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When I Can’t Protect You

A quiet ride home from practice tells me everything. She cannot open up or it will spill out. It breaks my heart. I find myself peppering her with question after question. It is like I just can’t stop myself. I am desperately wanting to be her safe spot. I want to hold her while she cries her tears.

She holds firm and it is becoming clear to me. I cannot fix this. I cannot plow my way in and give her comfort. I must let her keep it here, in a secret spot of her head where no one knows her doubts but her. She must make this hurdle and grow inside. I must pepper her with tools of encouragement and success. I must be her biggest fan.

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In the classroom they talk about the shooting that happened a few miles from our house. In our old neighborhood, a nice neighborhood. The shock of it still rippling through whispers and fear. Do I know you neighbor? Do I trust you?

He asks me if I am mad at him for talking about the shooting. With the heaviest of hearts and a sigh that escapes my lips, I explain my no. I’m hurt for him, for us. As he stands here talking about what he heard at school I am incredibly aware that he is growing up. That I can no longer shield him as fully as I have from the world. It’s hard. It is scary.

I want him to believe for one day longer that the good in the world far outweighs the bad. You can always find something good.

*  *  *

He comes home from men’s group and talks about the folly he sees in the idea that as a man you are the protector. He glances over his shoulder and sees clearly that Zach’s death humbled him in the hardest of ways.

Together we wrestle with wanting to be both protected and protector.

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Always. Here. From there.


Always cheering for you.

With Love,

~ Me


Late Night Confession

“Mom, I have something I really need to tell you. I’ve been avoiding it but I need to tell you about it.”

Hesitantly I whisper… “um, okay.” It has already been a long night. I’m worn. I’m emotionally beat down. I am begging myself… don’t be triggered, don’t react.

“Mom, at Dan and Connie’s…um…one time Dan was mad because someone chewed on the wood furniture. He was really mad. He said whoever did it got something, um, taken away.”

“A consequence makes sense. Was it you?” I ask while trying to hold back a smile. This 9:30 p.m. confession has been gnawing at him for more than 4 years. That’s a lot of weight of something so silly right now as teeth marks on furniture. (Says the reactionary crazy parent who probably has and will overreact to something as silly as this again soon…)

“Yeah. I chewed on the wood part of the bed. I let Dan blame the other foster boy. I was scared but I didn’t want to get in trouble. I feel bad.”

I give him a hug and a friendly head rub. I smile and I assure him that it’s okay. That I get it. He didn’t want to get in trouble. And we agree now he probably wouldn’t do that. Well he might. “Mom, how mad would you be?”

Forcing myself to stay in the light of the moment I give one more hug and kiss and bid him good night. Thankful for his confession. One less thing in his backpack to carry around.

One more tiny inch of healing reclaimed.

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Self-Confidence Booster & Thankfulness

At the onset of November I thought it would be fun to get 30 note cards and rather than list things we are thankful for we would write notes to 30 individuals that we are thankful to have in our lives. It was a bust. Seriously. Great idea. Bad timing.

Steady could not wrap her mind around why she would be thankful for people in her life. Strong was eager to write kind notes to his friends and our neighbors and cranked out seven notes in one sitting. His notes were full of kind words about how his friends served him specifically.

This was my quiet ah-ha moment.

It is hard to be thankful for good when you cannot find the good in you. When good is defined as getting your way and not by positive character traits.

So we are switching gears. This November we are thankful for so much but we are documenting it in a different way. We are document what we are thankful for as it relates to us as individuals. We are using this awesome self-esteem building tool: Confidence Journal

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What activities does your family do to promote thankfulness? What about self-esteem?


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