November 19, 2017

The Respect Effect

When my eldest son turned twelve - or shortly thereafter - my competency as a mother turned sour. I dare say is curdled.

With my other three kids I still knew what I was doing, but when Eugene and I were in the same room, all 12 years of my parenting experience flew out the window. I didn't even know who he was anymore. It was as if my son had gone and this long-haired attitude in a T-shirt stood in his place.

I missed our times together. Our talks. Our laughter. 

I missed my son.

So I prayed. A lot. And talked to a lot of friends who raised sons. And the Lord led me to read this book, by the same author who wrote Love & Respect (the book that saved many of our parents' marriages).

The respect effect.


Who knew that our sons, like our husbands, need our respect more than they need our love? Who knew that we wound them with our disrespect to the same degree that they wound us when they act unloving? Who knew that our husbands and sons don't respond to their wounds the way we and our daughters do? Who knew that boys and men act unloving when they are wounded, which makes us act disrespectfully toward them, which wounds them, which make them act unloving, which makes... you get the picture.

Who knew? Certainly not me!

Now, I know.

I'm telling you, this book blew my mind. It absolutely restructured the way I relate to all of my sons. Most of all, it gave me back my son Eugene!!! I can't say enough about this book. Mothers of sons of any age, please read this book.

NOTE: All of these pics are taken with food! Haha it made me laugh to realize it. I don't know whether it's because my boys are always eating, or if mealtime is the only time I sit down! Or both! Haha.

ALSO NOTE: In one of the pictures, Zion is seated with his buffet selections - marshmallows, pound cake, Doritos, meatballs, and a coke. There couldn't be a more perfect sampling of a 10-year-old boy's idea of a good meal. Ha!

November 01, 2017

To be understood

Jubilee is adopted. Sometimes that makes her feel special, other times embarrassed, and still other times confused. She wonders, Am I Chinese? Am I American? I tell her she is both! She's Chinese-American! She smiles. She likes that. I go on. You have the rich history of your Chinese ancestry, I tell her, and the bright future of your American citizenship. She likes that too. She leans against me and takes my hand, and I kiss her silky black hair. We sit in contemplative, companionable silence.

The truth is, as hard as I try, I'll not fully understand my daughter. Honestly, how can I? My birth mother packed my lunches with love notes and is, even now, just a phone call away. Jubilee's birth mother will remain a mystery for the rest of her life. My birth father threw me up into his arms when he got home from work, and grilled me a delicious pork chop just last summer. Hers?

Then again, I also don't have parents who chose me in an email. Who raised money to bring me home. Who sent me care packages to my orphanage. Who signed a piece of paper they didn't have to sign - while I sat shivering and crying in their strange arms - promising to love me forever no matter what.

Her story is layered and complex a gourmet dish. My story is greasy-spoon diner-fare in comparison. I will never see life the way she does.

Which is why I'm so glad she's had a string of people in her life with whom she can feel completely understood. I pray she will always have friends like these!

Sweet Xan, who has become something of a big sister to Jubi. Xan was also adopted by a petite blond lady. 
Cutie pie Kai. He had just been adopted in this pic. Jubi and I went to be with my childhood friend Kathy and her husband Nick when they came to adopt Kai last month. Look at the little bond between these two already!
Jubi on Halloween with her friend Lily. Lily's mother and I were talking about these two long before they came into our arms.
Jubi sitting by her friend Maggie at a princess party. Maggie is Xan's little sister.