Pictures from my birthday…
I’m sure I will eventually post the story I wrote a few days ago. But for now, now I want to stay in the light and so this was what we had to look forward to…
We got a foster care placement on Wednesday, literally 4.5hrs after we made it back home from South Dakota. It was everything we didn’t ask for and more. We have come to the conclusion that we are too ‘old’ to have anyone under the age of 4 in our house (unless someone decides to make a joke and the vasectomy we’ve had reverses itself. Please note; I’m not laughing)…
We are also keep it to one more, maybe two more kiddos but definitely not three more. Been there, done that! And so we get a text message about an emergency placement, we are the last resort otherwise they will split them. The suckers we are fell for it. Lol! No matter what they will be split into at least two homes, there are 4 of them and a baby on the way. Our home only has 3 spots. So here’s to hoping our close friends who are foster parents will be able to take them so that they can see each other a lot.
Anyways, so out of the three only one of them met our requirements. Haha! So we now have a house of six kiddos, 15, 10, 9, 4, 2 and 1… Whew! I’m tired just typing that out. Needless to say it’s been busy.
The other exciting thing we had to look forward to was our youngest had her 9th trip around the sun on Sunday!
She has been counting down to her birthday since April. I’m always happy when it finally gets here, she is so funny! This year I dropped the ball and didn’t bake cupcakes for the friends that would come to her party. Let’s be honest, I was just plain tired. So I bought a cake from Walmart (the only store open at 7am on a Sunday morning) and made her two little cakes (because… Dairy allergy).
She could care less about anything else other then eating her cakes and swimming. Also one of her gymnastics buddies had a swimming party as well so she got to celebrate twice. She was happy and so was I.
And to finish the post, I chopped my hair on Thursday. It’s cut, I feel so Boy George-ish!
So Mouse and Marie are still in elementary school so they have Valentines Day parties. I swear this day snuck up on me because before I knew it it was the day before the party and the only one with anything to bring to the party was Marie.
I decided to do non candy valentines cards, made life so much easier for Marie. Anyways, I’m the room mom for Mouses class and the co-room mom for Marie’s class. Both parties turned out super low key and full of sugared up kiddos.
Anyways, looking forward to a long 4 day weekend. I know we will be at the park most of the time. Getting outside and enjoying the weather. Waiting on th rest of the crew now, we might go see the babies (foster kiddos) tonight. I think Baby N talks now. I was on the phone with her new mamma and I heard her in the background. Looking forward to getting in some squishy baby hugs and kisses!
So in our house I have boxes, actually lots of boxes that are still all packed up. Waiting for me to unpack them and do something with its contents. Mostly, I go through those boxes and purge when I’m in a cleaning mood. Other times I go through and reminisce about whats in that box. Now, I’m not talking about the boxes that store our Holiday decorations or anything like that. I’m talking about a different type of box.
I’ve hinted at it before, but I’m still not there yet. I’m not ready to talk about it so I’ll keep skirting around it until then. Today I am going to unpack a box and talk about it with you. It’s a box that has been packed and repacked for years, quite possibly about 15+.
This box is big enough to hold multiple little boxes in side of it, as well as a bunch of other little things. Like D-boys first tie he ever wore, or the name tag from my first ever internship at Planned Parenthood. Either way it goes this box has meaning and some value to it.
I am going to focus most of my attention to the small brown box. If you look below you will see a flower, a necklace, earrings, pin, a letter and a piece of paper folded up. The necklace, earrings, flower and pin were from my high school prom. Life was horrible at that time and I was able to find the cheapest dress and accessories to attend prom with a close friend. I was sad that I wasn’t able to do the things I had planned to do, but I was also happy that I was able to go and have fun with friends. Looking back, I am so happy I didn’t clam up and not attend because of the circumstances. It turned out to me an amazingly fun night.
The letter and the folded paper all happened after I completed high school. The folded paper was part of a Indian Native ritual that I was a part of in college. The spark to learn about who I was started there at that event. I am grateful for the experiences I had during that time period. The letter was something I did while I was at a retreat. I had just graduated high school and I was miserable, I hated life and myself. My older ‘sister’ through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program had come to see me graduate and she had given me a gift. I must admit it was weird, but I was open to hearing what she had to say. The gift was the Landmark Forum. Click on the link and it will take you to their website. Basically I called it my wake up call. It was a place where I learned that the things that happen to you don’t always have to be just that. That life is about facts and then you add your stuff onto it, that I could let go of anger and hurt and still make it after that.
It was the most profound experience I had ever had. I spent three days getting to know me and those around me. It was hard, it wasn’t easy or fun, but LORD it was necessary. I was 18 and felt alone… I was 18 and felt that the world sucked and I didn’t need to be in it anymore. I was the youngest person at the forum the weekend I went, I was humbled. I heard the tragic story of a woman that had been married over 40 years learn her husband had been cheating on her and then left her. She had been a homemaker and was just so completely and utterly lost. I cried for her, I grieved with her and I was 18. I sat through a dad tell the story of how he was a horrible father and how he didn’t think he would ever be able to get the love of his children. Some of the stories of what led people to the Forum were so intense and overwhelming, but I knew it was where I was supposed to be at that time and place.
There was one night, maybe the last night there when our assignment was to go back to our hotels and write a letter to someone we had been holding a racket with. Someone we were upset/mad/angry with and either they knew or they didn’t. It didn’t matter, the idea was to write it down and to get what you needed to say out there. It was a way of giving yourself the freedom to remove it from your life and move forward.
I went back to my room thinking I was going to write the letter to my biological mother, but as I sat down to write the page stayed empty. It was empty for some time… And I sat there and cried, I cried because my racket wasn’t with her. It was with my father…
After realizing that, I sat down and started writing. I was exhausted come morning. When I went back to the first morning meeting she asked if everyone had done what she had asked. You could tell it had been done, because there were a lot of somber faces in the room. She then asked if anyone wanted to read their letters aloud. I’m not sure what got into me but I raised my hand and she chose me…
Here is what I said,
I don’t know where to begin. I thought this would be easy for me, but the more I look at the painting the more colors I see. I guess I will just go straight to the point and not dance around it. For the last 16 years I have been having this racket with you. I have been making you wrong for leaving me and not being there for me when I believe I most needed a daddy and not a mommy. And when you left me for good 9 years ago, physically I felt that you were taking the easy way out. You just let some woman take your life and didn’t think how that would affect me. I felt that you didn’t say maybe I should try my hardest to stay alive for my daughter which I see only 3 or 4 times a year and which I know loves and respects me dearly. And I’ve been resenting the way I’ve been feeling because when its your time to go well then thats it. No other exceptions unless God says so. I regret not coming to your funeral but I couldn’t bring myself to the realization that you were gone and that I would never be able to hear you say, How is daddy little girl, not giving your mom any trouble are you? And Hows daddy smart princess your not teasing all the boys are you, you better not be. And when you left a big part of my innocence, concepts and perceptions went along with you. I had this big picture that why would never die and one day you and mom would get back together. I want to say that I give up making you wrong and i commit that I will no longer make you wrong. I offer to you, myself and I ask that toy just watch over me and be there when I get there so i can hug you and say I love you dad for giving me life and I love you dad for taking on the responsibility of being a dad and not just some sperm donor. And I would extend that offer for you to join me in making a new relationship but i can’t exactly you’re not present in a physical form just present inside of me. I can end by saying. You are the #1 dad in the world in my book and I Love you. See you!
Loving you always, your little princess Iiona
I was 18, and this was a big deal for me. When I finished reading my letter I looked up and realized that almost every person in the room had tears running down their eyes. They all told me how much they appreciated my willingness to share and also my willingness to be present throughout the whole weekend. During that time in my life, i made a group of friends who understood what it was to carry around baggage and how great it felt to remove at least one.
I have to say I came back to more classes with that group of people for almost a year, it gave me the courage to move out of state and restart my life where I wanted to be.
Soooo, basically it is easy to have a child. It is even harder to parent that child. So I have to say Thank you dad for being that guy. I still know very little about you, but I do hope to learn more as I get to know my sister. The above picture is the only one I have of my dad, I cried when my sister sent it to me. This is the first time I’ve seen him since I was 9 years old. He looks nothing like I remember but yet he look exactly like I remember.
Anyways, I also want to wish my partner in crime a Happy Father’s Day! He is an amazing dad, he has patience, love, and a will to give his children what he didn’t have. I don’t think we could have picked any better. I am beyond happy that we get to share in this amazing journey together. Happy Father’s Day to all of the men with children, helping to raise children (theirs or someone else’s), or being the role model/mentor to a child/children. You are appreciated and we Love you!
I couldn’t let this day pass without posting something. The week before I had all of the time in the world to write and then schedule the posts to publish each day of that week. It was PERFECT! I’m so doing that again, LOL!
Anyways, this day comes every year and every year it means something different to me. Let me explain… When I was in elementary school, Mother’s Day meant something. I had my granny around, life wasn’t great but it was bearable most times and I was able to celebrate the one who was raising me. Not consistently in her presence, but at least a phone call away. We moved around a LOT when I was growing up. When I became a middle school child, Mother’s Day was something different. I hated celebrating it, why celebrate someone who doesn’t even want you to begin with. But I grinned and did my half-ass part, I which I never want my own children to do.
When I was in High school, depending on the year Mother’s Day was an in-between. Ninth grade year… I hated everything about it, my granny passed in November of my 9th grade year. Just two short days after my birthday… That was heavy, that was a lot, that almost broke me. I knew my life was over when she passed and the one person I had in my corner was gone. But lucky me, I had a fill in. Someone who loved me as much as she loved her own children. It amazed me that someone could love me so much and treat me like her own, she was right on time. She came in during my 10th and 11th grade times in school. In my Senior year, I had another fill in mother. I am sad to say that she passed away last year. She took me in when no one else would. Though it was short lived and I was scared and angry, she did what I had hoped I never had to deal with. I hope she knew how much I appreciated her kindness and open heart for taking me in. Again, it wasn’t all peaches and cream, but it sustained me enough to make it through my senior year of high school.
The day I graduated from High School was my lowest point, I”m sure Ive had lower, but this one felt like rock bottom. I ended up on the streets, it wasn’t crazy. I mean I “lived” in Brooklyn Park, MN. It was the suburbs, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t scary trying to find myself somewhere to sleep. Basically I slept in a park that night, and I cried, and screamed and fought thoughts on killing myself. So by Mother’s Day… well… FUCK MOTHER’S DAY!
I was lucky to have a friend who took me in at the crack of dawn and her mother allowed me to stay with them. Another amazing fill in mother. She wasn’t easy on me, made me work and contribute to the house. And I did it without hesitation or questions, I knew that at any moment she could change her mind and I would again be on the streets. And I didn’t want that, so I walked the line. Actually tip toed that line. I didn’t want her angry or mad at me. I needn’t worry about it because I was able to stay with them for over 2 years, I was family and I still am. I was able to see Mother’s Day differently over those 2 years, and I enjoyed celebrating a mother that was so great.
I’m not saying that I didn’t miss those that were gone, I just found a new way to celebrate this Holiday. So that I could be happy in some way and that I could help to bring happiness to those that helped me out when I needed it most.
My baby sister and i grew up together and we were each other’s backbone and support. Through all of the things we went through I knew I needed to be strong for her. In some ways I became a mother to her, at some point along the rode… My relationship with her became a mother and not a sister. I took on that role and loved every minute of it. I would never change any of it. It has helped me to be the person that I am and I hope in some way has helped her as well. That’s her story, one I can’t tell for her. But what I can say is… OMG! I hated all of those teenage years, LMAO! I love her and everything we went through, but I SWEATAGAWD I wanted to beat that child!!!!!!!! LOL! She annoyed me because she is so incredibly smart and continuously got into trouble, mainly her mouth got her in trouble. She doesn’t have a filter, I typically don’t either. But mines has been dimmed because I have little people following my example. So now I tend to be crazy sarcastic. For me Mother’s Day changed when I got my first card from my sister, it warmed my heart that I was able to be that fill in for her. Because I knew what it was like to miss out, I wanted to make sure she had what I had experienced from my own fill ins.
She didn’t go about things the way I had hoped she would, but I figured out with the help of another fill in. That no child does, not even the ones you birth yourself. So I had to let go and let her learn the way she wanted to go. My heart swells with love and pride, and it grew even more when she had her first baby. I could move from mother figure, back to proud sister. The transition wasn’t easy, shit it was downright hard! But, being a big sister again is just as, if not more rewarding then being a mother to my sister. I LOVE being the Best Auntie in the world to my beautiful niece, I would give her the world and more. She is my baby and she always will be. The connection I have with my sister and my niece is strong, and the connection my own children have with her is just as strong. It’s so hard to explain, but yet here I am trying. My baby sister is now a fill in for one of our Godbrothers daughters. And I couldn’t be more proud. Our niece thinks of her as her mommy, loves her just as much and cries if anyone says they are coming to take her. She was without a mommy and my sister stepped in, I LOVE every part of that!
Our family has also become fill ins, we are a “foster” family. But lets be honest, when these children come into our home they are our children, they are our children’s babies, they are big brothers and sisters. We get to fill in for mom and dad while their mom and dad is trying to figure out the journey they are currently on. Some knowingly and others thrust into the situation. It doesn’t matter which one they are we are rooting for them from day one. I can’t imagine having my children ripped from my arms and placed in a home where people can judge me before I can give them the details. So we try with all of our mite to keep an open mind and an open heart. Of course, we want to adopt one, two or three little ones. But we also want them to be able to be reunited with their birth family. I know, it’s virtually impossible to have it both ways.
So as I sit her surround by our 6 kiddos, I am also heartbroken for the mommy that is missing her twins first Mother’s Day and in less then a week their First Birthday. I am heartbroken for all of the firsts she has missed, and I pray she is able to find peace today. That even though she isn’t with her babies, that she can feel them and their love. So today I say Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Fill ins, Stand Ins, Stand ups, and Stand outs. I am grateful for all that you have done, for all you are doing and for all you will do.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!
Now on to funtimes with this crazy, loud and silly family of mines 🙂