Saturday, August 16, 2014

He Has One Mom---Me.

Sometimes, I'm jealous of people with biological children.  Not because I wish that I had biological children instead of my (adopted) children.  But, because I sometimes wish that I could wave a magic wand and make my kids biological. 

Occasionally, I get tired of having to explain my family to the well-meaning masses.   When I said that we were fine with any race, I didn't realize that would mean that we would live our lives on display to a certain extent.  Having said that, we are still fine with any race and regret nothing.  But, the fact that I can't swim with my kids at the YMCA without someone inquiring about whether they are brothers and sister is, well, weird.

But, truth be told, I don't really care.  That's not what I'm upset about.  I'm upset that I share my title with someone else.  A woman who cared so little about my children that she took drugs, received no prenatal care, and didn't go through the necessary steps to get them back.  Yeah, I have anger towards her.

It's probably very different for those who have positive relationships or feelings towards their children's birth mother and that can be a wonderful thing.  Sharing pictures or stories.  Telling your child how selfless their birth mother was; I respect that, I really do.  But, this birth mother didn't make a loving choice, she made a selfish one, repeatedly.  And, I can't respect that. 

Last night, Kaleb relayed a story about how William had announced to the neighbors that he had drugs before.  I'm not sure if it was a kid or an adult and I don't think I really want to know.  Kaleb was pointing out that he would rather William not broadcast their history and he has a point.  It's tricky, balancing William's right to tell his story if he wants to and his siblings' rights to not have all of their business known.  But, as important as that is, it's not the point of the story, this is.

Kaleb said "William said that he had drugs before, that our mom had taken drugs."

All I heard was, "our mom." 

Me, in a weak, soap opera scene-worthy voice, "Did he say that?  Did he call her mom?"

Kaleb confirmed and Brian (I am so glad that Brian was home!) immediately called William out from his room to talk to him about it.  He knew what he was going to say, we both knew this moment would come,  but not so soon and not in this way.  

Brian, gently, told him that his mom had taken him to a birthday party today, had fed him lunch, etc, etc.  He gave him some appropriate words to use for her, like "birth mother," and "biological mother."  But, he told him that I was mom.   William said that he had slipped up and that he was sorry.  Although, an apology wasn't really necessary, it was nice that he said it, anyway.  Brian hugged him and sent him back to bed.

This is what he told me, anyway, because I was in the bedroom crying like a baby.

Now, maybe I should deal with it better.  But, if we all know anything about me, we know that I'm the emotional sort.  My emotions caused me (along with Brian) to head down this adoption road in the first place.  And, it's my emotions that caused me to dramatically repeat over and over that "It's not fair!" when Brian came in to hug me.  So, what are you gonna do?

It gets tiring when people ask about "mom" and "dad" and I have to face the knowledge that they don't mean us.  Or when they ask if my kids are brothers and sister.  It's a slap in the face.  It's a reminder that someone else gave birth to them and if things had gone a little differently, we may never have been their parents.  We had to earn that right after someone else had lost it.  But, we did earn it.  We did.  And, that makes it my job to take care of them, love them, and protect them.  

And, someday, that might include protecting them from her.  If I can.  I know that someday they might want to meet her.  And, even though, that is totally understandable; I know that I will be back in the bedroom, crying like a baby.  And, I admit that I hope that they don't want to meet her.  But, that's probably not realistic. 

I don't have that hope just for my own selfish reasons.  (And, there are many.)  But, because of this.

About a year ago, the oldest brother had a fight with his (adoptive) family and he moved out.  Now, he lives with his oldest biological sister and hangs out with his biological mother.  If his facebook pictures are any indication (yeah, I snooped.), he, too, is now involved with drugs and I'm pretty sure that he dropped out of school.

The word tragic doesn't begin to define that situation.  I wish that I could help him, but I can't.

So, what do I do?  I keep loving my children, the best that I can.  And, take comfort in the fact, that William used the word "mom" because he didn't know what else to say, not because he was minimizing my role.  I will remember that "mom" was called about a million times today and it was always meant for me.  I will hope and pray that our bond will be so deep that it can weather any dramatic, angsty fight that we will have in the future and none of them will ever leave.

And, I will remember this.

A couple of days after William and Antwan came to live with us, we were out on the back deck playing with the water table and bubbles.  William brought up the topic of us becoming his mom and dad.  I confirmed and said that he could call me "mom" when he was ready.

Now, I might not remember exactly how the topic came up, but I sure do remember his response.  He said, I will never forget it, "I'm ready now."

And, that first time that he tentatively called me "mom," it was beautiful.  Really beautiful.
I knew that I was where I should be.  I was a mom.  I was his mom.

I can't get the good without the bad.  Magic wands don't far as we know. ;)  So, I'll just keep living the life that I was meant to live and hold on to what's really important - Them.

Cinco De Mayo

Sharing the Batman love!

Dressing Like Daddy


Bonding with a Lorikeet

His glasses are way cooler than mine.

Yay for icees!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Perspective Is Reality and I Have A New Perspective.

I always feel better after writing a blog post and it always give me some perspective.  My last post reminded me that I don't want to live like I have been.  I don't want to be stressed-out mom.  And, God knows, no one wants to live with stressed-out mom. 

So, I've been trying.  I've been trying really hard.  And, I've done better.  Not every time, but sometimes. 

I've stood outside of the front door when after getting home from work and taken a deep breath.  I've reminded myself that I need to be the grown-up.  That I need to appreciate these moments because they will not last forever.  I need to add to them, not subtract from them.

I've been really trying to focus on what I can do differently.  And, I have to take it on a case-by-case situation because, yeah, I won't get them all right. 

And, it all comes down to patience.   Patience.  Sometimes that's the hardest thing in the world.  But, I've tried.  And, this has made the house a little more mellow.

But, sometimes, he gets mad at me, anyway.  Sometimes, he goes on and on about whether he's getting enough xbox time or gets annoyed that I want him to try to get all of the dirt off the kitchen floor when he's sweeping.

(But, sometimes, he brings me extra dinner from the kitchen after Lizzie takes half of the food off of my plate.  The girl likes to eat! And, sometimes, he comes to Daddy's work with us and simply hangs out.  Sometimes, simply hanging out is nice.  And, sometimes, he is super kind and gentle with his little sister and brothers.)

And, sometimes, I wake up in the morning and am grumpy as can be for no good reason.  Although, learning that Antwan ate my last chocolate pop-tart felt like a good reason, at the time.  My last pop-tart?!

The other night, after Brian found his glue gun on the floor because someone had knocked it off the table and didn't bother to pick it up; he started to rant.  Not in a bad way, but it was a rant.  And, it was a fair rant because they shouldn't do stuff like that and they are constantly doing stuff like that.  The lecture covered several things like - stop obsessing about how much xbox time you get and be grateful for any at all, understand that you are fortunate to be together in a home with food, etc.  But, then, he ended with a topic that I personally LOVED! ;)   Appreciate your mother.  (See why I loved it??)  

He pointed out to them all that I do.  He told them that they shouldn't fight me when I want them to go on an activity, volunteer at a camp, do a chore, dance an Irish Jig, whatever.  He asked if they ever thank me for all that I do.  He even pointed out that he doesn't thank me enough, either. 

Now, I don't mind doing all that I do because, well, that's my job and that's cool.  But, it sure was cool to hear it.  Then, Lizzie, Antwan, and William started randomly thanking me as I tried not to cry. 

So, the night ended.  Brian thanked me, again and I went to bed, feeling a little better.  I'm a fan of feeling a little better. :) 

The next morning, I was heading to work.  I was rushing around and trying to stay chilled, at the same time.  Before I left, Kaleb thanked me for washing his socks (his hand-wash only, special socks).   I said "you're welcome" and continued getting ready.

It took me a couple of hours, but then I realized what the expression "hit you like a ton of bricks" means because, it hit me like a ton of bricks that he had thanked me.  He didn't complain that they were still wet or say that they should have been inside out or whatever a person who really loves his socks might say.  He said thank you.  So, not only had he listened to his father but he had taken the time to thank me.

Or, maybe, it wasn't thought out.  Maybe he just said thank you for the heck of it.  But, I'm claiming it as a major victory and a moment of great appreciation on his part! ;) 

Well, in between the statement above and this one (my writing window closed), I had an argument  with him because he got mad at Lizzie when they were playing xbox, mad at me for saying that xbox time was over, mad at me for telling him to wash the dish that he used, and then, subsequently, mad at me for yelling at him for angrily throwing the rug out of the house as he was doing his chore so he could go to his friend's house and get away from me because he was mad at me.  It was a busy 10 minutes. 

So, that sucked.  But, I have to live in the small moments.  I managed to mostly keep my cool during the incident.  He came back from his friend's and apologized with no prompting.  (And, that's really all that I can ask, right?)  When I vented on facebook, all my friends empathized and supported me.  And, I have been patient with him all day today.  Ok, maybe he went to the beach with his friend at 10am, but, it counts, right?   Tell me that it counts!! ;)

So, my writing window closed again!  Between then and now, one more thing happened....

A reader turned facebook friend turned support system messaged me after I posted a vague, melodramatic post on facebook.  (I'm not proud of that.)  So, I told her that Brian and I had been fighting more since adopting Kaleb.  We can't seem to get through one of his days off without a major blow-out.  The added stress of a teenager has definitely taken its toll.  I wish that we handled it better, but there you go.  She sympathized and then told me that she and her husband had gotten approved for foster care.  And, then she basically offered to take Kaleb.

It was such a kind gesture and I think the world of her as a person for offering.  I didn't need to consider it, though.  I immediately knew that would never be a possibility.  And, it was in that moment that I realized just how much I love him.  

Yes, he drives me crazy.  (And vice-versa).  Yes, it seems that no matter what I do, he'll never be satisfied.  Yes, he is going to make me work harder.  Yes, it was much, much harder to start with a teenager; harder than I realized that it would be.   But, he is my son and that will not change.  And, I don't want it to.

So, everyday, I will try.  And, everyday, I will succeed and fail.  I need to accept that as a victory in itself. 

This morning, I woke up and looked on facebook.  I read that a friend's girlfriend was losing her battle to cancer.  To make it more tragic, my friend is pregnant with their first child.  Now, there are two people who deserve to feel sorry for themselves.  

Not me.  I look at my family.  We are all healthy enough to drive each other bonkers on a daily basis.  It will continue to be challenging.  But, it will be.

Perspective is a powerful thing.