One week ago we celebrated Mother’s Day.
Why do I not feel joy in this day? My kids cooked me breakfast. Fighting the entire time. They even provided lunch, but that became another drama.
The happiest part of my day was receiving a text from a former foster child. He became a teenager while with us. Complete with attitude. I actually still have words carved into my dining room table from this boy – and they weren’t complimentary! He sees us sometimes when we visit his siblings who were much closer to us. Often he is “busy” though and we leave without even a hello from him. We feel fondly towards each other now, but pretty much I’ll never hear him express those emotions. Until this Mother’s Day. He wished me a happy Mother’s Day! Just that. Nothing more. I pretty much cried. Sweetest sentiment ever.
And I’m moved so much more deeply by this my child who isn’t actually mine and who never even pretended to claim me. And when my children who are my children actually do something tangible and wish me happy Mother’s Day in words I can hear… I am barely phased.
Why is this? The grass is greener syndrome? Rose colored glasses for my memories?
What is wrong with me?????
Boy met girl. Marriage. Both a bit stubborn but mostly a happily ever after. But no littles. Fast forward 10 years. Foster care. Love. Heartbreak. Goodbye to some precious souls who were, fortunately, able to return to their family of origin. Finally we said enough. Goodbyes are worth it when they get to go back to a safe home, but eventually they wear on you. We went for adoption.
But why go small when you can go big? So we did a sibling group of five. Beautiful and sweet, but with their own scars as well. Ranging in age from 3-10, we had our family. And that was over six years ago!
Since then we have moved at least twice, they’ve switched schools multiple times, we’ve gotten a pet, and said goodbye to that pet. We’ve traveled a lot. We’ve played and argued and lived and fought and loved. We do life together.
To see us in church, most people can’t believe how well behaved our kids are, and what a cute/beautiful family we have. A few have allowed the word to get out that we are stifling those poor kids and they have no room to breathe. No room for you to hang with them one on one and for them to get in trouble- true! But they can breathe. Many of the people we associate with do not know that our family was formed by adoption. And that is just as well. It would change things. But more on that later.
In many ways we look so great. Just like I’m sure you do on social media. But I’m so many ways we are so normal (imagine that!). My kids who sit so perfectly in church argue and fight at home. A lot. There’s five so I’m sure that’s a factor.
There’s also some tension. Mostly between me and them. So that’s another issue. And kind of why I’m blogging. I hate this feeling. And is it me? Them? Us? Trying to figure it all out has not been easy and I’ve not been successful.
So that’s us. Looking great on the outside and me feeling trapped and struggling every single day.
Maybe I can get to the bottom of this if I write about it.
I need a place to just be honest. That deep down honest that we hardly dare admit to ourselves. The honest that, if you voice your feelings, sounds like failure or quitting. The kind of honest that you don’t dare tell most (or any) of your real life people, because they’d view you differently. Or, in my case, view my kids differently. Ok…and me too.
I love my kids. But I don’t always like them. And I know I’m not alone. If you struggle more than you’d like, join me on this journey.
Oh, and did I mention adoption is a dynamic that really adds some more areas to struggle over? Yup! Fun times around here. In fact, I feel like I want to really attribute most of the struggle to adoption. I’ve always been one of those moms who would never let adoption be an excuse for anything. Never wave away misbehaviors by attributing it to adoption or genetic issues. But…after having lived it for over six years, it has become clear that there are other issues at play that simply love and exposure to the good stuff just won’t dispel.
And so, in an effort to maintain sanity in a world of chaos and struggle, I’ve resorted to blogging therapy. Here’s hoping it works.