I read this article the other day. (Well worth the read if you want to step into the shoes of a foster/adoptive parent for a moment.) While Les and I have not had to deal with all the problems this blogger brings up in reference to foster/adopted children, we have dealt with many of them.
I don’t mind sharing the realistic side of my life. I’ve seen too many people who are more concerned with putting on a facade that their life is fine, when in reality it’s crumbling from the inside out, that I share my triumphs and my struggles. If nothing else, it helps me reflect and problem solve. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. Often. With each new mistake, I try to correct it to the best of my ability, learn from it, and move on. Sometimes mistakes bring about permanent change. This is life and I have no intention of hiding from it as disappointed as I am in myself.
Think of how much more difficult it is for a child who is confused and hurt to recover from mistakes. Even with help from grown ups, sometimes it’s beyond their capability at that moment to move forward.
Niki pinned this on her Pinterest board for me last week.
Les got home from work yesterday evening and after the big boys went to sleep we unintentionally stayed up until 2am talking, long after Gabriel had fallen asleep in my arms. Some of our best talks occur in the dim light of our bedroom in a hushed house in the wee hours of the morning. These don’t happen often though…Les is anything but a night owl. (I also might have taken advantage of the fact that he spent several days in a time zone to the west of us and he hadn’t adjusted back to our time zone yet.)
We were talking about mistakes and wishing our children never had to face hardship. When it comes down to it, like I was telling Les, mistakes are inevitable. Not a single one of us are going to make it through life without messing up multiple times. I realized last night that I don’t want to shield my kids from making mistakes but rather teach them how to deal with them and recover from them once they make them. Obviously, if we can avoid the mistake to begin with, that is preferable but…once you’ve made one, how do you fix it?
Our life is not centered around negativity and I don’t want to give that impression on my blog either. There are plenty of good days too. I think sometimes I refrain from sharing the triumphs because I sometimes feel compelled to prove I’m normal by sharing my struggles and I don’t want to reinforce what I feel like is an undeserved supermom label.
We’ve had an amazing couple of weeks around here. I have a sense of peace with the boys that I have not felt in quite some time. I’m not letting the little annoyances eat at me. I know all too well that trying to take on every battle every moment of the day is crazy but I’ve had a hard time not doing that. By calming myself down, things around here seem to be quieting down. There’s less tension. As I calm down, the boys calm down. We are having less big battles because of it.
I feel like I have found new meaning from the quote from Saint Seraphim:
Acquire a peaceful spirt, and thousands around you will be saved.
Just like the little things can eat at you and cause aggravation, the little things can also bring so much peace and happiness.
One of my boys has been snuggling into my shoulder at random times during the day for about a week now. This affection is monumental for him. It’s a primitive snuggle. A snuggle where his head ever so barely touches my shoulder as he tests the water to see how I will react and how he will feel showing this new found means of affection.
Another one of my boys is reading from his new Bible almost every morning. He received it from Sunday School a couple of weeks ago. This is my child who will pretend to read in our grand 10 minutes of silent reading time. He will avoid reading any other time at all costs. I could care less if it took him an entire 10 minutes of this time to read one sentence to himself but he is always about quantity over quality. He also doesn’t understand why I don’t believe that he read an entire chapter book in 10 minutes during silent reading time. So you can imagine my delight to open my bedroom door after getting dressed in the morning to hear him reading the morning prayers from the back of his Bible to his brothers.
Gabriel hates riding in his carseat in the car. This is an understatement. The big boys have taken to singing him hymns when he starts crying. It doesn’t work…but it touches me deeply that this is the choice they make to try and soothe their brother every car ride. The first time they did this was the first time I didn’t sit in the middle seat next to Gabriel and instead chose to sit next to Les in the front. As soon as they started singing, Les whispered to me, “That is all you! You taught them that hymn. You are the one who influenced them to chose to sing about God to Gabriel when he’s upset. You have more of a positive impact on them than you give yourself credit for.” Les is right. I’m my own biggest critic and I often fail to see the good I’ve done and focus to much on my shortcomings.
Just as much as it’s the little things that bring me joy from my children, it’s also the little things others say and do for me that make me realize how much joy I have the potential to give to others. For example the lady at church who lifted my spirits with her kind words or how incredibly thankful and appreciative I was for Niki’s boyfriend and his mom who helped me change the flat tire on my van in a school parking lot yesterday. It’s the little things that add up to be big things. Going forward, I’m going to put forth more effort to give back to others what they so generously give to me.