Monday, August 17, 2015

Camping Fun, nearly done

We are back from our ocean campout and had so much fun.  It was a day shorter than we had hoped, but that day allowed KC to recuperate from his strep throat.  Well worth it, as even the first day I found that he was more tired than is typical.  We had lots of beach and pool time, spent time with my mom and her significant other and went to an oceanside amusement park in the evening.  The kids love to do that as things look cool with the lights on and the dark skies. All told, since Memorial Day I have camped with them 5 times and our last time will be with our folds from church in mid September. .  Today I washed and got things organized and put away--much of our usual gear will not be needed for that final campout as we do not need to cook for that one. I love camping and the kids have definately been bitten by my camping bug.

I think my wife is less in love with it than i am.  She is a lover of creature comforts and like the Hermit Crab, tries to carry her house with her to the campsite so to speak.  I am all about sitting on a rock or a log and not packing chairs.  I want the least amount of stuff so I can spend the maximum amount of time doing things.  And then there is that phrase "doing things"  My wife likes to sit and knit at the campsite where the kids and I are always off hiking, swimming or looking for adventures of some sort.

Emotionally I was so not ready to come home today. The sea and salt air called to me.  The song of the pine trees overhead begged me to stay.   But grown up responsibilities call and home we came.   And as I was cleaning gear up I was all ready planning next years campouts in my head.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The bags are packed. . .

We were supposed to leave for an ocean camp out yesterday.  However, KC came down with strep throat this week and has had a hard time shaking it, despite the antibiotic.  He is somewhat better today, and I think is on the upswing now.  So tomorrow we will head out early, and I have told the kids that missing one day is not going to dampen the fun.

We had a lovely camp out in the mountains last weekend, staying at the tipi that we rented a couple years back.  But the ocean is calling to me.  I love both the ocean and the mountains.  I am not sure I could live well without either!  What a spoiled New Englander I am.  But I have had a few campouts in the mountains this year, it is time now for the sound of surf. For looking for shells, for sandy feet and boardwalk pizza.  Sea gulls calling, and the lonely sound of the boat whistles.

We also will meet up with my mom who lives not far from our campsite and spend the morning with her on Sunday.  Monday we need to return home, but I plan on making every second that we are there count!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

National Night Out

Last night was National Night Out at my job and we hold a big celebration for the residents.  I work the event and my wife works at night elsewhere, so by default the kids come with me.  This is not a hardship. They love NNO and hanging out with the kids here.  Actually they are all ready friends with a few of the residents because they have played with them at a local city park.  I love bringing the kids because of more reasons than I should probably try to list.

I love letting my kids see and be part of where I work.  I am passionate about affordable housing--about good housing that is.  I want them to see that what I do matters.  It isn't really glamorous and it sure doesn't pay what other jobs might, but people have a safe clean homes here. Some lived in shelters for two years before they moved in here.  To me, that is huge.

I love my residents meeting my family.  Yes, I have to maintain professional distance. But there is a middle ground where I think it is not only okay, but really healthy to share a bit of oneself. To show a human side that may not be part of our routine communications.

I love that my kids get to mingle in the very diverse cultures of our resident population.  My kids are extremely sociable and always find a gaggle of kids to play a basketball game or something with.  We need to give our kids opportunities to work,play and interact with people from many walks of life.  NNO is a great venue for that to happen.

So, while I ran a raffle table, delivered water bottles and checked on vendors, they played, ran, ate and had a blast.  We were all tired when we got home, but can't wait until next year!

Talking. . .

So there were lots more conversations via text and Facebook with D last night.  He wrote that above all he did not want me to feel badly and then the flood gates of commuication were unleashed by him.  He has been essentially homeless since the baby was born, couch surfing and his fiancee and their baby are presently living out of state with her family as a result. He has no credit and could not get an apartment, she has bad credit and could not get an apartment.  They could not find someone to cosign.

I said that I work in housing and maybe I was butting in but that I would do everything I could to help them find housing.  When I was lucky enough to become Rob's mom, my family grew by more than just Rob. He and K and many many more were now in my mind, family.  So to please reach out (and I promised to not have it on facebook, which made him laugh) and i would do all I could. I do not want him to be homeless. He is a bright, kind and intelligent young man.

He said that he was grateful for any and all help and was in a very humbling place right now.  He said he considers me family and has for a long time.  Now to get to work on finding this young man a home.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Why I am glad I didn't jump to conclusions

So last week Rob had to go into the Big City to get his transportation pass  for school. While he was there he planned on seeing his skateboard buddy that he met a college last year and also his brother D and sister K.  I was over the moon happy that the 3 sibs were getting together.  Sometimes  I have felt like I was maybe pushing Rob too hard in my efforts to maintain connections with his first family.  He didn't seem particularly to want this but he didn't come out and say he didn't want it either. So I kept on.  I have been Facebook friends with as many family as I could safely and reasonably connect with.  It has been a long, many years journey with lots of rough patches. But I think we navigated the journey pretty well.

Last year when D and A had their baby shower, we were all there.  More fences were mended, more bridges strengthened.  So it was totally in character for me to write a happy little post on Facebook saying how happy I was that Rob was in town spending time with D and K that day.

Today I got a private message from D saying that he and K did not appreciate being tagged in my happy little post and that although I considered Rob my son, they were siblings and were trying to rebuild that relationship in a way that was not over the top for Rob.

I wrote back right away that I absolutely respect their sibling ties and never intended my words to make that relationship difficult or undermining in any way. I promised not to write anything in the future and said that I would apologize to Rob as well if he was upset by my words--though I also said that he is pretty used to my bragging on him and all the other kids.  I am just a pretty open person.  What you see/read/here is what you get. Anyway, I wrote a careful and thoughtful post back and hoped for the best.

When I got home I had another post from D.  He said above all he did not want me to think I had anything to apologize over. He and K just wanted to be with their brother without all the rest of the first family asking why they had not been included and why they had not brought Rob by etc.  Which made total sense and was something that (obviously) had not occured to me at all.  So we have talked more on line and he and K are hoping to come out this way and visit as well.  I am excited. I am also mindful that if my response had been different, the outcome could have well been really sad.  Instead, I am filled with hope that the journey continues and that these kids solidify their relationships with each other.