We are exactly one third of the way through summer vacation at our house. In general, I am the parent who lives for the summer vacation days! I love the freedom and lack of structure that allows me to scoop up the kids and go on an adventure when the mood strikes!
This is not that kind of summer.
The week before school got out, I realized that this was going to have to be a totally booked up, totally planned out and overscheduled summer if I was going to make it through. The kids just aren’t adjusted to each other well enough yet to allow for many unstructured hours of playtime. Lack of scheduling ends in the three boys playing together, E complaining that nobody will play with her (never mind that she spends all the playtime trying to change or ruin their games) and there’s just bickering and annoyance all over the place. And since I need to be directly supervising all of their play, why not be out doing an activity somewhere so that at least we’re not destroying the house only to have to clean it up again?
So we haven’t had a full unscheduled day yet, and it’s going pretty well. I am booked up with at least one activity every day through the end of July. This week is VBS, next week we’re visiting my first three foster kiddos at their house a little over an hour away, then the kids are going to Grandma’s for an overnight. The next city over from us offers free recreation camps at local parks and we’re going to one of those next week as well. We’re taking advantage of the dollar movies that they offer around here for kids, too. And in August I’ve signed three of the kids up for a day camp…one for ballet, two for soccer.
I’m not a fan of rushing here and there, but I’m also not a fan of refereeing fights between the kids all day long, either. I’m hoping that if we do have these kids for the long run, by next summer the four of them will have bonded with each other enough that I won’t have to have another booked up summer like this again. This morning I saw Jake and E (the worst of the two bickerers) get along for the first time! Jake built a lego castle for E out of her birthday legos, and they were working together to try to keep Tyler and A from destroying it. (Do you see how I can see a victory even among the fighting of the morning?!)
Yesterday was a bad day with lots of tantrums and impatience and a cancelled visit for the little kids, which took away my two hours of respite and relaxation. We also had a visit from our case manager who told me that the kids’ parents’ services were terminated at court on Tuesday. There is a hearing set for November when they expect to terminate the parents’ rights.
The court has been asked by the dad’s attorney to look into the kids’ grandparents as guardians, but nobody expects them to pass the home study. Greg and I are at peace with whatever happens…God will keep these kids here if He wants them here, and if He does that, He will make a way for us all to attach and grow and thrive together for His purposes. They are nice kiddos and have accomplished an amazing amount of adjustment to boundaries and functional family living in only two months. We expect to see lots of growth and attachment and watch the bonds of family grow between us over the coming months. And if God moves them to the grandparents, we will always pray for them and wonder whether they were able to survive that lifestyle intact as fully functioning members of society.
One day at a time. That’s how we’re living this summer. A messy house, a lot more t.v. than usual, more money spent on camps and outings and distractions, and one day at a time.