Monday, March 21, 2011

We're All Together Again!!!

This weekend was pretty epic as weekends go. We didn't have a fantastic trip to a new place, we didn't go anywhere at all as a matter of fact. Our weekend was full of milestones.

Lola turned 1. She's a fireball, that little girl. She's started to play pretend, taking an empty bowl or cup and stirring it with a little spoon. She walks around feeding us all her imaginary concoction and we all are required to respond with a nod of the head and a big "mmmmmmmm!!!" or else she'd keep feeding us the imaginary food.

The weather was gloomy, rain hitting our windows as we did our "saturday" chores. I love the smell of clean laundry and so does Lola. I'd bring load after load into the family room to fold straight out of the dryer and she'd run over (yes "run"...she's running now. Crazy) and stick her little hands in the basket and grab the first thing her little grubby mitts could find and hold it to her nose and inhale so loud you'd think it was her very first breath. "Mmmmmm" she'd say. I agree Lola, fresh laundry smells so good. (thank you, Downy)

We had cake with purple and blue icing. I was afraid her little face would be permanently stained, especially since the blue and purple dye made her look like her cheeks and nose and chin were bruised. You know, from the Annual Birthday Beatdown. It's a favorite tradition in our family. ;)  A bath miraculously washed her clean!  Gotta love good ol' soap and water. Happy First Birthday, my sweet baby girl...

Sunday morning brought more rain and even though you'd think we'd be upset, rain means No Snow, and No Snow means SPRING! IS! HERE!  It also means Summer is on it's way!  Harper can talk of almost nothing else. He can't wait to be able to go to the park to swing without having to run home after 20 minutes to soak in a warm tub so his fingers and toes have feeling again.

Tiffany came home that night. We had my cousin Audrey over and she kept us company while we made and ate stuffed manicotti for dinner. Tiffany's been gone for a little over 2 months in Las Vegas. We talked on the phone often, and while she was having a good time with my sister Ashley and my parents, she wanted to come home.  It stinks to be so torn between so much fun with Grandparents and an Aunt and your brothers and sisters!  Lucky girl.

When we saw her pull up Lola and Harper peeked out the open door and when she came in the house, Harper could hardly contain himself!  He went buck wild. He loves Tiff, they're best buddies. Lola on the other hand was terrified of her. She tried to eat some paper 10 minutes after Tiff got home, so Tiffany said "no Lola, don't eat that" causing Lola to grab onto Mackenzie like a baby spider monkey, big elephant tears streaming down her cheeks. Her little heart was broken, even until today at around 2. She finally remembers Tiff. It's good to have her home.

You know, there are different ways families can react to situations like Tiffany's. I know this first hand, a couple times over. If you don't know my story, I'll save it for another time. Long story.  Anyway, it was fantastic to see how a situation can change lives. I knew from the second I found out she was expecting that I had to show her the blessing of adoption. I'd show her blogs by other birth mothers and she'd roll her eyes and cry and say "It's MY choice. I'm an adult, I can do this on my own".  I took her to see an amazing therapist one day, sneaking her into the office. See, the office is attached to the Deseret Industries store in the town next to ours. We browsed old dresses, furniture and old dishes all the while I knew I had to encourage her to go next door. As we left the store, I said "let's just go in and see what it takes to see somebody here".  Reluctantly, she went in.  The rest is history.

Even until the last day before she signed relinquishment papers, she had doubts. Mike and I brought her home from Primary Children's Hospital where the baby was being watched in the NICU and we invited her into our bedroom. I told her that we would support her either way but that she needed to think of the two options she had in front of her. So many tears were shed. She wanted so badly to keep that baby, and even if she had, we'd still love her. I couldn't let her do this alone. Any of it. She wanted to leave last summer but through it all, we never judged her, we tried every day to tell her we loved her, I read so many things about how to do this but at the end of the day, we just made ourselves part of her life and set ourselves under her like a raft. She made the right decision and we know it was hers to make. She told us last night that our talk that night helped her to really think about the reality of it all. That's what parents are supposed to do...right?

After Maya was placed, she knew she had to go somewhere. My parents generously offered to keep her for 2 months. When she came back last night, she looked like the Tiffany we knew a year ago. The Tiffany who would come home from church in her cute pencil skirt with her binders and lesson handouts, smiling and looking brilliant.

Unconditionally, we're here for her. She told us late last night that the reason she feels like she can be a productive and happy person even after so many mistakes is because she knows that  our home is always her home. She knows that we'll always have a place for her with no judgement put on her. We have to let her make mistakes, but we will never ever put her out or send her away somewhere she doesn't want to be. Feeling like you have a "home" is the key here I've found.

When we made the decision for me to always be at home with our kids, we knew that we'd hear it from people about how I should work and help out my family. My job is here in my home. My job is to make sure these kids become generous, independent, loving, educated and spiritual people. Soon we'll have 7 and you know what, I don't regret one single moment I spend here with these kids. The photography, the writing, the dreams of being something for myself, those take a back seat because right now, I just want to be a Mom.

Our bishop came over on Friday to help us out with some things. He is very aware of our situation and it's nice when he can look at what we're doing and at our choices for who works and who works at home and he  reminded Mike that his job is how to Preside, Provide and Protect. I like the way we've set up our family dynamic. It's amazing to see how the family seems to just click into place when we set our goals and then follow through with them.

See, there's this thing I have. I was raised in a really great family. Soon after leaving my home after some really bumpy teenage years I found myself the mother of a young baby and single. I started dating the first person I thought my parents liked (true story) after only knowing him for a few weeks, and really, after just a couple weeks he proposed. Later I found out he'd been engaged like 5 times before me but that's another story I'll never tell because really, who gives a crap. Anyway, I went from a normal home to a few years of being alone and feeling alone and having a baby alone to a dysfunctional marriage and family life. So when I was divorced and eventually remarried to Mike, we knew from the start we should get these kids into a normal life.

That's when this (right click and open in a new tab!) came into our life as a guide. Just reading through it with Mike caused me so much grief and sadness all the while feeling like I needed to really change some things. I was sad because I realized that the10 years I was living through The Mistake (marrying my first husband) put my kids into a home that was almost the exact opposite of what The Proclamation stated a family should really be.

This part really stood out to me the most:

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."

See, it doesn't say mom's HAVE to stay home, but really, we're blessed as women with gifts to raise our children and men are natural protectors and providers. This has worked in our marriage. Almost 6 years of marriage to Michael and it's sad that I had to be over the age of 30 to know what love is.

I tend to ramble don't I?  I know. I'm sorry. I'm a yappity yap sometimes.

Anyway, Tiff came home. We stayed up really really late just talking, Mike, Tiff and I. She said it felt so good to be home. She said she feels safe where we are. That's when I realized...I might just be doing ok here at this "mom" thing... I slept better than I have in months. It feels so good to have us all together again.


Leslie said...

Your posts always make me cry! I love you and your amazing family!

Audrey said...

Tiff seriously was glowing. Thank you for having me over. I LOVED it. Hobby Lobby this week? yes.

Bree :--) said...

I saw Tiff at Kathy's, and she looks fabulous! She is a great kid, you guys are great parents.

Meri Dawn Thompson said...

I love reading your blog! You are so "real". You are doing a fabulous job at being a mom and wife. Thanks for sharing.

Sandi said...

I love you. That's all.

The White Clan said...

Mikes awesome! So glad you all have him, and that he loves you all!