Monday, April 27, 2015

Cinderella, Death, and (Foster) Parenting

Well, my dream of blogging is pretty much over as quick as it began.  It kind of all started on March 13th when I took into my home a lovely teenage girl who needed a family to care for her for a while.  It was an emergency placement situation so within one hour, we were all greeting her on front step holding welcome signs and smiling.

Hence, things got a bit busier for me as I have been adjusting to life with 5 children now!

This past month has been a blur.  From appointment to appointment to schooling my biological children during the day to adjusting to getting up earlier in order take my teenager to school.  I drive 36 miles a day now just to and from school to drop her off and pick her up.  It is worth every mile, though.  We love having her here and we are happy to have gotten to know her.  We have been very blessed in our home.

I love love love foster parenting with George.  I love giving of my home and my time and my emotions and my energy to teenagers who need some tender loving care.  I love that my biological children can see a little bit of sacrifice and see that life isn't the same for everyone.  They can see how to give of themselves and to enjoy family time and sharing things with others.  I LOVE that my biological children are home with me during the day for school.  If they weren't, then I would never see them or get one on one time with them and would therefore not be a foster parent.  It is so important to give them that time and to reassure them of their irreplaceable role in our family.

This weekend, I watched a movie on Netflix with my new teenager who watched it by herself and then invited me to watch it with her.  It is called Gimme Shelter.  It is based on a true story about a shelter for teenage homeless pregnant girls.  Here is a link to an article about the movie.  I highly recommend it for anyone considering foster care or any line of work involving the homeless, imprisoned or mistreated.  There is a scene at the end of the movie where the girl opens up and can talk about her feelings about what the shelter meant to her.  It is a wonderful scene that really describes what I hope to help the girls with who come through my home.   It is a wonderful testament to what families and individuals can do for someone whose biological family has let them down in a monumental way.  While no human can ever replace a biological parent, the type of support and help that someone can give to another person is never to be underestimated or taken for granted.  The path of someone's entire life can be altered forever for the better, making every bit of heartache worth it.  Here is a link to the shelter that the movie is based on, called Several Sources Shelter.

Moving on to a different movie, I took the children to see Cinderella last Monday afternoon as a way of easing back into things after our big trip to NYC.  What a beautiful movie that was.  It was just beautiful.  The classic Cinderella story come to life on the big screen.  The images, costumes, and setting were so fairy tale yet so real.  I saw Cinderella in real life.  I saw pain and heartache portrayed in a real and relate-able way.  I saw goodness, joy and kindness portrayed, as well.  I just love the idea that good will come to you if you do good to others.  Cinderella is the example of that and the themes were so delicately and masterfully handled in this film.  I just loved it.  I used the themes in that movie all week in discussions with the children.

For example, we have talked about the power of a positive attitude and of having kindness and forgiveness despite obstacles and harsh treatment.  We have compared the personalities of  Cinderella and her stepmother.  We talked about how similar their circumstances were and how they both had experiences loss and sadness.  So why were they so different? Why was the step mother so mean and Cinderella so kind and forgiving? Who was banished from the kingdom at the end and who forgave and found love and happiness?  We talked about my own Cinderella story, of course.  How Daddy was my prince and came out of nowhere when I thought I didn't deserve it and he treated me so nicely and we fell in love and he changed my life because I still believed in good things despite negative things happening in my life.  Aw, I love that part of the story.  We also talked about how Cinderella saw the world for what it COULD be, not just for all the bad things that can hurt and cause pain.  The step mother just saw the pain and the hurt but Cinderella saw past it.

We also had some pain and heartache of our own last week when we found out our dear neighbors had to put their dog to sleep.  We will miss Ivy so much.  April 22 also marked 22 years since my mother passed away.  As I explain to the foster children that come through my home, I have had many dear women in my life who have played the role of mother to me in some way since I lost my own mother in my teenage years.  I have been so fortunate over the years to have had so much love and support on my journey to find my path in life.  

I love the Gimme Shelter movie and Cinderella both for the same reasons.  I love to see people rise above difficult circumstances and make something of themselves despite seemingly hopeless circumstances.  I love to see the power that a person's attitude has to overcome obstacles and bring about good both within themselves and with others.

Enough with the mental and emotional pain, I have also been in physical pain from my ridiculous plantar fasciitis!  Yes, I thought I was cured back in March.  It was so wonderful to be able to walk without pain.

Well, it came back.  I got another cortisone injection on Tuesday and in two weeks I will be going back for another one.  I am also finally getting the custom made orthodics.  These two steps are the last resorts before surgery.   Praying again for healing!  I just live for the day when I don't have to agonize about pulling up into a parking spot at the grocery store and then dread getting out of the van to walk in.  Or the day when I can sit up in my bed in the morning upon waking and not wince at the thought of touching my foot to the floor to take the first steps of the day.

As I lament about not having time to blog, I want to share a little video about WHY I don't have a lot of time to blog.  I caught this little video of John playing hide and seek with Emmett and Carmen.  It is adorable to me. :) I am enjoying these moments with my family while spending less actually documenting the moments.  With all the death, sadness, parenting difficulties and drama of life, I want to take every moment I can to enjoy my family while they are in my care.
(NOTE, unfortunately the video may not play well, but you will get the idea.)  John reveals himself right away, before I started recording, but he hid again because Carmen pretended she didn't see him.  It was so cute.  For being only 2 years old, I personally think he had incredible patience to hide there so long!

Whatever you do in your life every day, may be it inspiring to you and to others.  May it be productive and meaningful.  Every moment counts on this journey, believe it or not!  So make every moment a good one and make it count.  You won't ever regret it.  

In conclusion, enjoy some sights from our NYC trip on April 14th...The pics are out of order, but it is the best I could do!

Does someone see a train coming?
Times Square for the first time with Pilar!

Getting ready to arrive to Penn Station.  Some excited looks!

John's first time on a train.  He LOVED it.

Derek Hough at Radio City Music Hall Spring Show.  
Click this LINK to read about Derek's injury.  I am so glad we saw him dance in real life before he broke his toe and sprained his ankle!

Carmen on the train on the way back.

John eating his first pretzel in NCY

Daffodils for Daddy in NYC!

Had to get a picture of me as a bag lady with my hurting foot walking to the train station.

Carmen is all ready for the train ride back!

My sister in the middle and my niece on the right.  She lives in NYC and we were so happy to see her!  Here we are at Rockefeller Center. 

Look carefully for the photo bomber!

Loved, loved loved riding the ferris wheel at the Toys R Us Store.

First pretzel in NYC!

Had a great time eating at the Hard Rock Cafe

Carmen's taxi is Aunt Bonnie

Goodbye NYC

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