In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My little repeater

Since it’s been 16 years since I had a three year old, I had kind of forgotten what sponges they are…soaking up everything they see and hear around them…the good and unfortunately the not so good things…and I had forgotten how much they will repeat these thing they hear. I want to make it clear, I am not talking about swearing since I cleaned up my potty mouth quite a few years ago…although I do still swear in my head at times and to be honest, on rare occasions I will slip up and speak my thoughts out loud.

I have been noticing more and more lately, my little man, who is quite a talker(meaning he rarely stops talking unless he is sleeping), repeating a lot of things I say and actually using these phrases or words in the correct context and tone. He already has a big vocabulary for a three year old and many people assume that he is older because of how well he talks.

There are certain things that I say and I am realizing that I must say these things a lot to have little man using them so often. Such as “life is not fair”…”Zip it”…”Put a cork in it”…”get a grip”…”good grief”…”with all of my heart”…”if we don’t share, we sit in a chair”…”too bad, too sad”
…”what is the big deal”…”I feel your pain”…”no pain, no gain”…”ridiculous”…”sweet”…”I’m going crazy”…”I think I just stepped into the zoo”…“get the lead out”…

The other day, our internet, phone and cable went out from a storm. In response to my frustration over this, little man said to me “hmmm life is not fair is it mommy.”

Earlier this week, little man walked in on me in my room, as I was trying to stop crying because of everything that is going on. Little man said to me “Mommy, are you trying to get a grip?”

Yesterday I was talking and little man had used the right words to interrupt me by saying “excuse me please” and I had said “One minute” to which he said “Excuse me mommy, could you put a cork in it because I have to go poop right now!”

My husband and I were play fighting over sharing the last of some left over food recently. Little man came to me and asked “Is daddy going to have to sit in the chair because he didn’t share?” I said “no” to which he replied “good grief that is ridiculous!”

We went to Wal-Mart the other day and it was crazy busy in there. The first words out of little mans mouth were “Mommy I think we just entered the zoo!” A little while later, out of the clear blue, he asks me “Mommy, if I don’t act ridiculous do I get a free cookie when were done shopping?” When we were done shopping we went to get our free cookies. Little man told the lady handing out the cookies “ I didn’t act ridiculous one time so I get a cookie.”

This morning we went out for a walk around town, with the intent of ending up at the park. I am usually a fast walker but thought I would slow down and just enjoy our beautiful day at a slower pace. Little mans response to the slower pace “I suppose we should get the lead out so we can get to the park!”

My favorite was yesterday when little man said “Mommy, did you know I love you with all my heart?” To which I said I loved him with all my heart too and then he said “but actually, did you know, I like you with all my head too!” That melted my heart!

My question to you is, do you have things that you say all the time? I just listed some but the more I write the more that come to my mind. Do your kids repeat you? If your kids have now grown, did they repeat you when they were young? Please share with me your favorite “sayings” or words you use everyday.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


First of all thank you for listening. Even though I don't have many people that read what I write, those of you that do and leave me comments of such kindness and wise insights are such kind, caring, awesome people. I know this not only for the comments you leave me, but in what I read in your blogs. Seriously, you people are amazing and I hope you know that my life is blessed because of having met you out here in blogmanity. I love this word...blogmanity. I stole it from The Jason Show. He is an amazing person and is known to give me a laugh or two every would be worth your time to stop in there and check him out. I must admit that I may be a little partial to him because it was through him that I met this really amazing woman that is on a similar journey as mine.

We made the decision to give our daughter one more chance to agree to our original agreement in which we have the custody until she gets her life together by going to counseling and taking a parenting class and then coming here for some long, regularly scheduled visits and then working on transitioning the kids, over time, back to her and then giving her back the custody. If she signs this, we will not have to go to court. We made this offer to her on Tuesday evening but have had no response from her as of yet. She gave birth to a son yesterday afternoon, so we are giving her another day to respond. If she refuses this agreement, we have made the decision that we will fight for full, permanent custody, with her getting scheduled visiting time here. Yes, this will be a long, expensive battle with no guarantee that we will win, but, we know in our hearts that we have to do this for the children's well being and our peace of heart.

As we play this waiting game, my heart aches as I watch my little people playing so happily, as they have no clue that their future...their destiny, very likely lies in the hands of some judge. I am already praying for this judge and everyone else that will come into play as they try to decide what the future holds for two little people. All I know is that while we are here, in this place, we will continue to love, train and guide these little people in the way they should go...we will give them all that they deserve until someone says that we can't or can...and when that day comes we will know that we did everything possible.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's a mad world

I was just saying the other day that we live in a mad world. Which then reminded me of this song I heard once and for some reason it had caught me. Music has a way of doing that to me...speaking to me...catching me in a certain mood. I found the song and listened to it again. When I take a moment to just watch and listen to all the world around me...not just to my little world that I live in, but to observe the bigger world around me, my eyes open up to all that is out there.

I think there are a lot of walking wounded out there, running the daily race...all trying to get somewhere...with pasted on smiles, when really they are crying on the inside...trying to feel good... wanting someone to know their name...trying to find their place and their purpose...and they are worn out from running in circles every day and yeah some days they might lay in bed and dream about dying because they just want the race to be over. But, it's their secret and they will get up the next day and do this daily race all over again.

I was once one of those people so maybe that's why I recognize it. I also believe that more people feel this way then we know because they have learned the art of hiding it so well and they would never want to admit to it. How about you? Are you one of these people?

Mad World by Gary Jules

All around me are familiar faces,
Worn out places, worn out faces,
Bright and early for the daily races,
Going no where, going no where.

The tears are filling up their glasses,
No expression, no expression.
Hang my head I wanna drown my sorrow,
No tomorrow, no tomorrow.

And I find it kinda funny,
I find it kinda sad,
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I've ever had,
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take,
When people run in circles its a very very
Mad world, mad world.

Children waiting for the day they feel good,
Happy birthday, happy birthday.
And I feel the way that every child should,
Sit and listen, sit and listen.

Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me.
Hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson,
Look right through me look right through me.

And I find it kinda funny,
I find it kinda sad,
The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had,
I find it hard to tell you,
I find it hard to take,
That people run in circles it's a very very,
Mad world, Mad world, Mad world

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My worst fears

Over the last many months we have been trying to reach a custody agreement over our grandchildren that we are raising, with my step daughter, without having to go through a long expensive court battle. We wanted to avoid putting our little people through any more than they have already been through. Plus the thought of having to fight our own daughter in court breaks our hearts. I have walked on egg shells for over a year, knowing that until things are legal we risk losing our little people. The fear that I have kept hidden deep in my heart has now become a reality.

This last Friday, we came to realize that we very likely don't have a choice as she has been unreasonable and unwilling to keep our original agreement. It is our lawyers recommendation that if we are willing to continue to raise our grandchildren that we should now go for full permanent custody because it is becoming more clear that she can not make decisions in the children's best interest. The original agreement had been for us to have temporary custody while she got her life together in another state and then we would hand them over to her once the children were able to transition over to her. She has done nothing to get her life together and tomorrow she will give birth to yet another baby.

We are waiting for answers from our lawyer to help us to decide what our next step should be. Over the next couple of days we will be making life altering decisions that will not only affect our little people but ourselves as well. It may be that we don't stand much of a chance in court...that when all is said and done after a long expensive court battle that we will be forced to hand them over. Would it be in the children's best interest to hand them over now?...instead of having them continue to bond with us in the year that it will most likely take for it to be over and then have to hand them over anyways?

I look at my little man and little lady and my heart screams NO...everything in me screams no but what is the right thing to do outside of our emotional attachment to these children? They have bonded with us and we with them. If you have read any of my early posts then you know the heart break we have been through and what we have given up in order to do this. They have been worth every sacrifice, every second of time that we have given, every ounce of love that we have poured into them. We have given them a normal, healthy, safe and loving home so that they have a chance for a good life. The thought of them losing this and having to watch them lose this, is our worst fear. This fear could come to be a reality in the near future.

I am at a loss of what to do right now...I keep willing myself to keep moving go through the actions of every day life but inside I am crying and scared to death of what the future holds for my little man and little lady. I cannot imagine having to hand them over before she is able to give them what they so deserve...I try not to think about it but it's pretty hard not to. This so fills my mind that I can not concentrate or focus...even writing this post is hard...trying to put words to all of this...yet I know writing will help me release it some and might help me make sense of everything in my head and heart.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The art of giving

I have been thinking a lot lately about the whole idea of giving. I have found that when I am giving away what I have to give, weather it be financially, material goods, my time or any other ways that I can give, it not only makes me feel better, it also takes the focus off of myself. I have attempted to make giving a part of my live a life of giving because of the gratitude I feel in my heart for all I have been given. And even though I have been told that I am a giving person, I know in my heart that I fall short in the art of giving.

While I can say that there have been times in my life that I have given as much as I can give, I have to be honest and say that I haven't always given as much as I could. There have been times when I thought that I wasn't in the position to give or that I didn't have anything to give. There are times when I have felt too empty to give anything of myself. There are moments when the opportunity presented itself and I chose not to give, out of pure selfishness. There have also been many opportunities to give that have passed me by because I was too self absorb to see the need around me.

I believe that when a person gives, nothing should be expected back in return. I also believe that the giver can feel just as blessed in giving as the person receiving the giving. I believe that a true act of giving comes with no strings attached to what is being given, which makes this act of giving a true gift of oneself, whatever it may be.

I believe that what goes around, comes around. I believe that what you put out there to the universe comes back to you...not always like you expect it to and you may not always recognize it until many years later.

For me, my greatest example of giving, is Jesus. Now I know that some of you may not believe in him or the bible. I am not a religious person and I don't go to church, although I did at one time. Regardless, I am a believer and for me personally, he has been my biggest inspiration for many things, but giving is one of has given me the desire to live a life of giving. After I finished drug treatment, I started reading the bible and for the most part, studied the life of Jesus by reading the gospels. The way he lived his life fascinates me. He gave to those around him that were undeserving and those that could not give anything back to him. He gave to the walking wounded...people like you and me...people like those that are walking all around us right now...and sometimes...a lot of the time, we don't always see them or we chose not to see when they are right there in front of us.

It's funny because I have been thinking about this for some time now and had already planned on writing this post, and then I came across a couple of blogs recently, that are doing some really awesome things in giving to others. They are raising awareness through their blogs to the needs that are around us.

One of them is Crystal at Boobs, Injuries & Dr. Pepper. Crystal and her daughter Virginia have started a project to give DS players to children that may otherwise never have one. Crystal has an amazing life story that has made her the beautiful wonderful person she is. I would recommend checking out her blog to see what it's all about.

Carrien at She laughs at the Days along with her husband, are trying to raise money for orphan children in Burma. Her brother-in-law met a man named Chala, who has rescued 40 children in the jungle of Burma. This project has it's own web site called The Charis Project and since there is so much more to this project, I would recommend going to this web site to learn more. Carrien and her husband and children will be moving to Thailand in the near future to do even more work to give to others. They are amazing people.

These are the kinds of people that make our world a better place. Their acts of giving have challenged me to stop and think about my life and how I can give more. I am challenging myself to really take a look open my eyes to those around look at these opportunities to give of myself, in my daily life. It is something I taught my five children and it is something I want to teach my little people that I have now.

Where do you stand? How do you feel about giving? Do you want to take this challenge with me? Share with me your thoughts on giving...share with me any ideas you have about ways to give.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In her shoes

Some events happen in our lives and leave us forever changed. One such event happened 3 years ago and as hard as it can be sometimes to shut it out of my brain, every August, it comes back to me, like it happened yesterday. My 18 year old daughter who had started college in Minneapolis, was sexually assaulted. I will never forget where I was when it happened and I will never forget that awful sick feeling that came over me as I was told what had happened. My heart stopped and it was hard to breathe as I listened to her broken voice...her screams...her terror.

All I knew is that I needed to get to her as soon as possible. I lived 120 miles from there and it seemed like it took forever to get there. Thankfully, my other daughter, who also lived there, was able to be with her at the those moments that I couldn't be. That night as I laid in the bed, holding her in my arms, crying with her, hearing the terror in her voice as she questioned every good thing she knew, I wanted to kill him. I listened as she questioned weather she would always feel this dirty...this ashamed...if she would ever feel safe again. My veins flowed with such hate and anger at this young man that had taken so much from my precious child. She was smack in the middle of a nightmare and all she wanted to do was wake up and for it to be over...all I wanted to do was to take this from her.

My daughter already knew the pain of rape, but only from a distance. During her senior year of high school, she had done a year long leadership project on rape, called In her shoes. She researched, interviewed, spoke in classrooms and in the community to raise rape awareness in our community. She held a walk and rally at the end of this project, with rape survivors sharing their stories. Four months later she was in their shoes.

This young man was around the same age as my daughter and he was an acquaintance. He was a friend of the friends she was with. They were all at her friends house having a small house party. Yes, they were all drinking. This young man was at this party with his girlfriend but they got into a fight so the girlfriend had went home. I will spare you the details, other than that he put something in her drink and somehow got her into one of the bedrooms and she woke up to being raped. Her screams brought people into the room to pull him off of her. A short time later she was taken to the hospital. Because there were eye witnesses and good physical evidence they had a good case against him but he confessed shortly after being arrested anyways.

I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on this young was in court. I will also never forget hearing the cries of his mother as she wept openly in court. In that moment my heart went out to this woman, who was also a mother, to a son, that had made wrong turns in life. In that moment, I came to realize, that no one wins here. Everyone loses. My daughter is a courageous, compassionate and forgiving young woman. All my daughter wanted was for this young man to get help before he ever did it again. Part of his sentencing was to go to treatment for sex offenders. As a mother, I wanted him punished to the fullest extent and there is no amount of time in my mind that would be enough, for him to pay for what he had done...for what he had taken from her.

I wasn't able to protect my daughter from one of the evils that exists in this world. I wonder to myself if I had done more to prepare her for the outside world...for the big city, after living in such a small town all her life, if this could have been prevented. I wonder if I taught her to be too trusting and friendly. I know I didn't talk to her about the dangers of guys putting drugs in her drink so that they could rape her. I didn't and now I regret all that I didn't teach her. My hope is that more parents would talk to their daughters and sons about these things...these things that are uncomfortable to talk about but happen way more than we realize. If you could take one thing from this story, it should be to teach your daughters and sons about these things. If what I share prevents even one rape from happening then sharing this is worth matter how painful it is.

One thing I learned is that I am lucky that my daughter went to the hospital, reported it and came to me...that many girls don't report being raped, let alone tell their parents and so these guys get away with it and continue to rape other girls and these girls suffer alone in silence. I am glad that my daughter has not suffered alone in silence. I am glad that she is courageous and strong and stood up for what was right....and in the end she forgave and asked the judge to get this young man help. This, my friends, was the start of her journey to healing...and mine.


Although, that was the start to her healing, this event changed her life. On the road to healing she was not able to stay in college. Up to this point she had been doing very well in college but lost all ability to be there. Her life has been a rollercoaster ride since then and I believe it has influenced many of her decisions over the last 3 years...Including getting pregnant. Honestly, I don't think she has fully dealt with it and counseling would benifit her greatly, but she is now 21 and as her mom, I can suggest it but can't make her go. This is the part that we don't hear about with rape survivors...the after math or fallout in the years after a rape happens. As her mom, I see all this fallout damage and it's hard for me to not still hate him. I actually try to pray for him and I wonder if I will ever be able to fully forgive him.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Talk of body parts

Last week, while we were aboard our exciting ride on the potty train, we had many opportunities for some interesting conversations...about body parts, ya know, of the male and female kind. An important part of the training process was the fact that I needed to have them in my eye sight at All times, which of course included when I myself, needed to use the toilet. It was also good for them to watch me so that I could model for them, what exactly they are suppose to be doing. As hard as I tried to be private while having them standing there watching me...and believe me they were watching me, it was quite impossible for them not to see something...or lack of something as was the case for little man.

The very first time that little man was really paying attention, he screamed in alarm at what wasn't there. Meaning, my lack of a penis. In his exact words, "oh no mommy, your penis fell off!" He literally thought my penis had fallen into the toilet and he insisted on looking for it inside the toilet. I, of course explained that I did not have a penis and no it hadn't fallen off. And so began our conversations about girls having a vagina and boys having a penis. The thing is, I had told him the appropriate names for those body parts in the past but for some reason something clicked in this moment that he realized I was different from him and now I had his attention.

To say that this fascinated him is an understatement. This is all he wanted to talk about ALL day. He was determined to figure out which part...vagina or penis, that EVERY person, he has ever known, has. He finally got it of course and that put him into deep thought, which brought more questions for me. Little lady just walked around repeating him. Great. In my head, I pictured my two little people walking around talking about penis's and vagina's to everyone they came into contact with. I fully expected this talk to continue into the next day but it didn't. In fact, there has been very little talk of it since.

I know people that are very uncomfortable talking about private body parts let alone using their proper names when refering to them. I know people that cannot even say the words penis and vagina to me in a conversation, let alone to their children. For me personally, this has never been an issue for me...I call them what they are, just as I do with any other body parts. How about you? Does this make you feel uncomfortable? If you have children, have you had these kinds of conversations? Do you use the proper names or do you use nicknames when you talk with your children?

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's my party and I can cry if I want to

My last couple of posts have been pretty serious and deep with my thoughts as I have started on this journey of finding myself again....of figuring things out before I disappear over the deep end. Thank you to everyone that stopped by and gave me such great encouragement. Because my writing tends to be on the more deep or serious end, you might think that I am a serious person, which I can be, but for the most part in my daily life, I am not. Believe it or not, I actually have a pretty damn good sense of humor...most days anyways. It is the one thing that gets me through some pretty tough shit, the monotonous days of motherhood and of course all those days that fall somewhere in between.

A week ago I posted that we had jumped aboard the potty train...which although gets very monotonous, and involves some pretty stinky shit, falls somewhere in between. There is NO time, like potty training, that NEEDS a sense of humor. Let me tell you, we had quite the potty party. I cannot quite say that I was laughing through out this party...okay maybe there were a few tears but for the most part I kept my sense of least inside my head...I did not laugh at my little least that they were aware of anyways...they just thought we were having a party. For one, they were extremely happy to be getting juice to drink since we never have juice at our house.

I assumed that training two children wouldn't be that much different then training one child. WRONG. We bought into this 3 day potty training boot camp and lets just say that this time last week...about 24 hours after starting, I found myself regretting ever starting. I thought we had been scammed. My husband came home from work at the end of day two and I am sure that he wanted to turn around and walk right back out that door...I wanted to go with him.

The concept was to be filling up my little people with LOTS to drink so that they would have many opportunities to pee. Then, catching them doing this and running them to the "potty" so they would have many opportunities to learn how to do it. You throw in lots of stickers, rewards like candy and fruit snacks...and lots and lots of praise. If you follow the program like it is laid out you are to see results by the end of day three. Sounds simple. It's not. This is an understatement because the pee was non-stop. Picture two little people peeing non-stop. Oh, and you can NOT take your eyes off of them so as not to MISS all the opportunities. And this is not even mentioning the poop...the little chant that I sang quite often was, "what goes in, must come out" still echos in my brain a week later.

Thank God we do not have carpet in our main living areas...we rolled up all the rugs and put them away for the time being. Many rolls of paper towels were gone through, not to mention around 30 pairs of wet underwear and 30 pairs of wet underpants...each day. So, yeah, it was one hell of a pee fest until the middle of day three...when it was almost magical...more pee was ending up in their pottys then on the that night they were both using their pottys regularly! They have had only a few accidents here and there...mostly in the poop department which is to be expected. I am shocked, to say the least, that one week later, they are pretty much trained. And you better believe that we have celebrated with much singing and dancing as our potty party came to an end.

To think that one month ago, I was regularly changing diapers every day on three children, since I still had my 16 month old grandson here with us and now I am changing NONE! I never thought I would be potty training again at the ripe old age of 46 but as our friend Dora would say "we did it, we did it, we did it, HOORAY!"

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Through the eyes of grace

In my heart of hearts, I do believe that in many ways, I have forgiven myself for the things I did wrong in my past, and for the person I was…I have given myself the gift of grace. I have loved myself…at least enough to get from there to here. The bottom line is, that if I hadn’t, I would not be here today. It is what set me free in the first place and allowed me to have a life that I never dreamed I could have for myself.

The thought hit me last night after my yoga class, that I forgave myself a long time ago, from the place that I was, at that time. I am at a different place now…with a new and different perspective…I see things differently then I did back then. I have a whole new understanding of life and how very precious it is…of those past mistakes…of their greatness and the impact of those things that I did to not only the people I hurt or wronged but to myself. I need to forgive myself… to offer myself that gift of grace, once again, from where I am right now. If I want to keep moving forward in my life…if I want to see my glory in the mirror.

I remember back to when all this started…where my one life ended and my new life began. I was in drug treatment and I was miserable because not only was I not high, I was alive. How I ended up being in treatment when I didn’t want to be there, doesn’t really matter because the fact that I was there saved my very life. I was putting in my time, so to speak, until I could get out…I had every intention to die once I got out of there. Drugs were not enough to numb my soul anymore…I was done.

Yes, I was a mother and yes, I know this would have destroyed my children but in my sick mind I thought they were much better without me…and the sad thing is, they were. If I was going to continue living the life that I was living as their mother, they were better without me. I did not deserve the title of mommy and still to this day, this rips apart my mother heart.

As part of the treatment process, they have you meet with a Chaplin, to confess all your “wrongs” to. My Chaplin was a young priest, not much older than me, but very wise. I will never forget sitting across from him and it was like he could see into my soul. I was not nice to him…I was defiant and crass…I did not want to be there because there was no way in hell that I was going to tell this man, those hidden secrets of my heart. I even went as far as to tell him that I did not believe in his God. His answer was, “ it doesn’t matter, he believes in you.” He continued to tell me that God loved me and forgives me. My response was “there is no way in hell, that you can tell me that God could love someone like me…you have no idea the things I have done, so you can’t say that your God would love me!” His response was “God already knows the things you have done…he knows all of it, every secret you have is not a secret from him and he still loves you.” This blew my mind…I could not handle these things he was saying and I ran out of the room.

This man came back every day to meet with me. Each and every time, he was gentle, loving and kind, no matter how I acted. He never once preached at me…he came and met me where I was at…he never gave up on me. His persistence paid off…the love and grace he shared with me wore me down…until it was like my soul was totally naked with him. I bared my soul to him and in those moments of letting another human being into my world of pain and sorrow is the pivotal moment that gave birth to a new life. His response to my “sins” or “wrongs” was to open up his arms to me and hold me while I sobbed. He, my friends, was my Jesus with skin on.

It is because of him…his message of love and grace that I am here today, speaking from a whole new perspective, free of those things I was once in bondage to.

It is because of him, that I see every single person, through the eyes of grace and love no matter how deserving or undeserving they might be living. It is because of him, and the many people like him, that I have met since then, that I see people, differently…beyond what you see with the physical eye…I see between the lines…I see what is possible and what they could be capable of if they were set free and given a chance to live again.

It is how I need to see myself, right now, in the here and now because even though I am a new person, I still have the memories of those past wrongs and I still pay consequences for those things. I see those things I did wrong in the past from a new perspective and it hurts my soul that I did those things...hurt the people I‘s time for me look these things in the eye and let them go and once again look at myself through the eyes of grace.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Seasons of change

Just as nature has changing seasons, I think we as human beings, go through seasons in our lives. I have stated in the past that I am going through lots of changes in my life has been changing seasons so to learning to let go...learning to accept what has come into my life, weather it be two little people or the pain from my injury, so that I can move on to the next season. Just as it takes time for us to adapt to the changes that the new season brings, weather that be shoveling snow again or learning to live with those nasty mosquitoes, we too, take time to adapt to the new seasons in our lives. Since I have entered this new season of my life...this journey of figuring out my life...of trying to find "me" again...I am doing a lot of self reflection.

I am finding that I tend to be very hard on myself. While I can find grace and forgiveness for others, it is much harder to find this for myself. I also know that to truly change anything, we need to love ourselves, flaws and all, in the here and now. I am realizing that I don't always like or love myself...that I tend to see myself through a lens that is clouded with my flaws, mistakes, and my past…and most of the time, it is me, that doesn’t accept myself for who and what I am…it’s not so much other people that don’t accept me with my flaws or my past, it’s me. I am the one that stands in my way.

I was looking for something in a box yesterday afternoon and came across a paper, with a quote by Maya Angleou on it, that my very wise daughter had given me a few years ago. For a period of time that paper had hung on my refrigerator for me to read each the process of moving a couple of years ago, that paper had went into a box, until I found it yesterday. It was meant for me to find this and once again it will go back up on my refrigerator.

This is what it says..."I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes-it is inevitable. But once you do see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, "well, if I'd known better I'd have done better," that's all.
So you say to people who you think you may have injured, "I'm sorry" and then you say to yourself, "I'm sorry". If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we are capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one owns self. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think of yourself. If you don't have that you never grow, you never learn, and sure as hell you should never teach. Maya Angleou

I am a work in progress. Right now, there are a lot of things that are standing between my face and the mirror. In striving to remove these things, I need to love, forgive and accept myself for who I am right now, in this moment. Someday, I want to stand in front of the mirror and like what I see...I want to see all that I am capable of being...I want to see my glory for all that it is.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How to make friends again

Last week I took my little people to the beach for the afternoon, which they love because they love playing in water and sand. Sitting there, by the lake, as I watched my little people play, I partook in one of my favorite activities, people watching. As I looked around me, at all the groups of moms laughing and talking together while their children played nearby, a sadness came over me as it dawned on me how much I miss being with other people...people with kids around the same ages as mine....or even just people that I can connect with.

The reality that the only people I know with kids the same age as my kids, are my young moms at the school. The thing is, I do have get together with my young moms outside of school, even though this is on my own time and I am not getting paid, it still feels like work. I do enjoy my time with them because I care about them and their children but our relationships are based on me giving and them taking. Does it make sense when I say that although I am myself with them in the sense that I don't change who I am just because I am with them but I also don't let my guard down and just relax with them either? Mainly because I am their mentor and support person and they look to me as their mother/grandma figure.

It never used to be this way. When my 5 kids were growing up, I had many "mom" friends with kids the ages of my own. I knew most of these moms from doing daycare, going to the early childhood program, my children's school and from church. We had a great "community" of moms and kids that got together the beach and parks, and at each others homes. We supported one another in many ways...through sicknesses,deaths, children getting into trouble, marriages that failed, sharing food, good times and much laughter.

I have continued to be good friends with some of these people but their children, like mine, are now grown up. Up until 2 years ago, I was part of that group of friends that had the new freedoms in life...freedoms that are found when your children grow up and out of your home.

Since my little people have come into my life, that has all changed...I no longer have the freedom...I am now one of those mothers with little children. So, although we are still good friends in the sense that they will always be my friends and I still talk to them on the phone and occasionally get together with them, things are very much different. Some of them work, some go to school, some have moved to neighboring towns as I have....our lives have changed and that's not a bad thing, it's just all so very different but life goes on. My life seems to have changed the most and that's why it feels like I don't quite fit in anymore.

I feel like I don't quite fit in any where for that matter. While none of my same age friends have little ones, most of them have not joined the grandma club as I have either. Since I don't do daycare in the normal sense anymore and the early childhood classes that run in my community are only available while I am at work and we no longer go to a church, I don't have the same avenues to make friends that I once had. Most of the people in my age group do NOT have little ones and most of the people that do, are much younger than me...not that I have a problem with that.

I moved to this small rural community 2 years ago after getting married to my husband. Although people are fairly friendly in general, people tend to stick with their own "kind" here...we have those that "party" a lot which is pretty easy to do when you have something like 8 bars on just one block and people this is a SMALL town...the thing is there is not much else to do around here so drink it is for many of the people and although I like to have a few now and then, I have no desire to do this every night(been there, done that, now I say I am just too damn old for that)!

We also have the church goers...those that are very much into the "do's" and "don'ts"...I used to be one of them so I am not putting them down. I am still a believer, I just don't believe the way they do anymore. I don't talk about this part of my life very often because of old wounds and not wanting to open them up. We will leave it at that.

I have been told by people that unless you were born and raised here, it is really hard to fit in. Isn't that the truth! But, I think you will find these things everywhere...I know other people that talk about feeling this way in their communities big or small.

What I am getting to is this...I am lonely and I feel disconnected from people, but, I don't know how to make friends anymore. I am starving for conversations with other moms of little people...I am wanting to have adult company with other people besides my husband...don't get me wrong, my husband is great and we get along great but I think both of us could use some friends. My husband has no friends that live around here...before he married me he tended to spend most of his time alone outside of work. Most days the only contact I have with another adult, other than my husband, and a friend that I talk to once a day, is on this computer, through the blogs I read and those that comment on my blog. I have met some great people on this wonderful world of Internet...without it right now I would be lost.

I am embarrassed to even admit this...of not knowing how to make friends or the fact that I feel that I don't fit in anywhere...that I feel shy and very self conscious when I am around people, when I have never really been this way before...that I question each and every day, what is wrong with me and then spend time each day trying to figure out just what is wrong with me and how to change it...that I am afraid that people won't like me...that they will judge me...or that I won't know how to gawd, am I back in high school or what?

The thing is, I know I am a nice person. I know I have things to offer other people...I'm a good listener, I don't judge, I am accepting, loving, caring...I know I am a good friend and I am fun to be least that is what I am told anyways. But, I do have fears of people really getting to know me, the real me, all the things that make up my life because I have been hurt in my past by people that I thought were my friends, that judged me or used me and then walked away.

You see, I can talk about all the things in my life on this blog because if one of you is judging me or thinking bad of me for something I share, so be it. Unless you leave a comment stating this fact, I don't have to know your negative thoughts towards me...I don't have to see you walk away or hear your disapproval. So, maybe part of me really does just want to hide here in my home because it's safer that way. I don't want to play it safe anymore...I want friends...I need friends. I need to connect.

PS If you made it this far, bless you and please forgive me my internet friends for this being so long...I have been surrounded by pee and poop for 3 days now and it is getting to me!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Boarding the potty train

This weekend we jumped aboard the potty train with little lady and little man. They are ready and I am more than ready to board this train. They are 3 and 2 years old, and even though they have acted like they could care less if they are wet or soiled, they have shown signs of being ready for some time now...and to be perfectly honest I have just been so damn lazy about this whole thing. This is our third try...hopefully our last try. The school I work at is closed this week so since I am off of work all week I thought this is an opportune time to do this.

I should be a pro at this after having done this many times before...with having already trained my 5 older children and countless daycare children I should really know what I am doing...honestly, I feel like I am doing this for the first time and don't know what in the hell I am doing on this train. Granted, it's been awhile since I've done this and I never thought I would be doing this again. I should be wearing a shirt that says "I did not sign up for this" since that has been one of my favorite things to say since I started having children.

I don't remember it being this hard nor this frustrating. With my little people we have used disposable diapers and seriously, they could really care less if they are wet or's like they don't feel it. I used cloth diapers with all my kids but with my last child, I used disposable diapers part of the time and he was my hardest one to I am starting to wonder if these disposable diapers have handicapped us in a way that they just don't feel uncomfortable enough to care?

We are trying our hardest to follow this 3 day potty training program...we have been preparing them for this...yesterday they were told that after today, there would be no more diapers, so first thing this morning, after taking their diapers off and putting on underwear and underpants, they each threw their remaining diapers in a garbage bag. We were suppose to throw this bag away but knowing I could not throw perfectly good diapers away, I told them that we are taking them to school and giving them to babies that need them.

Today was spent filling them up with liquids, talking about what we are doing, many trips to the potties, not letting them leave our sight so we can catch them going or showing signs of going, cleaning up messes, doing lots of activities in the rooms that don't have carpet. Little man actually did pretty good and he went to bed quite proud of himself...little lady,not so much. She is the one that has shown the most readiness, has actually used the potty a lot more in the past but today was just plain tough for her. She loves her little panties though and does not want to wear diapers anymore so that's good.

I am sure that these next few days will be filled up with much of what we did today. It was nice having my husband here doing this with me today but tomorrow and the next, I will be going it alone. Please, if you have any ideas that would help us survive this train ride...any tips that would prevent a train wreck, I would so appreciate it. All aboard the potty train! Choo choo!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Where is my life taking me?

I am thinking seriously about changing jobs...I am thinking that I might want to get out of the childcare field. Not because I don't like children or because I don't like my job running the daycare at the school. I feel like I don't have enough to give anyone and I don't want to do a less than ideal job. I think part of my burning out right now might have something to do with needing a change.

For most of my adult life I have done daycare. The first nineteen years were spent running a daycare out of my home which enabled me to stay at home with my children. I went through a divorce and lost my home in the process. At that time I was needing a change so for the first time I got a job working outside the home.

I worked at a group home taking care of low functioning non verbal children. Then they moved me up to a lead position in running a group home for high functioning young adults. Plus I worked with clients that lived on their own. I loved it! There were more opportunities for me to move up and they were going to pay for me to take more schooling in order to do this. I loved my job and I was in it for the long haul. I thought I had found my calling...until I got brutally attacked by one of my clients.

I have a skull,neck and partial brain injury because of this attack. I also got post traumatic stress disorder which was just as bad as the others, if not worse to deal with. I spent 2 years having surgeries, getting intense therapy, and being on very strong narcotics for the pain. During this time, I did not leave my home out of fear, unless I had to go for medical care. After 2 years of this, I went into the hospital for 5 weeks for a pain program which took me off all the medications the various doctors had me on. I was told that I was on enough pain medication for a 300 lb man and I was 115 lbs! I was very glad to get off all that in spite of still being in pain. I was taught pain management while I was there and basically they helped me to accept that I will be in pain for the rest of my life. I am in pain 24/7...some days are worse than others...some days are pure hell and in weak moments I want drugs to take this pain away but deep down I know I can't live like that ever again.

After my hospital stay I was okayed by the doctors to work 20 hours a more than 5 hours at a time and with some pretty high restrictions. Try to find a job under all that and it felt impossible. I did find one...running the daycare at an alternative high school and I have now worked there for 4 years. I mainly care for the children of young moms but we also have classes for adults wanting to get their diploma and an English second language class so I care for those children as well. They also allow me to bring my 2 little people with me to work. Although the pay is significantly lower than my other job, I have been just thankful to have a job. I have loved this job in the sense that I love it's purpose. I have a passion for young people...young moms, kids in trouble...most likely because I was one of those kids at one time.

I love my moms like they are my daughters...for some of these girls I am the only "mom" in their lives that they can talk to or depend is my passion to see them graduate and go to college and make a life for themselves and their little ones. My goal is for them to believe in themselves just as I believe in them. I love the little ones like they are my grandchildren...sadly for some of these little ones, I am the only grandma in their lives. I get to witness a lot of success stories but there are many sad stories too and these are the ones that break my heart. Sometimes I have to report these moms to social services because no matter what we are trying to do for them at our school, some of these moms just don't get "it" and their children suffer because of it. I cannot stand for even one child to suffer so sometimes I have to use tough love.

This is my dilemma...even though I am working in the area of my passion for young people, I am starting to not like it in the sense that I am drained...I feel like I don't have anything to give to all these needy young moms and their very needy children. But, the thing is I can't just quit because in order for me to be compensated by worker compensation I have to be working the 20 hours and under the restrictions I have from the doctors. I live in rural Minnesota so the job market is not overflowing with jobs that fit under all that. I am awaiting approval to go to another pain management program and then my case worker says we will go from there once I have completed that. I do have a lawyer but have been told that it takes a long time for everything to be settled and done with the workers compensation company.

My heart is torn between my wanting to do something I am passionate about, not wanting to let anyone down even though I know someone else could do my job just as well, being exhausted and not knowing what I could possibly do for work if I am not doing daycare and of what my future holds. I also don't think it's fair to those I work with if I am not able to give in the way they deserve. I would love some outside suggestions. I know that my thoughts and feelings are filtered through the lens of pain right now but also through my fears. This is exhausting for me...writing it all out does help but really all I want is to figure this all out...I just want to know where my life is going next?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Coming full circle

When children are young they are so good about expressing their love for us. I don't know if it's because I am an affectionate person and have always expressed my love to those around me numerous times a day but my little people are so full of "I love yous" and displays of affection, with lots of hugs and kisses through out my day. They think I am great...they squeal with delight when I come back in the house after taking out the garbage...because they are so young they don't see all my flaws quite yet and this is kinda nice. This is my favorite part of being a "mommy" again. When my 5 kids were young, they were the same way and I loved it.

Kids have a way of growing up and seeing the light so to speak in regards to their parents...they come to realize that we have flaws and make mistakes and have no problem whatsoever of pointing those out...and my kids had no problem bringing up those flaws or mistakes in front of company or even complete strangers. Once my kids came to the realization that I was not perfect and realized that they didn't always like me, things changed. They didn't display affections for me like they once did although they would still hug and kiss me and if they didn't I would make them...such torture, I know. I know they still loved me and they still stated that fact but their view of me was now tinted by my humanness. This is when I learned the art of forgiveness...meaning, I am far from perfect, I make mistakes and I needed to seek forgiveness from my children daily. The wonderfulness of children is that they are forgiving creatures. There is such beauty in grace and it is something I needed daily and I still do.

Eventually kids grow up all the way and do what I call "come full circle"...they start really liking you again...they start to appreciate your job as a parent...they come to realize that they in fact don't know everything and that we their parents aren't as dumb or mean as they thought...they come to see you as a person and if your really lucky they see you as their friend. All 5 of my children have reached this point of coming full circle.

I came to this realization this past week when I received a letter from my youngest son who is nineteen and lives thousands of miles away from me. He thanked me for all that I have done for him as his mom...for the things I taught much he loves me and he called me his hero. I was speechless as I read this letter, which was followed with crying tears of joy. This letter is priceless to me, just as the letters I have received from my other children are, when they too, declared similar thoughts to me. There is no greater joy for me than these children of mine coming full circle. I am blessed beyond words.

In time, my little ones, will go through the next phase...the learning years is what I like to call them. Their view of me will become tinted with my flaws and my mistakes and I won't be this mommy hero to them for a period of time...I will continue to need their forgiveness and yes, I will make them still hug and kiss me, even when they don't want to...I know that they won't always like me and they will think I am mean...but that's okay because I know given time, they too will come full circle, and like me once again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Feeling the changes

This has been a hard Summer for me as I have been having to do a lot of letting go. Many changes have come with this letting go and I am still adjusting to all these changes in my life. We all are still trying to adjust. It hit me pretty hard when we left my daughter and grandson on Sunday hit me even harder as I listened to my 2 year old little lady say his name over and over, while sobbing, as we drove away without her little buddy sitting next to her in our van. When we got home 8 1/2 hours later, little lady ran through the house, calling for him, and when I had to remind her that he wasn't here, that he was at his new home, she cried for him. Little man didn't cry but he told me he was very sad and that he wanted A-man to come back home. Once I got them to sleep, I broke down as I walked through our home and the reality of his absence hit me.

Change is hard. I am not really sure how to handle all this change that has come this summer. Life is different...not bad, just different, enough to not feel "right" or good yet. Until the middle of June we had 7 people living in our home, now we are down to just the 4 of us. My older children have come for their visits and gone once again and it will be at least a year before they are able to come back. This doesn't seem real...not yet anyway, but I know eventually this will become normal.

This fall will be the first time in many years that I don't have school sports to attend...all 5 of my kids were active in sports and other school falls were spent going to Friday night football games and tennis winters were spent going to basketball games and wrestling matches, my springs, were spent watching baseball and track meets...add to that music concerts, plays, art shows...ect...I loved watching my kids have fun and be part of something they loved doing. I think back to all the times I complained because I always had to be some place and just wanted to stay home for, I regret feeling that way...that part of my life is over and maybe part of me isn't ready for it to be over. Let it go...

Life goes on and I have living to do. I know that feeling burned out doesn't help with trying to figure all this out. I also know that there are positive things that will come out of all these changes taking place. I know that I will learn and grow from this and that in the end, it too, will make me a wiser and better person. Right now I am just trying to find myself...trying to catch my breath...trying to live in this moment and see where all this takes me.

Monday, August 4, 2008

God danced the day you were born!

Happy Birthday to my little lady. I was blessed to be there when you were born and I cried tears of joy as you entered this world. Although I did not give birth to you 2 years ago today, I have given birth to you in my heart and soul. I fell in love with you from the very beginning...even before you were born. We celebrated your entrance into our lives with so much love and joy and now two years later we are still celebrating the life that is yours.

From the very beginning, you had an attitude, and you expressed this attitude strongly through your many expressions and cries. I called you my little wild child...I remember asking you if you were going to be a wild child just like your grandma, and you would smile at me and give me this look. We bonded from the beginning and I am so glad that we did because since that time, you have become my little girl. No matter how much I or anyone else for that matter, called myself grandma, you called me mommy. I am honored to have this title...honored that I was picked to be your mommy.

You are my sometimes very quiet, sometimes very loud, sometimes defient with attitude, sometimes shy, soft spoken, tough, strong willed, very sweet little girl. Every day is a new adventure with you because in one day you can be so peaceful, soft spoken,quiet, smiling, happy and complient in one moment and the next you are loud, defient, boisterous, unhappy, frowning at me and everyone else with one of your many expressions and those eyes of yours speak all on their own...these are the things that make up you and what make you so special.

You are my special little girl that came to us as a gift. I remember saying before you were born, that God had a plan for your life. I still believe that today. I thank God every day for the gift of you...for every day I get to spend with you, loving you, caring for you and showing you that you have such great value and worth. You are our little peice of heaven, that came and changed our lives for the better. Today, we celebrate your entrance into this world...every day we celebrate your life and all that is to come.

Happy Birthday my little little wild child.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Here's to my little A-man

Tomorrow we will make the long drive to deliver our grandson A-man, who is 16 months old, to his new home. My youngest daughter is his mommy and she moved a few weeks ago to start her new job and to get settled in their new another state. My daughter and A-man came to live with us when he was just a couple of weeks old, if even that, and now 16 months later, we are moving him to a new home.

I am happy and excited for them to be making their own home...I just wish it didn't have to be so far away, 'cause you might have guessed that we have grown pretty attached to the little guy. My two little people are best buddies with him and the three of them have pretty much grown up together...with lots of love, lots of fights, lots of hugs and kisses, lots of screaming and laughing. He started out a pretty cranky baby but he still managed to wrap himself around my heart...he grew into himself and has quite the personality...he has filled my days and nights and kept me on my toes. It will be hard to go from living with him every day to not seeing him except for short visits. I have no other choice then to let's the only good and right thing to do. When they came to live with us, I never planned that they would be with us for as long as they were, but I knew that some day they would leave. This day is upon us and ready or not, I must let go.

Of course I have my daughter and her son, have never been on their own...they will be too far away for me to help if it's needed...she is still young and has things to learn about life and living and I know she will learn these things on her own journey and in her own time. I've done the best I can to teach her these things but there are some things that you have to learn on your own and not from your mother...things you learn from just living life, that you can't learn from someone else or from a text letting does not mean I don't care anymore or not worrying(even though that does no good, please tell that to my heart)about my daughter and grandson. It means that she will learn some things the hard way, just as I did as a young mother...I have to step back...and my job is to just love her and not stop believing in her, no matter how many mistakes she makes.

Our lives are about to change...theirs and ours...there will be some positives and some negatives...we will all make adjustments and in time it will all work's just this initial letting go and the time it takes to get to the other side that is so damn hard.

So, here's to my sweet little little have brought so much love and joy into our have rocked my world by being a part of it day in and day has been a blessing to watch you grow up so closely...not every grandma gets the privilege of having this kind of relationship with her will always have a piece of my will always be my special little man. I love you all the way to the moon and back.