Alright, I’ll be honest and admit I’m totally unmotivated to write my takes, but after checking Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter 12,314 times, I’m buckling down to crank out a few short ones.
1. While hosting, Tony and I made a greater than usual effort to always “be present” and play/ interact with all the kids. It was exhausting; nothing got done, the house was always trashed, BUT it made us think that maybe we need to make a better effort to spend a bit more time playing with the kids. We both vowed to really work to spend more time each day with the kids, individually and in groups, outside things like the boys’ care, homeschooling, and meals.
Fast forward to now when we do not have children in our home starved for normal, healthy parental attachments and I’ll admit to spending all my time trying to catch up on everything that went to hell in the last month, and not forcing myself to joyfully bake cookies, patiently craft crap destined for the trashcan and sit through arduous board games where everyone keeps changing the rules. In other words, things are back to “normal”, (or I’m a better parent when other kids are around.)
I never realized how much of a free range* parent I tend to be (*that sounds much better than absentee). I love my kids and there are things I enjoy doing with them, but when we’re not required to interact, I’m happy to let them run off to do whatever, preferably without me. I do have a few kids in the bunch who do seek me out for more physical affection and interaction, and I admit it actually is hard for me to always be patient with these requests. When Bart and Lisa were here, I was constantly setting aside my desire to do something practical to play, or oversee play, lest it get out of hand, and it was exhausting. (I think hell for me would be running a preschool full of children eating candy.) My kids seemed to enjoy the extra attention, but now that I’m back to ignoring everyone, no one seems more upset that usual.
I suppose after catching up a bit, I can work my way back to a more middle of the road approach to parenting; letting the laundry sit and the Facebook notifications rack up so I can play Transformers, Barbies or something just as, sigh, awesome. On track to score Mom of the Year 2017 for sure!
2. Tony and I enjoyed our first date night in more than a month on Monday by visiting a couple of bars in downtown Lancaster, PA. It was bitter cold, but we were so happy to be out alone. I don’t either of us realized how much we relied on our regular date nights to keep our sanity until we couldn’t have any. Having big kids who will watch little kids so you and your spouse can be better people who drink only for fun, is like the payday of parenting. On Tuesday night I went to a mom’s social and I talked with a mom who has big kids but doesn’t go out!!!! I told her she needs to start training those big kids STAT! Tricks for helping your kids understand the importance of letting mom and dad go out: the big kids will get paid to babysit (we don’t pay a lot, but we pay and that’s a huge motivator), fire and brimstone will rain down from heaven if little kids don’t listen to the big kids (If our younger ones pitch a fit while we’re out, or God help them, force one of our oldest to call, they will be missing all their favorite things for awhile. Big kids appreciate knowing you’ve got their back.), the younger siblings can rat out the older ones for bad behavior too (So you think you can surf the internet while we’re gone and no one will notice? Detective Fulton is bringing you up on charges of negligence; time for a loss of privileges!!). I like to think we’ve got a pretty good system of checks and balances in place.
3. Lots of people are asking me questions about hosting: how much does it cost? Will you get to keep in touch? Do you know if they made it back safe and sound? ALL. THE. ADOPTION. QUESTIONS.
I’m waiting and researching and will do a Q&A hosting post in the near future. Let me know what questions you have after reading our experiences and I’ll address it.
4. Of course in discerning our future with everything, I’m reminded of a story about Mother Angelica. You’ve maybe heard about the time a guy showed up at her door with a $50,000(?) satellite dish and wouldn’t deliver it without payment right then and there? Well, she didn’t’ have the money so she went to the chapel to pray, and to let God know, she needed the money for this dish so she could start this TV station. When she got back to her office, the phone rang and it was a businessman who wanted to donate exactly the amount of the satellite dish.
Sometimes we wonder why we don’t get what we pray for, and why some people, like Mother Angelica do. But it’s because Mother’s will and God’s will were totally in line with each other. She was doing exactly what He wanted her to do, so it’s no wonder her prayers to achieve those aims were answered. I don’t often know what the hell I’m supposed to be doing but when it came to hosting orphans over the holidays I felt positive God and our family were on the same page. I knew it would be a financial stretch to pay the hosting fees and cover all the related expenses, but I just trusted God to cover it because I had no doubts about what we were doing. Case in point, in talking about the dental care of the kids before their arrival, Tony was concerned about the cost of getting their teeth fixed if lots of work was needed. Where was this money going to come from? As the man who works the budget, I didn’t want to dismiss he concerns, however, I felt confident we didn’t need to worry about it and said as much. That response didn’t sit well with him. So, that night while sitting at fencing I got online and asked Facebook for help with dental care, and within two hours it was taken care of. A whole dental practice stepped up to help and another friend of a friend who I’d never met offered money to help offset any dental bills if it was needed. Tony was grateful and humbled and I went forward like a woman who’d been given the gift of a satellite dish.
Of course y’all know it didn’t stop with the dental care. Our wishlish was cleaned out and other people gave financial donations and gift cards. It was such a hard experience and yet I never doubted God would take care of us. (Even when our car died.) Very few times have I been able to so completely turn everything over to God and have complete faith in His providence. Going forward, it’s a little trickier. I’m not 100 sure what our role should be for Bart and Lisa; host parents, adoptive parents, advocates? But I do know what we need to host again and I’ve told God such. I’ve also voiced my concerns to Him about adoption. We will need some clear signs or indicators about how best to help these kids. And for the most part, I feel that same confidence. Helping Bart and Lisa, and their siblings, is something we are being asked to do, and we’re going to see it through. This is His work, so I’m not going to worry about the future, but trust we’ll know what to do when the time comes.
Wow. That’s a lot of words for only four takes. Plus, I’m still writing about the hosting, despite saying last week I was done writing about hosting for a bit. Sorry for being a one trick pony. Thankfully, I do have a funny post in the queue for sometime soon. Wrapping up early! Feel free to cut your takes down to four in solidarity. Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts.
Oh, I could have written 4 in solidarity! Well, the extra 3 are just hangers-on. I am fascinated by anything related to your hosting experience and love the anecdote about the satellite dish.
Wishing I’d seen the option of cutting down to 4 in solidarity!
*deletes last three takes*
I’ve been wondering how the transition back was going. I’m certain the impact your family made on Bart and Lisa will reach further and wider than you’ll ever know this side of heaven. And solidarity in free-range parenting!! And bigs holding down the fort for date night. Peace, sister!!
(1) Gosh, I love the honesty of this post! I played so much with my first, when he was the only child, but now . . . I’m happy to let the kids go “free range” too. I really don’t want to push any more Thomas cars around the track, thank you very much. And also – (2) “I don’t often know what the hell I’m supposed to be doing . . .” A million times YES!!! (3) Didn’t realize we were practically neighbors since I’m in Hershey. (4) After about 13 years of averaging 1.5 dates/year, we’ve just started leaving our oldest with the younger ones. It is GLORIOUS!!! I honestly didn’t mind so much that we couldn’t date in the early years, but these last few it’s been a measure of desperation. Now, if only we could figure out how to have a night alone . . .
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