I Don’t Want to Parent Anymore

September 24

That is probably something a lot of parents feel at times but we don’t verbalize it. We don’t want to be accused of being bad parents ore parents that don’t care. Many of us would just say it in jest, with a small smile on our faces. We say it when it’s been one of those days. The days when the milks been spilled, the chores haven’t been done, the walls have been painted on with foreign substances or the children are just making us climb the walls.

Today I’m saying it, because I feel like I failed and I don’t have the strength to be a good parent. Situations have arisen in our house where where the breaking point have been met. We knew adoption would not be easy. We even had one case worker suggest adopting one of our children would be a mistake for us. Ironically, the ones you thought would be the issue isn’t.

I have never been one of those parents who told my children that what happens at home shouldn’t be shared in the public setting of school, neighborhood, church or friends. But I heard myself tell that to my daughter last night. Why? I think it is the shame of having a child you can’t control.

When you adopt, you adopt with your full heart. You adopt knowing love won’t fix the issues that were laid on them by their previous environment, their biological parents and the foster care system. I get envious when I see foster to adopt families that look picture perfect. They have football players, homecoming queens, students with good grades and I have the broken children. Is it my parenting?

The Princess is thriving in middle school, she is making herself shine and is being a survivor. The Teen, well the same can’t be said. He is living as a victim and victimizing others. His diagnosis have changed with heart shattering affects to us. He is violent toward others and he injured his father on September 14, because of him violating a home rule and not giving us his phone when asked. That injury resulted in a torn PLC in the same knee he had the knee replacement on this summer.

Monday, I had to take him to his probation officer for the violation. A violation he committed the same day he went on probation on September 14. Footnote; if parents don’t report an incident within 48 hours it can be five days in jail and/or $5,000 a day fine. I learned something new. My son had to go to what is called 3B, Bonneville County Juvenile Detention for 24 hours. Sadly, I am learning more of the juvenile system than I have desired . He has a conviction of petty theft, a pending felony and we don’t know what the court will do with the latest incident.

September 28

I picked up my child from juvenile detention on Tuesday. Not words, I thought I would use in my lifetime. He was contrite, he was humble. Words I heard were, “I don’t want to go back there again” “I have changed” “I didn’t like it there” “I am not going to mess up”. I was encouraged.

Less then six hours later we catch him with an old phone. They took his phone when they arrested him. As huus PO says, “phones are a privikege not a necessity”. A phone that I thought he’d given to AT&T when we got his new onne. Six hours later, less than that if we count before he got caught, he has broken probation. Then the meltdown begin; crying, screaming, yelling and jumping up and down. Attempts at negotiating with us to lie for him, using the finances against us (parents have to pay for the stays in detention). Accusing of us not wanting him anymore. Saying he will just leave. Wanting to wake up his sister at midnight to tell her goodbye because we are sending him away. I don’t know how she slept through all his commotion. I was proud of myself, I only raised my voice once and that us when he went charging toward her room.

The manipulation he uses are both idiotic and masterful. He knows how to hurt.

Wednesday, we tell him that he calls his probation officer or that we do. He calls and leaves a message. I return home from work that night and I get, “can I use your phone to call my girlfriend?”. Not how was your day or hello but all about him. I left and went back to work.

Yesterday, I let him use my phone to call the GF (girlfriend). Twenty minutes and he may sit on the stairs. Without asking he makes plans for Saturday to have the GF come over. I can’t believe the amount of narcissism he has.

To be truthful, I am at my breaking point. I am trying to hold it together. I am exhausted. I am not sleeping well or not sleeping at all. I am on edge, Ron is on edge. Due to his injury, Ron is sleeping in the spare room. So we have that isolation of not being together at night. I am at a spot that is difficult for me. I tried counseling with an intern at Pearl Health but talking to her and being videotaped was disconcerting. Economically it fits the budget but I didn’t feel comfortable.

I am praying a whole lot but feel a sense of isolation. I feel a sense of failure. I want to help him but am not sure how far down the rabbit hole he has gone. You want to be loyal to your child but you want them to have the idea of morals, ethics and basically a sense of right and wrong. I want to be there for my husband. He is in such pain and going through his day-to-day stuff. Ron is amazing . I want to be there for my church and do my duties to them and for them. I want to do all these for everybody else and I know I need to take care of myself.

I feel a sense of Shame. Shame that my child is like this, shame that he’s committing crimes. Not just small crimes but crimes that hurt other people and does not show remorse. He gets upset when he’s caught. So how do I reconcile my morals, my ethics, and my spirituality with him? I’m a pastor. I understand mistakes, I understand my steps in life and I understand sin. But there’s a sense of disbelief that I and the pastor have this child who is the opposite of everything. Are people going to wonder if I’m not doing a good job at home? If I hold it back from Folk, I’m not being transparent. I don’t understand why he does what he does. I’m ashamed of the crimes he’s committed.

My heart goes out to him, he came to us as a broken child. I would like to wring his biological parents necks for the damage they did to him. They wounded this child and it was so early in his life the damage is deep. Yet in the same token he has to be willing to make changes. He has to be willing to know right from wrong, he has to be willing to change and open up so we can help him.

I think I was blessed that I had my other children. Admittedly there were four of us raising two of them. Think it’s that time of my life I was a decent parent. There were times my head where I was up my ass. I admire these people who come off really well. The super parents who have the normal children. The super parents who adopted and have normal children or semi-normal children. Maybe we were too old to start doing this again. I’m tired. Ron is tired. We love these two children with all our hearts. Right now I’m struggling to like one. Parenting isn’t for the weak and tired.

Right now, Ron and I are weak and tired.

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Dawn to Dusk

It was a full day today. Sundays are normally busy but today was extra busy. It was full of a lot of great surprises and a bit of sad.

Woke up after hitting the snooze a few more times than I should have but my pillow was cradling my head so perfectly. Arising I got ready at neck break speed and drove off to my office. Of course stopping for my Sunday large iced hazelnut coffee with three extra shots of flavor. (I like the caffeine jolt but hate the flavor of coffee. Color me unique.)

I love getting to the church and having no one there yet. It gives me time to pray the building. I go to each room we are using and pray there. Then I go to each pew and pray for the people who sit there. Strangely, people will sit in normally the same spot so makes it easy to remember.

I will then go to my office and touch up the PowerPoint and look over my sermon and pray over that. I tweak it and review it. I pray for God’s spirit to be upon it and often for technology to work. During this time the other church who is renting from us will show up for their service. Sometimes I will listen in for a bit but usually I am absorbed in what I am doing.

Coffee and Conversation is our adult Sunday School. We have been going through the book of Matthew. We have folks in there with varying degrees of Bible knowledge from none to a lot. So our discussions are interesting and sometimes off track but it is fun. I am with that group unless we have littles come in and then I shift to Sunday Fun Class. Today I was able to be with the adult class where we talked about Jesus talking about his own death.

In church today it worked out to be Gospel music day. I had selected, “Old Time Religion” as our opening song and our yearly visitor from Indiana, David, did a Mark Hayes arrangement of three gospel songs. I preached today on remembering the Ten Commandments.

We are now beginning to video and put our sermons on line. Which is exciting. My son Brandon is recording. We still have some kinks. Last week, he didn’t show all the PowerPoint. This week he didn’t show me.

At the end of the sermon, I always give an invitation for folks to come forward to accept Christ, for baptism, membership or transfer of membership or if they’d like to have me say a prayer with them. I don’t care if it is the same folk, I say it every week. Today I said it and two came forward to transfer their membership. I don’t care how many times this happens, I get chills, little bitty tears and a big goofy smile of hallelujah.

Since January of this year this makes seven new members now and three baptisms. God is at work!

After church was fellowship and we left to go buy a birthday present for our youngest church members first birthday party which was to be at 2 o’ clock at the church. Momma was there cooking away. Sadly there were delays and the party started late.

While we were waiting for that party to start our YAK (Young Adult Court) Group had their own party. We have another graduate. You get so attached to these young people and see how they grow and change. You just love them to pieces. Some will stumble and it breaks your heart but we (Aletha aka Grandma and I) love them unconditionally. At times I do admit you want to kick them in the hiney or shake them to get their attention. Some just have misdemeanors and some felonies. Their issues range from pot to heroine; their problems in life can be from their own making or the crap life throws them. We hope to be that one safe place for them to go in their process.

Back to the first party. The cooking is done and the eating begins and it is good food. I mean really good food. Kids are bouncing off the walls. Adults are visiting. Food is being ate.

Cake time. Smash cake for a one year old. Chocolate smash cake. Can you say big cakey smiley chocolate gooey face. Once she figured out it was ok to dig into boy did she. I bet they find icing behind her ears. We gave the already wound up kiddos cake and they revved up more. I don’t think the sugar highs will wear until tomorrow. Plus they kept on sneaking back to get the kool aid jug drinks. I know Rose said she drank five of the blue ones.

Presents were unwrapped, being only one she scored pretty well. Several adorable outfits, sippy cups, baby plates, baby forks and spoon, an adorable baby doll and two Walker style toys that make several different noises.

Clean up commenced with a lot of telling the kids no. Sugar, party, energy makes it hard for them to be on their best behavior and remember all the rules. Plus not just the rules but to have manners too. Overall, no one was injured, maim or died. I think the adults though were pretty exhausted.

My day had started at 7 a.m. at the church and I left there at 8:15 p.m. I am taking my dear wonderful son who desires something to go mop and vacuum tomorrow morning. The only bad thing about working so long is the winding down.

My grandpa would say, “you are wired for sound.” Not sure what that means really but he would tell me that when my mind kept spinning and going even when he said my eyes looked like sunken holes. Today was a long day. I am exhausted. I am praying for a few of my lost souls and I am praising God for giving me day that I will remember.

Summer Update…love

A lot has gone on so far this summer. Some wonderful marvelous things that I can speak about and some things that at this time that I can’t speak about.

It is hard when I express myself through the written word and I am stifled. I have written about things but not for this forum. Some of life happenings have to be held back to a hand written pages and put away into drawers for the time being.

Ron is five weeks out from knee replacement surgery and he has been released from physical therapy. He is their poster boy for recovery. I am proud of him. He did everything that he was supposed to do. He didn’t push to hard or do any silly things. He still has to wear his one compression sock. And boy is that sexy.

Rosie is growing like a weed. She is 4’11” (my height) and 96 lbs. She is constantly hungry and constantly chattering. She plays with her dolls, plays in the dirt, tries to build teepees and is friends with everyone in our cul de sac of five houses. Then she will turn around and swipe my makeup and want to wear a dress and heels. She is 13 in body but 10 in mind. She has a hard time keeping up with herself.

Brandon, well Brandon…he is 16. Need I say more.

And me. Well…I am back to working out but I have been prohibited from Crossfit. I loved Crossfit but unfortunately my joints and heart did not. When Ron went in for his surgery, I had labs and xray done on my hips. It was found that I have degenerative arthritis. Thanks mom and dad for the sucky genetics.

The doctor said low impact exercises only. So no Crossfit. We did try a cortisone shot in the hip. It did not seem to work. So we will re-evaluate the options.

With that Ron and I joined Planet Fitness. I want to lose 30 more lbs and build tone and strength. Ron is only going for 20 and to build strength in his leg. With the membership we can take one guest. So we can take our constant shadow with us. It will be good for Rose to start a fitness habit and hopefully this will become a lifestyle.

The Church is going well. We have had five people join since March and three baptisms. There is a good energy and a feeling of prayerful hope. The cry has become We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

There are at times, like in life, some personality struggles. But I try to handle it with prayer, listening, and understanding that we all come from different places. At times my patience is not always the there and then I become frustrated with my own feelings and inadequacy. I saw a post today that said that how our teenage angst and insecurity can return even years out of our teens. How true.

Camp Cook & Play has been a blast with 12 kids signing up. Now all 12 have not been there at the same time but we had at the most 8 and the least 5. For our first year I have been quite happy. Not all the kids have come from the church. “Behold we did a new thing” or a revised thing from the past. Rose has loved it and even made us hashbrowns a few nights ago.

This past week was a bittersweet moment in ministry. When someone in your congregation goes on hospice. You know when they are a person of faith they are going home, to their heavenly home. Watching a wife of 60 years say goodbye is hard, she doesn’t want him to hurt but she doesn’t wantto let go either. I sat with them a few nights. He kept his humor when he was alert. When he became less and less alert he still remembered how to pucker up and kiss. This man has an amazing family. I lift them up in prayer.

It makes you realize how deeply you need to show love to those that are around you. Life can be short. You need to be right with Jesus and surrender to him and you need to hold tight to your loved ones.

Don’t let grudges be held, let forgiveness be given and granted. Live each day like the people you are helping are Jesus. Love love love.

Life is not perfect, life is a roller coaster. Life is turbulent but it sure is a lot easier with love and Jesus.

His Surgery and My Weakness

My beloved and I have been together in some form for 27 years; college classmates in business College, friends, co-workers, parents, lovers, confidantes and spouses for nearly 25 of those years.

We have been amazing together. Mostly due to our faith in God and the belief in our covenant with each other and our Abba. Divorce was never an option although admittedly there have been mistakes made and times we were not terribly fond of one another.

Ron took a lot of the weight and responsibility of the family when I had my strokes. Mostly out of sheer necessity. I couldn’t do the bills because numbers didn’t make sense, they were scrambled. Medications were hard to remember what and when to take. In the kitchen, I couldn’t hold things to cut or slice.

At times, I was a comedy of errors and still can be on my bad days. Moving into a split level home in Idaho had its own challenges. So, Ron, began doing the trek to the bottom level to wash and dry and I became the folder. Then he would trek them to the upper level to be put away.

Tomorrow, he has knee replacement surgery. This is exciting as his knee is bone on bone and this will give him some pain free future opportunities. In fact, a thrift shop special was purchased today of a bike to ride as part of his rehab. I am not worried about the Surgery, they know what they are doing.

My concerns are twofold; firstly that he will mind during his recovery and do as told. Secondly, that I can do this. That I can take care of him, the kids, the house, the job and do a decent job. Especially the taking care of Ron. I have relied on him so much and for so long that this all feels overwhelming.

He has been the rock for us and done it all and I feel scared that I am going to have things fall through the cracks. I feel a bit alone.

I have two others going through surgery in the church family that I need to be Pastor Dawn for, we are kicking off a brand new summer program next week for the church and three of the key players can’t be there the first week…breathe breathe breathe.

And my Rock, the one who steadies me will do it in a different way. Away from me. Not by my side. If you don’t know me, I sound incredibly whiney and weak. I am strong and I will do all that I need to do and do it as well as I can. Right now though I am feeling unsteady and the word again overwhelmed.

Right now, I just feel adrift and not sure how I will do this all. Part of me is a bit upset that I have leaned that heavily on some dude yet I know I had no choice. So now I take some deep deep breaths. Remember to inhale and to exhale. If I need to cry, hide in the bathroom and do it. I have my Abba and I will lean on him and I will lean hard. And most importantly I will keep breathing.

Another Year Older

At this moment I am 53 years old and one day. I don’t feel any different than I did yesterday and I probably won’t feel any different than I will tomorrow. My husband teases me I’m celebrating the anniversary of my 39th anniversary. In reality, our lives have changed greatly in the past year. Things aren’t the same as they were last year.

We have found new diagnosis with the children after several weeks of new testing.  We have found new challenges with the children. We have found life-changing things with the children. We have found out things that will effect their future and things that will affect our future.

The Princess has been diagnosed with a long term developmental disability, where she will have to probably live with us for the rest of her life. She is excited about it and plans on moving her husband and children in with us. As of now she doesn’t understand the limitations of her life. Let me rephrase that, the potential limitations, that there could be in her future. It scares us for her. It scares us that we will not be around for her forever and then we have to look at her future.  What this future will be without Mom and Dad around.

It is hard to believe that she has become a teenager and she has begun to develop a teenager’s body but her mind still wants to play with her doll and horses. Princess can talk non stop to no one but herself and have a grand time of it. She can also turn into a raging hormonal mess of tears and yelling for no apparent reason.

The Teen, oh the Teen, he has become problematic. Explosive temper, stubborn, mouthy, lazy, and failing school. We have had trouble with the law, trouble with girls and he and Dad butt head on days ending with “y”.

We have redone his med regime, put him into group counseling, met with the school for an IEP for next year. We have tried to engage him more with the family.

Most of all we pray. We love them but we know love doesn’t fix the problems or genetics that their bio parents inflicted upon them. So we pray some more. We turn to the experts who have worked with PTSD, RAD, ODD, bi-polar disorder and all the other alphabet soup. And we pray.

Some nights we cry. Some nights we laugh because it’s too hard to cry. Some nights we feel guilty because we just want a break and to get away by ourselves and that never seems to happens.

So here we are 53 and 1 day and 65 years old. Our children range from 43 to 13, our grandchildren from 21 to 7. We aren’t content and we aren’t discontent. We work hard each day. Our house is not the cleanest as we often are tired after work or our energies go back into the Princess and Teen.

So in our chaos you will hear laughter, yelling, Princess talking non stop to no one, Teen’s yucky music, cacophony of barking dogs and know that this crazy is our normal. Our normal is not a normal meant for everyone.

God blessed us with these two children so now we have to live up to God’s expectations for us. So we pray a whole lot. If you get a chance, send some prayers our way too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too Quiet

That has been me and the blog, A lot has happened.

Broken windows, chewed books, tantrums, surgeries, visits from family, a wedding, the return of a world traveler and through this I have been silent. We had Thanksgiving and decorated the church and the kids decorated the house, Ron’s heater went out in his car and his tire went flat. The Princess got A’s and B’s first trimester and well the Teen did not. And still I have been quiet.

There have been funny Gizmo stories and stories of three dogs who pretend not to like each other cuddling together until a two legged family member walks in the room. Ralph’s slowing down and at 15 shows his age then he will have bursts of energy to remind us of his uniqueness. Yet, I still haven’t wrote.

I have had many joys at the church and some sorrows. The sorrows try to drown out the happiness and make you forget. Satan is a sly creature. Are we growing? Yes, by some people’s measurements. Is everyone happy? Heck, NO. Will I make everyone happy? Only in my dream world. Even in any church I know of, they wouldn’t be happy if Jesus was running the show. Still, I haven’t spoke.

I shared, in a rather, public forum that I felt broken. I wasn’t even sure quite what I meant other than my words had been silenced. I couldn’t fully convey my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I was blank. I still carry some of that. Whatever “that” is. I feel both a heaviness and emptiness.

I am waking up, going through the motions of my days. This week was heavier due to the pain of physically trying to do the splits on the ice. I score myself an eight, seeing I never could do them before. Plus the anniversary of my mom’s death seemed to sneak up and slap me.

Yes, I am praying. Yes, I have spoken to my Dr. but that answer is always more drugs. I am already a mini pharmacy. I even asked if those were the issue. But those are needed for me to live.

So I have broken my silence and really have not said much at all. Sometimes maybe it is better to be too quiet.

Thanksgiving of a Dysfunctional Family

I grew up in what is now called a blended family. Back then it did not have that fancy title. We were the step kids or her brats. Holidays were not exciting times. They were fraught with yelling, hitting, cussing and drinking and that was just preparing the food.

Thanksgiving was fancy plates and cloth napkins. Appetizer tray with veggies. Smoke filled room and noise. Often times we would never finish the meal as someone would have to leave on a “call” for the funeral home. 

If we were at my grandparents home, the smells were different. Charlie perfume wafting in the kitchen admist the smell of Thanksgiving ham. Grandpa hated turkey. But for some reason Grandma made oyster stuffing. At their house, I didn’t have to sit by my step dad. So there I was away from the back hand side. 

In fact there we had the kids table, where my brothers and I sat thinking we were special. But yet somehow desiring and wanting to be at the big people table. Grandma even made our little card table elegant.

After dinner the adults would play cards and cuss and smoke and drink some more. Usually someone would say something and we would leave with my parents in a a huff. We three kids would hunker down in the back seat. Knowing the slightest wrong word could result in a beating. Usually I said the wrong word.

If it was at our house; it would be walking on eggshells before, during and after. I would sit at the back hand side of my step dad and cringe every time his hand moved, not knowing when I might end up on the floor for doing something wrong. My brothers said when I moved out, my chair remained empty. If my step dad’s older brother was there it usually meant a fist fight.

I always hoped for a wonderful huge peaceful laughing family Thanksgiving. We had a few Thanksgiving with my family as an adult where it was a bit better but someone would say something and the fight would be on and someone would leave angry or hurt. 

With my own family, I tended to go to the opposite spectrum. Super low key. Probably too afraid to make a fuss.  I think part of me is still that little girl wanting that ideal Thanksgiving. I have been to a few homes where I have seen that and it has left me in awe and even envious.

Tomorrow it is just the four of us. By popular vote, we are going to have hammocks and beans. We are going to do some house projects and chill out. On Saturday; our daughter, son in law and grandson will be here. I will cook a pared down turkey dinner.  

I suppose my traditional Thanksgiving days are still screwy. Maybe I don’t need that one day to elevate it to something more. Really isn’t just another day like any other day. It has historical significance. But honestly aren’t we called be thankful all the time. Not just one day a year.

Today, I was pretty sad about a situation. I came home and shut myself away and had a good cry. Then I prayed. I am still a bit sad but I realize that I can’t change what is going on…it is what it is.

What I can do, is find different ways to find thanks. Right now, I haven’t found a lot but when given clarity and distance, I will. I know already that I am more blessed than many many people. I have my faith, a home, a job, my husband, my children…that is more than many.

I couldn’t control those adults that caused harm when I was a child but I can pray that i have done a better job with my older kids and will do a good job with the youngest two.

Sunday at church, I am giving everyone 5 kernels of corn based on an old story that the first year the Pilgrims were here they each were only given 5 kernels of corn. I am giving those with the thought of 5 things or areas of thanksgiving we have.

What are five areas in which you are thankful?