Well, maybe not quite. Mainly, I just regretted deleting my old blog, and I thought it would be better to have almost a year’s worth of my old blog posts back up, in case anyone would ever want to have a look at them (does that seem incredibly vain?) Plus, a couple times in the past year, I’ve wished I still had my blog, so I could post some thoughts that were burning a hole in my brain at the time (that’s not nearly as painful as it sounds). So, here I am.
I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up. My intention is not to post very often. If at all. I simply can’t ever go back to ‘full-time’ blogging; I have too many other things going on in my life. I expect I’ll be one of those frustrating bloggers who posts just seldom enough that you want to say ‘the heck with it’, but then a new post appears. But such is life in blog-space. Actually, to be perfectly candid, even as I sit here saying I don’t intend to post much, I have half-a-dozen ideas for new posts floating around in my brain. So, maybe some stuff will trickle out here and there, until the flow of ideas dries up, and then I’ll go dormant for a while again, until something else gets stirred up in my brain.
Since I’ve been gone for awhile, I should probably take just a moment to bring you all up to speed on what all us Joneses are up to these days, and where we’ve been.
Molly and I, and virtually all of our kids (except 8M) have spent time in counseling over the past year-and-a-half (I talked about it some here). I think it’s been helpful. At least, we’ve got a few more tools for how we relate to each other that, if we remember to use them, help us to defuse a lot of the conflicts that arise in the course of our family life. Molly and I are learning just to be more empathetic with our kids, to just throw an arm around their shoulders, and ‘be there’ for them. Which, over the years, has been our major failing as parents. It isn’t always easy to do, with so many of them. But it’s necessary; and worth the time and effort. And we’re getting better at it. I think.
Molly and I continue to be madly, passionately in love with each other, even after nearly 28 years of marriage. I can’t help it; she’s the most amazing woman in the world, and the hottest 50+ year old any of you will ever meet. . .
1F is steadily getting her life back on track, although not without some struggle. She’s been back in school, taking single classes for the past year, to get herself re-acclimated to the whole ‘school’ thing. Her daughter is now two-and-a-half years old, and cute as a bug. The ‘open’ adoption is still working really well for all parties concerned.
2F has spent the last year doing mission work in Detroit. She has tended to get short shrift here, and in real life, just because her siblings on either side of her have drawn so much attention. And that has left a few scars on her psyche. Under the age of ten, she was probably our most difficult child, but these days, she’s quite a shining star. Once her mission year ends this summer, she’ll come back to finish her schooling and see what life has next for her.
3M is doing much better. Since he graduated from high school, he’s spent a fair bit of time getting educated by The Universe. The first year after high school was especially painful for us to watch. But the past year has been better. He’s held a job, and has mended fences on several of the relationships he’d trashed. And our relationship as father/son is as good as it’s been in a long, long time. There’s still lots of room for him to make some better decisions for his life, but for now, he seems to slowly be absorbing the lessons The Universe is giving him.
4M has had a bit more adversity over the last year than what he’d been used to. He’s still an A-student, star athlete, All-American Boy. But, whereas a year ago, he had colleges knocking on his door to come play football for them, his junior season pretty much ended those prospects. When you play quarterback, you can be a great athlete, but if you make bad decisions under pressure, it doesn’t go so well for you. We’ll see how his senior year goes, but now he knows that he’s much more likely to earn his living at something he learns in the classroom than he is on the football field.
5M has also had more adversity than he’d bargained for, starting in 8th grade, when he was peripherally involved in some trouble at school, for which he was very severely punished (way more severely than the ‘offense’ warranted, in my opinion, but that’s another story for another day). He has also tended to get lost in the swirl surrounding his older siblings, but we’re learning not to do that.
6F has had a difficult transition into teenager-hood. Aside from being the only girl living at home in a sea of testosterone, middle-school social drama and barbarian middle-school boys have made her life more stressful than I wish it was.
7M, our ‘miracle boy’, is still brilliant, still volatile. We started him on piano lessons six months ago, and he’s already run miles down the road with it. Just like 1F used to do when she was younger, he tends to play the piano for stress-relief. And he’s gotten pretty good at it. The bad news is, he feels stressed a lot. We’re getting better at helping him get on top of his emotions, but it isn’t always easy.
8M isn’t a baby anymore, even though he’s every bit the ‘baby of the family’. He was in kindergarten this past year, meaning that, for the first time since before 1F was born, Molly was home alone during the school day. He’s showing signs of being genius-prone like 7M and 3M. We’ll see about that.
And that’s the short version of where we’re at these days. Life is both harder and richer than we’d anticipated. And God is merciful.