I told Sweet Husband I’m feeling a huge sense of guilt over working from home but not being able to spend time with the mancubs. The fact I’ve been placed on “summer hours” doesn’t help at all. Four 10-hour days each week are tough.
Adding to the guilt of not being able to spend time with the boys is the senseless guilt of feeling like I must spend every moment of my day tied to my computer and you’ve got the makings of a woman on the edge of falling apart. The crazy part? If I was working out of my campus, I wouldn’t spend this much time in front of a computer. Ever.
“How are you enjoying your summer break?” This question is always met with a blank stare. Especially this year. With the exception of the one week each summer that the school district closes, I’m not getting a summer break this year. I hear I’ve got until October to take my vacation days. Seriously, how is that supposed to work with school back in session in early August?
The guilt? I know it’s senseless. I’m doing the best I can given my circumstances.
The oldest mancub celebrated his 13th birthday last week. Planning for his gift got me to thinking about what I would tell my 13-year old self if I could travel back through time and impart wisdom.
- The God you started following will never leave you. Even when you choose to walk away from Him, and you will, He’ll never cease to continue chasing after you. It’s His promise and my guarantee … each and every time you walk away from Him, He’ll be there. Waiting with open arms.
- Stress is overrated. Don’t fall for the lie that you aren’t “good enough.” You are. Believe it or not, you are way MORE than good enough. In some aspects, you are excellent!
- Stay true to yourself and don’t let anyone tell you to change. You are smart. Don’t dumb yourself down to fit in. That cliche, “why fit in when you were born to stand out?” Believe it. You do you.
- Your tastes in food, friends, and music will change. What will never change is your family. Even though you don’t believe it, they’ll be there for you during all the tough times in your future. And trust me, there will be some tough times.
So 13-year old self, don’t fret. You’ll make it through high school, and college, and graduate school (believe it!) just fine. You and an amazing man will find each other and build a life you wouldn’t trade for the world. Not to sugar-coat your future, there will be some really stressful times, some financially lean years, and some terribly tragic moments.
But while there will be some hard times, your future will be filled with children and dogs and love and laughter. And that is what you’ll focus on when you share your memories with your children and their children.
A friend of mine posted a color heart chart a few weeks ago. It’s a way to check in and share about how we’re dealing emotionally with all the social distancing.
This is my Day 1 of Week 6 and, even though I was looking forward to my 9am meeting, it was really hard to pull myself out of bed this morning. Emotionally, I’m torn between feeling bad for myself and feeling worse for the mancubs because technically, they’ve been doing this for a week longer than me. My plan is to get everyone out of the house following my meeting. It’s too pretty outside to stay inside doing virtual learning & meetings.
When I received notification last week that our school district will continue with remote learning through the end of the school year, a little part of my brain let out a plaintive wail. It may have sounded more like a squeak and it felt a lot like a headache.
A good friend told me recently she was surprised I’m having such a hard time with social distancing since I’m an “introvert.” Being real, while I’m incredibly shy and do enjoy being alone, six weeks of this is way over the top even for me.
So today, my heart is purple. Right now, things are tough.
Please check on your introverted friends. Chances are we are not okay.
Friday. My Day 1 of Week 4 of the time known as “social isolation.” What am I going to remember when I look back?
Aside from two weeks vacation, I never took “maternity leave” when the boys were placed with us two years ago or when their adoption was finalized seven months later. This time has been a gift to get to know, really get to know them and to create routines for our family. It’s two years later, but this time is a gift.
I’ll remember that even though it seems absurd, it is possible to do two full-time jobs at one time. It’s exhausting and there are times when neither job has been done well. There have been times when both jobs have collided head-long.
- Times when I thought the “mute” was on when I yelled for the boys to switch activities only to look down at my computer screen as my team chuckled at my gaff.
- Times when trying to meet with my director or with my team and first one mancub, then another, and then the third come to me with questions about their assignments.
- The time when I look up after 3 solid hours of work and realize the youngest had been happily watching every fun video in his week’s assignments and hadn’t done a single.math.problem or written anything on his book report.
But there have been some really good times as well.
- Being able to teach my parents how to “Zoom” so they could see all their children at one time and visit with us.
- Having lunches and dinners together – all 5 of us – every day and listening to the mancubs share nuggets of knowledge they learned that day. Hearing their “I wonder …” questions, encouraging them to look it up.
- Having books in various stages of completion strewn throughout the house.
- Giving them responsibility for meal and snack planning and watching them teach each other how to cook simple dishes.
- The looks of assurance as they head upstairs for bed each night saying, “See you tomorrow!”
Yes my dear, yes you will.
Granted, I miss the craziness of our lives before we had to stay home but I’ve realized a lot of what I thought was necessary really isn’t. I hope I remember all these things and more when I look back at this time we’ve been gifted with.
Tonite I choose … consciously and deliberately choose … to be angry with the mancubs’ birth mother.
If she had only stuck with and worked her plan.
If she hadn’t harmed the boys, put them in danger, neglected them.
If she had only been a M-O-M to them …
Then my 8-year old wouldn’t have had the confrontation with his friend at school today that he had.
For whatever reason, they started comparing their pain: his friend is about to have another surgery – he’s had too many to count and I imagine having to deal with the pain of surgery & recovery is super hard.
But to state it is more painful than being ripped away from your birth mother? That’s too much for me.
And it was too much for my son. I don’t have the whole story, but I think it may have gotten a little physical.
My youngest was 3 when he and his brothers and sisters were removed from their home. And despite all that he went through with his birth mother, there’s always going to be a part of him that wants to be with her.
I can respect that.
I cried on my way home from work tonite because I knew then as I know now that there will never be anything I can say or do that will completely take away his or his brothers’ pain. As much as I wish there was a magic wand or a special potion, there isn’t. He & his brothers and their sisters didn’t deserve this.
But it happened.
Their sisters are safe in a city far away from the birth family, as are our boys.
My prayer for the children … our boys and their sisters … is that they all will sleep peacefully tonite and every night.
And know they are safe.