Big picture

OK, here is the blog post I’ve been sitting on for a few weeks.  I didn’t post, b/c it is very complainy.  But I was encouraged to post it by a fellow-adoptive mama who is going through trials that make mine pale in comparison. She encouraged me to keep it real and not sugar coat parenting or adoption for those who will walk this path after us. 

It was a rough summer, friends.  Like, please don’t look me in the eye because I’m on the verge of tears quite a lot of the time kind of rough.  It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact reason, but it basically was the intense emotion of adding a new person to our family, a little guy who had endured a majorly traumatic life change, making that three small kids in our small house, when we arrived home on the very first day of summer vacation with no schedule or school to distract us, and all the experts tell us to stay “cocooned” in our house and not leave, when all we want to do is leave, and we’re all dealing with the emotional roller-coaster of this addition, who himself can swing from obsessive hugging and loving to spitting in your face, shrieking like a banshee in a matter of seconds, and all three kids know that they love each other so madly but still get insanely jealous and angry if anyone else has mom’s attention for longer than 15 seconds, and everyone is bored out of their minds, mom has lost her ability to parent calmly or creatively, children have lost their ability to play independently or get along AT ALL, and we’re all working to figure out how we can best love this new little wild child who has found every permanent marker in the home and colored on every wall, destroyed 5 tablecloths, broken mirrors, mugs and more lego creations than I can count, pulled handfuls of Sydney’s hair out, but whose smile just melts us EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  

The days were long.  SO VERY LONG.  And it felt really out of control which I don’t like.  I feel like I fell into every negative stereotype of a sitcom-ish stay-at-home-mom.  I got NOTHING done.  NOTHING.  I was screaming: “STOP YELLING!  WE DON’T YELL!”  I was disheveled, had my hair in a pony tail for 8 weeks straight, you don’t even want to know the forest that was growing where my eyebrows used to be. I felt like I lost any sense of ME and was only MOMMY.  Actually, I was Bad Mommy.  I gained weight, never found time to exercise, grabbed my kids’ arms a little too rough when dragging them kicking and screaming to their rooms, could not manage crowd control for these three people when we ran errands, then snapped rudely at the NUMEROUS masters of the obvious who would say “Wow.  You have your hands full.” or “They have a lot of energy.”


But you know what? We had more than a handful of wonderful times as well.  I should add that Trent was very supportive of me during the dark days, often seeing my crazed eyes (or hearing my teary phone messages) as he walked in the door and whisking the little lovelies out of my sight before blood was shed or duct tape was used.  But I swear we had fun too.  Great beach trips, playdates (over here of course), dinners with friends, camping trips and those rare moments when all three kids and their mom decided we were going to MAKE IT WORK DANGIT, and we had a lot of fun.  I knew I needed to just keep my crap together until school started, and I was right. That has helped tremendously.

And now that I have a few moments each afternoon to gather my thoughts (and sometimes blog!) I’ve realized what helps most of all: I have to force myself to think MACRO, not micro.  Focus on the BIG PICTURE, not lose myself completely in the moment-to-moment insanity.  I’m referring partly to the adoption: when I remember how LONG we waited for this little guy, how FAITHFUL God was throughout our wait, how fervently our friends and family prayed for us, how far Asher has come with his behavior and attachment….I cannot help but celebrate and thank Him.  But I think this is also a general life/parenting technique that keeps us from committing crimes or being committed to a padded room.  Think about when these little brats squirrels were infants–remember that favorite picture?!  Where did the time go?  It doesn’t matter how cliche it is, it is TRUE: They grow up fast.  Any parent will tell you that.  I have to remember, seriously considering a tattoo that says: THE DAYS PASS SLOWLY, BUT THE YEARS PASS QUICKLY.   I need to stop focusing on the biting and the bickering and the tattling.  I need to think about my cute husband and his job and little giggles coming from the other room and this house and our families and our church and our friends and our neighbors and a God who is a father to the fatherless and my memory foam pillow and pumpkin bread and food to buy groceries and worship songs that so perfectly capture what I want to say to the Lord and kids who ask to cuddle and sunshine and autumn leaves and everything about life that is good and wonderful. 

Thank you, God, for a glimpse of the big picture. 



  1. First of all, your blog is beautiful! I’m totally jealous. But I kind of forgot how to blog…

    Secondly, YOU see what you consider “all your failures” or all the bad moments turned worse. What I (emphasis on “I”) see and have seen since the moment you brought Asher home is a woman who will do ANYTHING to make it work. I woman who knows what it takes and DOES IT. A woman who is exhausted emotionally (and physically) who will STILL take those moments to sit and cuddle with her children (all three). A woman who doesn’t give up. A woman whose children and husband cherish above all others and whose friends admire beyond belief.

    You are amazing to me. Every time I see Asher smile (which is every moment of every time I see him), I am reminded of what an amazing Mom and Dad he has. Because you didn’t necessarily have an easy time of it before Asher ever came home. 😉 But those kids? They KNOW that they KNOW that they KNOW they are loved. I’m sorry the summer was so hard. I wish I could have been there more. We will keep praying for endurance and encouragement to come your way, my friend.

    Aaaaand, I have just written a novel. Your welcome! I love you!

  2. We didn’t just go through all those crazy transitions, and this is still great wisdom for us–macro is what we care about, but micro is what screams in our ears constantly. Great reminder!

  3. We didn’t just go through all those crazy transitions, and this is still great wisdom for us–macro is what we care about, but micro is what screams in our ears constantly. Great reminder!

  4. We didn’t just go through all those crazy transitions, and this is still great wisdom for us–macro is what we care about, but micro is what screams in our ears constantly. Great reminder!

  5. I am so glad that you published this post. Life is not all happy, happy, tra la la and we need to remember that. God has been so good to you and He has carried you through this summer. You suvived! And here you are on the other side with a family that is probably closer than it has ever been and a sweet boy that gets to be a part of that family because you listened and obeyed God. It’s been amazing to watch and have teeny, tiny part of. I think about you every time I sit down to eat a meal or wipe down my dining room table and I love that! It is an honor to have that table in my house 1) because it was so loved by your mom and 2) because it is a part of your family journey to bring Sweet Asher home! Love you, Friend!

    P.S. I LOVE the new blog design!!! It beautiful.

  6. AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing and letting it out. 🙂 You are so LOVED. I am sorry it was such a hard summer, but I am sure it is amazing to think of how far you’ve all come. You are amazing. 🙂 Thanks for being REAL!

  7. Even after all these years as YOUR Mom, I still want to keep you from feeling pain, going through struggles, and all the negative emotions that you describe. But I know I CANNOT keep all that away, and even if I could, I might prevent you from experiencing the grace of God that sustains you in tough times. I’m so proud of your perseverance, Jen.

  8. Thanks for sharing- it helps my guilt around similar reactions that I have with my kids to here from a parent I admire that it happens to her too! Man– I am right there with you too thinking that back to school was the best thing that happened to our family this fall. The big kids are so much happier with their own space and their own thing going on– and I have a bit of space to catch my breath! I still haven’t figured out getting exercise back in the picture– or looking in the mirror very often– but everything has it’s time and place– right??
    hugs, deirdre

  9. As always I tear up and laugh out loud all at the same time when reading your blog. We pray for your family, and all our new friends, as they travel this road…and you have no idea how much this is helping to the forge the path ahead of us. I know when it is our turn to experience these ‘dark days’, there is light at the end of the tunnel because you have made it there ahead of us! Blessings…

  10. Thank you for your honest. It is so very refreshing! And touches so very close to home – and we haven’t even added our 3rd yet! It is SO very easy to get lost in the moment. The desperation. The frustration. But you are right. The years pass by all to quickly and before we know it the moments have passed.
    Hang in there! May His grace hold you fast as you parent those 3 little sweeties!

  11. Oh Jen… if only I could sneak another hug from you. It was such a treat to see you and reading this latest post makes me love you even more, dear friend.

    Thank you for being candid… and doesn’t it feel good? Fresh air to know we’re all in the thick of it now and again.

    You are loved!

  12. I don’t know if I can say anything more eloquent than Steph (geez: should’ve added some Comm classes to my major :D), but you: LOVE. Thank you for your honesty: transparency: truth: love. It’s hard! – this life we’ve chosen. A Bible study I return to over and over talks about the cycle of orientation/disorientation/surprising reorientation. My fam didn’t get to give you all a “shower” gift, so I offer (online) grace: support: affirmation: love (as I’m hollering up the stairs at the littles to clean up and not bother me from my “important” online contribution). I know you all rest in His love and joy, and that spreads to your community. And: playdate someday? Our powers combined may lead to tired-out littles (fingers crossed). 😀

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *