Tag: kids

Scared

brave

I heard this quote listening to Jen Hatmaker‘s Willow Creek podcast from Mother’s Day, and I immediately thought of how scared I am as a parent. I think I’ve gotten better, I really do, but I have a long way to go.

This was never more apparent to me than Continue reading

Kids Are Resilient.

This picture was taken the day we separated.

This picture was taken the day we separated.

They are, aren’t they? Kids can withstand so much; they’re just so resilient.

I hear this a lot when adults justify the decisions they make; I actually said it once to justify my own divorce. Kids are resilient; and she’s young! At five months old, she’ll never remember us together, so it’s not like she’ll miss having her mom and dad together. It will be her normal. 

Lots of rationalizations, there. In retrospect, it wasn’t actually important that I end my marriage sooner because it wouldn’t actually be better for her. It would actually be better for me.

It hurts just to type that, y’all. To admit it, right there in black and white. Sometimes transparency is for the birds. I convinced myself that The Oldest One would be better if mama was happy. You know what didn’t occur to me, though? Making the best of the situation. Maybe not making it obvious that we were unhappy. Perhaps acting like a grown up. You know what kids don’t do? Analyze their parents to see if their happiness is at an adequate level. Kids are naturally kind of narcissistic, and I don’t think they really care if their parents are happy because I don’t think they notice, unless there is abuse.

What she needed was to not feel the gut wrenching pain of not being able to see her daddy every day when she was two years old, and then three, and then four, and so on; she needed to see her brother on a daily basis. What she needed was to feel loved and secure, and to have a predictable schedule. She needed to feel like she could speak freely about her love for both of us.

Many of us wake up every day at a time we don’t like and drive to a job we can’t stand because it’s the responsible thing to do for the season we are in. We call that responsible, mature, hard-working.

When we wake up one day in a marriage we can’t stand with a partner that makes us want to punch a face, we make the decision to leave or to stay. And if we leave, we call that strong and brave. And if we stay, we call it weak and stupid.

Yet both are responsibilities; commitments that we have made. Ones we honor because it’s the right thing to do, or because it’s the only thing to do, or because we don’t have any other options. And somehow, leaving the spouse we hate seems more logical than leaving the job we hate.

We take a situation and say “I can’t do this anymore. They are awful to live with. I am slowly going crazy here. I deserve better than this.” And we leave, because even with all the coping mechanisms we have as adults, we can’t handle it anymore. And what results is a situation where the parent has escaped the madness, and the children, who don’t have the mental capacity to rationalize behavior, understand triggers, or build protective barriers, to deal with it. Alone. We need them to be resilient; more resilient than we are ourselves. We have to believe that this will be the best for them, because it’s the best for us.

Unfortunately, children aren’t resilient, they just don’t know how to express it. And if they do, they don’t want to add to the mounting emotional problems that they see their parent going through. And they do see it. They have very little coping mechanisms and what little they do will likely damage them as they carry them into adulthood. What they do not have is a group of friends that will bring them dinner and sit at the table and ask them how they’re handling things.

Kids aren’t resilient, they go into survival mode. They do what they can to survive, and they learn all new behaviors to cope with the changes in their lives; and not always good ones.

As an adult, I cannot fathom coming home one day and finding out I don’t live there anymore. I cannot fathom switching places that I live 3 days a week (ever noticed how draining business trips are?). I cannot fathom one day finding out that strangers live with me.

But kids are resilient. If you need proof of how children cope really well with traumatic situations in their childhood, watch Intervention.

There was no abuse in my first marriage, and I want to make that very, very clear. We were just not good together by any stretch of the imagination. This entry is not written as all-encompassing, and it is not written with regards to abuse.

 

I hate this bathroom.

burn-it-down

I wish

Ok, so we stayed on vacation an extra day because the contractor let us know that the bathroom wouldn’t be done in time. This was expected for a few reasons, one being that the “little bathroom renovation” turned into like…rebuilding a house. The floors were saturated in “things that had leaked” which is what I will term it because just trust me. The walls behind the shower surround were crumbling and covered in black mold. It had to be completely rebuilt. In fact, it was in such bad shape that it was almost a downstairs bathroom.

We had a great trip back, to be honest, especially considering we had Grumpy Toddler in the car. It’s amazing what two iPads, a dual screen DVD player with 12 DVDs to choose from, books, crayons, a big sister, barbies, baby dolls, and a Daddy that will sit like a pretzel just to hold a toddler’s hand will do. Whatever, it worked and I should probably be ashamed but I am not because we all got back alive and really, that’s my job as their mom.

We made excellent time, too. We had told Daniel that we’d be back around six, and I didn’t consider that timeline I’d given him when I made great time and arrived at four, to a house in complete disarray (also known as a construction zone). The bathroom was not nearly done. Looking back, we should have immediately left and come back later to get out of their way. Instead, they scurried to get it cleaned up and get out of our way. They offered to set the toilet but the floor wasn’t grouted and hey, who needs a toilet anyway? I lugged the kids back into the car (though not until The Oldest One had found herself up a tree and face to face with a volleyball-sized hornets’ nest and some really awful stings) and drove to my parents where I showered and prepared for work the next day. The toilet is currently in the living room, and so is the vanity and the bathroom door. I won’t lie, either…the bathroom looks so big with no door or furniture. I’m jealous.

What is done is stunning. He put the vertical mosaic tile in the exact spot I wanted it but couldn’t describe (I’m sure he really appreciated that). He also gave me the ledge I wanted really badly. The floors are going to look amazing – the tile was set but not grouted yet. The picture above is a little sneak peak for you guys in the meantime. It definitely is a different bathroom!

I’m not going to lie, though, I really hope that when I get home tonight, the toilet is in the bathroom.

A Party Ten Years in the Making

(Written in May – look, I’ve been lazy, alright?)

The Oldest One’s father and I separated in 2005 when she was five months old. Like most divorces, it was contentious, and a lot of bad choices were made on both sides (mostly the in way I reacted to things). I’ll admit that it’s not easy to share custody of an infant, and I most certainly didn’t make it any easier. There were times that it got easier, but mostly it was hard.

Luckily, we both always loved her more than we hated each other, and that has always made all the difference. She’s been blissfully ignorant about the Continue reading

Mother Daughter Talks

(Written in February, 2014)

The other day I found out about some mean girl stuff that was going on and got to have a long talk with The Oldest One, who turns 10 in April. She’s growing so fast. Always a wise old soul, she’s been a breeze since she was born, aside from being a rough baby. In ways, she has raised me more than I have raised her. Quick to forgive and never without a smile, she’s a parent’s dream.

She’s also incredibly faithful, and her thirst for more of God always takes me off guard. Baptized at 9 this year after years of asking me, she is serious in her faith and rarely waivers.

She’s also every bit of a people pleaser, which worried me as she grew and the other day, proved that I wasn’t very off in my concern that, although she is incredibly strong, her desire to please may cause issues down the road with Continue reading