The other day my 26-year-old son said, "Mom, someone should write a book or make a movie about us. Seriously! We've beaten all the odds."
"Well," I said, "have you ever read my blog?"
He's right. So far, we've overcome challenges and roadblocks that have leveled many an American family.
We've been swimming against the flow on a river of gloomy statisticians for as long as we've been a family. I've written about the night I nearly miscarried Dallas. My son was obstinate and determined from the moment of conception. He beat the odds - he lived.
I survived physical, emotional, and mental abuse at the hand of a charmingly manipulative drug addict. I was able to escape before my former husband ever laid a hand on my baby boy even though the odds were against us.
My husband Tom married a divorced woman. Do you know that according to the Department of Vital Statistics, 60% of second marriages end? I'm not going to lie and tell you Tom and I never considered walking away, but this was my second marriage and the odds of making it were not in our favor. There was a particularly heartbreaking and dark time in our life and we separated for several months, but we reconciled. Again - baffling odds makers everywhere.
Two of the kids battled horrific addictions to Meth. That drug is a demon that comes for the souls of its users. It was once believed that Meth addicts had no hope of recovery because of the high rate of relapse. The drug changes the brain's wiring by destroying its dopamine receptors and users need a full year to allow those receptors to re-grow. Dopamine is the brain's "joy drug" and without it, people are depressed. Meth gives the user a false sense of happiness, and the abuse/addiction cycle continues.
My kids are amazingly strong, resilient, and determined. Drugs have destroyed so many lives and dreams, but my kids are living and pursuing their dreams with drug-free healthy abandon. Odds beaters!
As a family we've survived tough stuff like job loss, marital discord, financial devastation, bankruptcy, addictions, prison, missing kids, and rehab. The unbelievable reality is that we walked the journey largely alone. Despite being heavily involved and devoted to a large church family, we were abandoned in our time of deepest need. Churches are woefully ill prepared for certain types of conflict. Most church goers walk away from God and religion after experiencing judgmental condemnation - not us. And our extended family? I'll be gentle and just say they were terribly unhelpful.
So, what's our secret? How have we survived - even thrived - when so many other families break and disintegrate? Well, we're not perfect and we're not super heroes. We fight big, love completely, pray unceasingly, cry often, and every day find more reasons to laugh. We give one another the room to fly, the freedom to explore, and permission to be mad sometimes.
I don't write this blog because I think I have the answers. I write because it sucks to go it alone. If just one reader feels less isolated by reading our story, then this is for you. If you can look at us and think, "Wow, I don't have it so bad after all", that's okay too.
Someone needs to write a book about us.