Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Date With a Special Kiddo

This is our favorite thing to do.  I will caution you ahead of time, if you have an unruly brood like ours it will be imperative that you read all of my hints and tips.  Otherwise you will walk down the long and whiny road toward jealousy and physical aggression.  Think WWF on steroids date night.  Don't get excited this is NOT for the parents.  Although it is my humble opinion that you must cultivate and nurture your marriage, that is for another blog.This particular date takes a lot of time and discernment. This is not about being fair or equal.  Lets be honest...parenting is not fair and equal.  It is about prioritizing needs and wants.   It is similar to a mass emergency where you label the wounded.  Red is critical, yellow is middle of the row and green is get to it when you do.  If you are like us we usually spend every night surveying the disaster site, tracking the damage and regrouping for the next around

Using this dramatic explanation you discern which child needs you the most.  It may be a daughter that needs her father or a son that needs both parents.  Either way you agree on who needs what and make your plan.  We usually wait no more than a few days to put the plan in action.After careful consideration the date is planned

Here's a recent example... Emma seemed to be really struggling with connecting to me.  Lets put it this way, she is my sweet girly girl and I am the grunge girl.   At times we struggle to find common ground.  It is so important for a parent to cultivate that connection.

Understand I did not say friendship.  This is a huge mistake people make when parenting.  I want our kids to know they can tell me anything.  But, I also want them to understand my high expectations that need to be met.  If I try to connect with them I believe they will make an equal effort to meet my expectations.  In other words I am not the over anxious middle schooler making a call to their first boyfriend hoping they don't answer.  I am the cool, confident high school senior giving you permission to eat at my table.  Ya dig?

Ok...back to the date.  She wanted to see the Hunger Games and we told her we thought this was too mature for her.  Shawn reminded me how she had been more responsible lately.  I used that reminder as the basis for our date.  I kept it cheap...$1 movie theater, but blew it up with movie treats.  This made it immensely special as we are the family that smuggles in snacks and pops in huge purses and "medically necessary" backpacks, much to Emma's chagrin.  I really talked with her and even kept eye contact.  I listened to her.  I even shut off my cell phone!  We talked after the movie and discussed some of the big social issues.  I asked her opinions and had uninterrupted time to listen.Better yet?  She asked me mine and listened. 

It was an opportunity to connect to a child that was feeling left behind by a parent who would give her the moon and Sun for a smile.  It was a worthwhile investment that gave me more presently than it gave her.  It was a worthwhile investment that will give her more in the future than it will me.  Ya dig?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fantastic Five Day!

I am writing this on the eve of Keegans adoption finalization. You have no idea how good that sounds or what a crazy journey the last few months have been. Every day brought a new worry, a crazy insecurity or a new prayer needing answered. But, here i sit at the completion of this chapter. I am relieved to know that forever and always he is ours to love and grow. My heart has grown a whole new size this week knowing that nothing can change the fact that he is now our son. I am humbled and sad when i think of his mom who i love dearly and will forever be grateful to. I am grateful for every person who helped Keegan grow before, during and after his move to our home. I am also a little sad that his memories with us begin today and we have a history left with holes. But, mostly i am feeling blessed to have 5 incredible children who we will celebrate tomorrow. My children are selfless, loving little sponges who believed in this crazy adoption story. They believed with every ounce of their little souls that we belong together. They never gave up and kept forging through the troubled times with laughter, courage and an insane amount of patience and love. God has given me five of the strongest children in the planet. So, we celebrate my Fantastic Five tomorrow. We will make a tradition of it. Every year we will do the same things. Tomorrow Shawn will take Keegan out to breakfast to celebrate his uniqueness. He will remind him of how we chose him to love. He will tell him how proud we are to have him as our son. They will come home and we will go to court to sign the final papers. We will thank God alot. We plan on burying a time capsule that will continue as an annual tradition. We will pull out the big bed and have a family movie. There will be laughter and happy tears. Tomorrow will be about us.j I am proud of my fearless husband who helped me to believe even when it seemed hopeless andvwho said yes to a no situation. I am proud of my son who was nervous but had faith. He did the right thing even though it was hard to do. Who now can never imagine a time before his new brother. I am proud of Emma who has nurtured Keegan and patiently taught him countless things...the lil mama. I am proud of Kiley who proudly announced "he's a keeper!" The first one jumping at the bit to adopt and the best teacher in our house. Keegan, my sweet and brave superhero. He has endured so many changes and has remained a smiling, happy, curious boy. He is the little boy who stole my heart. And Dylan, my happy go lucky guy. I am proud he has found a new best friend who will accompany him on his many adventures through life. This is what i am reflecting on today and will be tomorrow. I have never been through a more soul searching, heart wrenching, character building, faith shaking journey in my life. I am happy to has been worth it. Every single second.