I Remember When

Ann Dee Ellis is an author  who also started a memoir writing group and encourages writers to write. She gives prompts 3 days a week and then we write for eight minutes. Please feel free to join in!

Here’s my eight minute attempt today: 

I remember when my husband and I met my two sons, Seth and Noah, in July of 2005. Seth was an adorable four-year-old with a huge smile, and Noah was twenty two-months yet he looked like he a one-year-old.

They were living in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area with foster parents. I remember the day my case worker called me and informed Jim and I that we were chosen by the county case worker to raise these boys after they viewed our home study (think lots of paperwork and interviews with case workers about your life history).

We met them on a Saturday morning at their foster family’s home along with their caseworker, Sarah. Jim and I instantly fell in love with them and felt an instant bond, like they were our boys and they had always lived with us. I felt a maternal love where I wanted to protect them and even apologized for some of their bad, bad behavior, as if this couple were watching our children. Actually, in essence they were watching them for us since we took them in and eventually adopted them.

My heart was filled with love and hope of finally starting our family with the love of my life.

 

Cousins

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I took this picture of my sons with their cousins at my parent’s house on New Year’s Eve, the day after my mother-in-law’s funeral in December of 2009. They live in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area while we live in Texas.

Cousins in PA

When my brother (on the right) and I were growing up in Queens, New York, we saw our cousins every other weekend. They lived in Long Island, New York, about sixty miles east of Manhattan, and we took turns meeting at either our house or theirs. I wish that my sons could see their cousins often like they did when we still lived in Pennsylvania. It makes me sad to think that they haven’t seen each other in four years, so I’m working on finding a way for us to visit them soon, because time goes by so fast.

Life Lessons

As my kids grow older, parenting them gets more difficult. I’m grateful that my husband and I have the time they need to help them navigate this adventure we call life.

As parents we have learned SO MUCH compared to when we first met our boys in 2005, and although these lessons have been tough parental growing pains, they have been exactly what we need to become better people.

I’ve learned how to read people and know when they are either being sneaking or lying, or when something is bothering them. But it is so hard, oh so hard for me to help them every single day instead of giving in to my anxiety for them.

My Brother Is Awesome

Our Temple Trip

I love my brother, Billy. He is one of the kindest people I know. Always willing to help me with anything I need, any hour of the day.

We went to the Houston LDS temple on Wednesday, and had a great day together. While I prepared myself to leave, I thought about how awesome he is and how fortunate I am to have him as my brother and my friend.

I’m grateful for all of my blessings, and my family is one of the greatest of them all.

Motivation

Mother's Day Dinner

Though I am used to life’s ups and downs, I was surprised once again. Last week my doctor diagnosed me with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which my family and I had already suspected. Last summer when I met my new doctor, she ordered blood work which did NOT show whatever they look for in your blood that “proves” you have it.

Ten years ago my doctor in Pennsylvania diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia (which I call Fibro) after I reported almost all of the symptoms you could possibly have with this dreaded ailment. I’m not sure if I still have Fibro now, and haven’t decided if I want to know the answer.

My doctor prescribed Prednisone as an experiment. It is a steroid that is used to treat arthritis among other things. If I felt better, than although it doesn’t show up in my blood work, it means that I have RA. At first I didn’t notice a difference and thought that the answer was a firm no, but I forgot to take it Friday afternoon, and woke up in terrible pain. My fingers and toes throbbed and were so stiff it hurt to bend them. I also forgot that I’m supposed to take it with food. Oops! About two hours after taking my pill, my pain lessened significantly.

At first I was upset and couldn’t sleep, imagining all sorts of terrible things. I even remembered that my great-grandmother had arthritis for years and years, and RA often runs in the family. So I pictured my fingers eventually falling off, or my toes, etc. Then I remembered that life presents us challenges that I CAN control how I cope with: do I research everything I can to help with my pain, or do I give up and spend my life in bed.

There’s no doubt it will be tough, but I plan to eat much better than I have been and exercise a lot more. It’s time for me to treat my body like the miracle I know it to be. Because my family needs me and wants me around, and pray for my body to heal so that I can get out of the house more.

Wish me luck!

Struggles

When I first set my goal of editing my NanoWrimo WIP, I had a high hope of finishing by yesterday. Since nothing in my life goes as I think it will, when problems arose, it was one of the first things I stopped working on.

April turned out to be a month of how can I help my twelve-year-old deal with his frustration and anger more effectively. He has a bit of a temper when performing an unpreferred activity such as going to school or getting off electronics.

As his mother, my first priority is to help him. He is what the experts call a high functioning autistic boy, which pretty much means that he sometimes behaves like an average twelve year old, while other times behaving like a three year old boy having a terrible temper tantrum.

With a lot of prayer and patience, I figured out what was the best course of action at this time to best help him. Often it comes at the expense of me working on my manuscripts, and I am okay with that! My family comes first, for one day I will wake up and my children will be living on their own and will be out of my sphere of influence, and I don’t want to wonder if I did all that I could to help them navigate these turbulent years.

And I’m happy that as I wrote my notes on what I should/could do to help bring the different versions of my manuscript together I figured out how to do it, so that’s a win to me!

Faith

Six months ago my faith and resilience was challenged in a VERY unexpected way. My son revealed a hidden pain and struggle, along with some terrible decisions that have led me to self-doubt and guilt.

Because, seriously, how could I NOT have known this whole other side of him? I knew he had the typical teenage angst that comes with finding his way in this world, but this was a whole other level.

I’m grateful for the gift of the Atonement. I KNOW that my Savior, Jesus Christ, knows me, loves me, and atoned for my sins. He also felt my feelings of despair, confusion, pain, as well as my happiness! He knows how to help me help my family overcome our unique challenges, and for that, I’m full of faith, and grateful for Him.

I’m a Mormon, and if you’re interested, click on this picture to read about my faith.   temple-i-believe-blue-silhouette

Missing My Son

Life is tough at the moment. My fourteen-year-old son has been at a residential ranch since April. He had a traumatic early childhood, and some of these memories have come back to haunt him.

Seth with his long curls.

My husband, Jim, and I talk to him every Sunday (except on the weekends we get to visit him). He suffers from a mood disorder that causes dangerous, scary behavior, where we end up calling 911 so he can be evaluated. My heart is sad at his absence, but the alternative is even more frightening.

I’m grateful for my faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, who will heal our minds, bodies, and hearts when we pray for His help. I’ve prayed for patience throughout this trial, to avoid pulling Seth from the ranch healing program. They progress through five levels of both reading and work before their graduation. I love knowing that they have year round school to help his reading fluency.

Seth after I cut off his beautiful curls.
Seth after I cut off his beautiful curls.

So while it’s difficult not knowing when he will be able to return home, I’m glad to know he’s in a safe place where he can work through his suppressed anger and sadness. I look forward to the day when he is healthy and happy!

Memoir

I have experienced numerous changes in the last ten years. Changes such as infertility, adoption, and unemployment to name a few.

Now I am ready to begin making deals in my new real estate investment business. In my mind it seemed I’d be a bit older when I began writing my life story. However, with my memory problems, and the fact that I haven’t recorded my life events in my journal, now is the best time to begin.

I want to publish my memoir someday because I’ve experienced immense joy and have overcome many obstacles that I want my children and grandchildren to read someday.

The Book of Mormon