… and the not so good.

I hinted in the last post that my emotional state has not been uber-peachy lately.  I think each of us in our family is dealing with the wait and the looming transition in different ways.  Unfortunately, each of my kids is going through some really difficult behavioral seasons.  I know this in and of itself is not unusual, but so far in our parenting journey, they don’t usually freak out at the same time.  πŸ™‚ 

I want to respect their privacy, so I won’t go into huge detail, but I want to share a bit for 2 reasons.  First, I’d love your prayers.  For me, for my husband, for our kids, for our relationship with them, for our transition to a family of 5, and our separation for 2 weeks.  But the second reason is I think that there’s a tendency to have an “online reality” that isn’t true to the “real life reality.”  I get a little bitter when bloggers (or just FB friends) always paint this amazing portrait of their happy lives–cute things their kids did, little date night ideas, how much they LOVE being a mommy every second of every day and oh by the way did you see how my kids and I remodeled our huge playroom using only recycled materials and chalkboard paint while I was churning my own butter and jarring my organically grown green beans while the children recited Psalm 119 from memory and checked off their extensive and meticulously updated chore chart?!?! Clearly it gets to me.  I want you to know that I do LOVE being a mother, and I adore my kids, but we’re having a hard time, darn it!

Carson has always had a strong will (understatement) and a temper.  But in the past few months he’s really struggling with keeping the anger at bay.  (also understatement)  I’M struggling with how best to deal with that in a loving way and not cry myself to sleep each night.  Trent and I have prayed about it and decided that Carson and I should talk with a family counselor.  I share that, too, b/c I wish there wasn’t a stigma around seeking help from a professional.  I just want him to have the opportunity to talk about how he’s feeling–about the upcoming transitions?  about life?  about being the oldest?  about his angry triggers? about his mean mom?  I don’t care.  I just want to HELP HIM.  And also?  Help me. I’ll be meeting with the counselor as well.  Much of the time he’s himself: funny, smart, loving, snuggly, witty, creative, kind.  Did I mention funny?  But when the underbelly is showing up as much as it has been lately, we want to work on that.  Especially if it has anything to do with bringing a new little bro home, who will have his own emotional baggage to deal with.

Sydney is having her own issues. She has always been a mama’s girl.  A little clingy, kind of needy.  But she’s so stinkin’ cute and sweet that it’s not that big of a deal!  Of course I’ll drop everything and snuggle on the couch!  But lately, a 20 minute snuggle time is not enough.  It just doesn’t recharge her batteries like it used to.  She has to be with me–TOUCHING ME–throughout the day.  Dad doesn’t cut it, even though he’s tried.  I’ve literally stepped on her feet about a dozen times in the last week, b/c she follows me like a shadow, keeping one hand on my leg.  Yesterday she was bawling, WEEPING and screaming when it was quiet time–she has to be in her room by herself.  Which we do every.single.day.  We had already had snuggle time and she still wanted me to be with her.  She was so distressed that she almost gagged herself into a vomit because her crying was so hysterical.  I’m not the professional, but I have to wonder/assume that this clinginess is in response to the talk about a new bro, knowing Mom & Dad are going to leave for a long time, and her older brother’s aggressive behavior. Ugh.

Issues with my kids send me over the edge more than anything else in my life.  Not only does it completely drain me emotionally, but this is what I consider to be the most important job of my life, and when they are acting messed up it makes me feel like I’ve messed up.  I’ve received great encouragement from friends and wonderful support (and relief) from Trent and the grandparents, and I don’t feel like this is hopeless, that this season will last, or that Asher’s joining a jacked-up family.  πŸ™‚  On the contrary, I’m really looking forward to just getting home and getting down to business–figure this new normal of being 5 instead of 4, instead of the long, LONG anticipation for all of us. 

Of course, that anticipation is also an emotional roller coaster!  The other day I read on Mama K’s blog  about the day they got custody of their daughter.  The day she came to their hotel with all her earthly possessions.  The social worker said little S had not slept well the night before, because she knew what was coming.  Yeah.  NO KIDDING.  I can’t even type that sentence without crying.  And when I think about the night this comes for Asher, I breakdown every time.  I know in my head that we are doing the right thing, and that time after time these toddlers heal from the trauma, but I cannot in my earthly mind comprehend what that would be like for a child to be told by their “mom” (even if it is a foster mom–they don’t know the difference) that tomorrow I’m giving you to those strangers you met yesterday and you will never come back here. This is the last night you will ever sleep next to me.  It causes me physical pain to even imagine how our son will be feeling.  How will we even begin to help him through that?  How will I keep myself together emotionally and not be on the ground in the fetal, crying with him?  Maybe if I cry for the next 44 days I’ll have it out of my system.  Probably not.

Sorry this post is a Debbie Downer.  But I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog for a while, and now you know why.  If you can’t say something nice….just wait and write a really long and depressing post a few weeks later.  πŸ™‚  Thank you all for your encouragement and support.  It really, TRULY helps and uplifts.  We’ve started our packing list (fun!) and cherishing good days and hours with our older kids.  We have a few special outings planned before we leave. They are very excited about Asher, picking out clothes and toys for him, talking about where he’s going to sit at the table and on the couch when we have movie night.  Deciding which swing on the set will be “his.”  I know we’re gonna get through this.

In a moment of perfect timing, this week I am studying “ENOUGH” in my Bible study.  Talking about all the ways we feel we do not have enough, and how God provides.  This week is not about enough money or possessions, it is about not having enough patience, wisdom, time, energy, strength. I have to, HAVE TO trust that He will fill in the gap where I feel I am lacking.  I’m clinging to some well-known verses that have new light for me.  I guess this post is me “boasting” in my weakness.  I’m so glad that God can work, even in weakness.  Because we’re all going to need some gap-filling: all 5 of us.

Each time he [the Lord] said, β€œMy grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12: 9-10