Sabotaging Self – Conclusion

“Self-sabotage is the smartest thing you can do if you’re sabotaging a self that is not really you.” ~ Armand DiMele

Recently my husband, Steven, nicknamed our Kiddo “Giggles” because there is so much smiling and laughing and love in our family.

We knew from some trainings that Kiddo’s self-sabotage was due to shame and a false belief that “them” was unworthy of love and belonging. With time and consistency, Steve and I have continued to teach our child how to give and receive love openly, yet little did we know it was also a work-on for ourselves . . .

There we were, just my husband and me, on a late Tuesday morning, hooking up our trailer to our truck and heading up the mountain to do a little snowmobiling. In tow were our two new used sleds that Steve had picked up a few days before. In fact, this photo was taken just as we fired them up to head off the grid.

I was a little hesitant to go, mainly because I had been sick in bed with walking pneumonia for a week and I was just getting back into routine.

After traveling up the mountain for a couple of miles though, I started to find my groove.

Other than having to pull over to put on a warmer face mask, things were looking good — the snowy road narrowed and the sleds throttled on, and I turned back every few minutes to be sure my husband was still on his own sled behind.

Twenty or so minutes later our sleds crossed our main bridge that connects to the driveway of our bungalow home. A short time later we were dismounting our snowmobiles and waist deep in loose powder that hadn’t been packed down before.

Steve and I were so grateful we had just a few steps to crawl before we made it to the house. So much snow had fallen since we had been there last fall – – more than we ever remember seeing since we moved to the mountains in 2006.

After checking the roof and seeing the house was still okay, we both got back on our sleds to head back out the same way we came in. A few feet from the main road I began to cross the bridge and started losing speed. My tracks sank deep into the loose powder and I was rolled off the sled into the snow.

“I’m sorry,” Steve yelled from behind as I hit my kill switch. “I should have told you to go faster up the hill.” I shrugged it off and waited for him to crawl through the hip high snow toward me to help. After a few minutes of unsuccessful coaching, Steve had me walk back to his sled so he could do his best to rock mine out.

Clumsily I fought my way through the cold powder and toward his sled which was about 20 feet below. Every step was up to my waist so I was grateful when I could finally reach the handle bars to hoist myself up. But as I sat down, my arm hit the power button and I turned the sled off.

“Ahhh,” Steve yelled. “What did you do that for?” I tried explaining it was an accident, but he wasn’t having it. He was already cold and tired from wrestling with my sled.

Frustrated, he struggled through the snow. A few minutes later he was finally pulling himself up beside me so he could yank on his sled’s starter cord. But as he pulled, the cable snapped.

Fear and panic quickly shot through him as he looked down at his hand and saw just a plastic handle and broken cord dangling there.

I was so shocked I laughed. “Really?” I said. “Is this a cosmic joke?” But Steve found nothing funny about it. In fact, when I looked into his eyes, I could see he was doing all he could not to cry.

Panic then took over. “Can you fix it?” I said.

Steve sadly shook his head. “I don’t have the tools.” And even though we were less than a mile to our bungalow, the snow was too loose and too deep for us to walk.

“All we can do now is to try to ride your sled out of here,” Steve explained. And so for over an hour, we pushed and we pulled on my snowmobile, and, sadly, I chose to also guilt my husband for not remembering to bring a shovel.

Finally we got my sled to budge, and no sooner than we started to rejoice, the belt began to burn up and my sled clonked out. Yep. No joke. It was fried.

Steve and I were beside ourselves. We had no way to repair it, no tools. We cussed and we cursed and we yelled at the sleds, at each other and at ourselves, but that didn’t change the fact that we would have to walk down that mountain if we had any chance at getting out of there alive.

No cell service for at least seven miles. No skiis, no snow shoes, and the winter gear we were wearing was all we had.

Our first thought was to head to a neighbors just 2 miles up the road. Less than 1/16 mile in though we realized the snow was not compact enough to walk. If we attempted to keep moving we would be buried for sure.

“Are you bleeding?” I yelled to Steve who was just a few feet ahead. I could see red globules in the snow. “Yes,” he called back. “I’m getting dehydrated so my nose is bleeding. It’s probably the elevation. I have a couple of water bottles in my backpack. Just wait there.”

A few minutes later he joined my side. We shared a water and began our trek, grateful that even though the snow was deep, it was packed down just enough from our sleds that we could begin walking out on foot.

Fifty minutes later I was cold sweating and my legs were cramped. We had only made it a mile and from our calculations we had at least six more miles to go before our cells would pick up a signal. “We need to move faster,” Steve said, “Kiddo will be back home in less than 3 hours and at this rate it will take us five hours to make it to the truck.”

As hard as I tried, I couldn’t walk any faster. My body was slowing shutting down.

“Keep going,” Steve urged. He could see I was losing momentum and was doing his best to urge me on.

An hour later, even his leg muscles were shot. It was like walking on jelly. “You need to go on without me,” I said. “You are our only hope of getting out of here alive.”

Steve began to shake his head. “I am so sorry,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I should have never taken us up here. I should have never bought those sleds.”

“Please,” I begged. “You need to keep going.” And he knew I was right.

For the next few minutes he held my gaze as he walked on up ahead.

Just before losing sight of him, I shouted. “I love you and always will.”

Rather than answer, he trudged on ahead. (later he told me he couldn’t say it back because it would have made it too real.)

Then just like that he was gone. It was now just me, my thoughts, and the mountain. The same mountain that I have escaped to every summer. The same mountain that has held me during my hardest hours. The same mountain that midwifed my four books as I brought them into creation.

Would I die on this same mountain today?

As I walked, I began to think about all the things my husband and I have endured. From our motorcycle trip to Alaska to finally writing my first novel based on that experience so many years ago. The addictions, the darkness, and the drama.

Life as we knew it was still a struggle. Why did we still bicker and fight? Why couldn’t I allow myself to love him as deeply as I knew I could?

The more I walked, the more I understood. We were finally at a point in our marriage where life is good. Two homes, two dogs, financial stability, and a child who really needs us, yet the more real it had become, the more I had pushed the joy away.

All truth be told, I was afraid. Releasing that book meant having to accept my past…from my drama and rage to Steve’s addiction to drugs, to admitting our marriage was filled with darkness for so many years.

Just thinking about it caused me to cough. And the more I coughed, the more my lungs began filling with fluid. After awhile I became too weak to move, and so I removed my backpack and used it to prop myself back in the cold snow, knowing full well my chances of freezing to death were increasing, but a part of me didn’t care.

I closed my eyes against the setting sun and began to face my own mortality. Was I ready to die?

“Get up,” I heard. It was the voice of God-source. “If you don’t keep moving, you will freeze to death.”

As I managed to pull myself up, I caught a glimpse of my husband’s footprints in the snow. These prints became my lifeline for awhile.

An hour or so later I was very weak. I could hardly feel my feet and my gloved fingertips were wet and starting to freeze.

“He just got a cell signal,” I was told. It was God-Source speaking to me again.

I was grateful to know Steve had made it closer to the truck. From what I could tell I still had over three miles to walk before I would catch up to him.

As I began wheezing and coughing up phlegm, I began to wonder who would raise my child if I was gone? Steve and I had just been informed the adoption was approved and that it is just a matter of paperwork now. Yet would I make it off that mountain to see that day come?

I removed my backpack (my shoulders were in so much pain), and fell back into the snow.

“Get up,” I heard a minute or so later. This time God-Source’s voice was really loud. “You MUST keep moving or you WILL freeze to death.”

I somehow managed to pull myself up, glancing several times at the disappearing sun knowing from my cell phone clock that I had less than an hour of daylight left.

After several more minutes I saw that I had a “1X” bar on my phone. It gave me hope. I tried dialing 911 again and again but the cell signal wasn’t strong enough to hold.

Despite this, I got a second wind. I managed to walk another 1/2 mile even with my coughing and liquid filled lungs. My cell had a stronger signal and so I attempted to send a text. “Is Kiddo safe?” I wrote to Steve, but the bars were too weak for it to send.

Ahhhh! I felt defeated. I fell back in the snow hoping and praying help would come, but at that moment it wasn’t meant to be.

I had no choice but to lie there or pull myself up. “Get up,” God urged me, and so I did.

My legs were heavy and my lungs were weak. The sun was now set and the freezing temps and shadows had moved in. I was so cold I could see my breath and my mind was starting to become delirious. I began sway walking, barely making ground, yet I moved just enough to get a 3G on my cell.

Yes! My text went through and before I knew it Steve was texting back. Kiddo was safe and help was on the way.

I managed to hike 6.5 miles that day. Steve hiked just shy of 8 and still has blisters on his feet. Our lives will never be the same.

After help came, I was reunited with my husband. The first thing he did was pull me into his arms and say, “I don’t ever want to fight with you again. Life is too short and I love you so much.”

I now hug him tighter, love him longer, and cherish what we have. Though, yes we did have times in our life that caused me to question my worth and I held back in loving him as deeply as I knew I could because I still feared being hurt, that part of me died on that mountain that day, along with the me that fears what others think and the me that kept holding back, and the me who wondered if she would ever be “good enough” as a wife or as a mother. I now know better because I am better.

Yes, self sabotage can be good when it allows the old you to die so a new you can fully rebirth. Our experience this week has made me a stronger woman who knows why she is here . . . not only to be a great mother to my child and a wonderful wife to my husband, but also to live my life’s purpose and to bring more love, unity, and miracles into this world! God is good!
——

ete

Sabotaging Self – Part 1

“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” ~ Alyce Cornyn-Selby

So, Kiddo woke up to some small gifts, happy at first to see the presents in the stocking, and then slowly began to destroy the joy.  

And like a crab in slow boiling pot, I didn’t even realize what was happening until it was almost too late.

At first “them” was having fun with one of the gifts, sitting and playing and laughing, the natural thing to do.

After some time though I gave two more minutes, saying we had an appointment that couldn’t be missed. I explained the next couple of minutes could be used to finish up playing OR we could work together quickly to get ready and then use the rest of the time to play.

Kiddo chose that we hurry so there was enough time to play. “Great idea,” I said.

Truthfully, we had plenty of time before the appointment, so I wasn’t very concerned either way, yet Kiddo’s unconscious mind had plans of its own.

Part way through getting dressed, “them” began to slow down to the pace of a lethargic snail. I had all I could do to keep prompting with a patient smile.

“Everything okay?” I asked as calmly as could be.

Kiddo nodded then finished getting dressed.

A few minutes later, we were eating, and same thing — Kiddo began staring off into space and then stopped chewing altogether. It was so out of character I began to grow concerned.

I checked Kiddo for a fever and almost had myself convinced that “them” must be sick, but there was no indication of that being the case.

“I see you’re eating really slow. Could you go faster please?” I asked.

“Yes mama,” I was told, but as soon as I got up to feed the dogs, the snail-pace continued. It was like watching a slow motion scene on a screen.

Soon we were almost out of time, so I tried something new. I starting using the stocking’s contents as a lure.  “You told me you really wanted to play with your new toys, correct?”

Kiddo nodded. “Then I’ll need you to start mover faster,” I encouraged.

Though this led to a finishing of breakfast, when it came time to brush teeth, Kiddo stopped moving altogether and just stared into the mirror.

So I said what most parents would, “I see you are staring into the mirror and I’m happy you like looking at yourself. Right now though I need you to brush your teeth good and fast if you still want to play with one of your toys.”

Kiddo began to cry, refused to cooperate, pulled pants down to sit on the toilet with head in hands only to admit, “I don’t hafta’ go.”

I knelt down to this child and looked deeply into this little Kiddo’s eyes. They were sad, and that’s when I finally recognized what was happening.

Having a child who is traumatized is difficult enough but holidays and special occasions contain triggers with even bigger challenges.

Kiddo was self-sabotaging. — Stuck in a conflict between a conscious desire and an unconscious want that results in patterns of self-destruction.

And now that I knew that, I knew what to do . . .

——

ete

Part 2 coming soon

Dog-Tired Part 1

“If you’re completely exhausted and don’t know how you’re going to keep giving this much of yourself day after day, you’re probably a good parent.” ~ Bunmi Laditan

So it happened. My patience gave out and I yelled hard.

Hubby and kiddo were gone. I  had a small window of free time and was so grateful for the silence I almost cried.

Though deep down I had known I’ve been grieving solitude, I had been far too busy to process it all.

Head’s up: My pent up feeling were about to have a field day!

“You’re becoming a snapper head,” my husband Steve had said the night before. It’s the name I’ve asked him to call me when I’m acting like a “B.”

“I know it” I admitted, “and I’m sorry, but all these responsibilities are starting to take a toll.”

Steve laughed. “Whatever. Just please stop making me walk on eggshells, okay? Besides, how hard can staying home be?”

I did my best to explain but he didn’t get it. For 10 straight months I’ve been knee deep in playtime, bath time, bed time, and meal time day after day plus running Kiddo to at least 3-4 doctor, counselor, therapist and specialist appointments per week.

For anyone who has every been the primary caregiver of a child with special needs, I understand how exhausting it can be.

And now, with a moment to myself,  I was determined to relax no matter what.

I moved to my office downstairs. My desk was covered in receipts. It had been months since I was able to reconcile the books or file the bills.

Tension moved through my shoulders and tight neck.

Staring at the futon, I sighed. Should I take a nap? When was the last time I had gotten at least 8 hours of sleep?

My head turned toward the laundry. I winced. Wet clothes were in the washer, another pile on the dryer, and when I opened the hamper it too was full.

Stress stacked up inside me with no escape.

Then the dogs started barking from the back yard- the kind of bark that goes right through you – the kind that makes you cringe because you cannot help but wonder what your neighbors might think.

I took a deep breath, hoping it might calm me down, but the dogs kept yelping so loud it pierced my ears.

“Ahhh!” I loudly shouted, running to the window on the lower floor. I spotted some turkeys near the front of the house.

The barking persisted and would’t let up.

I took a flight of stairs so I could let both pets inside. As I opened the door, one of the dogs ran past me and left a long trail of mud on all the floors.

I screamed. I yelled. I lost my sh*t.  I was aware of my volume and didn’t care.

——

ete

Part 2 coming soon . . .

An Imperfectly-Perfect New Arrangement

“Every time I change the way I explain myself to myself, I have to rearrange the story of my life.” ~Mason Cooley

 

It’s been said we can never step into the same current twice, yet for most of us we can at least predict the level of the water and how it flows.  – That is until a child like Kiddo comes into your life . . .

Nine months ago our river was redirected and our lives overturned. Little did I know my life would look the way it does today.

After Kiddo arrived, I had to grieve on and off in order to mourn my old life and give room for celebration of the new.

A marriage counselor shared this some time ago: “When a child comes into the picture, it’s like mixing up a mosaic. All the pieces you started with are still there but the perception shifts because the pieces are rearranged.” ~ Gina E.

Even today I keep breathing around each river bend. . .

Accepting that clients are okay with waiting and are ready as time allows.

Accepting that our spare bedroom is no longer a place for motorcycle garb, camp gear, or seasonal clothes but rather a toddler’s hang out filled with flashlights, books, and forts designed for laughter, play and sleep.

Accepting that the bathtub is no longer a private sanctuary filled with candles, soaps, and oils, but more of a hang out for rubber ducks, squirt guns, alphabet letters, and toy boats.

Accepting that the toothbrush holder does not have to have a designated spot and that it is okay to share brushes because after all, the baby teeth are at least getting brushed.

Accepting that morning meditation includes a second set of hands and little feet with lots of hugs and kisses in between.

Yes,

I am accepting our imperfectly-perfect new arrangement, filled with lots of sticky twists and gooey turns.


ete

(Note: For confidentiality reasons, “Kiddo” and “them” refers to the child in our foster care at the time of this post.)

Life Is A Gift

“Synchronicity is God sending us messages anonymously.” ~ Deepak Chopra

In the summer, a doe visits us on our mountain property. We call her Mandi. This is her 4th year so far, and I know this because when Mandi was just a fawn she was curled up under some willows down by the creek. I would hear her cry out every now and again.

For several days I listened and I prayed, all the while remaining hopeful her mom would return, but she never did.

Around day four, Mandi began to move around. Her legs were wobbly and her white spots were fresh. I could sense her hesitancy as she gained the courage to venture from out of her hiding spot.

Slowly, she made her way over to our bird feeders. I joyously watched her munch on some fallen corn and downed seeds. From a distance, I began to quietly talk to her, reassuring her that everything would be alright.

I knew Mandi’s chances of survival were slim, but that didn’t stop me from having hope. I kept telling her again and again that she was safe and that so long as she stayed close to our house and remained tucked into the shrubbery every night, her chances of survival would be good.

My heart so wanted to walk near her, yet I intuitively knew the importance of keeping my distance so that Mandi could thrive in her natural environment.

I continued to trust and to pray.

Around day seven, God-Source sent in a mama doe with a youngling. This doe allowed Mandi to nurse for awhile, and it was beautiful to watch. I had thought for sure they would all walk away together as a family, but for whatever reason the doe and her youngling moved on after the feeding. This went on for several nights until Mandi was strong enough to make it on her own.

Today it is not uncommon to see Mandi two to three times throughout the day. She often returns to lick off the salt block or roam through the grass, munching on wild clover or leftover seed casings from the lawn.

Last month Kiddo noticed this special deer for the first time when I began talking to her from our front porch.

“Hello, Mandi,” I said knowing it was her, because unlike the other deer who wander in, she is not the least bit fearful of our dogs.

“Mom, who’s Mandi?” Kiddo whispered in awe.

I smiled then explained the story of how Mandi and I first met.

After a moment of silence, Kiddo’s reflecting eyes lit up.

“Mom, guess what? Mandi’s birth parents couldn’t take care of her so God brought her here where she is safe –She is just like me!”

I embraced Kiddo with a nod while silently giving thanks to God-Source for sending such a gentle creature with a beautiful reminder of the gift in everything.


ete

(Note: For confidentiality reasons, “Kiddo” and “them” refers to the child in our foster care at the time of this post.)

Abandon’Meant’

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

These past few weeks have contained a lot of emotional release for Kiddo. I recently came back into the house to witness “them” curled up in a ball and sobbing uncontrollably.

I had told Kiddo I had to leave the house for just a minute, but somehow “them” interpreted this as my leaving for good even though I was just running to the end of our driveway.

After some hugs and a talk to clear things up, Kiddo began crying even harder letting me know “them” was still afraid. “Don’t ever leave again, okay?” Kiddo said, somewhat bossy but mainly insistent.

I gently pulled Kiddo up so I could look deeply into “them’s” eyes. “You are safe,” I said. “I know you were feeling scared because I left you for a moment, and I’m sorry about the confusion, but I was gone for just a minute and then came back.”

We cuddled a little more as I began formulating a question to help shift “them’s” perception.

Knowing “them’s” history plus having worked with many private clients whose inner child had become wounded at some point from the belief of abandonment, I lovingly asked, “So when you think about your last family, does it bring up memories of being left all alone?”

Kiddo sobbed even harder. After a little love and some coaxing, “them” shared how past parents had left and never came back.

“So you believe they left you?” I asked

Head deeply buried in my armpit, Kiddo nodded.

“Are you sure about that?” I asked, using the collar of my shirt to wipe “them’s” tears and runny nose. (yes I did)

Kiddo’s eyes met mine with a look of confusion.

“So you believe your last family left you?” I asked again.

Before Kiddo could answer I continued, “Or is it possible that YOU left them?”

Kiddo’s face shifted from confusion to contemplation.

“Just maybe,” I ventured to say, “They didn’t leave you, but YOU left them? Just maybe you knew deep in your heart that you were not safe and so you prayed hard to God who heard you and then an angel came to get you and helped you take some of your clothes and toys, and you both drove far far away.”

I could tell by Kiddo’s face this new perception was a healing one, and, so I instructed “them” to stand up in front of our full length bedroom mirror and repeat the following after me . . .

“I left you (X) because I wasn’t protected. Though I miss you lots, it was MY idea to leave. God heard my prayers and sent an angel to help pack up my things so we could drive far, far away. I left you because I deserve to be safe. I deserve healthy love. Thank you God for answering my prayers.”

Kiddo then stared in the mirror for quite some time before running back into my arms to declare, “Mama, I just said goodbye to (X). It was my idea to leave.”

Yes! Thank you God for helping Kiddo finally see that this was all “meant” to be.


ete

P.S.
Time to go wash the shirt 😉

(Note: For confidentiality reasons, “Kiddo” and “them” refers to the child in our foster care at the time of this post.)

The Rainbow in the Storm

“Childhood trauma does not come in one single package.” ~ Asa Don Brown

So the kicking, hitting, and spitting are now being replaced with angry words and tears. As much as I welcomed the change, I wasn’t convinced this new path was any easier.

I mean at least when Kiddo was sending me unexpected blows to the face, arms, and legs, I felt somewhat in control. Lately I have been barely able to hold the space whenever Kiddo opens up about past childhood events that are so gruesome and disturbing, I nearly lose my lunch.

Thankfully we have the assistance of a child counselor who is guiding me through it step-by-step.

One late afternoon Kiddo was triggered by another memory so heavy it hurt my heart. For privacy sake we’ll call this particular perpetrator “X.”

“Aren’t you angry at “X”, Kiddo?” I asked, slapping a cushion for emphasis.

Kiddo turned and slapped the cushion too. “Yes, Mama, I mad.”

Knowing the importance of giving this pain a healthy outlet, I led Kiddo outside and together we took turns naming each abuser, including “X”, as we kicked a soccer ball “to the curb.”

Once there was no more anger left to give, Kiddo started walking toward the house only to turn and run into my arms.

Sobbing, “Mama,” Kiddo said in between each spilled tear. “I feel very sad ‘cuz I miss “X” a lot.”

I held and rocked Kiddo for several minutes as we spoke about confused feelings such as loving and loathing “X” who was a primary caregiver in recent past.

A little later as our day was winding down, I intuitively asked, “Kiddo, are you ever angry with God because of all that has happened to you?”

Kiddo thought about this for a moment. “Yes, Mama. I angry at God and the angels ‘cuz they made very bad choices.”

“Do we need to go kick the ball again before bed?”

Without hesitation, Kiddo’s kind eyes met my soul. “No, Mama. it’s okay. God and the angels are making good choices again because I am safe with you and Papa now.”

(Be still my heart.)

ete

(Note: For confidentiality reasons, “Kiddo” and “them” refers to the child in our foster care at the time of this post.)

‘Moms’ The Word

“Everything has changed and yet, I am more me than I’ve ever been.” ~ Iain Thomas

It’s been nearly 6 months since Kiddo walked into our world. Never could I imagine that such a little soul could change my whole life in such a short amount of time.

In all honestly “them” has been both a blessing and a pain in the you know what depending on the day, and from what other moms have told me this is pretty typical.

Add in past triggers such as trauma, abandonment, negligence, and abuse, and this might explain why Kiddo has been acting out in such dramatic ways.

Numerous times in the last few weeks I have been kicked, hit, and spit on whenever things do not go “them’s” way.

“Given all this little one has been through I am not at all surprised,” the child psychologist recently said. “Kiddo is finally feeling safe, so consider these behaviors a huge compliment.”

Hm. Okay. Maybe after I get past my surprise of how hard a little kid can hit, and then beyond my shame and guilt for having to hold “them” in a restraint for several minutes so we can both stay safe and until “them” is calm enough to receive love and reconnect.

Even though the fostering classes warned us that kiddos with special needs can be a challenge, until I actually experienced it, I had no idea how trying it could be.

Yes, the honeymoon is over so-to-speak, and now “the shit is getting real”: two to three doctors appointments per week; night terrors; temper tantrums; and lack of sleep – all are taking its toll.

“Have you considered giving “them” back to the state?” – This is a question that has come up more than once from some other moms who are close family and friends.

“Oh, Yea,” I honestly reply. “On more than one occasion.”

I then laugh to release my stress and say “but I just can’t. I committed to do this, and besides, Kiddo has been through much too much for me to walk away.”

The other person then usually replies, “You are such a gift to this child,” or “You sure are a good mom.” or “I don’t know if I could ever do it.”

Then at some point in the conversation someone asks, “How much help are you getting from others?’

I again laugh for release. “When you are a foster parent you are expected to stay home and watch the child, so other than some half days of daycare to shop or work with a client, not much at all.”

I then get asked, “Is your husband Steve around to help?”

“As much as he can muster,” I reply. “Right now he’s going through a training program for his job so Kiddo and I get to spend about 10-15 hours a week with him on average which isn’t as much as any of us would like.”

Recently a mom friend reminded me how important it is to have others who can relate. “Michelle,” she said, “if I were in your situation I would want someone to ask me if I have had time to grieve my old life and process all the new changes. So have you?”

No sooner than she finished, my eyes started welling up with tears.

I knew this was my clue to start asking for some help. And so I began with my mom friend who was kind enough to listen when I began to unload. She then opened her own backpack to share some of her personal fears, vulnerabilities, and experiences.

This really helped a lot. Not only because I appreciated the adult conversation but because it felt good knowing I wasn’t the only one who worries they’re messing their kids up or wonders if their parenting techniques are any good.

As the days went by I began asking for more help from other moms who then came forward with their own backpacks and experiences and vulnerabilities. Together we dumped, unloaded, and sorted things out.

Since then I have come to appreciate why it is said being a mom is the hardest yet most important job one can ever do.

Thank you Mom Club (Regina, Bonnie, Kellie, Gayle, Naomi, Lindy and many more) for helping me lighten my load.


ete

(Note: For confidentiality reasons, “Kiddo” and “them” refers to the child in our foster care at the time of this post.)

Mother Lode

“Little souls find their way to you whether they’re from your womb or someone else’s.” ~ Sheryl Crow

In some cultures, there is a belief that children choose their parents so as to teach them whatever lessons they need to learn in this lifetime.

I am beginning to see the truth of this, because having Kiddo in my life these past four months has been some of the most magical and most difficult days of my life.

A huge KUDOS to all you parents reading this because I had no idea how time consuming or how challenging this would be. Juggling kids and career and spouse and pets plus making time for family, friends, and the upkeep of the house . . . Holy Moly. It’s a good thing I have been working out.

Seriously.

Also, things have been way more amazing than words can say such as being able to witness all the new ‘firsts’ and rapid growth spurts as Kiddo gets bigger before our eyes.

Yet as grateful as I am to God-Source for allowing me to parent this little miracle, I would be lying if I told you I have been patient and accepting this entire time.

Let me tell you there have been days where I couldn’t help but wonder “what the heck am I doing?” and “why did I ever say yes to this?”

Not only is this a child we are fostering with special needs which means we have very little history on record to refer to when we are asked questions like “did “them” have chickenpox or how was their delivery, but also I have no idea how long Kiddo will be with us, and this very idea has caused me to keep putting up protective walls as a crazy way of hoping it will keep me from getting hurt.

Yet the more I do this, the more Kiddo nestles deeper into my heart. Just a few weeks ago “them” started calling me mom.

The first time it happened I froze. I wasn’t able to accept this endearing term at all.

Why?

Well, at first I had myself convinced it was because I was afraid that God-Source might separate us again and I was keeping myself from being hurt.

But then I was reminded by the caseworker that “them” doesn’t remember meeting the birth mom and has no ties yet to anyone specifically. And that if I don’t allow a bond to form, the child may never attach to anyone.

Wow. This is a really big deal, so, why then have I been resisting it?

The truth is I have waited for this for a really long time, and now that I have it, I am having a really hard time allowing myself to be loved as a mom.

Though it’s beautiful and miraculous and honoring, it is also a huge responsibility.

Quite honestly I want to run and yet I want to stay. I love the role yet I also fear it. So there are days I want things to go back to the way they were but I know I would miss what I now have.

I have heard this is normal, yet I still feel afraid, and so I will do what I have taught so many others to do when they feel fear — I will keep moving through it one day at a time and continue to trust knowing I am doing the very best that I can.

Merriam Webster’s defines mother as “a female parent”

Parent is defined as “one that brings forth offspring (i.e.: parents to twins)”
OR
“a person who brings up and cares for another (i.e.: foster parent)”

Happy Mother’s day to all of you moms reading this.

Though admittedly I have been having difficulty allowing myself to be called MOM, I know it’s because I have had a belief that only the woman who gave birth to our Kiddo was deserving of this.

And so I take it one day at a time, slowly giving myself time to process it while allowing the possibility that Kiddo has really chosen me to be her mom. As I take this all in, I smile from within and simultaneously need to take a breath just to accept the enormity of it.


ete

(Note: For confidentiality reasons, “Kiddo” and “them” refers to the child in our foster care at the time of this post.)

Sink or Swim

“Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.” ~ Sophocles

For the past few weeks Kiddo has been part of a kid’s program that takes ‘them’ on lots of different adventures including a recent visit to the local pool.

Parents take turns volunteering during certain field trip events and for this particular one, I sat on the sidelines and stayed home.

Kiddo came home with a reminder note from the program that said:

Dear Parents, Please have your child arrive with their swimsuits underneath their clothes so they are ready to go.

A date and time then followed along with instructions for transportation.

I pinned the note to my refrigerator being sure to set out a swimsuit for Kiddo the night before the big day arrived.

Come the day of swimming, Kiddo was ready to go and just as instructed, ‘them’ was in their swimsuit with clothes on top.

A few hours later, Kiddo returned. “How was swimming?” I asked.

Kiddo shared it was fun.

“Where is your swimsuit?” I inquired.

Kiddo shrugged.

I pulled up ‘them’s’ clothes to have a look. No swimsuit.

Oh No! As I peered down Kiddo’s pants, it then hit me that I forgot to send undershorts along.

Quite, honestly, it never even occurred to me given I was so focused on remembering the day, the time, and the swimsuit.

What makes things even more strange is Kiddo WAS wearing undershorts but whose?

They were not any that I recognized.

“Who’s undershorts are these?” I kindly inquired.

Kiddo’s head fell down with guilt as ‘them’ then said, “Are you mad?”

I held back a laugh by biting down hard on my lip.

“Nope,” I grinned. “I’m not mad. Now please tell me who’s undershorts these are?”

Kiddo was reluctant at first, face a pout. With a little more coaxing and a hug, Kiddo finally blurted out, “They’re Sammy’s”

A cackle erupted from my mouth.

“Honey,” I said, doing my best to compose myself. “Does Sammy know you have these undershorts?”

I had to hold my stomach now I was laughing so hard.

Kiddo began backing away, probably unsure of how to react.

Composing myself, I asked again, “Honey, does Sammy know you took the undershorts.”

Kiddo shrugged, “I dunno’”

I began to imagine some poor child in the swimming room frantically looking for their undershorts because Kiddo felt the need to steal them off the floor.

Talk about sink or swim. And call me crazy, this caused me to laugh even more.

In all honesty, laughing is a coping mechanism on my part to release strong emotions.

I mean come on. I send my child to go swimming without a towel or dry undershorts.

“Okay, Kiddo,” I said, shaking my head in disbelief, “Thank you for telling me. Let’s take off these undershorts so I can clean them and you can return them to Sammy.”

As Kiddo pulled them down, the shorts were streaked with “bacon strips” and I have no idea if they were Kiddo’s or not.

Who was laughing now?!

ete

(Note: For confidentiality reasons, “Kiddo” and “them” refers to the child in our foster care at the time of this post.)