Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Shoes

I'm sitting here with a cat in my lap, a glass of white wine and Diana Krall radio playing in the living room. There's also a plate of one bite eaten tilapia (it's undercooked mama! that's why I don't like it! clearly someone watches too many food competition shows...) with roasted potatoes and ketchup, and a 6 year old playing reading games on the computer in my bedroom and I'm tired.

But it's the good kind of tired, the worked all day and am still working kind of weary and its different than the stressed out, bone weary I'd been the past 8 months, from August backward.

I'm turning 30 next month. And if there's one thing I'm realizing as I get older it's that the opinions of others don't matter as much as they used to.

Opinions of my family, my parents, my friends, my peers - in the past they have been a blanket around me. Well, I'm doing good, I'm meeting approval, I'm well-liked, I can hide my flaws, I can please you by being agreeable. This is comfortable and feels good.

But sometimes life is so imperfect that you can't please everyone no matter if you want to or not.

And sometimes you make choices that you feel are right and you turn your cheek to the disapproval because it's your life, not theirs.

We are down to one foster child. Our teen's behaviors became so challenging we could no longer handle them- no matter what we tried. Intense family therapy being the last straw.

And I've grieved this. I've tried to explain what it was like to live with him. The constant strain and stress he put on our house. His relationship with his sister, who is still with us. The constant tension and dominance he lorded over her. The likability that quickly sours when you start asking things of him.

The way he didn't want to be part of a family- he wanted to be a parent of himself.

And I've gone round and round about the part I played in it. Asked myself why I was so attached to him, why I fought so hard for him, why I made so many excuses for him and overlooked so much.

And I keep going round as social workers, guardians, and even health care workers call me asking for his back story- how can we help him, what does he need, how can we knock some sense into him? Because his behaviors are just as intense if not more outside our home.

And I think it can be summed up in one sentence, courtesy of my dear co-worker.

You don't regret loving him because you know you did everything you could.

And that's that.

And I pray for him and think of him more than I wish I did, and sometimes my stomach turns when I think of how he turned on me, blamed me, lied about me and then sometimes I feel extreme sadness.

But I know some people can't understand why we let him go, why we didn't keep giving him chance after chance.

And to those people I have to lovingly remind myself- they didn't walk in our shoes. They didn't live in our home.

Our social worker wanted to remove him months before we finally agreed it was time. And so I let those opinions go as they come...I can't please them. They wanted me to be his savior and Lord knows I tried. But only God can save us.

Life right now is peaceful. It's good. It feels right.

I'm a working mom. And that feels right too. I pick up my daughter from after-school and sometimes we walk home together and sometimes we drive if its hot or rainy and I look forward to seeing her, to reading together, cooking dinner together, going through our evening routine of bedtime and baths and prayers.

 I've seen her thrive and change and mellow, just being in our stable home, with our love and our guidance and I know that the statistics are true- the main influence is home life.

It's what affects kids the most. And I live in my shoes. And I live in my home.

Almost every morning my daughter wakes up before she should, comes into my room and crawls up on the bed with me where I'm doing my devotions, drinking my coffee. She snuggles up and I read out loud to her, and I wonder if she smells the coffee and thinks my robe is soft the way I remember my mom in the morning, sitting on the red couch we used to have, doing her devotions, sipping that deep roasted smelling coffee before starting the day.

And I am so lucky to live this life. To have experienced the pain in order to see the growth, to feel the peace compared to the heart ache and to know that's its true... really does come in the morning.

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