Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 165


Nov. 17, 2013


Day 165


Ben’s birthday…the last of our fall birthdays.  What a relief!  We went to Pizza Ranch, per his request.  I noticed that they celebrate birthdays there, clanging a bell, singing, and bringing out a cupcake for the celebrated one.  If Paul were here, he would have already dropped a word with the front desk.  I’m more reserved than he was and I really didn’t feel like drawing any more attention to our table than I’m already sure we attracted.  So, I asked Ben if he wanted me to let them know or not.  If he said yes, I would have done it.  But he shook his head and said he didn’t want it (good boy!).  It’s actually Ben’s golden birthday (17 on the 17th) and he was born on a Sunday, too, just like today.  What a frightful day that was…


I had a busy weekend, but it was good.  Friday, my Littles all went to Paul and Jenn’s.  They were the girls’ former foster family (not the one I referenced in a recent post) and they have adopted one of the girls’ biological brothers.  Shortly after I got the girls, our guardian ad litem connected us and we became instant friends – connected just like that.  They’re Christians, homeschoolers – wonderful people.  Despite ultimately deciding against keeping the girls (because they were sensitive to God’s leading) they deeply love them.  Especially as time is going on I am understanding the importance of keeping the girls in contact with their brother.  There are three older brothers, too, in a different home.  I’m a little more leery about pursuing any relationship there.  Perhaps, time will change things.  But for now, I think it’s really important that the smaller kids keep in close contact.  But it’s not just them.  Lizzie and Ellie bonded with the children in their former foster home, too.  It’s not just their bio brother that gets excited at visits – it’s the other four children in that home, as well!  And they have embraced Sam as well because he is the same age as the other kids.  From the outside, it probably looks a little confusing, but from the inside, it’s neat.  Seriously, my girls have TEN brothers, if you think about it.  They have 4 biological brothers (or “illogical brother” as Lizzie referred to her brother, James, this weekend!), they have 2 former foster brothers, and they have 4 adoptive brothers.  And there are a couple of former foster sisters in there, as well.  Good grief!  But it works.


So, anyway, Jenn took all 3 kids all day Friday and Saturday.  This gave her 8 children ages 7 and under, but she loved it! She and Paul even took all 8 to an international event at Drake University on Friday evening.  They have way lower stress levels than I do, I think!   I was able to do my grocery shopping and errands kid-free, which was a big blessing.  I always take one Little with me, which isn’t too bad, but it slows me down.  David was really excited about the prospect of not having to babysit.  He said, “Mom, you know how on Dave Ramsey’s program he’s always shouting, ‘Freedom!’?  Well, that’s how I feel today!”  Poor kid…


Friday night I was able to go scrapbooking for the second month in a row.  Saturday morning I headed up to Ankeny and ran a few more errands and then met my friend, Jennifer, for a long lunch.  That was a huge blessing.  Friends since high school, we’ve only lived an hour apart since we moved out here 9 years ago.  We saw eachother briefly at a funeral 4 years ago, but this was the first time we actually got together.  It was wonderful!  And then I went to a big craft show out at the fairgrounds all by myself, which was nice.  I didn’t buy a thing except 3 more wax melts for my melter in the kitchen (I have a sick addiction to those things).  However, I did find someone to make me a barn star, which excited me.  I want one for the peak under my garage roof, but I didn’t know where people have those made.  I found out at the craft show!  I have to wait until I get the garage repaired and the new siding on, so it’s going to be a good year or more before I’ll be ordering it.  But I’ve already picked out my pattern and I’m mentally playing with colors now.


And when I came home I found my living room was all freshly drywalled.  Two of Will’s friends came over and spent most of the day doing that with him for us.  Now we just need to mud and sand.  Then I can paint and order carpet!


And then later, Jenn and Paul brought back my tired kiddos and Jenn handed me a full meal she had managed to whip together whilst watching 8 children under the age of 8.  I am so-o-o impressed.  She and I are going to get together next Friday night, just the two of us.  That will be fun, too.


While shopping at Aldi’s on Friday (not the south side store, but the one on the west side, which is a nicer area of town) there was a little boy, about 4, and his mother in an aisle in front of me.  The mother suggested, not meanly, that her son move one direction or the other.  He whirled on his mother and snapped, “You shut your ______ing mouth, Mommy!”  I think my mouth literally fell open.  I was waiting to see what she would do (like haul his more-than-ample posterior to the bathroom) but she didn’t do anything! I so badly wanted to take her aside and ask her how she felt about bailing her son out of jail someday, because an out-of-control teenager is what she’s going to have if she doesn’t regain some control, now, and pronto.  Sad.


Later that day, the tears came again.  I was driving along and seemingly out of the blue, great big sobs just welled up and before I knew it I was crying – hard – as I drove.  It was so bad that I didn’t even know if I could go into the next store.  I did because the storm had passed by then.  I’m no longer surprised any more when this happens.  In some ways, it’s almost a relief.  It’s kind of like throwing up, actually.  When you’re sick, you feel crummy until your stomach finally releases and then, as awful as vomiting is, there’s a certain relief that comes with it when it’s done.  That’s the way the crying is.



Ellie’s vocabulary is continuing to blossom.  When she saw me carrying Ben’s cake to the table tonight she burst into song, “’Appy bertday to you, ‘appy bertday to you!”  The other day she looked at me seriously and said, “Daddy die, Mom -  Daddy die.”  Yes, he did, Baby…sigh…



Lizzie was tattling on Sam last week.  Sam protested, “I did not call you a ‘fool’!...I said you were a ‘jerk’!”  If I survive these two, it may be an actual, modern-day miracle for the Catholics to review…


Oh, and speaking of those two – guess who has a loose tooth now?  Thank you, Lord!  I guess baby teeth loss isn’t so much hereditary as it depends on when the teeth first came in.  I had wondered about that.  Will, Ben, and David were all close to their first birthday before their little red gums sported a single hard tooth.  And they were all 7 before they lost their first.  Sam was considerably younger when his first tooth came in.  But as Lizzie like to cheerfully remind him, her tooth is looser than his tooth!


David broke two of my Fiestaware plates this week.  These dishes were my grandma’s and are close to 70 years old, if not that already.  I’ve had them for 10 years and in that time, only one small plate has ever been broken.  Paul did that when he was putting up track for the ceiling in the kitchen.  And I was able to glue it back together.  He felt so bad.  But Wednesday Will and David took down the panel board in the living room and removed all the lath and plaster.  That was a dirty, dirty mess.  I was so pleased with their hard work.  But in the midst of it, David starts pounding on the living room wall, on the opposite side of the kitchen were I have some of my plates on the display shelf.  Two went crashing to the floor and just shattered.  I definitely wasn’t happy, but I didn’t cry.  I didn’t rant and rave.  After awhile I was able to tell David (maybe a bit grudgingly, though), “It’s ok – you’re more important than my plates!”  I wondered about that later.  I almost felt like I should be more upset than I was.  Is it because there’s still a big numb part of my emotions?  Or maybe Paul’s death has rearranged my mental priorities and so I no longer value things like I used to?  I don’t know.



I’ve been giving some thought lately to Paul’s and my relationship.  Specifically, the way I thought about things because of him.  He was such an opinionated person.  A lot of times, people like that are not willing to listen to advice, but he was.  But once he made up his mind about something, it would take a LOT to change it.  In fact, I don’t remember him changing his mind about a whole lot of things.  I like to think that I am opinionated as well.  And I am about a number of things.  Most things, Paul and I shared similar thoughts on which made for a pretty happy and easy relationship.  But some things we didn’t agree about.  That led to friction at times, esp. when one person’s opinion was about to influence something in the life of the other person!  But I’m also realizing now that a lot of things I simply did not have opinions about.  But I thought I did because Paul had an opinion about them.  And so it was easy to just adopt his opinion as my own.  Now that he’s dead and the fog has cleared a bit I find that I am re-evaluating things a bit in my mind.  For the first time, I am solely responsible for making decisions – the way I’m going to live, things to allow with the kids, what I believe, and so on. I find myself reluctant to continue doing things/believing certain things just because that’s how Paul felt about something. It’s both liberating and terrifying at the same time.   This is why my daily prayer continues to be one for wisdom above all else! 



Ok, deep thoughts like this need to be followed by something light.  The other day Sam came to me and asked, “Did I get born out of your tummy or out of your private parts?”  When I queried him as to where this question had arisen from, he told me that he, David, and Lizzie had been talking about the different ways people can be born.  Fair enough.  But then he asked, “I did get born, right?  ‘Cuz David said you found me in the woods and brought me home so the wolves wouldn’t eat me.   I didn’t think that was true, but I just wanted to make sure!”


Oh, big brothers…I just wanted to howl, but managed to keep a straight face and assured Sam that he had, indeed, been born to me!















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