Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Not On My 'To-Do' List

I am a planner. I like to be in control. It's an issue I'm working on, but not one that is easy to let go of. Lately, however, my life has felt very "out of control." And that's a good thing.

I usually make a general plan for my week, and can find myself frustrated if that plan doesn't work out. The fact that I know am pretty much adhering to a six-year-olds schedule means my plans have all gone out the window.

For instance, right now, I am attending my first ever "Chicken Little Party." Preparation for this party consisted of making decorations (funny little drawings on white paper), cutting them out, hiding them (M did this) and finding them (this was my part). Once they were all accounted for, we took them over the the couch with a bowl of popcorn and popped in the movie "Chicken Little." Voila. A Chicken Little Party.

This was not one of the things on my to-do list when I got up this morning :)

Here is a list of things I did this week that were not "planned."

-I purchased Transformers Valentine's Day cards, and was excited about it.
-I played 17 games of Chutes & Ladders
-I watched Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa FOUR times
-I read 6 different Berenstain Bear books
-I purchased items with brand names like "Nerf" and "Hot Wheels"
-I made chicken nuggets for dinner. Twice.
-I went to a parent/teacher conference.
-I made four trips to the doctor (two of them to urgent care).
-I learned what "influenza A" was.
-I woke up at 6:00 AM on a Saturday.
-I got wilted pink flowers and a beautiful hand-drawn card for Valentine's Day.
-I was given a bear that plays the song "Happy Birthday," (it's not my birthday, and this was actually a Valentine's Day gift. It's the thought that counts!)
-I was told I 'sing like a beautiful princess' and am 'the best cooker ever.'
-I was sick and was given a dot-to-dot book and a Tinkerbell Valentine to help me feel better. It actually worked.
-I had a conversation about how we can't eat just candy for every meal.
-I endured my first tantrum.
-I gave my first time-out.
-I used the phrase "I'm going to count to three..."
-I was told I was nice, and it was the best compliment I've ever gotten.
-I built a fort.
-I realized I'm becoming my mother, and I'm okay with that.
-I went swimming (putting on a swimsuit in February was NOT my idea!)

It's been a whirlwind, and I'm excited to see what tomorrow will bring!

What A Difference Two Weeks Makes

Sometimes life doesn't work out quite like you plan.

Two Thursdays ago, Nate and I were sitting on the couch watching City Slickers. Nate wasn't feeling well, so we were planning on "vegging out" for the evening. I was clicking away on the laptop, pricing flights for our upcoming summer anniversary trip to San Francisco. We were contemplating where we wanted to get dinner from that night, because I wasn't in the mood to cook.

Then the phone rang.

To bring you up to speed, Nate and I became licensed foster parents last October and have been waiting since then for a call asking us to take a child into our home.

It was DHS on the phone. They had a six-year-old little boy that needed a place to stay. Could we take him?

I told them I'd have to call them back. We had never considered taking a child this old. We had always assumed that when a child came to live with us, it would be an infant, maybe a toddler. I had the stroller, the carseat, the baby toys. I'd scouted out all the best garage sales and put together a tub full of onesies and baby blankets. This was not what we had expected.

I hung up the phone and told Nate what they were asking. We had almost no details, just a name and an age. And they needed to know ASAP. We immediately started to pray, and five minutes later, we were both in agreement on what our answer would be.

I called them back and said yes.

Two hours later they dropped him off.

And life, as we know it, will never be the same.

Because I have no idea what the legal parameters are for talking about foster children on blogs, I'll be forced to make details scarce. I won't talk about him by name (except to call him "M") and I will likely be unable to post any pictures.

What I will be able to talk about is how much your life can change in a split second. How you can get thrown into parenting in some very unorthodox ways. How trusting God and going out on a limb can be the scariest thing you've ever done.

I can talk about how you can be forced to learn in a matter of days things that other parents have had years to understand. How your own schedules and routines don't really matter. How you've never really understood dirty until you've lived through a sloppy Iowa winter with a kid in the house.

I can talk about how kids and broccoli don't mix, and how tantrums can ensue if you try to force the two together. I can talk about having no choice but to learn on the fly that six-year-old little boys bounce off the walls and break things, how they love to make noise and think burping is funny. And how they can melt your heart with a simple word or a hug.

Right now, I'm sitting and watching M wrestle with our dog (who only weighs 15 pounds and is giving me a "please save me" look). And I'm struck by how life doesn't usually turn out the way I planned.

Sometimes it turns out even better.

What a difference two weeks can make...

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