Sunday, October 23, 2011
I Just Don't Know How You Manage
The remark I most often hear, the most routine thing said to me constantly over the years, has to be, "I just don't know how you do it. I can't even manage with my own two children."
Let me repeat for the ten thousandth time:
I am NOT overwhelmed, I've never been overwhelmed.
I've not quit, not walked out, nor taken anyone up on their ridiculous suggestion that I go take a vacation by myself. Do you really think I could find a willing babysitter? I've had to ask Sarah and Yolie for emergency babysitting, like when I had surgery five years ago, or when I flew up to Williamsburg for those 40 hours to watch Lauren graduate from William and Mary, that said, I need to start thinking about a Notre Dame road trip in 2014, maybe with all the kids, when my darling niece, Katie Bay, graduates. I dearly wish I'd have gotten to Kelly's graduation, but thankfully Grandpa was still alive then to be there.
I want to do what I'm doing here with my family.
There are times that the misdirected hatefulness,, or the inability to turn around mental health issues has deeply grieved me. Deeply, very deeply saddened by choices, knowing how difficult an adult life will be when one refuses to work, or when one self medicates or gets drunk. I know in advance that those aren't good choices. Duh. I wish I could stem those behaviors in others.
Yet, when my children are grown, it is out of my hands, those that want to go to college or to get a tech degree, I'll work very hard on helping them do so, but those that get arrested for underage drinking? There nothing that I can do that would not be enabling.
There are some teenagers that will attack us, that have attacked us, and I have had to take sad measures to protect the rest of us.
That is my job. MY JOB.
I get criticized, boy do I get criticized, and truthfully, it hurts a lot. I don't know of many people who'd be able to take one minute of my life, much less the past 25 years of adopting troubled children while trying my best every single day. Every. Single. Day.
The only thing I do for myself is to work outside, the rest of everything I do every day is one million percent for my children, and my children eat everything that I produce when working outside, so nyah nyah nyah, everything I do is for my family.
I do 99% of the chores around here.
"Make the kids do it," someone will bark at me, a new therapist or someone who doesn't understand the dynamics involved around here. It is much easier to just do it myself than to have to call a deputy to enforce household rules that a kid or two will unreasonably take up as their cause, their reason why they think I stink.
"My REAL mother wouldn't make me make my bed," they might scream at me.
Dude, you have it made here, but you probably won't ever appreciate that fact until you are grown and trying to take care of yourself.
I should have Jesse call 'em and tell 'em how it really is. BINGO. As I typed these words, Jesse just texted me a picture of him and Isaiah. How cool is that? He KNOWS I deeply miss them all, he, his wife and his son.
But back here at home, if you don't want to learn about normal living expectations, then I won't force this upon you. Those that respond appropriately are those that choose to learn, which is the majority of my children. The majority of my children are wonderful human beings and I rejoice at being their mom bigtime.
I'm not gonna have a control issue battle with anyone.
Genetics play a huge role here. I've watched it for 25 years in action amongst my seven sibling groups. Heckfire, I need only to look at Grandma, me, Sarah and Hazel to see a mongo streak of genetically passed-down fierce independence, or to Yolie's group for eerily similar very high IQs, or Edgar's group who all toss drinking cups up in the air, in a twisty manner, three times before going to the faucet for water. Sabrina's group are all high-achievers, and other sibling groups show remarkable similarities, indeed it is very easy to pick out who's blood kin to who else around here. Teachers have told me this as well.
Groups will share the same contagious laughter, laughing at the exact same pitch, or a predetermined running ability, their silhouettes alone are exactly the same when in motion, the muscle groups in tandem. It amazes me. Allen and Edgar could be the same person on the soccer field, their skulls also shaped the same.
Some sibling groups sulk identically, some eat similarly in a circular motion around their plates, I've closely observed these patterns for many, many years.
It is this constant observation that also allows me to go into meetings in the schools and advocate for what they need, or to explain why they do what they do. Not excusing their behaviors, but explaining if possible. Sometimes I have no clue. Duh. This isn't easy.
But I look at my very sweet son, Martin, who's fixing to be 18 years old, nearly his entire childhood has been spent here with me, since he was three years old. He knows my complete and loudly explained aversion to R rated movies, I never rent them, I don't want the F word broadcast from my TV set nor do I want to see embarrassingly personal acts performed on the TV. Seriously? I wouldn't look in someone's window. Duh. That's private, not to be televised, what's wrong with people?
He kinda disobeyed me yesterday, went with friends to see Paranormal 3, or whatever it's called. At 17 the theater allows it. Dang, I'm 57 and wouldn't do it.
When I went to get them up for church this morning, I found Martin asleep with his overhead lights on. "Ha!" I hollered, "I told you not to watch that trash, scared you didn't it?"
I'm old enough for R rated movies, or a smoke and a Margarita, but I don't do it. I don't do it. I have an overdeveloped conscience that deeply believes a loving God is watching my every step, not disapprovingly, but watching nonetheless. I'm not legalistic about it, nor a Pharisee (antagonistic), but rather I want to please Him.
If that makes me not a Feminist, I don't care. If it makes me square, I don't care. I don't care what the world thinks about me, although the world certainly has the ability to hurt my feelings and crush my spirit, I care what God thinks, and He sees everything, even into my heart and mind. He knows I have an attitude sometimes.
That's all she wrote.