Thursday, May 16, 2013

Grief, Strength and Faith In the Journey

Earlier this week, my best friend, Holly, told me she has never seen me shine like I have in the last year and that she was really proud of me, my strength and my courage through this bumpy road of adoption.  She has seen and experienced it all, right along side of me.  Everyone has an opinion, a thought they want to share and questions that are usually disrespectful and awkward about our international adoption.  I have stood my ground through them all.  Well, at least so far :)

I did not know how to respond to her statement!  We have been friends for 16 years.  I mean the inseparable, share the same brain and thought process, our kids call us "auntie" kind of friends.  When she told her husband we were adopting, his first response was "we are not adopting because Heidi is, got it?"  The thought still makes me giggle. We have trained with each other through World and National Championship races and she is proud of me now? All I could say was, "well, thanks Holl."

Later that afternoon, I received news that would shake me to the core, for lack of a better cliche saying. 

You see, last month, I had a feeling that our twins' birth mother had passed away. We found out that was true and started to pray for the healing of their hearts and comfort during their grief.  We knew that they had received our care packages and that we loved them whole heartedly.  Then, we found out that they had a maternal grandfather who did not know that his daughter was sick and had made plans for her children to be adopted.  Thus began another round of prayer.  Josh and I wondered if this grandfather could care for "our" children.  As much as we hated to say it, this would be ideal for them.  If something happened to us, we pray that our parents could and would want to care for our littles.  

Three weeks later, he had still not gone to the foster home to retrieve them.  I received a phone call yesterday letting me know that the grandfather had decided that he would not appear in court to approve our adoption.  I asked why he hadn't come to get them yet?  That's when the dagger came out, thrust itself into my heart and begin to twist.  He could not go take them "home" unless we released our custody of them.  With tears in my eyes, I made the decision that I knew was the best for them.  

I had known, in my heart, that there was a chance we were going to lose them.  Lose them?  Like they were ever ours to begin with, but they were.  I have carried them in my heart for almost six months.  Yesterday, I feel as though I miscarried those children.

I do not like to hurt and I am not a fan of crying.  It makes my brain tired and I feel out of control.  People say it is supposed to be healthy and an important part of grieving.  It also turns my eyes an incredible shade of turquoise.  None of these were helping me at the moment.  I was in a full on sob fest.

Through a gasping phone conversation with first my husband and then Holly, I came to understand that God used our love for these kids to help them through their grief of their mother until they could be reunited with their biological family.  That did not make it hurt any less.  I believe my exact question to her was,
 "Couldn't God have picked someone who is a lot stronger than me to be that person?"  Her response was, "not that I can think of."

I do not feel strong.  Physically, yes, I will kick your butt any day... mentally, not at all.  Maybe mentally and spiritually are two separate things, maybe they are connected, who am I to say?

I know that I am not alone in this and that helps a lot.  There are Momma's out their who have been or are in my shoes. 

I know that we, as a family, need time to grieve.  Even though they were not growing in my womb, they were growing in my heart with a name and a face.  The loss hurts. 

I know that God's plan for our adoption journey is not complete.  I have NO doubt of that whatsoever.

I know that there is no guarantee in adoption.  There was no guarantee that my two biological children would be born alive, much less healthy, and that didn't stop me from carrying them.

I know there are now 2 less orphans in the world and we praise God for that.

A girlfriend sent me a JJ Heller song that says "I don't know what You are doing, but I do know who You are." I know that out God is sovereign and that He is leading us in a direction that only He knows.  

I know that through my prayer and talks with our God that He is showing Josh and I the way.  We will simply need to listen and obey.

Isaiah 41:10 reads "fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I know that I am stronger than I ever thought I would be.

I know that strength comes from the Lord and from within.  My children see that and I can only hope they will want that as well.

Most importantly, I know that God is providing the best and right home for "our" twins.  This was not our plan.  BUT, His plan for them and for us is ultimately the only one that matters.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mothers Day Tidbits

We are not an over scheduled family by any means.  I am definitely over schedule but with my kiddos I am a do as I say not as I do kind of Mom.  However, this week has been a whirlwind of crazy to the point where I had to look at my phone to figure out what day it was today!

The month of May means: the end of school (for our kids at least), the beginning of baseball, starting the yard and garden work, summer is coming quickly, the days are longer and therefor bed times are not earlier and my husbands our Harley shop is going to be open seven days a week and crazy busy.  Our poor kiddos are saturated with a years worth of school and now standardized testing.  If they aren't crying by the end of the day, I sure might be.   Oh wait a minute, Mothers Day, May brings Mothers Day too.

Tomorrow, my daughter is modeling in a Mothers Day fashion show to benefit childhood cancer.  What is even more amazing is that there will be three mothers present at the show whose little ones are currently battling this horrid disease.  I sat down to think about what Mothers Day means to me.  Although I am a mother with two of her four children living half way around the world, I have been blessed with strong and healthy kids.  If there was nothing else, that is enough to sustain me!

I have a feeling my kiddos and hubs have been working on a special surprise for me.  I am blessed to be such a beacon of light for them but I need to say that I am not impressed by me.  I am simply doing what I believe God had planned for me to do. It is you fellow Mommas out there that blow my mind and make me wonder how you do it.

Happy Mothers Day

**To the Mommas who have beautiful children in a hospital fighting for their lives, or may be fighting for their own, I honor you.
**To the Mommas who are starving so that their children may be able to eat, my heart hurts for you.
**To the Mommas who are working as hard as motherly possible and sacrificing parts of themselves in order for their children to succeed, we are incredible.  We are all doing it, come to terms with it and pat yourself on the back.
**To the full time working Mommas, I don't know how you do what you do.
**To the stay-at-home Mommas who do it all and then some more, but everyone thinks you have spare time galore, I know the real story.
**To the Mommas who sit through hours upon hours of sporting events.  I think I will be there with you soon, save me a book and a seat in the sun!
**To the Mommas that opened their lives and homes to their children's friends and then, were called "Momma" for years.  I will never forget you.
**To the Mommas who have left this world to sit at the right hand of God, you are never forgotten.
**To the Mommas who knew there was a better life for her children than what she could provide, I promise to do everything I can to honor you and teach your children the ways of the Lord.  I cannot wait to meet and thank you one day.

To my Ma who sacrificed herself, worked full time, volunteered, taught me to be an amazing woman, sat through over 70 hours of track and cross country meets every year for 11 years and gymnastic before that (not to mention my sisters soccer schedule), studied with me, went to college online, at home in the evenings, studied with me, cried with me, spent every penny to travel the world with us, moved to Montana with my sissy and I, wanted to (and still does) strangle me over and over again.....

To my other Momma who raised an amazing man that I get to love daily, who is an incredible woman I am blessed to call friend, someone I look up to and secretly long for her decorating style, a creative mind and lover of all, a woman who helped me to find God and is always a member of my endeavor
fan club, a woman who also wants to strangle me over and over again....

...I have no problem whatsoever when your words flow from my mouth or when I find myself doing things "my mothers do".  In fact, I am honored to be in your club.  I hope that I can be half the mother you two are.  I do not feel worthy to have been blessed with not one, but two Moms that I cherish the way I cherish you.

No card at Target can ever say what really needs to be said to all you fabulous Momma's out there.  So, I will just say this,

Mommas, has anyone told you today 
how phenomenal you are???

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dear Spring

[It's okay to laugh, it is pretty darn funny especially if you know me :) ]

Dear Spring, 

We need to have a little chat about what is going on here at the Fry Family "Farm". 

It has been a very long winter.  I realize that I am a born and raised Alaskan, but the reality is, I do not like to be cold. Period.  As I was digging in the garden yesterday, while wearing a fleece jacket, long pants, and gloves I realized there are some things I think we should discuss. I cannot keep it in any longer.

First and foremost, this wind is not okay.  Its constant, unannounced arrival is not appreciated.  I do not want its company on my runs, bike rides, garden time, or anywhere else for that matter.  More importantly, I have a new sun hat that I am rather excited about and I cannot wear it for fear that it will blow off and sail back to the incredible artisan in Madagascar that made it while I run after it.  My long runs are not that long right now, I would prefer it to shield my lovely face and neck from skin cancer instead of being a training tool.

[There is a definite chance she may steal it!]

My dear, dear garden, I love you.  I love you far more than I should and spend more time and love on you more than I do my husband. I feel kinda bad about it. You have the finest soil in the county and folks stop by every year to ask about it.  I would like to request that you no longer sub lease to rocks.  Every year, when I rototill, I catch you with these unlawful house guests.  I have worked very hard to give you such a nice home, please respect it.

Fear not, my soon to be fruitful garden, I have solved the mystery of the missing peas, muskmelon and green bean plants.  Unfortunately, there is not much I can do about it, the culprit has been found but not necessarily apprehended.  I have a feeling she may not be acting alone.  We predict her gang of misfits may be about 14 strong.  What can I say?  She has a really long neck and lays eggs year round!  Now that I know the truth I will diligently work on not comparing you to the oh-so-spectacular gardens in my monthly issues of Southern Living magazine.  It is not fair, I know.  I also promise not to let Josh judge you mid season for what he thinks is a lack of fertility on your part.  Good things come to those who wait and we will wait on your abundance, my love.

To the row of some sort of flower that I can’t remember the name of that came up with a vivacious splendor in the middle of the garden, its not you, its me.  I realize that you fought the fight of winter for as long as I did, but you had to go.  My son has informed me that he won’t eat flowers this year.

Baby chickens, you are stinkin’ cute, seriously cute.  In no time at all you will grow up to be awkward, only half feathered teenagers and we will name some of you ridiculous names.  Some of you will lay eggs and live with the big girls, some of you will grow up to be roosters that we eat.  In the mean you are cute, cute, cute!!!

So, my precious garden and baby foul, I vow to love you, cherish you, baby you and only feed you yummy things all summer long.  When the time comes, some of you will learn to love winter and some of you will die away, go in the freezer and be born again in the following Spring.

We can get through it together.  I better go put some seeds in that dirt I mean soil!

[the first day that 70 didn't feel like 40!  My hat blew off right after this was taken]

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Things that make you go hmmmmm...

We woke up this morning to snow.  No, not just a little Montana-in-May flurry but snow sticking to the ground and still falling.  NOT OK!!

At breakfast my littles sat down in a tired end of the school year bad mood and asked this:

"Mom, on track and field day, can we be sick?"

Um, what?  Track and field is the reason that this family has no student loans to repay.  Track and field is the reason that you have been able to travel all over the place to my races and stand around bored to pieces while being forced to watch me run and the reason you have an "Aunt" Holly.  I went to college on a track and field scholarship for peets sake!  Why don't you just stick a knife in my heart and twist it around for awhile?  As I compose myself, take a deep breath and choose not to respond, I see my husband giggling out of the corner of my eye.

Thus started my list of things that I wish my kids understood and that I just don't understand about being The Mom.  That and the fact that a reader told me she appreciated that I write about things that are real.  Well, buckle up, in our house this is as real as it gets.  It also may explain my sense of overwhelmed exhaustion also known as motherhood.  And to think, when I was growing up, I thought stay-at-home moms just didn't want to work.  REALITY CHECK on aisle 5!

** I am willing to get up (or at least try), at the crack of dawn so that I can get my run or bike ride in, start making breakfast, three lunches and sometimes even dinner before you get up because I love you and that is my job. Please realize that Mommy needs a workout, her tea and her meds before being bombarded with a thousand questions at the butt crack of dawn.  That is the way it is.  Period. End of story. Deal with it.

** Yes, you can and will make your own bed. Why, because it is on your chore list that I, as your mother, am entitled to make for you and enforce.  No, I am not going to make my bed, that is something that your Daddy does because he knows I will not do it.  He loves to make the bed, he wants to, he can't wait to do it every morning, right Love?
While you and Daddy take 60 seconds to make your bed and brush your teeth, Supermom will put on her cape, feed the dog, make your breakfast, make your lunch and look over your math that you failed to mention needed done until 10 minutes before departure time, try to remember everything that needs to be brought to school, get your hair done in some sort of semi-acceptable manner and get you out the door without tears.  Their tears, not mine, there is still a chance mine will come later.

** Daddy takes the kids to school.  Yes, I realize how incredibly lucky I am.  However, on occasion, there may be a day when I have volunteered to help out with a morning activity or Daddy has to be at work early.  On these days, I will do my best not to embarrass you with my appearance (I look damn good in a page boy hat) but if I am wearing my fuzzy, red santa socks because I still had them on from the night before, you need not point them out to me with disgust or a "nice socks mom/hun" comment.  I am well aware that they are still on.  It is still snowing in May, I am cold and my shoes will cover them.

Speaking of embarrassment, how did our kids get that old already?  When did the "you are wearing that" question come into their little heads?  I am still cool, damn it!

** Unless our house is on fire, I am not going to town in my yoga pants or without mascara on so deal with the 2 minutes of extra time it may take.  If I do, someone might mistake me for your older brother and then you will have to deal with Mommy crying in public.

** Do not complain about your lunch I packed.  I short order cook breakfast, pack individual lunches based on each of your totally different palates and I either skip lunch or eat leftovers that no one else will eat.  You have a brother and sister in Africa who may not have gotten lunch at all.  If you are going to bring your lunch home half full and feed it to our spoiled chickens, I am not making you a full lunch tomorrow.  Our daughter learned this the hard way.  Insert my snide giggle here.

** We have gorgeous wood floors in our house. They are a beast to keep clean or at least it seems that way in the spring when the sun shines through the windows in the morning.  Damn you spring sunshine!  If you come home from school/work and all the shades are pulled even though it is gorgeous outside, it is because the sun highlights all your daily Wheat Thins and eraser crumbs that have created an elite club under the breakfast bar.  I see them, thank you for letting me know that you do as well.  The vacuum is in the closet right behind you.  It is on my list of things to do!

** "Mom/Honey, there is nothing to eat!"  Hmmm, how do you figure?

** Wait, STOP!  I know you just stepped over that basket of laundry that needs to be put away.  You went upstairs to take of your school uniform and then came back down those same stairs while proclaiming, "I'm hungry".  I strategically put those baskets on said stairs because I figure you are old enough to put away your own clothes.  Honey, that goes for you too!!!!

By the way, I tested this notion once, the basket sat at the top of the stairs for a week until they claimed they had no clean clothes to wear.  You are 8 and 10. I am not putting away your laundry.

** It has taken me 10 years to train my husband to not ask (as often) what "we" are making for dinner.  I do continue to wonder who this WE is that he is referring to???

**If, for some reason, we are going out to dinner, I do NOT want to choose the place.  I make a million decisions a day including what was for breakfast, lunch and the next 25 dinners, please do not look at me and wait for an answer.  Not happening.  Plus, I know you don't want to eat where I want to so, why are you asking?

**Back to the never ending topic of laundry.  On Sundays, "we" do laundry.  When asked to please bring their laundry downstairs so "we" can do it, this is what I come back to our master bedroom to find.
Mind you, Josh and I don't have our laundry in here yet.  Our kids wear a uniform to school every day. Where did all these clothes come from and whose are they???  I go through ONE outfit a day.  I quite commonly will wear it again a few days later (with different accessories of course) and on most days TWO sets of workout clothes.  Josh wears the same jeans all week and a uniform shirt.  Our combined laundry doesn't even touch one of these piles and our clothes are TWICE as big!  Oh my goodness, we have two more of these piles headed our way soon!

You may notice there are not two children present in this photo sorting their "laundry" that just exploded onto our floor.  Apparently, even though they are well educated on this matter, their laundry fairy will be in shortly to do so.  Whew!

** By the way, I am still not putting away your laundry.

Kids are in bed, sweet!  Wait a sec, now it is time for the second half of the work day to begin.

**When husband of the year (also known as man who wants some lovin' later) offers to do the dishes so you can have that extra time to go get something done elsewhere in the house, why are only the actual dishes in the dishwasher, but most pots, pans and leftovers are still on the stove or in the sink?  I have been married long enough to just expect this and smile.  At least he tried right?  

If yours doesn't do this, kudos to you but I know they are out there :)

** Husband that "did" the dishes, is done doing whatever it is they do after the kids are in bed, and is ready for bed himself (if you know what I mean). Why do they call out "Honey, what are you doing?" You are now folding laundry, finishing the rest of the dishes or looking over the math paper that may have actually been given to you the night before it is due?  

They can't possibly be that clueless!!  I have decided that the proper answer to this question, if called out to you while you are in another room is this:

"I am getting ready for you baby, would you prefer black stilettos tonight or the red negligee that I bought for our honeymoon?" 

This should be said while laughing and screaming inside all at the same time.  I wonder how long he will be waiting in our room?  He knows darn well that drawer of honeymoon lingerie hasn't been cracked open since our honeymoon, 11 years ago.  In fact, I have been reminded of that at least once a month since our honeymoon.  Hello, if items in that drawer are used, that makes more laundry!

All kidding aside, life is full of questions with unknown answers, I figure it is better to laugh at a majority of them.  I still don't know how my mother made it through my adolescence sane, or did she?  Fact is, we are raising incredible kids and my husband is a total bad ass when it comes to putting up with what goes on in my head and our crazy life.  I can only pray that our kids don't realize how hard I work until they have kids of their own.  I would rather they just felt overwhelming love and gave respect and thanks.  In the meantime, I am going to go find some leftovers to eat for lunch and fold some laundry.  Hey, I chose this job and I am thankful to be able to have it.

Plus, it could be worse, I could actually have to make our own bed!!!  Insert full body shiver here.