Jan 19, 2011

And the winner is.......

I'm not sure who's handing out the "Mommy of the Year" awards this year. But I'm pretty sure I'm not winning it. Here's why.

My seven year old is obsessed with death, Dna, and being adopted by Bigfoot.
She has already made me write down specific instructions for her funeral, just in case I am dead and can't be there to organize it. It goes something like this.

1. Beautiful pink dress.
2. Light colored casket with purple silk lining.
3. At least 200 people in attendence.
4. They all have to be singing and crying.

She also talks about Dna all the time. What is hers like. Should we have it tested, just in case. What if it isn't human. What if she is related to Bigfoot, and I am keeping that knowledge from the world, and her from her true parents, by refusing to have her Dna tested.

And her newest thing. Asking random people "If I was an orphan, and lived in an orphanage, would you adopt me?"
She asks people this right in front of me! It's even worse, because they usually can't understand her, and then I have to interpret the question.

Me : She wants to know if you would adopt her if she was an orphan.

Random stranger : Oh! Of course I would, honey! Isn't this your mommy, though?

Me : No, I'm her foster mom.

Uncomfortable silence.


Then there is my 13 year old son, who is the most angst-ridden teenager on the planet right now. He is questioning everything, and writing all sorts of dark thoughts down. And posting them on Facebook, where my entire family can read them.

His facebook life is some horrible purgatory in which his entire exsistence revolves around being tortured on a daily basis by popular kids, republicans and government spies.

His actual life is pretty laid back. He is homeschooled, only hangs out with people he chooses to hang out with, gets whatever he wants from his Dad, who has that kind of money to spend. And still calls me "Mommy."

By the way, I love my kids. They are just really really strange.

Don't judge.

Jan 16, 2011

To Amanda, with love

A couple of weeks ago, I found a homeschool coop in my area, or close enough, anyway. I called the lady who coordinates it, and she gave me the lowdown. Only about 12 families, cool classes. Meets every Friday for 4 hours. It sounded perfect for us!
So I gave her the lowdown. Three kids, one with Aspergers and alot of anxiety, one with a sleep disorder, who may or may not be asleep while we are there, and the tween daughter who gets along with everyone and also sleeps at night.
Last Friday was our first meeting. Nelda (sleep disorder) had been awake since sometime Thursday morning, but was still awake, so I was hoping she wouldn't fall asleep in the car. Jack (AS) got up and was ready to go 15 minutes before we had to leave (miracle!). And Abby, of course, was very excited.
I was excited because I was going to get to spend time with other adults who wouldn't question ANY of this!
We got there early (another miracle). Joy, the very nice lady I had met on the phone gets there a few minutes after us. We helped her unpack her car and carry stuff in.
The first thing she says when we get inside is "You can put your lunches over there!"
Um, lunches??
Yeah, we didn't have lunches. Okay. I happen to have some tortilla strips and cans of Sprite in the car, so minor embarrassment, but not horrible.
Then the other families start coming in. They all have tons of kids. There were 40 kids and only 3 or 4 sets of parents. It was like the Duggars meets Jon and Kate plus 8.
Nelda and Abby are blending right in, making friends and exchanging phone numbers before the thing even started.
Then I look around for Jack. He is standing in a corner of the hallway, pressed as far into the wall as he can go, and he had that blank look in his eyes that he gets when he is trying to magically transport to a different universe.
I try not to panic. I go over to him. "Jack, are you okay?" No response. "Jack?" Finally, his eyes focus slightly, and he says in monotone, "I would be more okay if I was at home now."
I try to explain that we can't leave, because Abby and Nelda would be devastated if we did, but I also realize I kinda need to get him out of the throngs of people right freakin NOW.
So I grab Joy and quickly explain. She is wonderful, of course, and tells me everything is fine, and go take care of your son.
I take him back upstairs where there are no people. He is now on his cell with his friend Daniel, who doesn't have a car or a drivers license, and is begging him to come pick him up. I finally get him calmed down, but he doesn't want me to leave. So now I am upstairs with Jack. Not downstairs meeting other adults or participating in all the festivities.
Thank God for my daughter Amanda. I felt the tears welling up, but I knew I couldn't start crying in front of Jack. He was still on the phone with his friend, desrcribing the horrors of the whole situation and trying to come up with an escape plan.
I called Amanda and explained the situation. I love that girl. She realizes I am about to lose it, and talks me down from it. She points out that it's okay if Jack isn't comfortable. If Abby, Nelda and I love it, we can keep going anyway. Jack doesn't need to love it.
So long story....er....less long, Jack agrees to hang out (mostly in the car) while the girls and I enjoy the rest of the session.
The girls loved it and can't wait to go back. I loved it. Especially the part where everyone just took what happened with Jack as no big deal and didn't have to give me advice on what I needed to do with him, or how I need to make him do things he doesn't want to do, because he needs to learn that.
Thank you, Amanda, because you know I would have left if not for you.
Have I told you lately that I love you?

Jan 15, 2011

Sometimes it's just the little things....

I've had kind of a bad week. You know, soul-searching. Whining. Feeling sorry for myself. Whatever you want to call it.
So tonight, my husband and I were standing outside of our house, and we hear some chaos going on right down the street. It looked like two people were dragging something out of a car. And then they peel off. Now, to me, it looked like it might have been a person....it was dark, and we couldn't actually see. So I go running over there. And sure enough, it was a man, face down on the ground.
I rubbed his back, and he moved a little.
"Are you okay?" I ask, relieved he wasn't dead. He starts crying. He is obviously very drunk. And young. Probably not more that 25 years old.
I didn't really know what to do. I yell for Steve, who isn't coming over to help. So I try asking him if he lives around here. He is making no sense, but I finally gather that he's not from around here. And then starts staggering down the road, crying. He's not even wearing a coat.
I run back to my house, and tell Steve what's going on. He says I should call the police and let them deal with it.
Now, maybe I should have. I really didn't want to, because the guy has already been having a really bad night. I finally convince Steve, who now thinks I am a complete whack job, that we should offer him a ride home.
We get in the car and catch up to him. He is just a little farther up the road, walking around in circles and crying. I talk him into letting us take him home.
He ends up living about 40 minutes away, and it took awhile to get him to tell us where exactly he lived, but we eventually got him home, and I felt better.
Right now I am feeling three things.
The first is relief. I would have been worried about that kid for the rest of my life had we not helped him get home. The second is sadness. Because people don't just help other people anymore...you could actually tell this guy was kind of suspicious of us, and didn't even know if he should trust us to take him home.
And the third is the realization that maybe I don't need to do anything big and shiny to make a difference in this world.
I've been struggling with that a little. Being too hard on myself. Feeling kind of useless.
But because I'm me (even though my husband thinks I'm crazy) somebody's son, brother, nephew or whoever this young man is to the people who love him, got home safely tonight. And if that is the only important thing I ever do with my life, I'm okay with that.

Jan 2, 2011

To my children, with all my heart.

I know I'm not the first person to write about being a mother, and I won't be the last. Motherhood is strange and wonderful...It's like being a member of the biggest club on earth, but it is also the most personal and singular thing you will ever do.

You start off with this tiny little baby, whom you will love with a fierceness that you never knew you possessed, and you will watch that baby grow into adulthood. And that impossible love you first felt for your child will grow by leaps and bounds every day for the rest of your life.

You will go through many seasons with your child. Seasons of closeness, love, joy, wonder, excitement, pride and understanding. Seasons of anger, disappointment, confusion, frustration and hopelessness. But the one thing that will never change is that deep love that you have for your child.

I am the best mother I know how to be. I'm not always right. I don't always do the right thing, and I am definitely far from perfect. Sometimes I don't have the answers, and that is hard. I can't always protect them, and that is the hardest part of being a mother.

I love my kids with all my heart. I want them to know I am always here if they need me, and that I will try to have the strength to cheer them on from the sidelines when they need me to let them go on their own.

According to Sufi mysticism, the soul of the child looks down at the world and sees every soul that resides in every woman. When the child finds the one that will be able to help them fulfill their life's purpose, they make their choice. I believe this with all of my heart, because two of my children told me when they were small that they actually remembered doing this.

Thank you for choosing me. I hope I will make you proud.