Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Girls Night Live!

I love surprises.  Especially the ones you don't see coming.

Before Valentine's Day, I was talking to Teri what she might be getting. She is my practical friend.  So, since we're all going on vacation together for Spring break there wasn't supposed to be presents in the Nance house.   

We all went to dinner  Valentine's night and I asked her if he had listened to her.  He had.  

Fast forward a few days later, and I got a rather late night phone call.  Well, it really wasn't that late, but we had already gone to bed around 9pm, which is rare, so it seemed late.  And that really adds no value to this tale.

Teri called to tell me that JJ had in fact ignored her direction and got her a Valentine's present.  Of course, I asked "what did he get you?" 

"a date with you" she said.

Yes, sirree.  JJ bought Teri not one, but two tickets to the Girls Night Live concert.  Sorry Teri, but I'm so glad he didn't listen to you.  

This past Sunday was concert night. (yes, I know this post is a little late)

My sweet husband watched the boys and sent me off on a date with Teri.  Thanks honey!

Teri & Me, 2/26/12

There were men. 
About 5.  These brave men were either tricked or just broke bad and showed up.  I am glad JJ didn't know he could get away with that.  If he had any idea I'm pretty sure he'd gone on the date with his wife and I'd been left at home to finish painting the kids room and putting our house back in order. 

There was an inside joke.  
Because I am a rule follower, I did as Sammy asked, and said to the only male working Mandisa's merchandise table "You're the man"  and based on his expression, which screamed that he was speechless and clueless, I'm thinking I might have been the first.  I wonder, did they ever let him in on the joke? 

There was worship. 
I've posted Laura Story's Blessings on my blog before.  Her song just speaks to me.  To hear her tell the story behind the song was awesome.  She is cute and transparent and as down to earth as anyone I've ever seen in concert.  And, she reminded us that probably most of the "girls" there would agree our lives aren't exactly how we expected.  But knowing God is directing every step of our journey allows us to find the blessings in the rain, tears and circumstances we might miss without knowing Him. 

There was dancing.
Mandisa can move.  She brought so much energy to worship.  So could Kelli, one of the winners who got to dance on stage with Mandisa.  I can not lie.  I can not dance, not even to Zumba.  I confessed to Teri on the way home that I might need to invest in some lessons for the sake of my sons. 

There was bad pictures.
No, I didn't take my new camera.  No, I can't explain why. I tried to take pictures on my cell phone- not pretty. 

There was chocolate & Diet Coke.  

JJ treated us to a night of worshipping our Jesus together.  Jesus melted our faces Sunday night.  

Thanks to my "concert special" sold to me from "the man" I've been jamming with Mandisa and praising along with Laura for days now- and my face continues to melt :)  

I was excited to get a late Valentine's present from my best friends hubby.   Have I said Thanks Jay? 
Thanks, Jay!  


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Fake Mommy"

I might have opened the dam.  As I was looking him in the eye, talking about why he was in the calm down corner, reminding him it was okay to be angry but.  Yes, before I finished my sentence, I might have opened the dam. 

The dam to his emotions.  To his anger.  To the words that I hadn't heard him hurl before.  The words that cut through me like a knife straight to the core of my heart. 

"I don't care about you.  You're not my real mommy." 
that tiny finger in my face...
"I only care about Mommy T.  You're my fake mommy."

I usually keep my perspective.   I usually remind myself where the words come from. I usually remember this is part of his healing.

This time, I was not prepared. This time it was personal.
This time, I burst into tears like spontaneous combustion.  This time, I could not control it.  This time, I couldn't protect him from my own feelings.

I tried to finish our talk.  I had lost him completely.  He continued to spew words without regard to what or to who he was hurling them.

"I hate you.  I only care about Mommy T.  You're not my real mommy.  You're my fake mommy.  You're my junk mommy"

Junk Mommy? 
I couldn't breath.  I took a timeout.  Walked away.  Tried to stop the tears.  I could not.

Not when I finally got the boys into the car.
Not when I signed my tardy little kindergartner in at school, and had to look up to see the multiple staff members this worried son was announcing the details of our painful morning to.  They wanted to discuss our upcoming meeting.  Not now, I said and I left the building- a hot weeping mess.  

I almost gained perspective when I got back into the car, and for a brief minute he offered a trade--
 "I'm sorry mommy, you can be the real mommy, Mommy T. can be the junk mommy"

But the dam had opened.  The words rushed forth with force that he couldn't seem to be able to control.  It was as if he was being forced to pick only one of us to love and I was not his choice.  I was his target.  

Not when I drove my angry son to Aunt Nae's.  Not as he continued to spew what felt like pure hatred.

I knew the importance of showing him I loved him even in his eruption so I kissed him goodbye and told him I loved him. 

He replied "junk mommy"  

Not when I called my husband for comfort and understanding that only he could give.
Not when I got to my desk at work and hid behind my cheap door.

The eruption wasn't only hard for me.  It was exhausting for him.  Literally draining his energy and ability to function.  And I knew again that Aunt Nae was God's answer for my son.  Teacher Nae, who declared it a "no pencil day" so she could simply love him through his eruption, love him through a very long nap, complaints of tummy and head aches and give him hugs as needed. 

Not when I forced myself to bible study, and even when I couldn't verbalize the pain of the day to her, the prayers of my friend going to my God Daddy fell over me and covered me like a healing balm.  

Not when I got into my car to drive home and heard his shaky little voice on the message, declaring both his sorrow for his actions and his love for me.
Not when I got home and found the note.

Not when I put my head on my pillow many hours later and finally slept.

I don't think it was just his words.  I think they were the last bit of pressure that caused my own dam of protection to give way.  The dam, holding back almost 6 years of my own feelings to protect his, just couldn't take any more.

The morning came and I was greeted with a cheerful "Good morning, mommy.  I love you. Did you get my note?"

Where is the line between hurting and healing? In expressing confused feelings from deep within for the one who is gone, and what felt like disrespect to the one who is right in front of him?  I am sure he crossed it. 

Let's be real people, I was mad at him.  And, for a short time I almost believed him.  Am I the fake mommy?  What is a real mommy anyway?  Do you have to give birth to be a real mommy.  And I have an idea of what a junk mommy is, and it ain't me. (oh, did that sound bitter?) Is a real mommy all about genetics? 


I am not the fake mommy.  I could list a hundred reasons why.  Like,  I am the one who feeds him.  who rocks him. who kisses his boo-boos.  who wipes his dirty bottom.  who changes the sheets when he is sick in the early morning hours.  who has taken phone calls from the school on an almost daily basis for about 1.5 years.  who burped him.  who answers the same question a hundred times.  who plays with him.  who buys him more than he deserves.  who picks out his favorite juice.  who tells him no.  who washes his clothes.  who wakes him with the good morning song.  who finds his lost whatever.  again. who gets him Bojangles for breakfast.  who ruined his life by taking him out of daycare.  who reads to him.  who prays over him.  who is captured by his smile.  who would die for him.  who would take on anybody who dares to hurt him.  who loves him in the midst of my anger toward him. 

I am his real mommy. 

And, he knows.

But until he knows that he knows, I, we have to teach him how to feel all that he feels, with respect. 

The next night I could finally talk to him with perspective. We tell him that it's okay to feel angry and sad and confused. It's okay to miss her and want to see her. It's okay that he didn't want to leave her.  It's even okay if he doesn't want to love me. 

It is not okay to disrespect me. 

We give the boys a picture of her.  He needs to know that she doesn't hold power over me.  He needs to know that I'll keep loving him through his confusion and his anger and I will do all I can to help him remember.   The baby needs to know who this Mommy T. is that he keeps hearing his brother cry for. 

We give her a home on our fridge.  We give permission to remember and to love her. 

We pray that in the permission we give him he will give himself permisson to love both his mommies.  And one day understand there is no such thing as a fake mommy. 


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Boys' Just Got to......

What do two cool kids do in an empty room waiting for new carpet? 


DANCE of course!

Happy Tuesday y'all.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Finally, Chocolate Walls!

Bye-Bye Wallpaper.




Now, for the primer

taking apart the commode

cutting in
hmmm, looks a little more mauve...

than mocha.

So, back to the store for more chocolate looking paint---and new hardware.

not happy with the stripped screw 

finally, the chocolate walls I was looking for

Thank you Shayne for doing an awesome job!
You make your momma proud.

Happy Sunday y'all!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

MIA no more!

I hope you noticed I went all MIA last week.  Just humor me while I catch up.  

It's amazing all that can change, happen, be overheard in such a short span of time.  It was just over a week ago I finished a blog, tucked my computer next to the bed and snoozed.  Got up the next morning, and same computer went all blue screen, corrupt drivers- your 2000+ pictures might be gone forever on me.

I planned an overnighter with my honey for Valentines Day- we had a huge adventure planned, to Lynchburg, Va.  (if you don't live 'round here, it's a whopping 40 minute drive) The plan  was to get a good night's sleep, maybe swim, and spend the day at the Love for Life Conference.  When the text came in just before 6:30 a.m. we kind of new it wasn't good.  Kid #2 throwing up.  We stayed to see Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar, and then headed home early.  I keep telling my Kid#2 that I love him and am always going to take care of him, so it seemed fitting to put action to my words.

Did I mention on our way out of town the owner of our home called and asked "would you mind if we put new carpeting throughout the house" uhm, that would be a no.  Plans went into high gear, and whoooosh, they're coming Tuesday to put it in.  

Monday came with a trip to the dentist for me and Shayne.  I got a new crown, Shayne got a tooth pulled.

Insert a master bath remodel that Shayne is taking care of.  Pictures to come.

We had another IEP meeting at the school this week- to discuss some learning struggles my Kid#3 is having.  My stomach tightens everytime I walk into that little conference room.  This time, was different.  It was relaxed, almost fun.  Laughing, chatting, agreeing.  The school is being quiet pro-active on this.  I am thankful, and a little amazed at the difference in the attitude when academics is the struggle vs. emotional and behavioral struggles.  I guess what is seen and measureable is easier to solve. 

Valentines Day- my sweet honey bought me a red purse, and some jewelry.  Good job baby! It just happened to fall on date night, YAY us, so we got to have dinner out on the most romantic day of the year- dinner shared with Teri & Jay, did I say YAY us?  

Today was Upward Basketball for my boys,  they missed last week due to the throwing up and mommy and daddy out of town and all.  Can I just say, Elijah turned all MBA player on us.  My little man scored 5 baskets, was rebounding like a pro, pivoting with his backside out to protect the ball and playing aggressive defense.  I can't explain it, but it sure was fun to watch.  And no, I don't have pictures, since my camera card was full- and with my dead laptop holding all my pictures I had downloaded, there was no way I was deleting my precious pictures still on the camera.   

This morning Elijah was overheard saying to his Daddy, "we're not bad, we're just disobedient."  Yep, it's true.

But, our biggest struggle, our focus this week is on my 94 yr. old grandmother.  I get to claim her not by birth, but by marriage. Not mine, but my momma's. 

I've had the priviledge of loving her for more than two decades and she is a precious lady who accepted us immediately and has never been anything but kind and gracious and loving and warm.  I love how when she sees me, she takes my hands into hers, smiles and in her soft voice speaks love. 

She's been in the hospital since Monday due to a stroke.  Doctors tell us she won't recover.  She is not herself.  We are sad.  Life is moving on and standing still all at the same time.  

When we visited her tonight, it is obvious the stroke is taking a toll on her.  But, in the midst of it, my mom tells me that every so often she looks up and gets a really big beautiful smile on her face. It's as if she's seeing something or someone that is making her really happy.  
I can't help but wonder if she is seeing a glimpse of her reward. 
A glimpse of her husband. 
A glimpse of heaven.
A glimpse of her Savior. 

I think I'll go with that. 

Happy Saturday nite y'all.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Need to Know; Permission to Forget.

Isaiah had to be at the church earlier than his brother for basketball so we were enjoying some 1:1 time.  I don't know what it is about getting my boys in the car with me alone that triggers questions about where they came from.  I should be used to it by now, but Mommy T. conversations still catch me off guard.

He was talking so softly I almost didn't hear him ask the question.

"Mommy, did Mommy T. cry when I came out of her tummy?"
knowing this could go many directions, I decided to ask a question of my own.
Do you mean cry because it hurts to have a baby or cry because she was happy?

"cry because hers was happy"

I assured him, that even tho I was not there, I was pretty sure she did in fact cry because she was happy. I told him I was sure, because I was a mommy who had in fact had a baby come out of my tummy too, and that makes mommies really happy, and happy mommies usually cry.

"and did her hold me when I was sleeping..... cause her loved me"

yes, baby- she held you while you were sleeping.  yes, she loved you.

He tells me all the time- remember when I was in your tummy?  I remind him he wasn't in my tummy.  He quickly moves to... remember when you held me and I slept.  remember when I sucked your chin.  remember.....

Elijah has asked about Mommy T (their birth mother) for a long time now, but this is the first direct question Isaiah has asked me. He is five- but still needs to know where he came from. Needs to know he was loved before.

Two days later Elijah was riding in the car with me. 

"Mommy, should I forget about Mommy T. or should I remember her?"

I wish I was better prepared for these questions. 

I answer him, 
I think it's good to remember her.  She's your tummy mommy and you love her, and she ......before I could finish my answer, he asked

"should I only think about her on Sunday?"

I want to tell him to forget. I know remembering brings him pain.  I know forgetting her brings him pain. 

I answer him.
I think it's okay, when she pops in your head to remember, but okay if she doesn't pop in your head.  You don't have to feel bad if you don't remember her every day. 

Isaiah piped up and added "She never pops in my head"- but we know that isn't true, don't we. 

I don't have all the right answers.  I do know my boys need to know that I'm not going anywhere.  So I remind them of that constantly- in words and in pictures.  And we will heal, one question at a time.  
we took this picture recently so Elijah could carry it with him
to look at when he feels sad and lonely

Been there?  Please share how you've answered similar questions.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

God's Purposes!

We are seven days in to our new adventure.  The one where we pulled Elijah out of public school.  We could name oh so many reasons, but the most important one for us was the fact he needed more than they could give.  We jumped because it was the right thing for our son. 

I may have mentioned we were a bit scared to make that jump.  But as we prayed about it, and talked it to death- like we tend to do everything- I realized this wasn't really a quick decision.  I could go back to the first week of Kindergarten- to my front porch with the sun shining and the first call from 561-8165.  The moment when his first public school teacher in total frustration told me she didn't know what to do with him.  This decision process started then, we just didn't know it.  Every phone call, every meeting, every tear, every tantrum, every note, every incident report, report card, and suspension was part of God's plan to get us here. 

God wasn't just working out his plan in our life, he was working a few miles away in my sister's life.  We talked about her prayer for purpose.  We talked about my son.  We shared many a conversation and didn't dream that God's purposes would be the same answer to both of our prayers.

Since I told the school we were pulling Elijah out, we haven't had a single phone call.  I probably shouldn't have said out loud to a friend that it felt a little like withdrawal.  Calls from the school, IEP meetings, notes, problem solving, calls, calls, calls had become part of our daily lives.  It felt strange- but sooooooo wonderful to go all day, for several days without any of those things. 

Yesterday, we had a scheduled parent teacher conference for Isaiah.  We had planned to go together, but since little man had been up since 1am throwing up, Rex stayed with him and I went alone.  It was supposed to be a repeat of the first one several months ago.  The one where the teacher bragged on him, and told us what a delight he is.  Confessed she wanted to "eat him up" and told us he was doing well.  She admitted that he definitely needs the sensory breaks and OT he's getting during the day, but doing good- no real concerns.   

I was expecting good things.  I was caught a little off-guard when his teacher and Special Ed Case Manager immediately started with their concerns.  He is still great and wonderful and obviously loved and adored by his teachers, but my little man is struggling.  Not with behavior- with learning.  He is frustrated and embarrassed and is shutting down in the classroom.  He isn't "getting it" and he knows that everyone else is.  The meetings begin again.  Thursday.  
It is already obvious to us, that strategizing and solving for educational or learning disabilities will be easier than emotional disabilities. Even with the eagerness of the school to jump right on this, I am a little scared.  The what if's have started and I'm concerned for my baby.  But, even in my fear,  I'm thankful that we are going to battle for one son at a time- since God's purposes have my children exactly where they are supposed to be.

Happy Tuesday y'all!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Real


I used to think real was what you can see.  Touch.  But as I've aged matured I know that real is more of what you don't see.

Real marriage is what happens between husband and wife at home.  Arguing, yes.  Say things you wish you could take back, yes.  Loving, yes. Intimacy, yes.  Die for him, yes.  Even if mad at him, yes!

We let people see what we want them to see.  Real is what is, seen or unseen.

Real is what a child whispers in the back seat when he thinks you aren't paying attention.  Real parenting is what happens between parent and child in the trenches.  Raising voices, yes.  Loosing patience, yes.  Time out for mommies, yes.  Unconditional love, yes. Learning to let go, yes.  Die for him, yes.  Even if mad at him, yes!

We let people see what we want them to see. Real is what is, seen or unseen.

Real is friends who have lasted through high school drama.  Cancer.  Wrong choices.  Childbirth and miscarriage. Moving---again.  Real is being committed to teach other in our imperfections and choosing to love anyway. Real stands the test of time.

Real is the day-to-day, in-andout of life that is uncensored, unprotected and unedited.

Real is hard.  Real is messy.  Real is painful.  Real is  precious.

On Friday I join Lisa-Jo over at thegypsymama for Five Minute Friday. She prompts us with a one word topic, and we stop, drop and write. We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it's just right or not.

Click on the link above to enjoy and be encouraged by other bloggers' own 5 minutes of freedom. Any of us would love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for coming by!

Happy Friday Y'all!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Won't Forget You, I Won't!

It started as a normal bedtime.  He wasn't angry, upset or even running on a high engine. So it caught me off-guard when I leaned down to kiss him and he started talking to her. His birth mommy.  We call her Mommy T.   

"I won't forget you, I won't.  I promise I won't forget you!"

He cried. 
He screamed. 
He moaned. 
He asked  if she could visit.
He begged me to promise him that she is okay.

"Promise me, Promise me!"

And, because I know for fact she is okay, I promised. 

I assured him I would never lie to him. 

He asked me if she had a family? 

I told him the truth.

And I wrote.  I tried to capture the grief of a little boy trying to hold on to what he doesn't fully understand.  Six pages of a little heart making promises, he isn't sure he can keep.

And then, he asked me to write her a note.  So we did.

I wrote his words, telling her she is the best mommy in the world. 

And then I held him.  And promised him it would be okay.
And two hours later, he fell asleep. 

We've been told by some professionals that kids adopted as young as our boys were, don't have memories. 
I beg to differ. 

I'd love to hear how you handle your little ones inquiries and grief relating to their own birth mommies.  Or, your own if you are adopted.  Leave a comment or share a link.

Happy Wednesday y'all!
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