I have one great fear when it comes to blogging. It’s one of the things that I consistently argued with myself over when I was deciding whether or not to start blogging again. I think that one of my greatest blogging fears is that I somehow present myself and my family as perfection, as knowing it all, as having it all together. I think that is a great downfall of blogging. Bloggers post their most beautiful wreaths, their most engaging homeschool activities, their very best ideas, and if the readers aren’t careful, it can begin to breed discontentment. I know this because I’m not only a blogger, but I’m a blog reader. I love looking at blogs such as Money Saving Mom and Confessions of a Homeschooler. But if I’m not very careful, I can allow myself to think of these women as superheroes…absolutely perfect mothers. And I know that isn’t true. In fact, being on the inner workings of the blogging world has made me see ever more clearly that it’s not even remotely true. And, it’s something that I really want to guard against. I never want people to feel that my family or I are perfect, or even close. Now, what I do hope that we can be is a picture of imperfection redeemed by the only one who can make anything glorifying out of our lives. And the reason that I write things is to hopefully inspire people on what we have done right. We love and want to help people in any way that we can. But please do yourself a great favor and never be tempted to think for a second that we know everything, that we are perfect, or that I am a supermom.
So I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about all the things that I won’t be making lots of posts about here at Redeeming the Days. I won’t be telling you about how to keep a clean car, because to be honest, while trash in the car bothers me, a little (or even a lot of) dirt never has. I actually insist to Tim that we not wash the outside of our car because we live on a dirt road and it’s pointless and a waste of good water and energy. Tim says that even with that being so, we need to at least knock off the dirt occasionally. 🙂 You won’t see a post on decorating. In the five years that we’ve been in this house, my living room has been 3 different colors, my kitchen has also been 3 different colors and my son’s room has been 3 different colors. This is because I’m a horrible decision maker. The stinkin’ paint swatch never looks the same actually on the wall. Also I get easily overwhelmed. It just happens. I don’t work under pressure well, and if I start feeling too many demands, I will just shut down until my hero, Super-Tim comes in and helps me get started by seeing one thing at a time. That’s what he’s really good at.
And, since I’m on a roll today, I wanted to share with you my most recent horrifying mothering experience. Actually, I have to say that this would have to be my most humiliating experience up to date with my sweet, precious children. And keep in mind that we’ve had some dilly-whoppers. I mean, I’ve had a whole pound of frozen hamburger meat in my toilet and remnants of said hamburger spread all over the bathroom making it reminiscent of a murder scene you might see on television. So, let’s just say that this one is up there…on top of the list.
It was about two months ago or so. Tim and I had to go to Conway to get our fingerprints done at the DHS to get our adoption paperwork started. I was going to meet Tim there because he was coming through anyway, but he was running late. I thought nothing of taking them by myself into the DHS office. I mean, I take my three kids with me everywhere…literally everywhere. We are always together. And normally, we do ok. Rarely perfect, but I almost always leave with all my hair fairly intact. Today was not one of those days. My family gets worn out easily. It’s just something that has always been true of us. And this was a Monday after a busy weekend, so it was not a good day to start with, but seriously 30 minutes in an office should not have been a big deal. So, I marched my kiddos back into the office of our resource worker, and I pointed them to each sit in a spot.
Things went well for a few seconds, and then the resource worker had a little trouble getting the machine to start up. And that’s where things started going wrong. I stood up to start my fingerprints, and my middle child immediately tried to grab my phone out of my back pocket. This started a chain reaction of each child feeling cheated out of coveted play time on Mom’s phone. So the fight was on. I grabbed the phone back…after all, they know better than that. But at that point, they were mad. So, sweet, motherly Hannah turned temporarily crazy on me, and just whacked Lydia for no apparent reason. Lydia starts screaming. Of course, in my mind, I’m racing through what I should do. The eyes of people looking to see if I’m a fit parent are watching, after all. So, my first thought is simply to comfort Lydia and get her to stop crying. But, that wasn’t the same idea as the resource worker as she immediately pointed her finger at Hannah and said, “She was mean to her! She hit her!” fully expecting me to take care of it right then and there. So I mustered my very best get-on-her-level, sweet, patient voiced, “Now that was not a nice thing to do, Hannah. You wouldn’t want Lydia to do that to you would you?” Which by the way, did nothing. And so the burning eyes of judgment just kept staring down my neck and waiting for me to come up with this brilliant parenting moment, which I just didn’t have in me at all. My mind was completely void of any cohesive thought. So I gave up and left it, knowing that I had not only disappointed the resource worker, but myself too. Little Hannah was the only winner of the situation, knowing that she managed to get out of the mishap fairly unscathed.
I once again redirected everyone to sit and be still, reassuring them that I was almost done. Except I wasn’t. Apparently, my hands are the driest hands in the world, and my prints just wouldn’t take. After just a couple of tries, the resource officer and I were both getting antsy and my kids were even more antsy. So, Hannah and Lydia then curiously peek out into the hallway, and upon seeing that DHS has a pleasantly long hallway full of interesting rooms and obstacles, they began to gleefully run up and down the hall through the offices where people were busily working and talking on the phone. I stuck my head out of the hallway and told them to come back, but of course, the game was on. They turned, squealed and ran.
Now, at this point, Isaac was panicked. I calmly told him that they wouldn’t go far from me, and turned back to the impossible task of fingerprinting. But, the squeals of the girls got louder and I could tell they were getting further and further from me, despite my promises to Isaac. The resource worker simply said, “I think if you go and get them, they’ll just run faster.” Now, I knew this. Really, I did, but I also know my girls. If it had just been Hannah, my child who won’t let go of my shirttail for anything, I wouldn’t have bothered. But this was Lydia….my youngest, most adventurous, most daring child, who stops at nothing, has no fears, no limit of how high she’ll let you toss her into the air or how high you can swing her. THAT Lydia. And Hannah was with her, so she had thrown all her caution to the wind. This was a pair with no fear. So I didn’t have a choice. I had to go. The resource worker once again put in her same two cents, and I just looked back at her and said, “Mam, I know you’re right, but I have to go get them anyway.” I chased those squealing girls down one hallway full of DHS employees, down another hallway, and yes, down yet another hallway! I chased those little girls until one of the employees finally stopped them, and got onto them. Then she looked at me, and said the most humiliating words I’ve ever heard. She said to me, “Are you here for a parental visitation?” Those words hurt like crazy. At that point, I knew that I had lost complete control, and I had to sadly shake my head and admit to her, “No mam, believe it or not, I’m here to adopt.” She was very nice, and I’m ever grateful to her for stopping my girls because I question if we would have ever stopped the chase. She sternly reminded the girls to, “Listen to your momma.” And back we walked to the resource worker’s office. But it was as if I were walking down the Hall of Shame. The same people who were standing outside of their offices while my girls ran wild, were still there, and their stares were hot on my back.
The resource worker took a minute to go make a copy of something (or maybe she just knew I needed a minute to collect myself). Through the tears welling up in my eyes, I barked at my kids, “You sit there, you sit there, and you sit there, and don’t you dare move.” Of course, who walked it right at that moment, but Tim Wood. And all three of my sweet babies returned back to their original angelic form, further confirming to everyone there (at least in my mind) that I was just an incapable mother. Of course, Tim sailed through his fingerprints with flying colors, joking and laughing with the resource worker, not having a clue what he just walked into. I, on the other hand, couldn’t get out of that office fast enough. When we finally left the doors of that place, I burst into tears right there in the parking lot. In my fragile state of mind, who on Earth would give us another child after seeing that? Tim, who I’m sure was just stunned at the amount of liquid flowing from my face and not knowing what to do or say, looked at me sympathetically and said, “You know, a dysfunctional family is better than no family at all.” While I appreciate the sentiment dear, that wasn’t the right thing to say. I cried harder and didn’t stop until late that afternoon. I was utterly defeated. My mother called and was trying her best to comfort me by explaining that my heart is just so soft, I’m just not a disciplinarian. That wasn’t exactly what I was needing to hear either…but I appreciated everyone’s trying to make me feel better.
The next day, during my morning porch time, I realized that Tim was right. I am not perfect. We are dysfunctional at times. I lose control sometimes. I don’t do things right every time. It’s a perfect reminder that I need JESUS in my life every minute of every day. It took me several days to actually “get over” that, but through it I’ve learned some valuable lessons. This week, I get to face that same resource worker again. Honestly, I’m praying that the Lord has miraculously wiped us completely from her memory. But, if He hasn’t, I’m determined to use that as a reminder that I can’t present myself as something I’m not-perfect. I am just Deana Wood, great at things like yearly birthday journal entries and fun homeschool activities now and then and writing notes, but terrible at things like hiding birthday presents, saying no to my sweet tooth, and working under pressure.
I told you in my Stones of Legacy post that I wanted my children to have a record of the beautiful mountains and the messy valleys of my walk with God. Kids-this is one of Mom’s messy valleys. This messy valley taught me a lot and is still teaching me a lot, and it has drawn me closer to God. I think that when all this is said and done, God wants me to know that this adoption is not something that our family can do in our own strength, but only something that He can do through us.
And for all my blog readers, I thank you for letting me share my heart and a few of my failures today. And I would love to hear from you and know that I’m not alone. (I’m not right?) Have you ever had moments where you just feel defeated? What have those moments taught you? What have you learned about yourself/parenting through the messy valleys in your own life?
I’m linking up at the following places: