Downs and Ups

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Life is filled with ups and downs. The last two weeks we’ve had more downs than ups with one of our kids and I find that fear is creeping in and weighing on me.  Each day I wake up telling myself that God’s mercies to me are new every morning, and my mercies toward my child need to be the same. But then the morning starts and challenging behaviors begin; the other children’s eyes grow big and they scurry to stay out of the way — and it’s difficult.

We’ve had so many good days and weeks; I know it’s possible, but we can’t seem to get back to that. I keep searching for just the right thing that might turn it all around. More nurture, more structure, more play, more quiet, more protein, more listening, and the list goes on. The last several days have been packed, but today I have a little quiet to think, pray, and connect with some helpful folks. Hopefully we can get the train back on the track.

Last night Russ and I sat in the dark living room with just the lights on our Christmas tree shining. We were both very discouraged, but having twenty minutes of calm was restorative. Our family jokes about an old YouTube video where the woman says, “Calm it down, calm it down, calm it down. Calm. It. Down.” We need some of that.

This is the last week of school before Christmas break, which is both wonderful and unsettling. Despite all of my plans, I still have more than a few gifts to buy. Noah finished finals last Friday, so yesterday we went to Costco where I managed to find a few more gifts and lots of food for upcoming family gatherings. Usually we see Noah and Katie in the midst of a busy Sunday, so it was fun to have time to visit, and I really appreciated his help loading and unloading the car!

Isaiah is wrapping up his first semester of college and Samuel is finishing his first semester of grad school. Noah conquered his first semester of medical school. Until I wrote this, I hadn’t realized how many firsts my guys are experiencing. We’re so proud of them.

This afternoon I’m off to Little Man’s Christmas concert where I’m quite sure he is going to be adorable. He’s wearing a tie – what else matters?

Have a great day, friends.

Lisa

 

 

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

18 Comments

  1. lucylou99
    December 16, 2014

    Praying…

    Reply
  2. Bev
    December 16, 2014

    I've been in that place before and know how it feels. Praying for you.

    Reply
  3. Alyssa
    December 16, 2014

    Of course, I don't know the details, but when you say "the last several days have been packed" and the holiday countdown has begun— could that be part of the reason? When the kids start getting anxious and we are more tired and busy, it seems to create a downward cycle. Yesterday I read this post and was reminded: http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2014/12/15/parenting-

    Also, I have noticed seasons with my son where we will have a few hard weeks, but then he will take a big jump ahead in some area. It's like there's a battle going on in his brain that we have to fight through.
    I hope you will resist fear, that this is a short phase, and that you will find special ways to connect. I pray your child won't be afraid, but will feel safe. That they will let you see what's going on underneath the behaviors.
    Also, is this a time where a friend can help you with your shopping and your big kids can cook more? Do you have a plan for when school is out? Sometimes I find time with our young adult kids has been less threatening than time with me when connection is needed but my son feel more tension with me. Just ideas, will pray for you all!

    Reply
  4. laura
    December 16, 2014

    I wonder if the challenging behaviors have to do with the season? So much excitement at school and stores, etc. Even if your family provides structure and security, for sure our culture gets a little out of control in December 🙂 if we get overwhelmed, I am sure those with sensory stuff get bombarded even more! Here's to January 😉

    Reply
  5. Christine
    December 16, 2014

    Lisa praying for you this morning. I want you to know you are not alone! Our morning started off with a bag. One of mine woke up angry, and after telling him his concert was not until tonight and to put a school shirt on not his dress shirt he fell apart. Threw the shirt, refused to get dressed, told me he was not going to school, I had to dress him, refused to put coat on, and threw the backpack every were screaming.(Unfortunately I screamed back!) not one of my finer moments. It has been a few weeks since a major incident with this one, and I should have seen it coming, but I get caught up in the normal sometimes that I am not prepared for the raging war that can come out. He is off to school and I am now going to take few min with God to just ask to heal his heart, let my actions not have done too much damage, and bless all moms struggling today.

    Reply
  6. jentompkins
    December 16, 2014

    Oh, Lisa. I have a pit in my stomach hearing about your recent challenges. Praying for God's peace and wisdom to be very real and present to you in each moment of your day as you gear up to Christmas. I'm praying also today especially that you God will give you little joys–like a happy costco trip!–that strung together will give you strength to weather the relational storms. Hugs to you!

    Reply
  7. emily
    December 16, 2014

    I hope I can encourage you this morning. I'm sorry things are tough, and it is hard when so much uncertainty looms. Where uncertainty grows, fear easily takes root. Sit in calm. Rest your spirit. Ask someone close to you to sing "Let It Go" – because if nothing else, you'll get out stuck in your head and be distracted from the rest of it.

    I'll pray for you today- for peace and calm to overwhelm you.

    Reply
  8. Luann Yarrow Doman
    December 16, 2014

    Praying for your dear family. Have you seen Jen Hatmaker's last blog about holiday madness and how it affects her kids from hard places? It is so good.

    Reply
  9. Joelle
    December 16, 2014

    I am so glad for the many wonderful things in your life mixed into the middle of the difficult. You make e me cry for you and smile all at the same time. Lots of love from my house to yours this Christmas season.

    Reply
  10. kristabaughn
    December 16, 2014

    Oh – I so hear you. :). Slightly dreading Christmas break with my 13 year old. Other five kids doing great – including his older brother – both home with us for 5 months now. Such extreme highs and lows for him. Hard to not let it effect the mood of the whole family. Especially trying to not let his lows take me down. Lots of emotional energy spent figuring out the next wise parenting move. What words will Jesus give me today to reach him? Hope slips away. On my knees in the glow of my Christmas tree early every morning. We so need Jesus. Praying for you today. Thank you so much for being so real and honest.

    Reply
  11. Tracy Autry
    December 16, 2014

    Praying for you, Lisa. I'm right there with you! Sigh….Enjoy all the firsts of your big kids 🙂 bright spots for sure!
    And yes, thanking God for His mercies new every morning!
    Merry Christmas and may you have several points of JOY today no matter how small 🙂
    Love, Tracy

    Reply
  12. nata
    December 16, 2014

    Praying …

    Reply
  13. Amy Louise
    December 16, 2014

    Praying for you. I remember you mentioning that one of your children was anxious about receiving gifts. Maybe if your child know exactly what they are getting it would take some anxiety away. Also, school is a very structured time. I'm sure they are nervous about the holiday break too.

    Reply
  14. Rebecca
    December 16, 2014

    As an adult with a trauma history, I still find myself "gearing up" for big days or bug spans of time where our routine won't be the same. I'm praying this is all that is happening in your family: anxiety gearing up for unstructured days home and Christmas itself. For me and my kids both, it's helpful to review what I should expect of the coming weeks. Which days will be family-filled, and where will the quiet days be where my introvert can take a break. As an adult, I get to plan these, but sometimes I forget I need to.
    Praying the train is not derailed for long.

    Reply
  15. Maple Walnut Mama
    December 16, 2014

    Lisa, I hear your fear and your heavy-heart in this post, I am sending bundles of hope to you today. May some time spent in prayer and with trusted, helpful folks help you help your struggling one find her way back to lighter days. Tis the season to go off the rails, this is common, you are not alone. Blessings to you.

    Reply
  16. Marlena
    December 16, 2014

    I just found your blog this morning and read a few posts and . . . thank you. Thank you so much to you and your commenters for sharing your struggles and advice and experiences. My husband and I got married late in life and because we don't have children of our own and live in an area where there is a desperate need for foster parents, we felt called to share our home with a foster child a month ago and I am feeling so drained and alone. She has had a great deal of trauma, been in several homes over 2 years and has behaviors that have taxed much more experienced homes. Other parents have burned out and I can see that happening here too. I'm so grateful to have found your site and to know these struggles are things others have come through too. Hoping for a blessed and peaceful Christmas for you!

    Reply
  17. Kathleen Fallon Pasakarnis
    December 16, 2014

    Praying for you and for your whole family! These downs and ups are hard on everybody, as we know all too well from experience!

    Reply
  18. Katrina
    December 16, 2014

    Sometimes it's the cute little one that keeps me going (despite her tantrums and running off). Thank you Jesus for giving me a cute little one to bring back the joy! I pray you get joy from Little Man in his tie 🙂

    Reply

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