Wednesday, December 31, 2008

GoodBye 2008! Finally!

I can't recall the last time I was so thrilled for the New Year to finally be here! Actually, I think the last time I was so excited about another year starting was when we rolled from 2002 to 2003 and my husband and I were anxious to start the transition of our children from their Foster Home to their Adoptive home...

I was excited about that New Year as we got ready to take the drive 300 miles south on the second of January... It's hard to believe that was nearly 6 years ago! My how the time passes fast and slow depending on the way I look at things.

Today it's clear I feel younger than I did six years ago when I was approaching 40 years old and the reality of the fact that we had been blessed with the placement of a five and one year old hit me... and I had to relearn all the in's and out's of diapers. I find that I am every bit as able to keep up with the fast paced life of my soon to be Seven year old little boy! I didn't expect to be placed with such a little one...

Seven!? How on earth did he go from that sweet little bundle of joy to this hurricane of busy boy he is today?.. It's unbelievable to me how quickly my children grow up and I am still every bit surprised by this phenomenon 25 years and 3 months after the first day I was a parent. Blink and they are running--blink again and they graduate, move out and go off to college... another blink and I find myself dealing with the Typical affront of the adult child learning that parents are imperfect humans with no specific special powers.

The year 2008 has been a humdinger for me on the PERSONAL level and a year I can't wait to kiss off and try to put behind me! If I could define the year by one word it would be FROZEN and our record snow for Christmas was the Cherry on the top of that Sundae... Overall 2008 was a year with very little advancement in the causes of my life with one roadblock or setback after another.

I will remember 2008 as a frozen year too for the odd events that took place for me personally. On most fronts little ground was made which in my world is difficult for me to cope with! The IEP for Marty I asked for over a year ago was "Snowed Out". And it's difficult to love someone who takes one step forward and three steps back every step of the way--but, that is our beautiful Makala. Overall, she is a survivor and oxymoron of extremes.

At the end of the day all we know is that we are the only ones who love her as much as she needs to be loved... If we were not here for her we can't think of anyplace else she would be understood the way we have grown to understand her. We still see possibilities for her future but, understand that she is so vulnerable that over protection might be the greatest gift to give her for the next several years.

It is horrible to see the results of fetal alcohol exposure and how much it really hurts someone who didn't deserve it. When she was little the effects were hard to detect and as she becomes older they are easier to see. Or maybe it's only easier for the people who love her to see? Half of her behaviors considered to be such a problem in the world are only because she is just a little girl...

I learned that it's best to consider an FASD child as being emotionally and social developmentally half their age... I see this as true for Makala. Marty recognizes this fact too now that he is nearly seven. At most times our beautiful Makala is about five years old. Even though she can speak, move and mimic anyone of any age... She is a wonderful actress playing parts during the course of everyday. My wish for her world would be that she felt she could just play herself.

There is a chance she can overcome these strikes she had at the start of her life. She is a person who just needs more time to repeat the steps and remember them. I think the world moves too fast for her and that she needs to have the time to be the little child she never had the chance to be. She is at an age and being sent out into the world with children at the same age--where peer pressure and risk taking becomes so huge. She has no boundaries and without someone watching her every action she would not have any skill to not be drawn into anything. She is a five year old walking in the skin of a nearly 11 year old. And she can't wait to grow up.

She could be inspired to directions that would feed her needs and give her a foundation for her future. In reality she should be home and having that time she never had when she slept in shopping carts or the cabin in the woods. Watching houses to see if there is anyone living there... and finding everything inside that would be needed for a few days of survival. Her memories are nothing like the memories most of us can recall. There are no pictures of her before the age of almost four... As if she showed up one day walking and talking... I wonder how those early years really were? I suspect I should be happy I don't know? I am sure that even without her memory of those early years they were not the same as what most of us would want our daughter to have experienced.

Thank goodness 2008 is over and the snow has melted. I never really thought that I would hear myself say, "Thank God for the Rain!" But, as our family starts 2009 the rain is a wonderful change and sign that maybe this year we can see a beautiful spring!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tori Before and After....

Tori in March when I drove her to the University for her Masters Degree something-a-rather... and shortly after she started her first real diet...

Tori (and Makala) Yesterday when I finally couldn't take not seeing my beautiful little girl anymore! Wow!

Another picture of the Beautiful Tori!

Monday, December 22, 2008

An Angel

It's Official, 2008 was My Year Frozen

I can now officially proclaim that 2008 was a year spent Frozen! As my family awakes to another 3-5 inches of snow, every aspect of normal life is paralyzed. The airport, Amtrak and Greyhound transportation has been cancelled for the 3rd or forth day... Main interstates are closed, chains required, events cancelled. We have no hope of improvement before Christmas.

I have a few more pictures to add to the one's on my current photo show. This morning our kitty Katz was stir-crazy and banging at the door. He wasn't out for long. The boys are currently digging out the driveway... We have been housebound for three days... Daddy can't take it much longer -- he is bouncing at the doors!

As I re-plan everything the kids are disappointed our big party was cancelled this year. At this point we will be lucky to make it to the store one more time before Santa comes for his visit. Marty is writing an Email today since there is no way we will be able to drive to the mall for a visit...

It seems we may have one of those ODD Christmas mornings -- or should I say seasons! The drive to see family includes crossing two-rivers and driving through Portland... With around the clock news and all the traffic cameras WE will NOT be venturing out into the world of CRAZY!

Sometimes it's nice to be isolated during the hurry of the holiday season. This can't be economically helpful for our shopping season. I was lucky to even make it to the post office to mail gifts to family far away.

Thankfully, I told Tori to stay put last Friday otherwise there is no way she would have been able to get back home. Right now the temp is 24 degrees and snow is falling AGAIN!

A metaphor of my year! When I reflect back over 2008 it can be defined by one word: "FROZEN". In just about every category and part of my life I will consider the year to have been one filled with Frigid Attitudes, Ice Cold Support, and frozen progress. My year was filled with slips on ice and closed roads. With several slide-backs. The chains I have had didn't fit and it seems I live on roads not big enough for the snow plows or gravel., It's official 2008 will be considered the year my life was most frozen... The only thing I am thankful didn't freeze is time! Thankfully a new year is soon to arrive and I can hope for a thaw

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's hard for me to ASK...

I will be happy when 2008 is over and a New Year starts. For me personally, 2008 will go down as one of the most difficult years of my life--emotionally. On the positive side, these kinds of struggles in life are often what a person needs in order to understand--even if it is only understanding something about ourselves.

I think as much as 2008 will be a year I wish had been different, in hind-sight I believe I will look back to realize the lesson I have learned this year is that sometimes everyone needs something and sometimes we have to learn how to ask...

It's hard for me to Ask for what I need... or for help, money, a favor, or even a hug. I don't know why? Or if this is just something I notice Only when I NEED a lot. I,m not sure if it's pride -- or fear of asking for too much. Or if it is because I don't want to give others the chance to let me down. Or, worse--that I don't want to "owe" someone back for the fact I asked let along received something I asked for.

I tend to "WANT" those around me to "Notice" I need something and offer on their own accord... because they care. I feel very special when someone makes a direct and specific offer to meet a need I might have. When this happens I feel like I matter. The direct and specific offer makes me feel noticed and as if someone took the time and paid attention to consider "What" would help me the most.

It must be some kind of passive-aggressive nature? I feel frozen when people around me notice I am in distress and offer to help by asking me to Name my need specifically. I don't want to ask for more then someone wants or has to offer. I don't want to beg or take more then someone has to give.

So, when I am in Need and forced to Name or ask specifically I tend to ask for less then what I really need. I appreciate what I am given which wasn't enough and feel guilty as if I had asked for and received more then I needed in the first place... Why?

I think that most of the time I don't even notice I had to ask--and asked for less than I needed because usually I don't need very much from others. Usually I am the one who "Notices" someone has a need and I offer a specific thing I can to help. I take joy in meeting the needs of others and consider it to be one of the positive things about who I am. I never expect a pay-back or think someone owes me back and wonder why I seem to think other's might feel different?

My problem about asking usually isn't a real big issue in my life when things are going well and I don't need for much. In fact, I thrive when I am the Meeter of other's needs and taking good care of myself. This problem I have only seems to be a problem when I NEED A lot or more than usual for a prolonged period of time... or have needs that can't be taken care of at all because there isn't a specific way to meet the need.

This is when I seem to fall apart.

Because, If I can't meet my own needs then I don't have the ability to take joy in meeting the needs I see for others... so it becomes a double loss. And then someone sees me in distress and dares to ask me, "What can I do to Help?" and I have no clue what to ask for. And sometimes I feel hurt no one noticed and just offered without making me Name my need specifically... I will accept and appreciate whatever is offered and just find it so hard to ask.

In 2009 I plan to try and make a better effort to learn how to ask for what I need before I find myself falling apart and frozen with no idea what to even ask for.

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