Search This Blog

Monday, November 11, 2013

Family

Today I have been thinking about families.  It is getting close to Thanksgiving, so all the memories of prior years are starting to creep in.

I remember early Thanksgiving mornings hearing my Mom get up to baste the turkey.  I guess people used to do that?!?
I remember setting the table with all the dishes from the china cabinet and using the pretty serving dishes.  I remember my Mom's pumpkin pie (which I have never been able to duplicate, btw.)
I have always loved the preparation for the party.  I just told my friend, Thea, the other day how I love party prep and then when everyone gets there I am just tired and want to go sit down and watch, hehehe.  Actually, that is my party philosophy...I LOVE planning the party, shopping, thinking about what dishes and platters to use, setting them out, setting all the vignettes and thinking about the "flow" of guests as they get food and socialize.  But, I don't think I am really a hostess, because when everyone gets there I want to sit/stand and talk to everyone and I completely forget about restocking the food/drink and making sure everyone is comfortable.  I want to plan the party, but I also want to be part of the party!  So, once everyone gets to my house, they are pretty much on their own, I guess...like family.   (wow, that was a very round-a-bout way to get back to the family theme.)

But really, aren't families funny when you REALLY think about them?  We are all so different.  We all think we are the normal ones and everyone else is weird.  But, we are all just our own thing.  Two individuals get together and each bring their histories and memories and start something completely new.  We create our families, sometimes the traditional way, sometimes non-traditionally.  Sometimes we mix it up and try both ways.  We get to choose which traditions to keep and which new ones to create!  Personally, I like to decide the week before a traditional holiday how I am going to do it that year.  I don't feel pressure (anymore) to do it traditionally if I don't particularly feel like it that year.  One Christmas I was just tired of spending two days in the kitchen cooking holiday meals that (seemingly) only I enjoyed, so I went on holiday strike.  I made tacos for Christmas dinner.  It took 20 minutes.  To this day, we have tacos for Christmas dinner (are you kidding me?!?).
My family loves it!  It became our OWN family tradition!  This is how I learned about traditions...there is really nothing magic about them.  The best ones just happen naturally (and evidently sometimes out of frustration).

Today I texted my (3) sisters to tell them how much I was going to miss them this Thanksgiving.  One of them responded by saying "...sometimes the holidays are just not the same crazy madness and I miss the utter chaos."  I couldn't have said it better.  I love and miss the weirdness of the chaos of our "traditional" holidays... not that we are not creating our own chaos and madness :-P



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gotcha Day 1 year anniversary

Oct 8, 2012 was "Gotcha Day" for our boys.  So we made it...1 year, whew! and Whooohoooo!

When we had our 1 year post-adoption visit with our social worker she asked us a question...something like, how would we describe our past year.  That is a hard one.  It's been tough, I won't lie.  I quit reading other adoptees' blogs a long time ago.  I just couldn't read all the gushy "we are so blessed" happy blogs.  I felt NONE of that.  It was hard, plain and simple.  We have made ENORMOUS strides, but it has not FELT good for the most part.

I realize most of the difficulty is our own fault.  Mine mostly...and Waverly's (well, it's true).  WE talked DW into getting both boys when he was determined to adopt only one.  I look back on that discussion and for the life of me I can't explain it.  I remember it, our impassioned speech right here in this kitchen.  And part of me realizes that even then, it felt like something (or someONE) other than me speaking.

For those of you who know me well, you have probably been confused with my life over the past 8 years or so.  I am not what you would call a "touchy-feely" Mom.  I can be tough, abrasive, opinionated, inflexible.  (I mean, I am nice too but once the toughness is established.)  I love my kids FIERCELY and would do anything for them, which does explain my toughness a little.  Sometimes that is what they need.  Touchy-feely does not train them to LIVE, it just trains them to feel.  If there is anything I have learned over the past year, it is that feelings have nothing to do with anything.  I mean it.  They mean nothing.  They are fleeting and fickle.  And yet, God created us to have them...weird.  I think they are not supposed to guide us but they are just little bonuses to make life bearable.  Because life is hard.

If I knew a couple years ago how hard this year would be, would I have still chosen to do this?  Absolutely not...what idiot makes choices knowing that they are choosing the hardest, most painful route?!?  But that is the beauty in all of this.  God only revealed to us what we needed to know to make the right choices at the time.  HE knew these two boys were ours.  All we had to do was make the choice to do what He asked.  So, am I GLAD I chose to do it...Absolutely!  It was hard, maybe the second hardest year of my life to date.  Was it worth it?...YES!  Is there more to come?  Definitely!  Are we becoming a family?  A weird, quirky, family?  yes.  Do I love that?   A thousand times, YES.

I think it is funny that I am the combination of a Mom who is practical, responsible, down-to-earth, grounded, "not very adventuresome"(her own words), and fiercely devoted to her kids and family, and a Dad who was lovable, fun, happy-go-lucky (emphasis on the lucky), irresponsible, care-free, "throw caution to the wind", and overextended in almost every way.  My family unit growing up was unconventional to say the least.  In a society that put so much emphasis (in the 60's & 70's) on a traditional functional family unit (and rightly so), we stood out as "what not to do".  God's grace is so amazing in that I get to have a "do-over".  And guess what?  I get to be quirky and unconventional while I do it (perfect!).  It's like God really knows me ;-) and what makes me tick...like He is saying, "All of what you thought was crap while you were going through it growing up was training for what I have for you later...you're gonna laugh when you see it!"  I couldn't have planned it, I wouldn't have chosen it.  He chose me for it.  I am just going with it.

So, when I think about my family...sisters, parents, husband, kids...I think about only one thing...LOVE.  That's really all there is.  Do we make each other mad, yell, betray, lie, cheat, fight, lash out?  Yep.  Do we confess, hold hands, hug, kiss, cry, pray, try again, relax, play?  Of course.  It is not about the feeling...it is about the DOing.
            
This is how I feel about it all..."I Can't Change the World", Brad Paisley

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

AUGUST is over (finally)

I usually love August.  Even though it is usually sweltering in Alabama (or "dog days" as they like to call it...I will never figure out why unless it is because that is all you smell.  sweaty. wet. dog.  enough said)

This month has not been my favorite August.  I have some pieces missing this August.

My oldest girl went to college this August.   She was ready to go.  I think I was ready to let her go.  But that doesn't void out the emotions that swelled up all month while we were preparing for her to go.  I only had a few meltdowns...somewhere between 3 and 17, I think :-P  I am missing her coming in from work at 6 and helping with dinner.  I am missing txting her BEFORE she left work to ask her to stop at Publix on the way home.  I am missing txts from her telling me she is on her way home from a friends house or saying that she made it there ok.  I am missing her stories about crazy (nameless) people she had to deal with on the phone at work.  I am missing clothes-folding "parties" with her late at night while we caught up on episodes of Major Crimes or Duck Dynasty.  I am not missing her loud music (well, I'm NOT).  I AM missing the way she would listen to Jack Johnson or John Mayer or other soothing stuff when we rode together in her car.  I am missing the conversations she, Dewayne, and I had over the years about grace, and freedom, and loving people, and being a leader, and growing up.  I am missing her strong-willed personality (go figure), and her determined focus.  Sometimes I even miss her bossiness, which really saved me from being the bad guy with the little kids a LOT over the past year (not sure if that is good or bad, but I enjoyed it).  I am so proud of the young woman she has become.

The day after we took Waverly to college, I lost another piece...

My Dad, who I had rarely seen over the past 10 years...partly due to geographical distance, and probably more to do with the fact that we are both incredibly stubborn...had a massive heart attack and passed away.  He just got a cup of coffee, mentioned how good he was feeling these days, went to the porch and died.

I am missing him.  I am missing his motorcycle rides.  I am missing the rare telephone calls that somehow felt like it had only been a few days since we had talked last.  I am even missing being angry at him for not calling.  I am missing his laugh and the way he made everyone else laugh when they were around him.  I am missing his hugs (the Vibbert boys know how to hug).  I am missing his bbq chicken (weird).  I am missing holding hands with him on the couch while we watched "Cheers" on Thursday nights after dinner when I was a teenager.  I am missing the reason that I thought it was not important to go to his wedding several years ago.  I am missing the fact that he never really got to know my kids.  I am missing that I never got to see him as Santa Claus.  I am missing that my life is relatively unchanged since he has gone, except for this piece that is missing.

Monday, June 24, 2013

9 MONTHS!

I have exactly 14 minutes to finish this post before I go pick up the boys from their ESL Summer School.  It will never happen.  I have never completed a post in 14 minutes.  I will try.

It will be 9 months home with the boys in a couple weeks.  Unbelievable!  It has been so much easier AND harder than we could have planned for.  I always feel like our adoption agency prepares us so well, and yet some things you just can't prepare for even when you know they are coming.  You can prepare for a hurricane by boarding up, but you are still going to get battered and blown around if you choose to stay.  I guess I understand those "stayers" a little better now.

On the other hand, we are (thankfully) a lot further along at 9 months than I would have predicted.  They both jumped right into school mid-year and made lots and lots of progress.  They will both be entering 2nd grade next year with modified educational plans (there is some acrostic or initial name for it, like IUD or ENT, but I can't remember what it is, hehehe).  Micah Jude LOVES school and can't wait to go back.  He wants to do absolutely everything!  If someone else is doing it, he needs to try.  Gideon groans at the mention of school, or reading, or homework.  He would rather be hunting or fishing or digging stuff up or taking something apart and putting it back together.  They are amazing individuals and I pray we can always recognize that and encourage them to be who God made them to be.

Short and sweet, my time is up in 2 minutes!
Well, shoot.  I knew it was too good to be true.  Because I have not been on here in 9 months, I have to re-learn how to post pictures.  And there will be no blogging without pictures.  It's just not right.
Micah Jude

Eden

Gideon
So, since I have already blown my deadline, let me tell you what happened while I was gone.  So, I rushed out of here to meet the bus in a random summer school bus stop location.  Why did it not occur to me that the boys are used to getting off the bus in front of our house?!?  Why didn't I think when I told them they'd be riding the bus home and that I would be there to pick them up, that they were assuming it would be at the normal bus stop?  First of all, I was not EXACTLY sure where the bus stop was myself.  I drove them all the way to the school this AM because of that, but I was assured by the teachers that they'd be fine riding the bus home (true, all true).

Apparently the bus was a teeny bit early at the random bus stop and I was not there in time (because I was here blogging, of course).  And because the bus driver did not know my two were new to this bus stop (we missed last week cause we were at the beach...priorities, I tell you), she dropped the regulars and went on.  My boys just rode the bus all the way to the end of the line and back to the school!  I sat in the parking lot waiting and getting regular phone calls from the school for about 45 minutes.  I really need to call back up there and apologize.  I am quite certain I was in Mommy panic mode and probably sharpish to her on the last call.  Sigh.

So, since I was already in a bad mood, we just went grocery shopping on our way home.  Usually the kids are fine in the grocery store.  One had a teeny issue with obedience today so there was a chance for him to spend some quality time with me hanging on to the buggy while the other two had their freedom.  He did not enjoy that.  His lip was nearly dragging the ground.  So, when it came time to unload the buggy, I asked them all to help unload and he promptly went to the bagging area to retrieve his chosen snack before one of us nabbed it, presumably.  When I looked up and asked him to come back and help with the unloading, the bagger (we'll call him John...because that's what was on his name tag) said, "that's ok, he's fine".  To which I replied, "No, it's really not ok...he needs to obey and come back here."  John was mostly silent after that.  I did not mean to scare him.  I was not yelling, just adamant and stern as I am prone to be most of the time these days.  I did try to explain that we are working on obedience today, but I think he is a single guy about 20ish so I am sure he had no idea what I was talking about.  Oh well.

So, I have been snappish with two innocent bystanders today.  Welcome to my life.  I am a goob.

I was just asking my husband the other day..."when do I get to be the nice Mom again (maybe I should ask my older kids if I ever WAS the nice Mom or am I hallucinating)?  When do I just get to be lovey and fun instead of just reprimanding and intensely training, and focusing on reading and language and honoring personal space and table manners?"  He said easily, "2 years".  Sigh.  What if I have forgotten who I am by then?  What if I really turn into a drill sergeant for real by then?  I have to try to remember how to be fun and let the little things go.  But not the personal space thing...for some reason that is a tough one in this household at the moment and about to drive almost everyone nuts.  Maybe I will let housecleaning go...wait, I think I have already done that.  Cooking?  No, that's gone too.  Hygiene?  Blast...I think I have already let too much go.

I could not resist these shirts from the clearance rack.  Gideon (left) LOVES his and wears it at least once a week :-)

There was an error in this gadget