Tag Archives: boys

Saved!

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Wait, I say on the Lord! Psalms 27:14

Yesterday I was cooking when I received a call from The Neighbor a.k.a Rear Window ( as in the Alfred Hitchcock movie) telling me that Nicholas was very high up in one of our trees and he didn’t want him to get hurt.  Jazmine was sitting on the floor flipping through a book.  I ran out side to see and to my dismay and horror, he was way up there!  I yelled for him to get down immediatedly!  Nicholas replied he was on his way down, but he couldn’t have anyone watching because it made him nervous.  I relunctantly went back inside and turned down the eye on the stove.

When I went back out, he was closer to the ground.  I was so relieved when he finally touched down.  I explained to him not to climb in any more trees without me being present.  Had he fallen, he would have really hurt himself!  That was the last thing I needed!  I also told him it was time to come in.

By this time Rear Window was outside with his two children.  When we got to the door it was closed.  Not only was it closed, it was locked!  I didn’t panic right away because I had my cell phone with me.  Plus, I thought I could talk Jazmine through unlocking the door.  No such luck.  When she figured out that we were not able to get in, she started crying.  I stood on the other side talking to her.

I began to worry when I heard the timer go off.  That meant the smothered chicken was finished cooking.  I saw visions of flames and smoke, sure that the pan would burn and set the house on fire.  I also thought that Jazmine might try to turn off the timer and burn herself in the process.  If nothing else, I was sure that our dinner would be ruined. I grew extremely frazzled!

I called my uncle who has a spare  keyand he said “I’m on my way.”  I called a couple friends to share my dilemma while Nicholas entertained Jazmine.  Kara cracked jokes to help alleviate my worries.  Schappelle prayed.

My uncle arrived twenty minutes later and we were saved!  Jazmine sat by the door looking forlorn.  My uncle picked her up while I turned the eye off.  The food was perfect!  I was a little surprised considering it simmered for thirty minutes longer than it should have.  It wasn’t even scorched!

From this experience I learned that I need to have more faith.  I must believe that all things will work out for the good.  God has the most unique ways of reminding us that he is in control!

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Sugar and Spice

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In many ways Jazmine is the daughter I always wanted.  When I was pregnant with Nicholas I wanted a little girl soooo bad!  I had to get used to the idea that I was having a son.  But now that he is here, I wouldn’t trade him for all the daughters in the world.  He is my beloved little boy!

However, I still love girls–maybe because I am one, eh?  I especially love the clothes and shoes that are deigned for them.  I used to pine away at all the cute, dainty pieces in the stores.  Now I don’t have to fantatsize any more because I can buy them!

Nicholas is not really into clothes.  He will put on anything.  I’ve had to train him over the years to match colors.  He’s pretty good at it now, but still takes little interest in clothes.  He does not like to go shopping and believes that giving clothing as gifts is in bad taste.  When he was four months old, I took him out to buy a snow suit.  He was livid that I dared to try it on him.  I can still see his chubby red face contorted with tears.  I guess he never recovered from that incident! 

But I like shopping for him as well, it just represents more of a challenge.  I like to mix up his wardrobe so that it includes more than the standard t-shirts and jeans.  His clothes remain in mint condition because he wears uniforms to school.

I have bought Jazmine so many clothes that we are running out of storage space.  There is a new store at one of my favorite malls called Crazy Eights (go figure!) with the most adorable girl clothing and accessories.  I also like Target and Macy’s.  But the fact is that most stores have cute things for girls!  It is soooo hard for me to resist!!!

It is nice having both sugar and spice.

People really love this simple ensemble.

People really love this simple ensemble.

 

These shoes are so sweet--they remind me of candy!

These shoes are so sweet--they remind me of candy!

 

Jazmine loves this skirt! In the winter, I will pair it with a black turtleneck and tights.

Jazmine loves this skirt! In the winter, I will pair it with a black turtleneck and tights.

 

Pretty in Pink!

Pretty in Pink!

Boys in Society

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I came across this article and it made me think of Evan.  I am trying to implement a few new practices to help ease his transition from residential to home.  After reading, I wondered if some of his “problems” are more related to gender than environment.  It is all very confusing, but I do know that I want to do whatever possible to help him.

Eliza the Stepmom

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Sometimes I think about the fact that Eliza is a stepmom just like me.  So I wonder why she is so difficult to deal with? It seems that she would be much more understanding of my role considering that she knows what it is like.

Her husband, whom she married in 2005, has three children.  The youngest one is currently three-years-old.  I know Eliza had a lot of problems interacting with his youngest son’s mom as well as his daughter’s mother.  His oldest son lived with them for a few months because his mom was in jail.  He  called Eliza “mommy.” 

Ethan and Evan did not seem to like their stepbrother much, Ethan more so than Evan.  I think Evan was being a follower.  Ethan did not like the fact that he called Eliza “mommy.”  Ethan is very jealous and territorial of her.  They also mentioned that Eliza thought he was “bad” and was allowed to discipline him.

Knowing how Eliza always wanted a girl, I think she was pretty nice to her stepdaughter who was six-years-old at the time.

Shortly thereafter, it was discovered that her nine-year-old stepson was molesting the boys.  I can only imagine how she must have felt as a mom.  I do empathize with the fact that she was in a delicate position.  I was concerned about my stepsons and also felt sorry for the child because he was a victim himself a year prior.

We happened to find out about the situation two months later through a third party.  We confirmed the story with CPS and after a few weeks we received temporary custody.  Eliza was furious! 

While in our care she wrote the boys a letter telling them that her stepson would never be allowed in their lives again.  However, she and her husband married six weeks after the boys were placed back in her care.

Eliza shared her perspective of this event with me the last time I visited her alone.  She confessed that she knew it was wrong to hate a child but she couldn’t stop from doing so.  She acknowledged that he even apologized to her saying Mommy, mommy, I’m so sorry!  I already knew that he called her “mommy,” but I was surprised to hear her admit it.  Eliza would not allow the boys to acknowledge that I was married to their dad.  Even after the fact she had them refer to me as “Daddy’s girlfriend.”

She was so adamant that her boys not call me anything other than Morocco.  I thought it was pretty hypocritical of her.  Eliza even went as far as lecturing Evan about never referring to me as this.  She warned, You only have one Mommy.  Don’t ever call anyone but me Mommy.  She many left voicemails that always began with This is Ethan and Evan’s Mommy, with a heavy emphasis on the M-word.

I took the opportunity to reply, so he called you Mommy?!”  She knew the question was loaded and read between the lines. She replied halfheartedly Yes, but that’s because I’ve known him for a long time.  Funny, but she’s known him the same length of time that I have known her boys.

The boys revealed that their stepbrother spent the night with them once briefly after the case.  During this time Eliza did not speak to him and made him wait on the porch while she argued with his dad about him. When she fixed dinner that night she did not fix his plate, her husband had to do it. Ethan was proud to tell this story.  He saw it as Eliza standing up for them.

I am really not surprised at the kind of stepmom she is.  Eliza has so many insecurity issues that she views almost everyone as being a threat to her in some form or fashion.  Her other son has a stepmom, too.  I’ve heard that she has no problems with this stepmom.  But that stems from the fact that she is the puppet master controlling her other son’s father.  Eliza was also still involved with him during their relationship.  It’s really crazy that his wife is okay (I am assuming that she is) with this behavior.  There are three people in that relationship–and Eliza is one of them.

Compared to the other stepmom in her life, I’d bet she thinks that I don’t “know my place.”  I see it differently–I just refuse to let her run my household.

We have both struggled in our walks as stepmoms.  I think this would be a powerful way to learn from each other and offer support.  Unfortunately, she is not thinking what I am thinking.

Decade

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Today Nicholas is turning double digits–as he likes to say! To commemorate this day I have written a poem.

Decade

In a decade you have managed to kindle the fires of my heart. 

My sweet tart

 

The inception of your life was a sacred moment and I am most thankful

 

For I am blessed by your kindness, your intelligence, your zest for life

 

Sweet, funny, charismatic, compassionate

 

Gifted

 

A talented artist, reader of tomes, awesome scholar, climber of trees, and everything in between

From child to tween

Your interests are varied—tae kwon do kicks to student counsel

 

So opinionated about current events

If it depended on you Obama would be president

 

You are for

All things STAR Wars

 

The Lego King

And Builder of many things

Especially dreams                                                                                       

 

The world is your canvas

No stone is left unturned

By your unbridled curiosity

Not even stitches could stop you from pursuing adventure

 

Our nightly devotionals are a highlight

After reading, a kiss, a tuck –in, and a flip of the nightlight

 

You truly make my heart melt

 

A “son” that shines brighter than all others

 

I feel lucky that I was chosen to be your mother

 

You represent the best of me and dad

 

a beautiful smiling soul

 

First my darling baby boy

 

Now my ten-year-old joy

 

How proud you must be

 

Of all you have accomplished

 

In just one decade.

In Her Shoes

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When my stepson Evan was 8 years-old, he was having a lot of problems in school.  This wasn’t really anything new–he has always had self-control issues.  But because Eliza kept them away from us, we knew little about how severe his problems in school really were. 

We suspected that he had a mental illness one random weekend when Eliza allowed the boys to spend the night.  Evan arrived with a tiny blue pill in his hand.  She had instructed Ethan to make sure he took it with dinner.  When I noticed it I inquired about it.  Ethan only ten at the time, couldn’t accurately articulate why he had to take the pill.  He basically stated that it was because Evan “was acting bad in school and getting suspended a whole lot.”  We were both alarmed.  We had to wait for Eliza to pick the boys up before inquiring about the pill.  At this time she did not allow us to have her phone number and only contacted us when it benefited her.  When my husband attempted to ask her about it she told him that she would call him about it but never did.

Evan started second grade with us on a good note.  However, three days into the school year, Evan was suspended for biting a classmate.  A few weeks later we attended a skating party hosted by his school.  None of Evan’s classmates would interact with him.  Ethan confided in me later that several of the kids had approached him saying how scared of Evan they were! That was only the beginning.

My husband works over 45 minutes away from Evan’s school.  And because my job is a lot closer, it was me who had to pick him up from school when he was suspended.  Kid you not I left work at the minimum of three times per week to get him.  Sometimes I would be fortunate enough that the call or email came at the tail end of the day.  Evan’s school is dismissed at 2:00pm and ours at 2:45pm.  I was saved by the bell many times by generous co-workers who knew of our situation.  Often someone would cover my seventh period class so that I could leave.

 I used to dread when my classroom phone rang beacuse it was usually the secretary informing me that my son’s school was on the line.  The first time it happened it I felt a surge of fear.  I thought something had happened to Nicholas.  Afterall, I only had one “son.”  After that I received so many calls from his school that I became embarassed.  Surely the office staff would start to gossip about my “bad”child. 

The majority of the time the calls came right before my lunch time.  I would make a mad dash to grab him and drop him off at the sitter’s, sometimes sliding through my classroom door right before the minute bell rang.  This went on for months.  We had tried paying a child care service to pick him up when he was sent home for the day.  This worked for a few weeks before the daycare provider grew tired of picking him up so frequently.  She felt that it was taking away from her other clients.    I was livid about what Evan was putting us through.  I even secretly gave him a nickname: Crazy 8’s.  Evan was obviously acting very “crazy,” he was 8 years-old, and he was a game aficionado.  In fact, one time he was sent home for hitting the teacher because he could not finish playing the game. 

Once while presenting at a writing conference I received “the call.”  Unable to leave my husband had to pick him up.  Eventually my husband learned that he was eligible for FMLA and his job would be protected when he needed to leave.  However, this was a drain on our finances.  My sister and aunt would pick Evan up when neither him or I could leave work.   But at least we were fortunate enough that we had family who was willing to help us.   I knew a woman who wasn’t so lucky.

I worked with Lisa my first year of teaching.  I really didn’t know much about her other than that she was divorced and had a son.  Shortly I discovered more about her when she started being absent 3-4 times a week.  At first, we all thought she was ill and had no problems following the contingency plan that Ms. Johnson had established.  The plan was that each English teacher had to take 5-8 of Lisa’s students each day that she was absent.  Remember, this is high school, so that meant  we would see an extra 25-40 students per day.  And because her absences were not planned, there were no lesson plans that came along with her unruly bunch.  It got old really fast.  We were all annoyed about having to take on her responsibility in addition to our own.

One day we were all sitting around in the English office discussing Lisa and her absences.    By then it had already leaked out that she was absent so frequently due to her young son, Austin who suffered from bipolar disorder, ADHD, and ODD.  We were all beyond feeling empathy for her even though we knew that she was a single parent and that her extended family lived in Florida.  Lisa was carrying the load all by herself.  A few times she had even brought Austin to school as a last resort.  I saw him a couple of times in the English office playing quietly.  He was a cute little boy and seemed to have a sweet personality.  In other words, he didn’t “look” like anything was wrong with him.

Honestly then I was ignorant about mental illness.  I knew that bipolar disorder was a type of mental illness and what the other acronyms stood for but that was the sum of my knowledge.  Everyone had opinions about what she should do, myself included.  I made a comment wondering if Austin was truly bipolar and the room got quiet.  Lisa had entered the area.  If a hole would have opened up in the floor I would have hurled myself into it.  I felt soooo bad.

To her credit, she did not indicate that she knew what we were discussing her life.  But I am sure that she knew.  At the end of the year she was let go due to her poor attendance.  Shortly after that she moved back to her home state in order to get the support she needed.

Today I think about Lisa a lot because I am now walking in her shoes.  Now I see what a journey it is.   She would have a been a good resource for me to brainstorm with.  I see Austin in Evan.  On the surface, he looks peaceful, too.  But what lies underneath is a very troubled child.  I used to wonder if God was punishing me for my lack of understanding.  But now I know that He is using Evan to  teach me endurance, faith, and true compassion. 

Evan’s behavior became so volatile and unpredictable that he was eventually placed in an alternative school for students with behavior problems.  His behavior did not improve there, it actually worsened to the point that we finally relented to our last resort, residential treatment. 

I have learned many things since Evan has been in our home.  I have learned about the devastating toll that mental illness can take on a family.  I learned what it really means to love unconditionally when you are pushed to the limit.  I’ve learned to leave the judging up to God.  Sometimes we don’t know what others are going through based solely on our superficial observances that we deem to be the gospel.

Mission at Midnight

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Let the games begin!

Let the games begin!

 

 

Last night I went to a bed a lot later than normal.  We had a mission to complete.  At ten minutes to midnight we stood in line at a Toys R Us store on the other side of town for the Clones Wars Midnight Madness. 

 

I thought we would be the only ones in line, but of course, the line was wrapped around the building.  I forgot what a cult following Stars Wars has.  The only time I’ve stood in line for something was for Prince tickets. 

 

Clone Pilots stood at various posts to distribute posters and other Star Wars keepsakes to the loyal customers.  When they finally opened the doors we were greeted by Clone Troopers and Plo Koon.  Ever the faithful Star Wars fan, Nicholas shouted “For the Empire!” as we entered the store and was met with peals of laughter.  His excitement was palpable.

 

I was shocked to see how wild people went to get their hands on the latest Lego Star Wars sets.  Adults were loading their carts full of merchandise.  However, Nicholas had his sights set on one item, the Republic Attack Gunship.  My husband helped him navigate the sea of mayhem to get the desired set while I stood back and took pictures.  Five minutes and $140.19 dollars later, he walked out with his prized possession.  His smile lit up the night.

 

Nicholas slept with the box next to him.  I know it is an experience that he won’t ever forget.  Maybe he will tell his own children about it someday when they encounter this rite of passage.  Mission Accomplished!