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Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Letter to Gabby, On Your Birthday

Dear Gabby,

This week marks your 16th birthday.  The enthusiasm and zeal for life that you have is just as strong as it was when I met you six years ago. The 9 year old that came into my life demanding to know if I knew the song "I Will Survive" is still there and it warms my heart.

I appreciate that you make the effort to continue to include me in your life.  You've always been special that way.  I'm enjoying watching you become an independent young woman and I can't wait to see what you accomplish as you become an adult.  A few weeks ago you included me in your choir concert where you sang the first part of "Tears in Heaven" as a solo. I cried in the audience. We've always bonded over music and I remember hearing this song shortly after you moved home to your Mom and feeling a new connection to the pain of the song.  I feel blessed that I didn't loose you, but I do understand the pain of wondering what it would be like to come across your child after they have left you.

You made sure I didn't loose you. I knew that was one of the things I could count on, that you would find me even if I couldn't find you. Its a privileged to be in your life. I know you have wondered if I miss you or think of you. And I do. I miss you so, so much. There are days I wish you could still be a permanent part of our family. I long for when you are an adult and can choose to spend as much time as you wanted with us. I know watching my children live the life you had with us, is sometimes very hard and hurtful.  But I so love you for accepting it and not rejecting us because of it.

I hope you have a very happy birthday. I will be thinking of you.

Love,

Mom

"Tears In Heaven" by Eric Clapton


Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong
And carry on
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?

I'll find my way
Through night and day
'Cause I know I just can't stay
Here in heaven

Time can bring you down
Time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart
Have you begging please, begging please

Beyond the door
There's peace I'm sure
And I know there'll be no more
Tears in heaven

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong
And carry on
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven

Friday, March 10, 2017

Success

I ordered my cap and gown last week.  I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it felt.  I got a little teary about it. I am almost done. The late nights and weekends writing, reading, and watching lectures are almost done. I have 1 more month of real work and then a month later, my graduation ceremony.

Pretty often in my life people have told me aim lower in my goals. They were afraid that missing the mark, would mean heartbreak for me.  And I have. I have missed the mark a few times. I've failed spectacularly! But I like to think those failures have allowed me to accomplish so many other things.

15 years ago I failed at being able to apply for medical school. Then I failed at applying to law school.  The two failures were related, my GPA was so low from the Organic Chemistry, and Math I bombed that even though I did decent on the LSAT I was rejected from all 7 law schools I applied to. 

In a few months, I will graduate with a masters degree from one of those law schools. With a 3.967 GPA. While working full time AND mothering 5 children.

So what does that tell us?

The measurements others use to gauge the ability to succeed might be way, way off.

Sounds familiar doesn't it?

On paper my kids seem to be in really rough shape. Reactive Attachment Disorder. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Multiple placements. Exposure to Domestic Violence. Neglected. History of anxiety and depression.  We have IEPs and 504 Plans.

None of that measures our ability to succeed as a family.

It has been (and will be) hard, hard work to keep them stabilized and healing. We've had to learn an new way of parenting. We've had to be vulnerable on a daily basis. We have made mistakes. At times we fail, spectacularly.

But my kids are doing phenomenal and unless I pointed out the signs of their trauma history, you would likely have no idea. (Well maybe you would as fellow parents of kids with trauma...)

Don't be afraid to aim high. When I walk across the stage to receive my diploma in two months, the family I aimed for will be in the stands cheering. Its just as much their success as it is mine.