This last visit was really hard on Jacob. After several late-night talks, he told us his daily routine for the 30+ days he was at his dad's. His dad went to work sometime in the morning (Jake's not sure where or what time). Jake woke up around 11am to noon and got his own breakfast. His step-mom, Kendell, took a 2-hour nap in the afternoon, while Jake watched TV. He sometimes made his own lunch or snack. Kendell made dinner for Jake and his two-year-old step-sister around 6pm. His sister went to bed a couple hours later, then Kendell laid down to take another nap. Jake watched TV alone from about 8pm to midnight. Matt got home from work at midnight, so Jake stayed up to see his dad who promptly plopped down on the couch and ate dinner. Jake played his Nintendo DS, while his dad and Kendell watched TV until about 2 or 3 in the morning. Then, repeat...repeat...repeat for 30+ days. This type of schedule is not fit for anyone, let alone an 8-year old. It's no wonder this kid was so upset and exhausted when he got home.
It has taken a lot of work and patience on our part to help Jacob re-adjust to being at home again. We're helping him get back on a regular schedule by having him go to bed each night at 8 p.m. We're reminding him to take care of himself and keep up with personal hygiene. We're getting him caught up on his reading to prepare for school. We're disciplining and reiterating our family rules. We're reminding him how to treat his sister. We're having family candlelit dinners. We're having plenty of late-night talks to help him talk through things and help him go to sleep at night. But, the biggest and most important thing: We're spending quality time together and showing Jacob just how much we love him.
It's been a fun week for us too. We've gone to the library. Spent allowance money on new toys at Target. Picked out candy at the gas station. Went to the $1 kids movies. Ate a picnic lunch...in the van since it was so hot. Went to the indoor play area at McD's. Got ice cream cones. Went to the pool. Had friends over to play. Had movie nights. Slept in. Had lazy days in our pajamas. Read books. Played video games.
My motto as a mom has and never will change. I will keep my kids busy, do fun things, spend time with them and have quiet moments to "just be" at home. I will fix my kids healthy meals and help them get quality sleep at night. I will fight to do what's best for my kids, always keeping their best interest in mind. I will love my kids unconditionally. My kids (and my hubby) will always come first before anything else in life. And I will teach my kids to love God, first and foremost, and guide them as they live out their lives for Him.
This is my purpose in life. This is what I'm called to be. I'm a mother.