I tell my boys to explore and run and take risks. I want to tell her the same thing but I can’t. So, I tell my boys to be brave and I tell her to be safe.
I am writing this post from the Starbucks in our children’s hospital. For once, I’m not here with Alyssa. She is spending this rainy, Saturday afternoon at a family birthday party while I’m in the city with one of her brothers. He is here to spend a few hours with kids like him, boys and girls who have siblings with…
If your family is like mine, you are over-scheduled and overtired. We try to have family dinners or connect between appointments but maintaining a connection can be hard no matter how much you love the people around you. The best thing about a family road trip is that you are given hours of uninterrupted time to talk and just be together. Do what you can to set your kids up for success and then embrace the adventure. You may actually find that you enjoyed the journey as much if not more than the destination. This week I have five more time tested tricks to having your best family road trip ever. Remember that every family is different but these really do work with my kids. Try them out and keep the ones that work for you.
I may sound crazy but I absolutely love road trips. I spent my adolescence driving to rodeos around the country and I took my oldest son his first road trip when he was 3 months old. There is just something special about seeing the country between vacation destinations. My husband and I have three kids now (5, 7 & 10)…
When I see a grieving mother being viciously attacked by strangers after she watched her toddler be stolen by a wild animal, I know that it is not safe to write about my own, lesser struggles. When I see a woman who loses her child in a crowd for a moment, and then almost loses him forever to a gorilla, be held up as an unfit mother undeserving of parenthood, I am afraid that I’ll be destroyed for my own shortcomings. When I read that a mother is told she should have aborted her children and deserves to die because she publishes a rant on sunscreen, I worry that sharing my truth will open my family up to similar terror.
Go ahead and clutch your pearls but I’m going to say it, mommy guilt is not always a bad thing. Guilt lets me know when I may have done something wrong. When I feel guilty for something that I am actually responsible for, and I feel it in an appropriate intensity, I can learn from my mistakes and become a better parent. The problem is sometimes mommy guilt turns into mommy shame and that is harmful.
I relate to the other parents of children with special needs on many levels but I don’t bear the guilt of having been the one to pass on Alyssa’s genetic disorder or the constant questions of if it was something I did caused her problems. I relate to adoptive parents too but our story isn’t just about adoption anymore. I switch back and forth between groups depending on the support I need at the moment.
The problem with rehoming, as it currently exists, is that it fails both the children and the adoptive parents. Every time a child is placed with a new family, they suffer a new loss and it becomes harder for them to trust that they will ever be truly loved by anyone. In addition, many of the kids who find themselves in new homes are later abused or abandoned again. With no government or agency oversight to make sure that the new homes are safe for these children, the outcomes can be devastating.
Family and love were foreign concepts for my daughter when I met her. She had been bounced around between unhealthy homes and shelters. She had experienced loss and hunger and absolute fear. She had no reason to suspect when she came here that our home would be any different. Even after our adoption, Alyssa would ask several times each day if I was still her mom. She does that less now but that fear of abandonment still rears its ugly head sometimes when she gets in trouble and she goes back to being the scared little girl who believes no one really wants her. In those moments she occasionally asks if I will still be her mom as if I might disappear while she takes a timeout in the corner. “Always and forever” I tell her. “No matter what you do, we are family and family is forever.”