8.22.2012

On becoming a mother to 5.

Let me tell you friends (are any of you still there?), this transition to being a momma to 5 has been something.  Have you noticed it's been quiet around this blog?  I've missed the space that this blog gives me to reflect.  Life here is full.  And loud.

One would think, as I did, that the transition from 4 kids to 5 kids really wouldn't change much.  But then one would be wrong.  At least I was.

There's been no easing in this time around.  When we arrived home with Asrat in mid-May, our other kids had been out of school for just a few days and of course were excited for all that summer vacation is.  I was very ill for about 3 weeks after we arrived home and also quite ill-prepared for summer vacation and putting our house on the market 2 weeks after we arrived home. What happened to that to-do list (that included planning for summer) that I was dying to get done while we were waiting for embassy clearance?  Never got done.  I was too distracted, I guess.   Brad needed to go right back to work and that left me home on the couch with 5 kiddos, including one who was screaming for his Daddy and clawing to get away from his new Mommy.  Not quite the transition I had envisioned.

The beginning of our transition with Erkinesh was so much quieter.  It was the dead of winter when she joined our family and all of the other kiddos were in school at least for a few hours a day.  We were very intentional about keeping our world small and focusing on our relationships.  Now I look back at that time and realize what a treasure it was.  I think of that time as similar to when our three older kids were born.  The busyness of life was suddenly stopped and we made time to slow down and soak in their newness.  I missed that this time around.  A lot.  We did our best at cocooning this time around too.  Lots of time was spent at home, but unfortunately lots of trips to the doctor (and the ballfield!) were added.  I wish those first weeks could have been different.  We survived.  It wasn't all pretty, but we survived.  I think I'll write more about that someday when the memories aren't so fresh.

People have been asking me a lot lately how Asrat is transitioning.  I always answer honestly; that he is transitioning better than we imagined that he might.  I almost hate saying that because it seems to discount what we're working through, but I am so thrilled that he is doing so well.  Challenging moments and difficult days?  Yes, most definitely.  But we are making progress and his little four-and-a-half-year-old heart is amazingly open and tender.  So often throughout the process of waiting for him to come home, I didn't know what to pray.  I'd find myself praying day after day that the Lord would prepare him to join our family.  I think He did.

In my opinion, regarding Asrat's transition, I would put these first few months in the "easier" category.  But, oh my, have these past two months brought up some glaring issues in myself that need to be addressed.  And just when I thought I'd been making some progress in getting rid of some selfishness...bam!

I've never been one that thrives in the midst of chaos.  I know some of you do.  Part of me wishes that I was one of you.  (Some of you are raising much larger families with much more grace and wisdom than I can even comprehend.  I am learning from you.)  I'm not saying that our life always feels like chaos.  But there are days (o.k., weeks) when it is overwhelming.  There are lots of stories to be heard, tree climbing to watch, meals to be made, clothes needing to be washed, and oh yeah, my husband that I like to talk with once in awhile.  Parenting is a big responsibility and sometimes that weighs heavy and feels lonely.  Earlier this summer, you could have heard shouting coming from my kitchen that sounded something like, "I don't think I was cut out to have five kids!"  Not one of my finer moments.  Thankful for a grace-giving husband.  Is this more than I can handle?  For sure.  Can I do it alone?  Absolutely not.  Do I have it all figured out?  I don't even attempt that facade anymore.  Would I like to change it?  Do I think God made a mistake in entrusting 5 kiddos to someone with a personality like mine?  No.  I am so utterly humbled and thankful for the opportunity to be mom to my crew.  Really.  Even if it means that I have to change.  Even if the change hurts.

So, what is working for me?  How am I going to striving to keep some control saneness in my days? 
-For starters, I have said "NO INSTRUMENTS ARE TO BE PLAYED BEFORE 8 O'CLOCK."  No cymbals, no drums, no piano and certainly no trumpets.  Cruel, I know.
-Being honest.  
-I don't have a cell phone.  I like not being available to everyone at every second.  This decision is not without snags though, and I'm not sure how much longer I will hold out.
-I've purposely left some dialogues that I would love to still be a part of.  My mental space is just too cluttered right now...and I also like to keep my blood pressure at a healthy level. (Do I hear any amens from other ET adoptive moms?)
-Taking the older kids out one on one.  Listening to them.  I remembered that when you're not feeling overwhelmed, normal kid behavior is fun, not annoying.
-Brad graciously reminded me a few weeks back that the cleanliness of our home is not of the utmost importance right now. 
-Talking a walk.  Even if I leave the house grumpy.
-Reminding myself that even if a transition is "easier", it's still a transition and life is supposed to be out of balance and messed up for awhile.  And it's o.k.
-Continuing to pare down our possessions.  This helps me big-time.  I like things simple.  Asrat has one drawer, a bed and a basket with books and a couple stuffed toys by his bed.
-Reflecting on the days.  Choosing to give thanks. 
-We now finished day 3 of the bigger kids going back to school.  I think Asrat and I are going to love our days at home!

How do the older kids think the transition is going?  I had said to the kids one day that Asrat is so cute I just want to eat him up.  When our social worker asked the kids at our first post placement visit how they were liking having a new brother, Erkinesh told her, "Asrat is so cute, sometimes I just want to beat him up!"  When the social worker smirked, Erkinesh said, "That's what mom says!"   Never a dull moment here, folks.



---And just in case it takes me another month to post, here are the obligatory first day of school pictures:

7th grade
5th grade


2nd grade
2nd grade


Mom's not letting this one out of her sight!

17 comments:

  1. so happy to hear from you. i know exactly what dialogs raise the blood pressure. i can't stay away right now because my voice will be absent once my lovelies are home. it's my time to fight the good fight. :) love your heart and whew boy, i am bracing myself.

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  2. No cell? I am jealous. I have a love/hate relationship with mine. Hate the interuptions, love the convenience.

    Love the wisdom in your comment about even a transition being easier it is still a transition. So wise and true.

    Thank you for these details and a peak into your heart and home. It is beautiful.

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  3. I'm so glad for this post, Sharon. Thanks for updating us!! Your authenticity is inspiring! Erkinesh...oh.my.goodness...had me laughing so hard! much love to you!

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  4. Ha, I was reading this as Kendi is banging 2 metal things together making all kinds of racket. I have noticed the noise level seems to get to me a little more lately, but I think it is happening b/c it's back to school time & everybody is a bit wired with the transition. I thought yesterday would be easier/more quiet since all but 3 of the kids are back in school, but the two littlest decided that this would be an opportune time to double their efforts at naughtiness. sigh.

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  5. Hugs, Sharon. What a beautiful family you are raising. I can't imagine being mom to 5 at this point. There are days when being mom to 1 completely overwhelms me (and I mean that - completely!:) ) I appreciate your thoughts about change, about what parenting requires of each of us and what a humbling and amazing experiences we are blessed with through our children.

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  6. I'm with ya sista' (but we only have 3). She came home right as summer began and she is doing great, but I'm often a train wreck with being home with everyone 24/7. I am very much looking forward to having at least 3 hours a week with just Maci, so I can get to know HER a little more. Thanks for your post! Loved it.

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  7. Oh, Sharon- we would just seriously need to hang out if we lived closer!!!! I can so relate to so much of what you're saying. I am certainly sometimes overwhelmed and feel so inadequate to raise 5 boys (with my patience level, are you serious, God???:)). And Erkinesh's comment made me laugh- a lot:). I hope these days at home with just Asrat are some really good ones!!!

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    1. Wish we could just sit and chat. All. alone. :)

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  8. Loved reading this. Miss you still!

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    1. Miss you too. I've been plotting to find a way to get together!

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  9. Well, when your blog was silent for so long, I assumed that you were underwater. Wow, I got a little tired just reading this post! You have a LOT going on. Give yourself grace. Overall, it sounds like things are going well, but those early days are exhausting, emotionally and physically. Praying for you today!

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  10. Was so fun reading this, but feel for you as far as feeling overwhelmed sometimes. You and I are a lot alike as far as neatness in our homes, but I'm getting more lax as time goes on. Your blog always gives me smiles with all the cute things your kids say. Good one Erkinesh, HA HA! Love you all!

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  11. I love reading your updates...it makes me feel (and wish even more intensely) that I was right there with you, walking to the coffee shop to visit. Love your heart!

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  12. love, love, love you. have continued praying for you, sweet friend. Wish we could just do coffee and talk. in person.

    you are an inspiration, dear, to so many. i stand in awe at the way God is shaping and forming you and your precious family.

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    1. Thanks, Jeanette. I sure hope there is some shaping and forming going on...sometimes I am too stubborn to be moldable.

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