Thursday, February 2, 2017

My Resolution: Four Years Late

Yes. That IS a toilet in our sunroom.

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.

Can you relate? Join the Conversation, here,


  1. Getting a half-bath on our first floor is the best thing ever! Congrats on taking it off your list!

    1. Thanks, Kristin. The bathroom isn't what one might actually call "completed." But, we've been able to update it on a budget. It has taken us several months so far. Everything works in there though and that's been a pleasant (and recent) change.

      Congrats on your half-bath!

  2. I love this, because I think this is going to be our house! I had SO many grand plans when we moved in last summer, and here we are 6 months later and I am just starting to accept that it's going to take awhile. But thats okay, because we are prioritizing other things :-)

    1. My best advice, Erin: Do one room that you like to spend time in. When you get quiet (which I'm sure is rare) quickly declutter that one room and enjoy it as if it's the entire house.

      This advice is coming from hindsight. It took me a couple years before I even thought to begin and complete one room.

      Great luck! I have to remind myself what an incredible blessing our place is. That doesn't mean it isn't a lot of work. I currently have more paint clothes than I have regular clothes.

  3. Gah, it makes me feel SO sad when parents and kids don't get what they need or when a school isn't following an IEP. As a SpED teacher, it breaks my heart.

    1. While it is heartbreaking, Divya, I will say the time was good for my son and me. He's now in a very successful placement, but I think the 17 months or so of being homeschooled helped him lower his stress and feel more connected to me. His stronger family connections and lower stress level have contributed to his overall health and success in school.

      Still, I wish I could fight for all students not getting their needs met. Our children are so precious!

      It's great to hear about teachers like you who are doing great work with children who have unique needs. Thanks for connecting!

  4. It sounds like you've done a fantastic job! We started renovating our bathroom about a year and a half ago and it still isn't finished...!

    1. We're right with you, Dominique! Several months in, I wish it would just finish itself.

      Thanks for connecting!

  5. Because you needed to reprioritize so and because you did it so well, I'm actually impressed that this too you ONLY 4 years. Go, you!

    (And would you teach me how you did it?)

    1. Thanks, Lori!

      You don't want me to teach you anything. In fact, I should take up yoga so I can be more calm in my overall approach to life. For the past few months especially, it's been a challenge to be present with my children, homeschool, manage unique needs, and update our house DIY style (which is our style because of our budget).

      Actually, writing that is exhausting. While I feel as if I've been really busting it out lately, there is now an end in sight. But I've had to apologize to my precious people. A lot.

      Still, the improved space IS lowering our stress. So I still don't know the balance.

  6. I love it when we realize what could be seen as our failures are actually our successes. Prioritizing, especially in families like ours that have some special needs, is so important. And it rarely looks like everyone else's list of priorities! Congrats on advocating for you kiddos AND getting your walls painted!

    1. Thanks for connecting, Kathie. You're right- our priorities are very different from most other families we know. I really don't think many people get it at all, but we have quite a few friends who listen to us and that means a ton. Best to you and your family!

  7. I'm with the blogger who said that sometimes what we deem our greatest failures are actually our greatest successes. I understand. Life gets in the way sometimes and we have to put off until tomorrow what we'd like to accomplish today. Be proud for making strides, however small, because you're on the up and up :)

    Also as someone who lives in a glorified closet, I've had to be very tidy with my messes, but I love with a packrat so sometimes that's difficult. We do what we can, right? :)


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