It's so weird for a formerly strong woman, as I felt I was once, to be working so diligently now at regaining one's former self, now bruised and crushed by trauma, looking fearfully around, taking literal steps each day to continue in a positive manner in spite of what spins around me.
It is, of course, much easier now with danger removed from our home, that it's now likely no one will attack anyone, but no one is willing to let down their guard, including me.
Cristy, 35, the birth mom of my three, CW, Lily and Jack, has been here visiting from Oregon, she's starting on her Master's Degree in three weeks. I adopted her 22 years ago, long before I knew about trauma or even the challenging issues in the adoption of older kids. I only had me some book learning, woefully inadequate for what I'd later face and endure. OK, I was dang clueless.
We talked last night about all that, as the skies darkened promisingly, and then finally gave us some much-needed rain.
"I never thought I'd be a gardener," Cristy explained to the kids. "I told Mom I'd never dig in the dirt like her." But she did and does so now.
We were talking about earning one's keep on the planet. Sarah had just that morning pointed out that all of my teenagers who'd held down jobs, grew up to be adults who always held down jobs, versus the ones who'd been so lackadaisical, hard-headed, or impossible to teach the cause and effect lessons.
Some clearly had entitlement issues, some were drawn to what they considered to be a glamorous thug life, some were just too flat out lazy and shiftless.
Both Martin and Allen have been offered jobs again this summer via a Federal Workforce Program, plus the very sweet Dr. J got Martin into the morning summer school program, and, via Duane P, has sent a school bus to fetch him to and fro, eliminating me having to load up the kids and get Martin up and down the highway twice a day. I'm so very grateful.
This is the same man, this Dr J, who'd once spent six months trying to manage JoJo in the Alternative School Program - thank God he doesn't hold that against our family. It's funny however, in spite of his challenging behaviors, JoJo is extremely likable.
Duane had once coached the Bubbas for a soccer season and they'd behaved beautifully for him.
My dear friend Lisa's niece, Melissa, made it through a potentially devastating surgery with extremely good news and results yesterday, an answer to fervent prayers, I had tears of relief in my eyes when I'd heard the good news. Lisa's husband, Tracy, also enduring eye surgery and pronouncing it a piece of cake. Oh, thank God.
I have no choice but to allow an 82 year old headstrong woman the freedom to drive to DC if that's what she wants to do, in spite of my own misgivings. "You best call me all the time," I'd told my mom, as she left for Greensboro, NC yesterday to her brother's widow's house for the night, and then on to DC to march in The Race For The Cure alongside my niece and my favorite brother-in-law, Kevin, in memory of Ellen.
So a bunch of very good things occurred yesterday, and I'm trying to again teach myself, in spite of the devastatingly traumatic events over the last ten years, that good things can, and do, happen to us.
Lord knows I have to model this for my children, as I work on regaining my once indefatigable optimism.
As the thunder crashed around us late last night, my very handsome CW laid out his growing-up plans for me that I, of course, totally support and am excited about for him. "How can you afford college for me?" he asked, knowing money's always been tight around here. I reassured him that there are many scholarships that go unused, due to people being unwilling to do the paperwork. Honey, I'm willing. Very much so.
Lily's dear friend, Jaden, has moved back to Montana and Lily was looking at maps, Jaden's nearly up to the Canadian border, it snowed there this week. Ouch. Lily's handling the loss right well, there's something that strengthens a child on the inside when they've had immense lifetime security and stability, which was Cristy's plan for the three kids all along when she asked me to raise them a long time ago.
Treasured as babies, doted upon as toddlers, their every need met, their self-confidence growing each day, and totally encouraged along the way, they're good students, very loving sons and a daughter to me, so dependable and sweet-natured. I've been very, very blessed by their presence in my life.
They've spent their entire lives in this one house, on this one piece of property, in this one very excellent school system, and in our one wonderful church. Jack and Lily scampering around in the garden picking and eating blackberries and blueberries, saving seed for me because Lily's artistic eye (totally from Cristy as I'm the polar opposite of artistic) notes seed pods and growing patterns.
This one Vulcan Swiss Chard plant, pictured below, allowed to go to seed by me specifically because of its strong growth, a third generation saved seed now, uniquely suited to this one micro climate - Oh Honey, that's some good eating.
I've bellyached to Dr Mandy about the secondary trauma that these three kids have been exposed to, I hate that for them, yet Dr. Mandy has explained that it's made them all the more empathetic towards others, they've seen me take huge steps for their protection, they've watched a strong woman cope daily for many long years, which also uniquely strengthens them to be able to cope when they're grown as the normal, sharp arrows of life will pierce them along the way.
No one is immune from stress, but one can learn to cope with it.