Everyday Life

Christmas Letter 2017

Merry Christmas, my friends!

It has been so long since I’ve blogged it was hard to remember my password to log in. I failed miserably at keeping up on this space. It makes me so sad, but it also means that life is full and busy and I’m enjoying it so much.

This year has been a doozy- in such amazing ways and in ways that have me wondering what God is doing- what His plan is.

The girls are now in first and second grade, and more and more I realize what a thief time is. Rory is almost to my shoulders in height and Ryder not far behind her. It is insane to me to think they are so old, so grown.

Rory is absolutely amazing in every way. She has matured so much this year and is a calm, quiet force in our family. She is hilarious in the most subtle way. Her mind is still the same as when she was a baby- always taking everything in and pursuing adventure and knowledge. I say it all the time, but she is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, but her heart and her mind are both what send her over the edge with her beauty. Rory is the one who is always tender to her friends and always helping others. She’s got the biggest heart and wants to love on everyone. I always find her at school playing or sitting by those who may not always have someone to sit or play with and that is my favorite thing about the girl. Again, I’ve said this a million times before, but I know this girl will move mountains one day. She has so much drive as well, and anything she sets her mind to she accomplishes- from her school work to her athletics. The newest thing that she is into is basketball and let me tell you- that tiny squirt is a force to be reckoned with. She is hustler. Oh, how proud I am of my Rory girl. What an absolute delight she is in Second Grade.

Ryder is a bundle of joy everywhere she goes. She is absolutely the most hysterical child I’ve ever known. Her humor is not subtle- it is IN YOUR FACE. She can always be found in the middle of a large group of people (no matter their age) making people laugh their heads off. She is known to twerk everywhere she goes and although it is so embarrassing to her mother, she makes everyone laugh while doing it. Ryder’s drive at school is amazing as well. Her teachers brag on her all the time because she is such a hard worker. She is reading like crazy and loves to do math. She is so smart and blossoming at school. Ryder always, always… always always always has a bunch of friends around her. Everyone wants to be her friend and she will never have a shortage of them because she is so hilarious. We haven’t found a hobby she enjoys yet, partly because she is still such a mama’s girl its hard to get her to do anything away from me. I’m hoping in the spring we can find something she wants to do.

Andy switched jobs this year from the paper mill (he had been working paper mills since he graduated college) and is now at Shaw Industries. The man loves his job. It has been so good for him. He enjoys going in to work each day and even has the opportunity to work from home on occasion which is so nice. I’m so proud of him and thankful for his work ethic. He still enjoys hunting and Rory enjoys going with him which has been so sweet to see. Rory and Andy also love to play original Nintendo together all the time and it is the best. Ryder adores him as well, she is just “not into those things” as she would say. He is the best dad in the world, the girls are so lucky to have him.

As for me, I’ll have you know I am PTO president of the girls school and let us all pause for a moment to laugh please…

 

Okay, are you done yet?!

If you would have told me a few years ago that would happen I would have laughed in your face.

Basically I helped pull off an amazing fall festival and haven’t been so great as president since then, ha! However, I did get a job at the girls’ school which is just an absolute dream. I’m working in the office and subbing so it has turned into an almost every day thing and I love it. I have to say- working at their school, whether volunteering or actually working there, has been such a wonderful thing to me. It has given me a purpose I was missing in my life on so many different levels. I could go on and on for the next five days about how much I adore their school. I cannot tell you how impressed I am with everyone there. The teachers and staff are so incredibly kind and the kids are so evidently loved in their school by all the staff there. God has blessed me more than I deserve by letting me work there. It is my absolute dream job and I am thankful every day to walk in those doors.

The highlight of our year was certainly our cruise which was the best vacation of our lives. We enjoyed seriously every second. Our girls are at THE MOST FUN STAGE EVER. They are so big, but so much fun. I don’t want to blink and miss any of this right now.

I don’t want to even include this next part, but feel like it would give our year an injustice so I will.

In October our home was finally open to foster children, we had waited so long for that day! We got a call not long after and immediately took in three precious, incredibly loved children. (I’ve sat here after typing that sobbing for a good five minutes trying to find words to continue.) We registered Big Girl into Rory and Ryder’s school. Rory and Ryder took her around the school and told everyone that would listen that she was their new little sister. Oh, Big Girl. I would do anything to still have you with me at school. She was the sweetest girl. Her smile was infectious. She was so grown for her age, so ready to help in any way to take care of her siblings. She would say things to Rory and Ryder like, “y’all better clean up your mess- you ain’t raised in no barn”- it was so funny. Then there was Baby Girl- with all the sass in the entire world in that little 18 month old body. Ryder, who HATED babies, had a change of heart as soon as that girl came into our home. She always wanted to hold her and laughed at her with her head thrown back. Baby Girl slept through the night immediately and was THE CUTEST. Snuggling her was the best. Then there was Middle Man – little boy was rambunctious and ready to roll at all times. He looked up to his big sister and was protective of baby sister. You could tell he wanted to to be the man for his tribe of siblings.

Unfortunately, sometimes in the foster world things are extreme. And the behavior displayed by Middle Man was just that. He was hurting, and you know what they say, “hurt people hurt people.” For whatever reason (or I should say for so many reasons), he did not take to me or Ryder at all. Physical violence to both of us was extreme- especially to sweet Ryder. Andy and I both knew after Ryder was dragged out of bed by her hair and was terrified to be anywhere without me and with him that we needed to figure out a better fit for these sweet children and for mine. Ryder has struggled with anxiety her whole life- something I haven’t spoken of much here- and has the tendency to pull her hair out when stressed. I woke up to hair all over our shared pillow that night where she had pulled out chunks of her hair. There is so much more to this story, but my heart loves them too much to tell you anymore.

Y’all. Loading those children into the car (because the transporter refused to help me) while they pulled my hair, bit me, clung to me until I bled because they didn’t want to be moved again, was hands down the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I am still heartbroken and overcome with complete despair in that situation. It was a lose, lose – there was absolutely nothing about it that made anything better. There are so many reasons why I know it was my only decision as Rory and Ryder’s mother, but I was also their mother and I love them to the very depth of my soul and would do anything to be able to hold them this Christmas. Wherever we go, I look for them. It is crippling. I wasn’t able to tell them enough how much I loved them because they weren’t with us long enough. I wasn’t able to protect them from more hurt- I caused more.

Since then we have tried to heal- the girls are much better and Ryder is getting better each day. The pulling out of her hair has finally stopped, thank goodness. But me- how do I heal from this?

We have gotten a few other calls, all of which have been extreme cases that we know we cannot take on after such an extreme last time.

This is the part where I simply don’t know what in the world God’s plan in this is. So many doubts and fears flood me at all times. I have struggled with severe anxiety for the first time in my life. Even after all we went through with Rory not sleeping, being diagnosed with ADHD…. even after everything we have been through with Ryder and her heart surgery and every other complicated thing with her medical history- THIS is what has broken me.

I’m praying this next year we are shown what His plan is. I can say without a doubt that everything has made my soul more content and more appreciative of my children than ever before. I treasure every moment and strive even harder to be the best mom I can to the girls. I fail them miserably every day, but I am always trying and always available to them to listen and show them how much I love them. If nothing else, God gave me that.

2017 brought such joy, such sorrow, and such growth. I am so thankful for each day and each person in my life. I was taught many hard lessons, but shown so much grace through all of it by God. How He loves a person like me so much He sent His Son on Christmas I will never know. But, oh how thankful I am because it is the Hope in Jesus that keeps me going each day.

I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year full of so much joy!

Tiffany

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