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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Backing Up To Thursday

I think I left off with Elcie's Middle School Open House. All three girls will be there next year so Rochelle and Rebecca tagged along for hamburgers and hotdogs, games, and visits to the classrooms.

This is Elcie and me admiring the castle she helped build in Social Studies class. I have several other good photos with her teachers but I'm one of those people concerned with the privacy of others and I forgot to ask. If I can figure out a way to add little masks, I'll post them at some point. We ran into her favorite teacher from elementary school who has a child attending Rivera and took his picture with all three girls. Then we did the same thing with her 6th and 7th grade teachers.

I think they all had a good time.

Friday was a little crazy with errands but finally settled down. I spent much of the morning dropping Elcie at school, heading for another school at the other end of town, picking up her partly repaired wheelchair, taking it back to school #1, and then heading to the super for milk and cereal. Then over to the girls' elementary school to drop off money as our contribution to their walk-a-thon. Then home, I think.

A friend of mine from the church called Friday evening to tell me she had unused tickets to the United Methodist Women Spring Festival Salad Luncheon and Art Exhibit (pause for breath) on Saturday. The girls' drawings would be on display. Would I like to go? Sure. I used to be a member in Arkansas but hadn't done much with it here. It's another one of those things I never seem to remember. The meeting date would go by and I'd say "maybe next month". I've been a church member here since Rebecca was tiny so I've been doing "maybe next month" for a while.

Lunch was delicious, everyone (except me) had displayed examples of their crafts, and the speaker was an artist from Ghana , Nana-dictta Graves, who has lived here for a couple of years. She works in various mediums, using non-traditional materials such as candy bar wrappers, seeds, and almost anything others might throw away. She also teaches dance. She's well enough known that a well known actor is purchasing one of her works. Fascinating woman. She talked about growing up in Ghana and her almost accidental discovery of her artistic talent. The link is to our local paper with her photo and an example of her work.

Maybe I will tat something for next year. Not much tatting around these days.

The other photos at the top are the girls' drawings for Easter. If you look closely, you will see Rochelle's "signature" (the little sketch of a bird) in the center.

Elcie didn't want to go (what else is new) so she missed that and our visit to Jim to see the baby. Oh well. Jonathan is looking more human by the day. He's no longer purple at all and I got to see his hair (what there is of it) and his eyes. He's a cutie.

I still haven't decided how much to write about our Elcie. Much of it, but not all, is typical teenage stuff. That's the easy part. The rest involves her sudden sense of non belonging and I haven't put it together well enough to say much. She gets angry and wishes her life was different. Elcie, I wish so too but we love you. She has just now realized that she spent most of her first year in foster care (she always knew that but somehow had forgotten). She's angry about that. Why her and not her sisters? Because they're younger and were born here. She's angry that she's not with her parents. She's angry she's not still in her first foster home (which she doesn't remember but idealizes). And nothing I do can heal that empty feeling. No matter what, it's not enough. Sometimes I run out of patience and good will and get into feeling a little sorry for myself. Never for long, but it does surface from time to time.

I said more than I thought I would. I'll see how the summer goes - part of it may be fatigue and probably most kids wish from time to time they had any parents/caretakers other than the ones they're stuck with.

So enough whining for one night. Today wasn't bad. Rochelle took her to the park and the school playground. Rebecca joined them and they walked around downtown and then to the store. I could drive them but they enjoy the walking and Rochelle loves taking care of people. Rebecca's good about it too.

Giants 4 Oakland 2. Barry finally caught the Babe at 714. I watched the tape because the game and my luncheon conflicted.

Take care everyone.

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Janice said...

Hi Ann,

Nice castel! Elcie should be proud! I'm sorry you are having problems with her, maybe if she had a adult friend to confide in it would help her? Maybe big sisters? It's just an idea, as I have been that friend for others peoples children, or my daughter's friends. Still am with YGF.

What's tating?


Sothis said...

My heart goes out to Elcie. She's faced more than any kid her age should. As one who also learned at a young age that life isn't fair, I can really empathize with her. Being a teen is hard enough without having all those other questions swimming around in your head.

Is there any chance that she can talk to a counselor about this stuff? Or maybe there is a local group that offers Big Sisters who have been in similar situations? Sometimes you really need a third party to vent you emotions to.

Good luck. And it's not whining--it's trying to deal with a hard situation and you are doing a great job.

megz_mum said...

Gosh you are quick with your posts! I came back to leave a comment on your previous post, and here is a new one!
Love the pics - always nice to have the visual with the words, and you are very good at that.
And you most certainly do not whine - you are amazing, all you do for everyone. I really find it helps to talk (or write) about concerns etc, sometimes you get answers, sometimes it confims that what you are doing is right, sometimes it just helps to know others are going through the same, even though there are no answers.
Lots of strength and hugs to you for a tricky situation.

LoisLane said...

I go through this with my own two sometimes when they will sit there and talk about how much better it would be to live with their dad instead of me. But I know it's just talking and idealizing because every time they are with him for more than a weekend, they hate it. But it still hurts some, so here are some HUGS for you.

Anonymous said...

Elcie will get there. It's hard enough being a teenager without all the other baggage she's toting around.

Perhaps she could get involved in a local Big Brothers/Big Sisters Chapter or Upward Bound or something similar? I used to tutor for Upward Bound and I know those kids would often talk to me when they wouldn't talk to parents, teachers, school counselors, or even ministers. I was younger, and I guess they percieved me more as a friend than an adult. And sometimes they just need someone to listen and be a shoulder to cry on.

Your girls are quite the artists, by the way. You should be very proud.

DellaB said...

Ann - I really think you deserve a little 'whine' - I hereby gift you one guilt-free whine per day.


Jo said...

Don't you wish we had a magic wand to heal their hurt? I wish it were something that a kiss could fix. But it isn't and you will continue to love her, I know she doesn't appreciate all you do, but looking from the outside in... they are so very blessed to have you. Happy Tatting!

Anonymous said...

i can't even focus on anything you just said. i'm to pissed. those assclowns over at reject the koolaid are majorly making fun of you, and i'm not going to stand for it. i promised myself i would not go back there, dang it i went back and now, i'm opening my big mouth again, but crickies i can't help it. they are insulting my friend

L. said...

Poor Elcie. I hated being a teen, and I remember I used to fantasize about being left an orphan (since I had no foster family to idealize).
I think it`s good advice to try to find her a "big sister" figure, someone closer to her own age. You are the coolest person she will probably ever know, but it will take her years to realize this, and doesn`t help in the meantime.

Missy said...

Grass is always greener. It doesn't matter what situation you're in and how great or not-so-great things are for you. Something is always better. When you're a teenager, everything is wrong and everything is terrible...until you get older and realize how great you had it. ;)

Ava said...

Great pictures!!!!

And what a great castle!!!

I want to learn to tat!!!! Seriously!!! I have a friend who knows how to do it that lives in Hannibal, MO.

You know, I just finished raising my two moody teenagers. Hang in there. Just love her through it. That's what she will end up remembering.


Lisa said...

My heart goes out to you:

1.) I'm a former foster child -- but now, I'm a stepmom. And my 13 & 15 year old stepdaughters are lovely young ladies, but they have their days.

2.) There's a book you might like to read parts of... I just discussed a portion of it on my blog:

Rebuilding attachments with traumatized children: Healing from losses, violence, abuse and neglect by Richard Kagan, PhD

What made me think of you was how even in wonderful homes, children need time to grieve the losses in their lives.

Paradoxically enough, the better the placement, the more likely the child was to grieve?

Why? Well, it's like "being safe enough to cry."

In a bad situation, the focus is on survival. It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs. "Gotta breathe, gotta eat, gotta stay alive."

But in a safer and more secure situation, some of the difficult and painful work can be done:

-Facing down old demons
-Pulling issues out from the compartments they've been stored in and actually dealing with them.

Maybe your Elcie is just "emotionally cleaning house."

You know... when you clean house and pull all the junk out, sometimes things look a lot worse before they get better.

But they do get better.

Angel said...

(((Hugs))) I wish there was more I could do or say, but I know that you and Elcie will work through this.