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The Toddler, The Terror

So, I have this toddler. He will be 3 next month. And from what I’m told, 3 is a million times worse than 2 – it is, in a sense 2 perfected. Friends, this a thought that sends chills down my spine. Because I gotta tell ya, 2 has basically sucked eggs. Don’t believe me? Just read it for yourself!

Potty Training

This kid does NOT want to stop peeing in his diaper. Like, not at all. Putting my child on the toilet either leads to screaming bloody murder, flushing the toilet 27 times, or giving himself an erection – making it virtually impossible to pee anyhow. In fact, this child arouses himself basically every time his diaper comes unhooked! Now, whereas I try to discourage this behavior without shaming him, part of me wants to scream, “YOU’RE GOING TO YANK IT OFF AND PEOPLE ARE GOING TO THINK I’M A BAD MOTHER!!!!”

But instead, my kid sits there, beaming proudly at his accomplishment of making his weenie big, saying things like, “Mama! I DID it! That’s the biggest butt I ever seen!” (Because we still call our weenie a butt. Obviously, I’m going to have to homeschool my child because we are never going to be ready for kindergarten at this rate. I mean, yesterday I caught him eating a dead fly… come on!)

This week, however, I developed a Paw Patrol sticker chart. Each time he pees on the big boy potty, he gets a sticker on the chart. If he poops, he gets 2 stickers and a parade in his honor. Once each row is filled up with stickers representing his bathroom escapades, he gets candy… and yes, I am bribing my child with copious amounts of sugar. Judge me if you will, but it’s better than constant masturbation in my eyes, so your judgments mean nothing. Just saying.

We’ve had a decent amount of success with the sticker chart, although he gets awfully irrational when I don’t give him a sticker every time someone else in the house uses the restroom. After all, this isn’t a joint effort here! It’s certainly not worth the tantrums that ensue. Speaking of which…

Tantrums

Last week I missed half of my grandmother’s funeral because I had to remove my screaming/hitting/kicking son from the funeral home and literally drag him outside to the back of the building (using emergency exits that thankfully didn’t sound any alarms when I opened them). There I sat on the damp concrete in my black dress, showing all kinds of granny panty, as my kid threw rocks and screamed at the top of his lungs every time I looked in his direction. I wept like the worn-out mother that I am, silently cursing the child that I GAVE BIRTH TO and his erratic behavior that came from me. My other kids that I adopted? I don’t have to take ownership for their issues… but this kid is all mine from the DNA to the horrid behavior.

I felt like a failure for the billionth time that day.

Especially when the casket delivery man arrived and informed me that our hysterics were blocking his path to the storage room. I looked at him with racoon-smeared eyes and picked up my flailing child, trying to walk to a new location as my high heel broke underneath the weight of the two of us.

Later that day I threw my shoes away.  We repeated our tantrums and disciplines again and again for days and days – in restaurants, at the funeral luncheon, in the car, and in the house. I’m learning to view this new routine my son and I are in like I would a wild horse. We are constantly trying to break the stallion’s crazed spirit so that he can become an animal capable of fitting in with the rest of the tamed herd that is society.

It’s just not working. Yet. Which leads me to the horribleness that is the final toddler topic for today’s post…

Nap Inconsistencies

As if dealing with the little maniac all day isn’t hard enough, my child is starting to break free of his previously consistent nap schedule. THIS, my friends, may be the death of me. Because after hours of cycling this boy on and off the potty, correcting tantrums, and cleaning up the giant-sized toddler messes that he leaves in his wake, this mama is READY for naptime! That was the deal. He can act like a colossal turd for some of the day if he must, but that means I get a couple hours of reprieve in the afternoon. But now, my son is struggling to hold up his end of the bargain and I find myself crying hysterically by dinner time.

My older kids are so frightened of my hazzardness that they don’t question me when I pack lunches that consist of 3 jellos and a peanut butterless PB&J sandwich. They see the crazy unfolding before their very eyes and I believe they pity me. But if we’re looking for silver linings, they have both informed me within the last week that they will never have sex because they are scared of having children.

So there’s a parenting win.

But seriously, this child is making my brain homicidal. I mean, I am walking around like a full-fledged Lewis Black impersonator all day long, grunting out strings of nonsensical words with barely a breath to speak them.

And then, minutes later, this same kid comes up to me and tells me he loves me so much. And then we load up his dump trucks with all his farm animals and pretend to take them to the jungle… until his toy crocodile comes along and destroys all the animals and fake-chomps the truck to bits. And for some reason, this makes my son very happy and cuddly. So, we sit and hunker down in a good snuggle amidst the carnage that was his plastic livestock.

In the moment, these day to day things feel so stinking insurmountable. This stage feels like it will last forever. And I know in my heart of hearts that it won’t. But if you say that to me, I’m liable to bite your head off, cry, and then apologize (you’ve been forewarned). I know deep down that my children will all grow up and be somewhat functional in society, hopefully potty-trained, and I will no longer have the need to make crocodile sounds.

I’m told this will be a sad day. We’ll see. Either way, this moment will pass. In the meantime, I will continue to talk my brain off the ledge of insanity each day, being as consistent as possible, and attempt to be more mindful while packing lunches for the big ones. Sometimes Hope means believing that one day, life may just be boring.

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Just Another Day

               Ok, so yesterday was just an average day. And I know I should feel ashamed about this, but my toddler watched the movie “Cars” 3 times yesterday (twice back to back) while I did work from home. I made sure he was fed, changed, and safe… but otherwise, I did very little parenting for the little fella outside of helping him build a train track. This kept him occupied for all of 4 minutes before he would scream out of frustration because one of the train cars would derail, at which point I would give him a bowl of crackers and cheerfully suggest he go watch Lightening McQueen some more.

            Parenting score, right?

            So later that evening, my kids returned home from school and The Hubs helped them finish homework while I got dinner on the table and rushed my son off to youth group. Realizing I hadn’t really talked to my oldest outside of hurried dinner conversation, I casually asked him how his day at school was.

            Now, usually this would be answered with a “fine”. And good moms would then press for more information. Unfortunately, I was not feeling in the mood to be a “good” mom. I hate pressing for more information because then I usually hear about how he got in trouble for something and we have to write apology letters and call school personnel and figure out consequences… and who has the energy for that day in and day out, really?! Not this mama.

            But last night, after I ran a trillion errands and listened to the “Cars” background music while making umpteen phone calls, I asked the question, “How was your day, Cam” and was then regaled with a 15-minute monologue about his day. He spoke in speeds that could rival an auctioneer. Only his words made no sense and his stories never really came together clearly. But I was not given the chance to ask for further explanation because, well, he wouldn’t shut up long enough for me to do so. (And honestly, was I listening all that closely? Mmmmm, no.)

            I dropped him off at the church and drove home while my ears finished ringing. All I wanted to do was to go home, put my feet up, and play candy crush (on mute) so that I could unwind from the frazzled day that was not close enough to being over.

            And that’s just when the female child wanted all of the attention. ALL OF IT. She wanted to play games and paint nails and have me guess random objects she was holding behind her back (I mean, seriously, that’s desperation, right there). And all I wanted to do was zone out for the briefest of moments….

            However, just as all hope felt lost, I remembered my old faithful trick. “Taylor, I have an idea of what we can do! Do you want to practice doing hair? I’ll let you practice on me…” We hadn’t played this game in a while, mainly because I have curly hair and she has the talons of an eagle, scraping and clawing at my curls without the slightest bit of compassion. Yet I knew that if she was this desperate for a playmate, she would be gentler than usual.

            Sure enough, this child of mine sprang to attention and immediately ran for my brush and all the hair accessories she could find. And for the next hour, I sat there as she gently played with my hair, putting me into a partial coma, me barely hearing the long stream of high-pitched words emerging without stop from her lips. With each brush stroke and each careful twist of the hair, I was instantly transported into a state of complete calm.

            And then she asked if she could massage my feet….

            What is happening to my life right now?!? I could barely fathom my luck, but there she sat, rubbing my tootsies and tickling at my ankles. My body felt like putty and all I wanted to do was tell her that I was sorry for all the times I’d grounded her or scolded her for getting into my things. I was willing to forgive all wrongs and forget the past entirely. We were starting fresh in that moment, and I was going to sleep like a baby.

            My husband arrived home with my oldest from church at 8pm and it was time for everyone to brush their teeth and get ready for bed. Sadly, my time of soothing had to come to an end - but that was okay, because I was still fully relaxed...

And then the kids argued over something stupid in the bathroom and the lights were left on and clothes were left everywhere in the kitchen (why are they in the kitchen in first place? No one will ever know.) and people kept finding reasons to avoid bedtime and, wouldn’t you know it, my feeling of calm left as quickly as it had come.

            I had to do the yelling and threatening once more… I was willing to charge them their Christmas money to pay the electric bill, tape them to their beds if they got up once again, and I was all about ready to light “Cars” on fire if the toddler screamed to watch it for the fourth time that day (because honestly, 4 times is where any decent mother draws the line, right?).

            Distressed but trying to appear “normal”, I ran the idea of Ben and Jerry’s past my husband… but he wasn’t biting. “You’re not asking me to go to the store for ice cream right now, are you?” he asked.

            “Gosh no, I was just saying that if you ever feel like it, it’s on sale at Uni-Mart…” I replied hopefully.

            He didn’t take the bait, so I retreated upstairs with the toddler to watch Peppa Pig and make a blanket tent out of my bedding in an attempt to calm him enough for bed. After a half hour of suffocating under my sheets, I was able to wrangle the little guy into his crib, accompanied by his handful of matchbox cars.

            Twenty minutes later, I heard the familiar clang of a car falling out of the crib, followed by the equally familiar calls from my youngest. “Mama! Oh, Mama!! My car car fall out da bed!” I arose and retrieved his car, kissed him goodnight again, and went to watch something non-animated on the television as I tried to fall asleep. Then the clang happened again… but this time the car had fallen behind the crib. There was no way in the world that I was moving his bed at 10:30pm to pick up a toy car.

            And I told my sobbing child just that. Although that didn’t seem to stop him from yelling, “Mama, oh Mama” a million more times with increasing vigor. So, I did what all “good” parents would do… I turned up the volume on my TV, turned down the volume on the baby monitor, and I willed myself to close my eyes and wake up on a beach somewhere. (PS, I still woke up at home and next to a hairy man hogging my side of the bed.)

            It was just an average day… nothing unusual, just a day. And my house isn’t the beach, despite the January rain acting deceptively like a monsoon. But I am content with these chatty, arguing, squawking little people with all their quirks and peculiarities. I’m happy with my hairy bed-sharer. I am fulfilled at my job that makes me talk on the phone CONSTANTLY and neglect my child to the television sometimes. And I am happy being just a “good” mom. We make it work and I’m kinda proud of us for doing so.

Photo by: suckhoedoisong.vn

Photo by: suckhoedoisong.vn

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Kissing Childhood Good-bye

Feeling submerged in the wide world of potty-training, Christmas festivities, and running a homeless shelter, I apparently neglected to realize that my older two (almost 9 and almost 11) have “fallen in love”. (I know, but don’t laugh because if you laugh it makes them really angry… unless you’re trying to make them angry… and then you can laugh all you want!)

Gone are the good old days of crushes and dreams of marrying a llama – in are the traumatizing years of the pre-teens. The crazy stage in life that makes insane children contemplate finding a mate and want to reproduce, passing on their sub-par genes to yet another generation. Just what this world needs more of these days.

So last night, while I was caught up in all the thoughts that come when you drive (not stop lights and turn signals, gosh no! I’m talking about grocery lists and last minute Christmas cards, and trying to remember if I ate dinner or not), my children caught me off guard with this question:

“Mom, how old do we have to be to kiss?”

Not quite understanding the question, I asked, “Kiss each other??” This was obviously the wrong answer as both kids simultaneously burst out into gags and comments about how despicable I am as a human being for even suggesting sibling affection.

“Mom,” Taylor clarified, “how old do we have to be to kiss who we want to marry?”

Hold the phone, stop the train, shut the front door. Do all of the things that need to be done to halt this conversation and bring me up to speed! “Wait a second… what are you talking about?” I asked while trying to see their shadowy faces in the rearview mirror as we drove past the street lights.

Cameron was the one who spoke next. “Okay, so Taylor and I know who we want to marry and they want to marry us back, so when can we kiss them? That’s the answer we want to know.”

This may seem rude to you, but my first thought wasn’t about getting the shot gun and protecting my children from unwanted suitors. Nope, it was outright awe that my children had found requited “love” in the first place! Who were these other children and are they being blackmailed? Held at gunpoint perhaps? I tried to verbalize my words carefully, not wanting to hurt my kids’ feelings too badly.

“Um…. So… people like you guys, then? Is that what you’re saying? Like, real people? People your age?”

“Mom, I told you weeks ago that Michael and I are getting married! Don’t you even remember at all?” Taylor actually looked hurt. And now that she mentioned it, I vaguely recalled the conversation after meeting this child at the school open house back in the fall. But kids are so fickle, I obviously didn’t think he would still be the crush (um, I mean “true love”) of the week.

“And Mom, I’ve liked Addison almost this whole year! She already told me we’re getting married so I thought, hey, we might as well kiss, then.”

I stared at my children with my mouth hanging open far longer than I’m comfortable with as a perpetual nose-breather. But I couldn’t fathom what was happening in our universe that was causing this ridiculous conversation to take place! Cameron hates physical touch and is asking to lock lips with some girl who proposed to him because they’ve been “going out” for like, almost 2 months… and Taylor just keeps telling me how utterly obsessed she is with her current boyfriend and his “delicious blonde hair” (and no, I’m not kidding). No matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t find this cutesy and not creepy. Could Not Do It.

“Ok… So, Taylor. What exactly do you have in common with Michael? I mean, how do you know that this is the boy you want to supposedly marry?”

“Well, I don’t know what supposedly means, but I think I should marry Michael because he’s really cute and he’s got adorable dimples AND he likes to do cartwheels just like me.”

Adorable dimples? What on earth is happening here?

“So you think he’s cute and he can do a cartwheel… those are your qualifications for a spouse?”

Taylor seemed prepared for her next answer and delivered it with confidence. “Well, you married Dad and he’s cute and can do a cartwheel, so why can’t I marry Michael?”

How do you argue with that logic, I mean, she had a point.

“You do realize that Dad and I didn’t fall in love because he could do a cartwheel, right? And that’s certainly not what made us choose to get married. You really should have more in common than cartwheels at least.”

“Well, Michael loves to swing – so do I. And he loves to play volleyball – so do I…”

“Taylor, you’ve never played volleyball in your life!”

“Well, it looks fun and I bet I’d like it.”

Cameron interjected that he, too, has very important things in common with his future wife. “Addison and I both love art and hate Math. But she dated all the other boys in my class already and still chose me to marry so that’s pretty good!”

Aw, he looked so proud of that fact. Apparently words like “floozy” and “trollop” haven’t made it to the vocab tests yet. Regardless of their obvious misunderstanding of all things love-related, they had asked a question and I needed to give them an answer.

“No one can kiss anyone who is not a family member until they are 16 years old, understood?” There was no need for them to know that my first kiss came just before my 13th birthday and that I probably wouldn’t even allow them to kiss at 16 either.

“Sweet!” Taylor exclaimed. “I’m almost allowed to kiss! I just have… (doing mental math) 9 more years!”

“Nah uh, Taylor, you have 10 more years and I have 9 more years. I get to kiss before you because I’m older.”

Sweet Lord, they can’t even get the numbers right. And that gave me an idea…

“New rule… no kissing until you can do math correctly.” I proclaimed.

“Aw, that’s not even fair!” Taylor squawked while Cameron said, “I guess I better tell Addison we’re NEVER going to be able to get married then… thanks a lot, Mom.”

Apparently their true loves were not motivation enough to study their math facts more effectively. But my plan worked so I wasn’t too upset by it. Hopefully Michael and Addison will one day be able to move on (although I’m guessing Miss Addison already has) and that another girl who can add will find Michael’s dimples just as adorable.

(***The names of both crushes have been changed to protect the innocent. However, I would strongly encourage all 5th grade moms out there to talk to their daughters about responsible marriage proposals. PS, I’m very sorry for calling your daughter a floozy. Kind of.***)

PSS.... buy my book (subliminal messaging inserted here).

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

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If Mom Ran For President

           The year 2016 will go down in history as one of the strangest and most controversial presidential elections of all time. I think it’s safe to say that, no matter which party you support, our country as a whole kinda looks like it’s playing a twisted game of Would You Rather…

            You remember the game from childhood, right?

            “Would you rather eat boogers dipped in gasoline or pluck out 10 nose hairs every minute for an entire day?”

           “Would you rather remove your own cornea with a rusted fork or pull off each of your fingernails with a pair of pliers?”

           “Would you rather chew on a ball of someone else’s hair for all eternity or have to dress like a member of Kiss for every formal function you’re invited to for the rest of your life?”

           Yeah, so that’s basically my take on politics… a big game of Would You Rather. So, instead of being bitter, I decided to create a new democratic party. The Mom Party.

           The Mom Party is a fantastic mix of all the other parties, minus all the stupid name-calling, lying, and cheating… because we all know our Moms would ground us for that kind of crap. And in honor of my newfound political aspirations, I decided to take a look at 20 of the most popular debates over the past several years and solve all the world’s problems, Mom Style.

           PS, for those who think women shouldn’t be allowed to run for president because we’d be “too emotional”, know that we wipe butts, don’t need a chauffeur, decipher daily lies, and sleep standing up… we don’t have time for emotions. And we’d do the job for free. Beat that.

           If Mom Ran For President – The Important Topics:

1)      Tough on Crime: Heck yeah, we’d be tough on crime! I’ve broken up more fights over senseless crap than the entire LAPD, and I don’t even get back-up, NOR do they let me carry a Taser. Ground the criminals to their rooms and don’t even let them think about asking for snack!

2)      Abortion: I firmly believe that a mother should only be allowed to kill her child after that child is born. (Too far? Too far. See Torture below.)

3)      Animal Rights: Yes. To all the animals that my children will ever see, the answer is Yes. We are practically running a zoo anyways, so every stray, missing-limbed, scraggly, flea-infested creature is basically welcome. We do not discriminate.

4)      Drug Legalization: Wait, for my kids or for me?? Ok, so for Moms, we should get coupons that reduce our co-pays for all anxiety medication. In fact, scratch that. We should get CASH BACK for taking our medications like good girls. And for our kids? After a birthday party, I would legalize Benedryl… you know, to help wean them off the hard stuff (ice cream and cake), but for recreational use, Melatonin should do the trick.

5)      Affirmative Action: I’m sorry, but there ain’t no one getting special permissions in this house over here. Whatever your race, gender, or favorite color, EVERYONE is scrubbing a toilet and taking garbage out for the same allowance, PERIOD.

6)      Homeschooling: Oh my gosh, NO! I mean, that should be left up to each individual household but, still… oh my gosh, just… No.

7)      Building a Wall: Only if we make the children build it. Heck, tire them out! Let them build it as high as they want, paint it crazy colors, and then just MAYBE they’ll sleep a solid 8 hours each night!

8)      Torture: Definition = Parenting. If they’re allowed to do it to us, shouldn’t we be allowed to do it to them? Well, I guess if we’re being presidential and all, perhaps we should limit it to only when it’s absolutely necessary… like when you have to figure out who broke the television and neither child will spill the beans.

9)      Term Limits: Yes. 18 years, MAX. Then, it’s time to help little Johnny find a house, apartment, nice van by the river, whatever. No matter how much he begs to stay and even “pay rent”… I mean, what can we do? It’s the law!

10)  Common Core: Burn it. Burn all the books, all the lesson plans, all the “studies”. Light the fire and I’ll provide the gasoline. Mothers of the world who have to help their children with homework while they cry and scream, You’re Welcome.

11)  Social Programs: Ok, so yeah… there definitely needs to be more. Like one where Moms can go to socialize with other adults and they’re not allowed to wear make-up, bring diaper bags, or talk about their children. Oh, and they can’t look good in yoga pants. BYOC (Bring Your Own Chocolate).

12)  Minimum Wage: For crying out loud, leave it where it is. I’m not raising allowances so my kids get MORE money for haphazardly taking out the trash and shoving their toys under their beds. And I’m certainly not giving them the chance to purchase even MORE toys that require batteries… because then we’d just need another social program that provides batteries in bulk to families across the globe. No raise. Problem solved.

13)  Gun Rights: My children are crazy so guns are gonna have to be limited to Nerf and Water. I will allow special permits for hunting video games if your child really feels the need to start killing things… but then again, maybe we need to go back to Social Programs on this one.

14)  Death Penalty: This should be reserved only for waking up Mom in the middle of the night for a non-emergent reason. If there’s not blood, puke, an intruder, or an asthma attack, know that you will be shanked on site.

15)  Going Green: I’ll be as organic as I can afford (I AM willing to run the country for free, if you do recall). I’ll turn off the faucet while I brush my teeth and I’ll recycle as much as I can. But just TRY to enforce kids shutting off lights when they leave a room. I dare you. We would have to increase our military spending to do so, and I’m pretty sure that the people would revolt.

16)  Free Trade: Uh, NO. It leads to Indian giving and “No Take Backs” being screamed at volumes that make my head split in half. There will be no trading, ever. Eat the sandwich that was packed by your own parents, I don’t care if it’s tuna fish on rye!

17)  Internet Censorship: This is obviously a must. There are too many crazy people out there putting crazy things on the internet just waiting for my crazy children to happen upon it. Minecraft Only, thank you very much.

18)  War on Terror: Daily. It’s called Motherhood.

19)  National Health Care: I feel it’s only humane to give Band-Aids to any child that’s bleeding, not just my own. And I will pull a sliver out of any finger, hold back the hair of any puker, and give an ice pack to any bumped noggin. But I will not give out my Epi Pen… that’s basically gold and ain’t no one affording that anymore!

20)  Changing the Constitution: I would like to add just a few amendments here, please.

A) We the people have the right to sleep for 6 hours each night…

B)  To use the restroom in peace…

C) To go to the store ALONE…

D) To shave both legs in the same shower…

E) And to pray that our children will one day rise up and call us blessed.

"As President of the United States of America, I promise to train my children to be productive citizens, I promise to hold other parents accountable when they are faltering and to lift them up when they are struggling. I promise to show love indiscriminately and, when necessary, let the punishment fit the crime. I would honor and respect each and every parent out there, knowing that they’re doing their best and that they probably just need a nap."

Because after all, shouldn’t we always want a Mom for the job?

Photo by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlwUPNS12iU

Photo by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlwUPNS12iU

 #VoteMom2016

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The Reason I Write

     A few weeks ago, I was perusing the Twitter world and stumbled upon an adoptive mother's profile. It read this:

“Hate my adopted kids. Please Help. Need hope.”

     That was it. That was her profile. Out of all the things she could've said about herself, this was what she chose. Not that she's a coffee-drinker, that she loves yoga, that she has 3 kids and a collie. Not that she is an adoptive mom looking for other adoptive moms to connect with. Not that she is a wife, a career woman, a health nut… nothing. Her only sense of identify had come down to the rawest of the raw – the ugliest truth she will ever reveal about herself, written plainly and simply for all to read.

     My heart began to ache a familiar ache for her. Oh, this sweet woman… How long had she been feeling this way and how desperate she must've become that she had to resort to Twitter for help? I quickly scanned her most recent tweets to find that she hadn't posted anything for 6 months. Six lonely, hopeless months. What devastated me even more was that she had only 3 followers… and that no one had responded to her pleas for help. This broken-down woman had placed her most vulnerable feelings in a bottle, cast it out to sea, and nothing but her own empty words had returned to her.

     A panic settled over me as I sent her an urgent message, asking her to contact me as soon as she could. My eyes were fixed on the computer screen before me, tears streaming down my face, willing her to respond. But it's been weeks. And there has been no response.

     I know many probably read her profile with haughty derision, critically casting mental stones in her direction. But I read her profile and immediately wanted to drive to wherever she was, whichever state or country it may be, so that I could wrap my knowing arms around her and let her cry and scream and say all the horrible things that needed to be said so that she could release the pain that has been strangling her for God knows how long.

     You guys, no mother wants to feel this way. No mother asks to hate her children. Little girls grow up envisioning a happily ever after, a till death do us part kind of family…. Not one of them dreamed of anti-depressants and ulcers and years of family therapy. This woman – this Twitter Mama – she loved children enough to adopt. She loved them enough to put up with whatever Life dished out to her for however long it took to break her. And I can feel her pain. Her disappointment in herself. Her mind telling her that she's a failure – that the kids would've been better off with their birth parents, or anyone else for that matter – that she's not just a rotten mother, but a rotten human being and that no one could love what she has become. I know her profile was short with very little details, but Friends, you just don't write that unless you've been to Hell and back.

     I know this to be true, because I was that woman.

     Just like Twitter Mama, I had adopted children. First of all, many people are usually quite vulnerable once they get to the place in life where they choose to adopt. For most, there is a reason they've chosen to go in that direction; be it infertility, difficult pregnancies, loss of a child, health problems, genetic make up, single parent, etc. Whatever the reason, there is a level of grief, anxiety, and worry that gets mixed in with the excitement of getting the call for a child. You have no idea what to expect, no time to prepare, and sometimes no information of what the child has already been through (if they're older, like ours were).

     The goal is for the new family to bond and to begin to heal one another. But what about the times where this doesn't happen? What about the times when the little people you "saved" start repeatedly (and sometimes intentionally) breaking your heart- that precious heart that was already so fragile to begin with? Combine an already broken and glued back together heart with a set of unique and difficult-to-manage children, and you're looking at a recipe for disaster. 

     There I was, months and months into anger and frustration, all my things being broken, feeling trapped in my own home, dealing with very persistent and inappropriate behaviors left and right, downright suffocating while trying to look like a good wife, mother, therapist, Christian. Our pre-adoptive baby that'd we had raised from birth had just been taken from us and I was in my first trimester of my pregnancy - sick and hormonal and grieving and raging like a machine.

     Finally, I snapped.

     This is where Twitter Mama has given me courage to say the hard things… to say them out loud and for others to read...

     I told them I wished I'd never adopted them. I told them that I hated them.

     They cried. And I'll never forget the feeling that came over me because it was followed by another feeling that mixed and mingled so well, I could barely tell them apart. I remember thinking how good it felt good to see THEM crying for a change, to know THEY were now feeling half as miserable as I was. And then the next feeling followed and blended into the folds of my heart somehow. The feeling that I was evil. That I had been so changed in this process, and that I was a shell of the person I'd used to be. That I was too far gone.

     Hate me if you must. Judge me. Scowl at me. Un-friend me. But you guys, this was where I was and how I lived for the better part of a year. Maybe more. I didn't choose to feel this way. I didn't want to be that person. I hated her to the core… and I blamed them for making her, me, that way. I blamed my husband for not being perfect amidst his own grief. I blamed my family and friends for not understanding how truly desperate our situation was. And I blamed God for allowing me to fall this far.

     In the heat of the moment, I left everyone. I grabbed my keys, my bible, my journal, and my cell phone. I ran out of the door and drove to a deserted parking lot. I screamed as loudly as I could until I felt sick to my ever-growing stomach. There I sat with shaking hands, gasping for air and recklessly leafing through my Bible, desperate to find any passages on how to learn to love those you hate. But there wasn't a guide to change it. Everything seemed vague and uncomforting, telling me to do things that had no real action plan… things like letting God change your heart, or turning the other cheek. Enraged, I tossed my Bible into the back seat and went to the Internet.

     'What to do if you hate your kids' wasn't in Google… the only thing I found was 'what to do if your kids hated YOU'. Because mothers aren't supposed to hate their kids! Even Google knows that! How do you make yourself feel love? Is it like an arranged marriage where you wake up and all of a sudden feel something for the other person? Or do you regret it for the rest of your life…? Why were their no answers? Why was everyone talking about the amazing ways that adoption changed their lives and why was no one else going through what I was facing? What was I doing wrong!

     When I called therapists, they told me I should try medication, but that our county was slammed with referrals and the wait to see a counselor was so long. And frankly, as a therapist in the same community I lived in, I was nervous to share my true thoughts with someone I already had interactions with professionally. It seemed to be a dead end.

     The weight of depression and condemnation pushed me into a tailspin. Trapped and hopeless, I contemplated taking my life. Not that I ever had a plan, not that I thought I would. But I needed to weigh all of my options. It was almost the one thing that let me feel a modicum of control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation. I could always just leave.

     I know the level of despair that I felt, and I still couldn't bring myself to be as outwardly honest as Twitter Mama… how much more desperate was this poor woman? She, too, looked for help and found nothing. Where was she now? Had she also contemplated leaving life? Leaving her family? Without the help she asked for, did she go through with it?

     My heart used to break for my own situation. And now, three-and-a-half years into our life with these kids, things have slowly changed. We gradually moved from hate to tolerance, from tolerance to fondness, and from fondness to love. I still have days where indifference threatens to settle back in. (Days like today, in fact!) But I know they are fleeting moments, because Jesus did do a work in my heart. He started to heal me, bit by broken bit, patching up all the grief and the loss and the anger and the intolerable pain. It was so slow I almost didn't see it happening. Of course, He was sure to leave the wounds open enough so that I could still feel the remnants of the scars and taste the bitterness that once was. This allows me to remember His grace and how far He's brought me. And it allows my heart to no longer break for my own situation, but to offer a hand, a heart, and a hug to others going through their own personal turmoils.

     Friends, will you do me a favor? Can we join together and lift our fellow sister up before the Lord? Will you agree to pray for this precious woman and her children, whoever she is, wherever she is? You don't have to agree with her, you don't have to understand where she's at. But then again, she doesn't need you to. She didn't ask for anyone to understand her or agree with her. She simply asked for hope. We can be her hope! We can stand in the gap for a woman we've never met because GOD knows her. He knows every hair on her head and every flutter of her heart. We have no idea where her heart is with Jesus, but we can certainly pray that she finds the rest and the peace and the saving Hope she so courageously asked for….How amazing for this woman to get to Heaven some day and see hundreds of women, men, parents, and unknown friends greeting her with a smile to say, “So glad you made it!”

     The lady on twitter…. That was me. And she is why I write.

     Dear Twitter Mama~

     I love you. I don't know your story, but I know you are in pain. It is horrendous and intolerable on good days, devastatingly terrifying on bad ones. But know this, Friend. You are so not alone. You have an army of angels hovering over you, a Lord going before you, and a confidant standing next to you. I would love to hold your hand through this storm and whisper words of peace over you as you rage/panic/shatter/collapse/do whatever you have to do… I struggled to find someone who could understand, and the embarrassment of sharing my pain took more courage than I could muster. YOU are a hero for being brave and vulnerable. I am so sorry there was no one to answer when you pleaded for help. No one was there to pick you up when you were at your weakest. I can only tell you that you will eventually walk again.

     I will walk with you. And you will walk with your children. They will see your courage and your tenacity… they will follow in your lead, Mama. You are so much stronger than you feel. Rest on Bigger Shoulders tonight, because you ARE NOT TOO FAR GONE. xoxo

 

HOPE. HEALING. LOVE. FAITH. JESUS.

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