Last night my dear "sister" and I went to dinner with her 6 week old daughter. It was my birthday dinner and we ended up at the Cheesecake Factory. Both of had always wanted to go, neither of us had ever had the opportunity to go before and SHE had not one but TWO gift cards. Let me give you some background into our relationship... between teh two of us we have 10 children, we both are SAHM and care for other children as well (I watch my 2 nieces for 3 days a week and she watches 1 little girl full time and 2-3 after school kids), we try to keep in touch via hour long phone calls with the most amusing and often "screechy" interuptions and we do Facebook each other. It's what we have and it works for us... we cling to the hope that ONE day we will be sitting peacefully in each other's homes, sipping tea, enjoying homebaked goods, chatting about our grown children and THEIR families. But for now we share in the good, the bad, and insanity of motherhood, being wives, daughters, sisters, and friends. We listen, talk, interupt each other, cry, and laugh with and at each other sometimes. It's what keeps us going. I absolutely adore her and am eternally grateful to have her in my life. (my husband concurs whole heartedly on this) So this leads us to our evening out last night. First off they sat us in this huge corner booth. It was glorious to have so much room. We ate just enough to enjoy our meal and still had room for CHEESECAKE. That in itself was wonderful... but it was better because we got to TALK, share with each other and LISTEN, REALLY listen to each other. I felt so revitalized. to be able to talk and share with another woman who could understand and relate to your feelings and thoughts is absolutely a blessing. We talked about our children, our husbands, our mutual friends, our hopes for our futures, our frustrations, all of it and it was so nice to just be able to have that companionship that is so fragile and infrequent these days. We wondered about why it is that there are so many classes, books and people eager to "help" when you are expecting your first child. So much advice. Now our oldest children are both 12 years old and we look around and there are NO classes, books and people eager to "help". At best a "you'll get through this" or the dreaded "It only gets WORSE." YIKES! I did not understand 12 year old boys when I was 12 years old and now I certainly do NOT understand this 12 year old boy living with us. How do we deal with "mean girls" when our daughters are between 10 and 12... and beyond and goodness sometimes even younger. I am also dealing with a daughter who we adopted at the age of nine months old who has definite signs of attachment disorder. I am no expert... having brought this subject up amongst the sweetest, misguided and just did not understand the issue ladies.... I can't explain it... by all means google it for yourself and then maybe you will begin to understand the insanity that attachment disorders brings into your life and that of your family. Her behaviours are mostly directed at me. (which is normal) The emotions that get brought out of feeling rejected, what am I not doing right, why isn't my love ENOUGH, my goodness she was SO young how could an infant be so hurt, (you would be surprised at just HOW incredibly crucial the first year of life is to all of us and how much our entire foundation is built during this short time), I know I'm a good mom (look at my other 4 kids) so why doesn't she love me... I love her so incredibly much. WHAT happened to her that left this hole in her heart that I can't seem to fill. What is this doing to my family? What is this doing to my marriage? I digress... having a sister to share this all with who does not judge my thoughts, words or actions, but leads me back to our Lord and handing the relationship back over to him. Reminding Me that I can not do this without his love and grace. The whole Let Go and Let God... it is good to be reminded of it especially during the stormy days.
So we talk about our marriages. How we can better love our husbands. How they could show their love to us better. How wonderful it is that they care enough about our friendship that they are home with our children so we can have this special time together.
We talk about feeling invisible... if we really did take off for California or some other warm place would they really care. How long would it be before they noticed? Does what we do even matter? Women who work outside of the home... they get to have that sense of accomplishment at least at work. You have a task, your work on it, it gets completed. As a SAHM you do not get that. Every single task before us, gets worked on, gets interupted, gets side tracked, but never truly gets checked off the TO DO list because there are always more dishes to be washed or put away, same with laundry, the floors are constantly in need of a sweeping, vacuuming or down right scrubbing, there are spills, dust bunnies, unidentifiable items under the cushion of the couch, it goes on and on and on but there is no end. NO completed tasks. Then I mentioned that at least we get to spend so much time with our children. but there are days when I prefer to escape on my computer, facebook, reading or television. I just don't want to deal with the mundane, everyday bickering or major decisions like what are we having for lunch, what can we watch on television, I don't know where my socks are or I can't find any pants. (although mommy always seems to find at least 3 pairs of pants for you to choose from and maybe onot always an even number of socks or matching socks but I can always come up with TWO socks for you to wear... heck I can find TEN socks for the FIVE of them on some days) Somedays I think there has to be something MORE to my life. I am an intelligent, funny sometimes creative person. There has got to something more that I can do with my life. But then what more is there really? Is there really anything more rewarding than raising our children and loving our husbands. To support them as they grow into the young adults that will eventually be having families of their own. To help them through the awkward, confusing, exciting journey of becoming the wonderful person God has made them to be. We can stand in the way or help them get where they are going. To be a mother is truly a gift. So we don't get anything really ever FINISHED. oh well. We must not get bogged down in that and keep reminding ourselves and EACH other that we are doing a wonderful job. Personally I did not have supportive, loving, parents. They had their own problems and there just was not much left for them to give to cherishing the person that I was and was growing to be. But now I get to do just that with my own children.
We have a friend in common that was in a terrible car accident on Monday. Her four children and grandmother were in the car with her. Her grandmother passed away the next morning due the injuries she sustained in the accident, one of her children have a broken arm and she has head injuries. The whole thing is just stunning. How much can one family take? Why did this happen? NOT WHY technically >>>> but why did God allow this to happen? My sister and I talked about this at length. How one moment can change an entire family forever. It's too personal to write about here. I'm not sure anyone will really ever read this but it's not something to be shared here just in case.
One very practical thing that my sister shared with me was her new chore charts for her children. They have been using this one for 3 weeks now and it seems to be working. We have had several variation of chore charts and motivational charts or keeping us on task charts throughout the past 6 or so years. I think when the kids started school the charts started. They include everything from personal hygiene (that is so not spelled correctly... OOOH I see the ABC check above... yeah), school specials of the day (like gym, art etc), morning tasks, after school tasks, chores and attitude. This conversation has lead to Rob and I putting together a similar chart for our children. The goal is to prioritize things for our days. The categories are for morning, chores, school/home work and behavior. These four areas need a sticker BEFORE there is any talk of playing, computers, WII or PS2. My sister and I also discussed "pajama days". We both had thoughts that one of the fun parts of homeschooling is being able to wear your pajamas all day sometimes. Well yes and no. We've both discovered that a child in his or her pajamas is not very likely to take his or her school work very seriously. So now getting dressed is right up there with brushing your teeth every morning. It's just one of those things that gets us ready to do the work we need to do. If you have ever heard of FLY LADY she has a similar theory. Getting dressed to the shoes everyday needs to be apart of our daily routine. I'm still not sold on wearing shoes in our home but the pj's have to go. (most of the time)
It was a FOUR hour dinner so the conversation drifted in many directions. These are just some of the directions it went in. It was 9:20 when we left the restaurant. We were quite surprised and realized that we really should do this again sometime soon. Happily her birthday is coming up in April. My sister gave me the most lovely birthday card... to her "sis" and an angel with "sisters are forever friends" engraved on her dress. She is the ONLY person in the world to give me cards and sign it from my sister. I am always delighted and reassured of our relationship when SHE lets me know that she truly considers me her sister too. She will never know how much of a gift she is to me... my heart has a very special place just for her. She truly is my sister and I am forever thankful for that.