About Me

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WE HAVE MOVED TO A NEW SITE!!! http://www.mommyhood-shivonne-costa.squarespace.com/ As of June 18, 2015, this is our new location. Please come join us!! I started blogging the week I got married. I thought it would be nice to blog the full first year, you know, to cherish those memories and share them with my family and friends. Little did I know, it was going to be my greatest coping skill for the craziness that comes with marriage! I found writing to be a fantastic way to reframe an ugly marital spat into a humorous event, allowing me to smile at the situation by the end of the post. And now, I am honored to share my struggles and joys of fostering, adopting, birthing, and raising 4 beautiful children. It's my hope that others gain laughter and new ways to see their own frustrating life situation through my writing. Because I love to write! PS, look for me on Facebook - "Mommyhood-Shivonne Costa"

Monday, January 26, 2015

Only God Can Fix A Broken Heart

     I think that my heart is broken. It's impossible to know for sure, because I'm finding it hard to feel anything at all. There is probably worry lodged in my aortic crevices somewhere. And fear. Definitely sadness. Presumably anger. But when you can't actually feel, you can only guess what's truly happening inside based on the clues your body gives. While watching t.v., I notice that my face is wet and that my eye make-up has smeared. Apparently I'm able to cry without making a sound or feeling a thing. While driving to the store, I succumb to the sudden urge to scream at the top of my lungs. The urge passes as quickly as it came, leaving me very, very tired. My already short nails are red-lined and scraggly. Smiling seems.... well, what's the point? All my clues point towards a broken heart.
     Part of me doesn't want to write any of this at all. A very large part of me, actually. Right now, words are not my friends and I hate the thought of verbalizing things that are so painful. In fact, I would rather write about anything else on the planet.... anything at all. Except there is nothing else in me to write.  I can't make it funny and I can't make it happy. My words would fall flat if I tried. And, whereas I would bet that some are tired of my never-ending parenting saga, it is all that I have. My heart hurts and I have to write it. I have to.
     For no reason other than he can, Isaac's biological dad decided that our weekend arrangement is too much. He decided that we will now have bi-weekly visits with our little man. Logic, reason, and understanding have yet to change this outcome. I just don't even know what to say.
     Friends, how will my heart stand this?? How will I face Saturday mornings without seeing my beaming two-year-old scramble through my front door and into my arms? I just don't know how to do this.... how to do life without getting those coveted 36 hours each week. I still cry when he goes back each Sunday as it is! I still ache when I look back at pictures from our last full week with him in our custody. I crave that little boy day in and day out and now.... now, my happiness is once again being shaken by someone else. And we did absolutely nothing to deserve it. My husband, whose heart breaks even more for this baby than mine (a thought that is difficult to even imagine), does not deserve this. My children, who turn down plans with friends on the weekends in order to be with their little brother, do not deserve this. And most importantly, the little boy that we leave frantic, screaming, and clinging to us each Sunday night..... he doesn't deserve this.
     Whatever is going on behind the scenes, and whoever is involved in aiding this negative situation, we may never know. But we are the ones left in the wake of the storm, waiting for the next wave to hit... the final wave that will wash us out to sea, ending our visits for good.
     But in my numbness I still have to say this: it was my happiness that was shaken, not my hope. At every turn there has been plan in place, one that I cannot see and cannot predict. Each time a wave hits, we choke and we flounder and we cry (oh, do we ever cry), but we do not drown. We WILL not drown. I will scream it if I have to, but WE WILL NOT DROWN! I have no aces up my sleeve nor magic ball to turn to. But I do have a hope in a God that has brought me through so so very much. And He has never left me to die. He has allowed pain and more crap than I thought I could handle, but He always saves the day. That's why He's the Savior and I'm not.
     Tonight I am going to try to feel. I am going to go through those stages of grief for the hundredth time, praying that it will be the last but knowing that the answer to that prayer won't change the fact that I have to do it anyway. I am going to lift up all of my children before the Lord, even when remembering Isaac causes me more pain than I can express. And I am going to try to love on my other three as we prepare them for the news. Finally, I am going to remind myself that Isaac's dad is not the enemy, nor are any of the others involved. That one's really hard for me to remember sometimes.
     For those of you that still can stomach all my parenting drama and continue to read these posts of mine, I ask again that you pray for my babies (and the big one I'm married to, as well). Please pray for their hearts to not hurt quite so much tonight. And please pray for Isaac and his dad. I know you may not want to, believe me I know... but when it's all said and done, only God can fix a heart. And what we need right now is a whole lot of hearts that are doing better than they currently are. Big hugs to you all.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

4 Ways to Help Manage Grief on the Bumpiest Road of All

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stupid Idiot

     Everyone has an angry catch-phrase. Everyone. And you know what I’m talking about, too. That string of words that inadvertently flies from your mouth in a fit of panic or rage… the go-to mumblings that pour out of your mouth with no warning whatsoever. It’s the set of words you yell and then instantly look around, hoping to God that no one else other than the Almighty himself was around to witness your less than holy spewings. If you’re reading this and you’re feeling your cheeks burn with shame, then you know what your angry catch-phrase is! But if you’re sitting there feeling angelic, patting yourself on the back for not being a slave to the evil tongue that afflicts everyone else around you, I challenge you to complete this one task: Ask your children what your angry catch-phrase is. Because if anyone will know, they will. Trust me. If they haven’t pointed out your flaw yet, it’s because they’re too busy parroting your words at their siblings (only to get scolded by you for using unkind words…. Come on, you know it’s true.).

     Stupid Idiot. That’s mine. There are others I know, husbands even, (whom shall remain nameless) that require some bleeping out every time they get upset. You know who you are and I’m not here to judge. (Just remember that I’m a better person than you.) But never once did I realize just how much I say these words together until my children brought it to my attention. For one, I’m a bit ashamed of myself - partially because I shouldn’t be yelling this constantly (how old am I, anyway?), but largely because stupid idiot is just redundant and not a good use of the English language. The writer in me would’ve hoped I could come up with a wittier retort to my momentary distresses, but alas, I have fallen prey to impulsivity and reactionary behavior yet again!

     When I’ve spent 20 minutes searching for the car keys? Stupid Idiot. When I’ve lumbered to the top of two flights of stairs with an arm full of laundry, only to realize that the one article of clothing I need must still be in the dryer? Stupid Idiot. When the food scorches to the bottom of the pan, filling the kitchen with smoke, because I was too wrapped up in quizzing a little person on this week’s spelling words? Stupid Idiot. Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you if I’m meaning that the inanimate objects such as the keys, laundry, or pan are the recipients of my tongue-lashing (because once again, that would just be silliness) or if I’m reaching deeper and aiming the words towards myself for not being able to find the keys, the shirt, or for scorching the pan. The two words, in and of themselves, are not all that terrible. However, when put together – and then directed at my adopted, emotionally-challenged, self-loathing, anxiety-ridden children – my “go-to” becomes a “gone-too-far” pretty quickly.

     Two weeks ago we had an incident. It was a frigid morning, too cold for the kids to stand at the bus stop. The big kids took off in a sprint across the icy sidewalk, racing to see who would get the coveted front seat for the short trip down the driveway. Cameron won the race (despite being about as sure-footed as a duck – seriously, he runs like his thighs have been sewn together or something). With a big flourish, my oldest child flung the door open, hip-checked his sister to the side as he lunged into the van, and then slammed the car door in victory. Sadly, he didn’t check to make sure that his sister’s fingers were cleared before doing so.

     I watched as the look of horror changed to horrific pain on Taylor’s face. Her eyes were wide as saucers. Her mouth was open in a silent scream. She tugged her arm, but her hand remained stuck in the door. I swallowed my gag as I ran to her as quickly as my slippers on the ice would allow, ripping open the van door and frantically removing her winter layers until I could get to her hand. It was then, while I was inches from her face, that she found her voice. She let loose a scream that would’ve scared a ghost. After a few seconds, I was half-tempted to put her hand back in the door, just so it was quiet enough to think!

     Once I was sure that her fingers were all still attached, I looked at Cameron. He immediately began to jabber…. “It was my turn for the front! I didn’t know she was there (despite hip-checking her seconds before slamming her tiny nuggets in the door)! She should’ve moved!” And then it happened.

     “Stupid Idiot!” And no, this wasn’t directed at the van door, nor was it directed at myself. This was a full-fledged insult toward my 8-year-old. Other things followed (all the while, Taylor is wailing in the background) like “Why can’t you ever just think? Why do you always have to put yourself first? Can’t you ever just pay attention to your surroundings???”

     Ok, so now there are two crying children, I’m in pajamas with no coat and it’s like -25 degrees outside, the baby isn’t strapped into his seat, the school bus is coming, I don’t know if Taylor needs to go to the ER or not, and, oh yeah, my mother-in-law had the pleasure of witnessing the entire thing. Having an audience for your screw ups is fantastic, is it not? If Children’s Services could see me now…..

     Fast-forwarding a few hours….. Taylor lived, as did her fingers. Cameron made it to school. The baby got buckled in. I didn’t get frostbite.

     I spent some time talking with my son that night. “Cam, I am so sorry I called you a stupid idiot.” He began to cry. “That’s ok,” he sobbed. “I was stupid.”

     “Well….. ok, yeah, that was really stupid. But it doesn’t make you a stupid idiot. We all do stupid things. Take me, for example. I yell stupid idiot every time I get upset, even if it’s at my kids. Now THAT’S stupid.”

     He smiled as snot ran down his face. “Yeah, that is pretty stupid,” he said.

     Two days later, Cameron and Taylor were running for the van….. Cameron won….. the door began to close while Taylor was still in the way….. “CAMERON!!!!!!!” I wailed.

     The door halted.

     “Sorry, Mom! I’m not trying to be a stupid idiot,” he hollered.

     “Yes he is, Mom!” Taylor hollered back. “I saw him!”

     I’m a fantastic mother. Stupid Idiot.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Son Punching Prayer

     Lord, help me not to punch my son.
     It's been a long, long couple of weeks. We survived numerous Christmas parties, breakfast with Santa, a trip to Michigan, a Christmas pageant, two birthday parties for the now 7-year-old (complete with little girl sleep-over), a teething and not sleeping baby, a potty-training toddler, and a sinus infection/bronchitis/pneumonia mix. We made the cookies, we sang the carols, we bought the batteries for the toys. We did it all....
     We did it all and I didn't punch him, not even once. And this is how I know the grace of God is a real and functioning part of my faith, because without it, there would've been swinging and literal gnashing of teeth. So, this is my new prayer. I've decided that I have succeeded in my job as a mother as long as I can make it through the day without socking him directly in the nose. Feeding them, bathing them, tutoring them... these things all fall by the wayside in the light of simply not wailing on them from sun-up to sun-down. And you know, it really takes the pressure off when you only have one goal to focus on!
     When he was caught in a lie this week: "Mom, YOU'RE the liar, not me! You're going to the devil and I don't even care! So is Dad!"

     Lord, help me not to punch my son.

     When he told his aunt that he didn't like the gift she gave him and that he wanted money instead, then proceeded to look at my beautiful meal and say that I made all gross food....

     Lord, help me not to punch my son.

     When he tore his room apart and threw all of his brand new toys into the wall because he got grounded for acting like a complete moron all week....

     Lord, help me not to punch my son.

     When he almost tore his closet door off and spent 15 minutes blaming ME for losing his swim towel....

     Lord, help me not to punch my son.

     When he magically lost the ability to read so that I would be forced to do his math homework for him and I called him out on it.... and he proceeded to stick his tongue out and make rude gestures behind my back even though I could see his reflection in the kitchen window the entire time.... and he lied about doing these ridiculous things and then blamed his sister for them.....

     Lord, help me not to shove my foot so far up my son's backside that it comes out of his lying little throat.......!

     I know.... my son has problems. He has diagnoses and takes medication and needs a great deal of understanding. But then again, the same could be said about Pol Pot or Hitler, and I'm betting that their mothers wanted to punch them, too. Along with a large number of other people they encountered.... and, honestly, there are some people that just need a good knock in the head to set them straight. Maybe there would've been less genocide going on if more people would've just punched these crazed tyrants when they were acting like snot-nosed-imbeciles. Now I'm not going to go as far as to say that my son will turn into a ruthless dictator if he's not set straight, but it's just a chance I'm not willing to take.
     Therefore, my prayer is that the Lord help me not to punch my son.... but if someone else were to punch him, say, a sister or a ticked off classmate, I wouldn't exactly hate them for giving him a taste of his own medicine. Especially since every consequence I've given him in the last few weeks has been met with a nasty "I don't care" or "So what?".  I don't care?? So what??? These may just be the lines I feed back to him when he comes to me crying about a black eye that he received on the school bus....
     Except you and I both know I can't really say that (can I?). I'll have to come up with something wise and motherly and mature.... something that points him in the right direction with just the perfect amount of compassion and I-told-you-so-edness. I have to make myself do the Christian thing and pray for him and all his nastiness.... God knows I've had my own share of it that I've dealt out in my own life at times. And I bet there were people (or parents) that wanted to punch me at times, too. I'm feeling rather grateful that they didn't.
     And so tomorrow I will pray my prayer again. And I will purchase a heavy bag to hang in the basement. And I will hit the bag many times every day. And I will remind myself that my son is not a jerk. And I might believe it sometimes, too. And it will be okay. Everything will eventually be okay.