London Fog

I’ve barely had time to process our trip to London. When you’re an introvert, you just soak things up. Tuck your experiences and memories away in your cave, then when everyone else is gone bring them out so you can look at them and think about them all by yourself. Some of the things are shiny and wonderful. And others not so much.

Dan did an awesome job documenting our adventure in a mini travelogue that he posted daily on Facebook page.

But it’s the in-between moments that are still messing with me the more the jet lag wears off.

  • Traveling with a highly deregulated child is challenging. And that’s me choosing a gentle word for it.
  • The architecture took my breath away. I was busy looking at buildings and flowers and “missed” all the Porsches, Maseratis, Bentleys and Yeezys my kids were on the lookout for.
  • People used to look at our family and think or say , “Awwwww”. It was very different this time around. I have a lot of feelings to unpack on this one…
  • The countryside was stunning. I would have thrived in a little town in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but read and write all day long.
  • People don’t know how to walk in a crowd. They are probably also the terrible drivers. And there are a lot of them.
  • There was a definite “feeling” about London–the consumerism and narcissism was nearly suffocating.
  • The weather was, shockingly, incredible. London loved having us.
  • An American blowdryer turns into a blowtorch in Britain. We made some memories…

One small step forward

A friend shared good news today. It reminded me that I’m more prone to vent the negative than celebrate any size victories.

A few nights ago, I was washing dishes. Mr. T came out of his room and asked me to come lay on his bed with him while he fell asleep.

This has never happened before. 

Like ever.

I dropped the dish I was washing and it shattered into smithereens and my foot was bleeding but I just left it all and limped with a shredded foot to go lay in that bed.

Well, not the dish breaking or bloody foot part, but if there had been a glass dish in my hands or I was starring in a sitcom, that would have conveyed the shock I was experiencing in that moment.

I laid on the bed listening to 39 Clues. We giggled every time the voice actor talked in a weird voice or shouted one of the character’s names, “DAN!”

All of a sudden the little guy rolled on his side and wrapped his arm around my shoulder and heaved a huge sigh. He said, “I wish I could fall asleep every night like this.”

This has never happened before. 

Like ever.

After a few minutes I had to return to the three other kids who needed homework help and those pesky unwashed dishes.

The following morning, he woke up in a fantastic mood. He said, “Last night was awesome. Can you come in every night like that?”

And that is the closest I have come to getting an “I love you, mom.”

Because that has never been said before. Like ever. And sometimes the opposite is shouted at me (shoot…see, it’s so much easier to default to the negative!)

Who knows if we’ll ever get there, but I’d like to think that maybe someday that part will come. And this invitation into his room…well it’s a step in the right direction and definitely worth celebrating.

“DAN!”

giggle, giggle

 

Scream louder

I love being screamed at.

Especially while driving.

Thankfully, it was just me and him. This time, his siblings were spared the peripheral damage.

For no real reason. That’s often how it is. There’s no inciting incident, just some bottled up rage that had to come out full force and full volume on the way home from karate.

  • Maybe because he came in 3rd place out of 4 losing to lower belts during sparring practice?
  • Or because he was up past his bedtime last night?
  • Or because he refused to eat the string cheese–I knew he was hungry and so did he!
  • Or because I just could NOT understand or correctly answer the absolutely off the wall question he was repeatedly asking me over and over…and louder and louder…
  • Or, most devastatingly, for no reason at all.

Because something inside him said, “you’re angry, let ‘er rip”. No matter that it’s your wonderful, sweet, loving, patient, takes so much crap from you and keeps coming back in for a hug mom.

I’m learning how important self-care and hope is in this season. I end up the brunt of misplaced and unprovoked anger, frustration and unkindness. And later when I’m still trying to just breathe and he doesn’t even remember doing it…or just won’t admit it. Dear Jesus, please take the wheel! I’ll be curled up in the trunk hiding from the monster…

Looking forward to some more specific answers beyond four letters in the near future. ADHD. It’s so much bigger than its little acronym lets on…

We’ve recruited an entire team to help us from every angle. All the people! All the things!

Yet, this alone space…it’s so loud and complex here.

So until we figure out how to connect and support each other, carry on beleaguered warriors. I have to believe the fight for this one is worth the bruises.

Survival mode

I’m stuck.

And I don’t really know how to talk about it.

We’ve been working for years to try to get to the bottom of it–to find a cause. Which would indicate that somewhere out there is a solution.

But the reality is that when it comes to the brain, there is still so much unknown and a whole lot of nasty stigma that is forcing us to wander a land between called “survival mode”. We know too much to go back, and have come to far to want to. But there isn’t yet a way forward. So it’s one day at a time, one step at a time.

We need a term like special needs. But I don’t think most of humanity thinks ADHD and all of it’s complexities is special.

I wish others could understand that we’re dealing as best we can with an unseen, under-understood and as of yet, un-treated ghost that daily haunts our child. Or not, because somedays it doesn’t. And on those days, we’re cautiously optimistic, but stumped when it returns again full force or more. For no reason at all. How do you study something that seems to have a mind of its own?

I wish we had a term that doesn’t shame or mis-identify, but lets others know when someone is deregulated in the moment. Where we wouldn’t have to explain that if we knew how to fix it we would, but we don’t, and this is his “normal” and we’re all gonna be ok someday.

At least that’s what we keep telling ourselves as we continue to jump through all the hoops, appointments and tests. And dream of that elusive “someday” that gives us just enough hope to press the button for survival mode one. more. day.

40

It flew by like a whisper.

No candles, no singing, nothing to unwrap. Just a huge sigh of relief that there were no surprises and no fuss. Because that’s all I really want–normal.

Just the “Happy Birthday” banner hung up in the dining room, a manageable amount of texts, cards and phone calls from special people, and lunch out sans kids with my guy.

I don’t know why I’ve never loved birthdays. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super glad I’m alive.

Maybe because I’m an introvert, I’d rather it just be another day. And hopefully nice and sunny. Because I’m pretty sure I’m solar powered.

The one day I smile a little easier and get to joke and say things like, “you have to be nice to me today because it’s my birthday” to my kids. And gift myself with a milkshake and skip my morning workout.

It was a normal day–helping a co-worker, getting ready to host a church event in our home for 26 tweens, and knowing from my toes to my nose that God had a reason to put me here on earth. Ephemeral. Nothing you could capture and post on Instagram.

Feeling an abundance of thanks for the glance in the rearview mirror that showed a mountain of daily blessings piled higher than I can see, and knowing it’s more than I deserve.

A fresh wave of dreaming and wondering what’s next because although my life has been pretty amazing thus far, I know the best is yet to come.

Pots n Pinwheels

updated 3.24.16

I know they’re just pots, but they do more than hold dirt. They retain memories and are a symbol of intentionality for our family.

6 Easters ago, we set up a scavenger hunt. The final clue led to our neighbor’s trampoline, which we had piled with four giant plastic pots, bags of soil, flats of flowers, gardening gloves, shovels, trowels, and a four unique pinwheels.

Each child thoroughly enjoyed filling their pot with a lower level of rocks, then some dirt and some carefully, some exuberantly, arranging and planting the flowers they had chosen.

We wanted these planters to be a visual reminder of the fact that Jesus died for us, that his body was placed in the ground, but that he rose again and something beautiful came out of that wondrous event.

Two years later as we packed up our belongings to move from Michigan to Georgia, I could not leave those pots. And it was a dilemma because if we wanted the pots, we had to get rid of the flowers.

I came up with a solution that seemed the best thing we could do with both. We unplanted the flowers from the pots and took half to my sister-in-law’s house and planted them in various spots around her garden and planters–hopefully they would be a sweet memory of her nieces and nephews. We watered those plants in tears that day–such a beautiful bittersweet goodbye.

The other half we took to dear friends who had just moved into their new home and added them to what we called a “friendship garden”. It colored up their back yard beautifully and we enjoyed taking a picture of the 6 “friends” in front of their newly planted friendship garden as a sweet memory before saying our goodbyes to them as well.

I emptied the big pots of their dirt and debris, washed and dried them in the sun, then made sure they–along with the pinwheels, gloves, shovels & trowels–made it into the pod for moving.

POTSOnce we unpacked, I thought the pots ought to be used for a bit more than giant baskets in a ball-toss game on the lawn. Our new house needed to look like us.

After cruising all the ads online to find the best prices, we drove to a few places and gathered a handful of plants and a few bags of dirt. We got out the pots, the gardening gloves, shovels, trowels and watering cans and we planted. Once planted, each child proudly placed their pinwheel in their garden then skipped away in glee.

579599_10151366059186725_706450828_n

It’s been 6 years since we started planting flowers for Easter. Two moves later, our kids are still looking forward to the tradition of planting something new and beautiful in their pots.

I know they’re just pots, but I hope they will last forever. That for the Great Scotts–who have more than graduated from being the Scotts Tots–these will be a constant reminder that no matter where we go, we too, are just a vessel for something beautiful that is alive in us because of Him.

 

It’s always at camp

Paper1Every year at camp, something happens to me.

One year it was overhearing a camper’s heartbreaking wish.

This year, it happened in a bathroom.

At first, I thought maybe my “moment” was hearing my daughter singing her heart out in the bathroom stall. Which, was indeed quite adorable. I want her to be uninhibited in her worship–even if that means belting it out in a bathroom.

But that wasn’t my moment.

As we were scuttling back to the auditorium, a leader rushed up to me and fumbled, “excuse me, could you please come help a little girl in the bathroom?

“Where is she?”, I asked.

We walked as fast as we could…he threw out, “it’s not one of my campers…my campers said there was another little girl in there just…really upset.”

My mind went to the worst place.

As I rounded the corner and reached the bathroom door, a girl emerged. She was almost as tall as me and…well…stocky. It looked like she had tried to part or style her hair, but it just came off like a bad cut exacerbated by a bad perm–like her mom knew she was struggling with her weight or size or confidence and had tried to give her the gift of a salon hair-do, but even that wasn’t working out for her.  She had red “I’ve just been crying but have pulled myself together now” eyes, so I knew it was her.

“Are you ok?”, the other leader asked.

Instantly, she melted into tears again…

“It’s ok”, I told cooed. “What’s going on?”, I asked as she tried to hustle away.

She had a panicked look on her face, but I needed to know she was alright, so I pursued her down the hallway a few steps.

I don’t exactly remember what happened next, but amid tears and a down-turned face, the story tumbled out in bits and pieces…

She had been trying to hold it…there was only 1 stall in there…everyone would laugh at her…she had peed all over the floor…she just wanted to leave…everyone was going to make fun of her…she just wanted to get back before anyone found out…

I was relieved. This was fixable. It was not the “worst thing” as I had imagined like we all do when you hear of a little girl sobbing in the bathroom…

Without thinking twice, mom-mode kicked in and I just did what I would have done for either of my own little girls, and what I would wish for anyone who was in the vicinity of one of my little girls should they ever be in a crisis of this sort.

I asked her if she was OK–she said yes.

I asked her if she was wet and needed to get changed or if she could just go back to the auditorium–she replied, ‘only a little on my shirt, I don’t think anyone will notice it’ before the crumpled-face crying and embarrassment and shame of it all hit her again.

I told her I would take care of the bathroom, then I pulled her pee-soaked, bad permed, camp-smelly self into a hug and whispered, “you’re ok, it’s all ok, you just get back to camp and all you need to worry about is having a really good time.”

Then, I went into the bathroom to take care of the mess. And it was an ocean. And there were only those thin, scratchy brown paper towels that don’t soak up a sneeze and don’t change shape or color even when immersed in a sink full of warm water.

I began covering the puddle with the brown rectangles and watched them do nothing but float on the top. I gingerly stepped on a few to see if that would help the absorbency process along any…

My new sneakers…

The smell of the urine…

My gag reflex…

The camper that had been in the stall during “the incident” and now at the sink asking, “what is that on the floor? what happened?” knowing full well what it was…

Oh God, help me!

“Oh, something just spilled…and I don’t want anyone to slip and get hurt”, I willed the words out of my mouth around the threatening gag reflex. She stood there and watched, waiting to see if I grimaced as I bent down to scoop up the sopping, dripping cloths with my bare hands.

Dear God, give me strength to do this.

Nosey Nancy finally left when she saw that I wasn’t losing my cool and wasn’t offering up any more details.

Four rounds of stubbornly impermeable brown towelettes later, I managed to dry the floor enough for it not to be a slip hazard. And my dinner was still intact.

The leader who had asked me for help was lingering in the hallway to thank me for assisting the distressed camper–apologizing for dragging me into the situation.

“Life is already hard enough for some of these kids…it’s a tough age…camp isn’t always easy…I just didn’t want her to worry about this on top of it all”.

Always. There is something that happens at camp. And it’s usually to my heart.