This. This right here was the final straw that broke my freakin' back. A vase, thrown out of anger. The closest thing in reach in a moment when all he saw was red. All because he needed to go to bed 10 minutes early for biting his brother. It wasn't the ceramic bank in his room that he shattered a few minutes later, or the water he deliberately poured on his bed in a rage, or the fact that he threw his ladder and every item we allow him to have in his room out of spite. It was this vase.
I don't often get real about what goes on in our daily lives. Some of you hear bits of it, but even through the frustration I try to spin it in a joking manner. Maybe I shouldn't, because the truth is I don't know many who could live like we've been living. I've been watching my daughter slowly crumble under the pressure of living in a house that feels a bit like a hostage situation. Held captive by the never ending tantrums, and the destructive path of three little boys who unknowingly ruin every fun and special day with their inability to cope with emotions, good or bad. I know they can't help this. I know the cards were stacked against them even before they came into our care, but the truth remains that there is a very, very ugly side to all of this.
A boy, pooping in the bath, just because he didn't want to take the time to get out. A different boy spending 30 minutes in bed for repeatedly hurting his brother over a toy. A different boy etching letters into my wooden piano bench, and subsequently lying about it. That same boy peeing in the heating vent in his bedroom, because he was mad he had to be in time out; raining urine in our living room and ruining our ceiling tile. A boy hitting his sister because it wasn't quite time to go to Cole Family Christmas yet. A boy, spitting in his brother's face because he doesn't want him to look at the toy he just got. A ten minute tantrum from a boy who didn't want to leave the party. A boy biting his brother over a toy. A boy breaking a vase and screaming at me that I'm stupid. A boy tearing his room apart in a rage over an early bedtime.
All of this happened today. In a 12 hour span we experienced all of this, and much more, but the insane part is I could write something similar for almost every day of our lives with them. Three boys with three very different sets of needs. Three emotional boys constantly on the edge of explosion.
We choose to smile while we are out in public, and we try to make the best of what we've got, and we work hard not to let the cracks show. But the cracks are there, and widening.
The birthdays and the holidays are the worst. Days of celebration quickly turn into days of frustration and regret. This countdown to Christmas has been the longest 3 weeks of the year. The teachers have seen it, and they are getting a small glimpse of what we deal with on a regular basis. Throw an adoption day into the mix and it gets pretty rough. Reports of the boys punching their peers in the face at school, an act usually reserved for their brothers at home, or Elsa if she doesn't move out of the way fast enough.
I'll be honest, hearing that "boys will be boys", and "they are just being kids", or "they'll grow out of it", or "it will get easier" feels like a slap in the face. I get it that raising kids is hard. I've been doing it alone since Elsa and Michael were 6 and 8. I know it isn't easy, and I know that I chose this, but let me make it clear that this is very, very different. When you see three happy-go-lucky boys out in public, and can't understand why I'm not smiling, you can't begin to understand what happened 5 minutes before we walked out the door, or I might be worried they may run into traffic because they are mad, or I'm trying not to cry because up until this point in this day they have had nothing but nastiness for all of us.
I'm not really sure why I'm putting this all down into words. I think writing it makes it real, and I feel like I'm not going quite as crazy as I actually think I am sometimes. Seeing the written words of what we went through today (really everyday) is helpful in knowing that I made it through, and I will make it through tomorrow.
I love these boys, I really do. I want the best for them. I want to be the best for them. I want them to know love, and compassion, and all the goodness that comes from a family.
I also desperately want to feel normal again. I think I signed away my rights to normalcy when I entered into foster care, and if that's the case I'll make the best out of this crazy life that God has given me. I cried harder today than I have in the past 11 years. The vase broke me. I sobbed in front of the boy who tore his room apart. Through tears I told him I can't do this anymore, and he finally stopped throwing things, stopped calling me nasty names, and he settled. I stood stone-still downstairs for many minutes afterwards, just staring at the wall, and told God "I can't do this anymore. No one should have to live like this. I don't want to live like this. I can't do this anymore." and then I too settled.
I don't know what our future holds. I don't know what will make a difference. I don't know where we will end up, but I know I have to keep trying, and we have to keep hoping for healing for their hearts and for ours.