Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Wedding is Coming! The Wedding is Coming.

Rex and I have been oh so busy around here the last few months preparing inside and out for Shayne and Emily's wedding.

Hanging on my fridge, for longer than I wanted, is the list with jobs to be done before the big day.  I don't want to talk about the moving furniture job.
Excuse me, I need a minute.

I do want to talk about how much we love Emily and Kendall already and are looking forward to them moving in and being part of our chaos.

With the grunt work almost done- it's on to the fun stuff.

But we're no dummies.  Knowing Donna is a pro we called in her expertise.

Then we piled up the floor with been.buying.stuff.for.months here's what we've got so far and shared the dreams and Pinterest page of this little girl all growed up and we had big fun tonight prepping a new to-do list.

'cause June 28th is just around the corner

The wedding is coming!

Happy Thursday y'all!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Game Face.

We all have them.
Game Faces.

I'm supposed to be at his 3rd Grade graduation right now.  Being in the school office this morning and seeing the parents bring balloons and smiles to celebrate with their nine year old while I was getting his belongings in a Kroger bag, hearing the muffled sound of the school nurse remind me what a great kid he is--- I lost my game face.

Coaches of my own and of my boys tell their team- get your game face on.  Serious-don't mess with me faces to stand off the opponent.  Don't let them see your emotion or fear face.
Now, get in there and Win!

Elijah has a game face.  So do you.  We're just all in different games.  Whether it's going through divorce, learning how to live as a widower, avoiding conflict thinking it hurts less to walk away, forced to change jobs, addiction, taking on new responsibility, caring for aging parents,  or just being a parent----we all have our game face.

I got my game face back last Tuesday- I pulled it out and replaced my Momma face when I wrestled him on the front porch while he screamed leave me alone.  I screamed back I will never leave you alone.  I scored some points that quarter when he finally stopped resisting and with tears streaming said to me, "I just wanted to cuddle".  We're working on using our words- it would've been so much easier than the strained muscles in my back and wrists.

I've kept my game face while the school calls rolled in and he rolled over everybody in the family.  And tho Rex and I said we'd never let him go back for inpatient psychiatric care- I kept my game face on Monday when failed attempts at in-home crisis intervention led us back to the Emergency Department after several long exhausting quarters of parenting this child.

And much like the prepping for the rival team in high school, we knew the game would be tough when the court was assigned to room 25- where the injuries are invisible and the TVs are locked up and the referee stands guard.

We're all in a game.  And the thing is, there are no substitutes.  Sometimes it's a team of one.  Or two. Sometimes we get an entire family to be on our team but it's just our team in the game. We can't tap out or tag somebody to hand off our kids or our situations to- they aren't trained.

God trains us each for our own games and when we think we'll pass out from exhaustion, He calls a time- out for us to catch our breath.

Even if it's just for an hour while you follow the "this is cool" transportation for your son to a place you really don't want him to go.

I wonder if the nurse and intake staff think we don't care as we sit and sign papers for hours and re-tell again the events that have led us to this part of the game.  We sit at that table with our stomachs tight as drums and the draining emotion reminds me of the rubber legs after running stairs and doing squats during ball practice when we prepared for that big rival game.  Rex helps him pick his menu for the next day and I sign papers with words on them that stop my heart briefly to think about- with our game faces so he doesn't see our fear. He has to know we'll win.

And we leave him there.  And it feels like we lost.

I keep my game face on so I can be a good teammate for my husband who's had enough of this game and is aching deep - he rips his game face off to be the real human man who loves deep and hard for this boy who rivals him.  

Don't judge- even the toughest players have to know when to refuel-  

Hot Donuts NOW!

The next day comes and I refuse to take my game face off because it keeps me strong and focused when I go to the office and then later drive the four hours down and back to pick up the little brother in NC.  He was there with his Aunt Nae because we knew last week this game was going into overtime and he wasn't prepared and doesn't understand how it's played.  He cries and fears his brother is gone again forever and I tell him it will be okay, with my game face because in my heart I'm not sure.

And it was all good until I walked into the school today.  And while the staff is reminding me how sweet my boy is and they are sad he is missing these fun days I can feel my game face fall to the floor, loosened by tears - and I'm ticked because I didn't want to cry - especially standing in the school office. It's not the first time I've stood in a school office and cried.  What's up with that?

While I sit here pounding out feelings with the keyboard his teacher calls me and tells me she recognized my son and his four awards this morning even in his absence because he worked hard and earned them and she misses him and wished he was there.  And I do too.  I want so badly for my son to experience the fun and the good things-  the victory of the win that seem instead to drive him to a place we still don't understand.

Game faces aren't bad.  There is a time and a place for them- like the hockey masks and football helmets that protect from serious injuries- as long as we don't forget to take them off and be people, not just players of the game.

Y'all, I know we're not the only ones in a game- when do you put your game face on? I hope you'll be a people and not just a player and share with me here--- we can't substitute for each other but we can sure cheer each other on to victory!

Happy Wednesday and playing y'all!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Please Don't Ask the Mommas To Stand

The ache in my heart was felt clear down to my toes.  For years, I craved being a mom. It was all I ever wanted.

And finally, Orlando and Ro-Ro, my first foster sons gave me reason to celebrate being a mommy.  I was determined to get to church that morning.  I wore the exhaustion like eye shadow and blush on my face.  The energy and the struggle to get those two out the door wasn't going to stop me.  (looking back, I think God must have chuckled knowing the two that would be mine down the road)

I had to go, because for years I sat while the Mom's around stood on Mother's Day and were honored and my heart ached clear down to my toes and I cried buckets and caught the tears before they ever fell---before I stopped going to church on Mother's Day because it was too painful.

I remember standing that Sunday morning and waiting for the magic to sweep over me.  It didn't.  And the afternoon was as difficult as the morning and I left my reason for celebrating and collapsed in my own mommas arms that first celebratory day asking- "is this what I've waited for"  it wasn't the grandness I had built motherhood to be in my years of waiting.

It would be a few years before I would again stand on Sunday morning, when they left our home I felt like I had been stripped of the honor and no kids under roof meant I wasn't a mom.  Or so I thought.

Then came Shayne.  Blessed beyond measure.
April 26 1995

May 10 2014

And we waited again.  And the ache in my heart clear down to my toes returned.  Motherhood was all I ever wanted. And I loved him with more love than I knew a mother could contain and still longed for more because I knew I couldn't rock him on my hip forever.

And we fostered again.  And in a short time I went from mom of one to mom of four and I loved it.  And somehow I felt "more" of a mom because I was outnumbered.

And then Randy left our home and I felt like I had failed as a mom because I couldn't fix him.  And then there were three.  And I was trying to figure out when I'd be satisfied and feel complete.  The ache in my heart lingered.

And I watched friends around me bear children over and over again.  I watched friends adopt from China and Tennessee.  And I was jealous. And we said yes to multiple phone calls for baby siblings and they never came.  And my heart ached.

And I watched friends and family who's hearts also ached clear down to their toes for the empty arms that long desperate and hard to hold life.  And I felt guilty for wanting more when they had none and sad for them blessed to have mine all mixed up together.

And all the time being Mom was getting harder and harder.  And the little brown faces were getting bigger and bigger and the struggles louder and the words meaner and my sweet Shayne was growing up and moving on and I can't rock him on my hip anymore but I knew still I wasn't done mothering and for a while this year I didn't want it anymore because it.was. hard. and.scary.and.exhausting.and.thankless. and no amount of standing up on a Sunday morning could stop the hurting in my heart when I looked at my children's hurts that I couldn't fix.  And I felt shame for thinking it.  And I didn't want Mother's Day to come because I felt like an impostor.

But it came.

I'd love to tell you it was peaceful and perfect and nobody got mad and nobody cried.  But that ain't my reality.

But it was good.

We went to church- 20 minutes late because my boys wouldn't cooperate and there was no breakfast in bed.  There was no breakfast.   And how happy I was that Happy Mother's Day's were abundant but Pastor Jake never asked all the Mommas to stand.  He didn't even preach a special Momma message but instead preached about Jesus' dying on the cross to bear up all that shame and disgrace and sin of yelling and failing and heart ache that goes clear down to our toes because we are all sinners and he did that dying for me.  And you.  And all the Mommas who try and fail, and are scared because it's way harder than they thought and all the women who carry those empty arms just waiting for life to fill.  And I thought about Mommy T. and how I despise her for what she did to my boys but am grateful to her for giving them life and wondering how her heart is today and not knowing how to make sense of the mixed up feeling I have about this woman who failed and does she know Jesus died for that and for her too?

So my family celebrated the day with giving me presents of heart and time and Chocolate Strawberries and a new bike with a cupholder and a watch and homemade bracelets that broke too soon.  And we piled up at Kabuki and the boys caught shrimp in their mouths and were silenced by the Chef and it was good.

And I got to hug my own Momma and sweet Mom-in-law and can't help but wonder if I'll get to hug her next year.  I got to chat with Mom B. and tell her I love her and miss her.  And come home to the Bestie and her girl who's been mine since she was tiny 'cause she let me share her and my new daughter to be who I already love.

Teri, Kristen, Me, Kendall & Emily
May 11 2014

me with my boys May 11 2014

And my boys stopped bickering ever so often and kissed me lots and told me they loved me before throwing a fit at bedtime.

And my man just keeps loving me through all the ups and downs when I'm succeeding at this thing called motherhood and when I'm not.

And I know I'll never be done and for all of this I am thankful and blessed.

Happy Monday after Mother's Day, y'all!

If you are one of those gals with the aching heart down to your toes, I wish I could make it better for you. In meaning well we can quote verses and say all the right things and it won't make the hurt stop.  Just know that you are loved and prayed for and never forgotten.

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