Wow, that’s such a typical way to begin a story, but it’s so true. A year ago, after a challenging two week visit with Patrick (my children’s older biological brother), I was confident that we would continue to do occasional visits with him, but that would be the extent of it. Between his issues and my inexperience dealing with a teenager, it was…not easy.
But, that has changed.
This year, I have learned many things about Patrick and myself. After learning more about his past, I’ve come to understand why he acted in certain ways. After learning more about my present, I’ve come to understand that I needed to change certain ways that I acted. I’ve learned that once you get past his guarded exterior, he has this sweet, gentle soul (don’t tell him that I said that because I’m sure he’ll deny it!) and an appreciation for the silly, which is kind of a prerequisite for fitting in here. (I have an awesome picture of the four of them in matching Superman shirts to verify this, haha. I so wish that I could post it here!)
They say that life is about change and I’ve always hated change. I’m a creature of habit. I’ve eaten the same breakfast almost every morning for about a decade. When I wear my shoes out, I go and buy a pair just like them. And, when I go out to eat, I order the same thing – EVERY time. Sadly, this can result in a near tears Emily when a restaurant discontinues “my” item. And, unfortunately for Brian, this results in him having to figure out what to feed me. 😉
The same rule doesn’t apply to my children. When William and Antwan came to live with us, the agency skipped the required overnight visit and went straight to the placement. And, I was thrilled. When Lizzie came to live with us, they called on a Tuesday to advise us of her existence and she came on Thursday. And, I was thrilled.
Well, thrilled and terrified. 🙂
Talk about change. Talk about out-of-control. Talk about being forced to develop new habits. And, of course, talk about finding out what real happiness is.
So, I created a new normal. And, things eventually settled into a routine.
And, now, it looks like I’m adding a bouncing teenage boy to our life.
Because, after a year of having Patrick in our lives: a year of wondering what goes through his head, wondering how he’s so well-adjusted after what he’s gone through, wondering how he could take offense to certain things, wondering how he could be so sweet, wondering where he puts all that the food that he eats, wondering how to keep a 13 year old entertained… After a year of visits, of fighting him for the computer, fighting him for the recliner, feeling like I was losing my mind (because 4 kids in a house is like, well, having 4 kids in a house); it comes down to this. Patrick belongs with us.
Patrick should be a Parker.
Why? Because he’s an amazing kid who deserves a shot. Because he’s got a really, really good heart. Because he’s their brother. Because he has had a ridiculous amount of bad luck (to use the term loosely) in his life. And, most importantly, because we love him.
I was scared to make this decision. We talked and talked and talked. Change is scary. And, as I mentioned, I don’t like it. I’m more of the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality. And, we weren’t broken. But it’s turns out that we could use a little home improvement. 😉 (Did I go too far with that analogy??)
So, soon, he’ll be a Parker and I’ll stop calling him Patrick in my blog. Because, it’s a cool name, but it’s not his. I’ll start buying in bulk because, seriously, the kid’s tummy is never full. I’ll keep my promise to downplay the hugs when teenagers are nearby and he’ll keep his promise to not hurt my feelings by running away (again) if I try to hug him in public. Ok, I don’t know if he’ll keep that promise, but I’m the eternal optimist! 😉 I’ll attend his band concerts. I’ll probably cry because I do that. He’ll probably roll his eyes. I’ll do everything that I’m supposed to do and, hopefully, I’ll do it well.
I’ll embrace my new normal.
And, I will be his mom and I will love him forever. Just like I will love William, Antwan, and Lizzie, forever.
And, if there was any doubt that we are doing the right thing…
|I constantly peek around corners and try to catch moments. 🙂|
|Copying each other 🙂|
|Helping his little brother out in the water.|