Friday, May 1, 2015

Gluten Free No More

I was absolutely convinced that a gluten free diet was the best choice for Royal. So for over a year we diligently kept him free from gluten even when that meant making a second batch of cookies, or running to the store for special bread, or pancake mix, or making a second pot of gravy, or soup, or...  He seemed to act more hyper and get more spacey and/or irritable every time he ate something with gluten in it.  I did tests. I could "tell" if he'd eaten something he wasn't supposed to eat.  It was worth the trouble.

And then I started to doubt myself. Is this true? Does gluten affect him the way I'd convinced myself it did? Hmm. I wasn't sure. I started giving him food with wheat without telling him and then I'd watch his behavior. Nothing. Something. I couldn't tell.

On our trip to California I let him eat whatever he wanted. It was SO much easier than picking through the menu for the best-least-gluten meal possible only to have him complain about how unfair it was for him to have to eat gluten free food.

The results of his new gluten filled diet?  Sometimes he's sweet and charming, other times he's a hot mess.  There seems to be no correlation with the food he eats.

This is such great news because I have one less thing to think about, and fight about. This is such bad news because I have nothing left to cling to that let's me believe I can "fix" him. 

Now what? All I have left is to love the person he is and trust that God is in control of his life. 

Freeing and terrifying.

Friday, April 17, 2015

When Life Gives you Lemons...

I know, make lemonade. But sometimes it just doesn't happen how we want it to.  Sometimes we want to swear. And cry. 

So, I was talking to my friend the other day... Oh wait I mean...

So, I was talking to my therapist the other day, and I said, "I've been struggling with this question: Is God's intention for us to put our hope in the healing power of Jesus' redemption, OR is it for us to love people for what and who they are now and forever?" And while I'm at it, "Do people ever really heal, or am I just setting myself up for disappointment believing this?"

Three years, eleven months.  That's our adoption time frame.  My precious daughter had her worst day to date (unless I've just gotten good at blocking out the really bad days). I've been confidently telling people that Royal was older and therefore is "the hard one." He has attachment disorder, it's true he does. But it's to be expected. She has some grieving to do, but for the most part has a healthy attachment to us.

Yesterday made me a liar.

I really want to spew out all the details of our day and make her out to be the bad girl so you can feel sorry for me, but the truth is, she's not "bad." She's a victim of circumstance reacting in a predictable way (if you've studied attachment disorder as much as I have). And I'm a mom who often feels blindsided, unprepared, scared, sad, and unable to put the pieces into place no matter how hard I try and how desperately I want to make it all "right."

Last night I sobbed in my bathroom for a long time because it was all I could do. It felt like grieving. I grieved for the naive person I used to be. I grieved for the millions of kids with no parents, or abusive parents, or parents who just can't seem to know how to be good parents. I grieved for parents with lost dreams. I've so desperately hoped for the fulfillment of dreams. I grieved because I just barely believe that dreams can be fulfilled. I grieved because I don't know anymore if God wants us to dream. I grieve now because I want to believe that God is Love.

This morning I woke up with an emotion hangover. My head hurt, my eyes hurt, my brain hurt, my heart hurt. 

This is where I am.

I wrote this almost a week ago.  I published it late one night and then woke up early the next morning feeling too vulnerable, and took it down. I know some who read it will worry about me - I love you my friends who worry knowing if you care, you love me. 

I have moments when my breath leaves me and it's hard to draw in another. Pee on the floor, again. Homework not done, again. Filthy clothing in the dresser, again. Tattle tales, lies, missing valuables, missing toothbrushes, muddy footprints, angry hurtful words, again, again, again. Individually, these are small meaningless offenses.  Added together they can feel suffocating.

We don't always have horrible moments.  Right now Royal and the boys are watching the second Harry Potter movie together because he finished the book.  It amazes me that he can get through a book that big.  It amazes me that his brothers celebrate this with him with whoops and high fives.  I'm slowly, slowly learning to store away these moments of success so I can pull them out of my brain when things seem all bad.  

He's a passionate soccer player.
She wants to be on American Idol.
He loves to beat box.
She tenderly plays with her baby dolls.
They both play so well with and are loved by the neighbor kids.
He shares his deepest thoughts with me.
She wants to be with me when she's feeling shy.

Beautiful girl


Friday, April 10, 2015

Disneyland, the happiest place on earth 90% of the time...

Guess what? We had a wonderful vacation to California that included 3 days at Disneyland and 4 days at Newport beach. 

For a couple weeks before the trip my anxiety level rose considerably. Kyle and I both visited the chiropractor the day before we left because our backs were out. I played out every "worst case scenario" possible in my mind - which is weird, because that's always been Kyle's job. I'd convinced myself that Royal would have a freak out attack, like, the whole time.  Turned out, he only freaked out about 10% of the time (but more like 30%). So that's good. 

At the airport on our way

Wyatt and I took the bus and Lightrail to the airport, adding 2 hours of travel, because we can't all fit in our mini-van with a friend driving us. As soon as we got on the plane, our back pain went away.  Stress much?

Our third trip down Splash Mountain...
Once at Disneyland, we became happy fun family - 90% of the time.  About half of us are thrill seekers and love big rides. You can guess which ones by this picture. Wyatt chose this Splash Mountain muscle pose- ya, cause he has big muscles... H, L, W, &E loved everything, Royal found lots to complain about and had anxiety about how we'd manage to ride all the rides (at least 10% of the time. At least :) but I can now say, "You're not even happy at Disneyland, so I'm clearly not to blame." Ena was coerced onto the terrifying rides (poor thing. One more thing to go to therapy for) but was a good sport about it.  Fortunately, they both have fantastic reviews (now that it's all said and done).

Kyle has mastered that Irish Dance move.
Our Newport Beach house was right on the beach.  We frequently asked ourselves, "Who are these people who live here?" I hope they're all as happy as the 70 year old guy next door who danced shirtless with a beer in his hand from noon to 9pm.  Royal (and Ena) was truly made for the ocean.  He could scream, be dirty, dig, and pee to his heart's content.  The other boys and girl as well- they swam and boogie boarded in the icy water for hours.

Happy Place

By day 3 we'd mastered beach life. "Cloths? Who needs them when you have PJs?" And, if any of you feel the urge to buy us a house on Balboa Island, we'd so joyfully say, "Thank you!"

Yes, Arrested Development fans.  Balboa Island is full of banana stands.

Nicolas Cage's greatest fan.
To kill time before the airport, we went to Hollywood Blvd. to see the stars.  Harrison loves all things Nicolas Cage.  This was his big moment. Lol.