Broken… Ever look at your house and realize how many things are broken? Most parents can respond…”Well, that’s just kids” and my quick retort back is “That’s not MY Kids”. Truth. Fact. My chosen life.
In my life before children I was never the perfect housekeeper and I believe it’s okay for a house to feel clean but lived in. Face it, children make messes and things get broken so we clean up, repair and life goes on. When I became a single mom after my divorce, it got harder as I was always more of a girly girl who could at the most occasionally paint a wall. My youngest daughter took the lead as my fix it up person and she rocked it…she knew her tools and enjoyed the challenges. But then it happened.
I adopted my boys from Foster Care, and my family grew into 4 young adults and multitude of animals. My time became even more limited as I raced into each day determined to meet everyone’s needs and demands, leaving my home a little more dusty and a little more neglected. It occurred to me one day, the amount of broken home items and projects had tripled since I had adopted. Why? Maybe because after years in growing up in Foster Care it was hard to judge value and most things were considered “disposable” and “replaceable”. My son’s had trust accounts from their Social Security Benefits while in care, so every time the amount reached $1000 they had to spend it down. Caseworkers were constantly asking the boys for lists of what they wanted: top line electronics and clothes but then every time they moved placements those same items were often lost, missing or stolen. That cycle continued and continued as they both were in Foster Care most of their lives.
I promised myself when I wrote this article I would actually count what has been or currently is broken( just the most outstanding of course). Not to embarrass my children but to help others understand more the behaviors that come from being raised in care and how the angst filled years of a teenager can induce the desire to just break things out of frustration and anger. Also how the normal life of any teen can add to your tally of brokenness.
In the last 5 years through while raising all my teens we have been through 5 broken beds, 9 broken doors, 6 broken door knobs, 2 broken couches, 2 broken and chewed on recliners( thank the pups for helping with that), 3 totaled cars, 9 broken or cracked phones, one large broken Over the Range Microwave, one cracked glass top stove ( from when the microwave fell on it ), 2 cracked windshields, 2 broken toilets, 5 ripped screen doors and the enclosure for our pool, 1 Mac computer ( when a coffee cup was knocked over on it), and most recently the front glass panel by our entrance door.
Very few of these things were intentional.They were results of horseplay, carelessness and through some you could see the healing and attachment growing. It was important to look through the brokenness and see the positive , like when I knew they were deeply and truly sorry. This came with time as did the appreciation of value for their home and possessions.The best example I can share is on Christmas eve, I heard my oldest son just singing away in in his room. I thought to myself …he is so happy… finally. Usually he struggles to find the joy in the holiday. As I was wrapping gifts, he comes out into the Living room still singing and dancing. He then picks up a baseball and decides to toss it in the chair (well rather throw it, like a wind up major league pitcher) and I hear a “CRACK” ! Well the rest is history. I go into the kitchen to compose myself and he comes in hysterically saying over and over , “ I am so sorry”. I knew immediately he was waiting for me to yell at him, to replay something I am sure was from his past. I refused. It wasn’t easy as I faced the sink, pretending to wash a dish and holding back my anxious tears. See we ARE human, with human emotions, and my other son had totaled his car the day before so I was running on empty. I reached over and hugged and told him it was okay and reassured us both.The miracle in this was that he truly was sorry, and he cared about breaking something that was part of his home. No longer were things dispensable,and this mattered to him.That was the gift for my Christmas…that in all our brokenness the joy of growth, acceptance and security had arrived.
I have one question… Does anyone have a good handy person they can recommend? I have quite a few things to be repaired.
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