Christmas, for me, was a reflection of this past year for my little family. It was a year for change. In January of 2009, I felt, if it can be said, very Happy. My home was my haven, and I spent day after day making memories with my children. We were surrounded by loved ones and our lives were filled with so much laughter...oh, the best kind of laughter...when you finally manage to stop...everyone just smiles at one another and you just feel so very, very content. I felt that I was finally becoming the mother I had always dreamed about. I played in the green grass of the parks and got dirty along with my little ones. Walks in the stroller, trips to the library, crafts and baking cookies. Mornings were filled with yummy hugs and kisses...oh, lots and lots of kisses! Amid all the bedtime tantrums, runny noses, washing mouths out with soap occasionally, spills all over the table and kitchen floor, broken cups, scrubbing sinks and that wretched bathtub, the endless sweeping and dusting.....life just felt good. I would go to bed at night and just think about what the next day would bring, dream about Russ finishing school, think of house hunting and painting walls with color and filling up empty rooms to make our future home...our future haven wrapped around us like the softest and biggest blanket!
And then the change happened.
And it has been amazing and heart crushing...and everything in between.
In a whirlwind...my youngest half-brother came to live with us. There is no doubt how perfect the timing was...that, indeed, the Lord had His hand in Ben's coming to our home. So many of us felt as if we witnessed a miracle...an answer to so many prayers. And yet the journey, so far, has been for me, as my own personal pioneer trek. I built my life from scratch...worked hard to cultivate my dreams and wishes and desires. And then I felt like I had to leave it all behind to travel the dusty trails, rocky mountains, barren deserts.....searching for our place where we would belong. We are still walking, and walking, and walking....still searching.
Along the way, our family has faced many obstacles. Too many to write. It was as if each trial, each frustration, every disappointment, and hours of discouragement piled themselves upon my shoulders. So heavy was my burden. But, it seemed, that they were all my "cross" to carry...and so I slowly plodded along....step by weary step.
It felt like I was asked to do something I could never accomplish....save my little brother. Repair the damage that had been done, correct the wrongs, and make whole again his spirit.
But everyday, I felt lost. Everyday I wondered where to lay the boundaries...how to solve so many problems, and if I was doing the right thing. And the days went by...
And I kept trying to live my life the normal way it used to be, to keep baking and smiling and laughing. Some days I almost forgot about the burden upon my shoulders, but so many moments, so many nights, so many minutes alone in the hot shower, oh how I cried.....and cried. I felt as if I put my life, my dreams, on hold....to repair the damage my own mother had done...once again...to her family.
And then came the anger, raw and red and hot. And the bitterness....and I clenched my fists and tightened my jaw and I wanted to scream at Heaven for all my pain and suffering. Everyday I spent with my children, I knew I had to share that with Ben...and I didn't want to. He brought back the painful memories of my mother, and I wasn't ready to face her. Not only did I feel abandoned by my own mother so many years ago, but I felt completely shattered by my last memories of her....a sunken image of what she used to be in my early childhood. My mother, who was soft and round and smelled of perfume....she had light in her eyes....she held my hand through the grocery store....and she loved me. Her drug addiction robbed her of her compassion, gentleness...of all her motherly attributes. She became cold and hard...with dark eyes sunken too deep...shadowed...thin and bony. And she couldn't love me anymore. And her cruel, hard, mean vulgarities she screamed at us....no words can describe such betrayal of the heart.
I had to see her the last day of court, when she finally showed up. She looked empty inside. She agreed not to contest the guardianship Russ and I were asking for. All she wanted was to be able to see Ben until she got her life back in order. She agreed to take a drug test, and then we would schedule a supervised visit.
Months went by. She called....asked....when could she see Ben? The answer was always the same. Drug test. And then the manipulation began. Every struggle I faced with her made me all the more bitter. I wanted to lash out at the innocent family members around me. But for all of God's goodness, He brought me through the worst of my anger and on to the beginnings of healing. I realized that for so many years of my life, I ran away from my problems and never faced them. I kept them buried deep down inside, and with Ben coming to stay with us, they all slowly resurfaced. I knew that they had to be faced and dealt with.
For awhile, I let myself feel alone, I tried to carry the burden myself, and all those actions achieved for me was sadness. Once I learned to start talking to Russ, my sisters, grandparents, family....telling them my fears, all my hurts and dissappointments....the burden became lighter.
My life has faced much change this year, and i have fought a lot of it, and I am trying to accept the changes now...little by little. I have a long ways to go, and the future is unsure, but what I must remember when I am down is that, of all things, I must not lose hope.
It is late...and I must end for now. Maybe I will write some more another day....but we must remember that there is always hope. My Christmas this year brought for me the beginnings of hope.
Infinite Power of Hope
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