I have so much flowing through my mind but what to share, I do not know. As time goes on and the kids get older and more and more people seem to come here to read just waiting for the chance to pounce on what I write, I am in a dilemma of what to share. I want to be honest. I want to share the trials as much as the smiles but at what cost? I'd like to think that my sharing helps someone. I'd like to think that I am discreet enough in what I share as to not embarrass anyone in our family. Here goes. Hope it comes out right.
I slept fairly well last night so I don't know why I did not want to get out of bed this morning. 6am. came way too soon. It was still dark as I rolled the little boys out of bed and helped them to get dressed in the dimly lit hallway so that Nolan could sleep in. Had I not had trouble getting up myself I probably would have been less tolerant of Dennis and Alex's morning crankiness. As usual I checked the temperature outside and was thankful to keep the door open and let the cold air in. A little later in the morning John called to see how we were all doing... something I appreciate so much.
William is doing better with school right now. He is showing his work in math and what do you know-- his grades have gone up. He struggles with creative writing but for the life of me I can't figure out why. He can come up with the most outrageous ideas, poems, songs, you name it. Right now he likes to memorize his bible verses forward and backward. He even says them with a little tune. If I wasn't one to make up silly songs and dances myself I am sure he would have driven me batty by now. :)
Paul is making great strides this year. I hope it all sticks. Nouns, pronouns, verbs, contractions, subjects, predicates, cause and effects-- I wonder if he really needs to learn this stuff right now or if we should be focusing more on reading, writing, and math. Just in case, I am having him read all the directions to me, all the little stories in the workbooks, and all the word problems in math. Just today I picked up Wrap-ups for division and multiplication so he doesn't have to keep doing the same math fact sheets over and over.
At dinner he came up and gave me the biggest hug for no real reason. If he is going to do this, it is usually when I am in the kitchen cooking for our family. I can't help but think it is a big deal to him to have a Mom who day after day cooks for her family. It is a sweet show of love towards me and I eat it up. I think he knows this too because I always flirt with him to rub noses or wink at me. I just want him to know how much he is loved and how proud I am of him.
As some of you may know, two of our daughters adopted through dissolutions have biological siblings still living with their previous family. It has not been easy staying in touch with them but John and I have always encouraged it since we feel it is part of their healing. Recently, one of our daughters found her brother on Instagram and asked to follow him. She was sure he would ignore her request and was pleasantly surprised when he approved her. Baby steps, but nonetheless, baby steps. It has been over five years and just now they have connected in this small way. Of course I am thrilled for my daughter, but I ask her to be cautious and to take things slow. I know she wants to make up for lost time, and I really do trust that one day they will, but I remind her that maybe he is not in the same place that she is in. I remind her that he did friend her and that is huge progress for him. She smiles and I let her be on cloud 9. Baby steps.
I got an email asking how I am able to clean slate my children everyday. To the person who wrote me, I hope you don't mind me answering here. I think the concept stems from my own insecurity that I might mess up big enough one time that I won't be deserving of love and forgiveness. A lot has happened in my past that I had to learn to forgive myself and I could only do that through Christ's love for me. I can't stand the idea of going to bed on angry terms with John or one of the kids. Even if a situation is not fully resolved we do hug and say goodnight till the next day. Nothing bothers me more than to pass along the cold shoulder. I think it sends the wrong message-- I can't stand to look at you. I think you are nothing but a screw up.
I praise God that John feels the same way and is there to prompt me when I am sinful and need his gentle prodding to do what I know is right and go in and tell them goodnight and hug them.
Kids are going to make poor choices in their lives. They are going to sin. They are going to do things to push our buttons. They will be sneaky at some point. They will be mean. I am no different even as an adult. I remind myself of that all the time.
Just recently I found out one of my boys was hiding towels in the laundry room cupboards so he didn't have to fold them.
A few days before that one of my boys opened up their favorite sweet cereal and hid it so no one else could enjoy it. By the time I found out, it was gone.
Last week I found out one of my daughters was cheating on her schoolwork by writing down the answers from the solutions manual and then marking some wrong to make it look like she had done them herself.
No matter how much I have addressed the wrapper issue, I found four gum wrappers on the floor in the kitchen and living room. Again. Seriously-- our house is not a trash can. You'd think that the older kids would know this by now.
All of these things were poor choices and as a parent I had to address them.
Fold the towels and promise not to do it again. Thankfully nothing else since he was honest about it when I asked him.
No more sweet cereal for a while. Period.
No more privilege of checking your own work. Struggle in math till you actually go back and learn what you should have learned in the first place. Get tutoring from Dad. Stay close to me so I can keep an eye on you. Early bedtime till I can see that you are acting your age.
All gum confiscated till further notice.
And in the midst of addressing them I found out about three or four more even poorer choices. And consequences followed and I am pretty certain that my kids are not happy about those consequences, but there is no love lost. It is not always easy especially when one of the kids are on a roll, but that is when I am reminded of Christ. How patient is He with me? How bathed in grace am I?
I can liken it to a bridge. The kids can do something and do something else and so on and eventually burn that bridge. I can choose to keep that distance between us or I can choose to rebuild the bridge they burnt one slat at a time by clean slating them with each offense and each new day. If we are ever going to have a real chance at a loving mother/child relationship then at least one of us has to work at rebuilding the bridge and since I am the adult I think it should be me. It's called grace. It's lavished on each and every one of us every single second of our lives. And yet there are days when I sin and enjoy that distance because of my own anger and frustration, but how wrong am I then? It is not always easy. But when I do clean slate them, it builds more than a bridge. It builds trust, it builds intimacy, it builds our relationship.
Doing this at times seems to yield little fruit, but I trust God that things are going on in the hearts and minds of my children that I cannot see. Now after many many years, I can see a difference. It is a blessing to see the changes. It is a bigger blessing when our children notice the difference in themselves.