Thankful: For them

Ok, so really? Yesterday wasn’t ALL that bad. It was just a combination off too many people too close, in too little time. People who took advantage of a 12 year old inviting them over, to see what was really going on over here (I swear we don’t grow drugs, really). At the end of the day, it was just a lot to try and deal with. But all in all, it was a decent day.

The one thing I don’t think I elaborated on enough, was the fact that we havent done a real holiday, in who knows how long. Usually the kids go somewhere, and I work. I don’t like, holidays. I really don’t. So this year, stepping out and doing the whole nine yards, was by far, the stupidest thing farthest we have gone in a long time.

When it was just the kids, it was really kind of nice. Meaning, where there weren’t 101 people trying to fit into the already small house.

It wasn’t until the kids were in bed, I had finished my rant about how I hate holidays, and I was laying in the dark, did I really start to think about things in a whole new light (or dark).

Last year, Josh was…

A mess.

Can I say that?

Last year, he spent a majority of his time in the corner, freaking out with the slightest movement in the wrong direction. He didn’t want anything to do with anyone, and would scream and yell if the kids got too close. No one would say what happened, why he was like this, or what was going on. There was talk of institutionalizing him, giving him over to the state, and who knows what else. We had three months to make some sort of progress, to convince the courts that he was worth keeping. It sucks to say it like that, but its how it was. He was just another number, another case, another disturbed individual, and who wanted to “Waste” time on him?

Last year we were knee deep in issues involving him. Court dates, paper work, therapist, social workers were all part of our lives. The in and outs of every move that was made with him, or for him, was somehow kept track of, and no one, NO ONE would say what was wrong with him. There was “No hope.”

I don’t even remember what we did last year for Thanksgiving, but Im pretty sure it was similar to the years past: Nothing.

Last year, every single post, somehow, in one way or another, mentioned Josh, or a new problem or issue. Because last year, that’s where our focus was…with less than two months left to get him into a position where he appeared to be worth helping.

Last night I lay there thinking, about just how far we have come. Thinking about how far not only Josh has come, but how far Madison & Dylan have come as well. While the spot light was on Josh, they got shoved to the side, and the only times they really complained were when after a few attempts at doing something, I gave up because it was too much work with Josh. They were in the middle of the mess, right there, every day, seeing what went on, what happened, knowing the same amount of things I did. Knowing who he used to be, and who he was now, and not knowing why. There wasn’t much I could keep from them, even if I had wanted to. They gave things up, walked out of stores hundreds of times, endured the stares, and everything else.

But they understood, and understand, and I havent even had to tell them.

The know when something is important, and they understand how big it is when Josh accomplishes something small, and minor. They don’t care that he isn’t caught up with his peers, they love him how he is, and who he is. Infact, most times its them reminding me of these things. Not the other way around.

While I sometimes get hung up on the smaller issues…they see right past it, and love him. All the time.

It hasn’t been easy for them. For any of them. They have days when nothing goes right, they fight just like every other kid, yell and carry on, but at the end of the day…they tell each other good-night, and the days problems are put to rest. They don’t dwell on the small things, they don’t get hung up on the fact that someone gave them a different look, because they were with Josh, who is five years old, and apparently unable to control himself when he flips out on the ground.

Its not the life I would have chosen for them. To live this way, to go through what they have gone through. Its not the way I would have hoped their childhood would be spent. I would have preferred they didn’t have to loose their parents, and go through foster care, and into the “System.” I wish I could give them more, and give them better. But sometimes, that’s not what really matters…

And while yesterday was up and down, I was thankful, at the end of the day, to have them here. To have custody of them. For it to be OVER.

Im thankful that this year, while we still have problems and issues to work through, that Josh is here, with cousins who are more like siblings, who really truly, love him for who he is. Im thankful to have them. Here. Right now.  Together, for each other. 

Ask me again, when they wake up, destroy whats left of the house, and invite the REST of the neighbors over for leftovers, and I might have a different opinion. But right now, I am thankful: For them.

Just as a side note: Does anyone have any idea how hard it is to get three kids to look at the same camera?  I mean, seriously. 

Its like…”Hey kids OVER HERE!!!” 

“No, look this way”

“Dylan knock it off, leave your sister alone, no bunny ears”

“Madison dont cry, red eyes wont look good”

“Wheres Josh?” 

*Five minute break to find Josh*

“This way kids!!”

“Last time I checked, I was the only one in the room with a camera, but NONE of you are looking this way”

“Ok, we will just go with the one that looks like Josh is all strung out on the weed that we do NOT grow, Dylan is tired of smiling, and Madison, well, shes lucky shes even IN the picture…”

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