Today my son is 15 and my daughter is 11. They were 7 and 3 when they came to live with us. My son particularly has had a tough life, having gone undetected in his abuse and neglect for the first 5 years of his his existence, then bounced around foster care for the next 2. My daughter went straight into foster care when she was born. Less abuse probably, but just as damaging to the self esteem and ability to build relationships. Both were exposed to drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. Baggage. Issues. They've got 'em. But bigger than those is their spirit and resilience. They survived and continue to move forward without exposing too many scars. They are my heroes.
Prior to being a Mom I was young, healthy, optimistic, reliable, and successful. Since becoming a Mom I have become unhealthy, old, unable to find and hold a job that suits our lifestyle, grumpy, and pessimistic. LOL.
I am apparently not quite as resilient as my kids. :)
But I'm still kind of fun. I make my kids laugh every day. And they genuinely return the favor. I have found a way to make some money in between therapy appointments, doctor visits, trips to school, and homework meltdowns. AND I let them keep the dog that showed up with bald patches, loads of fleas and no collar. As it turns out he has a swollen heart and a host of other health issues that require a special diet, supervised activity, prescription medication, frequent potty breaks, and is prone to depression. Of course he does. Of course he is. Who wants a healthy well adjust low maintenance pet? :)
Anyway, over the years, over our road less traveled, we've hit many speed bumps and taken many wrong turns. Over time I'll share some of our experiences and lessons learned, but for now I have to say that what has taken us from there to here - from being strangers to being a family - and back up again after every time plunging down - is love and laughter. If you've got those things you have everything you need to thrive as a family. All the tips and tools you pick up along the way are just accessories.