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Why Being A Grandmother is THE BOMB!!

Ok…I’ll admit it – when I first found out my daughter was pregnant with my oldest grandson, I was less than thrilled.  She was young, unmarried and really not ready to be a parent as far as I was concerned.  I was still busy parenting her siblings who were 16, 10 and 6 at the time.  And damn it, I was too young to be a grandmother.

I grumbled, pouted, worried (a lot),  bought some new (fashionable – non “mom”) jeans, went out dancing, tried to act “young”  but in the end, no matter what I did, I was about to become someones Nana.

I was there, holding my daughters leg when her son, my grandson, was born. And from that very moment on, I was smitten.  It is an experience unlike any other and truly can’t be explained – it must be experienced first hand.

That tiny little boy stole my heart and still has it (along with his younger siblings and cousin).  I’ve been blessed to witness each baby’s birth.

He and his sister and baby brother (in the picture) came to visit me today.  The two big ones ran into my office smiling at me with their arms out.

THAT my friends is what its about.  That is how I am greeted each and every time I see them.  My 18 month old granddaughter calls her Nana on her play phone;  my 6 year old grandson begs to come to my house and complains to his mother if he hasn’t seen me in a few days.  When he does see me, he hugs me and kisses me on the cheek – it is the sweetest thing!  Yesterday I met my other daughter and my 3 month old granddaughter at Walmart. Guess who saw me and smiled?  Yep.  I rock! 😉

Being a Nana is simply one of the greatest gifts in my life.

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My Childrens Father – AKA My Ex

 

 

Within the past two weeks I have done the following:

  • Worked from 8AM-5PM Monday thru Friday
  • Commuted to said job 40 minutes both ways
  • Found out about the death of a friend, attended the funeral and wake
  • Witnessed the birth of my third grandchild after 27 hours of labor – all of which I was there for
  • Taken care of my 12 and 16 year old boys except for the weekend they were with their father (from Friday night to Sunday evening) – which includes feeding them, making sure homework is done, clothes are washed,  children are clean, rooms are picked up, children are happy….etc.
  • Planned meals, grocery shopped (for our household of 4), cooked and served said meals
  • Paid bills (some of which weren’t mine………..)
  • Planned, shopped for and prepared a meal for 15 people – half of whom were my boyfriends family
  • General household duties – ya know, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning
  • Homework for the 3 classes I’m taking this semester
  • Had my 6 year old grandson one night for a sleepover


Suffice it to say, I’m your typical, busy single mom.  So WHY on this earth do I have to endure my ex, the father of my children, making my life any more difficult? WHHHYYYYY?????

Here’s the issue:  my 16 year old doesn’t like my new boyfriend. Honestly,  I’m not certain he would like any man in my life that wasn’t his father.  How does my ex try to help with this?  By telling the 16 year old he can come live with him if he wants – in a different school district, in an unsuitable neighborhood, and with little to no supervision (from the ex).  W.T.H.????  This, makes the 16 year old incredibly defiant – and why wouldn’t it?  Now, he thinks he has options.  And from his point of view, pretty good ones.

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Here’s what happened:  I receive the 16 year olds five week report from school – not good.  Three, count them, THREE grades below passing.

A little background for you – the rules in my house when there are failing grades are #1.  No electronics   #2.  You’re grounded – period.

After a conversation discussing the rules with him and telling him to hand over his phone, he gets lippy.  My response:  “If you don’t like it, call your father and have him come get you”.  He angrily hops up, stomps off and calls his father with that “I’ll show you” look on his face.

Now, I know how this is going to go – I’ve parented with this man for over 25 years.  I KNOW he doesn’t want full time kids (he never did), I KNOW he won’t come get him (it would be too much of an inconvenience) and I KNOW that somehow he will twist the situation to blame me.

Ten minutes later I find the 16 year old crying in his bedroom because his father won’t come get him.  Shocking.  I feel horrible for him – absolutely horrible.

I get him back downstairs to talk.  He hands over his phone.  He understands he’s grounded, asks “how long”.  I tell him as long as it takes for him to get his grades up.  He’s still crying.  He’s heartbroken.

I’m heartbroken for him.  This is not how it is supposed to be.  The reality, however, is that it IS how it is.

Why would a parent do that to a child?  Why would they tell them they could come live with them if it wasn’t true?

There it is – there’s my rant.  I hate this co-parenting thing – I hate seeing my children hurt.

My hope is that they know I am always here for them.  ALWAYS.

I know so many of you have gone through similar situations.  I would love to hear how you handle it.  How do you cope and make sure you’re doing everything humanly possible to raise happy kids?

Peace and love my soul sisters.

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Our Fostering and Adoption Journey

 

 

As an adoptive parent of two children who were in foster care, I can tell you there is no greater joy.  The boys we adopted – who were 2 and 6 when we adopted them – have been two of the biggest blessings of my life.

Unfortunately, not all adoptions turn out well.  There are many horror stories out there and trust me, I was worried.

Our intent initially was to foster until we found a child, preferably a baby, to adopt.  Our first placement was a twelve year old girl who I will call “A”.  Let me tell you sister, fostering a twelve year old girl is not for the faint of heart.  Fostering, in general, is not for the faint of heart.  It takes a very special person or couple to take in these children, most of them wounded and sad, and care for them like they are your own.

I think some people also have the misbelief that foster and adoptive children should be grateful to be in a “good” home.  First of all, they’re children; few are grateful for anything these days.  Second of all, 98% of them have seen, felt and experienced things that would bring you to your knees.

Our foster daughter had been abused by her step-father and discarded by her mother when the court said this young girl could no longer live with her step-father.  A’s mother had a choice to make and she chose the man over her flesh and blood.  I can’t tell you the number of hours A spent sitting on my lap, rocking and sobbing that she didn’t have a mother.  It was heart wrenching.  On top of that, there was substance abuse, physical abuse and God knows what else that she witnessed prior to coming to us.  She would make references to drugs and sex that I had never heard before.

Even though we were able to get her settled into our home, she kept acting out in school and eventually had to go to a different school district, which meant she had to be moved to a new foster home.  At the time, my daughters were 11 and 13.  They couldn’t understand why A acted out the way she did and why she had to leave.  My youngest daughter was heart broken when A left.  I was too.

So it was at that point we decided we would simply (ha.ha.ha.) adopt rather than foster-to-adopt.

After our experience with a pre-adolescent we decided we didn’t want a child any older than 10.  We were willing to accept a sibling group but no more than two children.  Sounds simple enough – HA HA.

Well, our county generally doesn’t have young children who are adoptable so we kept getting calls for older children.  We kept saying no even as guilty as we felt about it (and it really sucked saying no).  Our caseworker sent our homestudy out to other agencies across the country and we were finally matched with two boys ages 2 and 6. Keep in mind that we were into this process by about 7 months.

We drove 6 hours to meet them.  I knew the instant I saw them that they were my children.

You see, ever since giving birth to my second child, I’d felt like someone was still missing from our family.  I longed for another child.  I prayed for another child.  Almost daily………..I can’t adequately explain the empty feeling I had where this child was supposed to be.  And then, after a 6 hour drive and laying eyes on my sons, the feeling left me.  It’s never returned.

I’m not going to say its been sunshine and roses, because it has not.  Raising children, in general, is not.

The adoption process itself was long and stressful. The six year old had some behavioral issues.  The two year old spent the first week throwing up all over everything because he was so upset.  I have Never in my life been vomited on that much.

But here we are, 10 years later.  Two of the loves of my life – blessings, absolute blessings.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  it was all worth it – the wait, the stress, the vomit – all of it.

The lesson in all of this, for me, has been that the universe has a plan.  We fight it, try to manipulate it and ultimately find that it’s necessary to relinquish ourselves to it.  I’m so thankful the universe sent me these boys.

I hope the universe sends you what you’re wishing for.  Have a blessed day my soul sisters!!!

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The Joy of Grandparenting

 

 

Todays LOL:

My 6 year old grandson recently spent some time at my house with my 12 and 16 year olds listening to music – maybe not the best idea in retrospect. So he says to his mother, “At Nana’s we listened to a song about big fat butts. What does he mean when he says you know what to do with that big fat butt? What does she do with it mom?”.

My daughter said she almost passed out.

I, however, laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe and am still giggling about it.

To fully understand why I find humor in it, you should know that my daughter was THE BIGGEST instigator of bad behavior in her younger siblings.  So this incident is actually her own fault – at least thats my theory.

I have to say that there is no greater pleasure than watching your children parent their children.  Not only have I dealt with the inevitable “I’ll never do or say _______ to my child” statement but because there is a gap in age between the first two kids and the second two, I’ve had to deal with the older girls trying to parent the younger boys WITH me – which, to me, at times has been more frustrating than co-parenting with my ex.

So now, my reward for making it (almost) through all of that is I get to watch as my daughters parent their kids.  I am blessed (and amused almost daily)!!!!

Karma at its best!

Have a joyful day!


Crash The Site Sale

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The XBox Debate

As a mother of two boys, I am beyond familiar with electronic devices.  I have found over the years that my boys become deeply engrossed in the games, spending hour upon hour playing.  They’ll even forego eating to continue playing a game.  I have watched as the two of them argue relentlessy about who’s turn it is to play, timing each other down to the second.  I have been involved in conversations with them during which “Call of Duty” was in some way used as a life comparison to something – “well, in Call of Duty, blah, blah, blah” or “you know, that reminds me of blah blah blah in Call of Duty”.

After some particularly questionable grades a year or so ago, the XBox found a new permanent home at their father’s house.  They get to play it every other weekend, IF they aren’t doing something else.

This of course has meant I’ve had to endure begging on and off to bring it home.  “We don’t fight over it anymore”, “we won’t play it all the time”, “you can limit our time on it”.  I won’t cave.  The peace in our home now without that damn thing is unbelievable.  Honest to God, neither of my boys (ages 12 & 16) have cried over a game controller  (to my knowledge) in over a year.  SUCCESS!

Or so you’d think.  Enter – their older sister.  As a new mom, she now thinks she has all the answers to every parenting situation that might arise.  Her child will be a month old tomorrow.

I made the mistake of letting the 16 year old stay with her this weekend.  He pleaded his case to her (her husband has an XBox).  He told me he only got 3 hours of sleep while he was there because he was so engrossed in playing, he forgot to go to bed.  THIS is my point.

Now I know that not every child has these issues nor does every parent feel the way I do about it.  And thats ok.  I’m not here to debate what you should or shouldn’t allow your child to do.  I’d be happy to let my kids have it if they had some sort of self control but they don’t.

So my daughter is now pleading her brothers case.  She thinks I’m being horrifically cruel to them – they should be able to have the things they want; they shouldn’t feel different from their friends; it will give them something to do.  All reasonable arguments.  But I don’t believe they should have everything they want simply because they want it or because their friends have it.

And trust me, they’ve found other things to do in the past year.

For example, they’ve learned to ice skate, they’ve been playing AirSoft.  Yes, I bought them “guns” – they aren’t real guns but when you get hit, you feel it.  Much more real than a game and honestly, an important life lesson.  Now I’m not saying I want them to get shot – I want them to have an understanding of what it means to be shot – there’s no reset button.  They now know that.

We went out and purchased about 10 board games.  They regularly play them and we have family game nights.  They ride bikes, they kayak, they swim and climb trees.

I am a mean mother and I’m ok with that.  I want these children to use their imaginations and move their bodies.  I want them to be able to converse with actual living human beings – not a voice over XBox live.

I think my daughter has forgotten how I canceled our internet service after she, her older sister and a bunch of other girls started arguing over AIM.  Shockingly, they all survived.

So, there won’t be a reappearance of any electronic games at our house.  If I get an “I’m bored” (which rarely happens) there are always chores to do or the option to go entertain yourself (which is what does happen).

Tell me, are you a mean mom?

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5 Things I’ve Learned as a Parent

Now that you’re a “seasoned” parent, how do you respond to the young, non-parent who makes the comment “MY child will never…..(fill in the blank)”?

I’ve learned over the years that the best response is no response.  Those people will never fully understand until they have children of their own.  Even then, they still might not get it.

~ I’VE LEARNED that each child, while somewhat similar, can be extremely different from each of their siblings. What worked with one, may not – and probably WILL NOT – work with the others.  Take the time to find what works with each child.   You will make their (and your) life so much simpler.

For example, my oldest daughter could have cared less about “things”.  She would not, no matter what I did, clean up her toys.  I could threaten to take them, ground her, etc.  What worked with her was having me bring a chair into her room, park my butt and point to each item and make her pick it up (or else I’d be in her room FOREVER).
Her younger sister, however, would frantically run around picking up her toys at the meer mention of them being taken (because I actually emptied her room one time).

~ I’VE LEARNED that kids are going to hurt your feelings.  They are going to say things when they’re angry at you (which will be frequently) that sting.  DO NOT, under any circumstances, let that deter you.  You certainly have a right to let them know they hurt your feelings or that what they said was inappropriate, but don’t gimp out or they’ll keep doing it.

~ I’VE LEARNED that its important to spend individual time with each child – even if its only a few times a year.  Take them to a movie or to lunch.  These will be the moments they will cherish – not a clean house.

~I’VE LEARNED that you need to accept your child for who they are – not who you wanted them to be.  This was difficult for my kids father and was ultimately what drove us apart.

I know that when I first set eyes on my daughter after she was born, I never once thought “I hope you have your first child when you’re 19”.  Hell no……I was angry.  So I get it.  You have dreams for your kids; you want them to have a better life than you did and you don’t understand why they can’t just listen to you.

Once I got over it and accepted my daughter for who she truly is rather than who I wanted her to be, I felt more at peace and so did she.

The simple fact is, they’re individuals and they’re going to do and be what and who they want.  It’s more important for me to have my daughter in my life than for me to be upset over something I can’t change.  And by the way, who she is, is pretty great.  She may not be living the life I had envisioned for her, but she’s happy, healthy and is a great mom and a contributing member of society – isn’t that all we ultimately want?

~I’VE LEARNED that even when we think they don’t hear us, they do.  They’re not going to admit it – at least not until they have kids of their own (if you’re lucky).  I still smile to myself when I hear my kids repeat something I’ve said that I SWEAR they completely ignored.  They’re listening – trust me.

~I’VE LEARNED that I have just as much to learn from them as they do from me!  They’re pretty wonderful people!

 

Have a wonderful, family filled, fabulous weekend!