasons.  For instance, in my early twenties I had my friends who my then husband and I hung out with.  As we got older and our divorce was finalized those friends changed and so did my surroundings.  I did not go to the bars anymore. I did not hang out with the friends we had together anymore, some by my own choice others chose my ex over me, and I had to do some growing up.  Life is not always kind.

Then I met my new husband, well re meet  anyway.  If you’ve read any of my post then you know the story.  He and I went to high school together. He joined the military after high school and I married my high school boyfriend.  We were reintroduced to each other through a mutual friend and married in August 2009.  Our life has been non stop since then.  We had a fairly average wedding party, he had three of his best friends and my son on his side while I had three of my friends and my daughter on my side.  I look back at our wedding photos and wonder what ever happened to some of those we were pictured with that day.  We did not stop talking to them because we were mad or upset, life just got in the way.

During both of these times I had a few good friends.  I am not one to have hundreds of people I call “friend” in fact if you look at my facebook I may have around 300 people listed as friends but that’s because I am related to 80% of them (my mom comes from a large family in which most of them have large families of their own) I am a cautious person.  I have had a lot of bad things happen so I don’t trust others often.  It’s something I need to work on.  So if I am your friend I do trust you and try my best to be a good friend. But I am not a perfect friend.  I know that.

When my husband and I decided to become foster parents we did not realize just how much it would change our lives.  We slowly stopped going out to eat with others, we cut back on hanging out with our peers and we placed all of our focus on the kids. I could not just drop everything anymore to go to the movies, or have time for 2 hour phone calls, or time to go shopping, its easy to find a babysitter for one and in most cases two, but when you have four or five little loves running around babysitters are hard to find.  So one by one friends stopped calling or inviting us out.  And I get it.  I would stop calling too.  But then you have the true few.  You know who I’m talking about.  The ones that stop calling and just come over to your place to hang out with you and your kids.  Or like the ones we made while taking the foster parent classes because they too understand you can’t just drop everything and that life now revolves around our ever changing family.  There are a few who get that this is the new you, and they are okay with that.

 

So when we moved I had decided to weed out those I did not talk much to.  I personally didn’t think I would upset anyone the criteria was simple.  If I talked to you daily or weekly we were good.  If you commented or talked to me on social media anytime within the six months prior to me moving we were good.  I didn’t delete people because I didn’t like them I simply figured if we hadn’t had much interaction in six months they would not want their news feed full of pictures of my kids after we moved.  (trust me I post a lot of pictures for my parents and in-laws back home)

But the message from church got to me.  I started thinking about a few people that at one time had been really close friends with.  Some I had known since grade school, a few others I had meet along the way.  Many I didn’t talk to anymore simply because they had moved or life had taken them down a different path.  A few simply because we had had a disagreement about something and the friendship and we just stopped talking.  For whatever the reason there were a few people I missed and I wanted to reach out and try again. So I did.  I sent a few text messages, a few I added back to my friends list on social media and one I called.  I don’t really know what I was expecting but I can tell you I did not expect what I got.

I was accused of being a bad person and a fake friend.  I was told that I used people and did not truly care for anyone.  I was told that I only had time for those that were willing to drop everything to be at my beck and call.  I was told I never truly cared about their feelings or other people in general…….Smack in the face.  That hurt.  I don’t know what I was expecting but let me tell you that was not it.  This person was someone I had, and still do, wanted nothing but the best for.  Some of my actions during our friendship where done not to hurt them but to shield them. Maybe I was wrong in handling it the way I did.  I didn’t ask this person to watch my kids because I knew it would be to painful.  Maybe I did have others over more because they didn’t mind being around our kids.  I grew tired of trying to downplay my happiness because they were unhappy with things in their life.  I know life is not fair, and that sometimes the one thing we want more than anything is out of our reach.  For that i am sorry.  Truly truly sorry. I hope one day you find what you are looking for. I hope you find happiness and peace.  I wish you nothing but the very best.  I wish things were different and that we could go back to the way things use to be but I can’t be the person they want or need me to be.  I am happy and I will not pretend not to be.   I wish we could all be cheerleaders for one another instead of being hurt or jealous of others.  I can’t imagine what life would be like without my kids and for those that don’t have kids but want kids I can’t imagine your pain. If that makes me a bad person or a bad friend then I guess I am.

I have changed.  I am not the same scared twenty something girl who lived in constant fear of her abusive husband.  I am not the same thirty something woman that overcame her fear and tired to piece her life back together for her and her kids.  But guess what you have changed also. We all have. I will be the first to admit I am not always a good wife, a good mom, or daughter, or daughter in law  that makes me human.  I let the most important people in my life down daily but I’m trying to be better.  To the people I have hurt in my past I am sorry.  To those who simply think they can no longer be around me I am sorry.  For those that were there for me when I need them the most I thank you.  I know there are people I have let down and I hate that.  If I could go back and fix things I would.  But I can’t be the one that you are always upset with, the one you always cancel plans with, the one you get mad at, I can’t.  I need to surround myself with positive people.   Negativity only brings about negativity.  And yes I really do wish nothing but the best to you, hell I wish nothing but the best for my ex husband.  God has shown me that life is to short to be consumed with hate.  I have changed and I’m okay with that.

From my beautiful chaos to yours if God has closed a door in your life, keep it closed.  He allows us to walk through open doors for our good and closes off those we no longer need.  Enjoy the memories that cross your mind of the good times and smile, then keep moving forward.  Closed doors bring nothing but heartache.