Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Try. Try. Oh, so trying.

"A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace."-Mother Teresa


I hurt. Each day seems to be a lesson in frustration, failure, exhaustion and tedium. There is no silence. No peace. No time. No sleep. I dread mornings. I dread endless nights. I dread.

There is Literally. No. Quiet.



I know this blog sometimes serves as a journal of sorts and this will certainly be true today. I am not espousing life changes for anyone but me. This is where I am. ME.

I am currently taking a class based on The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis. I have read the book several times but this class is actually making it resonate with me. The resonance is both enlightening and painful but I am hopeful that it will bear great fruit. 

In class tonight I got personal when I piped up with the eloquent "I have read the book. I have read MANY books. I know what I should do. What I should say. How I should connect. I know. But I am SO tired. I literally do not get a break and with my husband traveling, exhausted doesn't come close to describing my current state."

Oy. I am hanging my head. Nothing makes me prouder than a good old "woe is me" statement. ..especially said to a room of strangers. Awesome.

The responses of my classmates were awesomely supportive and informative but when I got into the car after class I kicked my own butt. 

Of course I am exhausted. I am a mother. No one becomes a mother to get more rest. To have quiet time. For breaks or relaxation. To look and feel put together. To have their needs met. Oh, wait. .. some people might have kids to meet their own needs but that is a different blog post....

So why do I spend my time lamenting the lack of all of the above? 

Daily life has been difficult recently. I find myself disillusioned.Jealous. Blech. Tired. Short. Irritable. . .and all around wonderful person to be around. My poor kids. 

I keep telling myself that I could be a much better mother if I could just get some sleep. If I had a break every now and then. If I could just hear myself think. If it just stopped raining. If I had a fenced yard. Utter crap. Sure. . .EVERYONE could be a better ANYTHING under the perfect conditions. Sadly, life does not offer optimal circumstances. Pull up your big girl panties, Becki....You Are A MOTHER. 

Your job is not to make yourself more comfortable. Your job is to raise your kids. WHATEVER it takes. . .even if it takes EVERYTHING you have. . .THAT is what you do! 


“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” ― Mother Teresa

I want to give my children what they need. To be the mother they deserve. To sacrifice and to love unconditionally. To lift them up. Repeatedly and without fail. And yet. . .I fall short. Time and again. 

Sadly, I am human. My frailty and selfishness get in the way on an hourly basis. I have needs. Surely they should be met! What about me? I spend all day meeting needs that are not my own. I often don't get breakfast before lunch. . . I want to scream. . .WHAT ABOUT ME!?! Our society supports selfishness as the norm. I feel justified. I ask myself "Why" far too often. I feel put out. This is normal, I think.... but I also think it is wrong. It is so counterproductive.


My children are children. It is their nature to be need machines. They make childish decisions. They break everything. There is always SO much noise. They make epic messes. They do not know why. Asking why is a lesson in frustration. There is no why. Why even ask? 
Yes. . .boots, socks AND jeans covered in mud. I looked away to put Pookie in the stroller. Just for a second! 

“God doesn't require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.” ― Mother Teresa
I am hereby removing "why" from my vocabulary. This is my first step to truly becoming the Mother that I want to be. The mother they deserve me to be.

Parenthood is hard. But is it also the most rewarding adventure. I resolve to shut down the voice in my head that demands selfishly. I devote myself once again to meeting the needs of my children with love and patience. I will try to enjoy myself more in the process. And I will pray for rest. I will also try not to pout when I don't get any.

Above all, I will try. 

Try.

Nothing else is more important.


“God doesn't require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.” ― Mother Teresa




Friday, April 11, 2014

Slugs and Snails

About a month ago, my lovely sister in law sent me tights. For my son. I giggled at first remembering how novel it was to see Evan in tights when we would visit him at the orphanage. Granted, Evan would often sport tights in really boyish colors like pink and pastel purple. Despite this, when I got home, I had regrets that I had not purchased some tights while in Ukraine. 
Making quite the fashion statement!

The tights that my sister in law sent were adorable. Made by an Irish Company called Slugs and Snails, these tights are incredibly soft and cozy. Thick but not excessively so. The first time I put them on Pookie I knew they would be a staple in this wardrobe. He wore that pair two days in a row and I knew I needed to purchase more. 


These are much more practical than socks right now. Socks last an average of 23 minutes on Opie. He takes them off and chews on them, they land on the floor where ever we happen to be. Quite a hassle, to be honest. Now that I have these tights, it is less of a hassle. Anything that makes life even the slightest bit easier is a WIN! 
This first pair has seen loads of wear and washing. They are as cozy as ever and are standing up to all the crawling that Pookie is doing in them. with minor pilling.  If you are not opposed to boys in tights, I highly recommend these. They can be found at: http://www.parentsandco.co.uk/shop/slugs-snails-sky-blue.html

We're boys! We're boys in tights! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Opie

I am a ball of emotion today. For the past three days I have been living in the past. Reliving the harrowing manner in which my baby came into this world. Reliving the lonely and awkward ambulance ride, being transferred to hospital that I did not know with doctors I had never met. The medications that blurred my vision and slurred my speech. The pressuring of doctors to do things their way without listening to me. Oh. .. I need to let go of that experience and focus on the result.

Today my tiny miracle is ONE YEAR OLD. I am celebrating but part of me wants to shut out the world, my husband and kids included. I want to crawl back into bed and spend my day with Opie. I want to rock him and snuggle him. I want to sob. One year ago today it was me and Opie against the world. Oh, how I prayed. Opie and I were fighting for his life like I had never fought before.


My husband was there. People were praying, I know. God was clearly there, though at the time I was beginning to despair and fear the outcome of my labors. There were doctors and nurses, however those medical professionals were not listening to me. It was up to me and Opie. (And God, of course.) Opie and I were in a scary, scary fight and we were alone.

This past year has been exhausting. Once one battle was won, another began. So many nights spent fervently praying for his safety and strength. So much life has been crammed into this year that I honestly do not think that I have had the chance to really process the trauma that preceded Opie's glorious arrival.

This is likely partially why I want to clutch him so close to me and just sob the day away.




I want to celebrate him and his warrior spirit. To shout to everyone that I know. . .this is NOT a normal birthday. This is a MIRACLE! To sob with gratitude for his presence in my life. Even when he wakes me up 4 times a night. I am so thankful. And here I sit. And sob.

One year ago today. I was too scared to cry. Too focused on the battle at hand. Too angry with the medical team that was not fighting with me....today, I am processing so many emotions and LOVE trumps them all. Let my tears cleanse the heart and fear from my heart.

So fitting this Lenten Season.

Out of my trauma came life.

Out of my fear, joy.

Out of my illness, a strong little baby.

Love really does conquer.

I am so incredibly blessed. It humbles me to my core.

Oh, baby boy, it is not enough to say Happy Birthday.

Happy Miracle Day to my amazing little guy. As terrifying as our battle was, I would do it again everyday...just for the pleasure of knowing you.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Oh Boy(s)!

Today my heart is both heavy and joyful. An update on the boys is overdue. I neglected to post Evan's Birthday photos. It could be that we were all too busy partying down with Goofy and gang. . It could be that life with 3 boys takes all that I have. It could be that I am tired of posting blogs only to discover that it is riddled with typos and grammatical errors. 

Enough excuses. Here is a quick update. 

Eli is getting far too old for my liking. He is obsessed with dinosaurs and airplanes. He know so much about the solar system and wildlife. He is a leader at school and is really a strong willed, intelligent boy.  He loves his brothers and is still learning to share and be a big brother. I am starting to believe this is a life long lesson....and Mama needs patience.

Evan's language is growing by leaps and bounds. He loves to talk and talk and talk. And sing. And most recently, beat box. He has no clue what beat boxing is but that does not stop him from busting it out all day long. He is one tiny bundle of joyful noise.
He is such a happy and affectionate boy. I think he tells me that he loves me at least 30 times a day. I revel in the fact that he has someone to say it to and someone that will answer back emphatically "Oh, and I love YOU!"
He shares so well and is so affectionate and gentle with Opie. He warms my heart! Our adjustment and bonding has had its ups and downs but I think we are making progress. Wonderful, hard earned progress.
 Eli and Evan were clearly meant to be brothers. Their bond is incredible.


Opie is a miracle that just keeps amazing me. He is growing and crawling, babbling nonstop. He is such a happy boy. He is starting to fit into the clothing that I had purchased for Pasha. Each outfit brings a pang of sadness for the boy I thought was to be mine. I am sure there is healing in that pain but I worry about him still. Is he happy? Did he find a loving home? Sweet Pasha, changed my life and my family and I am grateful for that, but still a little sad as well. 

Boys love and need their Mamas. All boys are Mamas boys. They thrive with the love and care that a Mama gives. It is not anything grandiose. They blossom under the loving gaze of a parent, the open and attentive ear encourages them to think and speak. The simple, constant presence of someone that loves them is immeasurable in the life of a child. They will want to emulate their Papa eventually...but their Mama....in those early years is so important!

I never thought I would be a Mother, but I am blown away by the transformation that my children have brought about in me. Their accomplishments are victories. Their pain is my pain. I honestly want so much for them to learn and grow in faith, confidence, maturity. The goal sometimes seems all consuming. They are my boys and I want so much for them. I see so much promise!

This is not a parenting blog. Sheesh. Everyday I feel like I make major mistakes. I am still learning but I apply myself daily and resolve myself to keep trying, even when I feel like a failure and want to give up. Giving up is not an option. My boys need their Mama, as imperfect as she is.

Which brings me to Brett. Brett breaks my heart. We pray for him every night and I beg God that a Mama sees the promise in him and rushes to his side. This boy; a world away is still waiting for his Mama. For Six long years he has waited. The wait does not appear to have dimmed his light. He is friendly and approachable. His formative years without a family have impacted his coping mechanisms. He needs a Mama to soothe his aching heart and allow his joy to grow. 
Brett is a stunning little boy with CP. An adoptive parent has seen him recently and reports His mind is keen and his spirit is evident in the pictures.
 "We saw Brett again today. He seems like such a neat kid. His groupa was out for a walk, they are all mobile but her was in a big stroller. He smiled and waved, the most outgoing of the bunch and probably the oldest."
This amazing little warrior is in a race against time. Most children his age are no longer in orphanages. They are transferred to adult mental institutions around age 6. If he is not mobile before that, he may be destined for a life in bed. Every moment of every day in a beg. Look at this boy. He is meant for SO MUCH MORE!

I pray daily that God sustains  him and that his Forever Mama rushes to his side. To demonstrate his importance. Boys NEED their Mamas! THIS boy needs a Mama!

Brett

Guardian AngelBrett 2013 (1)Boy, born September 2007
Brett is a handsome young man who was born with CP.  He is very smart, he gets around on his own by crawling, but he is not able to walk.  Therapy will do wonders for him!   He deserves to have a family!
From a volunteer who knows him:   He plays with other children. He speaks with separate words. He understands the addressed speech. The boy is curious, likes classes. He loves when his nurse reads for him, he likes making pyramids.
Brett 2013
Update December 2012:Brett is very smart and curious. He has some learning and language delays associated with institutional life, but he does speak in complete phrases around people he trusts. He enjoys cars, coloring, and games. He got very excited when we showed him pictures of dogs and other animals, so he might do well with pets.
A family considering adopting him should be prepared to deal with some institutional behaviors and traumas. This is the area where Brett might need the most assistance in understanding rules, family, and nurturing relationships.His physical disability limits his lower body, specifically his legs and feet, but he is very strong in the upper body and crawls very quickly.  He is a very active kid who needs some physical therapy, appropriate equipment, and perhaps braces to get where he needs to for walking. He is able to pull himself to standing. The orphanage has worked with him on potty training and he seems to be doing well with it.

More photos available, married couples only.

$7612.80 is available towards the cost of my adoption!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Break?

Opie and Evan treated me to a night of zero sleep. YAY!

Undaunted, Evan woke up before 6.
It CANT be morning. NO! The light! It burns!

Have I ever mentioned that mornings are my kryptonite on the best of days? Today was ugly.

This morning I turned on the TV so I could shower. But really, I closed the door and went comatose. I hid in the bathroom so long with my Kindle that Opie woke up. Which meant that I went to Target sans shower. I matched my kids. They refused to get dressed so I took them in their jammies. A sight to behold. Really, I should be pleased that they were wearing more than their undies. (Let me clarify. I did not match my kids entirely. I WAS wearing clothing. Not my robe like I wanted.)

When they weren't begging me to buy them ridiculous things, (Eli cried because I would not buy him a NB sized Batman onesie)  Eli and Evan screamed throughout the store. After they punched each other countless times. Every time I stopped the cart, Evan would sprint from the cart to the nearest item, pick it up and shake it. It didn't matter what it was, it was all treated the same.

So I concluded my shopping on the fly; clumsily grabbing what I needed without ever stopping my cart of screaming nut jobs.

I am lobbying for a Spring Break of my own.

Until that happens, my kids will watch Frozen. Every. Day.
Clearly traumatized.


Going to bed proud that we all survived another day.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

the End of an Era

Today marks the end of an era. Today, it was time to say goodbye. The parting was so difficult that I made my husband do the dirty work. Sometimes bonds are so strong and true that severing them seems unfeasible. A neutral party is recommended.

Every once in a while, you meet someone out of the blue and a friendship is immediate.  That relationship fills a need that you didn't even know you had. You know you will feel safe and supported; understood and treasured, in a matter of minutes. Those instances are precious and rare and should be celebrated.

That is what happened the day I tried on and bought this particular pair of maternity jeans.

Oh I was a bundle of nerves being pregnant again. This pair of jeans cradled me and supported me all the way to Ukraine and back. As my belly and acceptance grew, these jeans never failed to embrace all of me. Giving me just the support that I needed.


I am sure you sometimes felt like it was all too much. I was so needy and the burden of that need must have worn you out. Despite that, you always rose to the occasion. You held yourself together and me in the process, and you looked good doing so.

Over use and repeated washes sometimes strained our relationship but a lunge or two got us right back on track. Perfectly comfortable, without fail.

So what if every time I bent over you revealed a secret or two. No friendship is perfect. I loved you anyways.

I loved you so much that nearly a year after giving birth I am saying a most melancholy goodbye.

Thank you dear friend for joining me on this journey. For never failing to fit me like a glove (kind of.) For the lack of judgement every time I called you into duty after I had Opie. For sharing my secrets at the most inopportune times. You never balked at the opportunity to give me what I needed.

For that I thank you and I mourn the loss of you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Three

((I wrote this last week. I just came home from vacation where I had my husband and my mother in law with me for 4 awesome days. And now I am home and the lack of adult company is shocking my system. So I decided to go ahead and post this.))


They lied. 3 is the loneliest number; not 1. Everyday I am surrounded by 3 people that never stop making noise but I have not spoken to another adult in 4 days now. How can that happen? I am not terribly introverted and yet, it happens so easily.

When it was just Eli at home with me, I got out and about often. Time with girlfriends was easy to squeeze in. Eli just came with me. Easy! With 3 at home, I have neither the time or energy to try to get out. Bringing three kids along to visit with friends is no break at all.  I have nothing in place to force myself out. I find myself chatting with Eli's preschool teacher as if she is my long lost friend. I adore her but she is not there for my desperate verbal dump every Tuesday and Thursday.

Since our family exploded from 1 child to 3 in a matter of months, my husband seems to travel more. Take more phone calls after 5 and now is taking vacations without us. This may be my skewed perspective but either way; I can't really blame him. Life in our house is crazy. It is chaos. Noise personified. I know I shouldn't have taken this video today, but sometimes the noise level is just madness. Sometimes you have to see for yourself....so you are welcome to a peek into my insanity.



I am learning that most parents, myself included are simply trying to survive and provide the best upbringing they can for their children. It is not always pretty. It rarely looks the way you thought it would before you had kids. I may not understand how another parent chooses to survive; let alone my husband.  That is not really my place to judge, so here is my public apology to my husband. Survive. Try to enjoy the journey while you are on it. Your family loves and needs you to be here, to enjoy us and to be present. I understand that this is not always easy or fun. There are no do-overs. So, survive how you will, but please remember your wife is over here trying to survive as well.


I feel like I have been spending far too much energy trying to convince him how awesome this chaos is. How lovely his children are. This is my fail. They ARE awesome and no PR campaign is needed. Perhaps I am trying to convince myself as well? The level of chaos and work that these 3 require is shocking at times. It is a waste of energy to try to convince someone else of its awesomeness. You cannot force someone to be where they do not want to be...well you can if they are under 5 years of age, but even that take so much effort.

I found myself pulling out all the stops short of screaming "We are so awesome! Don't you just love us?" I have even stooped to wearing my sexy jammies all day long. See honey. .. aren't you a lucky, lucky man?

Grrrr. This IS sexy. And yes, the room is a MESS. 

Silliness.

My husband clearly loves his children. His family. He does, I know this. How he shows it and how he manages stress is his prerogative and if I spend my time trying to convince some else how lovely this madness is, I lose a little bit of the magic myself. It feels forced. It is terrible and awesome at the same time. It is not for everyone. Sometimes it is not for me, but there you have it. It is my own personal dream and nightmare simultaneously.

So it is lonely. I am surrounded by people that never. stop. talking. Never stop wanting hugs, kisses, feeds, snuggles. Butts need wiped. Owies kissed. My day is filled with interaction and affection. SO MANY NEEDS. ALL. THE. TIME. At the end of the day, I collapse. The last thing on my mind is trying to carry on a conversation. I have nothing left. So I go to bed and start the madness over again the next day. More noise, more demands, more loves. More. More. More.  And THIS is the loneliest that I have ever been. Sometimes it is downright numbing.

So to all you lonely Mamas out there, you are not as alone as you feel. Other Mothas are out there feeling the same as you. Motherhood can be isolating and lonely. Overwhelming an ugly. We all know it is worth it and has moments of utter joy followed by moments of despair. That is parenthood. If you can find the time and energy to reach out, to schedule time for you, do it. If not, hang in there, it will get easier. And know that I am there with you in spirit. . . .drowning in the noisiest, loneliest period of my life.

One day, as unfathomable as it seems, we will all look back on this time with an aching wistfulness. Wishing that our children overwhelmed us with need and love again.

So, interact when you can.

Pat yourself on the back more than you think you deserve.

Talk to your husband about how you feel.

Phone a friend that will not expect you to contribute to a phone conversation.

Dig in your heels.

Survive.

Empty yourself out for your children.

Let God carry you a bit and know....grace comes when you least expect it.