Four years ago, our youngest son was born. My resolution for the first year of his life was to finally organize our house because ordering our physical space seemed like the first step to creating a calm environment to lower our family stress. This seemed like a perfectly reasonable resolution given our three older sons had begun full-day school two weeks earlier.
We had only been living in our house for a few months.The previous owners had (tastefully and artistically) painted every wall in our house shades of purple, yellow, green, and dark grey (many ceilings and most trim included). With the previous owner’s exquisitely chosen decorations and funky mid-century furniture, the house had a glamorous look.
When we moved our mostly-found-on-the-side-of-the-road stuff in, it had the look of pandemonium. It felt as if a McDonald’s play area from the 1980s vomited all over my living quarters, robbing me of any chance of a quiet heart. (Without the aroma of french fries. Which is unfortunate.)
When our youngest son was six weeks old, my plans began to change.
First, I pulled one son out of school because he needed more time with me.
Before the year was complete, it became clear that another son would be joining our daytime circus as his school was refusing to follow his IEP and he was regressing socially, emotionally, behaviorally, and academically.
I didn’t have a legal battle in me and my child needed space to recover from the bullying and abuse he had endured in school.
So, rather than getting my house in order, I frantically managed piles and prayed I could locate items (such as medical records, school paperwork, and clean underwear) on an as-needed basis and frequently reminded myself that it was a blessing I could spend all this additional time with my sons. (It was.)
Four years later, I’m happy to report we’ve painted everything except for one hallway and a pantry.
And we’ve almost unpacked.
Our adoption journey is teaching me that while I can choose my battles in life, I have a limited ability to choose the amount of urgency that comes along with the battles I must fight. Order is important. Having order will be healthier for every member of our family.
And while my heart aches that I haven’t yet had opportunity to provide that order, I’m aware that for the majority of the past six years I’ve been a warrior fighting necessary battles for my family.
While engaged in combat, I haven’t had opportunity to sort through boxes, organize my children’s books, or remember to pay the water bill before our city’s notice was fixed to our front door with bright orange tape warning us we had twenty-four hours to pay it if we didn’t want to be cut off.
So, it’s taken four years. It isn’t done yet.
And I’m exceedingly grateful.
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