Polar Opposites…

A week ago I was writing about being alone and lonely.

Today I felt like I went home.  I felt like 2.5 years never had passed at all.  I felt loved and cared for.

Most importantly my kids felt loved.  I watched Kieran smile and serve and converse and he was happy.  I haven’t seen that in long time.  He was loved.

Keilan spent the morning well with no incidents.  A welcome change of late.  And he reconnected with an older boy who really gets him.  A boy who is a few years ahead of him on his own ADHD journey.  It was heartwarming to see this boy take Keilan under his wing.  And it was great for them both.

The day was just lovely.  So much visiting and catching up.  So much love and care and concern.

Love is a verb.  It isn’t just a word to be talked about.

So stop talking about love and just DO it.

Today I felt loved.  And it has been a long long time since I felt so much love!

All of us felt loved.  We all felt wanted.  We all felt important.  We all mattered.  And we all had fun!

Entitlement…

This morning I had a difficult conversation with my youngest daughter.

You see a little jealousy had set in.  Life was really unfair, just ask her.

Her brother has been off school for 2 weeks and now is completely done.  Her sisters started half days on Friday.   They have exams most days right now.  And in particular we allowed Karyssa to stay home today because she was sick all night and this morning was just study time at school and this afternoon was the school dance…which she didn’t want to go to.  Katarina we gave permission to skip the school dance today and come home at noon instead.

And finally Keilan has been staying home frequently in the am or pm with one of his older siblings and not riding the school bus with me.  As well he finished homeschooling the last day of March.  So, although we kept going anyways by working on grade 3 stuff and working ahead for next year, he didn’t have work to do for grade 2 anymore.

All of this has left Kianna feeling like life is unfair.  It’s unfair she alone has to go to school all day everyday.

It is unfair that her brother gets rewarded for being bad.  Her words, not mine.

So, she and I had a long discussion.  Lecture really.  We talked about “fair” and “unfair”.  We talked about what was flawed in her thinking.

I explained how it would be truly unfair to hand her the privileges and rewards that her older siblings had earned through time and age and work.  We talked about the rewards she felt her younger brother was getting that she wasn’t.   Then we talked about all the rewards and experiences and things he didn’t ever get.  Wouldn’t ever get because of his behaviour, because he was homeschooling, because of his “disability”, because of his challenges of ADHD and ODD.

We talked about the privileges she has that she hasn’t earned and that her siblings either don’t have or didn’t have at her age.

We talked about how we treat everyone differently and we as parents try our best to give each of our children what he or she needs most to succeed and thrive.

We talked about how “fair” is a big picture and not a little thing in the moment.  How over time the extra and lesses  balance out.

Did I get through to her?  Probably not.  But I felt better at the end and she was about to cry…So maybe.

It’s Been a Long Time…

I haven’t blogged in a long time.  Mostly because of feedback about something I blogged about my youngest son.

All my blogs for the last long long time have been mostly about our struggles and successes with Keilan.

I felt like I shouldn’t be writing about that.  So I mostly stopped writing at all.

The thing is, this is MY blog.  This is my space to work things out.  To share or not to share.  To open up myself to help others learn through our struggles and triumphs.

Facebook is full of “friends”.  But they aren’t really friends.  They are mostly old acquaintances or old friends who’ve drifted away in the daily living of life.  It is the opportunity to feel like we know people that we don’t have the time to really invest into.  After all time is finite.  We can truly only have a handful of really close friends.  I have a LOT less than that.

I have 2 close friends.  One is my husband.

I have posts and blogs that get loads of likes.  But my phone never rings.  My doorbell never ever ever rings.  Except for the 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses who come each month like clock work…

I have a child that isn’t always easy to love.  And I’m certain that is a big part of it.  But I’m alone.  I live everyday alone.  I walk in large groups of people all the time.  I’m always around people.  But I’m alone.

This morning I was in a large group.  And I played an experiment.  I sat back and didn’t start a single conversation.  I just waited to see who would start a conversation with me.  No one.  Not  a single person  came up to me to start a conversation, to ask me how I was doing, to take an interest in my life.  Not a single person has enough relationship with me to come to me and ask me how I’m doing.  This is pretty sad.

Yes, my son causes me to have to leave places immediately, or not go at all.  I often have to change my plans on no notice depending on the day my son is having.  I no longer have free time to myself.  I have no time to invest into my own relationships.  I’m emotionally exhausted all the time.  Parenting is no easy task.  Parenting Keilan is even more extreme.  The highs are higher and the lows are lower than parenting my other kids.  Most other parents and non parents don’t understand my position of parenting our youngest child.  It’s really hard to have play dates with a child as unpredictable as our youngest.

So here I sit.  In a large group.  Feeling completely alone.  Trying to keep my youngest son behaving.

And here I sit feeling alone in parenting and relationships.  And partly not caring at all.  It’s easiest not to be hurt if you aren’t in relationship.  But part of me also is so sad.  So sad that I’m not worthy enough as a person to have close relationships.

It is time for me to blog again.  To write about my life.  And right now for better or worse the biggest love and concern and hope and triumph and defeat in my daily life is parenting our youngest son.  So I will resume blogging about that.

But not just about that.  About parenting all my unique and wonderful children.  All my children from the oldest to the youngest.  From High School to elementary school.  From my 5 children attending 4 different schools starting this year and add in the one who has been in 2 different schools and now home school this school year alone.

My journey is far from over.  And I know that even today will get better.

We are having people over to our tiny house today for a friendly BBQ.  The first time we have had anyone over to a BBQ since we moved to our tiny home 2 years ago.  Our house is just too small to have people over.  Heck there’s barely room in our house for us, never mind adding more people to our small space.

So today we are hosting a BBQ for some old friends who we get together with a few times a year.  It should be a fun afternoon.

As well I’ve been blessed this week to get to watch my 14 year old daughter as she attended her grade 9 farewell.  To be blessed with a daughter who is so brilliant and talented and such a loyal friend.  She was 1% lower in overall GPA than the top student in the grade.  She is literally the smartest kid I know.  She was invited to attend a High School that offered IB.  Which is much more challenging courses than the usual High school courses.  She will succeed.  There is truly nothing she puts her mind to that she doesn’t excel at.

Our oldest son has just finished grade 11.  He has been working for years.  First as a soccer referee.  For the last year at Cineplex.  This summer he will be apprenticing.  He somehow managed to impress a guy at a job interview for sheet metal enough to make him open up a position in HVAC just for our son.  HVAC is what our son wanted to do but there wasn’t a single position to even interview for.  Kieran is kind and he loves deeply.  He tries to hide it.  But he does.  Over the last 2 weeks he has allowed his little brother to stay home with him almost all week so Keilan didn’t have to spend so much time on the school bus with me.  He has shared his tiny bedroom with his best friend for the past 3 months so his best friend didn’t have to move schools and provinces in the middle of the school year.  There is much to be proud of here.  Marks and honour roll aren’t everything.

Karyssa.  Where do I even start?  She, like her sisters, is beautiful.  She is kind and helpful and smart.  She is on honour roll.  Something we didn’t think would ever happen 4 years ago.  She is one of the brightest in her class.  She has such a soft heart!  Her gift is her unconditional love.  She is such a hard worker and passionate liver of life!

Kianna is our dramatic relief!  She is super funny!  She is kind and sweet and thoughtful.  She is talented and fun!  There is never a dull moment when she is around.  And she loves her little brother with a love that is action.  She is so kind and forgiving and generous with her little brother.  She is patient with him when no one else has any patience left for him.  She gives me a break when I need it most!

That leaves Keilan.  What can I say.  He is my highest high and lowest low.   Keilan is so much extremes.  He is smart and impulsive and wild and kind and sweet and mean and repentant and helpful and loving.  He is a great kid.  He has come a long way this year.  He has a very long way to go.  But we are doing  it together.  We are on this journey together.

So today my blog is a little bit of everything.  And that’s OK.  It’s MY blog.  Hopefully I will start blogging again more regularly.

Maybe soon I will blog about the special summer camp Karyssa and I are doing for Keilan.  Keilan  isn’t at a place this year where we can let him go to summer camp.    So we are bringing summer camp to him.  It should be really fun!

High School is Coming…

Last night Jason and I took our oldest daughter to her meet the TA at her High School for the fall.
The school puts every student in a class with basically a home room teacher for all 3 years of high school.  It is meant to help keep students from falling through the cracks and to help them have a single place to go for help or concerns.  So we all got to go and meet the TA for Katie last night.

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Katarina is going to a different High school than her brother, so it was all new to us.  We got a run down of how to check the students marks at any time and who to see for what and how to contact the TA with any concerns.  We also got a tour of the school.

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Jason had gone to several open houses for this school over this past school year.  However, I’ve never set foot in this school.

It was a great opportunity to get to see the High School and meet some other parents and students.

I have to admit though that it is a bit weird to me that my oldest daughter is weeks away from being a High School student.

It is also weird that she is attending a different school than her brother.  In my town there was 1 high school  and everyone went there.

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She is choosing to do full french IB.  Which is why she’s at St Mary’s and not St Francis like her older brother.

I think though that St Mary’s will serve her well.  I think it’ll be good for her to be challenged by IB and good for her to be out of her brother’s shadow so to speak.

Her school is downtown but it is very easy to get to from our place.

She has some interesting options that I don’t think are as formally developed at St Francis.

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Every morning a half hour before  lass begins all the teachers are formally available for extra help and students are encouraged to use this resource.

As well they have late in and early out every Friday.  That makes Katie pretty happy!  Every Friday she can sleep in!  St Francis just has early out every Friday.

Her best friends are going to St Mary’s and it will offer her a much more challenging academic load than St Francis could.

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She starts everyday at 9 and is done by 2:40 or so.  So the schedule is pretty sweet too!

I’m very happy that she is happy with her choice of High school!

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I just have a really hard time believing she’s old enough (or I’m old enough) to be going into grade 10!  But who am I kidding…Kieran graduates from High School next year….So why am I so surprised about Katarina going into grade 10???

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20 Years… Officially

Although this past weekend Jason and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, the actual date is today.  June 1.

Today, however is the middle of the week and we have a meet the teacher for our daughter’s high school next year, tonight.

So on the weekend we left Keilan with a friend.  Whom we owe HUGE because it really ended badly!  And we arranged rides for our girls to and from Kung fu with another friend whom we also owe HUGE!  And we went to Kananaskis and went horseback riding and white water rafting.  Not to mention the steak lunch…and I will do my best to forget the worst Chinese dinner I’ve EVER eaten!

It was really fun!  And a great way to spend the day together!  A great way to begin another chapter in this adventure of life we do together.

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I love you more than I ever have.  We have truly lived life together.  We have had a roller coaster of a ride for the last 20 years!  We have laughed and cried and experienced miracles together.  We have 5 beautiful children here and another 5 in heaven.  We have celebrated and mourned.  We have been stretched almost to our breaking point, and yet we endured!

And you have endured my relentless need for things to be done NOW and not procrastinated.  You have helped me make my ideas come true so so many times in ministry especially!  You have figured out how to make my ideas reality…like 300 page camper books at Rookie camp, puppet stages for children’s church, new looks for Sunday school wing on a no budget budget, giving generously when we couldn’t even pay our own bills, the list is endless!  You have been my constant partner in life and ministry.  You have been my help mate and my encourager.

You have loved the unlovable me!  You have loved the me that was so lost in mourning I could see nothing but my own loss and pain and not yours too.

We have held our newborns and marvelled at their absolute perfection!  You have watched me do some pretty silly things…like skiing with a baby in a backpack…when I could barely ski!  Nothing has stopped us or held us back!  The adventures we’ve had are countless and so varied!

I stretch your comfort zone and you keep me grounded!  I dream big and together we make it happen!  We are a team.  Without me I think your life might be a little bit boring…but without you my life would be nothing but empty dreams!

We know each other.  And we in so many ways are the same.  I was reminded of that when I read the letter you wrote to Katarina a few weeks ago for her grade 9 retreat.  It truly mirrored the one I’d written for her a few weeks before.  That’s because we are on the same page.  We have the same values and hopes and dreams.  We want the same things for our children and for our life together.

Together we are so much bigger than we are apart!  Together we can do so much more and be so much more than either of us can be alone.

I value you.  I respect you.  I love you more than words can ever convey!  Together we are better.   We compliment each other and make the good better and the bad better.

Thank you for marrying me.  Thank you for loving the lovable and unlovable parts of me!  Thank you for putting up with my passion and for encouraging it and taming it! And thank you for not rolling your eyes when I say “Guess what honey, I have an idea…”

Here’s to many many more decades of marriage and life and fun and sorrow and adventures….adventures like kayaking…thanks for joining me on this ride!

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