Friday, April 11, 2014

My Big Fat American Life (Teenage Boy Included)

If you have seen the  movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you may recall a scene when Gus Portokalos (Michael Constantine) says to his wife, Maria (actress Christian Eleusiniotis):

 "It is mistake to educate women but, nobody listen to me cause now we have a boyfriend in the house! Is he nice Greek boy? Oh no no Greek! No Greek xeno! Xeno with the long hair on top of his head!


I love that line. I love how passionate the dad is about his child. Granted, the poor girl was 30 and way past her expiration date (another great line!), but still a child is a child is a child. Always.



Today's long overdue blog post is about....The boyfriend.

Or specifically, a boyfriend. A freckle faced youth with dazzling blue eyes and an incredibly respectful manner. Who is young. Oh, so young. But so is she. Sigh.

I have great mommy radar. When Boy was a youth, I always knew when he was up to no good. Even if I wasn't sure exactly what he was doing, I always knew he was doing something. So, when my radar started pinging BOYFRIEND, I casually asked KK if she had one. Her denial was sure and swift and a little too believable.

I asked. I threw out names. I joked.

She held firm to her story that there was no boyfriend. Until...

The night of her band concert she matter of factly told me that, "Colin (names changed to protect the guilty) will be playing percussion and his parents would like to meet you."

Colin is one of the boys that I had specifically asked about. Pointedly joked about. Looked her dead in the eye and said, "Is Colin your boyfriend????"

I stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the high school parking lot when she blurted the news of the non-existing boyfriend. Xeno! What transpired next was an angry tirade of words and thoughts. Hours later, when I reported the story to Beloved, he simply said, "Why didn't you just leave? Why did you let her manipulate the situation? She set you up. I would have told her to get her sneaky butt back in the car and drove home."

Gee, wish I'd thought of that.

But, I didn't. I met Colin (firm handshake, good eye contact) and his mother, who I am fairly certain thought I was the meanest mom on the planet. I was simply unable to stop my mouth from saying things like, "Oh, Colin TOLD his mother about YOU?!" and "Sure they can hang out...as long as there are eyes on them AT ALL TIMES!"

Oi.

Since that fateful night a month or so ago, Colin and KK have been texting up a storm. They say silly, gushy things to each other. We allowed them to go to a movie....with a chaperone. They've made plans to go to the mall (again, chaperoned). They say, "I love you".

Double Oi.

Here's the thing; KK has trust issues. What happens when she goes to high school next year and Colin stays in middle school (yes, he's younger than she is)? Or worse, what will become of KK when they break up? And they will. they are just children after all.

Children playing with their hearts.

Who will be left to pick up the pieces of KK's fragile heart?

 Me, that's who. 

My friends, they don't get it. These friends fall into one of two camps. There are the ultra conservatives whose children do not date before age 18, of which I was a part of back when Boy and Girl were younger. The other camp consists of those who think dating and all that jazz, is a normal part of a child's development. They ask why I'm so anxious, when it's all so normal.

No one gets me.

We have a boyfriend. A boyfriend! A boyfriend in the house!

Is he a nice Christian boy? I don't know!

At this juncture, we are all over this situation like hawks. We keep our friends close...and our enemies closer.

Nick Portokalos:
I've never seen my sister this happy, Ian. If you hurt her, I'll kill you and make it look like an accident.









Tuesday, February 18, 2014

When it's Darkest

I have finally had an awakening.

All of KK's bad behaviors: the lying, the sneaking, the sorting through other people's personal belongings...

It's not about us. She would be this way if she lived in YOUR home. She is who she is who she is.

I think I've taken too much to heart. In my mind I have thought that because I do not treat her the way people in the past have treated her, that somehow that would equal her not treating me poorly in return. That by simply understanding, making allowances, and not fighting every fight, that she would just magically turn into someone else.

How silly of me!

When she lies, it's not about how I've treated her.

When she sneaks or hides things, it has very little to do with me.

She is who she is and she may never change.

Knowing this, does it change the way I feel about her? Do I love her less? Can I live knowing that her behavior may never, ever change?

This journey is indeed a snail's race.

The good news is, I've finally gotten over myself.

The better news is, we've learned how to deal with behaviors that are not healthy and that she simply much change in order to grow into a reasonably healthy adult.

We simply do not react. If she does XYZ than ABC happens. No discussion. No excitement. No drama. No crocodile tears (which, just between you and I, get me EVERY time).

Grow a spine! That's what the previous Foster Mom said to me. Grow. A. Spine! Yes, yes indeed.

Yet, I would counter that mantra with this: Be firm, be resolute, but do so with love.

When the world seems like such a dark, bitter, angry place - remember that YOU (I) am the good I hope to see in others.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Advice Welcome

I really don't know who to talk to about this. I have no friends (that I can think of) who have dealt with this issue. If there is anyone out there in cyberspace who can share some thoughts with me, I am open to listening.

KK doesn't believe in God.

It's not that we didn't know this. It's just that instead of saying things she thinks we want to hear, she is snarky. She is disrespectful. She no longer denies what we have suspected all along.

Our option is to pray.

Pray

Pray

Pray

I am unsettled by her attitude.

And I don't know what is truth and what are lies.

Please don't misunderstand, in so many, many ways she is doing great. She's made a friend - and that's huge! Sometimes, she is sweet and thoughtful. There are times that she is such a joy.

But it's the anxious, snotty, lying moments that make me crazy.

She's so closed off. How do I help her?

A few days ago, after we had completed all of our adoption paperwork, she told Beloved that once the adoption is final...that we are stuck with her.

Which makes me think that what our therapist said in the beginning is true, "The first year will be hell...the second will be worse."

Pray for us. Pray for her. I know that this is God's plan for our family.

I just don't know if I'm strong enough to handle it all.

After re-reading the above post and some of the previous post, I have come to the conclusion that this blog has become bi-polar.

har har har

Friday, January 10, 2014

Where to Begin?

As seen by the pictures posted below, we've been busy in the little, green house on the corner.

Our family is bonding and growing together. It's not always easy, but I think it's getting better. The girls have changed so much since they moved in with us....nearly one year ago!

I've been given a promotion as work and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I worry that it will be too stressful. I worry about it's affect on the girls. Then I realize that life is stress and knowing that is half the battle.

Both girls are simply thriving! We've had very few bad behaviors since the funeral of Beloved's brother in November.

Our adoption paperwork is nearly complete!

The girls each had a birthday - complete with Guinea pigs!

Girl got straight A's her first term at University!

Boy brought home a Girl...whom we LOVE!

I wish I could write more and exercise more and get more sleep.

But, as the saying goes, you can sleep when you're dead!

Peace to you this New Year.

And what a year it will be!!!!

DSCN0381.JPG

DSCN0381.JPG by bkwrm1967
DSCN0381.JPG, a photo by bkwrm1967 on Flickr.

We baked

DSCN0457.JPG

DSCN0457.JPG by bkwrm1967
DSCN0457.JPG, a photo by bkwrm1967 on Flickr.

We got a Christmas kitty!

DSCN0455.JPG

DSCN0455.JPG by bkwrm1967
DSCN0455.JPG, a photo by bkwrm1967 on Flickr.

There were matching dresses!

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DSCN0463.JPG by bkwrm1967
DSCN0463.JPG, a photo by bkwrm1967 on Flickr.

We celebrated Christmas and learned that it is possible to build a house of cards.

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We went to a wedding.

Band Concert

Kayleen and Hailey May 2013 by bkwrm1967
Kayleen and Hailey May 2013, a photo by bkwrm1967 on Flickr.

KK played in her first band concert.

finished pumpkins

finished pumpkins by bkwrm1967
finished pumpkins, a photo by bkwrm1967 on Flickr.

Pumpkin carving is fun with friends!

squishy

squishy by bkwrm1967
squishy, a photo by bkwrm1967 on Flickr.

We celebrated Halloween

Monday, October 14, 2013

How I Know She's Mine

I mentioned previously that my Beloved's brother is dying. The family gathered at middle brother's house on Saturday to be supportive and make sure that everyone had a chance to see oldest brother. After all, it's really only a matter of time.

KK had a previous event, so she missed out on meeting all of her cousins and aunties and uncles. Hay-Hay, on the other hand, lived up to her previous nickname of "Poker Face". She hardly spoke and if she did, it was barely above a whisper.

I was so thankful when Soldier Mommy and the Game Master appeared. Hay-Hay knows them and looks forward to seeing them. Part of the reason for this is that Game Master doesn't let her get away with acting shy around him! He sweeps her up and swings her around and really and truly makes her feel loved.

For the entire afternoon, Hay-Hay was glued to me, Beloved, or Girl. She didn't stray far.

Just as dusk was descending, I noticed that Hay-Hay was not glued to my side. I looked around...she wasn't anywhere in the kitchen. I looked out the window to where Beloved was standing. I could see all the other children playing, but there was no sign of Hay-Hay. I sought out Girl...and still no Hay-Hay.

She had refused to play with any of the other children.

Where had she gone?

I checked the bathrooms. I went outside and asked Beloved if he has seen her. I asked Girl if she knew where Hay-Hay had gotten to. We looked in bedrooms and down the street.

She was gone.

Other family members started to search as well.

All I could think was that I was going find her somewhere hidden away, with someone doing something awful to her...and I knew right then and there, that I would beat that person to death.

As rage and fear begin to fill my heart, my eyes searched each nook and cranny.

Beloved and I stood looking at each other, trying to figure out where to look next when our nephew remembered that his mom was moving a car. I whipped out my cell phone and punched her number. She answered on the 2nd ring...

"I HAVE YOUR DAUGHTER!"

Relief washed over me. Apparently, Hay-Hay had followed Solider Mommy out to the driveway and had been invited to ride along as Soldier Mommy moved her sister's car. Because the parking was tight, Soldier Mommy had backed the car around the corner and out of sight.

When they returned to the house, I explained to Hay-Hay that I was glad she was comfortable with Soldier Mommy and wanted to go places with her, but that she MUST always check with Beloved or me. "At least send me a text," I laughed.

It wasn't until we were driving home, Hay-Hay riding in Girl's car, that I realized how upsetting the entire episode had been. I told Beloved where my mind had gone and of the violent thoughts that had flooded my mind. I told him that I was certain that I would have killed someone had they harmed her.

Those few minutes had sealed our fates. This little girl is forever a part of our hearts and it doesn't matter if her last name is the same as ours or not. She is a part of us.

And so she is.




Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Grow a Spine

Recently, in fact just yesterday, someone told me that I needed to "grow a spine". She wrote this in regard to our relationship with KK and her bad, bad, bad behavior.

Grow.A.Spine.

First, let me just say that no one has spoken to me in that manner since my mother ... and I haven't spoken to that woman in years.

Second, I have a spine. It's right where it should be.

And thirdly, let me also state very clearly, that trying to bully me into something never works. It just pisses me off.

Honestly, it's all really my fault. I told previous foster mom about KK's very selfish, manipulative behavior. She, of course, informed me that KK pulled the same nonsense at their home the previous year. Was I angry that KK was playin' me like a fiddle? Yes, yes indeed.

Previous Foster Mom, who will be referred to as PFM from now on, sent me an email telling me that I need to LOCK KK DOWN! I needed to show her that I mean business. She said that KK will never respect me. She said, and I quote, "You need to grow a spine".

Ahem

I have a few issue, not only with the tone of PFM's email, but also with the content.

I do not, in my heart of heart, believe that LOCKING someone down and FORCING them to bend to your will brings true repentance or respect. When you back a wild animal into a corner, it's gonna come out fighting. Granted, this is not true of all people. For instance, our Girl, when she was just a wee blondie toddler, had a horrible temper. She flat out refused to stand in the corner in time out. I remember well my Beloved standing behind her, forcing her to stay in the corner until the timer announced she had completed her sentence. Girl screamed and pushed and attempted to force her little body around that of her father.

It didn't take long her Girl to learn that Mommy and Daddy will have their way and that she would not win these battles.

Now, KK is a scraper. She knows how to survive on the streets and she will use any means necessary to get her way. Locking her down will only bring out more of her survival instinct. Knowing this doesn't make me weak. It means I know enough not to stick my head in the lions mouth. You force an angry, hurting kid to "respect" you and what you get is false respect and someone stabbing you repeatedly with a knife in the middle of the night.

We'd all like to avoid that if possible.

Which brings me to another point that PFM made. She feels that KK is mentally ill. I think she's an anxious kid who has lived in the fight or flight mode her entire life. In other words, she is an adrenaline junkie. Her body doesn't know what to do when things are calm. This is one of the reasons we keep this kid busy!

If PFM really does believe that KK is mentally ill, does she truly believe that her solution of cruelty and hard work will suddenly make KK not a nutcase? I'm sure that eons of doctors would be thrilled to know that psychopaths, schizophrenics and others can be easily cured by simply speaking harshly to them and making them dig the fall potatoes from the garden.

Seriously.

And let's not forget her you need to grow a spine comment.

Actually, let us forget it completely.

Simply look at my adult children and then tell me what kind of parent I am.

This journey we are on is hard. I've been very transparent about it, but it's also so very, very good. God has shown us so much grace and mercy. What type of people would we be to withhold that same grace and mercy from those in need?

We are not doormats. We have drawn a line in the sand and we will not allow KK or anyone else to cross it without consequence.

If you must be a hater, please go somewhere else. I have enough on my plate right now and do not need your unsolicited advice.

Grow a spine....Indeed!








Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Strength of Mighty Men

The emotional turmoil in my house has been at Mach 5 for weeks now. It all came to a head this weekend when I called a bluff and made a trip to the ER.

No worries, everyone is fine. In fact, everyone is so fine that the trip to the ER only made me look foolish. Which is okay, it provided an answer I needed.

And the dance goes on.

The problem with all the stress and drama is that it is starting to show in our daily lives. We are stressed. We are tired. Life has all sorts of little problems that seem so much larger when you are in the trenches.

My Beloved is growing weary with the weight of life's matters. His brother is dying of cancer and even though the brother is a boob and has made so many bad, bad, bad decisions, he's still a brother. It hurts when a sibling is dying.

The girls are a constant ride of thunder and lightning. They are here! They are there! They are everywhere emotionally. We have a court date coming up, which means anxious, bad behavior on all fronts. They have homework. They play sports. They want, want, want.

My Beloved is a mighty man. He is the logical, unemotional side of this marriage. If he goes down...well..you get the picture.

We need respite care and soon.