I’m glad you are here to celebrate!
Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details here. Celebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link.
Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.
These are my kids.
None of them grew in my belly.
All have histories that don’t include me.
Let me introduce them, starting at the bottom of the photo.
Jordan is 11. He joined our forever family in 2013, when he was nearly 8. He lived for more than 7 years in foster care. You want his eyelashes, I promise. He has a contagious smile. He loves football. His strength is his resilience.
Sam is 10. He was our first child, adopted at birth in 2006. I cut the cord. He has an obnoxious amount of knowledge about trains. His strength is his ability to love people when they are hard to love. His favorite thing to do is have fun and makes sure everyone around him is lighthearted and laughing.
Stephanie is 12. She joined our forever family in 2008 when Sam was 2. She’s a beast on the basketball court. She’s creative and independent. She takes care of herself. Her strength is her resolved to overcome.
Hannah is 15. We adopted her at the same time as Stephanie; they have been together their entire lives. Hannah loves to read, especially historical fiction and greek mythology. She is an old woman trapped in a teenager’s body. Her strength is her commitment to grow into the best version of herself as possible. She is a beautiful mess.
My celebration is I get to be their momma.
It’s not an easy gig.
Motherhood never is.
This week I wrote about a key feature of stories.
Stories have struggles.
It is a truth that stabbed my heart. It’s one thing to know this as a technical part of writing. If your story doesn’t have a struggle, then it’s not really a story anyone wants to read. Fiction writers ensure their stories are ones people want to read by plunging their characters into struggle after struggle after struggle.
For Stephanie, her storyline is plunging into struggle after struggle after struggle. Andy and I, as her parents, aren’t stopping the struggles.
It’s not an easy gig.
If we only look at the slice of a story that is the struggle, we wouldn’t like the story very much. Strong stories have struggles not because readers like a struggle, but because we like it when characters overcome a struggle. The more dire the struggle, the better the story.
Sometimes we’re not sure a character is going to overcome the struggle, but we don’t quit reading. We keep going. We press on. We trust that good is going to overcome the struggle.
The same is true in life. If we take just a slice, there is often cause for alarm. It is cause for alarm if we just look at Stephanie’s current storyline. The thing about life is we don’t quit when it gets hard. We keep going. We press on. We trust that good is going to overcome the struggle.
And so I celebrate that I get to be a momma to these kids.
The ones who struggle.
The ones who fail.
The ones who have been scraped by the ugly of the world.
They are the ones who fight the good fight and write an impossibly beautiful ending.
I celebrate that I get to be along for the ride.
Here’s to celebrating, even when it’s hard. Share your links below.
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It is so, so difficult to stand back and allow your kids the gift of struggle. I admire you and Andy for stepping back and letting Steph find her inner strength, no matter how hard that might be. I read your words about running with your kids on Choice Literacy this morning. That Sam is such a good brother! All of your kids are lucky to have each other — and to have you and Andy as their parents.
Struggle is a hard concept to accept in life but when we reflect upon the struggles we see that life can take a turn for the better. We grow as individuals so I applaud you and your family, Ruth, for your “foreverness” in struggles and celebrations.
I admire you for so many reasons. You have taken on the struggles that life has to offer and resolved to do better. You are making a difference.
Beautiful children with a beautiful mother!
I'm glad you get to go along on that journey, too!
This week I have been rolling your words about struggle in my mind. I don't like struggle, who does? But yet there is so much joy when the struggle has been dealt with. You and Andy are the parents these children need. What a strong family you have created. Hugs, Ruth!
My favorite part about own children are their diverse specialities.. The gifts that each child brings is always a celebration, and I continue to lift those special gifts up.
Ruth, I so need this community this week. Because, always there is celebration. Yours here in photos and words is a particularly beautiful gift I feel lucky to read. Thank you for everything you do and for providing this place for our #celebratelu community. Thank you for always sharing your personal stories with such generosity.
Being a momma is the best ride there is. No matter how hard it gets, there is always something good to celebrate in our children.
Beautiful family. Beautiful celebration.
Love the pic of your forever family. And the little snapshot you gave us into each member. Blessings to your family as you continue to love no matter what. And I am so glad to know the Momma (and I even got to meet the Pappa) of this extraordinary family. “We trust that good is going to overcome the struggle.” Press on!
When my children were young, they are 26 and 29 now, I read the characteristics that made them a challenge to raise are the same characteristics that will help them be successful. This has proven to be true. I tell the parents of my first graders this. Hang in there!