I recently discovered on line shopping. Turns out it’s a real thing. Not some passing fad and even though people can ruin your credit score and steal your whole identity, it’s totally worth never leaving the comfort of your home. Did you know you can buy practically anything on Amazon.com? I am sitting here enjoying my 10th Jolly Rancher fire candy, thanks to the gift of on line shopping.
I had no choice but to turn to on line shopping now that I have two teenagers plus the other two kids who always seem to need me at every single moment of every day. And if they all happen to be at school and aren’t actually in the process of saying, “Hey mom, can you”…INSERT IMMEDIATE NEED HERE, then you will catch me doing their laundry or stocking up on food. Surely now you understand my need for on line candy purchasing.
I used to pride myself in being organized. Now I’m just happy to leave the house knowing all four kids have on clean underwear. Or at least just two of them. Whatever. I guess some of us just get to a point in our lives where we realize that life is messy and that’s okay.
Today I am living large, as it is the one day a week I have exactly 3 hours to my whole self. All alone. With no one calling out, “Mom, I’m hungry”, or “Mom did you wash my Star Wars shirt?” (all of his shirts, btw) Today was the first day since MAY that I had alone time. I hardly knew what to do with myself. Should I go on a hike up the Flatirons, or should I go window shopping at the mall? In the end I decided to run the stairs at City Park for exercise and go to Costco, in order to feed the children later. I guess you could say it was not very adventurous, but I felt great after my workout, and even greater that I can feed these people for a few more days.
Later today we will all head over to the school to watch Faith play volleyball. A couple sweet friends from church are coming to support her and in my opinion watching a volleyball game is one of the most fun things to do. Faith is fun to watch because not only is she a really decent player, she enjoys the game. She loves being out there with her friends, and she wants everyone to succeed. Faith has improved so much over the years and I hope she continues to play, but if she doesn’t I know she’ll shine in other ways.
One of the hardest lessons I’ve been learning this past year is that my kids are going to decide who they want to be and what they are going to be about all on their own. For so many years, I had a picture in my head of the 3 older kids as adults, with a very real sense of what they would become. Then we decided to foster/adopt a child. We opened our hearts and home to a kiddo that had another mom before me. Actually two if you count birth and foster mom. She had roots given by her genetic environment, as well as a foundation laid from being in the foster care system. All the control Billy and I had with the first 3 kids was gone when our youngest came to jump on this crazy train. Now I see how naïve I was to think she would come, welcome us all with open arms, and our love would absolutely heal any and all of the hurt she had felt in her young little life. Some of that is true, but the reality is a lot can happen in 2 years. While her first 2 years were marked with love and security in the foster care system, somewhere deep in her little psyche, she has known rejection, abandonment, apathy, and loss. This is where I have learned that raising a child like her is not about making my agenda known, but it’s about earning her trust so that she can see I am for her, not against her. The more I talk to other parents of fostered children, I learn thank God, we are not alone.
Billy has a saying that gets really old. And super annoying. But darn it all, he is right on. Whenever we are in the midst of a really hard day (with any of our kids for that matter) he reminds me, “Lisa, it’s not about you”. Sometimes it makes me want to punch him, but only because I know he is right. Parenting is a constant and on-going journey of ups and downs and if you are a mom or dad, you don’t get a day off. Some seasons are easier, like watching your 13 year old get an overhand serve over the net, or seeing your 16 year old work hard and earn his license. Then there are seasons where you fight your heart out to teach and guide in love, and your words fall on deaf ears. You struggle to help them see who they can be if they believed in themselves. You have to let go of the need to make them someone they don’t want to be, and encourage them to find out who it is they truly are. And even when they choose a path you didn’t, you love them still.
Who knew that back in January 2000, while the world still talked about Y2K, I was embarking on the greatest and most difficult task ever set before me. For some reason God allowed Billy and I to become parents four times over. The word “humbling” doesn’t even touch how we feel about these blessings. Exhausted, weary, and overpowered describe life too. But we are not alone, and we trek on, leaning into to the struggles and the joys, thanking God, our Father, each day for walking beside us when we are strong, and carrying us when we have nothing left. God is a good, good Father.