Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Leaving Las Vegas Or Accepting the Journey

Initially, I was about to write about the trip my family took this past weekend to Las Vegas(with pictures), but my laptop decided it wasn't feeling well. All of the photos that I took are now in the custody of that computer and so I will have to wait until it arrives home, feeling healthier, from the Apple store.

I will share several highlights from the weekend, number one being that all four of our angel daughters were able to join us. Having a daughter in college, and another who is eighteen and becoming very independent, makes it difficult to plan family vacations. Our oldest angel and her very lovely boyfriend(You might remember "The Cheesemiester" from my blog about his Pizza Hut commercial.) drove out the day after we arrived and spent two nights with us. Angel daughter number four is a fantastic, little dancer, and she had a competition which we attended. Even though Hip-Hop is not my favorite style of dance, I can truly appreciate the difficulty and the energy level that it takes to choreograph one of those dances. AD4 puts everything that she has into it. Her sassy, whimsical spirit shines through in all of her dance moves. Truly a joy to observe!

Another, absolutely life-affirming moment which our family shared, was meeting my "great-niece". She belongs to the beautiful daughter and son-in-law of my oldest and dearest friend whom I have known since I was twelve. Their entire family is our extended family by choice(and after thirty-three years of friendship, we can't seem to get rid of each other). We have raised our combined seven children, plus her three now foster babies, as cousins. She is my soul-sister. The baby, who was born almost three weeks ago, is one of the most beautiful babies that I have ever seen. She is tiny and perfect and round. Her eyes are inquisitive and alert. I got my hands on her as soon as we walked in the door and only gave her up to let my niece feed her, and to allow the rest of my family to cuddle with her for a bit. She now owns a huge piece of her Auntie Deb's heart. I will check with her mom to see if I can post a picture of her here. I just know that she will melt your heart.

D, my dear friend, is still the temporary mother of three adorable foster babies ages, fifteen months, two and three and a half. Their birth mother(BM, as we so lovingly like to refer to her)still has not gotten her life together after a year and so these precious little children live their lives in a state of limbo. The only real hope for them would be for BM to release custody so that they could be adopted into loving homes, but it does not look like she is going to do that. Social Services only seems to care about "success stories" which to them means reuniting children with their birth parents. In situations like these, where the BM took drugs and drank throughout all of her pregnancies, abused and negected her two oldest children until they were removed from the home, and cared so little about her youngest baby that she landed him in Intensive Care for the first week of his life suffering from drug withdrawl, she tore up her parenting card! D and K and their family have done an absolutely amazing job of parenting these children. I only pray that the rest of the story turns out well. We were able to spend lots of time with the children during our visit, but it is always bittersweet. Each time we see them, I wonder if it will be the last.

All in all, we had a fun trip. I even got to teach my daughter's boyfriend(The Cheesemiester) how to play Blackjack. Something that you definitely don't know about me is that I have been a Blackjack player since I was eighteen years old. I really like to play and used to participate in Blackjack invitiational tournaments. I have even held my own against grumpy, old men who think that women shouldn't be allowed to gamble and have driven them away from the table with their tail between their legs. I kind of like it when that happens(tee-hee). Anyway, The Miester caught on really quickly! He did very well for his first time, and even walked away with a little extra money in his pocket. We laughed a lot and had a great time. Thanks Angel daughter number one for allowing me to borrow your boyfriend for a little while. You only have a couple more months left until you don't get chased away from the table anymore. I do promise that your youthful genes will be a bonus when you are my age!

I chose this stock picture of the pier because it represents some of what I am feeling, right now. I am still on the long journey past grief, and into a life without so much raw pain. I can visualize a place in which I will be able to take deep, peace-filled breaths, once again, but I know that I am still a long way from actually arriving there. Patience and prayer are two things which sustain me. Patience. Prayer.


Ness said...

I am so glad you got to have all your angels together. It sounds like a phenomenal trip! Sorry to hear about the computer probs. Can't wait to see the pics. Always good to hear from you. My day has been a crazy one and nothing like hearing from a great friend to bolster my spirits. Take care, Deb Dearest.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I scared you away? Oh Deb, say it isn't so!! I was just trying to educate the public AND encouraging open conversations, not scare away my beloved Deb.

Please come back and leave me wonderful comments again soon!

Pretty please?


Laura ~Peach~ said...

everytime we see the pizza hut comercials i tell my hubby I know that guys girfriends mom LOL... he thinks i am nuts but thats ok!
I am glad you guys had some time together I hope you were able to get video of ad dancing! hip hop is very physical. I love that show SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE it is amazing!
Hugs Laura

Irene Latham said...

Hi Deb - love the pier and what it means for you. More and more I am realizing how important family time is. I am so happy you got some good time in with your girls. What a gift. And a card shark?! Who knew?? I need some coaching. :)

Coffee Bean said...

Glad you are back and that y'all had a wonderful time! I'll be praying for those precious ones. Stories like that always grieve me.

Anonymous said...

you can borrow him any time you like. but i can't wait to hit the blackjack tables with you. look out vegas, here we come!


Alice said...

Just checking in. I'm glad you are still working through your journey of grief. It will not be fast or easy, but you will get closer to healing one day at a time.

And I completely AGREE with you on the foster care issue. I work for a foster care agency - and I can't tell you how many heartbreaking stories we've witnessed as social services try to reunite families that don't need it. We are all for reuniting families who have worked hard and overcome obstacles, but there are some that are just not deserving.

Continuing to pray for peace for you during this difficult, difficult journey.

Dayna said...

HAng in there my friend. It sounds like you had a nice weekend - and hopefully those moments will carry you through your grief.

We'll be at UCLA for about a week it looks like - but I'll check in when we get back.

tj said...

...So glad to hear that you had a good time and that you all were together with your bff's family too! What fun! And to find out that you're a killer black jack player - who'da thought?! :o)

...I hear ya on the BM and foster children issue. I too think there should be a window of time set for a parent to "get it together or else"... This thing with babies and young children hanging in limbo while mom or dad decide whether they want to grow up or not has to stop. We have a foster/adoptive network in St. Louis and it's sad to see these stories of teenagers now searching for a forever home and they have been in foster care since they were an infant! Now no one wants to adopt them now because they're too old... It tears my heart out everytime - I want to adopt them all! :o) My heart goes out to your bff and what they are doing for those children is priceless and I wish them my best!

...You'll always be in my thoughts and prayers Debra...


PS - by the way, you've been rated. ;o)

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Deb, I still haven't seen that pizza commercial! I've got to keep my eyes peeled for The Cheesemiester!

Cracks me up that you are a Blackjack Champ! You are full of surprises, missy!

I love the photo you shared, and I know that your journey towards healing and happiness after the tragedy you experienced is just beginning, but with your positive attitude, patience and most of all prayer your life will again be full of amazing joy and beauty. It is already there, all around you. It will just become more clear again as time goes on. I know it will.

Blessings, dear one!

Alison said...

sounds like you had a perfect weekend. I hope those precious 3 angels find a wonderful forever home, and in the mean time, they are so fortunate to be where they are.

I also have family like yours..the best kind...the kind you choose!! Isn't it wonderful?

Peggy Payne said...

Sounds like you're doing this process--four angels, friends, grief, life-- so well, Debbie.

And about hip-hop, I took a class in that at my health club last week. My muscles felt scalded the next morning. Wow, what a workout.

A skinny white girl about a third my age was teaching it.

When I came out, a middle-aged black man commented, "She doesn't take any prisoners, does she? I'm afraid to go in there."

My hat's off to the hiphoppers. And to the way you're running your life.

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