Today……

Today we mourn the loss of two innocent children, killed in a police chase.

We cry with the people whose churches were burned down.

I look at my kids, and wonder, why bother?  In this world we’re living in, where a subset of cops don’t understand cause and effect any more than our kids do, who have no conscience, in this world where the anarchists seem to be winning, why bother?  Our kids would fit right in.  Why bother trying to teach them right from wrong?  Why bother trying to teach them love, and respect, and empathy, when it seems like a majority of the world doesn’t have it?

I can no longer tell the difference between the lawbreakers and those meant to uphold the law, those sworn to protect and serve the public and criminals, the lawyers and the liars, the bankers and the embezzlers, the babysitters and the pedophiles, the churches and the KKK.

I can only look at the wisdom of the past.  These things are not new.  These evils are not new.  The targets may have changed, the attackers may have changed, but the evil is the same.  And so with this wisdom, I continue to fight to keep our children from becoming a part of that society:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

-realmom

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I see dead people….

About 24 hours from the writing of this post, I will be the grateful recipient of a corneal transplant.  Belonging to the dark humor club of if you don’t laugh you’ll cry, and being more than a little freaked out by having part of a deceased person’s eye placed into mine after having part of mine removed, I made up jokes about it.  “I see dead people… no wait, that’s just my eye.”  Funny or not, it helps me relieve some of the stress and fear.

But then the phrase made me think of other things a different way.  Is this how our kids see life?  Do they see things so totally differently that it’s like looking through the eyes of a different person, with different experiences, expectations, realizations, dreams, even experiencing clouds, colors and nature in different ways?  And the answer is, of course.  Talking with an experienced foster mom recently, she said, “I just don’t understand why after all this time they still don’t understand just the most basic of the house rules.”  I understood, at least, that the children she was referring to were a different level of need than the children she normally fostered, a different level of abuse, a different level of trauma, I knew they had severe attachment issues.  I understood their brains were totally miswired from birth or even before.  But this was beyond her experience from the past.  They were an enigma, a puzzle to her.  If we were to look at the world through their eyes, the world would not make any sense to us with our experiences, our expectations, our reasonings – but to them, it makes sense.  And when we place our expectations of how we know or expect the world to work upon them – to them it’s an alien landscape where up is sideways and down is diagonal but only sometimes.

For us, with our world experience, trying to make sense of why our children do the things they do, what their reasoning is behind their actions, will never work.  We’re alien species from each other in that sense.  To the same degree, we can’t force our reasoning onto our children and expect that just by explaining it to them “up is this way” that they’re going to say, “oh, ok” and go on their merry way.  They have to experience a new way of things, a new way of life, they have to see time and time again that up IS that way.  We have to prove to them repeatedly which way is up.  Talking won’t do it.  Only experience and time will.

So in that sense, I guess, we just need to roll with it and not try to make sense of it.  Because we will never understand.  Never having lived in their heads, never having lived their lives, we can’t understand any more than they can understand ours.  Trying to make sense of it only hurts our own brains, and we’ll never make sense of it anyway.  We just have to keep showing them the world how it really is, how it really works, and hope that eventually, the experience will help show them how the world really is – or how it should work, because it obviously didn’t work that way in their past.

Hang in there!
-realmom

Shake It Off

Sometimes you just have to dance around your kitchen, singing at the top of your lungs, and let it all out.  No, you won’t find videos of me doing that on youtube, unless the neighbors start filming and posting.  But if you peak in my windows, you would see that on a regular basis.  And it’s not because I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan, or a huge dance fan, or because I can dance well, or because I always have music playing, or any of the things that come to mind when you hear of someone dancing around their kitchen singing at the top of their lungs, including, I’m not drunk either.  Sometimes the stress, the pressure, gets to be so much in this journey, and you can’t scream “F**** ME!!!!!” in front of a 3 yr old unless you want that child to immediately repeat that in preschool the following day, but somehow you have to get it out – my answer is Shake It Off.  My special needs daughter may only be able to say six words, one of them being a swear word (my bad), but she says “shake shake shake”.  That’s how much I do this.  I dance around the kitchen and “shake” it off.  And I do.  I let the pressure, the worry, the ‘pissed-off-ed-ness’ go.  I let the pee, the attitude, the outright defiance all flutter away from the tips of my fingers.  Haters gonna hate, I’m just gonna shake it off….

We need an outlet, and a safe one, and seriously who cares if the UPS man thinks I’m crazy when he came to the door?  I can guarantee he’s seen worse and crazier in his line of work, this was not even a blip in his day in his line of work.  But the physical activity, getting the heart rate up, enjoying the music, dancing silly (well, Taylor Swift may be able to twerk, but I can’t), singing loudly and maybe just a (tiny) bit off-key, and shaking it like I’m looking for dollars is a release.  It’s less than 4 minutes out of my day, but makes a huge difference.

Our lives are very stressful (no duh).  We are pressure cookers.  We must find an outlet so the pressure doesn’t build up.  A safe outlet, and, in my case, an outlet that’s appropriate around my 3 yr old sometimes (no twerking around her!)  And my RAD kid has no idea when I crank up that song and dance around that I’m doing anything other than dancing around enjoying the song.  All my kids dance to it and sing along.  We have a dance-a-thon.  I am releasing the pressure, the anger, right in front of them and they have no idea.

Thank you Taylor Swift for the song, not so much for the hip pains after attempting to imitate the twerk.

Find your song.  Shake it off.  And move on.

-realmom

Humbled

I’ve recently been very humbled by an outpouring of support from a bunch of trauma mommas, many of whom don’t even know me.  It’s amazing to me that this group of women, who give so much to their kids, their families, every single second of every single day, have enough of anything left inside of them to give blood, much less anything else.  Yet I have found that these women are the most giving of their time, energy, finances, love, service, everything than any other ‘group’ of people I have ever met, including every church I’ve ever belonged to or been exposed to.  It’s humbling to be on the receiving end of that when you know just how much these people put out in time, energy and money into their own families just to survive one day.  One single day.

There are no nannies to take care of these families’ kids.  There are no trust funds to fund these lives.  These are hard-working people who live paycheck to paycheck like most people, scrap and save and sometimes eat ramen a few days before payday so the kids can have meat.  They barely have time to shower before work with all the chaos the kids are creating, yet if you text or call one of them that you are having a hard time, they will spend their lunch hour and breaks on the phone with you, talking you through your crisis, giving up their monthly movie night to be with you or take your problem children off your hands so you can have a few hours peace.  There are no Mother Theresas or Ghandis here, these are real people.  These are people that fail, fall, cry, and get up and try again.

I have been trying to figure out the “why” since I have discovered there are more families like ours out there.  Why are the people that you would think have the least to give seem to be the most giving and caring?  Whereas little Johnny’s mom down the way has a nanny, 2 perfectly healthy children mentally, physically and emotionally, and yet “needs” vacations alone and weekly mani-pedis and date nights and girls night out every weekend and bingo night and spends every week day and most weekends never seeing her kids, but ask her to babysit your problem children or ask her to give up her mani-pedi and attend an IEP meeting with you and you’ll get the horrified look of “how dare you ask”?  I don’t know.  But it makes me appreciate these amazing, wonderful people even more, because I know it’s not easy.

Or maybe it’s simply the fact that when giving to another trauma family in some way, you know they’re grateful.  Your trauma kids are not, in fact they will usually sabotage more the higher the cost is to you in either work or finances, so having someone be thankful is a nice payback.  And maybe that’s what Johnny’s mom is missing.  She’s never really needed anything, she’s only had wants.  She’s been surrounded by selfish people who only had wants, not needs.  So thankfulness and true gratitude are something that she’s not been exposed to.

So maybe my trauma kids have brought a facet to my life that I might not have been aware of otherwise. And perhaps they have brought out a part of me that might not be there otherwise, as well.  Hmm….

Hang in there.

-realmom