Since it was our FIFTEENTH wedding anniversary. We decided to skip town for a weekend. It was one of my favorite trips we’ve taken together. It was simple and slow, with a little historical sight-seeing and antique store shopping. A few good meals out. A nice hotel. An amazing concert in a cave. And best of all? Zero children.
So. My oldest child is now a teenager (as of this past Valentine’s Day). I thought it was sad when I weaned him, when he went on his first overnight away from me, when he started going hunting with daddy and leaving for days. Or when he turned 5, oh my goodness. Well, apparently 13 is like that. When you sort through and scan in old baby pictures and you cry for a week. I’m not sad that he’s 13, I actually love teenagers and all the drama that can bring. The rollercoaster of mature young man to petulant child to coasting into relaxed adolescent is a fierce one that speeds along every day.
The tears come from being so proud. And so in love. I cannot fathom how I can love him more now than I did as a precious newborn. How can I love him more now than I did when he looked up at me with those sweet, hazel eyes and beautiful eye lashes and sucked his thumb and told me “I wuv you mommy”? How does that happen? I’m so thankful for Foster Owen Grubb. If I tried to list all the reasons why, this blog post would never end. Love is like that. And love for a child? Even more so.
My prayers and goals now that we have a teenager in the house? That as parents we will know how to be a friend to our son and be his authority at the same time. That we will not only command his respect, but earn it. That our transparency will encourage his. That we will be so authentic that he will know that we mean what we say and say what we mean in all areas of our lives. Because if there is one thing teenagers are good at, it’s spotting BS from a mile away.
I’m certainly glad that we gave this boy such a big name. Everything Theodore does is done BIG, LOUD, FAST, ENTHUSIASTICALLY. Well, anything he wants to do that is. Not so much for chores and school work. He loved that his double digit birthday fell on the day of the solar eclipse and it was amazing to experience totality and then have family over to celebrate his special day. I think it’s something he will always remember. He also had a few buddies over to spend the night last night and Chris took them all to BrickUniverse (A Lego fan convention) in Knoxville this morning. He has loved the special attention and treatment. I do believe he wishes every day could be his birthday.
This boy! He is so, so smart. He still loves to cuddle, crack a good joke and stay where the temperature and activity level are regulated. He has fallen in love with reading, which makes this momma’s heart happy. He is passionate about what he believes, which can lead to some temper outbursts that he’s working on controlling. Parker is very sensitive to what others say to him and think of him and he’s just as sensitive to another’s pain and trying to comfort them. He loves to eat. He usually eats as much as an adult. He likes to have all of the information and will become frustrated if plans change without warning. He is a good student and actually enjoys school work but struggles to own that fact because he has 3 brothers who vocalize their distaste for anything school work related. We are thankful that he is a healthy, active, kind boy.
Having Pipsqueak in our home, our firstborn turning 13 recently and an ongoing family drama has made this a difficult and reflective season for me. I look at her tiny little face, her big blue eyes and sweet smile and repeatedly think, how? How does a parent just quit? I laugh with my son, his sense of humor becoming more mature – his take on life more adult-like than child-like and I am baffled again. How can any parent quit? At any age?
But parents do quit. They quit all the time.
Sometimes they really don’t have a choice. Their addiction overtakes them and they put that before the well being of any other person around them including their own children and families. Sometimes they become ill and lose their fight and leave their children through death.
But most of the time, they do choose. A woman who chooses abortion over adoption is a parent who quit. Who said, “You are not worth my effort.”
A father who walks out on his family and doesn’t fight for time with his children is quitting. He put his needs, wants and desires above that of his children and family.
Many kids who are in foster care have parents that are working hard to get them back, but there are some who’s parents do quit. They quit trying to go to the meetings, the visits, the court dates. They do not show up when things are hard and ugly.
So how do parents live with themselves? How can they just quit on their kids? And what affect does this have? Do kids really care? Do they know? We naively think that a baby won’t “know” if she’s been without her birth mother. That she won’t remember or realize.
We think older kids and teens will be fine if dad walks out. They’re almost grown, right?
Wrong. When Pipsqueak gets a little older, when she’s 10 or 12, she’s going to know. She’s going to feel that loss, she’s going to know there are unanswered questions and missing pieces of her puzzle. When that teenager is consumed with doubt and trust issues, he or she will realize, this is because dad walked out.
Even as an adult, the pain that hits you when your parent quits is a different kind of pain. It’s a rejection of who you are as a person, of your worth, your place in the world as “child”.
Last fall, my own dad decided that politics were more important than a relationship with me or my children. He decided that his right to be right was more important than love, commitment and family. It has been a hard pill to swallow.
In some of my darkest moments, God has spoken to me and He reminded me that one of the greatest times of pain and suffering for His own son came when Jesus was crying out in pain on the cross. That moment in time when he was separated from God and felt the rejection of his Father.
I do believe there is a deep cavern in all of us that can only be touched and filled by God’s spirit and love. It’s the first need. We are made to be in harmony with our creator. Our spirits don’t rest until we find that with Him.
The second need is to be connected. We literally grow into humans inside of another human. That basic need of attachment does not leave us.
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
We were on our way home from our family vacation when we received the call that a baby girl needed a home. We said yes. This is our first foster care placement and we’ve learned A LOT. Mostly the “newborn” thing is old hat for our family, this is our 6th time going through that (7th if you count the brief month with our newborn cousin last year). Chris and I become a little like drowning strangers, we are sleep deprived and on edge. I pray more in the first few months of my babies lives than I ever do because I constantly feel overjoyed and stressed to the max. I can’t share her story but I brought her home from the hospital and she’s been here since she was 12 days old. The kids fell in love with her immediately. September 2016 we went from a family of 7 to a family of 8 in the span of one phone call.
Jonah-baby turned 5 in September. When we refer to Theodore, Parker and Jonah around here we usually say “the 3 little boys”. Now that they are 9,7 and 5 they aren’t so little but Jonah is technically the baby of the family. Well, he was until 4 days before his birthday when Pipsqueak joined us. Jonah is…SWEET. He has big brown eyes, precious little verbal and facial expressions and loves to cuddle. He tries his best to do everything that all the big kids are doing. He is well-behaved and quick to learn if he gets in trouble. He is a little bit of a daredevil but he’s made it a whole year without a trip to the ER so that’s a plus. He’s recently gotten the chance to see what it feels like to be the “big” brother and he has excelled at that role. I’ve been surprised at how nurturing he is toward Pipsqueak. Since she’s been here he’s started to care for his Mickey Mouse the way I care for her. When we went to the dentist the other day he insisted on having a bag for Mickey’s stuff and that Mickey needed a diaper and a bottle. As I suspected at the beginning of the school year, he has excelled in his K4 year and knows many of his letters, phonics and numbers. He isn’t catching on with handwriting yet but we have time! In this house, you get to be a little boy first and a student second.