Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Perfectly Imperfect Family of 4

I've missed my little space. This blog is *my space.* When you have kids, not much is yours anymore. My bed usually has a 4am pigtailed visitor, my showers usually have Avengers rescuing Thomas the train from the suds, my drinks and meals are always shared and I no longer understand the concept of personal space. But this blog is my space. It may be full of pictures of my kids and stories of our days at the park but they're memories I choose to share with my own words.

When I  reread that paragraph, I realize that my 2 year old is rubbing off on me with the excessive use of the word "my."

The problem is, I pride myself in this blog being honest. It's light-hearted and fun but at it's core, it's a memoir of our lives. It's a time stamp. A way to freeze time so we can always go back and reminisce. That said, I haven't blogged in forever because I haven't wanted to share how I feel or what's really up. I've done a pretty world class job sweeping it under a rug... a pretty one I'm sure... probably with a trellis pattern... I really like those.

I've sat down to write a few times but the only thing I really want to write about... the only thing that would be genuine... is to write about Liam and how we feel since. It's scary to write about because there is a line I have to draw for his sake. His parents feelings, I no longer care about to be completely honest but for Liam's sake, I've suppressed my voice... many times over and will continue to do so, in part, for his privacy and well being.

So, that said. Back in October, we were moving forward with adopting Liam. Long story short, family stepped in who had not been involved in his life up until word got out that his parents had abandoned him and were putting his unborn brother up for adoption. At the time, we were confused. Why had God laid adoption on my heart years ago and even worked in Daniel's heart to being on the same page? Liam was literally brought to our door step and then he was taken away? I just didn't understand.

My initial feelings ran the gamut from confused to sad to even relieved. He was not an easy child and he really threw Parker (who has sensory processing issues) for a loop. Over time, I began to see that God put Liam in our lives for a period of time for a very distinct purpose.  We truly believe it was to change the course of his life. I still, 3 months later, find myself sad sometimes that his future won't be with us, but I take comfort in the fact that he is safe and hopefully treasured as he should be.

Even though Liam was difficult, I really enjoyed being a mom of 3. It was chaotic and busy but overall, I found purpose in caring for 3 little ones, especially one that I felt needed me so badly. Having 3 forced me to be more intentional with my time which I realize I could make myself be now but I didn't have a choice with 3! If I have a choice, I will choose to snooze the alarm or put off laundry... or any chore for that matter. Going back to 2 children left me feeling less complete. Time is healing that and I am finding purpose in getting more involved with Parker's OT, school redistricting meetings and the neighborhood board but I'd be lying if I said they're nearly as fulfilling as tucking in a 3rd child. Liam will always have a piece of my heart though I doubt he'll ever know I exist.

After the confusion and sadness subsided, the anger set in. Never at God but at his parents for putting Liam and my family in this position in the 1st place.  I can't say I'm fully past that phase. I look at my children and can't imagine not seeing what a blessing they are. I feel angry for my friends who ache for children when people who don't deserve them can procreate like gerbils. I bite my tongue at the occupational therapist when a mom snaps at her children every. single. week. If the last 6 months have taught me anything, it's how incredibly blessed I am and what a gift my children are.

After we lost Liam, Daniel and I gave ourselves some time to think and pray then had "the talk."  We both felt that me carrying a 3rd child is dangerous and wouldn't be fair to Parker and Avery to put my life at risk to have a sibling that they don't want... we asked! We could foster or adopt but that would be challenging for Parker and I'm not sure I could emotionally handle going through something like that again. Ultimately, we decided to be a family of 4. It is absolutely the right decision for us, even though sometimes I still grieve the loss of our family of 5... whether that 5th was Liam or another child.

I ate a lot of Doritos, binged watched Scandal and was downright lazy for a solid two weeks after he went to live with family. My feelings really surprised me because I didn't realize how much I loved him and being a mom of 3 until he was gone. I was disappointed in myself for not living more in the moment. I complained too much about how much he cried, how he never napped, how he never listened, how he preferred running in the opposite direction of where we were going, how he painted with his poop.... the list goes on but when it was over... I missed it. I missed him. (well not the poop painting... that was just downright gross).

These feelings have given me a real heart check about how I feel in tough moments with Parker and Avery. My house has never been dirtier but I've also never snuggled Avery as much as I do now. I've memorized her smell and how soft her cheeks up against mine are. I know every Avenger and villain. I can build Lego sets without the instructions and I know exactly which Lego piece out of the thousands we have that Parker means when he says he's looking for "lefty." When Avery has a meltdown, I tend to laugh more than get frustrated because it's gonna pass. When Parker wants to read another Iron Man story in my lap, dinner gets pushed back 10 minutes because he's not going to sit in my lap much longer. "I love yous" are said more than ever and they're meant twice as much. It's sad that it took loosing Liam to fully understand what gifts each moment soaking in my kid's childhood means but it's the truth.

While my house may be chaotic and in full floor renovation mode, my emotional rug is now clean. There you have it. I'm struggling with contentment and sometimes I'm downright mad but I've also never seen more clearly how blessed I am to have Parker, Avery and Daniel as my perfectly imperfect family of 4.

Now, back to pictures of play dates and snow days! :)


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