Monday, January 12, 2015

Gratitude challenge week 3...

This week's prompt:

My family.

My family is super important to me. Not just for the obvious reasons, but also for a small handful of little peculiarities that I would otherwise think are just too goofy or weird to enjoy. But because it's my family....I find them endlessly endearing.

For instance, my 15 year old son drinks through the side of his mouth. He can't explain it, and doesn't even realize he's doing it, but at the dinner table, he holds his cup just slightly to the right of the center of his mouth. So. Freaking. Odd.

But, that having been said, he's also a pretty remarkable kid. He's smart. Not smart like nerdy kid smart, because he has to work for every A he gets--and believe me, he works hard. He takes his studies very seriously, and for that I am grateful. My teenager is smart in a different way. He is and always has been very, very wise beyond his years. He would look at me when he was little, and I swear, he understood every word I said, every thing we went through. He has always been kind and patient and born with an innate sense of understanding that I still haven't mastered at the age of 38. He is wise beyond his years.

My twelve year old daughter has just entered the world of social media, and I'm experiencing a level of narcissism in her that I never expected. Sure, she's a good girl. Polite, kind, thoughtful, obedient. But put that girl on Instagram and she's all about herself. It's funny to watch. (Besides, who am I to judge? After I lost weight, I became ALL about the selfie.)

That being said, my daughter is so caring and maternal. She has always had this sweet love for people and creatures smaller than her. She loves to mother her little brothers and our dog, Bear. She loves teaching little kids and listening to them read. She melts when she sees a baby and already talks about having babies of her own. Watching her love children and animals warms my heart. It makes me feel like maybe I didn't do such a bad job after all. (Though I wouldn't say I did a good job, either.) She will make an excellent mother someday. And that makes me prouder than ever.

My eight year old is a holy, naughty terror. I can't really describe it adequately. He's a monster. All day, every day, seven days a week. He's naughty. He throws fits. He lashes out. He screams. He cries. He teases. He laughs maniacally. He is insane. And yet, his teachers have nothing but good to say about him. So unfair. But lovely at the same time.

That being said, he is also one of the most tender hearted people I've ever known. One time, when we were in a second hand store, he found a ceramic bunny. Before I knew it, he'd started crying because "it was just so cute." He wants to go places and do things. He has ambition coming out the nose! But...he wants to stay home with mom and dad forever. He wants us to live forever, so that we'll never have to be apart. For such a trying child, he is also one of the most affirming children I have. He always makes sure I know how loved I am, and that makes me feel good.

My six year old refuses to go in our basement. He's terrified. And what's weird is, it's nice down there. Much nicer than the rest of our house. It's carpeted and has a decent bathroom and two nice bedrooms. The family room is well lit and has a massive TV my husband bought without talking to me. (Sniffing indignantly) I'm not sure why he hates it down there, but he's terrified.

That being said, my youngest son is the biggest miracle I've ever met. When he was two, he stopped speaking, and literally shut into himself. The silence was deafening, and the realization that our Sam was different, and not in a good way, was a harsh one. Autism is not a word any parent wants to hear, and when we heard it, my husband and I shut down. The miracle is what happened after his diagnosis. We enlisted the help of a speech pathologist, a occupational therapist, and a small handful of talented preschool teachers...and before we knew it, (actually, it was more like 3.5 years later) he was a completely different child. He talked, walked, ran, played, sang, danced, drew, and...well, just about anything any other kid could do. He healed himself. Now, don't mistake me for one of those crackpots who says that Autism can be erased with gluten free foods or essential oils...because those are dangerous and misleading accusations. He did, however, heal himself by learning to function with his Autism. He learned to accept himself and learned to function in a world that was inherently aggravating for him to exist in. Strange enough as this is, I wouldn't want him any other way.

My husband is socially impaired. Now, the truth is, the guy is smart, talented, skilled at everything he puts his mind to, supportive, responsible, and funny. He is the very best of the world, and that's the truth. However, put him in a room where he is expected to make small talk and visit with people casually...and he's a sweaty, clammed up mess. I find it cute, though it does make convincing people why I find him so funny difficult. He really is! I swear it!!

That being said, he is the best of me. I will spend my whole life trying to figure out what I did to deserve that guy.

My mother is nuts. True story. The older and more dependent on us she gets, the sillier she gets. The woman literally cracks me up on a daily basis, and probably for things she doesn't even mean to be funny with. For instance, she walks with a cane and/or a walker now. And when she walks, it's slow. Like snail slow. Usually I don't mind...though there have been a few times when I've looked back and realized I walked to fast and she was still in the middle of a cross walk. Whoopsie. But put that woman in any retail establishment, and she's gone. I mean gone. She becomes The Flash. I blink, and she's gone. I'm not saying my mom is The Flash. I'm just saying nobody's ever seen my mom and The Flash in the same room together. That's all I'm saying.

That's my mom, smiling in the corner. Not sure why my husband is sleeping.

That being said, she is my backbone. I guess that's what parents do. They grow old and you realize how important they were the whole time. It's funny how you never figure that out when you're young.

My family is delightfully weird. I wouldn't trade them at all.

P.S. My family used to have one more member. My daughter, Liyah, was (almost) adopted by us back in 2013, but was snatched away in the eleventh hour by a legal loophole created by a fractured foster care system, dysfunctional/enabling biological families, and lying defense lawyers. We don't have her anymore, and we still miss her. Every. Single. Day.

I'm not sure we'll ever recover.


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