in the rooms living

down the hall

laughter rings

bouncing off of walls

dipping underneath archways

coming my way

in the next room voices deep

in that room little ones are arguing

she pleads her case

while she stands her ground

the water running in that sink sings

along to the tune from that pocket

the twang hums

the birds chirp

the smell of toast taosting

wafting in and out

in this room tears

for the hard talks had today

and so many other hard things

from today and yesterday

and last month

and all those other hard things

and days

and words

and blood stained stones

hard things from so long ago

bags and wagons and pockets full

of yesterday’s sorrows

of yesteryear’s hurts

of long past offences

and a million years of loss

piled up here

in this space

beneath these beams

on top of my head

January Yarnalong 2021

I finished Gilead by Marilynne Robinson yesterday. It is beautiful and seemed to speak so much so me. I started reading A Promised Land By Barack Obama before Christmas and I have loved it as far as I’ve gotten although this is not very far at all- maybe 7 chapters. I plan to pick it up again soon.

I am knitting a wee scarf for 13’s teddy bear (that he requested for his birthday) and am attempting a doll or a stuffy or a something that I am a bit unsure about as yet for a purpose that I am just as unsure about (my normal process).

Christmas week we managed to catch planets aligning just so and took what some had dubbed the Star of Bethlehem as a promise that Jesus is with us still. Of course we know that, of course we do- but planets aligning just so the week of Christmas was such a sweet and delightful happening that I took hold of it as such a sign of goodness and hope after this year. I made sure to say it again and again to all of us.

Our Christmas was quite quiet this year. Goodness it was nice. I would have loved to visit family and have a house full to brimming and meet new babies and all that but it was, to us, a kind of soothing balm to all of our scrapes and wounds that this strange year has brought us. I’m not even really speaking about Covid-19 as much as a ton of other really difficult things that happened as well as the wretched virus. We had a lovely Christmas and I am thankful.

We went away to the mountains for a few days after Christmas – very carefully and we were completely on our own. It was such a good break from our house. I did not take any yarn or needles or a hook with me which must have been the very first time since I don’t even know when, and this was a much needed rest for my hands after so long Knitting for Others (HK edition) and all the normal Christmas Knitting.

Three kids asked for socks and three asked for fingerless mitts for Christmas which was nice and easy. I used this sock pattern, and this one– both slightly modified. For the Mitts I used a few patterns (maize, honeycomb and paddle to be precise) from Tin Can Knits – also slightly modified. I made myself a pair of socks and hubby too and knitted several Christmas wash cloths to go into gift baskets but I made those up as I went.

In my journal I wrote that my goal for a certain profile description might someday read, “In between books and work I knit and make.” I don’t feel that the last year had enough completed books or making which is what I call creating things of my own design – in whatever medium I chose- to be able to use that description as yet. Perhaps at the end of this year those words will prove true enough to my heart to use them. I’m half joking but I think that maybe mostly I am not.

I’m not bothering this year with anything even slightly resembling a New Year resolution. I really want to, out of habit perhaps. But nah. Not this time. I’m cherishing my kids and doing my best to give them what they need right here, right now. I’m clinging to my husband, my very best friend ( for real though) as we both struggle – a lot – but not enough to lose faith. I’m shoring up all my edges with only the most necessary. Also cherishing sweet friends in chats and zoom calls and phone coffee dates. I’m biding my time until the day that I can visit family far away. I don’t know what is coming but I do know that He knows. God, I mean and that is a great comfort.

There is yoga in my bathroom and walks at the trail I love and the treadmill although not as often as I should but oh well! There is the sense that I just might use some of the hundred and twenty-seven thousand healthy recipes that I have collected over the years. There is a note in my back pocket (it actually hangs above my desk but I think you get my meaning) that says, “start and don’t stop until you finish.” Also there are quiet times and prayer and I won’t lie, probably too much crying but none of that is new. I don’t spot a resolution in there at all.

All this to say that we are good here. Struggling, hurt, wounded, afraid, anxious, unnerved maybe- probably, for sure. But we are together. We are loved and comforted. We are seen and heard, known and that is huge. We are prayerful and full of hope even in our doubt. I think we know each other better which is a lot, maybe everything. I hope that you are well where you are. I pray that you are comforted when you need comfort and strengthened when you need strength and loved. All of it really. Not to sound too preachy but you are not alone, I hope that is something that we all can know deeply when it matters.

Peace friends, t

PS. I will join Ginny if I don’t forget 🙂

little

Over the Summer we added two pets to the family. A husky pup because someone had a big birthday and asked at just the right time. And an accidental kitten. Hubby has always wanted puppies or kittens. I have always fought them off because we had babies or little kids and puppies and kittens chew and scratch and bite and do not yet know that they should not. So I’ve managed to dodge hundreds of wee animals in the name of familial safety.

It was however, on a milestone birthday when husband spotted some cute puppies for sale. He sent pictures. Then called. I said no and after we hung up I texted go ahead and then called him to make sure he knew. It was his birthday for goodness sake. He is awesome and he has always wanted a puppy so- yes. The brown one. but he liked the white one who he could name ghost, you know because of Jon Snow. I laughed and then completely caved.

The next week I’m taking wee ghost for his shots- there are kittens in the front waiting area, in cages adorable and frolicking. I’m not tempted. Not in the least. But our youngest kiddo and I are waiting for more than 40 minutes and the cuteness was just too much. That day we came home with Benjamin the cat. He is a mess! He plays and bites. Chews and scurries and darts through the house like an armed missile. But I do love him so maybe mostly because he seems to know that he is my cat.

– he sleeps when we are awake –

So at this time we have five kids and five pets. It is a lot. But everyone loves them. Well not really. Our oldest dog isn’t at all sure about Ghost and Benjamin and the hair on his neck stands up for a long time when they are around- invading his space but eventually he adjusts and seems happy with them. Big dog number two loves them both immediately and is ready to play and pounce and chew. He is with us and them for for a few months until a quick illness takes him to heaven. That was hard for everyone, he was such a good dog. RIP Quinnie boy.

The big cat was not interested in any new friends at all. She is awesome and solitary and only wants your help getting through the cat doors to food and water and litter boxes. And really she doesn’t need anyone’s help- she can go through just fine- she just prefers that someone help her. She is big and fluffy and really only loves daughter 10 and sleeps with her and basically lives in her room. She has yet to warm to them. She is boss. She is queen of all the pets. One feels so special when she comes to say hello.

I’ve introduced you to our family pets for a reason, promise. The kids were so excited. They immediately loved them both. They clamored to hold them, pet them, feed them, love on them. And everyone handled the kitten and the puppy pretty well, except for daughter 8. She loved them and was excited in the same way as the others but where she struggled was this: kittens scratch and puppies bite. It happened with each of them on separate days in different weeks but it was basically the same. I heard her crying.

Checking on her I found her overwhelmed and weepy. She cried out, “Why is he hurting me?” Alligator tears flowing, spit slipping over the edges, mouth open wide and eyes shut tight, she cried hard. “Oh, baby they are babies still and they haven’t learned not to bite and scratch, to them they are just playing with you.” She cried some more, “But I’m just trying to loooove theeeem.”

I comfort her for as long as it took both times. Both times I fought the tears. I hurt for my sweet heart; giant heart girl. I tell her so. I tell her that I love her heart. Hold her and rock her and tell her that time will pass and they will both learn not to hurt us but that it will take time and we will have to teach them. She gets angry at some point and says she won’t play with them or love them ever again. I smooth the hair back from her tear soaked face. I tell her she will feel love for them when her feelings aren’t so hurt.

She reminds me of me, now with some in our family who I chose to love. Mouth open, spit dripping, tears flowing and the immature little girl self in this old woman is wondering why they won’t just let me love them without them hurting me, us. I’ve let the hard years turn me cold and I’ve let negative bias and resentment in often enough to not like myself anymore. I cry out and the Good Father comforts me, my words to my girl ring in my ears as His voice to this mama’s heart.

He tells me that time will pass and they will learn how to let our love in but that it will take time and we will, all of us, need to grow. So often I allow my emotions to run untamed and have felt like I want to throw in towels and run away inside my heart and Father smooths the hair back from my tear soaked face. He tells me how I do love them and will remember this when my feelings aren’t so hurt anymore. As the days pass I sense the deepness and realness of Father’s promise that He is still working in me. Still growing me, moving things around, making me able where I wasn’t able before.

Continue reading “little”

Hope. {attachment issues}

Today I walked three miles rather than two. I was angry and needed the extra steps and the extra sweat. Truth is, that I have been angry all week. I’ve been mourning and angry and not handling myself well at all. it has been a slow build up of frustration and fear.

On my walk, I wrote an entire blog post describing our many hard days with a kid with attachment issues and the control and manipulative behaviors that go with them. I vented and cried and told you all about the times when I manage to be therapeutic and wise and kind and then about the times I am not therapeutic at all and cry and yell and react. I gave you a list of behavior tactics a kid like ours might use to gain control of his surroundings. I gave you some ways to handle them and a few on how not to handle them.

I came home and watered the garden, did the dishes, ate my breakfast and watched Downton Abbey and decided against actually writing that blog post. I’m far too in-the-mess to write about it the way that I really want to. My emotions are all mangled and twisted in with any bits of good wisdom I might have managed to hold onto.

So, I prayed instead of writing a very passionate and moving post. I prayed for this kid, whos anxiety comes out looking like and feeling like defiance and blatant disrespect. I prayed that we could be what he needs. I prayed that we could remember our training in the heat of the moment and that he would learn to trust us. I prayed that he would believe in and feel the comfort we are trying so hard to give. I prayed that we could love him unconditionally, although imperfect and human, as much like Jesus as possible.

I said yes to God’s good that He is doing here in all of our rooms. I Said No, to all the things that the enemy of all of our souls is trying to do. I decided that I could and would go on loving this kid even if I do not always enjoy him. Even if he is one kid with me and another, very charming and sweet kid with most others. I can (and will) continue to choose to love him and be what he needs using all the tools I can muster. That is the adult thing to do, the Christ-like thing to do. I can choose love with my husband or mother-in-law or brother when we are not seeing eye-to-eye because we are a family and I have committed to them- I can do it here too.

Someday, when my emotions aren’t so thick with frustration from the morning or the week(s) of wrestling with a ten-year-old who has gotten very adept in the use of many survival skills, I will write that post. I will share with wisdom with grace and you’ll feel all the love that I have for this kid because my words won’t be so heavy with the struggle. I promise.

This, however, is not the post that I wrote on my walk- or the one I have promised. This is the post that I needed to write, one of honest frustration felt and real hope clung to because somewhere out there, there is a mother or father who feels like they are going to explode. They feel maneuvered and pushed into a corner or duped and perhaps they don’t know how to share with others what is happening in their home without feeling or fearing that they will look crazy.

Here is the deal mom or dad- you are not crazy! But if you are not careful you will do exactly what this kid is pushing for you to do and is fearful that you will do and you’ll give up on them. Maybe you’ll put up a wall or disengage just keeping people alive without connecting to them. It is even possible that you’ll even leave them. Your need for survival kicking in too.

So, understand this, You are not alone. Many other parents in your shoes UNDERSTAND what you are going through and we are right there with you! Don’t give up on your kid(s) or on your ability to love them or your ability to learn what it is that they need. You can do this. There is help out there.

From anywhere you can get personal coaching here (their podcast is here).

More great coaching here.

If you are in New Mexico you can join this facebook group and find parent coaches here (👈🏼 full disclosure- I work for them as a family advocate in my region).

This podcast is great as well.

This group opens twice a year and is $15 dollars a month (or listen to their podcast here) you get access to video training and can chat online with their well-trained people if you need it, or go to their many forums to post questions and get feedback and loads of resources.

Great book on audible here or to purchase to read here.

And an article for your kid(s) teachers, here. This is a hard road but there is hope. Be Blessed adoptive and foster parents! You can do this!  God has got you and you are not alone!

~Tina