Friday, June 29, 2012

Where is God?

Today I had six hours to not do much of anything.  We are having a rummage sale to raise money for a mission trip my daughter and I are going on in a month.  As I looked out over the field of growing corn, I got to think about "seeing God."

For years, I have been drawn to water, specifically the ocean.  This is my ideal vacation.  Anything near the ocean is good with me.  It is very calming to me.

A few weeks ago I was in Houston visiting my best friend, and we spent time near the Gulf of Mexico, with the water at our side.  In addition to the companionship, the water soothed me greatly.  I don't know why I am so drawn to the water.  The waves, the sand, the sounds of the birds.. it is all amazing.

Equally, and completely opposite, I find great comfort in the mountains.  The beauty of the natural creation.  These high piles of "dirt" that house so much wildlife, change the landscape and change climate in a few thousand feet are simply majestic.

In a few weeks we will be heading to Colorado to spend time with my in-laws.  I have been to Colorado before, Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain area specifically, but this will be a different part of the state.  We are praying that the wildfires subside soon and that this beautiful countryside can be saved.

One more place I find God is in babies.  When I hold this tiny little creation in my arms, I can't help but be amazed by the little human that is created.  My heart becomes so full when I have a baby in my arms, or smiling up at me.

God is all around us, if we take the time to look.  If these photos made your smile or brought some light to your day...Thank God.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Son

Tomorrow (June 22) our son will turn 19.  A year ago we moved him to Nebraska to start his Freshman year of college.  My, how much has happened in that year.

At the age of 18 he left the residential treatment center that he had called home for a year.  He had graduated high school from the private school at the treatment center five days prior.  He moved into an apartment that we paid for and we furnished. We stocked his fridge and pantry. All his bills were paid.  The only thing he had to pay for was spending money.  That meant getting a job.

To him he had hit the jackpot.  He had hit the magic age of consent and that meant going off his medication. It was the beginning of a very fast downward spiral.  4 months later he had dropped out of college.  Looking back, we did him a great disservice by paying his bills and setting him up as we did.  He had no responsibility, but we can't change the past.

A year ago we pulled into Nebraska with our vehicle loaded with his things.  We went to Applebee's to celebrate his birthday, then went to our hotel for the night.  The next day we went shopping to buy the rest of his furnishings for his apartment and moved him into his new apartment. He seemed happy.

This year I am not sure what he will be doing.  I'm not even positive where he's living. I know what town he's in and that he's living with his birth mother, but other than that, I wouldn't be able to find him.

For the past several months we have not been part of his life, except when he called for bail money.  He has changed his name on his Facebook page back to his birth name, and has basically written us off, except.... yes, now we are supposed to jump up and be excited and spend his birthday with him.  Why?  Because he wants a gift or money or whatever from us.

For the past week or so, he has called us every day, multiple times a day, inquiring as to what we are doing for his birthday.  We have told him that you don't turn relationships on and off.  We either have a relationship or we don't.  This was not what he expected us to say.  In the past we have always done something with him for his birthday, we have gone to wherever he was living, I even made his birthday cakes for him.

There MAY be some sense of longing for "family" in him, but I doubt it.  On the 28th he has court for six felonies and three misdemeanors.  I believe he has taken pleas on all the charges so it should be a sentencing hearing, so his thoughts may be on going to jail....again.  I have not attended court for him since he's turned 18.  Again, a big change.  I was at every court hearing when he was a minor.  But, he has made it clear that he wants his birth family, so I am letting his decisions stand.

So, I wish him a Happy Birthday.  I don't know what that will entail for him, but I truly hope he is happy for that day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Support System

One of the most important things when you are parenting a child with any kind of special needs is to have a great support system behind you.  I am so incredibly blessed to have that.

As I blogged about here I spent several days in Houston visiting my best friend.  I attended the graduation of her daughter while I was there, and it was the reason for the timing of the trip.

Sonya has been a staunch supporter of our parenting as long as we've had children.  There were times where she saw behaviors in my kids that I didn't see.  Having her support me has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.  While I was in Houston we talked about my kids, but it wasn't the constant theme of the vacation.  In fact, the time spent discussing kids was minimal.  We both needed the time to just relax and that's what we did.  Kids were still involved since I was staying at their house, but I love her children and we have a great time together, but we did not linger on the problems I am facing.

I am blessed with three additional amazing supporters.  We have all been friends for nearly 30 years.  I'm trying to figure out how that can be since we're all only 29 ourselves.

Deb, Mel and Shel have been my friends since high school.  Actually, Mel has been in my life far longer.  Our mothers were friends in high school and we met for the first time when we were in elementary school.

These amazing friends have seen every part of my life.  They saw the abuse I suffered and the "relationship" with my mother.  They know that what I lived is real.  They watched as things progressed with our son, and supported us when the decision was made that he had to enter residential treatment.  They may not have always agreed with our choices, but they have supported us, held us up, prayed for us, loved us and have been the best friends we could ever ask for.  Having a support system that has known you most of your life is beyond amazing.

There is a saying that I've heard for years and I believe very strongly.  "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold."  I believe this with all my heart and these ladies are pure gold.

Our final big support system is my in-laws.  Notice I didn't say my family.  My parents have not been a support system at all and have doubted us every step of the way.  My in-laws are a completely different story.

We may be over 1000 miles apart, but we are as close as can be.  We have had a great relationship, even prior to children entering the picture.  My mother-in-law and I used to have season tickets to theater events together when we both lived in the Dallas area.

My in-laws saw things with our son when he went to stay with them for a week when he was about eight.  Things did not go smoothly and he let some of his behaviors show.  That was a first for him.  He was usually sweet and charming to everyone he met.

They began to see what we dealt with and really got it when we explained things.  When the violence began, they were worried about my safety.  They understood the need for out of home placement and didn't doubt what we were doing and what the court decided.

They completely adore our daughter, but we are blessed that my mother-in-law has been a teacher in various grades and understands child development.  She knows what is "normal" and what behaviors come out at what ages.  We are now dealing with puberty and I can vent about the hormones and other issues are experiencing.  Yes, it's age appropriate behavior, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

I have other support systems.  I have met other moms through the Attachment & Trauma Network, our church is amazing, and other friends I have made along the way all are people I can lean on when I need to.  I wish every family dealing with special needs had the support I have.  Sadly, I know that's not the case for everyone.

Thank you to all the wonderful people in my life, and thank you for your support! - That almost sounded like a campaign speech. :)