Detached...not Disowned.

I have really struggled with the personal line I have had to draw with my daughter in order to take myself to a healthier place.

The last 5 1/2 years with her have taken me through every possible emotion a person can have, 

          from guilt and sadness, 
                         to anger and resentment.  
I was not only mentally exhausted, but physically and psychologically spent.

I couldn't sleep at night because I was either up worrying about her or I was up "dealing" with her and whatever situation she had gotten herself into.  

Even when I would finally fall asleep, my last thought would be of her and as soon as my eyes started to open, my first thoughts...of her.  

All of this not only took it's toll on me, but on my family. 

You know that old saying, 
        "If Momma aint happy, aint nobody happy?"            
Well, it's true.  
Not only did my family have to deal with everything my daughter brought to the table, but they had to deal with me as well.  I fell into a depression.  
My body ached, my head hurt, and my heart was broken.  

When I look back now I can see that I was grieving.

I had  dealt with the loss of my late husband of 14 years, so I was no stranger to grief.  I just didn't realize it when I was in the middle of it with HB.  

You see, I was grieving the loss of my baby girl.  
Not only once, but over 
                             and over.  
Every time she showed up with bruises all over her body, hand prints on her neck...every time she disappeared for days at a time, I grieved.  

Every time she stole from us or lied to us, 
every time I saw her making positive choices and then sabotage herself, I grieved.  
Hope, then disappointment.... over and over again.  

The fact that she was so young when all of this started made a huge impact in how we handled things.  You can't turn your back on a 14 year old.  You do everything you can to help them until you realize there is nothing else you can do-- That they are old enough to make their own choices. 

There was a moment for me when I realized that I had hit that spot.  I had nothing left to give- Physically, emotionally, mentally and financially I was empty.

Every time we did something for HB, hoping that it would help take her forward, she only continued to move backward.  

(Lesson learned after way too many "somethings!")  

I wasn't even able to listen to her anymore.  
Every time she opened her mouth I expected a lie to come out.  
I couldn't look at her, either.  
Every time I had to be in the same room with her, I felt sick to my stomach.  The emotions that welled up inside of me were so intense, so overwhelming that I actually got 
                               physically ill.  
And then to top it all off, I felt guilty because i actually felt like this around my own daughter. 

The only way I could survive was to detach.  

I didn't care, nocouldn't care, where she was living-- whether it was safe or clean.  
I couldn't care how she was going to get home from wherever she had gotten herself stranded.  
I couldn't care whether she was staying sober or not.  
None of it was  mine to care about-- it was hers.  
I had spent too much time caring about what was going on with HB.   It was time to care about myself and the rest of my family.... to care about Willow.  I couldn't do both.

Now, not everyone understood my position.  "You are her mother... You can't just turn your back on her!"  "You are all she has."  

They had never walked where I had walked.  This wasn't about Hannah.  Did they not see that?  It was about me.... finally.  
In order to take care of my family and Wee one like I want to, like I am SUPPOSED to, I had to take care of me.  That meant , yes, I'll say it again, DETACHING.

I did not disown her.  She is my daughter, and she will always be my daughter.  What I did disown was her life.  Now when she was younger, her life was in my hands.  She was my responsibility.  

        She is not a little girl anymore.  
She is responsible for her own life, and for each choice she makes in it.  I understand it when I say it, and I am reminded again when I write it, but it doesn't mean that I don't have moments of guilt feeling like I have turned my back on her. 
And, just in case you are still wondering, I haven't.

What I have done is turned around to look at what I have neglected for so long... the road forward... and I am not letting her keep me from it any more...  

It just so happens that she is behind me.  My hope is that someday she will be walking that same road moving forward with me, but that is up to her, not me.  
She will always know where to find me...praying for her, loving her, and on the path moving forward.

I dropped her off at treatment yesterday and they gave me a copy of this poem.  This sums up what I shared above.  

I guess maybe I didn't detach or disown... I just "Let Go."

To let go does not mean to stop caring,
   it means I can't do it for someone else.
To let go is not to cut myself off,
   it's the realization I can't control another.
To let go is not to enable,
   but allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means
   the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try to change or blame another,
   it's to make the most of myself.
To let go is not to care for,
   but to care about.
To let go is not to fix,
   but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge,
   but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
   but to allow others to affect their destinies.
To let go is not to be protective,
   it's to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny,
   but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold or argue,
   but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
   but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
To let go is not to criticize or regulate anybody,
   but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To let go is not to regret the past,
   but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more
To let go and to let God, is to find peace.
 -- Author Unknown

Photo courtesy of:

Time to come out of the closet...

elephant love
(No, these photos don't have anything to do with the post...They are just really cute!)

Not me, silly!  Willow.
We have 7 children - 2 boys and 5 girls.  We have 7 bedrooms in our home. 
(No, we are NOT millionaires and we don't live in a mansion.)  Our house is around 2800 sq. ft.  One of the bedrooms came from a transformed office, and two others were built into our 3 car garage - after much debate we decided it was more important for our kids to have their own room than our cars. 

As the kids have grown and moved out, another moves into their own room.  Right now there are "No Rooms at the Inn," but this will change soon as one more heads off to college in the Fall.  
Time to reorganize and rearrange sleeping spaces!

When Willow first came to live with us we had a little portable playpen that we put into our master bathroom.  This was fine as long as we didn't have to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  (Have I mentioned that I have had FOUR babies and my last was almost 10 lb.?!  Did I mention that I am not a big person?  Put those two thoughts together and you might figure out why those night time potty trips are not bound to stop.)   

Willow in the bathroom was not necessarily the best situation when Boyfriend needed to get up and get ready for work, either.  
Time to get creative!  
We happened to be all out of bedrooms, but we did have a big walk in closet in our room.  
Unfortunately it was full. 
(Yes, I do have a little shoe problem, but we all have our vices, right?!)  

First things first.  All of my clothes got transferred into the persons closet with the most space, which happened to be Uncle T's.  What would a 15 year old guy have hanging in is closet other than a few dress shirts and a jacket or two? There was a ton of room for my clothes.   I hadn't really thought about what  his friends might think when they looked into his closet and saw a lot of cute dresses and even cuter shoes!  I think I handle it pretty well by not bringing up the fact that when he was 2, he used to think his sisters tutu was his.  Self control, yep.  Sometimes I have it, sometimes I don't.  It is nice to know I have good blackmail material on him -- just in case!

The next steps were to tear out the shelves and paint the walls so it was  cleaner and cozier. 
Add a crib,  a mobile,  a cute painting
                  and we had ourselves a mini-nursery! 
This has worked out great for the past 9 months, but it is time to come out of the closet.  
I want my shoes closer to me.  

So now the fun begins!  I get to plan how to decorate her bedroom!  Being that her favorite thing in the world is being outside, I am thinking about a nature theme-- birds, trees, flowers, bees!  Up there is the bedding we have for her crib.  The crib is brown, not white as shown in the photo.  

Do you have any great ideas?  I'd love to hear 'em!  

Getting it Write

I used to love to write.  I would write all of the time.  
Having a never resting, 
                whirlwind mind 
it helped me find peace.... and helped capture those    
thoughts and give them direction, or at least a place.  

Then I had kids, and I wrote a little less.  
Oh, I still loved writing, so of course, I lived through them and I would make them write (One of the privileges of homeschooling!)  while I cleaned the house and did the laundry.  Then after they were all in bed I would sneak in some pen and paper time before my head would hit the pillow.

At a later time... four kids, a husband with cancer later...
I found that my head would hit the pillow before my pen could hit the paper.  
But that couldn't stop me....
                              or my never resting, whirlwind mind and
Nope! I would lie awake in bed, unable to move from total exhaustion, and I would write....In my head.  
I would pray that the next day I could remember what I had written and actual write it.  
                             I usually didn't.  

Time flew and life got busier, and eventually I quit writing all together.  
Not in box, not with a fox, 
           not in my head, not in my bed.  

Fast forward thru many of laundry....loads and loads of stop.  
                                                               You are HERE.  

I write because I hope I have something to share with you, something that can encourage you or help you.... 
Maybe something that will make you a think differently 
             smile more.  

I write because I still have that whirlwind mind and those flittering thoughts.  

I write because it helps take some of what I have bottled up inside of me and  
       releases it onto the paper (Or in this case, the computer screen....but that doesn't sound quite so poetic, does it?)

I write because, in a maybe just because I want it so bad kind of way, it is what I was made to do.

All of that to say.... 
Don't expect correct grammar or perfect spelling.  
Don't expect that I will follow any rules or even make any sense.  As a matter of fact, let's consider it a bonus if I do!  
Don't expect me to be good.  
Do expect me to be real.  
Do expect me to be honest.  
Do expect me to love the fact that I am writing, for you, for me, for my God.  

(Do you think God speaks to us?  He does to me. My verse of the day a few days ago, when i was wondering if I should do this blog or not...
"Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.  Tell everyone about the amazing things he does."  1 Chronicles 16:24 )

Winnie the Pooh

I know, I know.  I keep telling myself the same thing.  
It's just Winnie the Pooh... Why get so worked up about it?      Because it's Winnie the Pooh.... that's why.  
winnie the pooh

Willow and I have a nighttime routine.  
I run the bath water while  she runs around the bathroom naked tearing the towels off the shelf.   I give her her bath and float her around on her back while she makes fishy faces pretending she is a fish.  
When bath fun is over, she is dried and wrapped up in her butterfly towel and we sit on the edge of the tub while I dry her hair with the hairdryer and she brushes her eat.  Yes, I know, I said eat-- for some reason that is what she calls "teeth."  
It does make sense I  (Don't worry!  I am getting to the Pooh part!!) 

When we are done upstairs with bath and eat, we head down to where Papa has her jammies, socks and diaper waiting.  

We rub lotion all over, put a clean diaper on and then jammies.  Wee one runs around a bit, plays with everyone, and then I tell her it is night-night time.  
She walks around saying "bye" to everyone and blows them kisses.   
We head upstairs with blankies (one and two)  and bottle in hand, and cuddle up on my bed-- and this is where Pooh comes in. 

I usually let her pick her bedtime story and 90% of the time, yep, you guessed!  It's a Winnie the Pooh story.  

Willow will lie in my arms and listen as she drinks her bottle, following the story with her eyes until they begin to slowly close.  Soon her bottle is gone and the book is finished.  

She opens her eyes and usually makes goofy faces at me on our way to her bed.  This is so cute because she is barely awake, but feels the need to send me on my way with a smile!  We say our goodnight prayers during that little walk,  I kiss her Wee little forehead, place her in her crib and tell her to sleep like an angel and that Grammie loves her. 

You see, Pooh is ours.  Her BM asked if I would not take Willow to see the new Winnie the Pooh movie until she got out of treatment because she wanted to take her.  She hasn't put Willow to bed in 10 months, and she doesn't know any of what I shared with you about mine and Wee ones Pooh time.  

Nor has she ever read a Winnie the Pooh story to her.... 
so therefore, I ask you, am I silly being so worked up about this?  

It's okay-- Hit me with the truth.  I can take it.... well, maybe.

 "Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." - Winnie the Pooh

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