Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Month of Birthdays - What to Do?

October is upon us, and that brings a month of excitement in our house. In October we celebrate 3 birthdays; Harry, Joe and Lincoln.

This month, though, brought much anxiety into my life. As I turned the calendar page over and saw the picture of pumpkins and fall leaves, instead of my usual enthusiasm, I felt deep dread. What was I going to do this month?

I have shared how insanely jealous George is right now. In fact, when I felt the need to write and I told George that I was going to my room just now, he cried and told me this was not my computer. That is his way of saying he didn't want me to go away (although all I am doing is going to my room, right?) Basically, if he is home and I am home, he is under-foot. He is cuddling up, staring, caressing - constantly. If and I dare sit with one of the other children, he cries, walks away and mutters something mean under his breath. I can't even begin to explain how difficult this is for me right now.

For so long, this is what I wanted! I wanted this in Africa! I wanted a boy who needed a momma's touches and hugs and smiles. Why do I cringe inside when he is that way now? My honest nature is to want to pull away, but I know that would be absolutely horrible if I did. So, I am in the stage called, "Fake it 'til you make it". I have to fake that I am crazy in love with him, showering him with all my love and attention until those feelings truly and deeply come. Those feelings are on their way...I can tell.

But, enough of that...not the point I was going to make in this post :) Back to the birthday delima. So, I have three birthdays, all boys in one month. I have a new son who is the picture of the green-eyed monster right now (in fact he is sitting right outside my door this minute asking why I don't want him - time to open the door). We will have three, no four, celebrations this month with presents, cake and attention that will NOT be on George.

I have debated over and over about what to we tone down our birthday celebrations (and believe me, we are already ultra tame!!!). I even toyed with the idea of moving George's birthday to October just so I could point to a day on the calendar a week away and say, "See...yours is coming!" I even wrote an email to my sister and mother in law asking them to not give the others any presents at the family celebration (never sent it, though), instead giving them in secret to the birthday boys.

During some quiet time this week, God spoke to me, "You're trying to avoid parenting him." It hit like a punch to the gut because it was so true. I wanted to avoid the hard conversations, the exhausting energy it would take to go over the same thing time and time again. I wanted to run away from a hard confrontation. Parenting George is major work right now, good work, but WORK none the less and I just didn't want to be a parent.

But God flooded my heart and peace and said, "I will get you through this. Be weak. Be vulnerable. I am your strength." So, I deleted the email, I rejected the thought of moving his birthday up and I decided to celebrate the October birthdays as usual.

Thursday, in preparation for Harry's birthday, I packed the other 4 kids into the mini-van (and yes, we still have the same one, they have been given assigned seats - no joke!) and we drove to the Dollar General. The kids were given one dollar and told to find a gem for Harry. Eleanor found molding clay - great! Isabel found a joke and riddle book - another winner! Lincoln picked up a pack of University of Wisconsin Badger Gum - I had to swallow my pride a bit and tell him it was a perfect choice. George kept looking for things for himself. I must have said 47 times, "We are looking for presents for Harry's birthday.", so much that the other patrons in the store were really sick of hearing my voice! Finally, George gave up and said, "No present for Harry."

Tough parenting stared me in the face. I understand why George is sad. I understand his confusion and his frustration. I wanted to save him from that. But God reminded me that through adversity and trials is how we learn; and George needs to learn a little about celebrating someone else.

I grabbed a WI keychain he had been eyeing and purchased it thinking that I could talk to George about it at home. And we did...we talked about birthdays, what they are, why we celebrate. I told him that Harry would chose the dinner, that I would make him a birthday cake and then Harry would receive a few presents from those who love him. I then explained how we ALL would get to each the cake (that brought a big smile).

Friday came and we all gave Harry our birthday greetings in the morning. Off to school, all was well. Joe decided to come home early (yea!!). We had an early dinner, everything was great. Time for presents. I gulped and said a quick prayer, "Lord, give me the tools to be a good parent tonight." And God came through (why do I still have doubt?). In some spiritual way, He ministered to George through all the gift giving and he was remarkably calm and pleasant. I have to admit he was scared of the bb gun, though. But, when we assured him that Harry would not shoot George, he was fine. We sometimes forget the hard things he has seen.

The cake was a huge hit. I made a pudding poke-hole cake. Remember those? We finished off the evening cuddling on the couch watching Cars, and of course, George was nuzzled in right against me. He got made when Isabel came over to sit on the other side, and even more mad when Lincoln eventually came over to sit on my lap. I looked at him and said, "I want you to stay, right here beside me." He smiled and sighed and stayed.

I promised my kids that night, in my heart, that I would always be a parent...even when it gets hard or I am scared of what that will look like. And I know I have a faithful father in heaven who will guide me every step of the way.

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