Life Isn't Fair

Today I’m thinking about fairness. For a variety of reasons. I’m leaving with my younger son in a couple weeks to do the first of what is looking like many trips to look at colleges. Now he’s a smart, talented kid who’s been involved in a lot of activities and has pretty good ACT and SAT scores so I think he’s got a pretty good chance of getting into one of the schools he wants. But a couple of weeks ago, like many of you, I was caught up in the news about the vast cheating scandal that had been going on for years at many of the country’s top colleges and universities where affluent parents were paying enormous sums to get their kids into schools they would never have gotten into otherwise. Essentially take a spot of a deserving child who had worked and dreamed their entire life of playing soccer for USC or studying at Yale. For our kids with RAD, fairness is a tough concept. They have been so deprived for so long and live in a space where their own survival is dependent on their being constantly vigilant about what they can get. I was recently talking with a friend about how to divide a cookie we were going to share and I said when my boys were little, the way I did it was one would cut but the other got to choose which half first. Man, they were out there with a slide rule and protractor and ruler and calculator trying to figure out how to make those pieces the closest to equal they could! Many thanks to their father’s mother for that trick! But explaining to a child with RAD, or any child, the idea of fairness is not easy. It’s where community sports invented the “participation trophy”. An idea I loathe to this day. We don’t have to pretend that our children can’t grasp the idea but we do have to remember how they think and make sure we have the words to explain the differences. It is part of their growth and development to understand that not everything will be the way they want or what they see as “fair”. To help with explain this idea of “fair”, here are some tips to explain to children:

  1. Kids think fair means equal. Back to my point about the cookie. And you probably know some adults that think this as well. You’ve been in a kindergarten class where every child has to have a green crayon of the same length. No one can have more potato chips than anyone else. We do that with our children from a very early age and they learn the idea that fair means equal. We train them to expect that. We then work for the rest of our lives to undo what we’ve done because it’s hard (and annoying) to see a child unhappy.
  2. What it should mean is “just”. Being “just” means considering all variables, people, and sides of an issue. Sometimes it’s a practicality issue-your younger child needs new shoes because he grew a half-size in six months but your older child hasn’t. Sometimes it’s emotional-your teenager had a rough day and you offer to take them out to dinner for some one-on-one time. If your pre-teen then screams that they want to go out to dinner to and you cave and agree to take them out tomorrow night, then all is lost. It’s the participation trophy. It undermines the consideration of the feelings of the teenager and it fails to teach the younger child that what doesn’t seem fair (in their eyes) is still right and just. Because attention is solving a necessary problem and healing a hurt.
  3. Don’t say, “Life isn’t fair.” I’m sure I’m not the only RAD parent (or parent period) who’s said or been tempted to say it hundreds of times! One kid counts the number of pieces of popcorn they have and you go through the roof! Well don’t be surprised to learn that this phrase means nothing to a child. It is OK to acknowledge the feeling: “I think what you’re really saying is you’re unhappy and you don’t like it.”. And you can explain what happened, “Yep, I’m not going to scoop ice cream the exact same way every time.” But don’t overexplain. But don’t draw attention to the child and their fit by making the “fairness fight” a big deal. You can talk through when a child does recognize a truly unjust situation, like when your child comes home upset because a child acted out and the teacher punished the whole class. That’s an opportunity to discuss that maybe you wouldn’t have handled it that way but you can try to see why the teacher handled it like that.
  4. Good News! You’re building resilience. In addition to developing empathy, children are learning to tolerate disappointment. We rob them of the ability to learn resilience when we make everything equal and fine (thing again of the loathsome participation trophy). Your younger child is mad because they got one present when their older sibling got three? Explain how three smaller gifts add up to one big bike. If your child thinks they got a raw deal, sympathize then move on. Be genuine and maybe share your own disappointment, something you wanted and didn’t get and thought was unfair. Always be a model for those concepts we want our children to learn.
It’s always hard to see our children disappointed. We want them to have everything. We want them always smiling and laughing. But we do them a disservice if we don’t help them learn the skills that will make them able to handle the realities of life. Because while we can’t say it…Life isn’t fair! Till next time, Shannon  ]]>

I Love to Laugh…

10 to 40: The calories burned in 10 to 15 minutes of daily laughter. 15 to 20: The estimated number of times a day that an adult laughs. 103: The ideal number of words in a joke. 3000+: The number of Internet sites devoted to sharing lawyer jokes. 5.8: The average number of bouts of laughter in a typical 10-minute conversation. Top-29-Funny-Jokes16-500x495 I prefer comedies to any other kind of movies (I HATE horror movies-why pay money to get scared out of your wits?) I’m always on the lookout for a good joke. Or even a bad one. Sometimes the best jokes are the bad ones that come right when you just need to bust out laughing at something so ridiculous. August used to hate it when he would say something so outlandish that all I could do was laugh. Because laughter is sometimes all we have as our defense mechanism in the face of a situation so absurd that we can’t believe we’ve ended up here. And with August and I imagine the RAD parents out there reading this can relate, there were more times than I can recall when I was in a conversation thinking, “How did I get here?” The irrational, argumentative, impulsive thinking of a RAD child is so off the charts bizarre at times that the best response, the ONLY response, may be laughter. And that’s OK. Now depending on your child, it may not be prudent to do it in front of your child. Sometimes August would get so angry. But sometimes I could get him to join in and realize the craziness of his thinking and it would help defuse the situation. As I discussed on Monday, feeling angry all the time gets so old. I didn’t want my entire existence with August to be about anger. I still don’t. I don’t want to look back on my relationship with him and only remember the raging and hurt and anger which right now is the bulk of my memories. I am finding ways to re-build a life somewhat separate from him though we still have very close contact (I get to see him this weekend!) But he is an adult now. I hope to be able to look forward to laughing with him as two adults someday. We have occasional times on the phone where we laugh about a TV show we’ve both watched or something my chickens have done or anything else and hearing him laugh makes my heart swell. If you are finding laughter hard to come by, I highly recommend you seek out things that give you reasons to laugh. Maybe it’s a friend who you always know has a way to get you to giggle. May a movie, book or TV show. I’ve listed a few of my favorites below. It is true, “Laughter is the best medicine.” I am a big fan.

Books Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. This is one of my favorites of his but honestly any of his books will have you in stitches. Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler. This one is not for those who might want something a little “cleaner” but man, she’s funny. Bless Your Heart, Tramp: And Other Southern Endearments by Celia Rivenbark. Like David Sedaris anything from her will be hilarious. I actually got this on CD for a drive with August and he cackled listening to it. Movies The In-Laws. I’m sure the remake was good but I’m talking about the 1979 original with Alan Arkin and Peter Falk. I can’t watch someone run toward me without shouting “Serpentine! Serpentine!” The Princess Bride. Please don’t say you’ve never seen it. It should be required viewing to become an adult. This is Spinal Tap. See above. And pretty much anything else Christopher Guest has ever touched. He’s a funny, funny man. Television Television is much more subjective and with so many stations it’s hard to know what everyone can get access to. But the ones that come to mind are: VEEP Parks & Recreation Curb Your Enthusiasm Brooklyn Nine-Nine The Good Place Modern Family Seinfeld 30 Rock
So send me some jokes or stories of when laughter has helped! Anti-Jokes-640x399 Till next time, Shannon]]>

When I'm Angry…

ay about being angry. Why? Well, because I am. If you’re the parent of a kiddo with RAD it might feel like this is your “normal”. And I’m sorry for that because it sucks. But I understand. 1fbe05090597f69b06922d161f59693e.jpg You’re angry at your child. A lot. You’re angry at your partner. Oops. You’re angry at all the systems and services that don’t work for your child. You’re angry at the grown-ups that were supposed to protect your child and didn’t and caused the trauma that resulted in the RAD that you are now paying for. You’re angry at the “perfect” friends and families you see on Facebook or at the store or at school who have the lives you are being denied. And if by some chance one type of angry subsides, there’s always two or three or TEN kinds of angry to take its place. Angry takes a lot of energy. I remember seeing one of those annoying posters or memes once that said it takes more facial muscles to frown than to smile so you should smile because it’s easier. Yes that may be true but it would also take a lot more energy to find anything to smile about! What I’m angry about the most today is that right now THE WORLD  SEEMS SO ANGRY. I’ve been guilty of adding to it too. And it’s exhausting. Yesterday I posted a picture of a kitten sucking its thumb-seriously-watch it herejust to have something happy to see for myself. I read this article about the two Parkland students who have committed suicide in the last week. I cried. And I got angry. The shooting in New Zealand. The floods in the Midwest (more Midwest than me) and the horrible disaster in Mozambique. And I got angry. And then there’s politics. Which seems to have made most of us angry for two years no matter what side of the aisle you sit on. Spring and summer need to hurry up and get here so I can escape to my garden for even a few minutes/hours each day. Plants don’t get angry. I don’t think. Though mine probably get a little irked because I’m not the best at watering and weeding all the time. I get lazy. But they seem to produce and love me still. I wish brains worked like that. We could throw all this mess at them and they could filter it and produce and love anyway. Our RAD kids would be so much better off. But brains work more like a compost bin. Everything that’s old and decaying goes in and stays. Our brains keep everything, packing it down into the smallest, deepest nooks and crannies. And it will stay there and just start to smell unless we turn it and let in the air and the sunlight so it can become something good and beneficial to our world.  d44329466e8bc44a7b089b8c5c30e432 My challenge to myself and to you today is try and be a plant, not a compost bin. Let your brain soak in the sunlight (hopefully there is some in your part of the world) and breathe in the air and churn up the angry thoughts and burn them out of your beautiful mind. Only through constant focus on what is good and healthy can we all make our world less angry. I truly believe we are at a turning point where we can “Be the Change You Wish to See in the World.” Ghandi didn’t seem angry very often. Till next time, Shannon  ]]>

August Turns 21-A Milestone Birthday

This is the first picture I ever saw of August. It was sent by the adoption agency along with a video (which I will figure out how to get up here at some point-the technology is still a challenge). The chair was quite shocking. And that outfit. Which was the same outfit he had on when we met him in person. He’s just a little over three in this photo. An eternity away from the skinny, tattooed inmate currently sitting in a prison cell 90 minutes away from me. But those eyes are the same. They both show the same fear. The same need for love and acceptance. The same pain behind the beautiful blue. Some things I couldn’t see at first and couldn’t help when I could. I wish I could go back and tell that sweet face just to trust me and let me help him make everything OK. I can’t remember what birthday it was the last time August and I were together. I remember it was awful. We went to dinner, then I told August I’d take him to buy some clothes. He wanted to go to a store that closed in 10 minutes. I tried to convince him not to go but he was so stubborn. So we went. And we fought over the clothes after having fought over going and he spun even more out of control to the point where I just had to let him go away. He couldn’t understand how much he was taking advantage of me and the store. He couldn’t understand that his birthday was something I wanted to enjoy with him and how this falling apart made me sad. I can’t go see him on his birthday. He’s still on visiting restrictions until the 29th. I will send him a note, hopefully he will call. I sent him some money to get extra supplies. This is how birthdays have gone for the last few years. Some years I have been able to visit with him. My heart breaks for children with RAD who should be showered with love and affection on their birthdays. This disorder means that instead their need for control and unwillingness to believe the love is real or they are deserving means these celebrations many times will blow up and end in disaster like mine and August’s. I wish August a happy 21st birthday. I love you bud. Till next time, Shannon  ]]>

The Siblings in the Crossfire

He looked scared from an early age. But August seems happy to have a baby brother![/caption] As you read this I am driving down to North Carolina to see August’s brother this weekend in his Spring musical. For those who don’t know, he lives there with his dad while I’m living on my little farm in Indiana. Living away from him is one of the hardest things for me but there were a series of events that necessitated it which would require several blog posts to explain. When I moved five years ago, August stayed down there as well but that didn’t last long and he ended up in Indiana with me within six months (future blog post material…). But this trip got me thinking about the effects of RAD on our non-RAD kiddos. The groups that belong to and have over the years have been chock full of stories of the side effects of having to dedicate so much time to our RAD children that the rest of the family suffers. One of my earliest memories was the story of a woman in Oklahoma who had finally gotten her child into a psychiatric placement but her insurance had run out and she was now faced with the following dilemma: if she went and picked up the child and brought it home she would be arrested for child endangerment because she had other children at home and the RAD child had tried to poison them by putting tile grout cleaner in their shampoo bottles. If she didn’t go get the child she’d be arrested for child abandonment. Truly a no-win situation. My youngest son was not expected. Without getting too personal, near as I can tell, we accepted the referral to become August’s parents on a Wednesday and our son was conceived that following weekend. So much was going on during the time between getting the referral and preparing for going to Russia it didn’t even cross my mind that I could be pregnant. So, yet again, the two children’s fates collided when we got our court date on Friday May 1st and found out on Sunday May 3rd that a second child was on the way. My younger son witnessed a lot of things no small child should ever see. I remember one day when I was holding August during one of his rages. This meant him seated in front of me on the floor with my legs wrapped around his legs. One of my arms around both of his and the other harm holding his head so he couldn’t head-butt me. Usually I could get the door closed so my youngest didn’t have to see this but this one happened quickly. He walked by-he was maybe 5 at the time-and I remember saying in my calmest voice, “Everything’s OK”. He very quickly replied, “It doesn’t look OK.” Out of the mouths of babes. He heard all the screaming and saw all the destruction of the house. August was abusive to him both emotionally and mentally. He spent so much time alone while his father and I had to focus on his brother. I have spoken a lot about August’a resilience. He survived the first three years in Russia first being abused and neglected by his birth family then in an orphanage. But now that my younger son is a junior in high school and I’m starting to see the man he is becoming, I am in awe of his resilience as well.  Realizing what he has survived from living in a household with a child with RAD, I know he has equal survival skills. I have been guilty (as I’m sure we all have) by going down the rabbit hole with our RAD kiddos and getting too caught up in their drama and mayhem. I’ve taken for granted that my non-RAD son is good because he always has been. And I’ve dealt with the guilt of knowing that I’ve done that. I remember once my younger son realized that August got his birthday and “Gotcha Day” because he was adopted and that I got my birthday and Mother’s Day and his dad got his birthday and Father’s Day and was upset because he only got one day (I told you he was bright). That’s just the tip of the iceberg of all the ways he’s been short-changed in growing up with a RAD sibling. I must admit he and August have had some really nice conversations since August has been in prison. August has said he’d like to make amends for what he knows was horrible treatment of him when he was little. I would love to think they can repair the relationship as they become adults. They won’t have me to kick around down the road!Please feel free to share your stories of dealing with your RAD and non-RAD children. The successes and the dramas! Till next time, Shannon  ]]>

Getting Organized…or just pretending!

Today’s post may fall into the category of “those who can’t, teach”. I am sort of organized about many things. I am NOT organized about A LOT of things. My clutter tolerance is high. Right now I am writing from a desk that is almost invisible due to the amount of papers covering it. Occasionally I reach my limit and do a massive purge and get ALMOST organized. But not quite. Never all the way. Never to the point where I have systems or processes. Some places I am better. There are a few things in the kitchen where I am a stickler for organization. But that’s mostly what I inherited from my grandmother, in whose house I live now. I put things where she did, organized just so. Now the truth is she was one stack of newspapers away from an episode of “Hoarders”, but the bins and bins of craft materials were well-organized. Sort of. I am still digging out from under some of that. In an attempt of “Physician heal thyself”, I thought I’d focus on some organization tips today that maybe I can learn from, too. I know when the chaos of RAD life is whirling all around, finding a few places where life is organized can seem a big help. Hopefully these ideas will do that.

  1. Organized people avoid the big black hole. The bigger the storage space, the larger the mess. Smaller compartments and containers are the solution. Smaller bins inside large sideboard drawers to hold candles and napkins and small pouches inside large purses to hold lipsticks and pens will help minimize even the littlest bit of stress.
  2. Organized people trick themselves with treats. Don’t think children are the only ones who can be bribed! Clean the garage gets you a pedicure? Of course it does! Laundry gets you a bubble bath and glass of wine? You bet!
  3. Organized people say no to spillover. My son was a hoarder of things. Sometimes none of it made sense. I’m sure many of you can relate. But allowing ALL the stuffed animals in the room will eventually make you want to move and leave no forwarding address! We started donating some every year before Christmas which helped reduce the population, keep a little more organized and embrace a spirit of giving. If that’s not something your child can handle, try putting some away in a bin a rotating the bins every couple of months. You keep your organization and the kids get new toys more frequently! Everybody wins!
  4. Organized people keep useful things close. So how often do you use that juicer that you always have to move to get to the blender? Take some time to look around your kitchen, your dining room, your office and arrange it so that the items you really use are handy. Anything you don’t use should be donated and anything you use infrequently should be stored up high or in the back.
  5. Organized people spend 30 seconds now to save hours later. When you hold an item, decide right then where its final resting place should be. If you drop it in a pile, then that pile will be what you spend two hours dealing with over the weekend when you could be doing something much more interesting.
  6. Organized people move their cast-offs to their car. Keeping a bin in your car and regularly moving items out of your house and to it helps you stay motivated to get the clutter out. When the bin is full in your car, head to the charity of your choice, empty the bin and keep going!
  7. Organized people have twice as many hooks (and not one thing on the floor). Look around your house. How much wall space do you have? Probably a lot. Think about how much of it could be used for hanging brooms, mops, hair gadgets, clothes, kitchen items, whatever! Pinterest is full of clever wall hanging ideas that don’t break the bank!
  8. Organized people adjust their shelves. Have you ever been bugged by things not fitting in medicine cabinets or bookcases? Most of the time the shelves are adjustable. Take a little time to prioritize what needs to be shelved and get the shelf heights you need to get things on the shelves and out of sight!
  9. Organized people think in zones. Arrange things by use. A pet zone-leash, waste bags, flashlight, treats. In your pantry put all the school lunch items together for easy grabbing in the morning or the night before (or for your kids to make their OWN lunches!) The more your arrange your life to take shorter steps, the less stressed you will be searching for an item every time you need it.
  10. Organized people never miss something they toss. Attaching emotions to things makes getting organized almost impossible. I experienced this when I had to clean out my grandmother’s house when I moved in. The hardest was getting rid of pictures. And some of them were pictures of people who no one in my family could name! Once you make your goal a happier and more organized home, you’ll get rid of the clutter with ease.
Reactive Attachment Disorder can rock your world every minute of every day. I lived with holes in my walls and August had a room with a mattress on the floor and a dresser with no knobs for longer than I can remember. You give up the illusion of the Martha Stewart home pretty early on. But a little organization can go a long way toward keeping you sane. Please share your organization tips and successes! We can all use some help! (By we I mean ME) Till next time, Shannon  ]]>

Homework Nightmares

  • Homework isn’t necessary in elementary school. Denise Pope, Ph.D. says there really isn’t a correlation between homework and achievement at this age. Kids at this age need free time for play and collaboration and READING. Over-scheduling a child in these years with homework and activities will turn them off to learning but letting them free select will increase their ability to innovate and use their brain.
  • So what is the point of homework? It does teach students to learn independently and quite honestly it’s what’s expected by parents. It is an important link between parents and the school to see what their children are working on. But that is contingent on the parents actually looking at the work. Again, being involved is the key!
  • Decide what’s appropriate. None is the answer for kindergarten. After that 10 minutes per grade level is generally the rule. But it doesn’t meaning filling out yet another worksheet. It can be reading a book with you or drawing a picture. It teaches focus and independent study and by the time they do have actual homework in middle and high school they are used to sitting for a longer period of time.
  • Because middle and high school are more challenging. There is a correlation here between homework and achievement but it fades after 90 minutes for middle school and two hours for high school. After 3 1/2 hours there are negative effects. It can lead to anxiety, depression and stress. Add to the problem of classrooms that spend too much time on testing instead of instruction and over-scheduled kids and it’s all bad.
  • What’s the resolution? Maybe little. Here are some ideas: Look at the 24-hour day and set the priorities for sleep and school and other activities. If there isn’t enough time for homework, a conversation needs to happen. Make a contract that determines when homework happens (right after school, right after dinner, etc.) and sign it. When everyone agrees, the arguing tends to stop. Brainstorm with the teachers; explain your child’s unique situation and see if there’s a solution that works better with your child’s learning style. Maybe a packet once a month will work better than every day or week. It will allow you to be flexible when your child may have better days or back off when it’s not such a good time. Don’t help! As much as you may want to bail your child out, as they get older, they do need to learn how to learn. If they can’t finish, write a note and explain, don’t finish the work. Let the teacher know there’s an issue.
  • I spent a lot of time when August was in school doing battle over homework. We would arrive at home after school and he would bolt out of the car before I would get it in park because he didn’t want to do homework. He would run away for hours. He knew what was coming. It was an almost daily battle. Sometimes I could get him to work but when the anxiety would grow he’d say, “Mom, I need to run around the house.” And he would quite literally, RUN AROUND THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE. He’d come in and be a different child. And we’d get the work done. The key is being flexible. And communicate with the teachers so they know you-and your child-are doing the best you can. And give yourself a break! Till next time, Shannon  ]]>

    Talking About Breathing

    Breathing shouldn’t be something that takes up much thought. I mean, it’s as easy as, well, breathing, right? But our hectic lives and stress and tension can affect our breathing. Our breathing can actually contribute to the build up of toxins in our body if done improperly which can make our ability to cope even harder. The thing we most take for granted may be adding to our headaches, panic attacks, stress and fatigue.

    The moral of this is we can just breathe. HOW we breathe matters. Being more intentional about our breathing can help us feel better, not just stay alive. Below I’ve included a couple of breathing exercises to try. I first tried this for help with sleeping and was amazed when it WORKED! I was a skeptic but it was one of the only ways I could turn off my brain and get to sleep. The key is first learning correct breathing technique. When we are born, we breathe with our abdomen; our diaphragm. If you’ve ever taken singing lessons, it’s what they tell you helps sustain your breath to hold long notes and produce a good sound. Somewhere along the way, we stop doing that and start to breathe from our chest in shorter, shallower breaths. If you have the ability to watch a baby sleep or breathe, you’ll see that as it breathes, its stomach moves up and down, not its chest. A baby naturally breathes deeply and wholly. It would be nice if life didn’t get in the way and we stopped taking these blissful deep breaths! This first one is the one I used to fall asleep: Mindful Breath Counting
    1. Practice this exercise while sitting upright to enhance mindfulness awareness. Later, if you like, you can use it in bed as a technique to help you fall asleep.
    2. Use slow, deep abdominal breathing.
    3. Count each exhalation to yourself. When you reach the fourth exhalation, start over again at one. Here is how you do it: Inhale…exhale (“one”)…inhale…exhale (”two”)…inhale…exhale (“three”)…inhale…exhale (“four”)…inhale…exhale (“one”)…and so forth.
    4. If your mind wanders to bodily sensations, noises, daydreams, worries and so forth, simply observe those thoughts without judgments or expectation, and then return to counting your breaths.
    5. If you lose track of your count, simply start over again at “one”.
    6. Continue counting your exhalations in sets of four for 10 minutes. Gradually increase to 20 minutes.
    I promise if you try it to help getting to sleep you won’t need 20 minutes! Letting Go of Tension Exercise
    1. Inhale diaphragmatically (with your abdomen rather than your chest expanding) as you say to yourself “breathe in”.
    2. Hold your breath a moment before you exhale.
    3. Exhale slowly and deeply as you say to yourself “exhale”.
    4. Inhale slowly, then hold your breath for a moment, noticing any parts of your body that tense up.
    5. As you exhale, feel the tension leaving your body. With each exhalation, feel increasingly relaxed as you release tension.
    6. Pause between each breath, finding your natural rhythm.
    7. When thoughts, feelings and sensations catch your attention, simply observe them, then re-focus on your breathing.
    8. Once you’re comfortable with this exercise, practice it throughout the day in non-stressful situations for five to 20 minutes at a time. Then try using it in stressful situations to reduce your tension.
    9. As you practice, focus on exhaling completely: you must exhale fully before you can breathe in deeply.
    Please share your experiences with trying these ideas and their success for you. We can all use a little less tension and some more fresh breaths! Till next time, Shannon  ]]>

    Mothers and Sons

    When I was young there were no boys in the house, just me and my sister. So I became the boy. I could bait my own hook, played soccer, went out at night looking for night crawlers, went ice fishing. Neither my sister nor I were particularly girly (she was a swimmer), no matter how many matching dresses my grandma made. But when I grew up I just assumed I’d have girls because that’s what I knew. And when my friends started having children their first-born’s all made sense…of course! She’s a “boy-mommy”. I just KNEW I was going to be a “girl-mommy”. Now when you adopt, the surprise is gone and when you adopt from Russia there’s even less. We knew we’d be getting a boy. It flew in the face of everything I believed about my path to motherhood. But at that point my path to motherhood had taken every twist and turn it could so I was just along for the ride. But when I saw the video…that face…he was my son. As sure as I was giving birth to him. I was a “boy-mommy”. I’ve said this to friends before but I truly believe that August saved me and his brother. Getting pregnant with Spencer wasn’t planned and if I didn’t have August, I wouldn’t have been nearly as healthy during my pregnancy. Having August meant I stayed active, ate better and didn’t obsess about being pregnant which I’d tried for eight years to become. I am forever grateful to him for that. All along this journey he has fought me. We have fought over bedtime, food, school, medication, therapy, clothing, haircuts, computer time, TV time, video time, girls, curfew, drinking, drugs, and so much more. But mothers and sons. And this mother and THIS son. I know before it’s over this current conflict will have us arguing more I’m sure. And I’ll take it. And give it back. Because that’s what mothers do. And maybe I’m having to do it on a scale many of you won’t ever have to deal with and can’t possibly comprehend. I certainly hope so! That’s the point of this whole blog and my wish for you who are dealing with these precious damaged children. Till next time, Shannon  ]]>