A friend emailed me this week and invited me to an online event on Friday night. I told her that I would love to be there, but Brian was going to be a men’s camping retreat with church so I was going to be on my own with the four kids. I said that I would be there, barring any unforeseen chaos.
I actually used the word “chaos” in my email to her. I learned a lesson this week.
Don’t use “chaos” in reference to something you are hoping doesn’t happen with three boys and a foster daughter. I also shouldn’t play the song “I Lived” by OneRepublic as it has the line “With every broken bone I swear I lived.” It’s only setting myself up for failure.
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I’m sorry for the absence of a post last week. My computer had other plans. I actually had everything written out and ready to go when my computer turned off. I turned it on again. It decided it didn’t like the position of the power cord and shut down again. And again.
And I gave up.
It seems like it has become trendy to complain about social services. You’ve probably seen the stories of parents ending up in the crosshairs of CPS because their 11 year old was playing outside by himself for an hour and a half while his parents were caught in traffic or heard of the case in Massachusetts where the state took custody of a teenager. Doctors at one hospital disagreed with the diagnosis of doctors at another hospital and alleged abuse…
I made the mistake of reading the comments on some of these articles and it was… ugly. Hideous. Wrong.
People were left and right on multiple threads bashing the work that child protective services does, saying they are just causing trauma by taking kids and they shouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore… and this is the tame version I am repeating here. People were asking why isn’t CPS commenting on cases and why aren’t they answerable for cases gone wrong and insisting that the whole system needs to be done away with.
I’m sure you’ve heard the sentiment. Maybe even felt it yourself.
There are two competing narratives going on right now regarding the work of CPS and foster care.
This week, I have to confess I got kind of annoyed with a sign. Yep. A Sign.
And all this offending sign said was, “Smile!”
I was taking out two of the boys to McDonald’s just to hang out when I was confronted by said sign at the register. Maybe I was just a little tired, but it seemed funny being told just to randomly smile by a sign that clearly had no self-awareness. I suppose that the management wanted to reinforce that McDonald’s was a happy place to be, but it’s symptomatic of an interesting trend.
When I was a kid, my siblings and I would sit in deep discussion about the things that we would save if our house were to ever be on fire. As we got older, the things we believed we couldn’t live without changed. My attachment to my stuffed animals faded and gave way to my guitar and later my kids claimed the coveted spot on my priority list.
This is a difficult post for me to write not because the subject is difficult, but because I’m writing while in the grip of much pain and in the fog of medication. Such is my situation right now due to my chronic illness made worse by the serious car accident we were in.
I am alive. My husband is alive. My kids are all alive.
I am so incredibly thankful right now.
Usually the first Monday of the month I post about one of my favorite influential books, but Saturday changed things. We were going to a music festival downtown when an elderly lady tried to make a left turn. Right in front of us.
I’m usually quite a planner. If I have an idea of where stuff is going, I’m okay. But, throw me in a situation where anything could happen… well… let’s just say I’ve been known to dissolve into a useless puddle of tears and indecision.
We had an incident this week that involved an attempt to throw a five-pound hand weight up to the top bunk bed. I now have one very remorseful son with bad aim and another extremely forgiving son with a broken foot. To be completely honest, I am actually surprised that we’ve made it this long before having a broken bone. Having three boys means injuries are par for the course.
When I was a little kid, I loved to swim. Before I swam competitively though, there was a certain amount of fear mixed in. My parents did a good job of teaching me to have a healthy fear and respect water. I had a near drowning experience that made me realize the fine line between fun and danger (just so you know, it is never a good idea to fall asleep while hanging on the pool wall during your swim lessons as a 4 year old).
Some fear is healthy. Living in fear is not nor is the absence of fear.