Friday, March 23, 2012

Does It Bother You?

The first time I was asked if something bothered me was when a foster mother asked me if it bothered me to see my son being handcuffed and taken to juvenile detention.  My response was quick and easy... "NO."  She looked at me rather funny.  "You have no idea how many times I have seen this," I replied.  It didn't change her feeling of how I SHOULD be feeling.

It really puzzles me how people who haven't been down our road feel they have the right to decide how we should feel. Yes, she was his foster mother...for less than a year at that point...and I'd been doing this for 11 years, had been in front of every judge in our county, and had seen my son in handcuffs more times than I can remember.  No, it doesn't bother me.  It's not a reflection of my parenting.  I didn't make the choices that landed him in jail.  He owns these choices.

In the past 6 weeks or so we have received numerous phone calls from the police, our son's biological brother and various other people about his latest illegal activities.  We have even gotten a few phone calls from our son, usually wanting money.  He knows we don't pay bail money, so for a few days he sat in jail.  He is currently up on felony burglary charges, and he may have some car theft charges coming, and possibly some more burglary charges.

When I see our son's brother's name come up on the caller ID on my phone, I groan.  I groan because I know that our son has done something else to his brother that is causing his brother problems.  Right now we work with his brother on how to file the appropriate charges with the police.  Our son dropped off a flat screen TV and surround sound at his brother's house as "payment" for money he stole from his brother.  We all know the TV is stolen and we don't want his brother charged with receiving stolen property, so we navigate that system to help his brother.

I got a text from my husband today telling me that the police are looking for our son.  It doesn't bother me.  In some respects, I'm numb.  I've been through this too many times to get worked up each time this happens.  Actually, I expect this to happen.  My prediction is that he will be in jail/prison before his 19th birthday in June.  In a twisted way, that thought is comforting.  I will know where he is (he is currently house hopping - living with whoever will take him in until he burns the bridge with them) and that he is being fed.  He does "well" in jail.  He needs the structure in order to be successful in his life.  They may treat his Bi-Polar disorder there as well. If they don't, he's at least contained.

So, no, none of this bothers me.  It does bother me to see him throwing his life away, but it doesn't surprise me.  He could have done something incredibly amazing with his life, but each day he slips further and further away.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Self Care

I can "preach this sermon" like nobody's business, but I fail miserably at it.

When you are parenting emotionally disturbed children it is especially essential that you take care of both your mental and physical health.  You can not be an effective parent if your health is lacking.

I am an on-the-go person.  I rarely sit down and just relax.  When you parent kids with special needs you give up a lot, so as Lent approached, the thought of giving up yet another thing is emotionally draining to so many of us.

Several years ago I had a discussion with some of the group at ATN about giving something up.  We decided that we would do something to nurture ourselves or do something to grow spiritually.  Giving back to ourselves is one of the best things we can do for our family and ourselves, but one of the most difficult things to do.

It doesn't have to be something major.  Today I am going to get my nails done.

This month I am doing some traveling, which is incredibly restorative to me.  Last week I went on a business trip to Chicago.  How can a business trip be relaxing?  First of all, I rarely travel for business.  Secondly, I went with my boss and a co-worker and we are all good friends.  We laughed a lot, were treated to a wonderful dinner by the company, and just enjoyed each other's company.  About 10 minutes after I returned from that, I turned around and went to Madison for my Lay Academy class. The class is full of good friends, and helps me to grow spiritually.  I was gone from Thursday morning until lat afternoon on Saturday.  It wasn't a long time, but it was enough to help my spirit.

Next week I will head to the mountains in North Georgia for a ATN Board of Directors meeting.  The setting is beautiful and the friends are wonderful.  To be among people that understand your life and you don't have to offer any explanations or excuses is so refreshing.  I will be gone from Thursday morning until late Sunday night.  Again, not a long time, but refreshing and renewing.

My self-care is not this extravagant every day.  Usually it's something like knitting, reading a good book, or stopping (very difficult for me) and spending time on the couch with my husband.

Earlier this week I met with my Ear, Nose and Throat doctor to go over some test results relating to my sinuses and migraines.  One of the things he recommended was regular massages.  You don't have to tell me twice!!  My husband was sitting right there when the doctor recommended this and even said my husband could do the massages.  What better thing than having a doctor say you should get a massage?

Find something to do for yourself on a regular basis.  It could be reading, exercise, bible study, pampering such as a massage or getting your nails done, a craft you enjoy, even coloring a picture.  Pick whatever it is that will boost your spirits and your mental health.  It is crucial to EVERY part of your life!