Monday, 22 August 2011

When it is all out of your hands.

It has been 14 weeks now since we stopped being Kinship carers for my 14 year old niece.  For 13 of those weeks she has been in a mental health unit with self-harming and aggressive behaviour getting worse and worse.  We could never have guessed just how damaged she was.  It has taken till now for me to feel like writing any of this down.  I have been very low and I know that a lot of that has been about 'control' being taken away from me.  My organised and perfectionist nature does not allow me to take kindly to 'failing'.  It doesn't seem to matter how much I can rationalise what has happened as not being a failure, seeing the success of us managing for 2 years where the authorities have not been coping in just these past weeks.  I will keep trying to feel it as well as know it, who knows, there is a chance that it might just seep into my heart that way.

We are still keeping in touch with her.  My husband goes to visit every 10 days or so.  I am in touch with those looking after her but not with her directly.  This causes me just to much pain at the moment.  The only thing we can practically do now is pray for her well-being and for the right placement to be funded for her.  What her social worker and the mental health unit feel is the right place has been found it looks amazing, and covers all the areas that she has got particular problems with.  So far the authorities have been refusing to fund it, however they are presently reviewing that decision and on the 1st September we should know whether they have changed their minds or what else they will offer in it's place.  I would greatly appreciate prayers from all of you dear readers who do pray, that the next step will be His way for her.

It is a long time since I have added to my list of 1000 things to be grateful for but as we were reminded at our church service of the importance showing our gratitude, it seems like the best time to get back on with it!

606.  A day out at the beach with my husband, my two children and my puppy dog.
607.  Home-made plum jam from a friend
608.  A big bag of plums from another to eat as they were and make puddings.
609.  New school uniforms all purchased, labelled and waiting in wardrobes.
610.  A friend trusting me with the most personal of issues.
611.  Seeing old friends after way to long.
612.  Teaching an 11 year old boy how to cast off and on with his knitting.
613.  Getting a gift in the post - see photo below, from him with a lovely letter one week later.
614.  Seeing the Lego all over my sons bedroom floor being played with every day for weeks.
615.  My daughter and her BF bathing the dog without being asked to!
616.  Being completely pampered by my 10 year old daughter, with bubbly bath and foot, shoulder and hand massages. (Okay so I know it was a ploy to get me to let her stay up real late - but it was worth it)
617. The pumpkin plants in my veg patch taking on the forms of triffids and travelling around my garden.
618. My crochet wave blanket of promises which is slowly growing.
619. My dear blog followers who are bearing with me through this barren patch.

To find out more about why it is good to count our blessings visit Ann Voskamps site by clicking on the picture below:

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Friday, 12 August 2011

Musings on Marriage

I seem to have gotten to that stage in life where the marriages of my peers are falling apart.  This has inevitably led me to look at my marriage.  Life has not been plain sailing in our marriage, especially when the children were small.  We watched a film recently, 'Marley and Me', there is a scene in that when Jennifer Annistons character completely loses the plot with her husband.  They have young children and are both fighting against the feelings that a change and giving up of roles brings on.  It is the closest interpretation of one of our fights that I had ever seen - quite frightful.

So why is my marriage still strong 15 years on.  I have learnt many lessons these are just a five that immediately come to mind:
  • Accepting that there will be rough times and setting your mind on resolving to battle through is essential.  Even if this means writing down the pros and cons of making your marriage work and purposely ensuring you write more pros (this might be burying your head in the sand but in a crisis it has worked for me).
  • Make your partner your best friend.  I have been blessed with some lovely female friendships through my marriage, however it was only after the breakdown of one that I realised how destructive this relationship had actually been to my marriage.  If the person you want to text, chat and joke with most in the world is not your partner, maybe it is time to re-evaluate that friendship.  For the last couple of years I have deepened friendships but now have much clearer boundaries that I am willing to abide by to protect the best friend status of my partner.
  • Saying sorry, repeatedly if necessary, it's a biblical principle and though we might not always feel sorry, saying it is more likely to get us to a place where we mean it than not saying it will.
  • Laughing, we have managed to get into some really silly arguments in the past and it has been good to revisit those times and laugh about them. They won't stop happening but it's much harder to have an argument about something you know you are going to end up laughing about.
  • Learn each others love language (Gary Chapman).  This has been so helpful to us, when your love languages are very different (as ours are) it is very easy to think that you are showing your partner love by speaking your love language to them and not theirs.  Since discovering the things that really make us feel loved even when we are struggling it is easy to show each other small acts of kindness in the appropriate language.
There are many things that I know we could do better on, praying together is one of those, we seem to go through spates of doing this and then not but I do believe that it is very important.  Turning the television off is another one or shutting down the computer to give each other your full attention.  It is strange that it is only when you do those two things that you realise just how obtrusive they are.
I know I can only say these things coming from the perspective of having a husband who shares the same ideals as I do.  Where there is disparity on agreeing what is right for a marriage I can see that the hurdles become immense.

The fall out from broken relationships seems to be immense, it doesn't seem to matter what age any children from the relationship are, damage occurs in one way or another.  My husbands parents were about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary when they split!  I would love to know what you think about marriage, what has worked for you?  What hasn't worked for you?  Are there relationships that get so broken that they cannot be repaired?  I do hope no-one reading this feels condemned in anyway about their relationships, that is not my intention, I am just trying to get my head around a subject I seem to be surrounded by.