Sunday, February 9, 2014

Its hard being a mother

I know that a lot of people talk about the hard work it is being a mother. But to me, I don't think it is. Its a lot of stuff, it's never ending, but it isn't hard. I have ten children. Eight of them my own. Eight of them raised from birth. Its been an adventure, but for me it's been easy being a mom. And don't get me wrong, I know that other people have different experiences that I do, and I am not bashing them, or anything else by any means. This is just my opinion on my reality. So please take no offense.

Note though, I said I don't think it is hard work being a mother. It is hard to be a mother. There is a difference there, you see. As a mother, you give and sacrifice and do all that you can for your children. You go without so that your children can 'go with'. But even that is part of your everyday life as a mother. And to me, even that isn't hard.

What is hard is when your children are in pain, or are hurting in any way, shape or form. But especially when they are hurting on the inside. When their hearts are in pain. That's when being a mother gets hard. This past year or so I have had to let go, watch one of my daughters cry, more than once, over the lack of responsibility of her father, seen other of my children cry for various reasons, due to lack of understanding, or due to hurtful things said by other children. That is when it gets hard.

The most recent was Friday. The kids called, and I told Mickey Happy Birthday, because two days earlier, she had just celebrated her 11th birthday. I was sad because I wasn't there for her birthday, and when I talked to her, she sounded really sad. It broke my heart, and when she started to cry and tell me that she missed me, I just wanted to curl up in a ball. My baby girl was crying, and I was the cause of the pain. It didn't matter that it couldn't be helped, it still broke my heart.

Micaella, December 10, 2014

A few weeks ago when after Andre left for boot camp, I was watching videos online of boot camp, and I cried. I didn't want some person in my sons face screaming at him. I cried because, while I know it is a necessary part of military training, someone was in my sons face. And I'm not there to scream back at this person. (Andre would die of embarrassment if I was, and did that lol)

Andre, 3rd from left, in the chow line during basic

This past year other of my children have cried because some other kids have hurt their feelings, or their father said or did something to hurt their hearts, and as a mom, you feel that hurt, magnified 100 times. That's what is hard about being a mother.

All you can do though is give them a hug, and give them the tools they need to deal with this hurt. This world is a hurtful place. And at some point you have to let the kids go. You have to have faith that you have taught them the right way to act and the right way to react to something. You have to have faith that everything you have instilled in them these past 18 plus years will override the negative influences of the world around them. You have to be able to take a step back and let those children go where they feel they need to go, and do what they feel they need to do. Hardest of all, you have to be able to let your children make mistakes. Let your children learn life the hard way sometimes. You can give them advice, but in the end the decision is theirs, and they are the ones who have to live with the consequences. You can be there for them when they need you, (as a mother, you are there for them always, are you not?) you can comfort them and you can support them always, and unconditionally. That really is what being a mother is all about.

That's a lot of what God does for us. He raises you in the faith and teaches you the right way to act and react, he gives you the tools you need to make the correct choices, but in the end, all of the choices you make, they are yours to make. He allows you to make your decisions, and allows you to live with and deal with the consequences. But he is also there for you when you need him, (he is there for you always) he comforts you and supports you always, and unconditionally.

Monday, February 3, 2014

America the Beautiful

As soon as I saw this commercial, I got it right away. I knew as soon as I saw this commercial there was going to be controversy.

This country has 313.9 million people living in it. In those 313.9 million people, there are people from all over the world. We all know this. America is known as the melting pot. Remember? That means that everyone's cultures come together in this country. It doesn't mean when you move to America you become a 'Stepford Wife' of the person next to you. When you move to America, you keep your culture, your history, your language (although not as much as the generations go on). Yes English is the national language. But it isnt the only language.

Coca Cola is showcasing what is best about America. Our diversity. Its the same song all the way through, just translated. How beautiful is that, someone took enough time and care to learn the song in their native language. That is a compliment.

For such an all inclusive country, we have a long long way to go.

Well done Coca Cola, well done. Beautiful commercial, beautiful meaning.

Opening my heart

Something I read today really struck my heart. It seems a lot of things on Facebook has had to deal with marriage, and they are things that speak to me. And they are things that *I* can do to make a difference in my own relationship.

Almost 4 years ago I left Honduras and come to the US to work to help make money because of my husbands accident. 3 1/2 years ago I went back home for what was supposed to be a two week vacation and to surprise my husband for his birthday. I never made it back. I didn't come back for two reasons. The first was I just couldn't be away from my family anymore. While I was here in the states I cried every night. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. My family is my life.

The second reason was a lot harder to deal with. While I was in the states working, my husband was with someone else. Then when I got back, three days later, we got into a huge argument, (and I do mean huge) and we separated. He left, he moved right up the street, and the kids stayed with me. My stepson has lived with me since then as well.

Since then we have had our issues, we've had out fights, and we have had our own things to deal with, but through it all, I still love my husband. My husband drives me crazy and makes me so mad, and sometimes I just want to wring his neck, but I still love him. I still believe that he is the man that God has intended for me.

Ari and Lale at the airport
For the longest time I have done any and everything I could do to help him out, and make his life easier. Because I love him. But recently, not so much. I know that love isn't all about giving someone what they want. Love sometimes involves the word no. not just sometimes, many times it involves the word no. And that is ok. When I tell my children no, usually there is a reason, and I say no because I love them. I want what is best for them. Sometimes they have to work for what they want. Here lately, I have begun to do that for my husband. And its hard. Its easier to say no to the children because they are learning, when it is your spouse, they are your partner. What one has, the other one has.

Wait, you say. You are separated, so why do you even care. Why do you bother. When I got married to Lale, I told him ahead of time, this is a forever thing. Make sure you know before we do this because this is what it means to me. And I mean it. This man is my husband. And I am his wife.

Its not ok, but he is forgiven. How can I not forgive him. How many times has God forgiven me? How many times more will God forgive me? So what right do I have not to forgive someone?

Lale, Christmas morning at our house
I am not perfect, and in all of this I played my own part of it. When we were arguing I told him to take his $h!t and get out, and don't come back. I didn't mean it. I said it out of anger. And he left. He said some things too, but the point is, we both are at fault. So is the girl who knew he was married and decided to sleep with my husband. she too is at fault. I don't love her, so the forgiveness is a bit harder. I have forgiven her. By forgiving her, the anger doesn't go away, the hurt doesn't go away. And forgiveness isn't a one time thing. Its something that sometimes has to be done over, and over and over again. Sometimes I ask God why do I have to forgive her - again. The forgiveness though, it isn't for her. Or for anyone else, its only for me. But not forgiving someone, all that does is cause bitterness to well in me. I've read somewhere that not forgiving someone is like drinking poison to punish someone else.

In my heart I believe that we will eventually work our mess out, and we will be back together. There are some lessons that I obviously still have to learn from this, as well as some lessons that he has to learn. In the meantime, I will continue to love this man, and be the best wife that I can. I will continue to pray for him, and for us.
Ari giving her Papi a kiss good-bye at the airport

Friday, January 31, 2014

Love - On a Plate

I am not always a very lovey dovey person. 
I say I love you, and I’ll hug a person, but the way I show my love for someone is buying doing things for them. And my favorite way to say I love you is with food. I love to cook a lot of food, both in quantity, as well as a lot of different food. Im funny like that. I like to plan a big dinner or something, and stress out, and work my butt off, and freak out. That’s my favorite way to say I love you. 

Anyways, Andre is shipping out to basic, and he can’t leave without me cooking for him. But cooking for him, my style. I planned this huge menu and invited a bunch of people over for a going away type dinner. And I may be in pain, and I may get stressed out, but it is all to let Andre know that I love him. To remind him of what he means to me. Of how special he is to me. 

This boy has caused me so many heartaches, and so many tears. But he has also caused me to laugh so much that I have almost peed myself. Every one of my children are special to me. But he was my first. He was my practice baby, lol. When he was a baby, I took him everywhere with me. I remember at the hospital, he was eating about an ounce or so of formula at each feeding, which is normal, and his first feeding at home he ate the 4 ounces and cried for more. I freaked out. I asked mom what was wrong with him. I said in the hospital he only was eating 1 ounce at a time, and he just finished 4 ounces and cried for more. His first feeding home he ended up eating 5 ounces. At 5 days old he was eating 8 ounces every 3 hours, and at 8 days he was eating 8 ounces with cereal every 3 ½ – 4 hours. If it didn’t have cereal he was eating 8 ounces every 2 hours. At his 2 week check up he was almost double his body weight. (He weighed 9lbs 2oz at birth, and at 2 weeks he was 16lbs) the boy loved to eat. 

Actually I should say loves to eat. That is something he never outgrew. In his 18 years he has challenged me, and changed me. I am proud of who he is, and who he has become. He has grown into the awesome man that I saw and imagined way back when. It breaks my heart to say good bye, to let him go. But it is time for him to spread his wings. And the ARMY is the perfect place for him to do that. When you leave the hospital, they don’t give you a handbook that tells you to be ready for the heartache and hurt that your heart goes through as your child grows. 

They don’t tell you how hard it is to watch them grow, and watch them make mistakes. You know that those mistakes are the ones that end up transforming them into the adults they were meant to be, but that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier. They don’t tell you how much it hurts to let them go, how strong the mothers bond is. They don’t tell you how your whole being fills with pride and love and happiness when you look at your child, and it’s the same pride and love that happiness that makes it so hard to let them go. They don’t prepare you for whats to come. They don’t tell you though that as they grow, the relationship between child and parent changes and becomes even more special. And that change in the relationship makes all the pain worthwhile.

New Year, New Adventures

Its been awhile since I have posted, and I have missed it. It used to be that blogging was my way to decompress. To vent. My way to work through whatever was floating around in my head. Then I moved here and blogging was really no longer an option. And when I was in the states, so many other things were going on that I didn’t really have the time anymore to blog, and more than that I had gotten out of the habit of blogging. Plus I felt that since so much time had passed, I felt like what I wanted to say wasn’t relevant or important anymore.  But after dealing with so much stuff recently, I have decided to pick up pen and paper – so to speak – and clear my mind again.

First though, lets catch up. It’s been a couple of years since I have updated anything here, and with so many people in this family, a lot has been going on.

Gisela, now 19, just finished her second year of University in Honduras. She is doing really well – she always has done well in school. This year is going to be an exciting year for her, as she has a lot going on. At the end of May she is due to have a baby. (I’m going to be a grandma!!)  Mid June she has an appointment with the U.S.  Embassy for a visa as the university partners with two different universities in the states and they U.S. universities invite students from Gisela’s university to come and visit for two weeks, and she was lucky enough, and her grades are high enough, that she was invited to join. If all goes well, she will be heading off for the tour in October. (there are no pictures of Gisela, because when she was on her break from University and at the house, we didn't have batteries for the camera :( 


The day Andre left for Basic. I'm 5'11" tall,
and he towers over me
.

Andre is now technically an adult. Last year he turned 18. Its hard to believe that so much time has passed. I remember when I found out I was pregnant with him, and now I am saying good-bye to him and sending him out to be a useful contributor to society. Its funny to see how he has grown. He now towers over me. At 6’4” + he is finally beginning to grow into his feet. (a size 15/16 if you can believe it!) This past year he has also started to fill out, and he is no longer that long thin stick, lol.  Last year we went to the Army recruiting office and talked to the recruiter, and we were told that because he was homeschooled, but not under an umbrella school, his diploma wouldn’t be accepted for the Army, so Andre took his GED and passed with no problem at all. When we went back with his GED paperwork a different recruiter told us that since he was homeschooled overseas his homeschool diploma was sufficient, but because he took his GED, the GED over-ruled the diploma, and now he would have to have 15 college credits before he would be able to sign up for the Army. He decided to take classes during the summer session. For those of you who don’t know they take a normal college class and cram everything into 6 weeks. The same amount of work is expected, the same homework is assigned, everything the same as the usual 3 – 4 month college class except that you have way less time to do it in. Anyway, Andre was awesome, he took a full load of 15 credits – 5 classes – during the 1 summer session and came away with four4 A’s and one B. I wasn’t surprised though, he is, and always has been a super intelligent person. 

Andre and my 91 yr old grandfather.

Jordan and Mickey
Jordan just turned 16, and is at the ago of trying to figure out what she wants to do with herself and her future. For the longest time she wanted to be a nurse, and we have been trying to work towards that with her schooling, but she has recently decided that she wants to drop out of school. Not sure why, she just says because she wants to (she’s homeschooled). Im not freaking out, and doing my best not to nag. I told her that it is her life and the final decision is up to her, because ultimately it will be her that is affected by that decision, but if that’s what she chooses to do, that’s on her. However by allowing her to do that, she will have to study for her GED and take her GED sometime in the next two years. So when it is time to purchase school books for the younger kids, it looks like I will be getting GED test prep books as well. I am disappointed, but there is only so much I can do. She will not be sitting at home watching tv all day though, as this year I will be working away from home 6 days a week, and she will be in charge at home for part of the time, and running our store (for minimum wage) until I get home in the evening. Im trying to figure out what interests her enough that she would be willing to take some type of classes to further her education in some way shape or form. Some type of vocational school something. To me, education is important, and learning is something that you should never stop doing.


Sendy and I hanging out, out back.
Sendy will be 18 in March, and he is entering his final year of high school. He is another one who I am proud of. He could have dropped out – he stopped going for a year in 2011, switched schools and started back in 2012 – but he didn’t. He found something he really likes and wanted to learn, and he will graduate this November. (Schools here run from February to November.) This past year was his first year with no ‘notas rojas’ – failing grades – and I am so proud of him. Every year since he came to live with me he has always had at least one failing grade each quarter. Usually multiple, but with the exception of two classes, he has been able to at least have a passing grade in each class. (the two classes he failed, he took the equivalent to summer school and passed) But this past year there was no failing grade on his report card at the end of the year. Once he switched schools and began studying electricity, his grades have improved with each report card. I told him that this final year I want him to not have any grade below a 75%, and he just laughed at me, but said he would try.

The younger six are still the younger six. Mickey is almost 11, and Isa just turned 10. Johan is almost 9. Lana is 7, Levi is 6 and Ari is almost 5. They each are so funny, and its fun to watch them grow up and grow into their personalities. 

The younger six. I will never get a picture
 with all normal faces and smiles, lol


Mickey.
Mickey has finally started to become interested in being more girly girlish, much to Jordan’s delight. But she doesn’t know what to make of herself. She will dress up, and do her hair, then be embarrassed because she isn’t used to being girly. I do my best to encourage it, because I know she wants to be more girly, but I myself am more comfortable in old shorts and a tank top, no make up and just grunging around. I want Mickey to be comfortable.  Schoolwise, Mickey is doing well. I do a mixture of schooling. I do some unschooling, where they learn different concepts by doing everyday type of things. Mickey will be working in our store later this year as well. She is like another Andre, so many things come easy to her, and she learns things quickly and loves to learn. I can explain a concept to her and Isa, and she will get it right away, then explain it to Isa and help her understand it.

Mickey and Isa




Isa
Isa is still Isa. She is such a goofball. You never know what will come out of Isa’s mouth, and what is floating around in that head of hers. Isa worries though. She worries about things that one normally wouldn’t worry about. And by worry I don’t mean a passing worry, I mean like a neurotic type of worry. She said she would never get on a plane because she found out that if a plane crashes, the likely hood of surviving a plane crash is low. But when we explained that one is more likely to be in a vehicle crash than in a plane crash, she said she would never get on the bus or in a car again because that now scares her. And she was being serious. So we have to be careful in what we say to her, and how we say it because she takes everything to heart.

Johan in borrowed boots
Johan is Johan. He is such a daddy’s boy. If he can pass the day with his dad, working along side of him in whatever his dad is doing, he is happy. If daddy is up the mountain cutting grass with a machete, he wants to be right there with him. If he is fixing a fence, Johan is there with his own hammer and nails. If he is building a house, or mixing cement, that’s where you will find Johan. Johan knows how many shovelfuls of sand needs to be mixed in with the cement, and how to mix in the water. Johan would prefer to be working with his father than to be at home doing schoolwork. So I try to work around that. When his dad is doing woodwork – making doors and stuff, Johan is right there learning how to measure and cut and everything else. Then at home he is taught in the evening, and Isa and Mickey fill him in on what they learned that day as well.






Lana and Isa
Lana is my little model. She loves to have her picture taken and loves to sing and dance. She is very smart, but is funny about some things. When she was learning to read, she recognized so many sight words, then when we began reading books, all of that went out of the window. She began to sound out each and every word she came across. EVEN sight words. EVEN if she just read the word a few words ago. In that aspect, I suck as a teacher, because I don’t have the patience. I get frustrated because I just want to yell at her and say ‘You know these words, you don’t have to sound them out. Why are you sounding them out?!?!’ I have said that actually. But I don’t have the patience. I let it go, and let her sit there and read to herself, and tune an ear to her to check on what she is saying. She does really well with writing words phonetically, and reading the TV menu. She can scroll through and read everything that is on and that is coming on with no problem. So I just keep on keeping on in that aspect, and pray that I’m doing enough. I also have her read to Ari and Levi.


Lana and Isa


Johan and Levi
Levi is a typical kindergarten just turned 6 year old boy. Levi likes to learn, he knows his letters and numbers and all the sounds of the letters. He knows how to write them and if I am right there, he can sound out a word. But I have to point to each letter. He hates to go and work. In that way, he is the total opposite of Johan. When the kids all have to go out and bring in firewood, he goes out, hides and cries. If he goes to work with Johan and his dad, Johan and Lale are working while Levi is busy playing. If Levi could just sit at my side and love on me all day, he would gladly do that. Levi is a total Momma’s boy. He is a cuddle bear, and love bug. Its nice in some ways, but in other ways its annoying, frustrating and Im not sure how to deal with it. (for example, I taught the kids how to play a modified version of kickball, and he was touched with the ball, so he was out, and then it was his turn to kick again, and he couldn’t continue to play unless he had a hug and kiss from me. Once he got a hug and kiss from Mommy, all was right with his world and he was able to play again.)

Johan and Levi


Johan and Ari. One of my
 favorite pictures of Ari
Ari is almost 5, and she swears she is almost 25. Ari is a spitfire. Always has been, and always will. She is going to be an awesome boss of some business someday. Or an awesome drill instructor. She told me that she and I and her Nana (my mom) we were the bosses of everyone. She told Jordan to do something one day, and Jordan said, ‘Be quiet Ari, your not my mother’ and Ari said “I am to your mother and you will do what I say.’ That pretty much describes Ari, lol. She also like Andre, smart wise, but even more so than him. At two she recognized 30 different names of family members, and then when you showed her the alphabet you could point to the G and she would say G is for Gisela and Gloria. Or you could say show me Jordan, and she would point to the J and say this is for Jordan and also for Johan and Jennifer. Now at 4 – almost 5 – she knows more than Levi as far as the letters and sounds. If you tell her a simple word (by simple I mean a word where there are no hidden sounds when you say the word)she will go through the word and can spell it with no problem. She loves words, and loves school work. She is working on the 1st grade level with Levi. I just have to explain one time how to do something and she just gets it. Like Mickey, she is always asking for more homework to do. And when I don’t give her something, she will get out a notebook, pull a book down off the bookshelf and will copy the book onto the notebook.

Ari and Lana

These past few years for me have been hard. Ive been dealing with some things, and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been letting life drive, while I just sit back and watch the view. That isn’t any way to live. Life is a gift from God. He didn’t give us this gift for us to not use it. Sometimes auto pilot is an ok thing to do, but only for short distances, you know. I needed the time to sort of go on auto pilot, but I forgot to take back over, and auto pilot became a habit.

On top of the issues I have been trying to deal with in my life, I also have to deal with arthritis. Many of you know that I have bad arthritis in my hands. I also have it in my feet, in my back, in my shoulders, my neck, my elbows, wrists, and my fingers. My left ankle has no cartilidge in it. It is all bone on bone. If I spend more than 15 minutes on it, it swells up, and I can’t walk. That’s 15 minutes standing or walking. My elbows are so bad that I can’t straighten out my arms. When I sit my upper arm on the table, my wrist/hand sits up at about a 45 degree angle. I can pull on my hands and separate my wrist from my arm, and have it sit (very painfully I might add) off center and not be able to move it. One of things I am hoping for, when I move back to the states is to be able to try Enbrel, or a medication along those lines. They aren’t available in Honduras. Right now I take 5 different medications (2 are for high blood pressure that I have because of my arthritis medications) each day as well as shots as needed. (Andre, Jordan, Mickey, Isa, Johan and my mom all give me shots, lol. It used to be just Jordan, but she wasn’t here one time and I needed a shot and I woke up Andre, and the first time he gave me a shot, he was mostly asleep)  Anyways, with me dealing with the arthritis, Jordan now does the shopping. I write the list and what not and send her down to go shopping, so I rarely leave my house. Jordan has said that I have become a hermit. And I really have in so many ways. I don’t like to deal with people anymore. I don’t know if that is just me getting older, or what. But even when I am at my moms house, I don’t want to go out and see people. People annoy me. But I am forcing myself out of that habit.

This year is really going to be a year of changes for me. I have opened a ESL school, and will be teaching a total of 12 classes a week. 2 per day 6 days a week. In the two hours between classes I will be doing tutoring if anyone needs it. Also in April, construction will begin on a pulperia, which is sort of like a local corner store type place, at my house. I am planning for it to be ready and up and running by the end of June/early July. Jordan will be in charge of that during the day and Mickey will run it some days too. Ill take over once I get home from class.


This January I also have begun the paperwork for Sendy, Gisela and Lale. I haven’t done it before now because with Lale, I have to wait 10 years before he even qualifies to apply for the hardship waiver to the ban. (Because he was captured by immigration the first time he went to the states, he had an order of deportation placed on him. He went back to Honduras in 2003, then went back to the states illegally in 2004, so even though he wasn’t captured the second time, the fact that he entered the U.S. illegally twice, he has a 20 year ban. But after 10 years we are eligible to apply for a waiver for the ban.) This will be his 7th year in Honduras, so I am able to begin the paperwork. Before I can file for the waiver, I have to file an I130, and that takes 1 ½ - 2 years for it to go through, which brings us to his 9th year or so out of the country, then I can file the waiver, which will take another 1 ½ - 2 years or so to come up for review, which takes us to right around the 10 year mark. I had to wait to apply for Sendy and Gisela because I had to apply for all three at the same time. They may be able to get their paperwork done and be able to move to the states before I can take care of Lale’s papers. The good thing though is that once I am in the states, I can get disability, and that will help my hardship case.


Another thing that looks like will be happening is that we may be moving back to the states full time sometime in 2015. I have had the land for sale for awhile, but not actively trying to sell it. Andre had asked me not to sell the land because he wanted to have a place to go to in Honduras. I explained to him that in order for me to be able to move back to the states, I would need to sell the house and land, otherwise there would be no way I would be able to afford to move back. He then found out that the Army has a loan program to buy a house. His way of thinking is that for the next year while he is in basic and AIT he will save most of his paycheck for a down payment, then in early 2015 he will apply for a loan and buy the land and house from me, and I can purchase a house in the states to live there full time. I told Andre that he may change his mind, and if he does, and he no longer wants to buy the house, that that is ok, its not an obligation. After being in the Army for a year or more, he may not want to live here, or whatever. So either until he buys the house, or tells me he is no longer interested in it, I am holding the land for him.  The little kids are excited and hopes he buys the house – for a couple of reasons. 1 – so that they can be back in the states, land of Olive Garden, Dominoes and Publix, lol and 2 – so that when we come back to Honduras to visit, our house will always be here for us.