Thursday, November 2, 2017

Hurdles and Faceplants

Logically, you may know the steps to clear the hurdle
EVERY family has its issues.
Myself? I'm a sharer. I try to be transparent in the realness, because Motherhood can be so damn isolating sometimes. The pressure? It's overwhelming. We are not in this journey by ourselves, so if I need to open my junk drawers or take pictures of the dishes in my sink and share, I'm happy to do it. We can not do all and be all.
Parenting in itself is such an incredible journey...each so unique. Adoption happens to be a part of ours. While our son's social history is not for public consumption, I feel that the hurdles I jump..whether I clear them or face plant, if it can help another momma in ANY way, well- I'll spill.
But this is reality
Adoption is a wild ride.
There are so many unknowns; palpable grief, unanswered questions. There are therapists, counselors, paperwork and phone calls. There are undesirable behaviors, more grief, and more unanswered questions. Medical unknowns are scary. The questions he will ask us one day are unfathomable.
I struggle. A lot.
One of my biggest pet peeves that I totally self -impose upon myself is this. Just because we adopted doesn't mean I can't vent about motherhood. This is a child, that is mine, just like my biological child. Sometimes I feel that there is an undercurrent of tsk tsk'ng as if I brought this upon myself  so I shouldn't talk about the daily challenges. That I signed up for this. That I knew there was going to be struggles.. that EVERYONE knew there was going to be struggles , so why am I dishing about it. Whether imposed or perceived..that's crap. This is why I cherish my support group and why I love support groups in general. You're not alone. The struggle is real.
I remember after I had Wyatt I was a mess. I didn't know what to do. I was new at this mom thing. He wasn't breastfeeding..was that normal? How much milk was I supposed to produce? Not being able to produce milk..was I doing something wrong? Was he going to be more prone to illness because I couldn't breastfeed? He was kind of yellow..that wasn't normal..but what do I do? Do I lay him on his back? On his stomach? Should he sleep in our room? In our bed? Is he breathing? His sleep pattern is all messed up. How long of a nap is too long. Dear God what have I done?? I experienced the mom guilt. I was working. I was going to school at night. Was this a good decision? Bad decision? Was I missing out on critical moments? Should I just quit school and my job and stay at home? Would anyone be happy if I actually did that?? The tears came and they wouldn't stop.
Nearly 7 years later, I found myself in a strikingly similar situation, yet SO different.
I remember arriving to the orphanage as a family of 3 and leaving the orphanage with Alex, stepping into the cab to head back to the station as a family of 4. Will and I kept turning around and laughing nervously. It was a surreal scenario. All the waiting leads to this moment. I think we kept turning around to see if anyone was running after our cab to stop us. That there had been a terrible mistake.
We went back to the hotel that night with our son...who was this little man? What were his preferences? Dislikes? Did he understand us? Should I call him by his Chinese name or his new English name? Would he learn to love us? I had missed all his firsts..I could only rely on a translated document of what he may or may not like. The pressure for attachment and bonding felt overwhelming. Then there were the night terrors- those screams that could pierce through your soul and make you weep the moment they started. That someone so little could emit sounds of such anguish is indescribable. There was the endless head banging, as he could not express himself adequately enough, and would turn to what he knew to communicate a need. I felt helpless. I felt ill-equipped and so, so tired. The tears came and they wouldn't stop.

There are no hard and fast answers. All these feelings of self-doubt, fears, helplessness..well that IS motherhood. You do the best you can with the God given gifts you have. Grace and Truth have been the two ever present themes this past year and in my daily walk. I thank the Lord for this crazy journey I am on and all that he has planned. He is so much bigger then I know, so on the days where I feel like I just can't, I can rest a little easier knowing he can.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tagging Out

I’ve written this in my head about a bajillion times, and now at 11:19 PM as I’m sitting down to actually write words are coming. Bummer. I’m pretty sure it was WAY more profound about 3 hours ago. 
Today was really hard. 
But let's be honest. Life wasn’t meant to be easy. If it were, how could we possibly taste the sweetness or appreciation of accomplishments or growth? Right?....RIGHT?!?!?

Days like today I close my eyes and think back to my expat experience when I was surrounded by friends literally on the daily. Someone was ALWAYS there. It made me feel secure, supported and heard. I was able to use adult words to actual adults who would then actually respond back in kind. This is perhaps the single most difficult issue I’ve had to reconcile with. People in the US are crazy busy. We aren’t on this insulated bubble of an expat island..people here are running around crazy, whether it be to school, work, activities, the gym…life! I am not their priority..imagine that?! While I know that this was inevitable upon our return, over a year later I’m still trying to find that balance and not wallow in the blahs and what was. 

Days like today I close my eyes and think back to when Wyatt was a toddler, being watched by the Hawthorne's,.. a family in our precious Virginia village. I think about the significant impact that they have had on our lives. I laugh when I think about my no gun policy.( like of the plastic toy variety, guys) .. ..back to when my 2 year old Wyatt was fashioning guns from sticks and I said…Suzan, I’m not comfortable with guns….Aly, she said patiently….two year old boys will pretend ANYTHING is a gun. #truth
Can you imagine if I was the sole influence in that child’s life? ack. I sure can’t. Wyatt’s imagination is unreal. He wields both imaginary and wooden weaponry with vigor and always (of course) comes out the hero in the end. Shame on me for preventing him to play and use his imagination in a way that only I saw fit through my narrow lens.
Guys..we don’t have to be alone in this journey. Do you really want that burden? What is holding you back? Fear? Pride? Seeing yourself as a failure or that you are weak for seeking help?
The saying, it takes a village is no joke. This is not the first time I’ve written about it. I LOVE my village. 

I phoned a friend.
I called it in.
I passed the baton.
I tagged out. 
Mercy I screamed!!!!
Alex in his own way said all of the above as well. was done by throwing objects at my head. Hitting me in the face and having numerous meltdowns within a 30 minute period. We needed to not see each other’s faces for a couple hours. 
She came. My village swooped in, took my boy and loved on him in a way that my fatigued, drained mama body couldn’t. 
I relaxed while playing a wicked game of Mario Kart with my Wyatt and doing load after load of laundry. In peace. And. Quiet.
Our sermon series recently has been about being a control freak. I know I am one…and I know that the Lord is REALLY working in me, to relinquish that control. 

If you’ve got that village you love and trust, let them help you. Give up the reigns and let it go. For the good of you…and most of all for the good of your children.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Looking Up

Today is one of those days where I feel it is necessary to preface that I love my children because I'm going to be honest. 
I know there are stronger women than I out there.
But there are days I. just. can't.
The desire to run away is strong. 
I feel like I'm drowning. 
There is a permanent lump in my throat. Tears are bound to flow at a moments notice. 
I cry out for Jesus to just help me. Hold me. I feel weak, impotent, spent. 
I don't want to hear the whines, screams or crying. I don't want to be touched, pulled, kicked or peed on. 
Laundry mounts, sinks are full and everywhere I turn are goldfish crumbs. 
You've seen those hallmark movies or read the books, right? Where the mother flees the scene? We gasp and say we could never. 
I empathize. I feel that mother, because today? I. just.can't. 
My precious husband knows. He hands me the keys as I peel out of the driveway. He offers me a hotel room away, the bed to myself.. so I can recoup. So I can just think. Pray. Reflect without the noise.
Mamas. I feel you. Take a moment.

Look up. He's got you. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Operation: Take bed back

August has been filled with lots of house changes and switcharoos. This makes my heart happy as I have a hard time with anything being in one place for too long. While I'm sure this speaks to bigger issues..we'll delve into that at a later time.
We moved Wyatt's bedroom downstairs despite my hesitations and Will's reassurances. Alex shifted over to Wyatt's bedroom and we've made Alex's room into a home office for Will and I.
I say Alex's "bedroom"loosely as he's been sleeping with us since the day he came into our lives 2 1/2 years ago. The night terrors have lessened but are no less painful to hear. The thrashing has subsided slightly, yet the kicks to the gut, head and privates are stronger and incredibly unfortunate in the middle of REM sleep. The pediatrician said about 8 months ago that Alex should transition to his own bed. Um. Sure. While I respect his opinion, I just wasn't ready to listen.
Now 8 months later, here I am. It's time. My problem is, it's so different then with Wyatt.  I'd let him cry for a bit and he was able to self soothe and go back to bed. But Alex...his cries pierce this adoptive mamma's heart. I missed the first year and a half with our boy. Who was lifting him from his crib or stroking his cheek during those early stages? All I know is,  it wasn't me...which leads me to this place...feeling conflicted.
So we've found a happy medium. I hope.
If you can believe this; Wyatt's old convertible crib is now Alex's and we have "converted" it into a full size bed. Which means we can ALL have our own space and hopefully get through REM uninterrupted without drop kicks to the groin. If he needs us, there is plenty of room to cuddle with him in his bed, while still preserving ours.
Again, only one night down *successfully* with lots of prayer, lavender and frankincense being diffused. I'll keep everyone posted, as I wouldn't want anyone out there to lose sleep over MY sleep.
On that note...g'nite.
And Just out of curiosity....which position have you found yourself in? We're in Roundhouse Kick Hell.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Is. The. Longest. Day. Ever.
Phone in Toilet Bowl.
Unruly Children.
Dropping $8.00 of dimes for the kids lunch all over the gas station floor.
Child spitting out lunch and screaming he doesn't like what he picked out 2 seconds after purchase.
Woman asking if Alex is mine.
Inability to locate anything I'm looking for within a house I am resisting to clean.
Why has time stood still?
What am I doing about it? Yelling, Sighing with exasperation, rolling my eyes.
I'm totally sweating the small stuff instead of looking at the big picture, treasuring what I have. I know this in my head. Putting it in practice is so much harder.
SO in the spirit of a do over, I will eat some chocolate, take a deep breath, pour on some happy oils, pray, apologize and ask forgiveness from my children and begin the countdown to 5:00....the socially acceptable time to crack open my beer. Cheers Mamas. Summer on.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Blue all over. You?

I am a lover of a good quiz. In fact just yesterday I discovered if I was going to be a descendant of a Greek God it would be Athena. Um, I'll take it (Thanks Wyatt ; ) But personality quizzes?...Well they're my favorite..which is why I was LOVING the color quiz we just took in my work group. It's forward thinking when everyone takes the time to figure out what makes their team tick. What is the other person's motivator? What lights their fire? What is their passion? I mean, how fascinating that this knowledge can help us all get to the same place taking different paths. We're obviously not all going to think, act or approach a situation in front of us the same way. My thinking is the sooner we figure that out and stop trying to change people and work with their God given gifts and talents the better. It's time we exhort one another instead of tearing them down for not being like us.

Unless of course they suck. That is a different issue in it's entirety.

So do me a favor. Take this. Then have your spouse, significant other or bestie take it as you and see if you're filling it out as someone you want to be rather then who you truly are.
Tell me what color you are!!! I want to know!!!
So I took the quiz and I'm blue baby. I confirmed this with my hubby, so that is why I write with confidence. HA! Sometimes I don't trust myself.

"They are fun loving. They live for the moment. They like bright things and happy people. They like to follow strong leadership as long as the leaders treat them nicely. They love a sense of humor in someone. They are very spontaneous. They are not very mindful of being on time. They are forgetful. They spend their money freely (don’t save much at all). They love to travel and have adventures. They love to be outside in the sunshine. They love being social and meeting new people."

I mean, this certainly does not describe me entirely, but it's pretty accurate. I'm followed up by a close yellow, then red and lastly green. I love how if I had taken this quiz years ago, my color would have been different. We're constantly evolving....continually changing. 
I love it. 
Ok. Stop reading this. Take the quiz. Mull it over. Feel free to share. Don't leave me hanging. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Digging Deep

Seeing as writing is therapy of sorts to me, I'll just lay it all out there. If it resonates, great. If you start reading and can't hit that red x in the corner of your screen fast's all good my friend.

Let me just jump right in. My feelings of inadequacies run long and deep. Sometimes,  I literally feel as if the left side of my brain ceases to function. Seriously. When faced with mathematics of any kind; science, equations, statistics, word pulse quickens, my eyebrow starts to twitch and my brain slowly starts to seize up. I can't concentrate, I try to make a joke to get out of the question asked, or I just deflect, deflect, deflect. How does that make me feel? Stupid. Dumb. Completely inadequate. If you know me well, you may know that I struggle and shut down emotionally when I do not feel validated, when I feel like my feelings, thoughts or words do not matter. (Hmmm.....circling back to feelings of stupidity and inadequacy....) My love language is words of affirmation which I'm pretty sure makes me nearly impossible to live with.

My jobs that I've had outside of the home, the ones that I felt good at, provided me with that verbal validation, that sought after adult conversation. When I was working outside of the home, I felt a sense of competence that I could do or be what I was created to be. I love working with people. I love seeing and delving into what makes people tick and how I can provide them necessary resources to becoming their best selves. I love a challenge, learning new skills and accomplishing tasks. I love fast paced environments and have a love/hate relationship with that nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach before a huge presentation and the state of euphoria when it's ended.

Motherhood. Like many many mothers before me, I feel like I'm half-assing it. I show up for the game, but a lot of times I feel like I'm shooting air balls from half court. I look back on my day and pray to God that that day is not going to be the reason my kids show up for their first therapy session when they're twenty-two. I'm not the first mom to voice these feelings of course. There's a lot of other better looking, savier mamas videoing themselves and making musicals on why motherhood is crazy and it's ok to feel this way. If I could hold a note and had better hair, I would totally sing this to you too. Shoot, I'd sing it to myself right now, because let's be real, I had a crappy day mom-ming and that has led to this post.  Please don't get me wrong- I feel immense gratification at my ability to stay home and be with my kids. I just love working too....the creativity, setting's so much more then a paycheck. I want...and NEED both.

So I started my search. When I was overseas, I maintained that connectedness and creativity by delving into direct sales. It's not my forte, trust me. Yeah...The irony is not lost on me...but for me it was fun to get together with friends, throw on some nail wraps and maybe make a few bucks in the process. It filled up some of my free time and filled the work void that I was looking for. When we moved back to the U.S., I knew I couldn't go back into the work force..the boys needed me at home. The little guy requires extra time and support and getting a full time job is just not in the cards right now. So where did that leave me? I took a look at what I was doing, where I spent my free time and where my current interests were directed. You know what? I see a woman I scarcely recognize. I've learned to NEVER say never. I didn't think I'd be living in Utah after living overseas for SIX YEARS in my very late thirties making lip balms and body butter while simultaneously preparing essential oils classes. But here I am.... #notquitekillingit.....Ha. I found I really love my oils and I love the products. It induces eye rolling and skepticism from some and curiosity and excitement from others. I've been lauded and made fun of. If it's not your thing, it's not your thing, but I promise you we can still be friends. It's the balance I found I needed. It has me excited, setting goals, meeting new people, pushing comfort zones, wondering how far I can take it.  I've got that nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach at the thought of upcoming classes and that love/hate feeling is front and center. While my time is divided and some days (i.e. today) I feel less than, I feel more motivated than I have in a very long time.
Phew. Thanks for letting me unload. This motherhood/work balance is not easy. Maintaining your passions and sense of self while raising tiny civilized humans is not easy. It's all a delicate let's just support one another on this crazy journey and remain #notquitekillingittogether...Ok?*Deep Sigh*
Stay tuned.....