Category Archives: Parenting

Doing the best you can.

Psalm 5 – Rad

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I’m sure you’ve heard of many Scripture versions, the KJV (King James Version), the NIV (New Internation Version), etc.  Though no one can say for sure, there are about 900 versions of God’s Word, but I bet you’ve never heard of this one:  The RADmom.  Yes, The Reactive Attachment Disorder mom’s version, but trust me, it is very real.  It is like no other.

This morning started with  my RAD son (I know, politically correct I should say, “My son, who happens to have RAD,” but not today.  No PC in me today.)  Anyhow, the morning started with him waking groggy after about 2 hours of sleep.  I don’t know why he is not sleeping, but it was a struggle for him to stay awake long enough to get dressed for school.  I sent an email to the teachers saying that we have a doctor’s appointment soon to see if there is a med error and he got on the bus.  I was looking forward to a day alone with nothing but my thoughts and hopefully some paper to write them down.  I decided to throw in a load of laundry and that’s when it happened.  That’s when the RAD in our home took over.  Even without him here, he leaves a big wake!

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My washing machine was full of one pair of pants (who does that? Washes one pair of pants?) about four packs of gum sans the wrappers which were already stuck to the side of the drum, a can of beef jerky & some other indescribable items. I attempted to scrape the gum off the sides with no luck, so I threw my hands up and had a good cry.  Well, a mini cry, I guess. I phoned my husband and started sending texts to his teachers (who have been teaching him to do laundry for a couple of years,) and I took my own advice that I mentioned before in a blog post and I called a friend who would make me laugh.  Well, actually, I texted her and her goofed-up voice texting back while driving made me laugh out loud.  I attempted to regroup and then was faced with another pesky annoyance.  Where would my help come from?! My help comes from the Lord as I am reminded in Psalm 54:4 (Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.)

So I turn on some random instrumental praise music and the first song is Hallelujah.  Not feeling that so I skip ahead to the next random song and a Piano plays a tune titled, “Psalm 5.”  I decided to turn to Psalm 5 in my Bible and I was blessed as I was able to hear from God.  I’ll share from Psalm 5 – RADmom.
5:1-5   Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing . (O Lord, what the heck?!) Listen to my cry for help, (What am I supposed to do? Help me out here!) my King and my God, for to you I pray. (Well, I’m not talking to myself!) In the morning I lay my requests before you (I need to get some laundry done) & wait in expectation. (Do you want me to get laundry done?) You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; (You didn’t want this gum stuck in my dryer) with you the wicked cannot dwell. (So if I want your help I better not start screaming and swearing!) The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; (Wow Lord, I’m humbled, I can’t even do my laundry without crying out to you.) you hate all who do wrong. (Keep me biting my tongue!)
5:7-8 But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; (I will open my Bible and visit you.) in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple. (My shaking head becomes a bowed head.) Lead me, O Lord, (What am I supposed to do next)in your righteousness (What’s the right thing to do?)because of my enemies–(That stinking sticky gum!)--make straight your way before me. (Don’t let me waste the entire day on this mess.)
5:11 But let all who take refuge in you (who sit at the kitchen table with an open Bible and open ears) be glad; let them ever sing for joy. (Lalalalalala) For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; (You will allow me to move on.) you surround them with your favor as with a shield. (You will make sure that someone checks their pockets next time.)

My hope is truly found in the Lord and the Lord alone.  Only he can understand my joys and my sorrows even if today it is only gum stuck in a washing machine. He will make my paths straight and today I think He knew my hope and joy would be found in spending a little more time with Him.  Now, unfortunately, I think he wants me to go back to the basement and try again.

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“Gotcha Day”

confetti-celebration-background-colorful-vector-illustration-43624485In my family, we don’t celebrate what many in the adoption world call “Gotcha Day.”  We celebrate our kids’ birthdays, but we don’t celebrate the actual adoption day because we were a family long before the courts announced that we were.  Many families who adopt out of foster care feel the same way.  The actual adoption day is so full of emotions and not all of them should be celebrated.  So many years, the date and day go unnoticed by me, but today I noticed.  Six years ago today was our final adoption day for K.  She would love to be hosting a party tonight, but instead, it’s business as usual with her at a dance lesson, her dad out hunting, her brother watching TV and the sun rising and setting the same as it always does.  So, though I won’t celebrate, today, since I noticed, I will reflect.  I dug out my journal and thought I’d share:

10-3-11           K’s ADOPTION DAY.  Oh Lord, my house is full. All of my family safe and sound under one roof. What a blessing. What a gift.  Today is Kaylee’s adoption day and I am full of emotions. I’m nervous, excited, scared and still a tad worried.  What a journey this has been.  There have been times when I’ve held a broken K and cried, there have been hugs to reassure her return, there have been days of crying in my closet refusing to eat. So, today we rejoice. Help me Lord to be a witness to you. Help me be grateful in all circumstances. Help me to witness to you. Let your light shine through and let this day be a celebration. Bring JOY to this family and healing to K.            *** Wrote the above and then read the Upper Room.  “In the same way your light must shine before people so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. — Matt 5:16 TEV Thought for the day: People are watching. What will my example inspire?”

“Your example will inspire others.”

It is my prayer that I’ve set a good example for others and that I have been a good witness in this continuing journey.  Let’s all try to make our examples inspire others!

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Act Your Age

 

050d337f78b2af662959ccccb8086736e1c0ea-wmLast week was a bad week.  After making progress on some plans we were making for my 18-year-old son with RAD, he started to backslide. He stole money and food from us and the neighbors, he lied so many times that even he couldn’t keep them straight and finally he packed a bag and left on foot….barefoot at that.

Once again I had the “What am I supposed to do with this Lord?” conversation with God. “You created him wise enough to scheme and manipulate and simple enough to run away from home in his bare feet?! Is tough love appropriate when we are never sure of his level of understanding?”

Well, he ran to his biological grandmother’s which gave me five days to stew. Five days to be angry at him, angry at God, angry at the world. I wallowed in a vat of, guilt anger and despair. I treated myself to yet another pity party and entertained myself with not cooking meals, not making my bed and sleeping during the day. I even tried cursing a bit to show how angry I was.  Take that!

George and I attended a therapy session for ourselves. (Imagine that. Years and years of therapy with a RAD kid and now we need to attend without him.) The therapist agreed that I was the angriest she’s ever seen me and that as I suggested, I was a victim of chronic abuse and PTSD. It was pretty obvious.  However, the session ended with my making the statement, “When this is all over and we come back and everything is fine, I’ll share…”

BrrrrZzzzLeeeap. (Make that sound of a needle on a record player sliding across the record to get to the beginning again.)  Did you hear that? “When everything is fine.” I knew it would be fine again, I just didn’t know when.

The following day, I had my nails done (since I had chewed them off the day before in therapy!) and though my appointment was at 10:00 no one saw me until 10:20, the color the manicurist picked was not flattering and the chatter of other clients about drove me through the roof.  My husband picked me up and asked how I made out.  I burst into tears. Not yet.  It wasn’t fine yet.

My faith was so challenged. Why wasn’t God fixing this? It’s been a chronic problem for 17 years and there’s no resolution. So painful. Wait. Maybe God was saying “no.” We Christians know God says, “Yes, No and In my own time” but have you heard anyone talk about a “no” they got prior to death? Nope. Because that is where hope comes in. We keep hoping, our hope is in the Lord who is able to do more than we can imagine…so why isn’t He doing it? I recognized that maybe I was getting a “no.” Should I learn to accept that? I became like a child whose parent had said, “No.” I read my Bible because I didn’t want to be disobedient but I wasn’t happy about it. I threw the party I mentioned earlier and I went to bed saying to God, “You can hold me if you want, but I’m not speaking to you.”

Well, as they always do, things have returned to our “normal,” kid has returned home and we are “fine” as predicted.

Today I read Phil 3:13-16

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

All of us who are mature? OUCH! Only let us live up to what we have already attained? OOOOOH! So my kid spent a week not doing all the things he’s been taught. He spent days not recalling all the lessons he should’ve learned years ago. I did the same. Looks like we both need to grow up, mature and act our age and live up to what we’ve already attained.

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The Sound of Sweet Music

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I retreated upstairs after dinner to do some reading.  It was so nice to have time to just relax.  The sound of beautiful music drifted from the living room as Kaylee played her instrument.  Not the violin that she has been practicing for a few years and not even the piano which she also takes lessons for.  Today I am listening to the sweet sound of the first day with her new clarinet.

Yes, today we rented a clarinet for her to learn to play.  She brought it home, assembled it and began to play.  She was immediately able to make music with it. (Sing a long with me to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb.)  “E, D, C, D, Squeak, squeak, squeak, D, D, Screech, E, Squawk, Squeal,” you get the idea. After that imagine Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Hot Cross Buns and some other early band favorites in a similar fashion.

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Though the technique is a bit lacking, I wasn’t being sarcastic when I said that I was relaxing listening to the sound of beautiful music.  What is beautiful about this music?  It is made by her.  What is also beautiful about this music? It is original.  It is not recorded and it is not being played on an electronic device.  This sound is music to my ears because it is not the sound of silence I hear when she is plugged into her iPod.  Her face is buried in a music book and not glued to a screen.  There is no music sweeter than that and I am grateful.

You may remember, though, that I did say that I retreated upstairs, the door is shut and maybe tomorrow I’ll even recommend she practice outside….just to get some fresh air, of course.

 

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Dear Friend,

IMG_0585I’ve been writing and re-writing this Thank You note in my mind for days and the truth is, I can’t quite figure out how to write it yet. You see, there is no way I can explain what your kind deeds have meant to me without first telling you all the negative things that have been going on in my life and I think you know me well enough to know that I’m not a negative person. So, in the interest of trying to explain and in the hopes of being vague enough to not cause more grief, I thought I’d let you know how important your kind acts have been!
This spring there has been a war raging in our home. Nothing big enough to make the papers, but it has been a constant deluge of bad situations. Every day, I was confronted with something, figured out a way to handle it, and the next day it was a new surprising event. God is good and continued to show me grace and favor in the midst of the chaos. (Note: I said “in the midst” He did not shield me from the chaos but was beside me!) My son had some major trauma that was not in his control. No one should have to deal with what that boy had to deal with and all of it during his senior year. You know, that year that is supposed to be full of rainbows and dreams? His was full of doubt, trauma and an ugliness that I can’t even begin to imagine. Not knowing how to cope, he acted out with bad behaviors of his own which caused him even more pain. And, as his pain increased, his parents’ pain increased. And though his trauma took center stage there was a lot of other things going on in our lives too that we had to contend with.
That’s where you come in. You will never know what your kind words meant to me. The note, the card, the meal, the call, the hug, the plant, the text, the shoulder to cry on, the idea,  and the desire to lessen our pain in any way did not go unnoticed. Now, if you friend, were unaware of the struggles we were facing, you helped simply by being you. You made me smile, you encouraged me by assuming that everything was “normal.” You went for a walk with me, sewed a costume, mentioned mimosas, rolled your eyes, gave me a pedicure, shared an empathetic nod, and changed back into clothes to go out with me after you had already put on your PJ’s. You showed up for no reason and just were there for me. You asked me to do something and thought I was capable when I didn’t feel like I was capable of anything. If I eluded to some struggles you lifted me up in prayer. (I know you did, because I could feel it!)
I desperately want to share more with you. I want you to know how bad the details are so that I can then tell you how good my God is, but I don’t think that would serve Him well. I want to tell my side of the story to counter what may be being shared around town, but I won’t. I’ll simply thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my lifeline and helping me celebrate spring and all of it’s successes. I refer to this time as the season of Blessings and Burdens and I’ve had my share of both! You have been a blessing.  Thanks again!

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Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.      

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.                                                                         –1 Kings 19:3-7

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My Big Claim to Fame

weight-on-the-scale-at-the-pediatrician-s-office-when-they-weigh-8PIrpa-clipartI never really considered myself special. I mean, I never had one specific great claim to fame…until I became a parent.

The first six months of my first pregnancy, I gained six pounds. The doctor informed me that she would like to see a little more weight gain for the next visit and that I really should be following the nutritional guide she had provided. My husband and I attended the childbirth education classes the next week, and he scolded me that perhaps I wasn’t eating enough cheese. I felt fine but decided that I better check the scales to see how things were progressing. I stepped on, I stepped off, on again, off again, one more time…yep, there is a weight gain. Eighteen pounds in 3 weeks! What in the world is going on?

I called the doctor, and she felt there had to be an error. I went into the office for an official weighing the next morning and when I tipped the scales, I burst into tears. The nurse, in a comforting way, suggested we try another scale. We did, and sure enough there was an errror…it wasn’t eighteen pounds; it was twenty-one. She took my blood pressure, tried to calm me down, and told me to go home and rest while she consulted the doctor. The nurse called later that afternoon and said that the doctor had scheduled a sonogram for Monday and that I should rest over the weekend. I asked hesitantly, “Does she think it could be twins?” The nurse kept her answer brief and replied, “At least.”

I had the sonogram, and it looked like I was going to have one big baby. I kept gaining weight at a normal rate and approached my due date. No baby. Every night I went to bed and woke up disappointed that I was still there.  Finally, with tears in my eyes, I asked the doctor to help me out. The baby was getting bigger and bigger and didn’t show any interest in coming into the world. She agreed to break my water the following morning.

Always feeling that attitude was the biggest help in labor, I tried to keep a positive outlook the whole time. I think I can, I think I can, became my motto. Finally, after pushing for two-and-a-half hours, I quietly said to my doctor, “I don’t think I can do this.” She said, “I don’t think you can either,” and the baby was born by Cesarean Section. I was awake for the procedure and heard the cries from the operating room. “Oh, my gosh, his head is so big…He’s huge…Have you ever seen such a big baby?” I was getting nervous, not to mention somewhat insulted, and I asked my doctor how much he weighed. She chuckled and said, “I don’t know. I can’t lift him.” As soon as the delivery was complete, they shouted for the scales to be brought in. My bouncing baby boy weighed eleven pounds, three ounces! I was shocked and said, “No one has eleven-pound babies.” and the doctor said, “You just did.”

The rest of my hospital stay, from my room across from the nursery, I could hear people ooh and aah over the babies. “Look how sweet, look at the hair, OH MY! Look at this big bruiser!” Even the nurse giving expectant parents a tour of the facility stopped at my doorway and said, “There’s the woman who had the eleven-pound baby!” Comfort and acceptance came for me when my minister visited. In his prayer, he asked that my son be not only big in body, but big in mind and spirit as well.

I still, on occasion, will meet someone, and they will ask if I am the one with the big babies. (I delivered my daughter two years later who weighed ten pounds, 5 ounces and my youngest was three weeks early and weighed eight pounds, nine ounces.) I have come a long way in my confidence since those “new parent days” and I am proud of my big babies. I am sure they will be big in mind and spirit as well.

 

Originally published in The Doula Magazine Fall 1996

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Find Joy Through A Friend

unnamedAre you having a bad day?  Today, I am not so it’s a good time for me to consider what I should do when I do have a bad day which will certainly come. What do I do when I am having a bad day? Do I wallow in it and continue the bad day until I fall asleep or do I try to change it?  And, if I try to change it, what works?  I immediately realized what has often changed my bad day.  A fun conversation with a good friend! A conversation laced with humor and potentially some sarcasm as I relay what is happening in my life.

Have you shared your bad day with anyone?  Have you called that friend that always makes you laugh and said, “You will never believe what happened this morning!”  There is a good chance that simply by relaying your situation to the recipient, you will begin to see some humor in it OR just by sharing it, you will try to put some sort of humorous positive spin on it.  I recommend you give it a try!  Call a witty friend and relay to her what your home looked like as you tried to shuffle kids out the door while the cat escaped and someone spilled cereal and then you had to race back inside to get the forgotten library book and the cat escaped again and then you shut the door on your child’s finger while trying to save the cat and then you dropped the library book in the puddle.  None of that happened to me….today….but it has and it will again, I’m sure.  Maybe not the same situations but equally challenging ones are pretty routine around here. After sharing the story of your tense moments with a friend you may start to see how funny that would be in a 30-minute TV sitcom and you will see that you may as well enjoy it too.  As you start to laugh you will find your strength and hope returning and you will see that you can make it through another day.  You will make it through this day, too, even if it is only to get funnier material to share with your friend tomorrow.  And remember, if your friend calls you, it’s your job to point out the humor in her story also.

… Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  –Nehemiah 8:10

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