Mystery Lane

Mystery Lane

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Damn Mysteries

The other day Daniel asked me if had been a year since he and Sylvia came to live with us.  I laughed and said “No but it feels that way some days!”  He laughed and said “Yup it seems like forever!”  I had to do the math to realize they have been with us for a short 5 ½ months.  And what a 5 ½ months it has been.  Being a parent is hard.  Being a parent of foster children is kind of surreal.  I’ve read 9 gigantic files on the kids and know their history according to the State of Washington.  But there is so much I don’t know.  Since they are young, they don’t remember a lot and can’t tell me what I want to know.  Typical to my life as a mom, I have two more children who are a mystery to me.

The stories I know of the kids are stories that I don’t think they need to know, yet.  Someday we will tell them their history, but for now they don’t need to know the details.  They need to be kids and have a childhood filled with good memories, not the ones they were so unfairly given.  The truth is, it’s hard.  Whenever I tell them a story of Jackson as a baby they want to hear more.  I know they were wishing I had stories of them.  So do I.  I wish I knew what they were like as babies.  I so wish I had a baby story to tell them.  The first few years of their life may never fully be told.  That’s hard for me to grasp, I can’t imagine what they must think about it. 

All we can do is go forward.  What I have found the last few months is that is easier said than done.  Becoming a mom to 2 children ages 7 and 9 is kind of like marrying someone after only knowing them for a couple of months.  They are so wonderful.  Then you get married and realize they don’t put the cap on the toothpaste, have terrible aim at the toilet, leave their dirty underwear on the floor and their dishes in the sink.  Reality sets in.  You begin to wonder what the hell you were thinking.  But you made this commitment and you aren’t backing out of it.  There are tough days.  Days when you go to bed thinking you have failed repeatedly throughout the day.  Days when you wish you could take back about 1000 things you did or said.  Then there are awesome days.  Days when you realize you are making a difference in their lives.  Days when you realize you are giving them a life they could never imagine would happen.  Days when you built memories you know they won’t forget.  Highs and lows.  What I try to remember though is that we are still in our honeymoon period and that we are all learning as we go.  We will get to our cohesive place someday.  In the meantime I keep in mind the advice of Nelson Mandela who said “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.  It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”  Well said President Mandela.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Summer Endings

This week school started here in the Pacific Northwest.  If you listened hard enough you could hear a collective sigh from the parents throughout the city.  I think mine was loud enough to power the city for 3 minutes.  Surprisingly the summer flew by.  I distinctly remember the last day of school and feeling panicked about what the heck I was going to do with 3 kids all summer long.  Then I spent the last two weeks of summer break trying to fit in all the things I wanted to do over the summer that we never had time for.  I suppose I am like all the other crazy haired moms surviving summer.  Survive I did though and I am expecting my survival badge to arrive in the mail any day now.

For the kids’ part they had a fun filled summer – Florida, swimming, boating, amusement parks, camping, riding bikes, lazy days at home playing, and summer camps.  For this Mama’s part it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  It was fun to experience a different kind of summer.  One thing I discovered is that I underestimate Jackson and his ability to have fun.  I decided this summer that I was going to take Jackson on as many adventures as I could with the kids.  I want him to have all the experiences that other children have.  There is a part of me that always thinks “Oh he won’t like doing that.”  In typical form that kid proved me wrong quite a few times this summer.  I think the most amazing thing he did this summer was sit through an Imax movie.  As part of the package to ride the amusement park rides downtown in Riverfront Park you get to go to an Imax movie.  I didn’t want Daniel and Sylvia to not get to go because of Jackson so I stocked my purse with Hot Tamales (Jackson’s favorite candy) and came up with a backup plan if Jackson didn’t make it through the movie (which was about sharks!).  I was nervous and anxious.  Once the movie started Jackson looked up at the screen and had this “What the…?” look on his face.  He was moving his head around looking at different parts of the giant screen trying to figure out what was happening.  5 minutes went by.  I couldn’t take my eyes of Jackson.  He was really engaged.  Then 10 minutes went by.  15.  20. And then he started making noise.  I whipped out the Hot Tamales and he was happy and engaged again.  The movie was only about 35 minutes long but when it ended I had to use all my energy not to cry.  Jackson made it through an Imax!  It was unbelievable.  Going to an Imax movie with Jackson wasn’t something I thought we would ever do.  But we did and it was awesome!
Having kids home for the summer is a lot of work.  Those of you who do it know what I am talking about.  Between the appointments, errands and simple every day stuff there isn’t a lot of time for moms to relax and take a few moments to herself.  There were days when I was so tired I didn’t have the energy to brush my teeth.  My motivation to keep going was a 4 day trip to Whidbey Island with my best friend Tami.  Boy did I need that vacation!  Just taking care of myself, eating good seafood, sleeping without a baby monitor next to my head, and the calming sounds of the ocean.  The trip was great but the best part was upon my return hearing my husband (who spent 4 days with the kids by himself) say “You work your ass off.  I never had any time to myself.”  I know he appreciates what I do every day and understands it is hard work, but hearing those words and having him acknowledge it, well it made my whole summer! 

As we head into the school year remember that “There is no end to education.  It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education.  The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti