coloring inside the lines

I stop at stop signs.

Full stop.

My father always tells me that this will get me rear-ended one day.

But? By nature I am a rule follower.

It makes me very uncomfortable to bend or (gasp) break the rules.

Some rules.

“The Big Brother” rules.

Like moving up sections at a concert or sporting event.

No no.

I would rather sit in the nose bleeds than worry about being caught.

“Being caught” is a bad bad thing for me.

Which is interesting in that I am a fairly strong-minded individual.

But I also don’t live in the gray* area.

It’s all black and white (ish) to me.

I can’t function in the grey*.

And people who break the rules make me agro.

Line cutters.  They have a special place in hell.

People who get back in line to get seconds when not everyone has their firsts.

People who go into the turn lane just to cut back into traffic to cut ahead.

As my son calls them “budgers”.

No budging.

My inability to break the rules has always bothered me.

I am uptight.

And prudish.

And judgemental.

I have a strong sense of FAIR.

And I don’t like people to not like me.


Even people I don’t particularly respect.

But I am getting better about this last one.

And I am learning to be intentionally manipulative.

I am learning to play the game.

To live in the gray.

Foster care has taught me this.

Because in foster care?  Many of the rules are wrong.

There I said it.

And so I am learning to understand the protocols, the rules and why they exist.

And I am finding the work arounds and I am doing my best to work around them.

Yay me.  I guess…

Everything I do is in the best interest of the children in my care.

Their parents know much more how best to use the system to their advantage.  Clearly.

But I am learning…

–a good lesson?  Not sure.

It’s kind of grey area….



(*I have no idea which is the right way to spell grey so I will use)


I am a mama duck.

I have a gaggle of little ducklings that follow me everywhere.

While I don’t love every minute of it…I do love it.

It is crazy at my house. CRAZYYYYYY.  And there are always at least thirteen things being done at the same time.

There are four voices calling mama.

Four kids who fall down, get hurt and need kisses.

And they are all growing and changing – constantly.

The two-year old cries when he gets hurt now. (*)

And we counted his words for his therapist and reached double digits!

The one year old is walking!  and up to no good at all times (just as a one-year old should be).

My five-year old is excited to give up his nap time!

…and start kindergarten. In that order.

My seven-year old had a challenging time at camp  this summer.

And came through having learned some very good things about herself.

And I am keeping track of it all and not beating myself up that I JUST started thinking about potty training.

And JUST taught the two-year old the parts of his body.

And that the baby is still taking a bottle to bed (I know).

Or that my five-year old is having impulse control issues.

Or that the seven-year old is…well seven.  and a girl.  And all that that means.

Because they play together.

And I am not always the one that gets there first when one of them falls down.

And sibling kisses for boo boos?

Awe inspiring.

It’s not about the mama duck…it’s all about the gaggle.


* when we first got the babies neither of them cried when they got hurt.  We thought they were tougher than nails.  Nope, just seems like maybe no one was paying attention before.  Now that they know they get kisses and attention, they are both little hams.  They have been known to look to see where we are before they start to cry.  I love that.