*guest post from Mommy’s Bliss brand ambassador Meg S.
If life were to be compared to a board game, I would blend “LIFE” + “Monopoly” + “Chutes and Ladders”. LIFE, the expectations of others vs our own expectations vs what life events really happen. Monopoly, money and economics and taxes – adult’ing. Chutes and Ladders, each decision is followed by action, resulting in either positive or negative.
No one said, “Hey, Meg, by 30 you will have experienced: a traumatic brain-injury, multiple foster home placements, the pressure to defeat the staggering odds surrounding the stigma of foster children, love and heartbreak through a failed marriage, loss in the most raw form as a mother, and the burden of piecing together an unconventional childhood, among other things!”….and, that is okay, because for me these things have only been a catalyst to my resiliency!
We all experience good and not so great, encounter those that leave a lasting impression propelling us to be a better individual, and on contrast cross paths with people that quickly remind us of what we despise to be. Similarly, as a mother, parent, we have had a parent or relative/teacher/caretaker whom has impressed on us characteristics/ways that have contributed to our parenting. Similarly, whether a parent, aunt/uncle, adoptive parent, foster parent, kinship parent, our obligation to our child/the child in our care is to love them so fiercely, care for their well-being, foster their education, equip them with life-skills (age appropriate, obviously). Fast forward to today, at the age of 30 and mom to 3 babes (2 earthside, 1 angel baby), I am so thankful for the impact of those that invested in my life – teachers, foster parents, mentors, pastors, friends!
If motherhood were to be compared to a children’s book, I would blend “Tu Eres Mi Te Quiero” + “I’ll Love You Forever, I’ll Like You For Always” + “The Kissing Hand” + “I Wish You More” + “Two Hands To Love You”. [side-note: if you’ve not yet read any of the above, start with one….although I highly recommend them all!] Each of the aforementioned titles boast the same strong reality of a mother’s love for her babe, wanting the best, and giving her all. Fairy-tale parenthood is no struggles, perfectly tailored appearance, extremely advanced academia, unrealistic perfection….and, y’all, it is just that – far from reality. Reality is- children are not adults and that standard needs to be dropped, children are innocent and that innocence needs to be respected, there are days when clothing will not match & baby sib may be wearing a sock or top that belongs to an older sib, date-nights may look different (children tagging along, or date nights being more simpler yet just as sentimental), hair/massage/nail appts may involve a breastfeeding session or a diaper blowout or a sibling rivalry situation……but, my goodness, is motherhood (parenthood, for that matter) such a joy and blessing that no book, no theory, and no person could ever fully prepare one for!
The “positive” test. That first ultrasound and hearing that precious, perfect heartbeat. Those first flutters. The first kicks. That labor. The first hold. Sleeplessness. The milestones. AND, the realization that time is so cruel, does not slow down…..babies don’t keep. (cue: tears as this is being typed) Protecting that precious being in the womb, preparing and personalizing that nursery space, watching their every move at the playground, and preparing them for the “concrete jungle” (aka: adult’ing) — it’s as though life comes full-circle, and we mature through parenthood, all the more appreciating the parent figure(s) in our life!
Foster care, and the stigma of a foster-child, has only been a catalyst in my resiliency. From foster-home shuffle, FINALLY settling-down with a solid family for a longer period of time, and spreading my wings in this big world…..I’ve come to realize the meaning of “life is too short”, “forgive and forget”, “mind over matter”, and “press on”. As a (former) foster child I am a firm believer that when in “the system” use it to your advantage- rise above the pattern of your biological family history & persevere (determine to be resolute)! To truly thrive in such, one must be resilient- WAY EASIER SAID THAN DONE….don’t believe me – “google” statistics on foster children! Resiliency and thriving is not so much a matter of “being in the right place at the right time”, I personally give 100% credit to my Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ. I knew what I knew about my biological family history and I knew I wanted to “press on”– as I have said before, “I learn from others, either what I aspire to become or despise being……literally, make wise choices!”! I guess there is truth behind “life is too short”, “forgive and forget”, “mind over matter”, and “press on” — because, if one were to wallow in the absence of family and not understand or give a default credibility to the social services system (yes, I am absolutely not the biggest fan, but they are not 100% bad- “the system” is kinda messy but there is some good in “the system”!) they would in a sense “victimize” themselves, versus saying “hey, yeah my childhood was shaken and my family situation is ever changing going from home/family to home/family, but I know that I do not want to live in the pattern of my biological family history!”….resiliency, folks! And, although I was never OFFICIAL with my “forever family” (I was never adopted) I am thankful for my foster family that became family.
I am Megan, former foster child that in breaking the pattern(s) of my biological family I became a statistic (in the most positive way) — mother, wife, college graduate! If foster-home shuffling, scraped knees and broken bones, heartbreak and love, being benched by coach and later being called on to play, school transitions (private and public school), being the first in my bio-family to complete college, various jobs I’ve held (grocery store, babysitting, nannying, retail, hospitality, marketing for a Shark Tank company), and the emotions of these life events each occurred only to prepare me for the joy that brims my heart – overcoming each daunting stigma and statistic…..I can only smile, open-arms-embracing each hurdle, for each has only intensified the goodness of my resiliency.
As aforementioned, if life were to be compared to a board game I would blend LIFE + Monopoly + Chutes and Ladders. I, and the rest of humanity, have carried the weight of the expectations of others while holding the weight of our own expectations, only to have both altered by the impact of reality. I, and the rest of mankind, were rudely awakened by adult’ing as we spread our wings into adulthood. And, whether taking ownership and responsibility for a decision, everyone has no option but to face the action or result (positive/negative) of every decision. As a “domestic engineer”, hands-down bestjobever, I gladly continue to play-on in my “board game”……momma, laundress, culinary extraordinaire, chauffeur, bodyguard, storybook reader meets impromptu teacher, owie kisser (since, mommy makes everything better), chief hug-giver and hug receiver….among many other “titles”/”tasks”!
Everyone, person and parent, has a different rhyme, rhythm, theory, method, jive, and groove……I say, play-on!
Keep up with Meg via her Instagram-blog, @eastofseventh!
Photography: Hannah Pierrou Photo & Design