Wrapping Our Heads Around Another New Reality

This week, the kids are at their bio-dad’s. It’s their first long visit since last December; only their 3rd visit in that time.

The past two years, visits have been very few and far-between, but recently, he has decided to get them one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer, and a couple of other times during the year.

It’s all been very stressful. When he wasn’t seeing them regularly (and for a long while, not calling) there was a certain mindset I had to go into, in order to shield the children from the reality of the situation. They, too, had to try to make sense of the things that they were aware of, and how things went when they did visit him. They met many different girlfriends/fiancees during that time, and stayed at different places; all very confusing.

But, they adjusted, and coped rather well with the absence. They’ve always been good about asking questions and they asked a lot of them:

Why didn’t he call… again?
Why didn’t he come down for a weekend, when he promised he would?
Why doesn’t he write letters back?

You know, the stuff that screws with anyone, but especially a child.

Every situation is different, and so is every parent/child relationship. Our children want to know things and will drill down to get to the answer. They also know when you are bullshitting them. So, while I haven’t divulged every detail, I haven’t lied and I didn’t sugar-coat what I did tell did them.

Having their reality explained to them in terms that they can grasp, while also knowing, without a doubt, that they are safe, secure and loved, has been a healing balm for them.

We moved forward and created a new normal. One with an absentee father. Because we had too.

But now, we are having to adjust. Again. And it’s been difficult for all of us, because, once again, we are having to wrap our heads around a new reality for them. For our family.

I still feel the need to protect them, and be on guard.

I am, cautiously, thankful that they will now have (*fingers crossed*) regular visits with him.

I am nervous that he will slip back into his old ways, but praying he doesn’t.

I am amazed by the resiliency of children.

*holding breath*

Just Write

This blog is my spot for sifting through my deeper, not-always-pretty thoughts. For the less gritty version of me, be sure to check out my other site: Living The Life Fantastic, where I blog about how we’ve been happily moving forward.

Dedicated

Educational television in primetime. Who knew?

I know when I am out-and-about I tend to notice various parenting styles. It’s so easy to quickly view a snippet of a person’s day and judge them. Screaming child: “Ugg, why doesn’t she quiet him down”. Whining child: “Why doesn’t she just tell her no and let her no mean NO!”. Child running wild: “Can’t she control her children!!” When my daughter was born, she made parenting seem really easy. My confidence as a parent was boosted and I allowed myself to believe that part of it had to do with the fact that I was just an AWESOME! MOM! and just knew how to do it right.

Last night, I was watching one of my all-time favorite shows, The Amazing Race. I am determined to race in it one day. But that is another post.

Two of the racers are a father/daughter team. They are both intelligent, hard-working professionals. But watching them race was painful to watch. I found myself wanting to shake him and hug her and then yell at him and then yell at her. He went on and on to her about her mistakes and her short-comings. His “help” was far from it. It toed the line of belittling. At one point, I was so angry at him, and thought “how dare he talk to his own flesh and blood like that!?

Then I thought, what if someone were filming me? What would they say about how I talk to my children? Would they see a snippet and judge my whole person and think I’m an awful parent?

Remember what I said about how I felt like I was AWESOME! MOM! before?

Fast forward seven years and three more kids later. I like to think that I am more realistic and less judgmental of other parents. Getting around is no simple task with children in tow. It’s hard. And parenting is hard. There are good days and not-so-good days (and the occasional flat-out horrid day).

I watched this father/daughter team as they reached the pit-stop and the love this father has for his daughter became more apparent.

I’m sure when he sees himself on tv, he will cringe and he will be hard enough on himself. He doesn’t need my input. Besides, who am I, other than a sinner who tries to raise her children and love them the best that she knows how, but who daily has to apologize to said children and my Heavenly Father for being less than encouraging and perfect.

We need to encourage our children and lift them up. Life’s hard enough.

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:21

She’s growing up

I’m almost too late for getting my sunday NaBloPoMo post up…

I could write a sweet nostalgic post about this. But it’s gettin’ late.

So, suffice it to say, my baby girl lost her first tooth today.

Her smile will never be the same again…

I don’t think it’s possible to top my binder idea… But the photos below will make up for it

I didn’t think that I would do another Works for me Wednesday… I didn’t think I had any good ideas for it. But over the past week I’ve run down my mental list of ideas and things that have worked for me and my family over the years.

This is another simple one (I guess they all are, really… isn’t that the point):

When my daughter started school, she wanted a locket necklace for keeping a photo in. This could be a WFMW in itself, because it was a great idea for helping her feel secure during those first day of school jitters.The problem was, where do you get a photo that small? I could have spent hours trying to resize a photo to print out and fit properly in the locket. But I happened across the index sheet that came with some photos I had printed a few years ago. (the printer I have now also allows me to print out this same type of sheet)

These photos were the perfect size for putting into the locket.

I suppose I could just use my software and resize them to this tiny size, but it’s a guessing game to do it that way.

And you know what? My brain just can’t handle that type of pressure these days. Seriously? I worry that my brain would just completely shut down from the overload.

Onwards…

I wanted to post some photos that I have been meaning to get up…

This photo is of me with the kids at the hospital. How I hate that it came out so blurry… At least it took. The new batteries Sean ran to purchase once I was settled in at the hospital, never worked. So the photo of the doctor holding Declan? Yeah… that didn’t take…

My sweet girl holding our newest sweet babe:

One day I will have a photo of Quinn without bruises and scabs and such… maybe…

I love this blanket Declan is in. I want one for myself.

Can you say “FLIRT”? How about “sweetness”?