There always is, you know. It's just that sometimes I'm not willing to put the other things of life on hold to tell those tales. Today I'm feeling pushed a bit. Why? Who knows? Maybe it's as simple as I'd rather write than do yet another load of laundry.
So today in my real life I had an awkward exchange. Shocking, I know.
That means for you, dear reader, there's a story to tell. Or more clearly I've some processing to do and lucky for you it's pen to paper for me.
I was speaking with my friend about some issues I'm having with one of my kids on the behavior front. There are some character issues we're working through.
Such is a life with kids. It takes tons of repetitive and mind numbing training to get something through to them and then after a short while, they forget everything and you begin again. And then again. And again.
And sometimes as a parent you begin to think you're doing it all wrong that it isn't sticking. Other times you believe your kid has something missing that prevents the lessons from sticking. Then you have a day with "someone else's kids" and return to the land of "mine really aren't that bad".
It's how it is.
We parents all live there.
The kids all take turns taking vacations in the land of defiance and disobedience. They all borrow the smart mouth once in a while. Selfishness comes to stay for a season.
Kids aren't perfect and neither are parents.
Thankfully there's grace. And forgiveness.
You all know I need them a plenty.
But back to where I was going.
So I'm a little giddy and distracted today with the hope that soon the girls will be here under our roof to join Little One and the rest. I'm distracted and yet knowing I need to have this accountability conversation with her and my child.
And somewhere in the middle of it all, she looks in my eyes and says, "and you really want more? by choice?" She seemed sort of stunned and I believe perhaps she was. She asked more of me, "Do you really love it?"
I stood like a zombie and gave a very unconvincing answer of, yes, I do. I really do. But even to my ears it sounded hollow. I heard myself saying, it's so hard to explain it. And it is. It's hard for me to explain it well. I'm still learning the words to my story because it's still unfolding.
Part of it is just that she is an utterly amazing person and she unnerves me just a bit. Okay, maybe a lot. Part of it is that we don't know each other well, and I don't know that that's the plan for us. I'd like it to be, but I just don't know. I need to talk less and listen more. Part of it is walking that line with someone before you know if they are believers.
I'd always rather just be living a life that shows me to be a Christian that be the person preaching it.
Even for those of you that know me well it can be a hard thing to explain.
Can I just give you a picture of what it's like to write here in my house. The dog is circling next to me because the child who has today's feed the dog chore has not yet done it. Little Miss is on the back of the chair with a very loud remote control toy that speaks in three languages and is doing my hair at the same time. Little One is alternately biting my thigh and head butting my knee. The Little Men are upstairs still arguing about how one ruined the others last day of camp, embarrassed him and on and on and on. Now all I need is the phone to ring, a case worker to arrive at the door and some neighbor kid to come in the back patio door.
Yes, sometimes it is like that around here.
See, to write is to stay sane!
So follow with me. I'm going to try to explain my heart with my words.
I'm sure it won't work. I never come close at this, but I'll give it a go.
Yes. I do love this. Every last second of it. Even when I'm crying with the kids. Even when I'm at my last bit of patience. When I'm exhausted and can't hold the baby for another minute without crying because my body aches so and my soul is so spent on this child.
Any mom will tell you these moments exist. We just don't talk about them. They're there and we wouldn't trade them.
Just like the vomit in the bed that calls us home early and can cost us a sitter. Just like the potty training that takes years instead of months or weeks. The child that takes forever to learn to walk or read or fit in. The ones that never make it.
I love that kids keep me busy and give me purpose and keep me on task and moving forward. I love that they keep me growing and learning and relearning. I love that kids make you learn lessons in grace, kindness, joy, mercy, accountability, forgiveness, unconditional love, generosity and bravery. I love that kids keep me laughing. At everything. At myself.
I love rocking a baby to sleep in my arms. I love to have those moments when I look up and suddenly see a child that has passed from one stage to another. For example, just today, I took a really good look at Little Miss and realized she's left that toddler stage and is really a little girl now. It made me teary.
I could keep on going here, but I think you're getting the idea, I hope.
Next, I really believe in foster care. Even though it's a broken system, it's needed, it's necessary and has the right idea. I believe in families. I believe in putting them back together, in keeping them together. I believe in keeping kids as safe as we can.
My foster care mantra is this; Foster kids don't deserve what they get, and they don't get what they deserve.
Now, I'll be the first one to say all sorts of things are wrong or broken in the system. I'll also say there are plenty of people running around declaring abuse where there really isn't any.
I think we're a culture that thrives on attention, on being some sort of special even if it's special in a non-positive way. We seek groups that we fit into and belong too. Sometimes those are things like a Bible study or a professional group, other times it's a support group or survivor thing.
I'm not saying abuse isn't real or doesn't happen. It does. I see it. I just think that as kids or teens or even late into our adult lives if we don't have a certain out look on life or a certain disposition we have a harder time letting things go and rolling with life and moving on.
I know, not very clear and will rile people up. Sorry.
The last part of all this is really this: God asked this of me, and I rest easy knowing I've said yes.
This journey began for me a long time ago before I really realized I was going. But God had a plan for me, for my life and over the years I've been learning what it is to say yes.
My very wise Mr. said this to me today " Now I get it. The truth shall set you free. If you live your life according to man's rules you miss the real adventure and real relationships."
I'm blessed. He's a wise one. The Mr. has challenged me and kept me growing for 20 odd years now. Blessed indeed.
Even though this life I lead is about to look even more insane to those on the outside, I am at peace in it. I know I am saying yes where I'm supposed to. I know that God gifted us together as a couple to do this.
Is it beyond us?
Yup. You bet. Every last bit of it.
And every step is a part of the journey. Every step a challenge. A joy. A lesson learned.
See, I told you my words would fail me. I can't quite get to paper what is all there, but I'm betting you've gotten the idea. At least I hope so, as I've battled out this last bit with a little girl sitting on my shoulders and a baby on my lap helping me type. I think I've erased 20 words for every 1 I've kept.
And so it goes, my friends, so it goes, this life of mine.
And leave me your thoughts, please. You can be anonymous, I don't mind, but it's hard to write in a vacuum and I'm always surprised to hear how many of you think my written self is so very different from my live self. In a way, here is where I am most transparent. But I do love to know what you think, because it keeps me thinking...it's a circular thing here folks, and I don't want my mind to dry up!