A few months ago….it was the one year anniversary of Gotcha Day
I use to work for a community outreach program that promoted environmental wellness. At the end of each year I was tasked with putting on a banquet not only as a means of thanking our volunteers and staff but to also reflect on the year’s success. I would spend hours collecting data which included things such as how many hours were donated to our cause, the amount of trash removed around our community, and how many miles of trail were restored in our National Park Areas. The compiled data would be presented at the end of the banquet and our organization would relish in another successful year.
As we near the end of our first year with the kids I can’t help but find myself trying to measure our success. So much progress has been made. Social skills have enhanced. My shy kids who were once glued to each other in new settings are now the first to run and make new friends and have also proven to be a little more social in class then expected. The real biggie is all of the academic progress that has been accomplished. Josh knows that if he applies himself he is capable of getting As and Bs. Kyla, well- this girl is going places. Sky probably had the furthest to go. He was so behind— a year ago he didn’t know an even number from an odd was or any of his multiplication facts. He struggled in class and was a disruption. Homework time was horrible and tested my patience on a daily basis. He didn’t understand the material and he fought me every step of the way. Today, Sky is an A and B student and homework time is easy peasy.
And while I’m happy about the social, behavioral and academic progress what about of the rest of it?
Like the new traditions we’ve started. The purple plate at dinner earned for some sort of good deed or success- copied from my friend Layke. Or the love notes I write to my daughter like: “Be yourself…everyone else is already taken” and “To worry about what you don’t have is a waste of what of you do have”. And one of my all-time faves is our dinner time inferences that go something like this…
Kyla says, “A woman is running through a mall”
Dad- she shop lifted
Josh- the mall is closingSkyler- she is being chased by dogs and or aliens
Me- there is a super sale happening
And how do I measure all of the blending? A year ago, the kids seemed so different from us. Jason and I favored more traditional sports like football or baseball and they were all skaters. I remember not knowing how to answer Jason when he said how come the kids won’t have a catch with me? I love all things girly and Kyla swore she would never wear a dress. But a gradual shift has occurred within the walls of our home. We’ve been sewing our fabrics together, folding, becoming one blanket that wraps us up as we fade into each other. We know have a wiffle ball field in our back yard that we call “Pepe Park” that everyone enjoys. I’ve been known to ride skateboards and scooters in our Cul de Sac. Kyla loves all things that can be found at Justice for Girls.
Most recently, I’ve been watching the bond between Skyler and Jason grow. A couple of months ago Skyler passed me in the hallway and he was humming, “mmm mm mm m m m, I was mmm mm mm m m m”. “What are you humming?” I asked. He replied, “Born in the USA”. Me: “Why?” Him: “Because it’s awesome.” Jason also coached his baseball team this fall and the two spent hours together practicing and having a catch. And on Saturday mornings you’ll find Jason in his home office working at his desk. Equally, you’ll find Skyler in the home office on Saturday mornings reading his father’s books on baseball and Bruce Springsteen.
There were plenty of challenges over the past year and I send a big thank you to my sister, Tawney for always answering my panicky phone calls. Like the time I called her because Kyla had decided she didn’t want to have her first sleep over half way through it. Or, Skyler’s first day of the 4th grade again. I was terrified that kid’s would tease him and I doubted the decision Jason and I made to hold him back a year. But, like always, my big sister knew exactly what to say to me.
These past couple of days I’ve sifted through photos of the past year. I’ve made a mental note of pounds of trash or challenging behaviors removed this year, the hours donated or therapy and homework time and lastly, the trails restored--progress and the folding of our new family. And so tonight the five of us will get dressed up and over dinner we will talk about the progress we’ve made, laugh about the struggles we’ve faced and as a family we will celebrate the completion of a successful year.
I find myself wanting to share only the good and just where has that gotten me…well, I haven’t written in months. “A-ha moment” If I only write about the good I will hardly write at all. My life isn’t always so picture perfect. And while these moments do float in and out (and you better believe I will be posting just as fast as I can with pictures to prove it) there are so many moments when we struggle.
And so, If I’m not honest how can I ever expect anyone else to be…so from here on out (oh lord) you’re getting it all.