There has been so much going on here, so much to process, so much to do, so much to be. It has kept me from blogging, but my mind has been whirring away. Paul goes in for knee surgery tomorrow (torn meniscus in two places, only one knee) and we’ve been running around getting set for that – groceries stocked, yard work done, you can imagine I am sure. It was a crazy busy weekend, doing the spring yard work and clean ups around the house along with soccer games and the usual activities of life.
We finally got the lift installed for Caleb in the garage. It first came welded incorrectly; it had to be sent back. I was mad about it. I got over it, and it came again, and it worked. It only took eight months to get the lift. And then that first day, Joshua thought he’d show it off, pressed too many buttons, and triggered the breaker to fail. And Paul fixed it, because he is talented with electrical problems. I wish we had learned our lesson then, and realized Joshua has either a problem or a fascination with the lift for Caleb, but we didn’t. He broke it again; this time, he stood on the ramp that closes up the end, and it pulled out and broke off. Bent the bolts, and that end came off, and it was broken again. Paul fixed it again- new bolts, longer ones, are now installed and it is running again. We are smarter now – it has to have keys in it to run, for safety, and all of the keys are now kept up high, and away from the lift. Joshua was grounded – that means he can’t be outside of my sight, for one week, not even in the backyard on the swing set, since he has broken our trust. This accounts for the blog silence, for sure. Too busy parenting to write about parenting.
It is a tricky thing to parent Joshua. There’s an immediate tendency to blame all things Joshua on the orphanage, on his early experiences, on “adoption issues”. This lift breaking business may or may not have anything to do with that, though. Kids break stuff and do bad things, all kids. Some kids break more stuff, more often, that were parented with love from birth, and some adopted kids don’t have a cloud of chaos that follows them around. Sometimes trouble comes from just living and breathing and making mistakes. Either way, all we can do now is teach, love, set consequences, and keep the keys up high and the toolbox readily accessible.
Joshua is also telling some crazy lies lately. When I say “Crazy”, it’s because they don’t make any sense, and he gets no benefit from the lying, but he stills does it. Not that I am condoning plain old lying, but when a kid does something they shouldn’t, like, say, having food in the living room, and then they lie about it, it makes some sense why they lied. But when they tell you that they saw someone at school and talked with them, that you know doesn’t go to the school, it doesn’t make any sense, and we have no idea why he does that. So we call him on it, and he doesn’t know why he said it either, and thankfully he’s pretty obvious when he crazy lies. It’s very easy to spot. This is a very common thing for children who have lived in Eastern European orphanages.
As an aside to those of you who are parenting now in the trenches of baby and toddler-hood; what goes on in the first few years of life IS IMPORTANT. I can’t overstate that. When I was parenting my biological kids when they were tiny ,my life seemed like groundhog day -the not sleeping, changing diapers, feeding, cleaning, singing songs, reading Goodnight Moon again, and doing it again the next day. It feels endless, even though it does pass. But when those days didn’t happen, when a baby wasn’t fed and loved and changed and bathed and read to, day in and day out, it’s a big problem. Those days can’t be relived, those skills of relationship can’t be rewound and re-done, at the right times, when the brain was ready for it. And so everything is harder. So we have to go over what it means to speak the truth, what is real and what isn’t, how to look people in the eye, how to accept a cuddle. It shouldn’t be that way, for any child, but that’s the way it has been and still is for millions of children around the world. The good news is that hard work pays off – orphans change, they can accept love, they become the beloved. God is in the redemption business and eager for us to join Him in that. It takes longer and is much harder than that 10,000th reading of GoodNight Moon was, but it can be done. So hang in there, moms and dads of all sorts. What you do can’t be replicated or replaced, and it matters more than we can comprehend.