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.”

 NO KIDDING. 

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.