Just Hold Me

This past week has been crazy.  Not one but four of our Littles had the stomach bug…ugh.   I have been puked on and pooped on more than I care to admit.  And to make things worse my husband was working 14 hour shifts.  It was a long week for all of us.

I hate when any of my kids are sick.  I try my best to be super mom but with that may sick at once it’s hard to do. I make sure they stay hydrated, make sure they get their medicine on time, read them their favorite stories, you know all the typical mom stuff. Sometimes I wish I had more hands.  By far their favorite (and mine) is the cuddle time.  That time when they climb up on my lap and I kiss their forhead and we just sit and rock. They love it when I sing them songs and hug them tight. In that moment that mommy kiss fixes everything from fevers to boo-boo’s. They feel better just by being in mommy’s arms.  Most of our Littles have out grown me rocking them to sleep, but when they feel bad that’s the first thing they want…and I’m okay with that. 

Over the weekend three of my little loves started feeling better. Baby girl however  is still feeling blah this morning. She’s not running a fever or throwing up anymore (thank goodness) but she just isn’t feeling back to normal yet. With all the kids sick last week my house was in need of some tlc this morning.  After I got two off to school and feed the other three their breakfast I started working on the mess.  Laundry in the washer, dishes in the dishwasher, swept and mopped the floors and then I started working on the kitchen.  Baby girl came walking in.  She looked up at me and started whimpering.  I made her a sippy cup of her favorite juice and handed it to her.  She took one drink and threw it down the hallway and started to cry.  I looked over at her and asked what was wrong, she of course could not answer being that she is only one.  I asked her if she wanted snacks, or if she wanted a bottle instead.  Nothing seemed to make her happy.  She started crying even harder. And in that moment in her eyes I could see what she was saying “Mommy just hold me”  I stopped what I was doing and picked her up, she immediately laid her head down on my shoulder and sighed really loud. We sat in the middle of my kitchen floor for over 30 minutes.  We rocked and I sang to her. She snuggled and and held on tight.  All she needed was for her mom to hold her and all her “feel bads” left.   House work will just have to wait another day.  Baby girl needs her mommy.

As I was holding her in that moment I could not help but think “I’ve been exactly where she is”  There have been  days I just could not find the strength to go one step further. Last week, for example, was one of those times. In the mist of all the sick kids and the husband out of town all I wanted to do was stand there and cry and have someone hold me.  And you know what? I got just that.  Just as baby girl cried out to me, I cried out to Jesus. I told him I was tired, that I was struggling, that I missed been around my family, and that I just needed to be held.  He answered, He always answers.  Just as I held baby girl and told her I was here for her, the peace of Jesus came over me.  I know I am never alone for He is always with me.  As I heard her cries, Jesus hears my cries. He sees my struggles, He knows what I am going through, He knows where my heart is, He knows my weakness and knows my failures and He Loves me anyway. And just as I stopped everything to hold my baby girl, Jesus took time to let me know He was still holding on to me. Thank you Jesus. As I stood there with tears running down my face on the radio the song “Just Breathe” came on and I knew God was telling me to calm down that He has everything under control even if I can’t see it.  

I am thankful for our little sit down in the kitchen floor this morning. It was a good reminder that just as parents hold their kids when they need it most, so does our heavenly Father. We may not be able to crawl upon His lap but His loving arms are always around us. Holding us, protecting us, and letting us know we will be okay for He will always be with us.  How beautifully amazing is that.
From our beautiful chaos to yours it’s important to take time to hold one another.  Some days we just need a hug to let us know we are not alone.

My Son’s Magical  Pajamas 

Most kids have a favorite toy or blanket they use to comfort them when they are upset or hurt. Stuffed animals and soft silky blankets can make all the wrongs of this world right again in the eyes of a child.  For my son it’s not a favorite toy or a blanket, it’s a pair of Disney’s Lightning McQueen pajamas. 

A few months before we moved one of his former preschool teachers, a friend of mine, stopped by my house for a visit with our wild man as she did from time to time.  She came baring gifts: toy trucks, balls, airplanes, shirts, and a few pairs of pajamas that had belonged to her boys but they had decided my boys could use them more.  My boys were in heaven.   

Up until that point wild man  never wore pajamas to bed.  He has many sensory issues and most days clothing and him don’t get along well. His wardrobe is limited very limited.  His teachers and I worked together to find clothes he could tolerate long enough for school. Usually his shoes and socks and even his shirt was off before we walk in the door of our home after school.  Weekends and evenings you could find him running around the house in a pull up only.  That is until he discovered his “magical pajamas” 

When Mrs Julie brought the boys their new treasures the boys were of course excited for the toys, my boys never get excited over clothes.  It wasn’t until later that evening when I was going through the clothes that wild man picked up the Disney Cars pj’s.  He held them up and looked at them and motioned for me to put them on him.  So I did.  He sat there feeling them, smelling them and hugging himself in them. And for the first time ever he went to bed and slept in pajamas.  The next day he came in from school ran to the dirty clothes and grabbed the pajamas out and put them on.  He has worn them everyday since.   As soon as he gets in from school his school clothes come off and his magical oh so comforting pajamas go on. 

The problem with wearing the same pajamas everyday is trying to keep them from wearing out.  Thankfully they were a little big for him when he got them so he has been able to wear then for a while. But a little while back I started to worry.  What happens if he out grows the pajamas?  What happens if they tear while he plays?  What happens if they simply wearout from being washed so often?   So I started looking for an extra pair or two in different sizes so he could have them as he grew.  That’s even I ran into a problem a big problem.  The pajamas had belonged to Mrs Julie’s son when he was small so they are about 8 years old.  They are no longer carried in stores.  So I started buying similar pj’s hoping they would work.  I’ve bought ones made from the same material, ones with Disney Cars characters,and ones that are the same color green……Nothing worked. Bad news for wild man but at least our younger boys are hooked up in the pajama department for years to come.  I don’t know what it is about these pajamas but they are the only ones he will wear.  So after a few months (and a few hundred dollars) of buying new pajamas I took to Facebook to enlisted the help of my friends on the search. Within a few hours I had several people looking for these pajamas.  I even sent an email to Disney asking if they had any that I was not looking for a hand out but that I was willing to pay for them if they had them.  They replied back with ” We are sorry but we no longer make these please follow the link to check out our new design”  I own the new design, it’s not what he needs.   I’ve looked in fabric shops for the material, I have a friend that said she could make him more if we could find it, no luck.  I checked Amazon and Esty no luck. Then I searched Ebay. And there I found….. one pair size 6.  So I bought them. I figure he could grow into them next year.  The real test would be would he wear them?  The day they came in I quickly washed them and took them to his room.  When he came in he ran up saw them and….. put them on!!!!  These are not from Mrs Julie but they are the same in every other way.  Why has he choose this particular pattern? This particular color? Who knows. But it’s what he likes. These pajamas give him a sense of security and comfort I can not explain. I am grateful that he has found that in something. I am grateful Mrs Julie gave them to him. I am thankful Ebay had one pair.  What will we do in a year or two when neither pair fit him? I honestly have no idea.  For now we will just wait and see what happens.  We adjust to what works for him. And for now it’s 8 year old Disney Cars  pajamas.

From our beautiful chaos to yours find and take comfort in the small things: an old shirt, the smell of a favorite perfume, wrap up in a blanket from a dear friend, or cuddle on the couch in your magical pajamas and just take in the joys of life. 

November 30 Things I am Thankful For

1. I am thankful for my children God has blessed me with

2. I am thankful for a hard working, God fearing husband that goes above and beyond to provide for his family

3. I am thankful for my parents who love me as I am and raised me to chase my dreams

4. I am thankful for my in laws who love me as their own

5. I am thankful my God gives us second, third and fourth chances in life

6. I am thankful for my brother and my amazing neice and nephew 

7. I am thankful for foster care, even though the system is broken sometimes

8. I am thankful for all the children who were placed in our home along our foster care to adoption journey. Everyone one of you ( 20 plus placements) have a forever piece of my heart.

9. I am thankful for adoption.  Our family has grown by five through this beautiful gift

10. I am thankful for great friends who understand our beautiful chaos 

11. I am thankful for our new home 

12. I am thankful for the simple but necessary things in life : water, food, shelter

13. I am thankful for my ever so large extended family: uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents 

14. I am thankful for early bedtimes and goodnight stories

15. I am thankful for the gift of today

16. I am thankful for growing up in the 80’s 

17. I am thankful for God’s promises to me 

18. I am thankful for our new church

19. I am thankful for those who accept our son (autism and all)

20. I am thankful for all of things that make us unique 

21. I am thankful for sunshine and rainbows

22. I am thankful for forhead kisses after a long day

23.  I am thankful for giggles and the occasional cry

24. I am thankful for phone calls and unexpected texts

25. I am thankful mountain air and ocean  breezes 

26. I am thankful I call pray whenever and wherever 

27. I am thankful for Sunday afternoon  football (GO PACK GO)

28. I am thankful for the kindness of strangers when I need another hand at the store to open the door

29. I am thankful to be an American 

30. I am thankful truly thankful for the life God has given to me.
What are you thankful for? 

It’s Not All Sunshine and Rainbows 

 Last night as I was feeding my baby girl I could not help but think of my oldest daughter when she was younger. As baby girl sat in her high chair discovering her new found favorite food (spaghetti) she was all smiles.  The spaghetti was covering everything from her face to her shirt. She was a hot mess but she was loving it and so was I.  When did I become that mom? 


When my oldest was her age that never would have happened.  She was my first child and I was young (19) and in my mind I had to prove I could be a great mom to all those that judged me.  Her hair was always in place and never would I have let her play with her food making such mess, after all no respectable mother would do that.  If she did happen to get food on her face and hands she was quickly cleaned up and her clothes changed. So why am I not that mom now?

I will tell you why.  Now I know that these moments will pass by all to quickly. It seems like only yesterday I was bringing our oldest home from the hospital when in fact she is now 21 and a senior in college. Life goes by so fast we need to enjoy the little things and that includes dirty spaghetti faces.  No one ever said life would be prefect or that it would not get messy.  It’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows some days are going to be stormy and messy. But that’s OK it’s part of life. I was a good mom then and I’m a good mom now, I’m just different.
One thing that annoys me about social media sites such as Facebook is all the fake illusions.  If you take time to look at other people’s pages you will see that   “life is alway prefect”  Meaning that every photo they post their kids are posed perfectly, their jobs are going great, they love their spouse, their kids love each other more than anything, ect. It’s enough to make some of us feel less than adequate.  I mean most days I’m over here cleaning dirt of of my son’s face, wanting to kill my husband for working over for the third night this week,  cleaning up bathrooms where my sons have “tried” to hit the toilet, dealing with my daughter who wants to argue her point on why the sky should be purple instead of blue,  and breaking up the latest of the sibling fist fights.  My life is far from perfect and seeing others lives so grand did at one time make me feel like a failure.  Don’t get me wrong I have been known to post the ever so sappy “I love my husband more than anything” post but I also show the not so get moments of life.  Like when one of my potty training three year olds told me he “had went number 2” all by himself and I got excited ran to the bathroom only to find his “gift” in my hallway floor.   Why?  Because my life is not perfect.  I don’t want other struggling moms to think they are alone.  Like I use to after reading my timeline.  We are all moms (and dads) trying our best. I don’t understand why we compare our situation with others but we do we always do.  I don’t want others to to see a fake me. What they see if what they get.  Twenty years ago I worried how others seen me and how they thought I was doing as a mom.  Now I don’t care. I know I’m a good mom. And thanks to my older two children I know that I will miss cleaning up dirty faces and messy handprints off the walls all to soon.  Thank you Sie and Bub. Thank you.

I am blessed God gave me a second chance to enjoy all the little things being a mom means.  I am more relaxed with my parenting style this go around (maybe because I am seriously out numbered lol). I love seeing my kids be kids.  Jumping in mud holes, food on their faces, and dirt on their hands. They are enjoying their lives and that makes me happy.  Our family photos do not have us all looking at the camera with big smiles instead my beautiful chaos is well…. chaos.  Kids are running around, someone is always crying, and the only person looking at the camera is normally me.  That to me is prefect.   


At church last Sunday our pastor talked about Faith and how our plan is not always God’s plan.  We may have our life planned out stage by stage but if it’s not part of God’s plan for us it will not workout the way we think it should.  I never planned on being a mom to seven kids but God did.  I never planned on having kids so far apart in age but God did.  I never planned on adopting five little loves or moving out of state but God did.  His plan for us is so much more than we could ever plan for ourselves. We must have faith and follow Him even if it seems life will get a little messy in our eyes.  He does not promise us sunshine everyday but He does promise to carry us through the storms.   

From our beautiful chaos to yours it’s okay if life gets messy from time to time. We are not perfect. Our happiness will come from how we handle all of life’s little messes.

Foster Care : Every Child Needs a Hero 

Parenting is not an easy job. It is hard protecting our kids from all the dangers that surround them in today’s society. We live in a world overflowing with drugs, gun violence, school shootings, sex trafficking, bullying and countless other horrible things.  The world is not a safe place for anyone especially children. And if you’re a foster parent not only do you have to fight off the world you also have to work with a system that in many ways is broken.

We became foster parents to bridge the gap the kids get stuck in while their mom and dad try to figure things out.  So many kids are thrown into the system without any wrong doing of their own. One of my biggest pet peeves is when we have a child say under two years of age and someone finds out they are in foster care. Normally the first question out of that person’s mouth is “What did he(or she) do to get themselves placed in state care?”  Seriously ???  Like a child that young could do something that bad. Most of the children in care, including the older kids and teens, are there because of the bad choices their parents have made NOT because of what they have done.   

Kids in foster care have seen more, been through more, and lived with more than many adults. They need someone to let them be kids, someone who will love them as they are, who will fight for them and who will protect them at all costs. That’s a pretty big responsibility for a foster parent, but one we are were willing to take.

The system does not always make it easy. If you wanted to be heard then your best bet was to be at the MDT’s  (and we will pretend you get notified about all of these). These meetings are the one place foster parents can openly express their concerns for the child and where you will hear from the caseworker, lawyer’s, birth parent’s and GAL’s.  Every state and every county are different when it comes to allowing foster parents inside the court room. For example where we use to live foster parents were not allowed inside courtrooms during the case.  So I sat in the hallway at every hearing for every child so that the lawyers and judge knew I was there for my kids.  Because while they are with me in my house they are my kids. Correction even after they leave they are still forever mine in my heart.

The caseworkers are overworked so it is not always easy to get ahold of them and even if you do it may take  awhile for them to help you out. The red tape they have to go through to get what should be simple things done is unreal. So you learn to be patient with them.  We were blessed to have amazing caseworkers on most of our cases. In fact, I have become good friends with a few of them.  It is important to remember that while you have a question that you feel is “top priority” they have 30 other cases that have someone thinking the same thing. Email, text, call and leave a message whatever works best for them, keeping open communication is vital, just dont over do it, they will get back to you. Now I know not all caseworkers are good and that some kids get lost in the cracks of the system. It’s sad but true. Happens every day. There are way to many kids and to few good workers to care for their needs. 

As a foster parent our top priority is always reunification of the child and the parent. In many cases I did not want to agree with this.  It is the job of the worker, the judge, the lawyers and the system to figure out  what  is best for the child.  Many times as foster parents it feels as if our voices are unheard and our thoughts don’t matter.  But we fight for what’s right anyway. We fight to make sure the kids are taken care of, we fight for a stable home life, warm meals, therapy, and a loving home. We fight because its what’s best for that precious child looking up at us asking “Do I really have to go back there? I like it here. I have a bed and food everyday”  We fight so that they have a voice, even if it is a small one. We fight because we care.  We will always be the “bad guys” in the eyes of the birth parents. I have had many yell at me I was stealing their child away from them, when all I am trying to do is help them. I blame TV and movies for making  foster parents look like the bad guys all the time. Only on a rare occasion do you hear something good about foster parents. 

The truth is foster parenting is stressful however it’s one of the best decisions we ever made.  And if I were asked I would do it all over again.  It’s a long hard road, but if you can hold your own the outcome is beautiful. We have been blessed to adopt our five Littles out of foster care.  All of the court dates, the delays, the different caseworkers, the home inspections, the monthly visits, and the unknowns were all worth it.  On any given day in the U.S. there are an average of 650,000 children in foster care.  And of that around 7% are in care longer than five years.  It took 2 1/2 years from the time we first held our little guy until we were able to adopt him and his big sister. Our second adoption took 2 years. Thankfully in both cases we were the only foster home they were in, many kids are not as lucky.  With the goal being reunification the parents normally get chance after chance to improve their situation. If they are truly trying I am all for it. In many cases however it’s just a stall tactic and the ones that suffer are the children.  Give them a second chance yes, a third maybe, but a fourth, fifth, or tenth……no.  Many foster parents grow impatient and end up giving up as the weeks turn into months and the months turn into years, they decide the system is failing the kids and then the kids get moved from foster home to foster home. The kids deserve better. 

November is National adoption month. Foster care is a wonderful way to make adoption a reality.  In our six years  and over 20 long term placements we only had  one child go back to their birth parents one. All the other precious little lives were moved to their new forever home or we adopted them.  If you feel God is calling you to adopt, pray about foster care. There are so many kids in group homes right now that need someone like you. Why not take a leap of faith and open your heart to a child in need? It might just change your life. It did mine.

From our beautiful chaos to yours remember everyone needs a super hero in their life, someone willing to come in and safe the day. After all even Superman was adopted.  Are you willing to be that hero?

 

A Day in Our Life with Autism 

 If you have looked at any of my posts or know me personally you know that our JR is autistic. He however does not see himself as such. You see he has always been JR in our eyes. Autism does not define who he is, He defines who he is. If you know my son then you also know he is the most loving caring child around. He loves to give hugs, hi-fives, and he has been known to give a few kisses out in his day. His smile can make my worst day great and my worries disappear. He has overcome so many obstacles in his life and he has done so with a joyful heart and his infectious giggle.  He does not see himself as an “autistic child” he just sees what we see…our son, our charming, sweet son that God saw fit to bless us with.  Wish everyone could see him through my eyes.

The problem is not autism, it’s people who don’t understand it.  Let me share two somewhat recent events with you. I apologize in advance for some language:

Thr first from a few months ago on adoption day. A day that should be full of love, laughter and wonderful memories. I am thankful that baby girl is now forever ours, and now that I have all of my paperwork  in hand I feel safe in sharing.  
We were told our adoption hearing would take place at 1:30. We arrived at 1:15 with our large support group(seriously like 40 plus people) of friends and family there to celebrate with us, yes they all were allowed to be there the judge said we could invite whomever we wanted and he had preformed the boys adoption so he knew there would be many attending.   As luck would have it there was a case in front of us taking a while to finish up. We did our best to keep the children entertained in the hall while we waited our turn.  JR was playing and fell into the backdoor of the chamber hall, not even the courtroom door when the bailiff stuck his head out and said, “This is not a play area it’s a courtroom for God sake control your kid” and he slammed the door.  All I had time to say was ok.  Later the same bailiff stuck his head out the main door and said “Jesus fucking Christ are you all here for one hearing?” And slams the door again.  Around 2:15 after we had waited an hour in the narrow hallway, and were out of snacks, we were told to go in the courtroom. We did and there, we found the judge trying to decide which case needed to go next.  As we sat down JR looked up and saw the judge, he took off and went to sit on the “big seats” like he had at Alex and Eli’s adoption, which the judge had said was fine. Before I could grab him he was gone through the doors up to the seats. That’s when the pompous bailiff started screaming at my son saying, “this is a fucking courtroom act like it, Jesus Christ get ahold of your out of control child” along with some other things I could not make out because I was trying to get my kid. Who was now scared because this “man” had started screaming at him. We took all the kids out while they figured out what case was going to happen, I even apologized to the lady, who was obviously there for the other hearing  and she said,” no worries I have 3 boys myself they would have done it to”.  

Jump forward we are now back in the hallway and JR is in full meltdown mode because his friend (the judge) is in there without him.  Sierra offers to take him to the car because there is no calming him down. She misses all of the adoption. The only pictures she and JR are in are the ones we took before hand while waiting in the hallway.
We go back in and the adoption takes place and all is good, I do not see the bailiff’s face anywhere which is probably a good thing. Then it was time for pictures. We only did a few with the judge.  How could I do family photos with part of my family waiting out in the car?   
 If Mr bailiff had bothered to talk to me or any of us as a human he would have learned that my 5 yrs is autistic. If he does something one way one time he will always do it that way.  The 1st time we were in that courtroom, with that judge,  the judge allowed JR up front, he gave him M&Ms he became his buddy. He let them be kids because it was their day.  He had no right to yell at anyone like he did let alone yell at a 5 yrs old child, autistic or not. You Mr bailiff should be ashamed of yourself. I understand that this man deals with drunks and drug addicts all day long, so maybe he was having a bad day but this was a child, MY CHILD, and there is simply no excuse.
I am afraid he has now scared JR far worse than he will ever realize, in fact I am sure he went home and told your wife about that uncontrollable kid and then forgot all about him. But the problem is JR will remember him and those that look like him (other cops)  He will never want to go back to the courthouse he is scared. As a bailiff he was suppose to set and example for everyone to follow. My child may not have behaved the best, but he was doing the best he could.  I personally thought he was doing fine considering all the waiting we had done. And for the recorded most thought it was funny & sweet that he wanted to go set with his buddy the judge. The judge even asked where JR was after the adoption was done. So Thank you for being an ass and scaring my son. 

And now fast forward to a few weeks ago. JR and I were waiting on his bus to pick him up for school. As the bus pulled up so did a car going down the road.  I didn’t think much of it after all she did stop at the flashing sign.  I help JR up the steps and hand him over to his aid. She takes him to his seat and starts to buckle him in his seat belt.  I made small talk with his driver while we wait for him to get seated.  The lady in the car starts honking her horn repeatedly. I look over and she flips me off. The bus driver looks at me and asks “What’s her problem?” I said I didn’t know and that’s when the aid said JR was good to go and she sat down beside him. Taking four minutes tops. The bus pulls off (the ladies horn still honking) and I turn to walk back up my driveway. As I do so the lady in the car wipes around the bus with her window down yells “Its a bus stop not gossip time, some of us have things to do you stupid bitch”  I return the name calling as she drives off.  Not the most grown up thing to do but I was mad. I could hear her cussing me until her car was no longer insight.  What if that had been her kid? I guess I could think she was running late, or maybe she had gotten some bad news that morning in either case she still had no reason to act like that.  It’s a special needs bus, the stops take a few minutes longer The bus driver will not pull off until everyone is seated, that includes the aid. Just be patient.

I have cried more than I care to admit over both incidents. They both still make me so angry and upset when I think about them.  If they only knew my son. I pray that neither ever have to deal with the daily struggles of having a child with a disability. I pray that neither of them have to go through hours of therapy weekly for years just so their child can try to fit in with “the normal world”. I pray your child sleeps more than 10 hours in a week, or at least a few hours each night so you can rest. Running on little sleep would not do well with your aggressive attitudes. I wish you a life of ease for mine is not. Mostly I wish you took the time to understand before going off on MY SON. Its not easy seeing how others see your child you either get the “You poor thing it must be awful”  look or the reaction of the two individuals above. When people learn he is adopted we get the “He’s adopted right? Why pick a kid with so many issues?” Seriously ,we have heard that one more than once.  I won’t lie, there have been days I wish things were not as they are, some days all I want to do is cry and hold him tight. We deal with meltdowns and behaviors that many don’t have to, however there is beauty  in autism.  My son does not judge, he does not see race, he does not hate, and he does not lie. He does love, he does see the world in a beautiful light like so many of us can’t, he is full of life, he is a great big brother very protective and compatioante, and he is one of my greatest blessings.  If you could see the world as he does what a wonderful place this would be.  

FYI I did see the bailiff about a month later at another adoption (new cousins for me woohoo 💖💙) and he was much better in the courtroom,  no cussing this time around. And as for the lady in the car, the bus driver reported her and we have not seen her back down this way, I assume she is leaving earlier or taking a different route.  Let’s just hope it stays that way.

From our beautiful chaos to yours spend more time lifting others up. The world is full of heartless people it’s important for those in our life to know just how much they mean to you.

Elissa’s Chant

My six year old is struggling and has been for a while.  We are working on things and she really seems to like her new therapist but as her mom I still worry.  There are things that happened to her, things she lived through those first 18 months that affect her more than any of us could have predicted. I will never no everything that happened and I will never understand why bad things (neglect/abuse) happened to her. But they did so we must move forward. But it’s hard so so hard especially now that she is getting older.

One of the things we have noticed is she downs herself a lot. If she tries something new and is not successful immediately then she becomes frustrated and starts the “I will  never get it” “I can’t do this” “I just give up ”  Nothing breaks a mother’s heart more than seeing your child beat themselves up.  It’s such a lonely place when you can’t help them no matter what you try.

Yesterday did not help matters. It was report card day.  I was looking forward to it as well as dreading it. Does that make sense?  This was her first report card after our big move. New school, new teacher, new friends and new ways of doing things.  Stressed does not even cover what I was feeling.  She gets off the bus with a necklace around her neck.  She told me she won it for going to school everyday. Perfect attendance for the nine weeks. One would think she would she would be happy, not she was not. She quickly followed up with “Mrs X took me all the way down to orange (not good behavior) today I just quit”  I asked why she was moved down (past green, past yellow) ?  She replies “She expected me to stay in my seat all day, it’s just not fair”  We come in the house and I try to cheer her up but once she has hit that stage it’s almost impossible.  She pulls out her report card out of her backpack and slowly hands it to me. 

There in bold black letters I saw what I already knew. When it comes to her studies (math, reading, writing, ect) she is performing on average or above average for her age. Her classroom behavior was a different story. The teacher had said some things like “Does not listen, does not stay in seat, talks out of turn, does not follow directions” She had only one good mark out of the list of nine.  We went over the report card together seeing they use numbers instead of letters like they did back home. I could see in her eyes she was crushed. “I’M TRYING MOMMY I’M JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH” With that statement my heart broke and I took things into my own hands.

The report card does not define who she is. It’s just one thing about her. God does not see her as a child that acts up in school or one that can’t stay in her seat. He knows she’s trying, He knows there are issues. And HE LOVES HER ANYWAY!!!  I took the report card, signed it, placed it back in the backpack and went and got some construction paper.  And I asked her “Elissa how do you think mommy and daddy see you?” “How do you think God sees you?”  She lifted her head and through the tears she replied “You love me always right momma?”  And I answered “Yes”  We sat at the dinning room table and talked about things she liked about herself and things she thought she could improve on.  As we talked we wrote things down. “This will be my chant mommy. Every morning and every night I am going to say this.”  We took it to her room after she picked which statements she wanted on her poster and hung it above her bed. She was smiling from ear to ear. Before she went to bed she stood there and read her “new chant” loud and proud.  This morning after she got dressed she looked at me and said “Its chant time momma” and with me by her side she read it loud and proud again.  

This might not change her over night, but it is giving her a conference I think she needed.  Report cards are something many of us take way to serious. Children learn in different ways so they can’t all be graded the same. I know we have a long road ahead of us. And I know that we with make mistakes along the way, and that’s okay. God loves us anyway. Whether we are a straight A (or  all 4’s) student or if we are a D(or 1’s) student giving it our best. He loves us anyway. In time we will figure out her behavior issues together. Until then I will love her just as God loves her. 

From our beautiful chaos to yours don’t let reports determine the love you have for your child. They need to know we love them even on the not so great days.