A Mother’s Instinct

via Daily Prompt: Instinct

 

From the moment a woman finds out she is pregnant, her first instinct is to protect and love her unborn child.

As a mom of five adopted little loves, I did not have those first few months to bond with my children as he or she grew inside of me.  Our bonding started the day the caseworker handed them over to me with their trash bag filled with all of their belongings.  The healing starts as soon as they feel safe and loved.

With wild man the bond was instantaneous.  The worker handed me his car seat and I took him in the house. As I unbuckled his car seat and pulled his tiny little body up into my arms he made the sweetest noise.  As I held him tight and listened to the worker explain his case I fell in love.  The bond we share could not be stronger if I had given birth to him.

Our journey has not been easy.  Early on we knew he was not developing at what society calls a”normal” rate.  By the age of three we were given the diagnosis of autism with sensory issues.  We were told that he would never talk in full sentences, he would most likely never run or climb, and that his abilities would be limited.  Our world changed drastically inside that 45 minute office visit. We were just getting use to be parents of little ones again, and now we were told we were the parents of a child with autism.  I was not prepared.  But I had no choice, I would move mountains for him, he was my son.

Now he is six.  In the last three years we have figured out how to do things in order to give him the best possible life.  We have moved and the school he attends now is nothing less than a God send. He is not only doing well, he is excelling.  He can now hold a pencil, write his name, and is learning to count and even read, YES READ!!!! For all these things I am thankful.  But there is still the other side of autism not many talk about.  We still have daily food battles.  I have been told by teachers and family he needs to eat a better diet.  With his sensory issues a good diet is not something in our reach.  You name it we have tried it. Everything from gluten free to all organic, but the fact is if I can’t get it in his mouth then its not going to work.  What works, well this week he is eating popcorn, bread sticks, strawberry yogurt, strawberry pop-tarts, KFC mash potatoes, cheese curls, and his all time favorite food Stage two Gerber peas(these he only eats at the house now because some boy at his school told him it was for babies)  Is it a healthy diet? Probably not, but at least he is eating and to me that’s all that matters.  We also deal with the fact that with his diet we have poop issues.  In the past six months we have managed to get him potty trained (thanks to his awesome teachers) well by that I mean he pee’s in the potty during the day.  At night we are still in pull-ups because he has not mastered overnight bladder control and there is no bowel control. So when he needs to poop lets just say its still a mess.  His system does not operate as yours or mine so it can be days, 7 to 14 days, without him going.  Yes, he takes medicine daily to help out in this area, but his average is one good poo every 8 days.  It’s painful and it’s massive!!! No one talks about this side of autism.

So this past weekend I will admit I was more than nervous about taking him with me while I went to visit my grandmother in WV.  She has been ill and I knew taking all the little loves would be to much for her. My husband had made plans to take wild man up to his parents but seeing that my grandmother was ill, he agreed he would watch all of our other little loves while I took wild man with me.  Wild man would get to see all of his grandparents and he was excited.  He does not do well with change so the trip made me anxious.  What if he refused to sleep? What if he would not eat? What if the car ride was to much? What is the surroundings were to much?  I had hundreds of what if questions running through my head.  We never know what will happen when we have him out.  In fact we have secluded ourselves from many things,(family nights at school, trips to the mall, large family gatherings) because we know the stimulation will surely cause him a meltdown and its just not worth it if he will be in pain.  But sometimes life can not be helped. And just when you think the worst, God gives you the best.

I can not believe the weekend we had.  Wild man did such an amazing job.  I had several people I wanted to met up with while I was in so I dropped wild man off to my in-laws. We sat and had a visit before I headed off to my next destination and when I got up to leave, guess what? He didn’t even scream. Praise Jesus. Not only did he spend the whole night with my in-laws he actually slept. I knew taking him place to place would be to much for him but thankfully my in-laws were able to watch him while I did.  When I went to pick him up he showed me everything he had done while there.  He showed me his “new office” and his race track that he had beat papaw on many times.  He showed me his new cars and even his new favorite snack (pickled flavored chips) When it came time to leave, he did not cry instead he kissed them goodbye and said  See you laters.  We loaded up and went to met my parents and brother for breakfast, where he sat and ate his chips.

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Wild man cuddled up to my dad aka papaw  (don’t mind my dad he hates pictures lol)

There was a baby that started to cry, but instead of having a meltdown he covered his ears until she stopped then said Shew that baby to loud.  From there we went to my aunts to visit with her and my grandmother. He told me he was excited and that he could not wait to jump on her and give mamaw a big hug.  I told him he would have to be easy.   He took his lunchbox full of cars and freddy figures and followed my oldest daughter in the house.  He quickly made his way over to grandma and very easily gave her a hug.  My aunt was wonderful and let him roam from room to room exploring all the new wonders his eyes saw.  He felt at home and that made me happy.  He played with my cousins little ones and made his way over to set on my dad’s lap a time or two.  For the first time in a long time I was not nervous about what he would do, he had this calmness about him that I don’t get to see often. Maybe he could sense mamaw was not feeling the greatest who knows. Or maybe the difference was that here, no one was looking at him and judging him, they were all just happy to see him.  There he was not “the kid being loud” he was just my son.  He was surrounded by people who love him all weekend long.  He did not have to try and fit in with the social norm for there at my in-laws and at my aunts it was OK for him to just be himself. As our visit winded down and we started to say our goodbyes, wild man made it back over to my grandma.  Before anyone could catch him he jumped (just as he said he was going too) into her arms and hugged her.  I found myself apologizing and asking her if she was okay, and she just laughed.  She smiled and said “He is fine don’t make a fuss”  And you know what, she’s right.  He is fine.  Her smile said it all.  He had made her happy.

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wild man with my oldest daughter and my grandmother
As his mom my instinct is to protect him, as an autism mom my guard is always up.  People judge him without knowing him and that makes me both mad and sad.  They will never know the joy it is to be him mom.  They will never know the endless love I have for him and all of his uniqueness.  But my grandmother showed me something this weekend.  She loved him for his heart, my whole family did.  They did not care that he got a little loud, they were just happy to see him.  I am thankful for their loving ways.  What a great weekend we had.

From our beautiful chaos to ours when life is not going exactly like you pictured it, in the words of my wise grandmother Don’t fuss.  Take time to enjoy the good for the bad days will get better, life is to precious to fuss about the small stuff.   Smile and laugh your way through it all.

 

 

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. ”

 

 

 

Who am I?

In the beginning I was just a dream of my mother’s. Then I became a daughter, first born child, to my parent’s.They are truly like no other’s.

As a child I was a granddaughter, apple of their eyes, stay and play with me awhile, card playing, garden helper, and slumber night at grandpa and grandmas kind of gal. 

I am a big sister, though sometimes not the best but siblings argue from time to time I guess.

I am an aunt of two spunky teens, they make me smile oh how I miss seeing them it’s been quite awhile.

For awhile I was Dave’s wife, mother of two, then I became his ex-wife if people really only knew.

 I am a survivor of domestic violence. It took years to escape, I had it search within to figure out this was not my fate. 

But who am I?

I am a Christian. I love my Jesus, the hallelujah host, I am not perfect not even close, so thankful for the times God love me most.

I am a friend, been both a good one and a bad. I have been there for some at their weakest moments, yet lost some because I was to consumed with life events. 

I am now Todd’s wife, mother of seven. I really miss living in WV “almost heaven”

There I was wife, mom, foster mom, adoptive mom, and so much more. Here I feel a loneliness  like nothing before. 

I miss my foster group meetings and dinners with the family. I miss my best friend’s girls night outs and and surprised bags of peanut M&M candies.

Don’t get me wrong I love my kids, our new house and state, I just wish I was adjusting faster and could have an occasional husband date.

Here I am only mom and wife, and half the time I don’t feel I am even getting that right.

I am now a Tennessean, Mountaineer at heart, Packers are my Pro team after all I am smart. 

I still hate frogs and stormy nights, but love to held around bonfire lights.

I am a kisser of boo-boo’s, a taxi, and a toilet bowl cleaner, sometimes life maked me just a little meaner. 

I am who I am, I’m lucky and blessed sometimes though I wish I knew who “just me” was I guess.

Do You Ever Think of Them?

A letter to our birth mom(s) ….

All the little ones are tucked into bed. I have finished the second round of check-ins to cover them back up, change diapers and kiss them once more. Life may be busy and at times overwhelming but I would not change a thing.

It’s in the moments like this I find myself thinking of our birth moms. Our adoptions were not the typical ones you see play out on TV or like the ones in the newspaper ads. We did not submit our story to an expecting mother for her to look over our file and pick us to be her child’s forever parents. We do not have an open adoption were we(the adoptive parents and birth parents)can share photos and stories about how the kids are and what we both hope their future holds. We do not share stories about our own childhood in hopes to give them the same type of wonderful memories. No our story is nothing like that….so I wonder.

I wonder if on their birthdays do you think of them? Do you ask yourself ” I wonder what toys they like now or how tall are they now?” I wonder if you think to yourself “School is starting soon, will she like her new teacher?” ” Will he ride the bus?” I wonder do you miss late night cuddles and having the magicial mommy kiss that can make the biggest boo boos all better? I wonder if you miss hearing the phrases I love you mommy or Can you tuck me in tonight? I wonder if you even realize what you have lost or have the drugs completely consumed you? I wonder and wait for the next call to come in saying ,”she’s had another baby.” I wonder if you miss them. I wonder do you ever cry yourself to sleep? Do you catch yourself looking in the crowd to see if anyone looks like what you picture them to look like. I wonder if friends or family still ask you about them? I wonder what their lives would be like if the state had not stepped in to save them. A million thoughts and questions run through my mind, especially late at night while I rock our youngest back to sleep or while our son is judged by outsiders on his actions, things he can not help because of the drugs and neglect he had to go through. I get so mad at you and the things you’ve done. You have no idea the damage you placed on their lives because of your choices you made without thinking of the outcome for them. But then God reminds me if it was not for you I would not have them with me. So I wonder what do you think of me?

I am thankful and grateful that I have been given the chance to be their mom. I am thankful for the few talks we had as we waited outside courtroom doors. I am thankful for a system, though broken sometimes, allowed us to keep 4 siblings together and also allowed us to adopted one who had no one. I could not picture my life without them so I wonder what your life is like without them. I wonder if they have your smile, your laugh, or if they have your personality. Does she get her unruly behaviors from you, does he think and solve problems like you? I wonder if they will ask me questions about you later in life. I wonder how I will answer these questions. I wonder if they will thank me for giving them a chance at a normal life or will they recent me for keeping you away from them? How will I handle that? I wonder if you pray for them and wish them well in their new life. Or if once they were removed from your care you never gave them a second thought? I wonder if your ok. I wonder if you are safe. I wonder if you even care.

I know you never planned for drugs and alchol to take over your life. I know that having your children removed and placed in state care was not how you saw things when you were a little girl. I know you must have been angry, scared, and maybe a little ashamed. But I need you to know they are okay. They are better than okay they are great. Know that I love them. All of them. I love them with every beat of my heart. I love early morning wake ups to giggling down the hall. I love story time and playtime and all the times in between. Know that they are happy, sassy, talented, and yes they fight with each other like all siblings do. Know that I vowed to each of them they will always know how special they are each and every day. Know that I am grateful you had them and did not abort them. Thank you for giving them the gift of life. I am blessed to have them here. I am blessed to be their forever mom.

I may never know the answers to these questions. And I guess I will be ok with that. I am thankful God placed each of them in my arms. I am thankful He had a plan for them when life throw them a curve ball. I pray for you and your life choices. I pray things start to look up and help is received.

I will continue to pray for you I know the circumstances where not what either of us planned but because of you I am mom to my beautiful chaos. We are forever connected in God’s great plan.

From our beautiful chaos to yours its okay to question the unknown but dont get stuck there.Someday you may get the answers you are looking for. Until then just have faith in God’s greater plan.